Blogs

Blogs, Uncategorized

National Clam Chowder Day

seashells in a bag

Photo by julie aagaard on Pexels.com

 

Today, January 25th is National Clam Chowder Day. I promised on a blog post last year that I’d revisit the subject of National Days. Better late than never, I always say. The 25th of February is also National Chocolate Covered Nut Day. I prefer chocolate covered nuts much more than clam chowder, but I learned clam chowder was a more interesting subject.

Are you aware that clam chowder has over nine variations? I mean, who knew? Maybe clam chowder lovers were aware, but not I. Not being a huge clam chowder fan, I can say that I’ve eaten clam chowder at times throughout the years. As a child and into adulthood, I only knew about two types of clam chowder: Manhattan and New England. I always preferred the Manhattan chowder for its tomato base and flavor.

Why does clam chowder deserve a special day? While I can’t answer the question, I believe the issue is not as subjective as I’d originally thought. National ‘Singles Awareness Day’ was observed just last week. If you’re single, aren’t you aware of it every day of the year? If you’re single by choice, shouldn’t you celebrate it every day? Maybe ‘National Singles Day’ would be a better term. Semantics, I know. National ‘Fun at Work Day’ is observed later this week. I wonder how many employers will buy into making the work day ‘fun’ for employees without sacrificing their bottom line? A day of fun at work is possible for some professions, though. When you consider there are ‘National Days’ slated for just about anything, naming a day for a chowder with multiple variations might be reasonable.

Besides New England and Manhattan clam chowder, I’ve read about variations of clam chowder named Rhode Island, Delaware, New Jersey, Hatteras, Minorcan, Long Island, and Puget Sound. It seems the different areas of the United States add or omit ingredients to the chowder, thus giving it a unique name that stuck with the region. While I won’t go into the details of all the variations, I found one interesting variation I’d like to try. Hatteras clam chowder is prepared with celery, carrots, potatoes, onions, and clam juice. My own favorite potato soup recipe has almost all the ingredients of the Hatteras variety, less the clam component.

If nothing else, clam chowder and its many varieties are interesting enough, in my opinion, to have a National Day observance.  My opinion counts – at least on this blog. Personally, as a writer, I’m looking forward to National Tell a Fairy Tale Day tomorrow.

If you like clam chowder, which one is your favorite, and why?

 

 

 

 

References:

https://www.homeandplate.com/blog/2015-2-hatteras-clam-chowder/

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/february/

https://www.ehow.com/info_8355520_different-kinds-clam-chowders.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Writing, Uncategorized

Creativity While Writing

low angle view of lighting equipment on shelf
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What spurs your creativity while writing?

 

Very often during my writing process, I take mini-breaks to update social media or read the news, etc. Today, a subject about music and writing came to mind.

Music has been an important part of my entire life. There’s something to the saying about music being the “soundtrack” of one’s life. Name me a few top ten songs on the ‘Pop’ charts during my childhood or young adulthood. I’ll probably be able to tell you what was going on in my life just by the mention of the songs’ title.

Sadly, music for the past decade or more hasn’t had too much of an impact on my memory retention. Almost exclusively now, I find myself listening to songs from twenty or more years ago.

Music gives me inspiration at the beginning, middle and end of my day. I thank my parents for always playing records and having music available during my early years. If ever I were on the proverbial desert island, I’d want an endless soundtrack of music to enjoy.

One of the MC’s in my current short story collection is thinking of The Carpenter’s song “Close to You” when she meets who she thinks is a potential love interest. I listened to the song for inspiration to help me along with the MC’s feelings at that moment.

At other times, I take a short walk outside just to breathe in fresh air and my stories are rejuvenated.

What inspires your creativity in the writing process?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Uncategorized

Writing Rituals

Blog Pic_Writing Rituals_021019

I’ve read about writers who have very detailed and specific writing rituals. My rituals aren’t as detailed as I’ve heard others claim. I could probably imagine a space that would make my senses pop if I put more thought into the process. For now, what follows is my writing ritual at the present time.

