Poem-a-Day April 2019 Writer’s Digest Challenge #29. Theme: (Blank) Again #aprpad

On the Hunt Again

She was putting herself out there again,
trying to sell herself through resumes and cover letters
when it was so much easier to sell her stories.

2019 April PAD Challenge: Day 29

Letter from the Editor: Five Tips for Writing Feature Stories

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We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
–Ernest Hemingway

So I am officially the Editor-in-Chief for the college newspaper in the fall, which will be my last semester at PSC.  I will graduate with an A.S., and, because I want to go farther, an A.A. (as I am so done with math).

If there’s one thing that the class from hell (i.e. Statistics) forced me to do, it was learn superior organization, which will come in handy when leading each project, or issue.

However, I am a confirmed introvert, so being a leader of anything is intimidating, but I tell myself, “I can do this.  They’re just people.”

That said, I am very excited about this opportunity.  I wasn’t going to go for it, but let’s just say my adviser made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

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Since my post about tips for writing college feature stories (https://sarahleastories.com/2017/02/04/feature-story-ideas-for-a-college-newspaper/) has, by a landslide, been the most popular, I thought I’d share a few other things that have helped me become not just a better, but a more prolific writer:

  • Be aware not just of what is going on around you, but also the people around you—eavesdrop, pay attention to quirks, such as distinctive tattoos, and even cars with a bunch of crazy bumper stickers.  For example, on the first day of my ENC1102 class, my professor asked everyone to write something true and something untrue about themselves; the rest of the class was supposed to guess what was and wasn’t.  Listen for the interesting truths.
  • If you’re in online classes, and there is a “Get To Know You” discussion forum, read all of the bios—but, as Troy Moon (a local journalist for The Pensacola News Journal) said, “Everyone has a story, but not all of them are interesting.”
  • Craft your interview questions in such a way that you won’t get a yes or no answer.  You want meaty quotes!  Otherwise, you’ll find yourself wanting to paraphrase everything.
  • An easy way to gather quotes (speaking from the introvert’s point-of-view) is to cover events where people are speaking.  This way, you don’t even have to ask questions, unless you need more or better quotes.
  • Read other college newspapers in-depth, because all I’m doing is telling you how it’s done–they’re showing you.

My ultimate goal for our publication is to get more student names and faces in every issue, because, as Diane Varsi (playing Allison MacKenzie) said in the 1957 movie, Peyton Place: “It was nice to come back to a place where the names in the newspaper meant something to you.”

That embodies the very idea of “community,” and we are a community college.

#Micropoetry Monday: Modern Proverbs

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To wish away her developmental delays,
would be to wish away what made her,
her–
the sweetness that was no burden
to those who loved her.

I was a million little pieces of the product
of my existence,
experiences,
memories,
welded together
to create something
beautiful.

Shyness maturing into introvertedness,
her ability to listen rather than speak became more appreciated
by those who loved to hear themselves & be heard.

The Memory Collectors
He captured everything through a lens;
she captured everything on paper.
She could relive things
as she chose to remember them,
& he, as they had been.

Marriage gave her security,
education, possibilities,
children, stability,
for without these things,
she would be like ashes
in the wind.

A Christmas Thought: Mine…Everyday

As William Wordsworth spoke of the “hour of splendor in the grass”, I am enjoying some peace and quiet in a house that naps–myself, the exception.  When it is quiet and I am alone, that is when I do my best work.  A Facebook friend of mine just recently quoted (from Urban Dictionary) “Introverted people gain their energy from their own, complexed inner world, and tend to feel exhausted when they have to interact A LOT with people. (extroverted people gain their energy from the people around them).”  Perfectly put.  Yes, I draw from personal experience (which includes my interactions with other people), but I don’t “bounce off of other people”; rather, I draw from a well somewhere deep inside myself, and that is what flows onto the paper (or screen) in a sometimes muddy stream of consciousness.

My family does most of their celebrating on Christmas Eve night; Christmas Day is spent recovering from it all (Stevia Coca-Cola with Crown Royal, anyone?), so I use that time to reflect on the coming year, and how I hope to continue to make each better than the last.  When it comes down to it, even though this Christmas was a “Hard Candy Christmas” (a la Dolly Parton), what with our financial struggles, I wouldn’t trade all I’ve learned and accomplished and enjoyed to go back.  It is in this way, every year does get better and better.  Sure, I want more, but I also want to be more, do more, and that’s what I hope for this next year:  simply more, of what matters.

