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Showing posts from February, 2017

The Mystique of a Good Critique

I belong to a critique group of nine writers, some of us are published authors and some of us would like to be, but we all bring to the group different degrees of expertise.  Some of us have a good sense of story, some of us have a good eye for mechanics and grammar, some of us have a good command of human dynamics.  We have been together for several years, so we keep each other focused on critiques of our work and not on criticisms.  If that should happen, we delve deeper into what caused the emotion.  Only then can we offer suggestions to the writer.  
“This chapter went nowhere.”
“Your lack of commas confused me.”
“I didn’t like the character.”
A criticism is a judgment, a disapproval, based on an emotion.  Stated in such a vague or negative manner, it comes across as a personal attack of the writer instead of focusing on what the person has written.  It faults the person and zooms in on flaws and weaknesses.  It condemns what is lacking on the page and it is a painful censure of the…

The Nine

Down the gravel road away from my house, they take their chatter, laughter, and energy. There is a food stain on my new table cloth, dirt on the carpet.  The sofa sectionals are askew, and a blue ball hides under a chair. Half-full water bottles sit abandoned throughout my house. Someone ate the leftover rolls.  The roast is gone, so is the mac and cheese, but there will be lots of salad for Grandpa HoneyBunch and my dinner tomorrow. My grandchildren came to visit and they brought their parents with them. My two sons, my daughter, and their spouses are their chauffeurs and they generously include us in the upbringing of The Nine. The quiet is deafening.  The house sighs.  I need a nap, but first I sit and smile, remembering the day and missing them already.  Watching The Nine grow reminds me of how quickly time escapes through our fingers.  It brings back memories of when my children, their parents, were little and their chatter, laughter, and energy filled my days. The memories are s…

Why Get Married?

The headline said she was divorcing her husband because he voted for Trump.  Another said a woman shot her husband over a taco.  Some have tried to divorce their spouses before claiming their lottery tickets, but that never works.  The ex always finds out and sues and still gets his or her share of the dough.           The truth is they married for the wrong reasons. They are divorcing because of them.           Why get married, especially in this permissive day and age when no one raises an eyebrow if you don’t?           I married HoneyBunch because I wanted to live with him, day in and day out. I wanted to sleep with him in the same bed and wake up with him the next morning.           I married HB because I liked him and cared for him and I wanted to be around him, holding his hand, kissing him, and making his life easier for him. If he was sick, I wanted to warm him a can of soup and offer him medicines.  When he was well, I wanted to laugh at his corny jokes and shake my head at hi…

Loose Lips

The politician’s wife walked next to her husband.  My eyes were drawn to her blue outfit.            “She’s lost weight since the convention.”  I look over at my husband and his eyebrows acknowledge my statement.           It is inauguration day and we are watching a TV station that limits its commentary and editorializing. It lets its viewers think for themselves. I press the remote and it instantly transfers to another TV station.  A tiny man perched on a stool sits center stage.  He peers at a paper clutched in his hand and reads a comment “someone else” has said about the woman in blue.  It is mean and derogatory, but the commentator is blameless.  He is only repeating what “someone else” has said. I switch back to the station without the snide remarks and look at the politician’s wife.  Word has reached her long before the little man voiced them on national TV.  It is evident she has lost weight and changed her hair style and wardrobe in the last few months, but no one …