I have space in my home where most of my writing gets done. The lighting is based on the time of day and how I’m feeling. If I’m having a not-so-good morning, shades are closed, and the lights are set to low. When I’m raring to go, natural light and hydration are all I need. In the evenings, lights are set to as bright as possible. Due to various reasons my writing space needs to be mobile. The constants are my paper notepads, pen, pencil, laptop, electronic tablet, and a beverage.

Silence, while I’m writing, is now a must. Silence helps with my creativity and clears thoughts in my head. However, silence in my surroundings isn’t always possible. A frequent pre-writing ritual of mine is doing meditation. Guided meditation with audio files or silent meditation helps me start the day or clear my thoughts toward the end of the day. After meditation, I listen to a few of my favorite songs while I check email and update social media.

When I was younger and away at college, I could write an entire essay with music blaring all around. I know those days are gone forever. There’s enough mumbo jumbo going on inside my head without adding music to the mix.

I’ve changed habits over time and my current writing rituals will most likely change in some way going forward. I normally do what works for me at the present time.

What’s your writing ritual?

Uncategorized

Mulberries

mulberry

I remember the tree that stood only yards away from my grandmother’s front yard when I was a child. I called it ‘the berry tree’. I’ve since learned the berries I loved to pick and eat where I stood were actually mulberries.

I’ve been wanting to do a history book relating to the section of town where my fondest memories of childhood exist. The street where I grew up is no longer considered a street. Trees on the hillside have grown where the houses use to stand. The street is currently blocked off with concrete barriers. Its name is only referenced on historical maps of the city.

I came across an online forum where people were commenting on various city streets’ history. The area where my grandmother’s house stood was mentioned. The consensus was that it was a forgotten street and houses probably never stood on the street. The comments had to be from people too young to remember or ones that didn’t research. I had to set the record straight, of course. I commented that people did live on the street. Cars actually drove up and down the street that served as a connection to a busy avenue. The huge sinkhole or “cave-in” as we called it back then, closed the street off to thru traffic. That event was the beginning of the end. However, people lived on the street on the street for another twenty-five years or so after the cave-in.

At some point, I’m going to dig through old pictures I took as a child/teenager who loved cameras. I hope to find snapshots that show the house and street that’s forgotten. Most adults that lived on the street at the time are long gone from this earth. If the pictures can’t be found, I have my memories which are still clear enough to tell the story.

Uncategorized

END OF NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH

Every-Accomplishment-760x500

Congratulations to everyone that took the NaNoWriMo and Write Nonfiction in November Challenge. It was grueling at times for me but worth well worth the effort. So, congrats to all that participated.

I personally wrote more words this month than I’ve ever written on one single project in this amount of time. That’s a huge accomplishment for me considering I’ve mostly done short stories and poetry. My non-fiction novel written in November included every bit of information about the events I felt necessary. However, I didn’t reach my word-count goal for full novel length. I’m giving this one an “incomplete” on the basis I said I’d do forty to fifty thousand words and didn’t. The book may end up as a novella in the end. With that said, my goal of a full-length novel may have been unrealistic considering the topic. Including content not needed for the sake of a word count didn’t work on this one for me. Unlike fiction, there was nothing to make up or embellish. However, a loss is a loss and I’ll own up to it.

I have a decent first draft and now the fun of re-drafting, proofreading and editing will begin. I’ll tell you a secret: I love the proofreading and editing part – it’s fun for me. The professional help will come much later in this process.

I’m taking a breather for a few days then it’s back to writing in December. Does this writing thing ever stop? I hope not.  😊

Going forward, I hope to refocus my blog on other stuff going on in the world around me.

…until next time!

