Order of the Good Write

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


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Rising Above Negativity

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Light and love, people. Light and love.

Politics isn’t my thing. I’ve kept my words to myself. The crackling atmosphere has been filling up my head with so many emotions that I can’t even hash out blog postings and daily writings without stunted passages and small word counts. Politics always brings out the worse in people, but this year we’re seeing what lurks beneath the morals of various folks we thought we’ve known for years. We either stand in solidarity, or fall into the disarray of disagreement.

If there is a positive outcome to this acrimonious election year, it’s this: 2016 has brought in an era of shedding things that no longer serve us.

I believe in trying to stay in the light, and to find positivity in dark, challenging moments.

There are some who believe they have all the light and joy and right answers. They don’t need you darkening their life with beliefs they do not agree with. One personal comment will encourage them to blow up against your beliefs and throw verbal bombs your way, despite after you’ve kept quiet about their own offensive commentary. Funny how all that light and joy doesn’t not extend beyond their own house. (You can see, I’ve been in a tussle with someone lately.)

You can’t contain love within your own walls. You have to give a little out to the neighborhood, folks. Despite disagreements. No matter who you root for or whom you believe.

This shedding may also be a great opportunity to write your feelings, to devise a novel about love or friendships. The creative flow may be a waterfall of great stuff.

So, if you’re being bombarded by haters who hate your beliefs or show a side you’ve never seen before – just rise above it. Be strong in your ideas and moral values, and don’t ever treat a hater the way they treated you. Don’t engage. If you feel in your gut to break ties, only make that decision when you know it’s right.

Always be in the light.

Oh hey — and write it out!

 

 

 

 

 


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How A Rug Illustrates a Story

ABCHomeRug

Rug as seen at ABC Home, NYC

It hung there, among the colorful faded green and pink rugs. Like a shabby and dazzling bunch of beauties, these gorgeous items of woven thread formed the most intricate patterns of white, greys and blacks. It left me breathless. The finite layers of simple flower shapes, round, small and big. Dabs of pedal shadows that almost look like birds flowing through the delicate wiggly lines depicting an element of motion.

From afar, we see the dazzling story of visual artistry. It’s a tale by what we make of it. The chairs and sofa that would look so good against the color. The pop of black floorboard wood that makes the patterns come alive, contained in the room in which it lives. This rug’s design can tell a story with it’s patterns and cacophony of visuals combines into one big work of floor artistry. Indeed, in one’s home, it will absorb the human life on which it lives.

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Yet, if we zoom in on the details, we see a different emotion. Suddenly the story isn’t so obvious, the tales not so simple. From afar, each duplicate design is created by intricate fibers of color and handmade stitching pulls together to make one big beauty. But when we magnify an inch of the vast work before us, there is a depth we never see.

One can find a laughing family on the front yard enjoying a summer day. Yet, if we take one person aside and study him, much like the details of a rug, we’ll find depth, individuality and a whole other story.

Writing is much like this. You can’t have the overall picture unless you magnify the details of the human spirit.

Look closely at the details of life. Understand more than just what the overall picture is trying to tell you. Write about it.

And boy, would I LOVE to buy this rug!

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A Letter

 

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Dear Universe,

I’m not interested in expansive thinking today. Nor am I interested in self improvement right now. I’m barely in the mood to write this, but here I am  – writing.  It’s summer. It’s July. I currently live where the weather is summer all year round, making the summer months just another season and not the magical thing it can be if you suffer through winter’s brittle clutch first. Yet, I don’t care if I can’t enjoy it the way I used to – the way it used to be when I was a child and could do whatever the hell I wanted for two months.

Nope. For now, I want to go to the pool. I want to go to the water. I want to smell classic Coppertone suntan oil (yes…oil) and tan until the hairs on my forearm turn blonde like they use to when I was a little girl. Like they used to when I used to have hair on my forearms. (Where did they go?) I want to wake up in the morning and eat a bowl of cornflakes and watch television without guilt. I want to go to the library and find books I’d like to read for the summer. I’d like to watch the sun hit the walls of our living room and listen to the clock play Westminster chimes at the top of the hour. I want to watch repeats of Emergency after playing pretend with the neighborhood boys, wearing cut off jeans, tee-shirt and converse sneakers as the daylight dims and the Good Humor truck bells start jangling and come nearer and nearer as we each run home to quickly grab change.

I don’t want to think about the future today. I don’t want to hit my personal goal marks. I don’t want to try and write that Spec Script or even work on the book I’ve put aside for the past few months because my brain is void of ideas and concepts. I don’t want to beat myself up for not having a productive day today or maybe even tomorrow.  I don’t care about what my next turn will be and where I’m going or how little money I have when I want so much more.

I don’t care if I counted “I” over 30 times in this blog post, making “I, Me, Mine” seem so “I, Me…” narcissistic. I don’t care if nobody reads this. I don’t care if the Mets lose. I don’t care if ‘Rectify’ didn’t get nominated for an Emmy. I don’t care if nobody doesn’t care. I don’t care if that phone call didn’t come yet, or that email wasn’t sent yet. Or movers and address changes and New York and dog parks and Zipcars and trip to Bear Mountain with my California hound and how he will react to his first taste of snow. I don’t care now. I don’t care. Yet.

