Writing

Interviews and Other Views

Women-On-Writing’s Renee Roberson asked some fun questions that made me think about ekphrasis, the writing process, and the novel I’m working on. They do this when you win a story award. Take a quick break and enjoy The Muffin, with coffee or tea, and me! https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/2022/04/interview-with-lori-lynn-greenstone.html

Ekphrasis of the Schuffeneckers: Gifts Bestowed wins award

Stare at a painting and eventually it will begin to tell its story- that’s ekphrasis, my favorite way to write. I’ve been working on the novel, An Ear to Hear, about the woman, Rachel, who received the gift of Vincent’s ear after it was sliced from his head. Many secrets surround this historical, almost mythical story. Rachel was not only the recipient of the ear, but also did laundry for the artists, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh in Arles, and became their model. An aspiring artist, she kept a sketchbook and journal which has been passed on to her great granddaughter in America (my fiction).  Only recently translated, Rachel’s sketchbook and journal gives a different voice to the generally accepted story of how Vincent lost his ear.  I sometimes need a break from the long work of the novel, so I turn to writing short stories and essays. Sometimes…

The Laughing Giraffe Draft

How an art installation can help you trust your creative process- Do you ever get a vision of something you’d like to create but don’t know the process that might turn your idea into a reality? I envisioned a life-size giraffe grazing on the tree tops in my yard, a spirit animal* with a whimsical neck and winsome body. When we moved from southern California to the Pacific Northwest, where forests meet yards, even in housing developments, I thought about how I might construct one of these stately, elegant creatures to view out my window. The idea first occurred to me when we moved to Bend, Oregon; a local artist constructs larger than life horses from lost and found pieces of metal. My hub was learning to weld so we started collecting rusty objects in hopes of constructing our own sculptures. Collecting and constructing are two different activities; we never…

How Small Prompts Help You Nano

And how to use them to keep the story flowing If you write with random prompts, or have, you are probably already a believer- this is the way; write in it. But even a believer falls by the wayside, forgets what tips and tricks have helped them in the past, and resorts to staring at the page or writing what turn out to be dull prose lacking the magic. How to get the magic back? Prompts- but what kind? from where?… I take phrases or words from books I’m reading, the stuff that jumps out at me since I read like the writer I am- looking for anything I can use, anything at all that will move my own story down the finish lane. Where to get the best prompts Currently I keep returning to a little known novel I find fascinating: The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre about how…

The Embossed Journal

In the mail today a gift arrived, wrapped and tied up with a silky ribbon, a leather-bound journal with a name on it—Lore. It differs from my given name by only one letter, but somehow this e in place of the i makes all the difference— Lore embossed in gold on soft, sumptuous leather so beautiful I’m afraid to write in it. A sea of fears swims beneath the act of writing. I explore these fears, along with their attendants– procrastination and overwhelm– in my journals. How and why they persist this far into the journey makes for messy writing, but I’m making progress. However, I don’t want to make a mess of this beautiful new journal. Generally, I buy spiral-bound notebooks on clearance and cover their bright college-rule colors and info with bits of collage. Or I find cut-rate journals at stores like Home Goods and Ross so that…

The Year-End Letter

Dear Friends & Family,We end this year with gratitude and send our heartfelt greetings, especially to those who’ve lost jobs, co-workers, friends, or loved ones. Whatever challenges you’re facing, we hope and pray love wins… During this year of going nowhere, instead of traveling to far off places, we’ve escaped into the local forests around us and sought to bring the outdoors inside… While John was off work for 4 months (Cargo w/ Alaska Air) he learned to epoxy thick slabs of Juniper we brought from Bend to make a desk, coffee table, and bathroom counter (left pic). We also stained, painted, and modernized the staircase with textured carpet & metal accents (on right). And John used his welding skills to build an artistic gate to hide our kayaks on the side of the house. Essentially grounded this year, we completed projects that make home more enticing. And haven’t we…

How is NaNo Serving You?

At the end of a very interesting first week of NaNo, how are you feeling about your writing? It has been an up-and-down week for me, but it’s ending on a high note. I hope you feel the same. Here are some of the ways I’ve gotten myself back on track when enthusiasm or motivation lagged. First, I looked at my thoughts- what was I telling myself about the writing (and the life going on all around me)? Awareness of my own thoughts, along with knowing that I choose my thoughts has enabled me to 1) accept myself and my thoughts, and 2) choose thoughts that serve me. So, for example, this week when I thought writing was drudgery and the world around me felt like a mess of uncertainty and upheaval, I acknowledged that sometimes life just feels that way. Actually, we have negative thoughts about 50% of the…

Make Nanowrimo Work for You

NaNoWriMo has been part of our family vocabulary since 2009 when two of our sons, ages 12 and 15, each wrote 50K+ novels while schooling from home. I was finishing an M.A. in Lit./Writing at the time, with no spare moments to craft a novel, which made me envious. Since then I’ve done NaNo off and on with limited success (and created a version for memoir- MaMoMeMo- May is Motherhood Memoir Month… http://mamomemo.com/2018/04/welcome/, a place where you set your own goals…). None of the novel messes I’ve generated during NaNo have become what I’d call a finished novel; think of a ball of yarn, 50K yards of it, in need of serious untangling. It’s easier to start fresh with new material. When I’m a slave to word count, I churn out an ugly mess, though I do make some interesting discoveries. And I hone the habit of putting words on…

May is Almost Here-mamomemo time!

So what are we doing for Motherhood Memoir Month during the coronavirus sequester? Writing of course. Not a mother? No worries. Everyone has a motherhood story to tell, because obviously… where did you come from? Was your mother missing in some or many ways? Absence is a strong theme in many motherhood tales. But wait- I’m not writing memoir at the moment. Perfect- me either. I spent so much time writing about my mother and our manic relationship over the past year-and-a-half since she died that I have put that away. So what am I doing? I’m writing a novel. And the mother-daughter theme, or conundrum, drive a lot of the story. So the prompts this time will be for fiction as well as memoir and journal writing- because if you have a mother, you need a journal- a place to download all those thoughts- the good, the bad, the…

Between Birth and Death, a 40th Anniversary

Only our 1st anniversary was ours alone. By our 2nd anniversary, our first baby was due–the next day, and anniversaries transformed into multi-tasking events. Now, our 40th becomes an occasion to fly up to Canada and get ice skates for our youngest daughter. November has long been my favorite month, beginning with All Saint’s Day- my birthday, also called Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The middle of the month, Nov. 17, is our anniversary, 40 years today. It falls exactly between my parent’ anniversary on Nov. 7, and my husband’s parent’s anniversary, Nov. 27, a line-up of marriages that lasted over 50 and 60 years, such as they were. My father-in-law died the day after their 60th anniversary, on Nov. 28, Thanksgiving, 2002. As if he’d made it to the finish line, he ate his last piece of pumpkin pie, the only thing he ate that…

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