Friday, June 1, 2012

From Ordinary To Extraordinary


Yesterday I woke up suddenly and instinctively bolted out of the bed howling like a demented banshee. I hobbled around the bedroom with arms flapping, wanting to put weight on my leg but unable to. I was in agony due to a God awful painful cramp. The muscle in my calf visibly contorted. After what seemed like forever the cramp began to ease and I was finally able to put weight on the leg. After very little debate I crawled back into bed, feeling very sorry for myself. I needed rest after my ordeal. When my head finally cleared of the pain fog, ‘Voice’ chimed up and informed me I was once again wasting good writing time. Disgruntled with‘Voice’ I fought the urge to hide from the day and dragged myself out of the bed and limped to my laptop. I managed to get 400 new words onto the page before breakfast. The abrupt manner of waking, was made more palatable by this accomplishment though my calf muscle was still tender and achy.

Why am I telling you this? Well my usual mindset to a day starting in this manner is, ‘batten the hatches’ and hide. This day despite the harrowing beginnings surprised me. It was a day sprinkled with unexpected compliments.

With the ache in my leg  easing and the manner of my wake up call becoming a distant memory, I enjoyed the walk to work. Listening to the birdsong, noting how there was still a slight chill in the air, yet feeling the heat in the sun and taking note of the natural beauty surrounding me. Maybe the day would prove more promising than first expected.

As I headed towards my office one of the custodians greeted me with  a cheery good morning. 'Mr. C' continued with, “Look at you. Always so nicely dressed. You are the best turned out woman in this building. Our very own fashioneasta.” My attempt to suppress a big grin from spreading across my face failed. I know, but I couldn’t help it. “Thank you Mr. C. You're very kind.” I relied beaming.

I have been never been referred to or thought of myself as a fashioneasta. I floated down the hall towards my office as if carried on a cloud. Needless to say the cramp was totally and completely forgotten.

My son’s car has taken ill, so he is using mine at the moment. At the end of my working day he collected me as I needed to make a quick trip to the shop. He stayed in the car while I did my few messages. As I waited for him to pull around in the car park, I was distracted by a man's voice. “A woman dressed like a woman. Thank you." he said. I looked around in a nosey parker sort of way to see who he was addressing. He pushed his trolley past me, turned his head in my direction and said, “Thank you for that, you’ve brightened my day.” I couldn't believe it, he was referring to me. For the second time in one day I beamed.

What was I wearing I hear you ask. Well that’s the thing, nothing special, a dress and cardigan. What I find amazing is how easily an ordinary day was transformed into an extraordinary day.

My calf muscle is all sore and achy again this morning. Correct….woken by another one of those God awful leg cramps. Yes, I still howled like a banshee, but when the howling turned to a whimper, instead of crawling back into the bed to hide, I delighted in the prospect of new day. Because today I plan to sprinkle a few beams and hopefully turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary day for a stranger or two.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012



Daffodils sway,

dance in the breeze

jaunty flowers

butter yellow

cheery flowers

gold of the sun


enticing smiles

banishing winter blues

from the weary soul.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Sheen To Die For!

“The hair is the richest ornament of women”

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

My Grandmother used to say if your hair is not well groomed, nothing will look good on you. Experience has taught me the truth in this. There have been times I adorned an outfit that looked wonderful on the hanger and yet if the hair was not behaving, the mirror image looking back at me left much to desired. The outfit that made even a hanger look good did very little to enhance my reflection. These occasions are commonly referred to as, 'A Bad Hair Day.'

After an exhausting day I sat in front of the telly in zombie mode and aimlessly flicked through channels. I paused for a moment curious to discover the name of the product promising me healthy, silky smooth hair, with a sheen to die for. A sheen the likes my hair hasn’t known for many a year. All I had to do was call the number on the screen….money back guaranteed if I don’t get the results promised. If I called within the next minute I would get not  $10, not  $20 but $30 off the already reduced price. But wait, call right this minute and not only would I get this great offer but they would throw in free shipping and two free gifts.
They had me!

I picked up the telephone and dialed the number flashing on the screen. Voice in head said, “You are an all-time eejit!” Voice in head was getting on my nerves. So, I told Voice, “Listen I will be put on hold and while I wait listening to a computerized Voice informing me, Please hold all our agents are busy. Your call will be answered in the order it was received. I might very well change my mind and hang up.”

That is not the way things transpired. Oh No! My call was answered on the second ring. I was shocked into a moment’s speechlessness. No computerized voice, just Shirley. Shirley asked me my name. She didn’t quite understand my accent, so I had to spell it for her, A….N…..N. I was slightly distracted because both Shirley and Voice were talking at the same time. Well Voice was actually laughing! I decided to go ahead with the order in spite of Voice. After all it was not like I was signing my life away. I can cancel the order at any time.

