Wednesday, April 30, 2008
This land turtle is a little shy
This week I have visited several blogs belonging to British ex-pats, many of whom bemoan the fact that you can’t get a decent curry in the US for love nor money. That’s because most Americans seem to have an aversion to spicy food. Their idea of spicy food is having chipotle sauce on their cardboard burgers.
In California, where I used to live, we had a great Indian restaurant, their food was excellent, but if you wanted a spicy curry you had to ask for it, and they would happily oblige. (Even their vindaloo was tame).
Now I live out in the back of beyond, I have about as much chance of finding an Indian restaurant as I have of winning the lottery, and I don’t do the lottery. So, the only way to get a decent curry is to make one, now this one is pretty good if I do say so myself. For the recipe visit my cooking blog at:
Also all this talk of curries got me thinking about balti. Baltis were becoming very popular around the time I left England, and I loved them. So this weekend, provided it’s not 90°F outside, I’ll make one, and some naan bread. I’ll let you know how I get on.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Meet Alvin, who ought to have been named Arnie, because he is one lean, mean, killing machine.
I’ve actually started putting together a book proposal for my non-fiction book. Done some research for my next article for Oklahoma Living Magazine.
And submitted two short stories to two different short story contests.
The weather here has been all over the place this week, too. We’ve had more storms, and some sun with temperatures in the high 70’s F, which is great growing weather, so everything is looking really green again. Today, though, it’s back in the 50’s and will get close to freezing tonight, (more of the same forecast for tomorrow), which is not good news for our vegetable plots. We had hoped to get our tomatoes planted this weekend, but that has had to be put on hold for a little while longer. For more information on our garden visit Mick’s blog http://oklahomegrownveg.blogspot.com/
Mick and I have also splashed out and bought a new digital camera, after humming and arring about it for weeks, (did I mention Mick’s from Yorkshire, so what else can you expect?) Our old camera was a museum piece, and the picture quality left a lot to be desired. Seeing all the beautiful photographs on this blog http://uphilldowndale.wordpress.com/ finally clinched the matter. Whether I'll ever figure out how to use it is another matter, the instruction manual is bigger than the camera!
And now more writerly advice for my granddaughter, and anyone else who’s interested..
When you set out to write a book or a story, don’t even think about getting it published, just get the story down on paper/computer. And don’t worry too much about spelling, grammar or punctuation, you can go back and fix these when you do your second (3rd, 4th etc.) draft. The important thing is to get the story told. Stephen King, in his excellent book, On Writing calls this process, "writing with the door shut."
The revising, re-writing, and polishing of the prose all come later. All writers will tell you that they never write anything worth publishing the first time around, and it often takes several drafts before they have a novel or story they are reasonably happy with. Though I don’t think any writer is ever completely satisfied with what they do, they always feel there’s room for improvement, but there comes a point when you just have to stop tinkering and tweaking and send it out into the world.
I also have a confession to make. I haven’t been sticking to my own advice. I’ve been critiquing my granddaughter’s work, and she has been going back and revising it. But, that said, her book is still progressing, despite the revisions, she’s up to over 30,000 words now, and I think that’s bloody admirable for a fifteen year old who has all her school work to do as well.
Thought for the Week
"If you start to revise before you've reached the end, you're likely to begin dawdling with the revisions and putting off the difficult task of writing." ― Pearl S. Buck
Sunday, April 20, 2008
A few of the Grand Lake Wordsmiths after a
presentation at Grove Public Library
Here’s some more writerly (Is that a word? My spoolchucker doesn’t think so. If not, it is now) advice I gave my granddaughter.
Join a writer’s group. If you’re not sure if there is one in your area, try asking at the library, they will probably know if there is one. I joined a writer’s group when I first moved to Oklahoma and I believe my writing has improved as a result. I know without the support and encouragement of my writer’s group, I would never have tried to get anything published.
At first it’s very difficult having your stories critiqued, after all, we none of us like criticism of our work. But as well as helping to improve your writing, it helps you develop a thick skin, and believe me you’ll need it if you want to be a writer. I could paper my office walls with all my rejections. Writing is also a very isolated business and it’s good to be able to talk about it with like-minded people.
Also the diverse writing styles of the group caused me to look outside my comfort zone and try different types of writing. When I first joined them I wrote short stories and nothing else. Now, I write non-fiction articles and essays about all manner of things. Who knows, one of these days I might really branch out and write some poetry. The last time I tried to write poetry it was as an outlet for my teenage angst, and that was a long time ago.
Writer’s groups are also a great way to make new friends. The group I belong to is called Grand Lake Wordsmiths Unlimited, and we meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month, between 4pm and 6pm, at Grove Community Center. New members are always welcome, so if you live in the Grand Lake area, drop by and see us some time. We also have a critique group meeting in the middle of the month, the dates and times of these are arranged at our monthly meetings.
Thought for the Week
“I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork”. ― Peter De Vries
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Last year my granddaughter told me she was trying to write a book and asked me for some tips to help her with her writing, I came up with a list of about ten things she could do. Over the next few weeks I’ll share some of my suggestions here.