When Does a Quote Become a Quote?

I have always found ‘quotes’ confusing. Obviously, many are pithy sayings attributed  to famous people. Many of them died years ago. (The people, that is; not the pithy sayings). Before they left this world, did they make sure to let their loved ones know that whatever they said during their lifetime could be used by millions of people as ‘quotes’?

Is there a copyright on quotes? Or, can we steal quotes and say we invented them? What if we repeated a quote but had never heard it before? Would we still be guilty of theft?

There are so many unanswered questions.

What about quotes that do have the author’s name attached? One that I am including in this blog was apparently created by a Robert Brault. There are over 30 Robert Braults on Linkedin alone. Will the real Robert Brault who does quotes please stand up? Perhaps the author of this quote passed away many years ago. No one will really know then, will they? And let’s face it; it would have to be quite an amazing quote if attention were drawn to it.

Have you noticed that after some quotes, it says ‘author unknown’? I always wonder the reasoning behind that. Why not just leave it blank? Who decided to start passing it around as a quote anyway?

As you can see, I have more questions than answers. I also have some quotes:

Kindness is in our power even when fondness is not. ~Henry James~ (I think this means we can be nice to people we really don’t like. Sharon Mierke. That’s my quote.)

 Compassion is language the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~Mark Twain~ (Have to admit Mark Twain has come out with some doozies!)

Carry a heart that never hates, a smile that never fades and a touch that never hurts. (no credit given to anyone. I wonder if I said that one time and someone decided to use it?)

 Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up. (no author)

A good character is the best tombstone. (No idea who was the first to say this, but I like it!)

It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice. (No one even wants to admit this is his or her’s.)

It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. (I assume written about an inmate.)

I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble~ Rudyard Kipling

  Never miss an opportunity to make others happy,even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it. (I actually  like this one and would love to meet the author.)

There is one word which may serve as a rule for all one’s life — reciprocity~Confucius~ (Well, that was a no-brainer; only Confucius would think that!)

Don’t wait for people to be friendly, show them how~Henry James~ (When did Henry say that, and why?)

 The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway~Henry Boyle~ (Very profound, Mr. Boyle)

When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people~Abraham Heschel~ (How wonderful to meet a cleverly kind person … or should it be a kindly clever person?)

Know, it is better to be generous for it gains us gratitude~Mark Twain~

 Be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, tolerant of the weak, because someday in your life you will be all of these. ~George Washington Carver~

 You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you~John Wooden~

 If those who owe us nothing gave us nothing, how poor we would be~Antonio Porchia~ (Now there’s a deep thinker!)

 You cannot do a kindness too soon for you never know how soon it will be too late~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach. ~Winston Churchill (This one impresses me because I can’t imagine Winston saying something like this, can you?)

Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out. ~Frank A. Clark~

 We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak~Epictetus~ (I’m sorry but I believe the one who said this first was my mother!)

Don’t let those who take advantage of your generosity stop you from being generous. ~Author Unknown ~ (except choose a different person with whom to be generous).

  Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud~Maya Angelou~ (Kind of childish, don’t you think?)

In a world full of people who couldn’t care less, be someone who cares more. ~Author Unknown ~

 Love thy neighbor and if that requires that you bend the truth, the truth will understand. ~Robert Brault  (I think that’s sort of bending the truth, Robert!)

I must admit that through the years, people have quoted me. For example, my sister-in-law asked not long ago if I remembered when I yelled, “Go!” when we entered a busy intersection and we almost got T-boned. 

So, you happen to hear someone yell, “Go” it might be something I said.

And you can quote me on that.

 

 

 

 

A Writer or a Storyteller?

Are you a writer or a storyteller? Since I write two different genres, this question came up into my mind. There does seem to be a difference. When I’m writing a mystery, I feel like a writer. I have to know the beginning and the end. I have to know ‘who done it’ right at the start. As the plot unfolds, there has to be red herrings thrown in – but not helter-skelter. It has to all go by plan. There has to be several suspects; after all, it wouldn’t be much of a read if you figured out the mystery after the first chapter. In other words, you can’t just sit down at your computer and tell a story.

Historical fiction, on the other hand, is told by a storyteller. It’s true that you do need to know where you’re going with it but if you’re following a time in history, much is done for you. It  takes research on your part but then you can fit your characters into their life. There might be a mystery involved or a romance but your main emphasis is on life during that time period. Everything else adds interest and spice to your story. Your readers take themselves back in time and become those people. They feel the hardships, joys, endurance, and struggles. Unlike reading a mystery, where you wait with great anticipation until the end to find out who the culprit is, in historical fiction, you live the story from beginning to end.

Which do I prefer writing? I guess it depends on my mood. Right now, I’m writing a historical fiction that is a sequel to Sarah’s Valley. This one will be the next generation so I will be checking out what life was like during the 1930s and 1940s in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. I have the plan in my head but there will be no mysteries or romance – just a story about a young man  who faced hardships but is helped by a ten year old boy. I’m planning on telling a feel-good story!

