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Category Archives: Writing

Toy Box Whale

Hello Friends,

Yesterday I spontaneously decided to paint!  AND…this is not watercolor;  it is acrylics.  I have not used acrylics in a really long time!  They are more challenging and frustrating to me than watercolors.  AND…it is my first whale painting!  So why did I call it “Toy Box Whale”?

Well, there is a reason for my madness.  This piece of WOOD used to be the bottom of our son’s toy box.  It measures 28″ x 16″.   For years it was filled with all of his stuffed animals.  When he moved out last year,  the box and stuffed animals stayed where they were.  A couple of weeks ago I decided to pack up the animals along with other stuff in his closet.  Some things were packed, but some were sent to Goodwill.

I didn’t want to get rid of the toy box, though.  Years ago I stenciled and painted our son’s first and middle name, a teddy bear, and hearts when he was about two.  (That was before I began teaching myself to draw and paint.)  My husband suggested keeping that part, so when I took it apart, I decided to keep all the pieces.  So I disassembled it and kept everything except the lid.  A long time ago the lid broke and couldn’t be fixed.  Each piece is thin white plywood.  The side and back pieces are framed in a light wood.  I am trying to decide what other ocean creatures to paint on those pieces.  Perhaps a sea turtle and a jellyfish on the small ones and maybe an ocean scene on the longer piece.

The smaller pieces can be easily hung on a wall because of the cut out handles in the wood frame.  However, the whale piece will be trickier to hang, because it is just a flat piece without any wood framing.  So until I figure out how I’m going to hang it, the whale is sitting on our keyboard in the living room.  (I haven’t played it in a long time.)

Our son’s old room is painted a light blue, so I am thinking of repainting it the same color and then making the room into a sea creatures room.  It will most likely take me a long time since I am not done with my writing class yet, though.  I really hope to be done with it in a couple of months!  I had to ask for an extension on the due date of my story.  I added and subtracted text as I was editing it for what I hoped would be the last time, but…now I have to retype it.  I am probably going to finish it tomorrow.  Then I also have to write the cover letter for an editor as the other part of the assignment.  So after days of writing, I decided to paint for a change!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend.  We are having beautiful spring weather here.  We had a pretty good rain a couple of days ago.  It is sunny but cool.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug.  🙂

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BLOGGING IS COURAGEOUS!!!

Hello Friends,

I have had such a great week!  First, I want to share quickly that I finished my Assignment 6 story which is a story about a girl with the compulsion to cut, and it is targeted at middle-school to teen-aged kids.  I haven’t turned it in yet, though, because I have another part of my assignment to finish also.  But it will definitely be in before March 1st!  I am proud of myself which is not as difficult to say as it used to be for me.

Second, I am working on a mama and baby porcupine watercolor, but because of all the writing, I am taking it easy with my arm.  I am still working out (not every day) but when I do, it helps a lot.

Lastly, the reason I titled this post “BLOGGING IS COURAGEOUS” is because I have been blessed to have many new followers lately, and NEW bloggers who have begun blogging about their challenges with depression and anxiety and other mental health issues.  To all of you who have recently found and followed me, congratulations!  Keep on blogging, try not to get discouraged, and make lots of friends.

It is challenging and blogging and making new friends online has been very rewarding for me.  Keep up the great work bloggers!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Mental Health Recovery

Hello Friends,

Recently I found this man’s blog.  His name is James Edgar Skye.  I wanted to share this post of his with you to encourage anyone who struggles with any type of mental illness.  The road is tough for us, but when we get help, take medication if we need it, and have support, we CAN accomplish our goals.

I have been taking a correspondence course through the Institute of Children’s Literature since about August.  I am halfway through it now!  My sixth assignment is to write a story using the character I created in my fifth assignment.  So my wheels have been spinning as I read other writer’s stories in my text.

I know most of you know me as a watercolor/drawing artist, however, when I began this blog over five years ago, I was focusing on writing.  The blog helped to motivate me.  I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember.  However, I have started many pieces, such as my memoir and a novel, that I have yet to finish.  That’s okay.  Right now I want to learn to write short stories for teenagers and write about serious issues that many of them face daily such as depression, anxiety, cutting, and various addictions.

So I encourage you to read James’s post as well and be encouraged.  Struggling with mental illness is difficult, but we can still achieve our goals with a lot of hard work.  Encouraging each other along the way is also key.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

Thanks for sharing your life with us, James.  🙂  Please read on to get to know James.

