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Inspiration in the Check Out Line…really?

Back in 2015 I wrote this post. It’s been getting some ‘clicks’ lately from visitors so I thought I would reprise it. When something or someone inspires you, grab hold and don’t let go?   

inspiration, writing, story telling, blogging, blogs, short stories,, short plays, life     The other day I was standing in line at the grocery store, minding my own business…preoccupied that I was leaving my dogs in the car too long….when I suddenly became aware of the man in front of me being checked out.  I had picked that line because it appeared that he only had maybe six items, (boxes of something) and I was eager to get checked out.  (the dogs…remember?)

Well, it turned out that in front of the ‘boxes’, and out of my line of sight, were two dozen very tiny cans of dog food.  It seems that you can buy three tablespoons of dog food in individual cans for your darling pet.  Two bags of doggy treats and then we were ready to ring up the boxes.

Those six boxes were actually fifteen (yes I counted every one of them; the dogs in the car, remember) boxes of Healthy Choice ‘nutritious, packaged dinners; microwavable, ready to eat  in just twelve minutes’. Fifteen boxes of over-processed, heavily salted, flavor enhanced, empty food.  The nutritional value in the dog food was probably better. I wanted so badly to take my bag of fresh spinach out of my cart and give it to him with my best wishes. But, wait, he wouldn’t know how to steam the spinach or for how long.

Well!  That made me take a closer look at the customer.  And by the time he paid ($86.13 for the dog food and the TV dinners, OMG!) I had half of a short, one act play written in my head.   

The man in my story is a newly widowed senior who was married for forty years and never cooked a meal in his life. 

He goes home with his sad little boxes of food.  He puts his delicious, processed dinners in the freezer to be enjoyed later in front of his fifty-two inch high definition television.  DogSpeaking baby talk he rips open the doggy treats and gives his overweight  shiatsu a goody.

If this sounds as if I am making fun…..no, no, no…it’s written with love as this is the typical existence of the widowed male.  A snapshot of life that gave me a great little story. And  the lesson to be learned, fellow writers, is to keep your eyes and ears open.  You never know when inspiration will strike!
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   May: Boo Walker, June: Anne D. LeClaire and July — Catherine Ryan Hyde
 
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Join My Blog for the Latest in Books, Writing Tips….

It’s easy. Use this link  http://www.writeratplay.com/ to sign up for my See the box on the right hand side? 

You’ll receive (in an email) weekly posts with the latest book reviews, tips about creative writing, and once a month an in-depth Interview with a best selling author or a new, upcoming writer.  Generous folks, famous and not so much (yet) have given of their time to answer my probing questions about their writing process. Fun and interesting candid photos, of the author, are sprinkled throughout the interview. 

Sometimes a post about something I thought was interesting…..But, ALWAYS to do with books, authors, writing, words, and live theatre.

My best selling post (over the past six years) has been my free tips about ‘How To Write a Play’. Thousands of people have Googled this phrase and come to my website to begin to learn this craft.

When I’m not busy with my blog, I am writing….every day. I practice what I preach! 
Short plays for the classroom, general fiction, children’s plays and fairy tales,  poetry and a true crime mystery series. Diversity is the
spice of life!  
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   December:  Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)  January: Molly Gloss.  February: Rick Lenz. March: Patrick Canning and April: Poet, Joe Albanese

 

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One Candle Can Light Another…

   Happy anniversary, ‘A Writer’s Take’ Blog.  Six+ years of trying  (hopefully) to find relevant and interesting topics (motivation, poetry, interviews, reviews, books, how to write a play).  And then  writing about them. I can’t believe I have found this much to write about.  

Once or twice a week without fail!  When I looked back to 2012, my first blog surprised me ….it was about lighting someone else’s candle. 

I recently received this critique/note from a fellow author and fan. 

“Trisha! Thank you for including me on your blog. It is one of the nicest I’ve ever been on. Often, a blog is laid out clunky or the pics don’t go with the interview. This is top notch. I have the Wolfe Pack sharing it on FB and am proud to sent it out to my readers. Great job on a great site.    What a personal piece. I don’t think I’ve every had anyone go to this length to show my writing and my life as a writer like you have. Thank you so much, Trisha!!  Manning Wolfe

We writers can all agree that writing is a lonely job. A comment once in a while keeps me going, helps me to write that next post. Manning reached out and
lit my candle. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                                Looking Back:  One Candle Can Light Another…My first post May 6, 2012.

