Weekend ~ 2/28/14 ~ Honesty, Creative Community and Bling

NIBS-The Tomboy

 The Tomboy– Capital City Motorcycle Club, California c. 1950


When I originally began writing my weekend post I had this commercial break in the center. Foolish. I realize now that it needs to be up front center stage lest you try to ignore it.

I want to promote a crazily talented friend, my dearest Dilettante. She is doing a kickstarter campaign. Please head on over and support her. I know you have $5 (preferable more-says me) to lend to her cause. Go ahead and buy her a coffee will ya! Forgo one latte for drip this week in support of the arts.

I’m a huge proponent of supporting artists. We are a community that needs to hold one another up. I compile my own personal library based on the books of people I’ve read and met online. And my walls are covered with the images (photography and artwork) of those that touch me. For me it is really in the connection with others more than anything else. That’s simply how I’m wired.

And Helena is generous beyond measure. She was kind enough to lend words to me this week when tongue tied on a personal matter. I was far too close to the situation to remain objective, have any wit at all. And she critically reviewed my short story with her red pen.

Honesty is my crack cocaine (no I am not condoning drug usage). I believe it only brings me closer to the person with whom I’m connecting. And honest critique makes me strive to be better.

Okay now back to the program……………

I was up late Wednesday night. 2 am PST when the prompt for FF came through my reader. I stared at the screen. Nothing……..still nothing. I tried to click clack the keys hoping for some free association. Or divine inspiration that would awaken the dragons’ genius in my mind.

All I could visualize was two women discussing the nature of the champagne coupe being designed around a woman’s breast- Marie’s, Josephine’s, Helen’s, didn’t matter who’s (Note: this isn’t actually fact). To boot in my mind it was a period piece. The castle in the background obviously played tricks with me. One would think my own corset strings were laced too tight. (I don’t really wear one. This is just creative license). So I knew unequivocally it was time to turn off the computer and get some shut eye. Come on admit it, that’s just craziness.

If you read my FF entry this week you know things went better the following morning. At least I think so. My new storyline has more weight-imagination, mythology blended with mystery, fantasy and love. But you judge for yourself.

DT² formerly referred to on the blog as Shidduch, following Yente which was preceded by DT² (for double trouble). Well DT² and I decided to begin a joint writing venture in order to get our juices flowing. Yet another supportive creative friend in my corner.

Our idea was we’d volley back and forth. Naturally we flipped a coin. The winner of the toss would get us rolling. Which for us both actually meant the winner was the looser. Because neither wanted to go first.

Seriously, firsts freak me out. I panic. This manifested most succinctly when I was on stage, terrified I’d forget my lines or miss the song’s first note. But without fail once I got past the first….. I sailed along.

So can you guess? I bet you can. I lost. I mean won. I had to begin writing. Beads of sweat began to form. We started discussing some ground rules, how we felt about certain movie’s mood and tone, seeking how close to or far from one another we fell in taste. Suddenly inspiration struck. The matchmaker knew where she’d begin. So I gladly handed the torch back to her. Go ahead say it. Baaawkkk bawk bawk…….

Now?     Now I’m worried about going second.   Good God I know…..am I ever satisfied?

Then on top of it all during lunch I had a sudden attack of bling envy. This might be normal for some of you. But I’m the girl that doesn’t wear any makeup except on very special occasions. I’m not into diamonds. Now I’m not saying I wouldn’t love to rock a Harry Winston but it is not a driving urge. But my dear DT² has designed some of the most spectacular pieces. I have coveted a lacy diamond necklace of hers for years. I simply cannot convince her to do jewelry design for a living. Seriously Tiffany’s if you’re reading this, hire her. Her creations will actually make your blue boxes more extravagant.

At lunch she wore a gorgeous Aquamarine diamond ring– classic shape, ornate artistry. Another of her divine inspirations (yes she designed it). She indulged me allowing me to don it for the duration of lunch. I swear it was mesmerizing. To watch me was to see “My Precious” ratcheted up full throttle. I was possessed! So much I barely recognized my reflection in its azure haze. In the end I gave it back. I’m sure she had her doubts I would and sighed in relief. Things never should come between friends.

Okay enough rambling. Go forth and play. I’ll see you Monday on the blog.


Blast from This Blogs Past


The Weekend Reading List


Something Extra

Say Something ~ A Great Big World & Christina Aguillera

A Footnote that Deserves to be so much more……….

I just received word my Aunt passed. Two months since her diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor. My mother knew it would be today. She is very connected to her sister and no doubt felt the thread thinning.

My Aunt spent her life in the advocacy of women. Helping those that need a voice, those seeking guidance to break out of abuse and thrive in our world.

It seems the Schweitzer quote at the end of my gratitude post must have been for her. I was no doubt typing it as she passed through the veil. “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. “My Aunt was this kind of woman. I for one will carry her flame in my heart always.

The Company You Keep


“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder


Gratitude is the cornerstone of a spiritual practice. And the oxytocin high of connection is my drug of choice (not that I’m condoning drug usage). But so it is that I find myself in awe of supportive friends. Surrounded am I by extraordinarily talented women. I feel blessed.

Seriously if you don’t have any in your life, go now and get some. (Yes, that too- for the dirty minded folk among us.) Who me? I resemble that remark.

Where was I? Right…the support of women in my life.

