Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil


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Happy Hari Birthday

ghportrait

If George Harrison were still alive today, he would have been an age never imagined by the youth of his day. The Beatles and the sixties were all about youth culture and revolution. A shaggy haired rocking youth bug turning an age above 70?  Ha!

It doesn’t matter how old George’s earth age would have been. Like Bowie and Lennon and many artistic chameleons, he really wasn’t of this earth. His soul borrowed an impish body with an ear for Carl Perkins and rockabilly music to take this earthly  journey, touching down to add to the creative pile and leave something behind before getting the call back home.

As a child, it’s been reported that he hated convention and bullshit. He got into fights at school, flipped off his teachers – but he loved guitar and practiced and practiced and practiced.

Then, he met a doe eyed boy named Paul who introduced him to a tough boy named John and thus he played a bit of “Raunchy” on the top of a bus. And the rest is history. A history that was a magic ride nothing short of miraculous.

In 1966, he and his Beatle buddies and wives went to dinner at their dentist’s house, where droplets of LSD were mixed into their coffee. Their world changed.

The illusion of this world was pulled back for George in ways differently interpreted by the other three. The others punched holes in the musical ozone layer that took the form of endless experimentation.

For George, he saw a universe beyond the veil.

George embraced a spiritual path that lead the way for a new age of enlightenment. We may see it as New Age, but what’s so new about this aspect of God Consciousness if it was always there?

He was known to be a lovely man – giving, sweet, naughty. He was also known to be a cranky bugger on a bad day.

Yet, George brought so much to the table.

He helped bring world music to ears used to hearing Top 40. Western and eastern music melded together as a new force in sound thanks to his work and friendship with Ravi Shankar.

He was the first to raise money by bringing his friends together at ‘The Concert for Bangladesh’, which inspired other rock stars to band together for charity.

He was the first to publicly establish a charitable organization “The Material World Foundation” so proceeds of “Bangladesh” and various other work would be donated to the poor.

He rocked the slide guitar, producing a sound so unique, it’s been emulated many times over by other artists.

He created a production company called “Hand Made Productions” for the sole purpose of raising money to help his Monty Python friends to film “Life of Brian”, which went on to produce ground breaking films like “Withnail and I”, “The Long Good Friday”,  and “Time Bandits”.

He founded a super group comprised of Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynn and Rob Orbison named “The Traveling Wilburys” which produced insanely well known songs.

He was a gardener who wanted to plant more trees and beautiful living things on this planet.

He wasn’t a perfect husband, but he had the lovely Olivia to stand by his side.

He was a terrific father to a talented and giving son.

He was also damn sexy.

I could go on.

The man was beyond the Beatle we all knew. He was the so-called “quiet Beatle” likely due to the fact he used his words only when he had something substantial to say.

And yes, sometimes he’d put his foot in his mouth. But he didn’t care because this all doesn’t matter.

Happy Birthday to George Harrison, who’s earth age is meaningless. May your continuing journey be as bold and as magical as the jewels you’ve left behind.

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Writing With The Head Cold Blues

scarf lady

I can’t lie.

All the writing motivation in the world cannot avoid the fact writing just doesn’t happen all the time. Like when you’re sick.

Today, I’m dealing with a head cold. It could be worse. I’ve HAD worse. But when the sinuses are inflamed and I’m sneezing every few minutes, it’s hard to concentrate on ideas and words and thoughts and how all that can be combined into a productive day of writing.

I have an outline I’m trying to write for an upcoming book I’d like to see published.Yet, I have the document open, hiding among tabs of websites and various programs open on my desktop.

Social media keeps beckoning me – almost as if the congestion in my nose is some kind of magnetic device, leading me from the work at hand, pleading with me to relax and watch more “Reich and Sondheim: In Conversation and Performance” because I cannot get over the fact I’ve never heard the music from ‘Pacific Overtures’ before and cannot get “Someone In a Tree” out of my head.

Harper Lee died today. That’s been on my mind. ‘Mockingbird’ is my favorite novel.  President Obama said today via the First Lady’s Twitter account, “When Harper Lee sat down to write ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, she wasn’t seeking awards or fame. She was an country girl who wanted to tell an honest story about life as she saw it.”

So true.

It’s days like today – a Friday, a head cold day, a day of distractions outweighing concentration, that make it a challenge to write that honest story about  our world. Or my world.

But, I’m doing something. I still have the intention. I’m picking at the words of my outline with respect and honor, not beating myself up because I can’t find the flow.

There’s always tomorrow. Besides, it’s not bad to seek out inspiration from other artists (like Sondheim and Lee) to stimulate the creative energy.

Sometimes just getting the words out by way of a blog can help.  Blogs like these allow you to confide to the internet – a virtual sounding board where you know that someone out there will read you.