‘ A good friend called me the other day; He was reading my book of poetry, Butterflies and Bullets. He’s a very accomplished pianist and songwriter. He went on to say that while reading my work he kept hearing music in his head. And could I give him permission to use my poetry for lyrics. What a compliment! He said he was especially taken with, “Hair-cut…Two Bits”, about a down-and-out cellist, gambler and barber in New Orleans.’

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  June: Manning Wolfe. July E.K. Ecke. August: Susan Mallery. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)

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Curiosity Killed the Cat? The real Story!

Curosity.BookCoverPreview.do      Oddly, (I think) many searches/views on my web site contain  the phrase, ‘curiosity killed the cat’.  I thought it would be fun to tell my visitors where this story actually came from. (Part of my collection of 10 minute plays for the classroom)

By now you  know that I write frequently based on family stories….true ones.

This (short play) comedy is true which just goes to show, once again, that ‘truth is stranger than fiction’.

My auntie Ivah had been grubbing all day in the garden of her brick mansion in the Laurelhurst district in Seattle.  While she could afford a gardener or two, she was an avid gardener herself and could be found there, bare foot, in shorts and a sun hat every fair day.  Ivah wore shorts whenever she could because she had ‘Betty Grable legs’  (An actress circa 1940’s-1950’s whose legs were insured for a million dollars) and Ivah was quite vain about hers. She was eager to show them off at every opportunity…even if it was just to her flowers abounding in her gardens.

Around dinner time her husband, Arthur (an attorney) arrived home and announced that he had a client stopping by to sign some documents on his way to the airport.  Ivah, dirty and smelly from the garden said she’d hide in the kitchen, putting final touches on dinner, until the client was gone.  more »

What’s in your St. Valentine’s Day Box?

writers, interviews, valentine day, authors,                  My St. Valentine’s Day box is full of authors willing to take time out and be interviewed!    This month, we digress a little with a charming interview with a book narrator.   Audio-books are all the rage now, what with our busy lives,  and professional actor/voice over artist, Tavia Gilbert will let us into her world.  March’s guest author will be Susie Drougas whose modern day mysteries takes us into the wilds of Washington, atop a horse.

Three years ago I began interviewing best selling authors and to my ever-lasting gratitude, they accepted!   Dean Koontz, Sue Grafton, Patrick Taylor, Sheryl Woods, Mark Childress have all graced the pages of my blog!

It doesn’t really surprise me that the authors are relating similar experiences that I have had in my writing life. Characters taking the story in a whole different and unexpected direction.

Dean Koontz: “…if I give characters free will, if I don’t plot out the story and instead present them with a problem and watch them deal with it, they begin to take on a life of their own, frequently surprising me with the choices they make. This is mysterious and exciting.” more »

Your Child’s Next Book!

Thomas the sea turtle isn't certain he approves of BertieExcerpt from “Bertie, the Bookworm and the Bully Boys  (c)  A very large, beautiful sea turtle came down the path.  He wore a bright red kerchief tied at his neck and a captain’s cap on his head.

“A-hoy there, mates. ‘ Tis a fair wind at my back that blew me to my home port.”
Donald and Emma rushed forward and hugged Thomas almost knocking him over.
“Steady as she goes, mates. You’re about to knock me off me’ pins.” Thomas laughed.
“Oh, Thomas, we are so happy that you are home.” Emma cried.
“How was your voyage?” Donald asked.
“Rough seas around Cape Horn but that’s the way the ’horn’ is.  We came back with a hold full of spices and teas from the Orient. I have to tell you that I miss the constellations in the southern hemisphere. But, all in all it’s good to be at anchor and  to see my friends again.”
“We could have a reading circle about the stars in other hemispheres.” Bertie said.
“Oh!  Excuse me, Bertie, for not including you.  Do you know our friend, Thomas the sea turtle?”
“I can’t say as I’ve had the pleasure, Emma.”
“Thomas, this is our dear friend and teacher, Bertie, the bookworm.” Donald said.
“Well, blow us over and wet me sails.”
Thomas looked Bertie over. “You’re an old one, ain’t ya?”  Thomas declared.
“I’ve lived some years, it’s true,” Bertie replied.
“Thomas! I know you didn’t mean that as rudely as it sounded.
Bertie is a respected elder of the forest. He teaches all of us how to read and spell better.
He introduces us to many new words. It’s very exciting.” Emma scolded.
“No harm done, Emma. I know that Mr. Thomas didn’t mean anything by that. It’s true, I am old.”
“It’s Captain Thomas, if you don’t mind.” Thomas told him.
“Sorry, of course, Captain Thomas.” Bertie smiled.
Thomas turned to Emma. “So, Emma, what brings you so far? You’ve set your sails a far league from your home port.”
“Slam and his gang took Bertie’s eye glasses more »

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

image of 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer PosterCompliments of Brian Clark, CEO of Copyblogger

This is so true!  I bang out stuff that never sees the light of day.   I vent on a new post that I never publish.  I keep post-it note pads everywhere in the house so that if I get an idea (some good, some not so much) I can jot it down.  My most valuable post-it note pad is by my bedside because frequently I write in my head in a dream-like state and too lazy to turn on the light, grab paper and pen, I say to myself, ‘oh, I’ll remember this when I wake up’ I never do and IT IS GONE FOREVER!