Yesterday I introduced a new series on the blog. My real life journal entries during some of my toughest times. My Mental Illness Journal. Today I want to talk about goals in mental health recovery. What Are Your Mental Health Recovery Goals? In the life with a mental illness, it can seem difficult to set […]

via Goals in Mental Health Recovery — The Bipolar Writer

Wet-into-Wet Practice

Hello Friends, 

This piece was a practice run at doing “wet-into-wet” watercolor painting.  For the sake of my friends who have never painted, it is just what it means.  We wet the paper first, let the water soak into the paper some, then paint into the wet, obviously with wet paint, thus, we-into-wet.

I did this one a few days before my watercolor class last week but then I learned some new things on Thursday when we practiced the technique along with some brushstrokes.  I might take this with me this week to see what my instructor says.  There is also some splattering in there to get the sandy look, but that’s something I’ve always liked to do for beaches.

Anyway, I had fun doing this and that is all that matters, right?  My instructor always says we are painting to have fun.  And I realize learning new things takes practice and work, but if I am not having fun while I am learning something new and just feeling too frustrated the whole time, I tend to want to quit doing it.  I have to REALLY love what I am doing to push through those trials to achieve my goals.

I remember feeling that way about ten years ago when I first started learning to draw in pencil and paint with watercolors. But I chose to stick with it.  I never even showed my very early work to anyone except my family.  I was fine with that. I am glad I decided to keep practicing and reading instructive books, etc.  I took some classes here and there, too.  I believe I wouldn’t be enjoying it as much now if I hadn’t.

I’ve tried lots of other things through the years as some of you know:  learning to play guitar (WAY more of a time requirement than I wanted to spend.)   Playing piano  (I already knew how to play, but was taking lessons again and trying to learn more difficult things.  Again WAY too much of a time – and money – requirement.  I wasn’t interested enough to stick with it again either.)  Once in a while I play stuff I have learned, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I sat down to play anything.

Lately, because of the “Writing for Children and Teens” class I signed up for, my old desire to spend time writing has been greatly renewed!!  It is exciting and has become fun again.  I think starting this blog four years ago actually renewed the desire that has always been in me to write.

This class is a very different kind of challenge, though.  Three things challenge me in this class:

  1.  Deciding what age range for kids to write the story for.
  2.  Staying within the word count limits!
  3.  Changing my mind about how to structure the story. Dialogue is something new to me, too!

So far, though, it is FUN!   I have attempted to write very little fiction throughout my life.  All the writing classes I took in college required writing non-fiction papers except for the last one I took over ten years ago.  It was a creative writing class.  I had to do short in-class writings in response to writing prompts we were given, write some poetry, maybe a story or two, and write a fable.  Writing the fable was the most fun for me.  However, I found it the other day, and it really isn’t very well written.  Hopefully, I am doing better now!

Today, I am going to be polishing up my story some more.  Then I am going to exercise!  Hopefully, I will get to do some drawing and/or painting, too.  And then there is always the laundry.

My husband is in town playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends.   So I am here alone…oh except for those little Cinderella mice!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug.  🙂

 

FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY: Writer: George T. Parker

Hello Friends,

Today I would like to introduce my husband, George T. Parker, to you.  He is also part of our local writing group called The Redding Writer’s Forum.  His main role in the group is writing their monthly newsletter, mailing it out, and posting to their website.  He has photographed some of their meetings along with others sharing in this responsibility.  He also includes writing from other members of the group in the newsletter.

In September he will be their first speaker of the year doing a presentation on writing memoirs.  He has been working on putting together his own memoir mostly focusing on the years that he was in the California Conservation Corps.  Here is a link to a great fictionalized story he wrote about something that happened in the C’s. http://reddingwritersforum.com

———————

So here are George’s answers to my questions for this post.  Enjoy!

 

  1. How long have you been a writer and/or artist? 

I’ve been a writer pretty much all of my life, as far back as grade school. I wrote a lot of weird adventure stories, and even did some cartooning of stories. (Yes! I could draw back then!) My writing got more sophisticated in high school, with more sarcasm and wit. I also started writing Dungeons & Dragons adventures for my gaming group. I journaled a lot in the California Conservation Corps, and after the Cs, I contributed to my community college’s literary magazine, Bridges. Lately, I’ve been blogging about the CCC and D&D. The main project that I would like to finish and see published before I die is my memoir of life in the CCC.

 

  1. What do you like to write about and/or create? 

I love memoir. The motto for my CCC blog is ‘Everybody has a story that deserves to be told.’ I believe that, and I love to help people tell their stories.

I love to help people see, hear, and feel the outdoors like I have experienced them.

