Life in the Last Lane: Writing Until I Exit

I am a “rebloomer” rather than a late bloomer. After the death of my mother last year I not only felt free to publish my memoir, I felt compelled to publish it.

Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog

By: Marilyn L. Davis

Note: While some of you in my generation may reference my title as a parody on the Eagles, “Life in the Fast Lane”, it actually came in a comment from Slug Latimer on Facebook.  I asked permission to use “Life in the Last Lane”, and Slug graciously gifted it to me. Now, if you’re the originator of this phrase, let me know, and I’ll give you credit as well.

“How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?”
― Dr. Seuss

Late to the Party? Doesn’t Matter

time-flies-from-badideaindeed-wordpress-comI’ve only been writing online for about three years, so many could say – who cares what you write about, who are you, what can you offer, or other references since I’m a late arrival.

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How Scribophile Can Help Your Manuscript

Looking for Feedback in All the Wrong Places

I have a beta reader who gives me great feedback on the overall scope, characters, plot and pacing of my manuscript.  But it is always a good idea to get as many different points of view as possible.  So I went on a hunt for more beta readers, particularly those who can give me suggestions on the technical side of writing, such as sentence structure and grammar.

On some of the sites that I checked out, the feedback consisted of ‘good book’ or ‘I liked it’.

Ummm… thanks but that’s a little vague.  Are you just here to read books for free?

I need feedback from writers that are better than me, writers that can teach me things.

Hitting the Motherlode

I found Scribophile at the end of December.  It has helped me connect with some really good writers from all over…

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What’s Bogging Down Your Blog?

Thoughtful and useful information.

Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog

By: Marilyn L. Davis

“Let me just acknowledge that the function of grammar is to make the language as efficient and clear and transparent as possible. But if we’re all constantly correcting each other’s grammar and being really snotty about it, then people stop talking because they start to be petrified that they’re going to make some sort of terrible grammatical error and that’s precisely the opposite of what grammar is supposed to do, which is to facilitate clear communication.” ― John Green

Bogged Down with Words, Punctuation and Images?

First, I don’t like grammar Nazis. I also don’t like labeling people, however, there are individuals who read a post with the sole purpose of finding fault. The type of person I’m displeased with is the one who takes exception to a dangling participle, or is offended by an occasional exclamation point.

But they have valid points.

Maybe because I try…

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3 Simple Ways to Win the Argument With Your Inner Critic

Advice any writer in any genre can benefit from.

A Writer's Path

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by Lauren Sapala

If you’re an artist or a writer—or both—then you know what I’m talking about when I say “inner critic.” It’s not just a way of describing a tendency toward self-judgment. For us, the inner critic is a loud, nasty, disgusting creature who invades our thoughts, whips us mercilessly, and sometimes decides to chain us up in the dungeon.

That might sound extreme, but if you’re an artist or a writer, you know how accurate that description is.

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Memoir: Linear Stories and Writing Outside of the Box

Home from the hospital — more about that when I’m able. Meanwhile here’s valuable info on Memoir writing.

Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog

By: Marilyn L. Davis

“A story has its purpose and its path. It must be told correctly for it to be understood.” ~Marcus Sedgwick

outside the box

We live chronologically. We factor time in  1-2-3 order. We like our ducks in a row. We know the ABC’s, and as such, our brains are programmed to track stories in a linear fashion more easily. However, a linear story can either take our readers on the journey where there’s activity, interest, and lessons along the way, or  turn them into the adult version of a typical five-year-old clamoring, “Are we there yet?!”

After choosing the scope of the memoir, the starting point and the natural conclusion, the next decision any writer has to make is how to get from point A to the end. Too many writers assume that A to B to C is boring, so jazz it up with memories of an earlier…

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Cremation or embalming?

I just returned from Colorado, an eight + hour trip by plane for me, to meet my brother, sister, and aunt from the Phoenix area in Denver, then driving another two hours east into the vast prairie where our ancestors homesteaded, to bury my parents. To bury their ashes, to be exact. Dad died and was cremated in 2004. Mother died last September. A cousin had made a handsome walnut box for their ashes and they were buried in a plot purchased by my grandfather in 1923 where he and my grandmother are buried.

Mother’s instructions were explicit: their ashes were to be mixed together and buried together. After 67 years together it was appropriate. And I do mean together, as farmers, ranchers, and then as minister and wife, it was pretty much 24/7 for 67 years.

We held hands around that small hole in the ground and said our prayers, our goodbyes, and that was it. Of course there had been earlier memorial services with many mourners and memories shared and pot luck dinners to enjoy.

We had not been subjected to choosing expensive coffins with the most comfy satin resting places, guaranteed waterproof, and feeling obligated to “view” the embalmed, plumped, groomed, beautified body, good as new. Nor did friends and relatives feel obligated to spend big $ on flower arrangements to be disposed of somewhere.

But still, carrying out our parent’s wishes cost enough to feed hungry families for weeks in our country or perhaps months in Africa.

Now I understand that some religions frown on “ashes to ashes to ashes, dust to dust” final disposition of the dead. But if they believe the physical body is necessary for resurrection day, what do they think may remain after years or decades in the ground? Even in the most expensive coffins?

My husband Mark and I and my sister have expressed our wishes for our cremated remains to be even more simplified: no tombstone, no specific burial place. Just remember us for who we were.

 

Memoir: Building and Using Tension

After reading articles like this I wonder I’m even bothering! This site has much valuable information about memoir.

Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog

By: Marilyn L. Davis

“Tension has to exist at the level of the language; it has to exist at the level of the story; it has to exist at the level of the intellect; it has to exist at the level of the heart; it has to exist at the level of what we would call the soul, that archetypal tension of inherent dichotomies, the moving forward in life between morality and aesthetics.

When we write, we’re asking our readers to engage in that tension because without tension there is no resolution. And it’s the resolution, at some level, that story relies most upon. Even if it’s at the level of aesthetics or if there’s no plot whatsoever or action, we still have to have the resolution of the tension.” ~ Kim Barnes

tensionIn looking for a publisher, I’m struck by how many are looking for good memoir. However, each…

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