Order of the Good Write

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


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Writing About Synchronicity

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The Morgan Library Ceiling

I was listening to an audio recording about signs from the universe and divine timing.

You know, those moments when you’ve just thought of a person and then you run into them.

You get an old, obscure song stuck in your head and you then you hear it on the radio.

You get behind a car with a license plate that says Jodie245, and you had just throught of your old friend Jodie about ten minutes before when you haven’t though of her in years?

In other words – synchronicity.

It’s been my experience that these incredible moments are meaningful signs of spiritual connection. Sometimes, my writing comes from these wonderful moments. That’s where the creative flow comes from.

So, the audio clip ended and I smiled to myself because I’ve been feeling in the flow. I clicked over to Instagram and randomly found a photo posted by Julian Lennon of his newly cleaned out garage. I loved the stonework on the floor and the artwork on the wall. He obviously has a lovely house.

And I thought – he made it alright after all, you know, despite his difficult childhood in the limelight, with a moody, distracted genius father and the acrimonious breakup of his parent’s marriage. Of course he became a successful songwriter and performer himself; yet, you know the ways of kids of the famous. Life can be difficult considering all the rumors about money or familial breakups.

Then a few minutes later, I got up and went downstairs to buy gum in our shop downstairs and “Hey Jude” was playing on the radio.

So, yeah – I believe in this divine timing stuff. I’ve had it many times in my life. How about you?

Writing Prompt: What fun moments of great timing have you’ve experienced? What amazing moments of synchronicity has crossed your path? This is good material. Write away!

 

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Writing About Plants of the Century

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“Bertha” The Stalk Sprouting Agave Plant, so big I couldn’t fit her in frame.

Writing Inspiration: When you go out into your neighborhood – what do you see that inspires you? Is it the old lady who lives in 446? Is it the garbage cans that never get picked up, or the old tree that looks like it’s going to come crashing through the Wilson’s new garage? Write about it. Here’s something that inspired me over on Istagram, which I’ve copied and pasted here.  

The Agave plant – aka The Century Plant- waits 25 to 80 years to bloom a stalk that flowers seed pods to propagate the next generation. It blooms like this when it knows it’s ready to die. Its death is sped up by putting all its energy and nutrients toward the growth of that stalk which will stand for a year or more until it falls and its seeds penetrate the earth. You can see her flayed open base yellowing in comparison to the other younger, healthier green Agave plants around her base. Once it starts growing, it grows at a rapid pace – 6 inches a day – and can rise more than 20 feet.

I walk by this beauty every day on my way to and from work. Its story is a testimony towards beauty, dignity and legacy. Unfortunately Bertha – as I like to call her, although I’m not sure if a plant like this is male or female (likely male, I mean…look at that stalk!) – will likely come crashing down and shed her seeds on the sun roof of the Range Rover in the neighbors driveway.

Huh… Nature…am I right?


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Autumn Writing Music Monday: All the Trees

“You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!”  Isiah 55:12

With the last few days of official summer drifting closer to the autumnal equinox, I think of fall and all its “mellow fruitfulness”*  I’m not religious, nor am I a bible reader. Yet, I do believe there are written passages in the ‘Good Book’ that reflect a lovely soulful connection to the earth and all its godly goodness.

(Writing Prompt: What does Autumn mean to you in your part of the world? Write about it!)

After the barefoot freedom and long days of summer, when green leaves so hard earned after a cold brutal winter begin their cycle of goodbyes in a glory of golds and color, soft lights, smokey rotten aromas and crisp chilly air….we drift into soulful introspection following the season of fun in the sun.

Trees are life. They are compelling. Not only am I taken by them being a metaphor for family and various generations and cycles of life, I’m mainly fascinated by their growth, their size, their variety and their majesty.

I feel safe under their branches, yet frightened by their towering height. In their bare state in winter, their trunks, branches and twigs look like human arteries, veins and vessels clustered like an x-ray of the human cardiovascular system. They are the living, breathing nervous system of this planet, allowing oxygen and soil to work cohesively to sustain life and to filter out impurities.

I love trees so much, I often wonder why I never studied Dendrology.

The trees of Autumn invite us outside for a celebration of color before bidding farewell for the winter.  The colors bring about new wardrobe, holiday preparations kicked off by the first sign of pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns before we see turkeys, pilgrims and Santa Claus.

It’s the parade of trees. This beautiful fall foliage reminds me of the woods behind the condo where my parents used to live. Forty years before they lived there, that backyard area of woodland used to be a small house-less street,  disused and left to the overgrowth of nature.

