Showing posts with label creative. Show all posts
Showing posts with label creative. Show all posts

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Degree of Satisfaction

I'm serious about this writing stuff. I do want to be a real writer! Not just someone that writes. I want to make a living at it. I want to sell books. But first I've got to get a foot in the door. I've been thinking a lot about my resume... What do I have that says I can write? I don't have a Journalism degree, or any degree for that matter. I've never had anything published aside from letters to the editor. So I've been thinking about going back to school.

I'm a drop out... many times over. Back in the 80's I attended a community college, pursuing a degree in Electronical Engineering. I made the Dean's List and enjoyed my classes, but ultimately decided it really wasn't the career for me. I couldn't see myself doing this type of thing day after day for a big chunk of my life. Along came a job from GM, so I took a break from school. I swore I'd go back someday, and I did... again and again. I really wanted to earn a degree. It was important to me.

I knew health careers were a good choice, so I thought about a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant. I started taking classes full-time while working full-time and being a single mom. It was tough. I remember carrying my chemistry book around at work, cramming at every break. But when I got bumped to a different shift, it was more than I could deal with. It seemed every couple of weeks my schedule was changing. I couldn't work my classes around that! I dropped out once again.

Our union hall started holding satellite classes from the college. The times for the classes were set for right before or after shift times. It was doable. Some were labor relations type courses, but I also took some accounting, government, speech... basic all-around stuff.

Through the years I accumulated a lot of credit hours. I'm a math whiz, so I took a lot of math courses. Psych... I'm there. I love writing, so the English Comps were a breeze. (I'll get back to the Composition classes...) But I was making a good living and the desire to finish my degree shrank a bit. I realized that I had wanted to prove something to my family, and that no longer mattered to me. I still wanted it for myself, but not enough to push me.

Finally, I earned an apprenticeship through GM as a Tool and Die Maker. That required taking further courses from the college. So I aced drafting, machine classes, more math (the easy stuff like geometry & trig).

Life got a little crazy for me through these years, and the desire to graduate faded. I had
accumulated way more than the required credit hours for an Associates Degree, but in what? They don't have a jack-of-all-trades degree. What's that you say? Oh, they do? A.I.S. Associate of Individual Study. Do tell!

Back to the Comp classes... Just like in high school, my instructors were always urging me to enter the writing contests. I never did. I don't know why. Wouldn't that look good on a query? Something that said, 'Hey, she's not bad!" A notch for my belt.

I went online and searched their website, thinking of enrolling in a web-based course. There are a couple of creative writing classes that I hadn't taken. This time I will enter the contests. I need to brush up on some basic stuff too. I realize I have more than a full plate right now, so I'd only do one class per quarter.

That's when I stumbled on the A.I.S. degree...

Even though I have met the requirements I don't know if they'll count all the old credit hours. We're talking about going back decades! Next week I will call. I'm not going to get my hopes up on them accepting the old credits, but you never know...

Alumni. Has a nice ring, doesn't it?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Family of Authors

I was visiting over on MySpace when a video I posted caught my eye... I realized my friends in Blogville didn't know about my daughter's book. I mentioned in an early blog about her being a writer and artist, but I didn't talk about the book! She wrote this delightful children's story titled 'Do Tigers Purr?' several years ago. When I started talking about my book, it brought up her dream of having her children's book published.

I thought it would be nice for her to be able to read her story to the babies at bedtime out of a real book with illustrations; So one day when I was feeling a bit crafty, I decided to make her book into a book! I found some cute pictures on the internet and did my 'own touch' thing to them, added her words, printed them out, made a binding... Well, the result was what you see in the picture. It is probably the best gift I ever gave her, even better than the first car!

When she first pulled it out of the bag, she thought I had found a book with her title! Then it hit her!

Someday soon I hope to have her book published. G#1 Dani is going to do the actual illustrations. (She had better get on the ball!) That will make it a three-generation effort. When you find it in the bookstores, it will not say, 'by Mommy' but by Jen Grams. I'll let you know...

I absolutely love her reaction to the book. Here it is for you to enjoy:

My Essays blog has a link on the sidebar to my MySpace profile. There you will find my older blogs (before I moved to Blogville) and lots of pictures and videos of life on the farm and my family. (You must be my friend on MySpace to view my grands' pics.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another writefully day...