Blogs are wonderful tools to allow writers to promote themselves, help others and, when used well, provide a space for the writer to write with ease, especially on days when they can’t find the juice.

Well, you know that. That’s why you are here.

So, as I write one word here and there, I know there will be better days.

Hey, I wrote this, didn’t I?

Just keep the intention out there as a writer. Know you’ll be back better than ever tomorrow.

 

 

 


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How To Not Care About What Others Think

MC as Bruce FH

Trust your instincts, Kid.  You don’t need to twist yourself in knots trying to impress people who are not worthy of you. Got it?”

~ Bruce Bechdel,  Fun Home The Musical

I’ve just had a little shade thrown my way today from someone I see everyday yet don’t have much interaction with.

The fact I’m writing about this would imply that I’m bothered by it. Of course it irks me. But it’s not my problem.

Yet, I find this weirdness prompts a really good opportunity for a writer’s pep talk.

(See how strange energy inspires some good?)

I don’t twist myself into knots to please. I pay respect to those around me and do my best despite how people perceive it. Their perception is their choice, not mine.

When you’re writing and feeling stuck, these thoughts tend to pervade our minds and halt the creative flow.

What will my family think if I write this?

Do these passages read well?

Who will give a damn about what I have to say?

Who will throw me shade by not buying my work or acknowledging it some way – not because I want self gratification or praise – but because I want to know I’m reaching people?

If you want to keep writing – don’t care what others are going to think.

Don’t twist yourself into knots giving a damn how your work is being perceived.

It doesn’t matter if your writing is going to disturb someone in the marketplace. Think of the iconoclasts who paved the way for incredible creation: David Bowie, The Beatles, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, The Ramones, Martin Luther King, Jr, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs or Nina Simone.

They rattled walls. They pissed off people who didn’t matter. They inspired and fortified the ones who do.

For me, this person doesn’t matter, despite the momentary bother I feel. One day soon, I will move on to another experience, another opportunity, and she will only matter in the lesson I obtain from her.

She will have taught me not care when I have so much more going for me. My world doesn’t align with hers. That doesn’t make me less than her.

You aren’t tied down to anything or anyone who isn’t a loved one.

People like this teach you to keep creating your life. And if you’re a writer, they teach you to write without judging your work, without letting weird vibes and self doubt deter you from what really matters to you – your goal, whatever that may be.

Keep writing despite the negativity you think you feel. It’s not your business to listen. It’s your business to go with your gut instinct. It’s your duty to bring something exceptionally and amazingly cool into the world.

Don’t be in the shade of someone that doesn’t give you power. Let them deal with their lives, and allow yourself to flourish in yours. Listen to Lisa Kron’s words through the voice of Bruce Bechdel in ‘Fun Home’. Be true to yourself – not others.

If you know the story of Bruce, you’ll know he sadly didn’t take his own advice.  He did not live in his authenticity and suffered greatly with the notion of how people would think of him if he lived in his truth. (Although, to be fair, he may not have understood what that truth was.)  His suffering and hiding became his undoing. He died never knowing how to be himself. His story is also a lesson to us all.

Don’t try to impress people who are not worthy of you.

Be a Bowie. Break down a wall.


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Time To Toot the Horn: ‘The Good Write’

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It takes a lot to be a writer. Self motivation, inspiration, dedication. Writing despite resistance and the negative little demons that hold you back can be a major hurdle to overcome.

While writing my book “Hitting Water”,  blogging here on “Order of the Good Write” and while working on my own written projects,  I’ve been slowly building a writing coach business to help other writers get out of their writing rut.

Embedded in the model of this biz is a charitable initiative: A percentage of my fee will be donated to education organizations like ‘Pencils of Promise’ and ‘Let Girls Learn’.

It’s my hope to help less fortunate children gain the means to write their own stories.

So, you can say – I’m building a business with a purpose.

No matter where we live, or who we are – we are brought into this world to produce something beautiful.  Nothing should hold you back – not oppression, lack of education, lack of confidence or self doubt.

It’s kind of like beaming a little piece of heaven down to earth.  Whether you are spiritual or humanistic, there’s no denying it. We are meant to bring forth something wonderful to add to this world.

There are writers out there with amazing stories destined to be shared, but everyday noise drowns out that creative voice that longs to speak.

Today, I’m launching my website TheGoodWrite.com

Although it currently lacks the bells and whistles of MailChimp, Opt-Ins, Pop Ups, PayPal and all the goodies that will eventually be tied into the site, I’m putting it out there now – in all it’s simplest form.

Because writing, like building a site from scratch, is something you work on a lot or a little everyday. Some days you devote less time than others, but you keep at it.  Little by little – you’ll see something flourish into something amazing.

