Books! Writing Tools

Write About What You Know—and What You Don’t Know

If I can give you advice on anything, I’d have to say write about what you know—and what you don’t know. It took me over forty years to realize that most people don’t analyze things as much as I do.

In April, a friend told me I was making him crazy with all of my questions. He paused, looked me in the eyes and said, “But you’re a writer. That’s what you do.” Another friend commented on how I’ve got every detail of our conversations memorized, and another on how I tend to beat a dead horse until I understand why it’s dead. I didn’t like the analogy, but I got the point.

These days, I call the beating of “dead horses” investigations. It cuts down on a lot of research time. Continue reading


“Busy” in the Life of a Creative Person

I am a creative type. Anyone who knows me understands it’s an understatement when I say, “I’ve been pretty busy.”

The details of a typical day in “The Life of Rachel” can be rather dizzying. I blame my mother.

To me, being productive from morning until I drop my weary head upon my pillow seems normal. But I hear this’s not what normal is supposed to look like—go figure.

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The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

The Art of Letting Go

“Oh grow up!” my mother used to say. And so I did–but I did it my way. I never was very good at following the rules. (The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.) Neither are my babies…damn apples!

I wonder if she ever wishes she could take those words back? I know I often wish I could.Or that I could better learn the art of letting go.

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Rejection 101

I’ve been thinking of rejection a lot lately—and I’ve realized I’m pretty darn good at it! How did this happen? Was I always good at rejection? Is it something to be proud of? I did a bit of research.

Experts would agree that North Americans are more or less proficient when it comes to maintaining our physical health, but we rarely take care of our emotional health. We spend more time taking care of our minor ailments than we do our minds. Injuries like failure, rejection and loneliness can dramatically impact our lives if we don’t take care of them—but we tend to ignore psychological health or treat it with prescription drugs.

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Pottery: Slabs are my Thing

If you google “slab” you’ll find:

noun 1. a large, thick, flat piece of stone, concrete, or wood, typically rectangular.

“paving slabs”

verb 1. remove slabs from (a log or tree) to prepare it for sawing into planks.

Until April, in my mind, slabs were either a type of fencing used to corral pigs or large hunks of meat. I had no idea “slab” could be used as a verb, nor did I know I’d be using slabs to express my artistic abilities.

But alas… I slabbed my clay and used the slabs to create pottery. And I’m never looking back.

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Growing out of my exoskeleton

Growth Through Change

There is growth through change. The towering maple tree in my backyard exposes its buds as it thrusts its limbs towards blue skies. It confirms that we are surrounded by growth and that we are always on the cusp of seasonal change.

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”

C. JoyBell C.

I stretch towards the sky and inhale–exposed to the fresh air and sunlight. I feel myself growing out of the exoskeleton of my previous life. You see, I am growing because I am finally living. I am growing because I am changing. I am changing because I’ve opened myself to learning through my writing and through taking risks. I am exposing my innermost being. I will continue to hurl myself at the world.

I am on the cusp of another victory.

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My first round of pots and tulips from Marc

Pottery and Patrick Swayze

  Pottery Update

It’s been ten weeks since I threw my first pot. (In fact, ten weeks ago I thought throwing pots was about expressing anger.) As I prepped myself for that first class, I told myself that if I couldn’t make anything round, I would simply close my eyes and imagine Patrick Swayze’s ghost was enveloping me…you know, the classic scene from Ghost, which might be what prompted my desire to sit at a pottery wheel. (Here’s a playlist of Patrick’s most romantic scenes. I think I’ve loved him since the early 80’s.)
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Writing—The Beginning of My Journey

In the beginning, there was the written word…

Of course, like most writers, I’ve always known that I wanted to a writer. As a little girl, I lived in my mind and lost myself in books. I can still remember the joy of writing my first stories when I was a pupil in the tiny one-room school in Simmie, Saskatchewan. But knowing and becoming are two different things.

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