Uncategorized

CRUNCH TIME! National Novel Writing Month

keep-calm-its-crunch-time-12

It’s not lost on me that I’m not alone. The holidays are difficult to keep most time-sensitive commitments. I must research and find out who decided to make National Novel Writing Month in November. Was it because of the “N’s”, I wonder? In any case, I’m behind on my word count goal. However, I’m not so behind that I can’t make it to my goal if I hustle. Also, there’s a push by writing coaches, editors and other industry folks to get their products this month. It’s probably the best time of the year to market. I’d do it if I were them. Well played coaches, editors, and agents.

At the beginning of the month, I blogged about all the projects I was working on and hadn’t a prayer of finishing. I was wrong. I’m on track with the poetry challenge, and the flash fiction stories. The memoir is finished and published on Amazon and Kindle. The short story was submitted to an online contest. Sadly, the full-length novel suffered.

All is not lost. I have approximately twenty-six hours and eighteen minutes left to finish (give or take a few minutes depending on when I finish typing this entry). I won’t get any prize for finishing. I’ll know I can do this, and that’s worth more than any certificate I could earn.

By the way, my Steelers lost yesterday to the Broncos 17-24. Ben, why did you play action fake to the wrong guy? I know you owned up to it – good job. But wow.

Uncategorized

Pittsburgh Steelers defeat Jaguars

football helmet picNeglecting my love: Football

 

I realized a few weeks ago that I’ve neglected my favorite pastime this month: Football. It’s not just football, in general, it’s Steeler Football. It’s hard to grow up in Pittsburgh without being a fan of at least one sports team. Most people I know are fans of the at least one of our professional teams. A great majority of those folks are fans of the big three: Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. There’s no gender politics where Steeler football is concerned in my town. Plenty female Steelers fans have bled black and gold since they were able to speak. Literally, the baby clothes section at the Pro shops in town gets frequented plenty. It’s hard to go on social media during a season to not see someone’s post of a baby or small child in miniature sports gear. It’s a beautiful thing.

I’ve loved everything Steeler since Mean Joe Green came to my school so many years ago. At the young age of 11, Joe Green was the largest man I’d ever seen in person next to Muhammad Ali a year or two before. I’m no fair-weather fan and I have been known to perform my ritual each Steeler game.

Now to the neglect: This is National November Writing Month. I took on multiple writing projects (by choice) and spend most waking hours writing poems, short fiction or devoting time to my novel. Semi-retirement is great as I make writing a new career – slowly but surely. I’m behind on current events in the local and national news. I hadn’t realized the Steelers were on a winning streak at the present time (I hope I’m not jinxing them). I did, however, get to see the last few plays of the game today with Jacksonville. The Steelers defeated Jacksonville 20-16. So, we’re having a good season and I’m missing most of the games. It’s fine if they keep up the good work!

Besides, I’ll have multiple poems and stories written to put into a compilation and a jump on that novel. 😊

Break’s over!

Uncategorized

Day 13 WD 2018 November Pad Chapbook Challenge

warn giyse

2018 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

Today’s prompt (see link above) was for a quiet or loud poem. Here’s my free verse:

 

“Quiet warmth”

 

The humming of our heater

is loud serving as music

to my ears as I sit in

beautiful silence letting

the humming and warmth carry

me back to the days of cold

and cuddling against my

siblings as we wore winter

coats day and night. My pillow

now is warm and my comforter

as soft as cotton balls. Oh,

I wish I could transport some

warmth and blankets back to

those children shivering in

their beds as a mother cried

silently in the coldest room.

I want to tell the children

they won’t always be cold.

Resounding heater humming

and soft blankets are the truth.

copyright 2018 R. H. Dorsey

Uncategorized

My Day 9 PAD Chapbook Challenge poem

It’s been a rough time lately hearing and seeing reports of violence in the world, this country, and my hometown. I’m participating in the Writer’s Digest 2018 November PAD Chapbook Challenge every day this month.

See: http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-9  for details on the challenge.