I’m letting it all go. I’m thinking of light and peace and the sky and the planets above. I’m thinking of summertime and autumn. I’m letting the feelings go. I’m letting all thoughts go.

Sincerely,

Moi. Letting go.

 


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Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Procrastinating

bluewall and flowers

Look at the pretty blue wall. I think I’ll write something about it, but I’ll wait until tomorrow.  It just doesn’t feel right right now.

There’s a book I’m trying to write, but every time I look at what I’ve written, I can see the make believe literary agent in my head rolling her eyes and throwing the work on the slush pile.

There’s a little time to write this afternoon, but I’m going to wait until tomorrow until the muse shows ready to sit on down and start feeding me some good ideas.

Yeah, that can happen tomorrow.

I need to make sure my bank accounts are linked so I can work with PayPal payments, and all that complicated stuff I don’t want to think about now, so I’ll think about that on Thursday. Then I tell myself to think about it again for the next day and the next, and before I know it I won’t have a business and the IRS is asking why I’m sinking money into a company I’ve registered but haven’t made any income on.

I’ll think about that tomorrow. Maybe on Sunday.

I want to go back to New York for Memorial day weekend and also later in the summer for a longer stretch, but I can’t think about that right now because every time I want to do something so badly that requires money, I get sick to my stomach over the the ordeal of spending more money.

Maybe I’ll get over that feeling and set up a flight tomorrow?

Maybe I’ll finish that book next month because I’m not feeling it now and maybe there’s a reason why I’m not feeling it now.

Maybe there’s a full moon.

Maybe Mercury is in retrograde.

Maybe it’s my spirit guide telling me that now is not the right time.

Oh, Okay. Then I really don’t have to do this now.

I’m going to gaze at that beautiful blue wall and the flecks of yellow summer flowers on the glass that’s holding the little pile of soil and greenery and wonder when I’m going to get started.

When is the right time?  Why not now?

Maybe I’ll paint my apartment this weekend? Or, maybe I’ll go to the donation center and donate all those things I want to get rid of to make a move back east easier.

Nah. I’ll save that for next month.

 

 


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Monday Writing Motivation: Spring Sprung

purpletulips

Happy day two of Spring!

To those tulips and flowers thinking they had the all-clear in New York and woke up to a layer of snow this morning – I’ve heard the snow has melted and things are looking up!

Such is the advent of Spring. Although the calendar proclaims it the first day of this new season, for most areas of this country, winter will not pry its grubby, cold hands from the necks of winter weary humans and optimistic little flower buds.

In Los Angeles, it’s spring and summer all year round so the transition has less contrast.  The climate is temperate and things are pretty green around here most of the time. Yet, Spring comes along in February when the blooming Jasmine hatch open and the Pittosporum grows its incredibly fragrant white blooms that make you want to climb its branches and bury your face in a bushel flowery sunshine. (That is – if there weren’t bees everywhere, which is a blessing).  That’s the only way you know there’s a season change – when things start smelling like a perfume laboratory.

And then the Jacaranda trees start showing their purpleness a little later in April and May, adding their fragrance to the splendor and raining down purple petals on the street and cars. It’s ‘Purple Rain’ the way Prince meant it to be.

But enough of all this garden variety metaphorical waxing.  Spring does something more to our brain than we realize. Our goals and our intention to complete them flourish. The synapses in our brains fire off endorphins and fun chemicals that make us break out in spring fever.

And then some of us are still trying to catch up on that hour of sleep we lost last weekend.

Whatever the case of spring may bring on your doorstep or out your window, there’s plenty of fodder for writing.  So…

What does Spring mean to you?  What memories do you have of Spring? What hope do you have for this season? What do you smell, taste, feel and see this year that’s different from other seasons?  Are you exhausted? Happy? Wistful? Sad? Hopeful?

Write it down today. Tell Monday to take a hike. Break through the first day of the week resistance blues. 

 


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Monday Writing Prompt

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This picture was taken early last year at Bronson Canyon, a trail I usually hike with my dog Baxter. The shot was taken before the effects of the Los Angeles drought took hold. About four months later, in August of 2015, I took an (almost) mirror photo of this area, and the long blades of thick green grass had turned brown. The rolling lush hill was overgrown with dead branches. The depth of distance overturned to summer overgrowth despite the lack of moisture.

Droughtgotcha

Very sad. Perhaps the latest El Nino rains have allowed this area to return to green. I haven’t been back since the “brown” photo was taken.

The hillside respite was off the beaten track from a trail where hikers were trailing and talking about their lives in great volume. Loud. Self absorbed, as we all tend to be –  perhaps some more than others –  in this Hollywood life.