In the middle of the night I ‘dreamed’ a single line for a poem I was working on…..“an overachiever  dips into the nectar….” and yes, I turned on the light and wrote it down.  When I awoke in the morning the only thing I remembered was that I had a terrific line for my poetry but had no idea what it was.  Fortunately there it was by my bedside.

“Write When You Don’t”….I tend to marinate.  more »

Inspiration…Wherever You Can Get It!

poetry, writing, inspiration, writer, native american, superstition, talisman, totems,                   I was sitting, in my car, on a freeway, (some might say a parking lot), stuck in traffic, not moving.  To while away the time I was reading the bumper stickers and signs in the back windows of other automobiles.  Wondering if I’d ever get home, it suddenly struck me; the parallel between totems, talismans, and these stickers, magnets, paste-ons that modern man posts on his steel steed to declare his beliefs.

Here is an excerpt of the poetry that was born while impatiently sitting in traffic.  Grabbing scraps of paper from the floorboards, writing on a restaurant napkin, old receipt, the back of a grocery list… lest I forget my words~~~~

Totem and Talisman  ©

Totem. Storyteller of the tribe’s history and lore,
felled and carved in reverence, from the tree centuries old  sculpted in living wood;
a face, a fish, a spirit, a bear, the sun, the moon

Totems live on as statuary in the garden;  a wooden rooster tops the mail box.
A mural brushed upon a barn wall; the flag of a beloved country, the star of a lone state.

The Nations painted their sturdy, brave little horses before battle…
a circle of paint about the eye for truer vision, hand prints on shoulder
and flank to ward off the spear

Today’s tribes paint their vehicles with bumper stickers, magnetic ribbons,
and window decals. All proclaiming some truth, totems to tell other tribes what they believe.

Support this, hate that, down with this, up with that.  Proud to be a redneck,
a woman, a boater, a christian, a Viet Nam vet, proud to be a farmer,
a republican, a parent, a fisherman.  Prouder still to be a soldier,
a grandpa, a boy scout, a sailor, a golfer, an Irishman, a lover of guns.’ ©

Keep yourself open to inspiration…eyes, ears, brain and heart.  You will be inspired by strange and wonderful things and you will write strange and wonderful things. You will leave totems for following generations to read.

To read more of my poetry……..click here
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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!       Julia London in October and Matt Jorgenson later this winter. Coming in December!  My review of a new release by Dean Koontz, Ashley Bell.

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FREE Audio Book: “Bertie the Bookworm and the Bully Boys”

fairies, books for children, literacy, reading, bullying, bullies, elves,

A story book with full color illustrations

FREE!!  Have you got a child, grandchild or great grandchild under the age of ten??  FREE audio-book of “Bertie the Bookworm and the Bully Boys”  (Five lucky winners and One per family)

And I would like to share this with you…..first come, first serve.  Sign up for my blog and leave a comment on my site Code: ‘Bookworm’. and I will send you the code and the instructions on how to get your copy.

Listen to Sample of the book by clicking here

Bertie, the bookworm is the fabled forest’s elder and teacher. Every week he has a spelling and reading circle where everyone is welcomed. Slam, the badger and his gang of bully boys are forever teasing, disrupting, and bullying Bertie and the group of faeries and woodland creatures.
more »

Nostalgia…through the wringer

Laundry (Small) Wash day  I just put a load of laundry in to my 21st century machine that wants to know my every wish for the perfect wash.  What temperature do I want? hot? cold? energy saver? Or perhaps cool?  One rinse or two? How long do I want to wash my semi-dirty clothes?  Do I want to wash them gently or harshly?

As I loaded my machine, one sweater would not sink into the energy-saving, cool, one rinse, water and for a second I looked around my (oh so very pleasant), laundry room for my ‘stick’.  Do you remember the stick your mother used to push down the clothes into the wringer washing machine?  Made of wood and  squeaky clean the stick was used only for that purpose;  pushing down clothes into the water and Tide detergent. I think ours was the old handle from a toilet plunger.  And, in the case of my mother, hell would rain down if you borrowed that stick for any other purpose. more »