My problem (one of many) is I have a tough time writing longer pieces of fiction. I seem to be stuck in the 100 word count zone. Not to undervalue the skill necessary of communicating an idea with a beginning, middle and end in 100 words. It takes skill. But I’d like to know I’m capable of writing more. I have two pieces in particular I’d like deliver and raise into full fleshed works.

I managed to eek out a “rough” draft (thank you my beautiful Dilettante for tough loving me). Everyone needs friends not afraid to tell the truth, to be willing to give your work their critical eye. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this. I only wish I could give advice half as good as I get.

I also wish I’d followed Stephen King’s rule of thumb. 2nd draft=1st draft-10%, culled the riff raff before taking up the valuable time of others. Even I can see on read through much need be cut. But I’m grateful for the time they generously offer.

My co-worker (FYI- her Welleslian English Lit degree is one reason many of my poems are so tight) implored me to ask the big questions; broaden my view of the story. She said “you need to decide if you are a reliable narrator”. “Of course” I said without hesitation. “Hmmmmm”, I waned.

She pointed out my writing was too linear. My current stories protagonist is a precocious 12 year-old with an omniscient voice narrating over top. CW said “You’re writing is very JD Salinger”. Hello? As if! Other than echoing his personal life as a recluse I have a ways to go to achieve what NY Times writer Charles McGrath describes.

“Stories remarkable for their sharp social observation, their pitch-perfect dialogue (Mr. Salinger, who used italics almost as a form of musical notation, was a master not of literary speech but of speech as people actually spoke it) and the way they demolished whatever was left of the traditional architecture of the short story — the old structure of beginning, middle, end — for an architecture of emotion, in which a story could turn on a tiny alteration of mood or irony. Mr. Updike said he admired “that open-ended Zen quality they have, the way they don’t snap shut.”

But one can dream. And I think it’s incredible having friends’ way smarter than I am. Ones that hear what I was aiming to convey- a “sympathetic understanding of adolescence, the fierce if alienated sense of morality and distrust of the adult world.” Ones that know I yearn to write an irreverent journey of soul and the struggle to find self. Ones who know me well enough (out in the real world) to question the prominent role I gave the fictional parents when in real life mine are “bit players”.

“Can you make the reader come to your conclusions in retrospect without spoon feeding it to them?” Whoa! I wonder. Can I?

As Stephen King says “the object of fiction is…..make the reader welcome…make him forget, whenever possible, that he is reading a story at all.” He goes on to say “you must be able to describe it, and in a way that will cause your reader to prickle with recognition.” Can I tap into another’s autobiography in my writing? Project a deeper intimacy into my words, create ease.

Lastly she pointed out her favorite bits (in yellow highlighter) involving questions of faith, feeling alien and trying to know oneself. Could I draw this thread throughout the piece? Flesh them out. Play on the devil versus God inside us. The bigger questions, “Can you know anyone if you don’t know yourself?” kind of riff.    *mind blown*

 Can I?   I plan to try.    “There is no try grassphopper, only do” I hear a friend whisper.

This is the grace of having a support group of woman to push you along. Challenge you to reach for your edges and hopefully far beyond.  Albert Schweitzer wrote “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. “I have this circle. I am filled with the women that hold me up and rekindle my passion for life.

San Gréal ~ #fridayfictioneers ~ 2/28

I spent my morning in the dentist chair; the usual scolding over the shrill of the pick- flossing habits, night guard usage and warnings of a crowned future. All I could think “Ugh! I don’t have time for this. I need to write”.

Didn’t they understand its Fictioneer’s Time- “One for all and all for one” musketeer style. Inspiration comes at the most inopportune moments.  So I flew from the chair grabbed my notepad, scratched a few words and tore across town to get to the office and a computer.

Here’s my offering.


Copyright -Sandra Crook


San Gréal

Tractors make terrible getaway cars. Normally.

“What day’s the hay delivered to the stables?”


“But it’s Tuesday” Philip pondered. Perhaps that’s why they’re exiting the gate teaming with bales. “Must be a mistake…”

Entering the grand hall he immediately noticed the missing portrait of Père Dumas. “ Mon Dieu the chalice” he took off running for the gallery.

Geneviève smiled and turned towards the kitchen knowing she was the only thing of value left.  Seventeen centuries of witchcraft flowed through her sang réal.  Once upon a time, not so long ago, he’d been a frog.

“Where’s that locator spell!”

Word Count: 100


P.S. Please make sure to read the others.

Thanks Rochelle as always for graciously hosting the prompt for our 100 words novella . This week’s image by Sandra Cook is tugging upon a deeper wanderlust.  Temptation’s temptation.

Lunchtime Doodle ~ Figure and Gesture

LD-Figure & GestureI came across this website with online figure drawing classes. I gave it a quick practice test. The above photo was provided. Now in 30 seconds draw what you can (only 30 secs).

It was actually so much fun.  Of course now I want to go back over it , add in back definition, her spine and lovely dimple (too flat), perhaps a pocket or ripped jean edge (a little fashion interest)……But not bad for a first go. If I say so myself. Which I do.

I think online figure drawing is a great idea. As someone who got bashful in life drawing class especially drawing nether regions. It all felt to personal to me, too Titanic tracing my lead along. But now I can tackle nudes in the privacy of my own home. (Wait! Sh……….that didn’t come out right.) Anyhooo……..head on over and check it out.