Hemingway, spring, Seattle.
I’ve started to crave spring warmth, blooms, and longer days. Here in Seattle, we’ve had an unusual run of days in the thirties; so much so that Green Lake had enough ice for some brave crazies to walk on. Now, we’re back to heavy rains. I’m hearing friends talk about Florida trips, and cruises to the Caribbean, and I’m wishing I had a ticket and a packed suitcase. Here’s one of my favorite quotes by Ernest Hemingway, and a picture of tulips from the past in my yard to help me, and maybe you, get through the rest of winter:
“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
Thankfully, I have friends that are as good as spring itself.
Always happy when serendipity allows me a chance to talk about my novel with a stranger. Yesterday, in Seattle, a crisp and sunny winter solstice, I walked my dog to the library to pick up Still Life with Bread Crumbs (Anna Quindlen), and Zelda (Nancy Milford). When I returned home along the path at Green Lake, I spied a tiny dog being walked by two women (60-somethings like me). My dog went into a low crouch, weight on her back paws, refusing to move forward. Tiny tot did the same.
“Dogs aren’t saying hello to him today,” the woman in charge of the leash lamented.
My dog went for tiny tot. “Be nice Lucy,” I said, then realized I called my dog by the wrong name.
The dogs visited in the way dogs do.
“What’s your dog’s name,” I asked.
“Romeo. And yours is Lucy.”
“No, her name is Lulu, but I called her Lucy because that’s the name of a character in a novel I’m writing, and she’s on my mind.”
“Oh, are you a local author?”
“What have you written?” Continue reading
My dad’s enthusiasm for athletics infused my childhood. He introduced me to more sports than I have fingers. I was nine years old when it started. My family had moved into a modest three-bedroom home on an acre of land across the street from the back nine of an esteemed public golf course. My father had visions for our land.
As it was an L-shaped home, his first vision was to place a swimming pool inside the L, like snapping in a LEGO piece, to close the open-ended rectangle. In his youth, he had trained as a life guard. He taught me all the swim strokes, including a bonus: Esther Williams’s half-freestyle/half-backstroke style. I loved to swim laps, practice dives, make waves with a cannonball; with friends, I played water volleyball, floated on air mattresses, had splash parties; and if no one was home, I skinny dipped.
Dad and I spent hours together on the golf course. With his encouragement and lessons, my skill soon matched his, though his drives went farther. We had an after-dinner, five-hole ritual. Crossing our street, walking through the neighbor’s yard put us at the 14th hole. We played 14 and 15, cut a path through the woods to play 11, 12, and 13 (my all-time favorite hole, a par four dogleg with great birdie potential). Then we’d walk through the neighbor’s yard, cross our street, and be home.
His second vision was for the blacktop driveway.
Kay’s front porch, Seattle, 2001. Dad-85; Kay-48
The author at Ella Sharp Park G.C., Jackson, MI – July 1978
As a writer and a golfer, I found joy in creating a main character with a passion for golf. Here’s an excerpt of a chat between Par Parker and her mother from my debut novel, A Tight Grip…
In an uncharacteristic moment of blissful connection, [Par’s mother asked], “What do you love about golf?” Excited about her mother’s attention, Par thought for a moment. “I love the finesse of it, the strategy of playing each hole smart, the shot making, adapting to weather, analyzing my competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. I love the fact that I can outdrive a man twice my size. There are always surprises in every round, surprises like sinking a long birdie putt, skipping the ball over water, getting a favorable bounce away from a hazard, holing out a chip shot, and the ultimate—making a hole in one.”
“A hole in one. What are the odds?”
“Probably a million to one.”
“And you’ve had two.”
Par nodded. She had her mother’s full attention and didn’t want to stop. “I love the thrill of winning. I love the press and the attention from people, even strangers, for what I do myself and not for being the daughter of Mr. Chevrolet.”
And yes, these feelings Par has expressed about golf are my feelings (author privilege). The fiction comes in with the ‘two’ holes in one, I’ve had only one, but there’s still a lot of golf left in me!
Cheers for National Golf Day! Wishing you many pars and birdies!!
Want to write a novel? Start collecting resource books. Here’s the tower of books I used to write A Tight Grip, my debut novel. Each one helped in a different way. All offer different types of information from different perspectives, and have varied degrees of entertainment value. If you skipped Anatomy class in college like I did, you can learn a lot from Human Anatomy and come across as an expert. Specificity is uber-important to the craft of writing. I needed a word for that thingy a boater ties his craft to on the dock. What’s what? supplied ‘cleat.’ New word for me, and I’ll remember it forever. Spice up your prose with exotic words from They Have a Word for It: if your antagonist is a boozer, have her experience a Katzenjammer (a horrible hangover). Need a writing exercise for practice, or to help you create some conflict, try What if? Think you must be insane for trying to write a novel, you are a little. Now that you know, check in to the asylum: your home office, local coffee shop, library. If you have a question about how I used, and continue to use, these books, please ask me via the comment section. Or, just post a comment. Do you have a resource tower?
Do you know about the ‘boredom test,’ and an easy way to jazz your writing? Read the answers here:
I’m honored to have a blog post featured on WOW!’s Friday Speak Out, today. This venue is a great opportunity for women writers to share insights and tips. Hope you’ll have a chance to check out my essay: Writing Tip: Add Body Parts. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.
Special thanks to Marcia Peterson at WOW!, Priscilla Long, author of The Writer’s Portable Mentor, and Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees.
Have you seen GottaGoGolf’s Spring issue? Here’s a free sample. Read.uberflip.com/t/164737
I read the entire magazine the second it came through by email, and was thoroughly immersed in its positive spirit. Not being a fan of traditional golf magazines, I enjoyed and related to everything in GottaGoGolf , especially its theme: We’ve got the POWER!
Hope you enjoy it. If you love it, you can subscribe (see the last page).
For one week only, you can purchase an e-book written by a She Writes Press author for $.99! No matter what your taste in reading, I bet there’s a book here for you. http://gobooksparks.com/blog/fun-stuff/special-spring-ebook-sale/
Enjoy, and remember what Dr. Seuss said about reading:
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
These two beasts may be familiar to you. I wrestled with them, pinned them to the mat, and then moved closer to the prize of publication! Click here to find out more: [SWP: Behind the Book] Taming the Beasts