I have never ordered anything from the telly before. I felt a twinge of embarrassment even though I was alone in the house that is if you don’t count laughing Voice. The procedure I discovered is not quite as straightforward as, Yes, I want to try the magic hair stuff with free shipping and two free gifts. Oh No! That would be too easy. Shirley toted another magically product to die for, available at the incredible once in a lifetime low of  $5 and would I like to add this little bit of magic to my order? No, I responded politely. Shirley obviously didn’t hear me say, 'No, thank you very much,' because she repeated the incredible offer. With my second negative response Shirley decided I might like to try a course of special vitamins. Voice tittered. 'No thank you Shirley.' Shirley proceeded to expound on the virtues of healthy inside, healthy outside. 'No thank you Shirley. I am only interested in purchasing the sheen to die for hair product.' Finally Shirley accepted the fact I had no intention of being reeled in by the bait she was dangling and we parted ways.

 “See,” I told Voice, “Not such an eejit after all.” I am not sure, but I thought I heard a sniggering hurumph.

Mary at Waibels World very graciously bestowed the Liebster Blog Award on Inkpots n' Quills.  Thank you Mary. Stop by Waibels World and enjoy!  I will pass on the Liebster Blog Award shortly.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

So I ask you what writer is not insecure. At this moment in time I am suffering from major insecurities. These past two months have seen go from raring to write to languishing in dread, wondering if I will ever write again.

Forget the politicians. I am the personified definition of flip-flopper. Ann/flip-flopper, flip-flopper/Ann. Why because I go from writing like the cloppers to dead in the waters of the wordless abyss.

At present I am working on a story (WIP). I have found 17,000 WIP words so far. I took a short break from my story(WIP) to write a short story of 2,000 words for a competition. I was in my writing like the cloppers phase. Short story was written and edited. Two wonderful blogging friends, Theresa Milstein and Nicole Zoltack,  kindly agreed to critique my little story. Pleased with the results I posted it off. It now fends for itself in the world of Short Story judgment.

I felt empowered and decided to write another short story with a picture prompt. Filled with excitement I felt this one was going to be wonderful. But alas, the tidal waters of the abyss started to edge its way in my direction. I had a premise of where I wanted the story to go, but was unable to pull it together. Ideas bobbed up and down in the tidal waves of the abyss, never quite catching their breath. In the end I had to concede this one was dead in the water. I changed gear and returned to WIP.

I ordered a book on Amazon awhile back on the recommendations of fellow bloggers and Writers Support 4U members. “Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass. I am finding the book very interesting. I hope to discover what is required for a breakout novel and apply that to my WIP.

Last night while reading,"Writing the Breakout Novel" I found myself wondering if I had it in me. With each page I turned I questioned my ability to tell a story anyone would care to read, to grab a reader and hold them within the grips of my written page. To actually write something someone couldn’t put down, the coveted page turner.

The book keeps telling me that first time writers/novels are usually not up to the task. You really have to have something special and most first timers don’t have it. Voice in head said, “I told you so!” Voice went on to remind me of unsuccessful short story. I sighed, closed the book and wondered why do I do this to myself. Why was I allowing this book to give Voice credence, allowing Voice to use book to undermine my already fragile confidence. I toyed with the idea of banishing book to the bookcase or maybe hurl it under the bed. But then I wouldn’t find out what Donald Maass, literary agent looks for in a manuscript. And more importantly the pitfalls of the first timer. So book will be read and finished. Voice will be ignored (hopefully)and who knows, an idea just might surface from beneath the waves for the picture prompt. I live in hope.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Brilliance Captured!

Three weeks ago, February 5 to be exact I came upon a Facebook post about Aqua Notes. I know this because posts are dated on Facebook. Talking about Facebook, what about that new timeline format. I don’t know about you, but I hate it! I keep putting off changing over. If I ignore it, maybe it will just go away. But I digress and need to rein in my meandering thoughts. As I was saying on February 5, my Facebook friend Michelle McLean posted about Aqua Notes. She said she had gotten them as a Christmas present and they were great. When I saw them and read, “No more great ideas down the drain!” I knew I had to get my hands on one of these nifty note pads.

I was always having my most brilliant wordy ideas in the bath and shower. It’s were genius never fails to strike and I rarely have pen and paper at hand. I did attempt to capture these golden thoughts a few times, but the paper always ended up too soggy and the pen wouldn’t write over the water spattered page.