I also love to make people laugh.

        

  1. Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity?  (This could be someone you know or someone you admire but have never met.) 

I don’t know where to start. Certainly, John Muir comes to mind for any outdoors writing, or even memoir. Edward Abby’s Monkey Wrench Gang is the perfect blend of outdoors and humor.

Louis L’Amour really inspired me to write about places that I know first-hand. That’s what he did, and it showed.

Believe it or not, a primary influence for writing humor was Art Buchwald’s political satire of the 1960s and early ‘70s. I suppose that I should also include Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Robert Asprin (The Myth-Adventures series), and Monty Python.

You can see more of George’s work at either of his blogs.  Here are the links.

https://grinningdwarf.com/

https://ccchardcorps.wordpress.com/

Thank you, George, for contributing your story to my series FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY.   I enjoyed it as I am sure others will, too!

 

NOTE:  Unless I hear from other “creatives” who want to share their stories, George’s will be the last post in this series.  I realize it takes time to answer questions that perhaps you haven’t been asked in a long time, but just remember…it doesn’t have to be long!  Send it to larrytheleatherback17@gmail.com.  Thanks!

Have a wonderful day and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

 

My Autobiography (in progress, of course!)

(Image from Google)

Hello Friends,

This is just a quick post to let you know about my other blog.  I think I began it about a year or so after this one to pen my life story, such as it is.

If you would like to know more about me, here is the link:

https://spreadingmy2wings.wordpress.com/

If not, that is okay!   I had debated for a long time whether or not to make it a “public” blog, but I figure everyone has a past, and sometimes there are things in our pasts that we are not particularly proud of or things that were scary.  I started my story off kind of scary which is why I was really surprised that The Institute of Children’s Literature accepted me when I submitted the Prologue to them.

I also want to write for teens someday and began a novel a couple of years ago but I felt overwhelmed while I was working on it, distracted myself in the story, and confused myself about where I wanted it to go!  Yep, distracted and confused, that’s me!   Ha, ha!!  So I will not be sharing it.  It needs A TON of work!  I’m not sure I will ever be a novelist, though, and that’s okay!

By the way, I couldn’t keep up with trying to do a watercolor every day for the month of July!  So I commend all of those wonderful artists who did!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

Fairy Tale Turtle

DO YOU KNOW WHAT MOVIE THIS TURTLE IS FROM??

Hello Friends,

You’ll know which movie in a minute, but first I promised I was going to tell you about the new correspondence course I am taking through the Institute of Children’s Literature.  Here is their website.  https://www.instituteforwriters.com/

They teach courses for writing for children, teens and adults, however, I am taking the one called Writing for Children and Teeens.  There is a lot of reading to do along with the writing which I am finding is easier for me.  I haven’t attempted to write much fiction; I have a great deal to learn!

The reading also inspired me to get my own hard copy of Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales.  (However, that book is not part of the course.)  After I found a beautiful hardbound copy at Barnes & Noble the other day, which I got a great bargain on, I decided to compare the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with the Disney movie which I decided to watch.  I already knew the Disney version would be vastly different!! The Grimm brothers were, well…pretty grim!!  😉  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ends pretty violently as they tell it!!  I wonder what they would think of Walt Disney?

Our video tape is at least 20 years old and it got really hung up right around the part where Snow White is getting all the animals to help her clean the cottage where they live (during “Whistle While You Work,” my favorite song in the movie!  I think I need to get a new DVD of it.)

Anyway, I did not remember this wonderful turtle in the movie!  It is in more than one scene, but I stopped the video long enough to sketch out a couple of its wonderful poses!  I couldn’t get the tape to stay paused for when he tried climbing the stairs.  Also, I didn’t use the same colors from my watercolor pencils.  But here is part of the house cleaning/laundry scene.

THAT TURTLE IS SO ADORABLE!!!  Of course I had to try to paint it!  What it does in this scene makes me laugh out loud!!

All I did the other day was sketch the turtle, so I decided to “add water” and bring it to life today!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY: Writer: Vickie Linnet

Hello Friends,

Today, I would like to introduce my friend, Vickie Darnell, whom I met at the Writer’s Forum meetings a few years ago.  Her job in the group is “Hospitality Director.”  She sets up the food that people bring to share during the meeting’s break.  So here is her story.  Enjoy!

 

1) How long have you been a writer/artist?  