The wide path, once road, was no longer concrete, but packed with years of fallen leaves mulched into wide and winding beaten path. Various old telephone poles that had old rusted metal badges marked ‘Bell Telephone’ were still hanging on the dark, rotten wood, old electric cables were still strung from pole to pole leading to the active street beyond the stretch of woods.  A small forgotten fire hydrant sat there, ready in case of danger.

Far off, you could hear the babbling brook that turned rainwater from the hills into a splashing falls near the edges of the land that bordered the parking lot of the condos nearby. There was an old rusted plow with wagon wheels disintegrating into the dead, dry branches. A relic of another time.

Photos like the one above take me back to this memory. Back to when I walked our hound Baldrick under a canopy of yellow and red trees in November. The chill hitting my nose, the smell of hickory smoke from chimney bringing in a feeling of warmth and peace.  We’d walk down that old forgotten wide beaten path and jump over fallen trees – both thin and thick, while Baldrick sniffed and shuffled to bring up scent on an animal that danced by earlier

I’m aiming to return for good. If not this season, then in time to be back and settled by next Fall with my hound Baxter. We will take the train up north, back to those woods, where he can waddle and sniff in the footpath of his predecessor – his late brother Baldrick. Back to that part of the east coast where I felt nature, with cool earth, wet leaves and mellow fruitfulness.

“All the Trees in the Field Will Clap Their Hands”

If I am alive this time next year,
Will I have arrived in time to share?
Mine is about as good this far.
I’m still applied to what you are.
And I am joining all my thoughts to you.
And I’m preparing every part for you.
I heard from the trees a great parade.
And I heard from the hills a band was made.
Will I be invited to the sound?
Will I be a part of what you’ve made?
And I am throwing all my thoughts away.
And I’m destroying every bet I’ve made.
And I am joining all my thoughts to you.
And I’m preparing every part for you.
Words and Lyrics: Sufjan Stevens

 

 

*From ‘Jeeves & Wooster’ by PG Wodehouse

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Writers Be Writing: Join ‘Order of the Good Write’ Community

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“Against Monsanto” -Mural by Pixel Poncho

Hello Writers of WordPress!

The mural in this post by Pixel Poncho inspired me today. His murals turn up around the world and fill in the side walls of buildings, beautifying and colorizing a story for all to observe and interpret. (This one was painted for “Shine on St. Pete”).

It also motivated me to get back to helping and connecting writers. So…

Let’s get down to the gritty of the nitty….

As mentioned a few weeks ago on this blog, I’m  in the midst of building a writing community and would like your help.

I’m bringing ‘The Order of the Good Write’ to another level, and am looking for 15 – 20 writers who would like to help me test out a new writers platform I’m building.

For those first 20 people – I’m offering it for FREE. All I ask in payment is your feedback and continuing participation.

You will be the ‘Mercury Seven’. You will be the highly decorated and sought after test pilots. Your mission will be to create and participate in discussion, share books you’ve read, test out writing challenges and create story lines through exquisite corpse play that will make things interesting. Kick the tires on the Wet.Ink space I’m using and be the first crew members to go forth where no human has gone before. (Well, with the exception of teachers and writers who’ve formed their own groups…this is really an awesome site to carve out private online communities.)

And – I won’t make you sit in a gravity chamber, wait through a battery of tests where you have to hold your bladder or have you break the sound barrier. You will fly and, hopefully, have fun.

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This can be you! If astronauts were writers!

All I ask is that you share your stories, work on gaining confidence and motivation in your writing while using the online tools so I can build the best platform around.

It’s absolutely confidential, and no writing will be copied or shared outside the space.

Please email if you’re interested at drotmil@gmail.com and I will invite you in!

Good writing to you all!

Debi

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Writing Challenge: What Place Creeps You Out?

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Roosevelt Island on the East River between Manhattan and Queens, NY.

What place on earth really creeps you out? Is it a building somewhere in your hometown? Is it a ruin you walked through years ago while on vacation that felt heavy with history and past demons?

Why not write about it? I did. Here it goes:

For me, it’s Roosevelt Island. The cigar shaped strip of land along the east river that straddles the upper east side of Manhattan and Queens. Fully inhabited, it’s a living, breathing little sleepy nook of NYC, carved off from the mainland.

Back in the black and white dusty days of old timey NYC, it was used to quarantine the contagious from the main land. A small pox hospital (now crumbling and empty) existed. And the Octogon Building, now a luxury condo complex, was the sight of a former insane asylum.

Yup! This place is really cool. And weird. And creepy despite it being inhabited and beloved (or despised, depending on who you talk to) by those who live there.

This long, two mile strip of land wasn’t wasted or left to the elements like the REALLY REALLY creepy North and South Brother Islands – two abandoned small land masses off the coast of The Bronx steeped in sad, depressing history. (More to come in my next post). Roosevelt was developed into a residential, park-like community with no nightlife, a few grocery stores and restaurants. It still houses a working, educational hospital; yet, people come here to buy high end condos and live a peaceful life away from the bustle  across the river.

