On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

How to Think Like A Writer

Do you think like a writer? To me, that means I am always thinking ABOUT writing.

For example, let's say I am stopped at a light watching people cross the street. My mind starts to wonder, Where is she going? What’s in his backpack? Who’s she talking to on the phone? Why is he wearing camouflage/a tutu/a bathrobe? Where does she work? Who is he meeting, and why? Do her shoes hurt? Is he going commando? What did she have for breakfast? Did he just get a negative medical report? Did she just win the lottery? Is he planning to troll the gay bar scene that evening? I love to juggle the possibilities in my head, to make up little vignettes, then twist them around to see how they play. Example: the girl on the phone. I imagine she’s talking to (a) her mother, who is nagging her to quit her job and follow her heart to Hollywood; (b) her boyfriend, who is breaking up with her through a message on her voice mail; (c) her best friend, who called to say goodbye before she killed herself; (d) her lawyer about suing her doctor for botching her boob job. (And what if her doctor is also her boyfriend? Or her lawyer is her boyfriend? Her sister? His mother? Or . . .)

You get the idea. Now go find yoru own "what if" and write it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Okay, back to writing. Here's a kinda neat exercise I thought up recently (on a Saturday night, actually. I have no life).

Imagine you have been asked to host Saturday Night Life. Write your opening monologue. (And please, God, make it funny!)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Forgive me, but I must step away for a moment from the purpose of this blog--writing--to vent. Please bear with me.

Tony Blair is stepping down. He has ignited a political firestorm in his own country, jeopardizing his own career, to stand beside his friend, the President of the US. So it appears that Bush may well accomplish what all the suicide bombers cannot--the demise of democratic brotherhood among nations, and the United States' eventual but certain fall from world power.

We of the U.S. have become a synonym for arrogance, a bastion not of freedom but of self-deluded smugness. And now, Blair, a loyal friend to this country, has suffered for it (never mind the thousands of our soldiers who have been and are suffering in an unwinnable war; never mind people facing home disasters such as the tornado damage in Kansas, who will suffer because there aren't enough National Guard members to help them; never mind the political parties that have been split between loyalty and good sense, leaving them in too much of a shambles to lead).

How much more of this insanity can we take? And how can we wait for a far-away election for this to change? Fasten your seatbelts, everyone. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

And now back to our regularly-scheduled postings.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I’ve started reading “Peanuts” again, drawn back to those characters of my youth, and of my children’s youth.

There’s something soothing in the perpetual efforts of Charlie Brown to kick that football; in Lucy’s attempts to woo Schroeder away from Beethoven; of Linus’ wisdom beyond insecurity; in Snoopy’s ability to dance with bunnies and communicate with birds. I can connect once more with Sally's cynicism, Woodstock's innocence, and Peppermint Patty's unstoppable moxie.

We’ve all laughed at the antics of the characters, and connected with their philosophies and dreams. After more than 50 years, the wit still rings true, the deep-seated fears and desires still touch a deeper, human place in our souls. There is joy and pathos in their efforts, and sagacity in their optimism and insight. They give us laughter, they give us empathy, they give us hope.

That’s good writing.