In this space,  hawks fly overhead, cutting dark against the bluest skies you can image. I’ll give California it’s due. It does sky like no body else. Daytime blueness, deep with heavily wisps of clouds intermingle with curious chem trails. Night, dark blue with the largest moon I’ve ever seen sitting quietly among twinkling stars beyond atmosphere disturbance.

No wonder Woody Guthrie once described California stars and how they “hang like grapes”.

In some canyon enclaves, there is so much silence, your ears feel like there are sucked in by the pressure of it. Until the sound of a voice speaking about how their job at the hair salon sucks because someone keeps stealing their product cuts through the meditative peace.

So, that day, I left the trails that lead to the Hollywood sign, and the girls in perfectly fitting yoga attire, and shirtless men and joggers huffing behind and beyond me, and found myself in this private nook on a hill…

…across a deep trench carved out by a running stream that had long dried out.

…beyond dried brambles and  bracken padded down by ghost hiker’s feet restless to leave the conventional path.

…up the steep and grassy hill near a tree with a view of what looks like wallpaper for a Microsoft OS program.

Just me and my dog, leaving the noise of people chatting about their small problems, about themselves, about me, me, and look what this person did to me.

This area of grass and beauty, that turned brown and likely green again, is my only hope. The rest is all fluff. I’d take a snowstorm any day if I could wake up on a Chelsea NYC morning and call it my home again.

As Bob Dylan once said, “I’m going back to New York City, I do believe I’ve had enough.”

What does this photo inspire in you? Have a look. What does it provoke? Dream a little. What writing can you create from this image?

Write, write, write away. Give Monday something to brag about.


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Writing Lessons: You Don’t Already Know

delfi de la rua

Today is the first day of a major online business course known as B-School. Last year, as someone who was itching to start the process of being an entrepreneur, I signed up for Marie Forleo’s popular and beloved online business program.

Once B-School launches, your personal dashboard opens a new module each week focusing on specific aspects of business and marketing.  Last year, I ate up every morsel of worksheets, books, and exercises opened to me. I designed business plans, got out of my comfort zone, emailed people who succeeded in the business I want to launch, conducted practice coaching sessions with follow up surveys, focused on what my customer avatar is and built (albeit unsuccessfully because I hate math) some form of a profit plan.

I loved it. Every bit of it. And I plan on doing it again. In fact, my heart is racing a bit and my hand is dying to click over to my account to start once more.

This time last year I had nothing. I only knew I wanted to be a coach. I knew, that in addition to writing my own projects, I wanted to use my writing to get other people to do the same.

It was imperative that I build something that would not only eventually allow me to live life on my own terms (i.e get out of the corporate world), but would allow others to come out of their shell and do the same – especially by telling their story through the written word.

Today, I have a registered sole proprietorship (that will likely morph into an LLC), a business bank account, an accountant, business cards, a website (still under construction despite giving you all a sneak peek last month), and a membership to the Association of Writers and Writers Programs (AWP) with a hefty conference coming my way. Plus, I have a future that is a little muddy, but filled with exciting uncertainty. (Mostly envisioned back in New York. A move that’s long overdue but difficult to make the financial leap. Help!)

Yet, why am I taking B-School again? Because I am never finished learning.  I’m not done obtaining more wisdom and upgrading ways of conducting business – or even optimizing the way I create.  It should be the same for you. Hey, just saying.

We should always ask questions, always be curious, always learn new things every chance we get or else we stagnate. The moss will grow over our heads, and we’ll never know why unless we take a good hard look at our process.

This also goes with writing. I am guilty of this, but we writers tend to think we already know how to write.

But sometimes we don’t already know, or we need a refresher.

Pick up that old Stunk & White book, read books like “Bird By Bird”, “On Writing Well”, “Forest for the Trees” and understand new ways to approach your personal expression, your written world.

Join meeting ups, go to conferences, take a class at a local school – get out there and have other writers see your writing.

I know I’ve commented on how writing courses can be a pain in the ass. Relying too heavily on writing courses and school and groups will overload your head with so much critiques that you might grind your writing down to a halt.

But sometimes, it’s good to get your writing out there.

If you have the intent to actually use the suggestions made by other writers in class to take action by sending work to publishers or blogs or agents – then it’s a very good thing indeed.

You are learning new things. You are not sitting by thinking that just going to a class and gathering comments is doing the work.  You are taking action by taking the lessons learned or discarding those that are of no use, and focusing on getting that work out there in blogs, newsletters, marketing tools, novels, memoirs….etc.

B-School has taught me that no matter how much work you’ve put into something, you are never fully educated. Life is a process of learning.  Each year is a building block. If you work hard, you can build new levels of accomplishment. While you gaze at those successful goals, it’s a good idea to take in more lessons to build the next block and the next and the next.

I’m not only saying this to pump you up, I’m writing this as a pep talk to myself.  I’m in the same boat as a lot of writers. We all want to create, inspire, and tell the stories that will leave a footprint behind.

But we all need keep learning, to keep writing and to keep creating.

We want to be part of history, and our history is in the storytelling.

Don’t let the moss grow over your head. Keep asking. Keep learning.

Just Grow.