Platformitis

In these days of rampant technology, writers are being advised to build a platform. This platform, according to the experts, should include a blog – written daily, or at least weekly; and Facebook, Twitter, instagram and some other “presences” I don’t recall the names of, posted with even more regularity; as well as speaking on the subjects about which we writers write. (Do you know how long it takes to prepare to speak?)  I believe this platform-building steals the hope of good writing, especially for those who wish to improve their writing over the course of their lives. There are, after all, only twenty-four hours in one writer’s day, and we all do have to get the dishes done or take out the trash.

design desk display eyewear

Interesting that I’m wiritng this in my blog–kind of an oxymoron in progress. No, not really, though, because it serves to clean my brain of a rant. I’ll just add this. When I was writing nonfiction, research was my biggest “distraction.”  Time-consuming, but far less than my current writing life, then I could spend a fraction of my time on platform.

Now that I’m trying my hand at fiction, there are so many skills  to learn, skills that build on each other and require neverending practice.  This polishing of a writer’s writing should take priority over platform building. If it doesn’t, my writing stands a good chance of being lackluster, ill-conceived drivel.

I know, because I have read others’ who I imagine spent the time they could have polished their fiction — you guessed it, building platforms.

So what to do? Publishers want the platforms so that readers will be drawn in. Makes sense. Perhaps they should consider helping  authors create and maintain their platforms. Or maybe agents should assist with that job? Or perhaps the frequency doesn’t need to be daily or weekly. I’m just advocating for putting the most, best time into the writing.

Rant End.

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Brain Tornado

More frequently these days my brain flits from one subject to another so fast I can barely keep up. What’s up with that?  I can be thinking about dusting the living room, when suddenly my brain wants to go to Hawaii. Or maybe I’m deep thinking on the subject of balance and my brain switches to ignorance. That is not to say that I become ignorant, but that I consider the possibility that I really know nothing about anything. I guess that is the definition of ignorance, though, isn’t it. So where am I going with this? Looking for cohorts, I guess.

person holding string lights photo

 

I do begin to feel like there’s a storm forming in my cranium sometimes. And add someone else talking to the mix, and I am whirling, honest. So I wonder, is this because I have learned so much that my brain isn’t sure which thing to pick? Or could it be the beginning of some weird disease? Or is it that I have a lot of interests? Or do I need a shrink?

Maybe it’s the human condition. No, I don’t think so. I didn’t do this until this stage of my life. Wait, what about those times when three kids were all clamoring for my attention at the same time? Yeah, I had forgotten that. Or what about the days I had to study for tests in three classes on the same day. Yeah, there was that. Or what about the images that played in my mind when I waited for Christmas as a child. Holy smoke, I’ve always been like this! How about you?

Grace and Truth

I like the concept of blending grace and truth. Favour you can’t do anything to receive, it just is — and the reality at the bottom of everything. I like it, but I’m not sure I’m very good at it, or maybe I should say I’m not sure I even understand how to keep them both at work. I think I may lean hard toward grace, and let truth go begging. That’s probably because I shrink back from assuming I know the truth sometimes, and I shrink back from the possibility of it hurting someone’s feelings other times.

girl and woman sitting on brown rock

Photo by Nicholas Githiri on Pexels.com

Sooo, I also suspect that my novels may be developing a pattern of exploring concepts I’m not quite sure about when I start them. The last one played around with fear. Whew! That sounded like an oxymoron if I ever heard one. The next one is going to dabble in grace and truth.

Now, if you’ve read this far, I’d like to ask a favor. What do you think about grace and truth? Do you have insights or experiences that have clarified the whole thing for you? If so, please share them in the comments.  I’d love to hear them, and thank you very much.

Shiloh’s First!

I forgot to take pics, so I’ll just show you Shiloh by the pool. Today she did her first therapy dog visi20170507_074325t at the pharmacy school at UOP in Stockton. She joined two golden retrievers from Paws4 Friends/Alliance of Therapy Dogs. She was super excited at first, but settled down fast. The students loved her. A truck was on fire on 99, and made us a half hour late. Things were noisy, which she’s not used to, so I was proud she kept her cool.  It was 100 degrees outside, so we hot-footed it through the parking lot. Everyone who pets her notices her velvet ears. They are therapy all by themselves. They gave her treats and a toy penguin to thank her for coming.

Last week we had to put Cozy, our poodle/yorkie cross down. She had a good run, but Shiloh misses her, so I was glad to offer her a distraction. Last week Shiloh also broke into the chicken pen in over 100 degree heat. I was able to cool her down, thank goodness. Dogs aren’t going to stop, even when they can hardly breathe anymore. That gate  you see in the backgroundof her pic didn’t keep that smart red lab out. So Bake and I reworked it, and so far it’s holding. I really love this dog, and my allergic husband is a prince to let me have her.

 

Planning

I love planning things–trips, parties, what I’m going to say. The other day, I said to Bake (my hubs) that I hope I don’t die suddenly, because I’d rather have a chance to plan it well. OK, you get the picture.

red roses close up photography

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

So — our 50th anniversary is coming up in January. Let me digress momentarily. That fact is a miracle all on its own. I’m from a divorced couple, Bake grew up with beatings that kept him from going to school some days–broken folks. I never expected, ever, to make it past our 14th year, but God. So, here we are, anticipating our Golden Wedding Anniversary.

The kids did us a bang up party for our 40th, so I’m thinking I can plan this one. Hipdewoops. We’re going to dance. And dance some more, to songs that put the lyrics to our life. We’re going to renew our vows. (Over that I am sweating blood because Bake can say some of the sweetest things to me, and I so want to do the same for him.) And we’re going to eat cake, and toast every good thing we can think of in life and marriage. People we love have already agreed to help us put this shindig together and now I am purusing (incredibly expensive) invitations.

Back in the day, 1969 to be exact, I planned my wedding on a shoestring. Bake was headed for Vietnam, so we had two weeks to get ready. I used the leftover of what my dad had paid for my dorm room to fund the wedding, since we would be moving into our $75 a month apartment, the second floor of these old people’s house (criminy, they must have been about our age now). Their only stipulation was that we take our shoes off when we came in at night.

Back then, we had a dorm friend who agreed to take photos. Tuesday, my buddy Leslee, graphic artist turned prize-winning photographer, will take our anniversary photo.

My mom made my dress, knee length. The dress I wear to our 50th will be floor length. I made my cake. Our pastor’s wife, Heather, is going to make us a cake on the theme of a rose garden, and it will be a doozy because she’s talented beyond belief.

At our wedding, sisters who sang well rendered One Hand One Heart. At our 50th party, my buddy of years will sing a beautiful song about soul mates, and her voice is honey.

My grandmother played the piano at our wedding, and my dad flipped the lights off because he thought candlelight would be nice. Good thing my grandmother could play by ear. At our 50th, there’ll be a sound guy.

Bake’s dad, pastor and heroic POW, officated at our wedding. He’s gone on to live with Jesus. Our pastor, Jim, who explains the Gospel better than anyone in the world, will introduce our vows at our 50th.

There were no written invitations to our wedding. The guy who ran the dorm cafeteria stood on a chair and invited everyone, and the little mission where I first understood the Gospel overflowed with folks. They were even looking in the windows on a snowy day. There may be no invitations to our 50th if I don’t find some that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

We decorated my wedding with pine trees, silk ribbon and a set of candlelabras. My family lived in the Sierras then. My bff, Georgia, who can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, will head the decorating team for our 50th.

The love Bake and I shared back in the day has blossomed and deepened, and I sure didn’t plan that. But I’m glad God did.