My poem for today is shared below:

“Burn Slow”

 

Shooters shoot aimlessly

as victims die without

reason leaving survivors

lives blown to shreds

of what once was hope

and promise of long and

natural life. Numbness

becomes a safe harbor

for our psyches to cope

and shield us from

feeling what would surely

cause our minds to

realize the last days

of existence have been

fueled and set long ago.

We helplessly watch the

unfolding of events as if

we didn’t know all along

that we are in the midst

of a slow burn of devastation.

©2018 R. H. Dorsey

 

Uncategorized

MONDAY – Pre-election Day 2018

If you’re a U. S. citizen, are you ready to vote tomorrow? We’ve heard for some time now this election is the most important election in a long while. Some have gone so far as to say the election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, is the election of our lifetime. I’m not sure about that previous statement, but with the political climate today the election tomorrow is super important. One thing I’m certain of is that my household has a personal commitment to be at the polls casting our votes.

I’m dating myself by saying I voted in the 1980 election, but it’s true. It was the most exciting thing I’d done in my life to that point. I felt like a full-fledged adult and had my driver’s license and voter’s registration to prove it.  The election of November 1980 was a Presidential election and I took it very seriously. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of those my age who lost their youthful excitement about voting would just vote their conscious and see what happens? I mean, to just throw your vote out and hope for the best? In the end, that’s all we can do – our best.

We can argue that voters are adults with minds of their own and shouldn’t have to be convinced to vote. After all, the laws and policies that govern our lives in the United States are directly affected by the voting public. Sounds simple, right? You’d be surprised at the rhetoric of people that don’t vote. My frustration with the non-voter no matter the party affiliation runs deep. There are older members of my family that have experiences in the past of being stopped at the polls for trying to cast their vote. Knowing family members or anyone that fought for the right to vote were denied is the absolute reason I exercise that right. I believe in my country and our system of democracy (too preachy, oh well). While our Constitution gives us the ‘right’ to vote, there are always debates on whether voting is a privilege. Personally, I’m hoping to never see the day where citizens are given a ‘privilege’ to vote. What would be the criteria to grant one a privilege to vote? The prospect would seem too subjective and unfair in my opinion.

Finally, I’m noticing most people talking about voting lately in a way I haven’t heard in a long while. People are mouthing the words “no matter what your party affiliation get out and vote.” That’s new, in the past one mostly heard be sure to vote “this party” or “that party” period. It’s easy to notice the desperation and seriousness voters in this country have about this election. The fact for the apathetic non-voter is no matter your feelings about the political party leading the House or Senate, the policies trickle down to your interests on a state and local level. I’m hoping everyone in this country eligible to vote goes to the polls tomorrow. Or, if you’ve already voted in early voting or by absentee ballot – great!

Uncategorized

NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH IS HERE!

macbook pro on desk
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

NATIONAL WRITING MONTH – NOVEMBER 2018

It’s November 1st, the first day of writing, writing and more writing. In the past month, for whatever reason, I decided to ramp up on my writing. So, why not pick the busiest time of the year – the start of the holiday season?

Today, I’ve started participating in the ‘Write Nonfiction in November challenge, and the FlashNano 2018 challenge. Both projects are intended solely for the month of November. I’m also concurrently writing a non-fiction short story that needs to be done by mid-November. I shouldn’t forget the memoir proof copy I’m waiting for in the mail. The memoir requires one last look over before it’s published in a couple of weeks.

It may be surprising only to those who don’t love writing that I’m loving every minute of these writing challenges. Completing all the above projects would be amazing. I doubt it will happen though, but that’s okay. My goal is to get writing again. With that said, hopefully at least one or more of the projects will get done. Did I mention the poetry collection I’m working on as well? It’s said if something makes you happy, you don’t mind doing it. It’s true.

I probably don’t have the time to write in this blog today – but what the heck. I want to wish all of the National Writing month participants good luck and hope you meet all of your goals!

Coffee anyone?