I have always enjoyed writing! In school, I was always writing notes to fellow classmates and essay questions were opportunities to express myself. My parents inadvertently encouraged me to write by leaving notes for me, telling me to have a good day at school and such. I was told that because I was left-handed, that my handwriting would be terrible. Therefore, I practiced writing, seeking to find an attractive way to write my name, Vickie Coleen Downey. I carefully wrote each letter, over and over again.

As a child, I also enjoyed drawing and painting with watercolors. In fourth grade, unbeknownst to me, my teacher entered one of my paintings in a city wide contest. I was the winner of my elementary school and my painting was displayed at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park! The day I brought my painting home, with a beautiful blue ribbon attached to it, my three year old brother tore it up. I ran, with tears in my eyes, to tell my mother what he had done. I was shocked and dismayed when she gathered up the pieces of my painting, crumpled them up and threw the pieces in the trash can.  I never drew again. (*And, my brother has a Bachelor of Arts college degree in graphic arts from Long Beach State…)

 

2) What do you like to write about/create?  

When I first read IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote, I became hooked on crime. HELTER SKELTER by Vincent Bugliosi, and THE ONION FIELD by Joseph Wambaugh further drew me into the crime genre. Becoming a police officer seemed to be a perfect fit for me, since I was (and still am) fascinated by murder.  On the flip side, I have also written several children’s stories, and magazine articles about draft horses and rural life, as well.

 

3) Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity? 

As I previously mentioned, authors Truman Capote, Vincent Bugliosi, and Joseph Wambaugh sparked my interest in crime novels.  Being a police officer, I wrote several crime reports on a daily basis.  After leaving the police force, I became a stay at home mom to my two little boys. Wanting to give them the best childhood possible, I not only read to them all the time, but created stories which included them and their toys, hoping to entertain them and perhaps ignite their own creativity and imagination.  In truth, my children inspired me!

Leaving the SF bay area and moving to Humboldt County provided the opportunity to initially have horses, cattle, sheep and chickens. Draft horses eventually replaced the saddle horses, opening up another avenue to write about. I wrote several articles about driving these draft horses, wagons, harness, and the places visited because of the drafts, such as participating in the Great Circus Parade held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1996 to 2000.

I owe my desire to write to everyone I have encountered in my life, which is akin to the Wild Ride of Mr. Toad, at Disneyland. My children gave me a second chance at childhood and continue to amaze me each and every day. My wonderful, supportive husband constantly encourages me to put my thoughts on paper. So, in the middle of the night, I am awake, reading or writing.

——————–

Thank you, Vickie, for sharing your writing journey with us.  I’m sorry about your painting experience from childhood!  I can relate.  I appreciate your contribution to my Guest Blogs.  This was a great way to get to know you better.  I hope we can get together sometime soon!

 

My next guest blogger will be my husband, George T. Parker on Monday, August 7th.  Stay tuned!

 

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY: Writer/Artist: Teresa Robeson

Hello Friends,

Today I want to introduce my next guest on my new feature, FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY. She uses creativity in all she does.  Besides being an artist and writer, she also crochets, loves to cook, does digital art, and writes poetry!  Whew!  I love people who dabble in many areas of creativity!  Teresa and I met online quite a while back here on WordPress.   The name of her blog is called “One Good Thing” and you can find it here:

http://teresarobeson.wordpress.com/

Self-portrait

 

Now I would like to introduce you to Teresa Robeson.  She chose to answer all three of my questions.  I’m sure you’ll find her as interesting as I do.

 

  1. How long have you been a writer and/or artist?

I guess I’ve been a writer/artist for about a quarter of a century!

I dabbled in writing and art ever since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t consider myself a writer until I took a course with the Institute of Children’s Literature back in 1990 and sold my first short story from an assignment in the class.

Likewise, I didn’t consider myself an artist until I took a fine arts for non-majors class at the University of Delaware in 1991. As I was leaving my class one day, the instructor told the group of majors who were hanging out with him that they should be glad I wasn’t a fine arts major because I’d blow them away.

When your skills are validated, you start to feel legitimate. There are still days when I feel like an impostor, though.

 

Watercolor

  1. What do you like to write about and/or create?

My favorite art to create is portraiture and wildlife/pet art. I love working in ink, charcoal, chalk pastels, and watercolors the best.

As for writing, I enjoy penning science fiction and children’s lit, with nonfiction (science, biography) close behind. I also write “own voices” because I love to write about my childhood in Hong Kong and my experience as an immigrant.

Digital

  1. Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity?  (This could be someone you know or someone you admire but have never met.)         

This is going to be a long list because there have been so many significant influences in my life, starting with my parents who encouraged me to write and do art, unlike many Asian immigrant parents who push their kids into medicine or law.