Right now, TheGoodWrite.com is just a simple site containing my work, some motivational tools and booklets I’ve written, and info on how to get in touch with me for one on one coaching.

But in time, I hope to see it flourish into a subscriber based platform, where others can share their stories and in turn, help children living in oppressed conditions gain the education to enable them to share their own.

So – my wonderful WordPress bloggers and followers (and followees) – here it is — TheGoodWrite.com.

Please check it out!  Let me know what you think.

 

 


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Writing Beyond Convention

writing

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Was it as soon as you learned how to read and write? Or perhaps it was during elementary school when you put together your first story or book review for class?

Perhaps you were a book worm and adored every texture and nuance of storytelling. You devoured pages of fantasy and story line. You believed you could do this too. You wanted to tell stories about people real or make believe. You wanted to dazzle strangers with beautiful books the same way beautiful books dazzled you.

For me, the love of writing took time. When I was a teenager I adored drawing cartoon characters of my teachers and wrote funny, dorky dialogue in squiggled bubbles above their inked heads. I’d pass them along to a friend who would add to the cartoon or the dialogue – and before you knew it, we created little vignettes of school satire that produced suppressed giggles.

Being a writer wasn’t on my mind. I think Jimmy Oxley the cute senior who was the captain of the football team fascinated me more. Then Robbie, then David, the Glenn, then Marc….

Perhaps I was a bit boy crazy, and not the brightest bulb on the marquis as a kid, but I wrote well. However, my understanding of grammar and defining adverbs and adjectives, split participles and run on sentences was lacking. Grammar and its strict rules bored me.  Everything did.

As a child, I used to daydream while gazing out the window.

I’d take California comprehension exams – you know, the one you had to take with a number two pencil, multiple choice,  fill in the dots and you’re done?

I used to glean over the questions and fill in any dot. Or I’d create a pattern with the dots. Perhaps a square or a circle. Sometimes I’d legitimately answer the questions and fill in the dots and then connect them with drawn lines. But most of the time, I’d just fill in random dots just so I could go home.

I had to take summer school between first and second grade because my first grade teacher terrified me and I didn’t understand what she was trying to scream into me. And also – because I filled in random dots on my comprehension exams.

Thanks to my love of dots and going home early on exam day, throughout elementary school I’d be taken out of class to see the school psychologist to talk about my life.

I’d have to take tests to see if I  knew how to put round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes. I’d have to circle photos of things that were the same, determining the difference between two images.

Sometimes they’d take me into the nurses office to conduct hearing tests, to see if my lack of understanding was due to bad hearing.

This was the 60’s and 70’s. They didn’t know about ADD. They only knew that I wasn’t learning the same way the other kids were.

I was able to bring my test scores up, and found myself to be an average student, kept from the more rigorous classes like AP Chemistry or Mr Clancy’s tough English class where students were required to read big, ominous thick books – Dickens, Steinbeck, James Joyce…within days of each other.

Despite all that, I somehow got into AP/College English when I was a senior in high school. I applied for the program because I knew I was so much better than my school thought I was.

Yes, I got in and thrived. But when I entered college, I had to take Basic English because I couldn’t define the fundamentals of sentence structure and grammar.  I could use them appropriately, but I couldn’t technically define them on a test.

I used grammar the best I could. I’d create a well drawn thesis, funny, well crafted and perfectly backed up with thought provoking samples. I had teachers applaud my good work. One even took me aside and thought I was a professional writer.

But I couldn’t tell you what a split infinitive is.

It took me a long time to learn that just because you don’t get the answers right, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

I mean…look at this creative answer.

creative test answers

The student may never know what an ovary or adrenal gland is, but he/she created the “Kung Fu gland”, which feels right in so many ways.

It took a written communication class in my freshman year at college for everything to click. Professor Elsa Nunez busted my butt into teaching me good writing – both creative and analytically. After stumbling with errors and falling on my wordy little butt, it suddenly all clicked.

Writing was my thing. And as I endeavored into the drudgery of the nine to five world,  I pushed it aside like a hobby.

Big mistake.

Yes, I have my bad writing days. No, not everything written and posted is amazing. But the drive to create something, to bring it out in the world – to “finishing the hat”, was the true nugget of desire that stirred in that class and many classes thereafter.

Some writers always knew they wanted to write. Others discovered it through a teacher, a good paper or winning essay. But with so many brains and perspectives, there is no one definite way to be a writer.

And if you stumble over imperfections and poor grammar, pick up Strunk & White’s “Elements of Style”. Don’t stifle your imagination due to the rules of English.  Hire a great editor and learn from her.

Remember why you wanted to write, even when you are stuck. Even when you feel your writing seems to suck.

No one can write your story but you.