As for today, my readers, I leave you this thought:  Sometimes, we can look at the same person in different ways, and though the ways be different, they can all still be true (or have some truth in them):

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He humbled Himself to become a child,
to be cared for by the least of them.
He chose the low and lowly road,
to reach His highest potential.
His royal lineage was masked
by meager beginnings,
His crown of glory, an invisible halo.
He became the Everyman,
so He could understand the soul of Everyman.
He grew inside a woman who was chosen
and who,
in turn,
chose Him.
Those who believe,
see Him everywhere,
in the strangest places and
most unlikely situations
because He is everywhere
inside those who believe;
for they are looking not outside themselves,
but somewhere inside.
They see Him,
only to find themselves.
He isn’t ours,
but He is mine,
as He is for each one of us.
He is limitless.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #21. Theme: Strange

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I am a Strange One:

A Self-Portrait in Writing

I turn my clock backwards
before I go to sleep.
I am a strange one.

I don’t like to sleep on pillows,
but rather between two of them.
I am a strange one.

I set my clock ahead five minutes,
for 7:00 a.m. is too close to 6:59.
I am a strange one.

I am studying to work in the healthcare profession,
but the sight of blood makes me faint.
I am a strange one.

I love to read crime thrillers,
but I love to write children’s nursery rhymes.
I am a strange one.

I read the dictionary for fun,
Hemingway for school.
I am a strange one.

I am a maximumist when it comes to books,
a minimalist when it comes to DVDs.
I am a strange one.

I love foreign films with subtitles,
but close captioning drives me crazy.
I am a strange one.

I love and appreciate fine art,
but have a hologram of a tree hanging in my house.
I am a strange one.

I watch Fox and read the HuffPost.
I love the Shopaholic series, but am a fan of Dave Ramsey.
I am a strange one.

I have seven Rubbermaid Tupperware containers,
and seven Rubbermaid lids.
I am a strange one.

I like Coca Cola from Mexico,
but I would never drink the water there.
I am a strange one.

I don’t love to cook,
but I love to watch cooking shows.
I am a strange one.

I’d much rather “meet my meat”
than cook it.
I am a strange one.

I buy a new fruit or vegetable first,
then try to figure out what to do with it later.
I am a strange one.

I love most everything fried,
but I prefer my fries baked.
I am a strange one.

I don’t like bananas,
but I love banana cream pie.
I am a strange one.

I love the beach and water aerobics,
but I never learned to swim.
I am a strange one.

My dream vacation is in Iceland,
but I hate the cold.
I am a strange one.

I love cat jokes,
but will probably never have a cat.
I am a strange one.

I like to make bars of soap,
but I prefer to use body wash.
I am a strange one.

I am a night owl,
but I hate when it gets dark early.
I am a strange one.

I hate cold weather,
but I love to be able to wear nylons and sweaters.
I am a strange one.

I like to wear socks inside the house,
but not outside the house (with shoes).
I am a strange one.

I find brassieres uncomfortable,
but not bikini tops.
I am a strange one.

I prefer skirts and mittens
over pants and gloves,
because I like my parts to touch.

I don’t like beards,
but I like a man who can grow one.
I am a strange one.

I like a man who wears cologne,
but I don’t wear perfume.
I am a strange one.

I don’t mind loading washers and dishwashers,
but I hate emptying them.
I am a strange one.

I love shopping for clothes,
but I hate trying them on.
I am a strange one.

I live in the Deep South,
but I don’t say y’all.
I am a strange one.

I don’t have a single tattoo or piercing,
yet I love chandelier earrings.
I am a strange one.

I am an introvert,
but I wait tables for a living.
I am a strange one.

My truths may be strange,
but they are not stranger than fiction.
We are all contradictory,
and, at times, just a little bit OCD,
in our own way.

But at least I don’t go to a seafood restaurant
and order a hamburger.

Some of my Favorite Things about Being a Writer

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  1. I can do it from here to there; I can do it anywhere.
  2. It’s cheap.  I don’t have to spend a small fortune on art supplies to create my art.  Pen and paper, or a little laptop will do.
  3. Unlike photography, I don’t have to try to capture others when they’re not looking.  I can write about them without them even knowing it.
  4. I can brainstorm ideas while in bed (trying to go to sleep).
  5. It’s a great gig for introverts (like me).
  6. I can wash, rinse, repeat.  I don’t have to start all over again, like I would, for the most part, with a drawing.  I can finish the entire project, and then go back and edit.
  7. It helps me keep my vocabulary, spelling, and grammar skills sharp.
  8. I can write a book one time, and make money off of more than one copy (unlike a painting, that can only be sold once by the painter).
  9. I can kill off people I don’t like.
  10. I can live vicariously through my characters.  I can travel the world, work exciting jobs, and yes, assassinate my enemies.