Imagine my excitement when I read Michelle McLean’s post. I just knew I had to have one of those notepads. Michelle directed me to Amazon…where else? It seems you can get anything imaginable on Amazon. I excitedly placed my order for not one but two Aqua Notes. On February 14 the box containing my Aqua Notes arrived. Oh the excitement! I ripped that box open, ran upstairs and positioned my note pads re instructions, one in the shower and one on the side of the bath. I was ready. Those brilliant ideas would be captured and I was on my way to being sought after by every agent and publisher this side of the North Pole. I couldn’t wait to take my first bath.

Well nothing came to mind on that first bath. Never mind I comforted myself, there is always tomorrow morning’s shower. Alas, no brilliance then either. For the next 15 days I stared at the unused Aqua Notepad in frustration.

Last night I decided to ignore the Aqua pad. I put on my music, closed my eyes and let my mind drift. And guess what? Words started to pop. Words then formed into sentences. I was thrilled when they began to sway and flow with the tempo of the music. I revelled in them. “At last,” I sighed, ”but will I remember them?” Exasperated voice in back of head roared, ”Write them down on your friggin notepad you eejit!” My eyes shot open with the fright of voice’s roar. I thanked voice for the reminder, though I bristled slightly at the name calling. I seized the moment, grabbed the Aqua Notes pencil and scribbled down the brilliance that was searing through me. Finally I captured some of those dazzling ideas and inspired word formations.
It was worth the wait!

Michelle pens two blogs:
Michelle McLean
Operation Awesome
Drop by and say Hi!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Writer? Moi?

Once upon a time a long, long time ago, in a land far, far away lived a girl who spent her time dreaming up stories of fairies and magic and mystical lands.  Words flowed from her pen, committing them to one page after another.  That is when she knew she wanted to be a "Writer.".

Then one Christmas Santa Claus gave her a red and cream typewriter, with it's own case.  She could bring it everywhere she went and she did. Now she pounded keys to form the words that shaped her stories.  The tales no longer only existed in her head and her dreams.  But dare she call herself "A Writer."No, she daren't.

So she had to look twice when reading the new blog  Real Women, Real Stories  created by fellow blogger Len Lambert to see her name listed on the Our Writers page.  What a surprise!  Someone actually graced her with that lifelong coveted title.  So let me tell you......she was walking around with a big silly grin on her face until a thought crept into her consciousness and struck terror in her. What if she doesn't live up to the title her friend Len so graciously bestowed on her? What if the words she commits to paper are just plain yawn inducing?   So what do you think she decided to do?  She decided not to think about it and delight in the thrill of being called "Writer."

What is Real Women, Real Stories?  It began as "an idea by Michelle Alba Lim to gather stories from women in her circle, ones she had met over the years and that she admires. But after a year, the plan evolved into gathering stories from women worldwide, with uplifting and inspiring stories that we can share to the world by turning them into a book.

Most importantly, a percentage of the proceeds will go to:
International League Against Epilepsy.

We are looking for more stories before the first draft is submitted to the editor. Please hurry and submit your story. Once we've reached 21 stories, we will inform you if you've made it or not. Don't despair if you haven't made it. There are plans for a Book 2, depending of course to the number of submissions to complete another book project. In the meantime, please help us make this book project a success!"

Stop by have a gander, join the group.  I am going to head over there again for at least the 100th time tonight and gaze at my name under the page heading of "Our Writers." 

Still grinning!!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Write On to Build On

I am back tapping at the keys, adding more words to my WIP.  The one I was working on before I threw all my energy into my family cookbook, 'The Food We Were Raised On'. (shameless plug, check it out) 

For the past few weeks I dithered....not a word or idea could be found floating around in the head.  Then I took the bull by the horns and joined this group.  And !VOILA!  Words....why...because I am accountable.  Accountable every single day.  I log into the group and tell my fellow Write On to Build On partners exactly how many words I have managed to tap out on my keyboard each and every day. This is just what I need.....I need to be accountable.  I finished the cookbook because I had a deadline.  I am now feeling quite confident about finishing my WIP. An added bonus is the amazing support and encouragement of each member.  I am making a point of following the group mantra:

"This group was founded on 01/10/2012 to motivate us to write. Any day we don't write, we'll owe $1 to the charity Build On. We can check our totals every three months to see how we've done and make our donation. Besides posting we  keep a personal account of the days we don't write. Writing a rough draft or editing counts, as does working on short stories, vignettes, and flash fiction. We post and make a comment thread of our daily progress at the end of each day. "

This wonderful idea is the brain child of Theresa Milstein of


Fellow coordinator Lydia King of The Word is My Oyster

Our charity can be found at:

Since joining this group I owe $1.00 to Build On but I have also added a whopping 1984 words to my current and ongoing WIP! WOW thanks Theresa and Lydia... you are STARS in my book...well not actually in my book..........
  You know what I mean!