When that is finished and published, I will think of what murder I can plot for either Beryl or Mabel to solve.

My Conflicts of Interest

It has been quite some time since I sat down and tapped out a blog. I would like to list my reasons for not doing so sooner, but sadly, I have none. Unless you count laziness and lack of imagination as reasons. In my case, they seem to be.

Spring is here. At least, it says so on my calendar. I actually believed it one day because the temperature, the bits of green grass poking out of the ground, and the birds singing proved it. Then suddenly the warm temperature disappeared and a cold north wind took its place. It was discouraging but this was April in Canada.

You would think with all the fluctuating temperatures, it would be an ideal time to curl up inside with your laptop and write a book. My agenda for the year includes writing three new books. My Mabel Wickles series is in need of a new book because there is now a new sheriff who needs Mabel’s help. Retired Reg Smee has started up a taxi service and I’m sure he’s going to find a dead body in one of his taxis any day now. Beryl Swallows has moved to Arizona but how much will she miss her neighbor, Sam Galloway? Perhaps finding a body at the bottom of her apartment’s garbage chute will keep her mind off her homesickness. Then there’s my historical fiction novel, Sarah’s Valley – too many readers have said they want to learn more about the young man, Patrick.  Obviously, I must write My Return to Sarah’s Valley.

However, I have one more hurdle (besides the lack of imagination and laziness) to overcome. Even though the weather is yucky, I have a conflict of interest. Every spring, my mind turns to spring cleaning. I know, it’s an old fashioned concept. Once it’s been ingrained in you, it’s hard to let it go. No, I don’t wash all the walls and windows in my house like I once did but I suddenly get the urge to empty out all my closets and then neatly replace everything. Well, maybe I do wash most of the windows but I draw the line at wall washing. Now it consists of wiping around all the light switches.

This is also the time of year that I get the urge to paint. I think this is my way of getting out of washing walls. So far, I’ve decided on a lighter gray for the hallway, a darker color for the main bathroom, and perhaps a brighter shade for one wall in the kitchen.

After spring cleaning is over, it’s gardening time. Already my husband is getting ready to start plants in the house. I’m wondering what flowers to plant this year and how I can rearrange my pots. Should I buy new ones or just use some of the leftover paint from the kitchen to spruce them up a bit?

Now you understand my conflicts of interest. I have no concept of writers who sit down every day, at the same desk, in the same spot, and write, spellbound, for hours at a time. If I’m going to write three books, it will be done while I’m sitting on the floor in my closet surrounded by my junk, while waiting for paint to dry, or while I’m sitting on the ground, waiting for my husband to finish tilling the garden.

Well, I have to get those books written before fall because that’s when fall cleaning begins.

Reading it over…for the first time!

Good morning, everyone.

First of all, let’s talk about the weather. No, seriously… we are having a heatwave in central Canada! I keep advertising my books and telling readers they should stalk up for the fall/winter weather reading. I don’t think anyone is even reading my posts, they are all outside walking around in shorts. Aww, good for them. When the cold does hit us, we will be in shock for the first few weeks and really complaining. Especially here in Canada. That is our national pastime – we may be polite but we are also big time complainers when it comes to the weather. No one is complaining at the moment though.

Were any of you wondering about my subject line? How can you read something over again … for the first time? I discovered that you can. Perhaps some of you have noticed that my Parson’s Cove mystery series is no longer available. There is a reason; I am reading them over again for the first time. In doing so, I have discovered something about myself. I am not the horrible writer that I thought I was. My first book, Slip and Go Die, is actually quite a good read.

I don’t know if other authors are like me but once a book was published, I never went back to read it. I moved on. In the back of my mind, I was afraid I would see too many mistakes and I would see what readers didn’t like about it. By that time, I felt it was too late to do anything about it anyway, so why torture myself. However, once it was unpublished, I could read it with an open mind and make all those changes I was dreading that I would find.

Guess what? There were very few changes that I had to make. I did remove about a hundred commas, semi-colons, and colons, but other than that, I was quite pleased with my writing.

The moral of this story is not to tell writers to republish all their books, it is simply to say, you are probably a better writer than you think you are. Don’t be afraid to go back and reread your old books. It will boost your confidence and give you the incentive to encourage readers to buy your books. Then when you are promoting your work, you will do it like you mean it … and you will mean it!

(On the other hand, you might read it, hate it, and stop writing altogether. That, of course, is a discussion for another day!)

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 

My Great Obsession

 

 

 

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It’s true; I have a great obsession. It began as a child but has not only stayed with me, it has blossomed! Or perhaps, I should refer to it as an addiction.

My earliest recollection was when I was about four years old. We lived in a small town in northern Saskatchewan in Canada. Friends invited me to spend the afternoon at their cabin by the lake and my mother agreed. Sometime during my visit, I must have become bored because I left the group and discovered something wonderful. It was a PATH! I can still recall it as if it were yesterday. It was a narrow path leading out into the woods and there were bluebells growing on both sides. I picked flowers as I wandered down the trail, not knowing of course, that by this time there was a search party out looking for me. Fortunately, before they started dragging the lake for my body, I decided I’d better head back to camp!

