Friday, October 23, 2009
I find it difficult to toe the line between the will to move on and being content with what I have. Ambition . . . a two-edged sword. To achieve your dreams, you have to dig in your feet, strain against obstacles, and just keep on pushing. But if you do so, do you have time to watch the flower grow next to the road you're struggling along? Can you afford to lay back and say with a happy sigh, "This is it. I'm happy, nothing else is needed."? Don't you have to make a choice?
I'm old enough to know it's a question of equilibrium - as everything in life. Theoretically, that concept is understood. But in every-day-life, I find it hard to put it into practice. The "time slices" when I stop and enjoy are too short. The "time slices" when I push and struggle are too long -- and sometimes, they exhaust me so much that I can't even enjoy the things I should be happy about. I consider it an achievement that I realize it. It would be worse if I didn't even notice. But still . . . How do you manage to keep the equilibrium?
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I have three books coming out over the next 5 months.
- Be Still ... and Let Your Nail Polish Dry, a devotional for Summerside Press, comes out this month.
- Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida, my second in that series, publishes in December.
- And The Big 5-OH!, for Abingdon Press' new fiction line, hits bookstores in February.
I know. It wasn’t my finest hour in scheduling when all three deadlines came from two different publishers within a few weeks of one another!
But as the fruit of my very intensive labor grows closer to bookstore shelves, I’ve been doing a load of promotion for these books. Mostly, the interviews are pretty much the same; however, last week one of them asked me that question that only comes up now and then:
Who was the most influential person at the beginning of your writing career?
I’ve referred to former Avalon editor Erin Cartwright-Niumata before when asked the question, because her influences over my writing style and process were great; and I’ve pointed to my father on occasion because he was a frustrated wannabe writer type who never made it a priority, and was thrilled when his daughter did.
But this time around someone else came to mind. His name was (and probably still is, although I have no idea what’s become of him) Len Wechsler, my instructor at screenwriting school in Hollywood back in the mid-80s.
“Show it, don’t tell it!” Len would bellow at us. “Nobody needs you to tell them what to see and how to see it. Paint a picture for them. Let them see it for themselves!”
To this day, I often hear his voice in my ear when I’m writing.
It occurs to me that learning to write with a visual medium as my platform was probably a really good thing for me as a writer who eventually turned to novels. I’ve carried Len’s voice, as well as his effective teaching, over to my books. I suppose proof of that is how often we’re contacted with nibbles on film and television rights.
As a READER, I know that I want to be carried away by a story. The combination of writer’s voice and “showing rather than telling” is really what draws me in. It would only make sense that as a WRITER, I would want to provide that for those reading my books.
I started trying to find Len this week in an effort to tell him that I was listening, that I’m listening still.
Is there a teacher or a mentor or an encourager in your past who might never have known what an inspiration they were to you? I urge you to make like Columbo and seek them out!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
My husband and I moved to the South in 1987. One thing I don’t miss: snow. One thing I do miss: the autumn leaves. In Texas, people point out and admire trees that turn a rusty yellow or a reddish brown because that’s the best we have.
George grew up in Peewee Valley, KY—about thirty miles east of Louisville--on Maple Avenue. You can imagine what his street looked like with those towering trees with the brilliant red leaves. He misses the changing leaves too.
So we went back to Louisville last week, both to see his family and to revel in the beauty of fall. Sadly, we got there about two weeks early for the best colors and it rained all week. The leaves were droopy, wet and not very pretty. Disappointing, of course. I guess the old saying, “You can’t go home again,” is particularly true of autumn leaves and, probably, spring flowers. Or, at least, “You can’t go home at the right time.”
We had a wonderful time with family and friends. We told stories and laughed and had fun remembering our years together, but the beauty of autumn leaves remains a treasured memory.
What are some of the memories you hold on to? Have you been able to relive them?
Jane Myers Perrine
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
An Avalon Western
L. W. Rogers Western
Solve the Mystery!
Brady Wilkes stands accused of murdering his stepfather.
Is Brady a heartless killer, or is he a victim of his own making?
This Devoted Columnist took it upon herself to spy upon the citizens of Willow Creek, Kansas to provide YOU Dear Reader, with the necessary clues to solve this vile and villainous crime!
Brady Wilkes – everyone in Willow Creek knows how much he hated his stepfather.
Kate Parker – will do anything to see that Brady inherits the largest ranch in Kansas.
Lou Spearman – leading citizen with a deadly secret
One-eyed Lester – has his own reasons for seeing Brady hang for murder
Long Tom – a half-breed Kiowa who knows more than he’s willing to tell.
Preview the Video