There is only a Main Street cutting through the island, with an east and west drive. You can get to Roosevelt Island by Tram or by the F train. Cars are not plentiful, so there’s no traffic. The tram ride there is gorgeous, and the biking on the island is nice and easy due to cars being somewhat scarce.

For me, it’s incredibly creepy. Eerie. Strange. Like a New York City parallel universe where you’ve been drugged and thrown in a van only to wake up in the middle of the in-between. Someone online mentioned that it reminded them of the old video game ‘Myst’ – where you’ve been ship wrecked on an island that looks familiar, but it’s vacant and strange and surreal.

They even made a thriller with Jennifer Connolly called ‘Dark Water’ on the premises, using its isolated, dystopic, empty strangeness as part of the atmosphere.

So bizarre is this strip of island  – that only this week during New York’s Fashion Week, Kanye West, now a fashion maven, staged a fashion show to reveal his latest line of shoe wear. Girls clad in nothing but underwear and body stockings stood along the grassy area of the park, staged as living dolls around the makeshift runways. They stood there, like brooding statues in the heat, to which they succumbed, one by one in fainting spells. Meanwhile, animated models strutted and stumbled over shoes that fell apart on the catwalk.

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As each model wobbled and held on to audience members for dear life, the ruins of the small pox hospital loomed in the distance.

A modern day disaster contrasting an older one. A strange land perfect for such a strange performance.

Perfect for a weird place like Roosevelt Island.

Yet, the skyline views were, and are always —  spectacular.

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Photo by: Mabry Campbell – http://www.mabrycampbell.com


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Finding Faith

Screenshot 2016-08-27 13.00.20.png“There was a lot of faith involved in everything that we did. And the people around us had to share that faith or it wouldn’t have worked. Brian had to have faith in us. George Martin had to have faith in us. This is how it was for The Beatles. You had to have faith. We had to have faith in each other.” – Paul, from ‘The Beatles: Eight Days A Week’

Beatle Lessons.


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Indifference: The Creativity Killer

Rick Barrett

Photo by Rick Barrett

This is what giving up in the face of failure looks like…

There is nothing more discouraging for a writer or an artist of any form, to be ignored or have his or her work met with indifference.

Whatever you create, whether it’s a blog post, a novel, an article, a YouTube video, a film, a play or an album of music, if no one gives a shit to see or hear it — it’s worse than getting a bad review.

At least a bad review means it moved someone enough to hate it and have the energy to say something about it. In the end, a negative reaction to creative output is sign that you’ve moved someone – even if it means they had to hold their nose and shout how you sucked.

At least someone saw your work and it created a reaction.

What stinks about being a writer or creator of any kind, is keeping the faith when nobody gives a goddamn about your work. Writing is a pain in the ass, frankly. You have to sit and think and stay engaged with the process believing you’re going to possibly be met with a field of crickets and empty seats out there in your arena.

Indifference is the biggest creativity killer of all. Not bad reviews.

Being met by indifference from the very people you are writing for – stinks.

And then when you see indifference all around you, good old resistance rears its ugly head to tell say, “See? You’re not worth it. So stop writing and get back on Facebook and read about how a kitten in Austin learned how to bake bread.”

I’m not going to lie. I’m lost and floating out in a sea of indifference. I keep trying to make little steps toward progress on my coaching, reaching out to people to try and build something interesting, but I can’t even give away spots in my writing community for FREE.

Is this whining? Yeah – so what? I’m pissed, okay?

You know why? Because after self publishing a book of short stories, I’m met with indifference from people who are too polite to say it was milk toast boring crap so they are silent. If you have nothing good to say… Of course, it’s with the exception of a few who praised it.

Or…because when I tried to get promotional gigs at local bookstores, I was met with “We don’t do those kind of books.” It’s not fun being in debt when your act of being expansive and getting ‘uncomfortable’ by investing in a creative goal, flunked.

Indifference. And in turn, I offer indifference back.

So, I’m on here to say, I’m backing away from this for a while. I need a break from being a writing cheerleader because resistance has won in the face of indifference and I can’t put up this front anymore.  I need to recharge or find some kind of hope in the face of another failure to get me going again. But right now – I’m done.

Take this as your own personal incentive to write. Do not give up. Because I’ll be in the corner being jealous of your new novel and wondering what might have been.

Success is the difference between failing and quitting and failing and trying again. And the way I feel today, I may just let failure win.

But, I’ll probably be back tomorrow writing away anyway. Even though this post will also be met with indifference.

 

 

 

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