I have always been intrigued by paths. There is something mysterious about them. Where do they go? What will you find along the way? Is there an end to the path? Is it a ‘dead end’ or is there something to see – like a waterfall or a bench overlooking a lake? Who decided to make the path in the first place? How old is this path? How many have walked the path? Was anyone famous?

My father was a professional photographer, as is my daughter, so I have always carried a camera around with me. I have one scrapbook simply filled with pictures of paths. There are pictures taken in my backyard – the path to our gazebo, the path through the snow to our shed in the winter, an overgrown path through my perennial garden. But I also have pictures of paths taken on trips through mountains, paths discovered in parks, paths leading to beaches. Every one similar but unique and filled with a memory.
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Ah, but what has that got to do with writing? Isn’t writing very similar? You start out with an idea that feels so exciting but you haven’t figured out exactly where it will lead you. As you journey down the path, you picture the ending, the characters  you’ll meet along the way, and you visualize the twists and turns you will encounter. Even though you might have to hike through some rough patches as you do on some trails, you work your way through and make it to the finish. Your story is finished. You have conquered your path! Now, wasn’t that a great adventure?

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You can find my stories and adventures on

Where We Do What We Do

Hi there, guys and dolls! Today, my real life alter egos Andrea and Heather are taking over the blog again, writing about well, writing. What they write and where they write it, to be specific. Not only in the matter of place, but also the atmosphere and feeling the surroundings give.

On the weekend, they conducted a very successful Creative Writing Workshop, generously hosted by the Mission Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library System. They met some wonderful fellow authors, some who write fiction too, but also people who write memoirs, poetry, nature blogs, and various non-fiction projects, of all walks of life and age at various stages of accomplishments. It was fascinating to connect and share their experiences, giving thoughts on what works and doesn’t work for them.

The biggest thing? Write, just write. Give reverence to your projects, to the ideas buzzing in your head. Set aside time, take it seriously, even if you are only at the beginning, as it is a very good place to start.

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The girls also talked about different processes in writing projects, from germinating to saving the final draft. Through their experiences, they’ve found some places and ways that naturally keep them in the groove and literally on the page as they go along.

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It seems that when they are at the beginning of a book, namely their Poppy Cove Mystery Series at this point (other works will be forthcoming, give them time!), being somewhere lively and busy is very helpful. A mid-afternoon spent in a beautiful restaurant, bustling cafe, or pub lingering over a glass of wine or cup of coffee while the world goes by does wonders for how they plot and scheme the complicated lives of their Santa Lucians. A beautiful view down by the lake on a delightful beach in the shade, listening to waves and laughter of others is helpful as well.

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For the actual writing, however, having a dedicated writing room is ideal. Being able to come and go from it between writing sessions is terrific, along with the solace of a room of one’s own lends itself to filling in the color of the plots and story. Background music is always playing, usually Frank Sinatra or jazz such as Charlie Parker, Nina Simone, Blossom Dearie, Chet Baker and the like from the mid-century era does wonders for their creativity. During editing, classical such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach are very helpful with their rhythmic foundations.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on what inspires you to do what you do and where you do it.

Warm Regards,

Andrea & Heather

aka that Barbara Jean

 

Start Me Up

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Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. ~ Stephen King

Start with the smell of burnt toast. Or look for a pair of missing earrings. Try falling out of love. Or waiting for an interview for a job you desperately want ( or one you never thought you’d have to get). Start with a line from a song or a classic movie. Look at a snapshot from a family album. Or a photo from the newspaper.

These are all prompts I have used in creative writing workshops to help writers tap into the creative well that is available to every artist. We typically use the first twenty to thirty minutes of each session to just write, write, write. The prompt is merely a suggestion a jumping off point which can be used or eschewed in favor of an image or idea rumbling around in a writer’s head. The premise: uncensored, uninhabited writing can open the creative passageway often blocked by the raging self-doubt of that pesky inner critic who always seems to tag along for the ride.

After we finish writing, folks can share or pass ( I’m the only one who never passes; I think as the facilitator it is incumbent upon me to share). No one offers criticism. How can we? We know the work can’t be very good; it is after all, a very raw, rough draft. People can, however, mention a particular image that stood out, if they are so inclined.

The surprising thing: many of the images, turns of phrase, characters, are often vivid or amusing or touching. Some even serve as starting points for stories and poems, scripts and even books. You’d be amazed at what your inner artist can do when s/he is left to play without fear of recriminations, without that pounding “It’s no good,” “No one will care,” “No one will ever publish this.”

These exercises give you permission to try, to play, to experiment. And once you dip into that creative well, you’re apt to dip in again and again.

Is something burning? It may be your desire to connect or re-connect with your inner artist. Or it may just be your breakfast. Either way, it’s time to get started.

Cheers and onward

aba

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