Lots of folks around here still get nervous when the storm clouds roll in.
In my adult life, Xenia has been hit twice by devastating tornadoes.
It is best known for the one that flattened the town in 1974.
Fortunately, there were also many miracles that day.
I was not living here during the 1974 storm.
I did live close enough to know very well.
I was around for the other.
I experienced my first tornado when I was around seven or eight, maybe.
We were camping along the Ohio River.
Boating, skiing.
Mom said a storm was coming.
Go to the shower house and change.
My brothers went their way.
I went mine.
I walked from the bath house toward our campsite.
No fear...
What was happening?
I remember standing with my arms hanging limp,
eyes skyward,
watching the big oaks float up.
The wind was loud.
I was mesmerized.
I woke up from my dream.
I was wet and my head hurt.
My mother was screaming that someone was dead!
Gotta get up.
It's raining.
The tree resting beside me was huge!
I was nestled up under it's curvature.
Safe in it's arms.
My head was warm now.
The storm disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.
Half the camp was untouched.
I still wear the scar.
0 0
A couple of days ago, we had a touch down a few miles south.
As much as I don't wish a tornado to appear,
I'm still drawn to the mixing storm clouds.
I could have stood there and shot all morning,
had the rain not come...
But it did.
So I shall write.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Emerging from Chapter Eleven update

Finally! And I think I escaped the process much better than GM's upcoming adventure. It was a torturous but delightful chapter!

My main character Liz experienced a huge amount of personal growth. She is at a critical turning point in her life that takes her to a whole new dimension. This chapter was tough. I didn't want it to drag on forever, but neither did I want to chop up the transitions that take place.

All modesty aside, I think I ACED it! (applause, applause... patting self on back) I've not gone through any editing yet, but I've just got this gut feeling that it will be a page-turning chapter. So be forewarned: When you buy my book and you've reached Chapter Eleven, check the clock. Don't start it if you don't have time to finish it. And oh yeah, the wrap-up... WHOOO!

I Heart Ohio! (excerpt)

I ventured out into the pollinated world today. Hubby drove me into town to run a couple of quick errands. The last stop was the vet clinic out past the north edge of town to settle yesterday's farm call bill. Since I didn't need to go back into town, we took the back roads home. I love the gently rolling pastures surrounded by horse fence. We pass along a very scenic stream, surrounded by one of those subdivision-in-the-middle-of-nowhere spots. The sloping backyards angle toward the main road. Their landscapes naturally blended with God's design.

Our conversation drifted to a relocated friend's comments last night. She lived about an hour from here and her old area was quite different. Now she is farther away, but in an area similar to the topography we enjoy. She said she never thought Ohio was pretty until she moved there.

No offense to you Floridians out there... Most of my family is in Florida. I will not move. I always cite the sweltering ever-lasting summers and the huge bugs, but truthfully... The thing I dislike most about Florida? It's flat! It's not only flat, the trees are ugly. OK, I know there's not very many trees that rival the huge elderly oaks spread wide and dripping in moss. But those poles with the hula skirts on top? They get old. Cabbage palms coiled in snakes? Look like shrubs, not trees.

So what on earth does this have to do with my book? Keep reading...

The chapter I'm in now has my main character leaving her adopted Florida for a trip north. While driving down that country road, I stated to Hubby, "I've got to mention the flat land and skinny trees!" When I returned home and opened my document, I scrolled to a previous paragraph that would nicely fit the new injection.

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, for your reading pleasure: An Excerpt from 'Unfinished Business'...

When she had first settled in Davie, she adored the tall, bare palm trunks and the see-forever horizon. Now that those things were old hat, she realized the beauty in rolling hills and foliage. The huge oaks dripping with Spanish moss were her favorite. They reminded her of the canopy of leaves along the creek banks where teens could slip away from supervision and explore their new found desires.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Writer's Perfect Storm

Ah, the thunder is off in the distance. Black, gray and white clouds are mixing slowly together above the rocking treetops. The pre-storm shower has brought out the vibrant colors of the landscape. The satellite music channel has lulled me into a conscious slumber, where the rest of the world does not exist. Bach's Prelude and Fugue in G major performed by Hamish Milne has elevated me to a level of creativity I wish I could maintain forever! My book is moving along, but I need a stretch and a moment to blog. My circuits want to bathe in overload! Oh, this must be heaven...