Then, I have to thank Bill Mammarella, the fine arts instructor of the course I took at UD, and Rick Ortwein, an art instructor who taught me a couple of classes at a local arts center. They were both firm believers in my potential when I had doubts in myself.

And more recently, the major influences on my creativity are Douglas Florian, the clever and witty author-illustrator, who has been so helpful and inspirational to me, and Jane Yolen, who needs no introduction and is my mentor from the We Need Diverse Books Mentorship Program, who made me see how prose can sing.

As well, I owe gratitude to my three critique groups – the Minnows, the Penguins, and the Scribblers. They have been instrumental in kicking me in the creative butt whenever I needed it, or even when I don’t.  😉

Thanks for interviewing me, Patsy!  I had lots of fun answering the questions.

————————————————-

Thank you, Teresa, for being a guest on my blog!  I appreciate your participation.  You have led an interesting and successful life in your career.

 

My next guest blog post will be on Monday, July 24th.  Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY: Novelist: Sharon St. George

Hello Friends,

A while back I put out the word that I wanted to add a summer feature to my blog called “Focus on Creative Energy.” I stated that I would like some guest blog posts that focus on other bloggers, writers, and artists.  I listed three questions you could pick from which are:

  • How long have you been a writer and/or artist 
  • What do you like to write about and/or create? 
  • Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity?  (This could be someone you know or someone you admire but have never met.)                

If you are interested, there is still time.  I will have this feature every other Monday beginning today.  I have since found a few people who expressed interest in being featured here.  My first guest is a writer named Sharon St. George.   You can find her online here::http://www.sharonstgeorge.com/

My husband and I met Sharon in our town in Northern California, at a local writing group called The Writer’s Forum.  She is the Program Director of the group.  She contacts guest speakers and schedules them to present at their monthly meetings from September through June each year.

In 2015 my husband bought her first book that was published that year called “Due for Discard.”  He has since bought all of her other books pictured below. Here is Sharon’s story. Enjoy!

Many years ago, when my children were old enough that they no longer required my constant attention, I decided it was time to do two things I’d been wanting to do for a decade. First, I got myself a cat. Second, I signed up for a fiction-writing course. I’ve been writing ever since, and I’ve always had a cat.

From childhood, animals have played a significant role in my life. I had my own horse and dog as a youngster. And there were always multiple cats on the little farm where I grew up. So it’s no surprise they’ve been part of the cast of characters in all my novels. My first fiction attempt was inspired by a race that pitted a young man in post-Civil War California against the father of his sweetheart in a race from a town similar to Redding to the town of Eureka and back. The catch was that the young suitor was on foot, and the father of the girl was on horseback. Needless to say, the horse came in second and true love won the day.

In my current Aimee Machado Mystery series under contract with Camel Press of Seattle, I chose to write from a hospital-based perspective, because that is where my professional background lies. Having worked in medical offices, hospitals and libraries before I began writing the series, the field of medicine, and particularly the behind-the-scenes intrigues involving the hospital’s administration and medical staff organization provided me with enough inspiration to write an endless number of books. My background in library work gave me the experience to make my protagonist a forensic librarian.

But how to combine medicine with my love for animals? That combination led me to create a setting where my hospital’s forensic librarian protagonist lives in a converted bunkhouse apartment over her grandparents’ llama barn. Aimee’s corporate pilot boyfriend has a drug-sniffing dog, her grandmother has a temperamental cat, her grandfather raises turkeys and keeps a pet king snake, and, of course, there are llamas.

Could any of the mysteries in the first four books in the series have been solved without the help of the animals? Of course. (Well, with one minor exception involving the dog.) However, none of the animals communicate with Aimee telepathically, nor can Aimee talk to the animals à la Dr. Doolittle. (My books are sometimes described as cozy, but they’re not that cozy.) Animals may not be essential to the plot, but because of the rural Northern California setting, it seemed they would add texture and realism to the world Aimee inhabits.

The result is that each of my Aimee Machado Mysteries combines animals, a hospital, a librarian, a mystery, and an evolving romance. And I should mention that I had immigrant grandparents on both the maternal and paternal sides of my family, so I’ve always been fascinated by people with a multi-ethnic or multi-cultural background. Even better, my grandkids are part Asian, so the icing on the cake for me is that my protagonist is half Chinese and half Portuguese. Oh, and she just happens to be a black belt in jujitsu. But that’s another story.

Thank you, Sharon, for being my first guest blogger!  I enjoyed reading your story, and I am sure others will as well.  

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

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