Blogs, Creative Writing, Uncategorized

National Smile Day! :)

What’s in a smile?

Merriam-Webster defines the facial muscle responsible for producing a smile (zygomaticus major) as :  “a slender band of muscle on each side of the face that arises from the zygomatic bone, inserts into the orbicularis oris and skin at the corner of the mouth, and acts to pull the corner of the mouth upward and backward when smiling or laughing.”

I’ll not go into how many muscles are used to smile versus a frown. There’s seems to be conflicting data relating to that question.

What I can say from experience is that smiling seems to be infectious. Have you ever walked into a public place and made eye contact with someone who was smiling? Does noticing a person smiling cause you to grin or smile? I’m not sure what the phenomenon is, but it’s truly a thing that happens. It may be that those of us that can relate to smiling in response to seeing a smile want to share in the joy. Sharing in others joy is something the world could use more of, in my opinion. Our need to share in another’s joy could be on a conscious or unconscious level. Or, it may be as simple as enjoying the view. If only for a moment, our smiles make us feel better. Walk into a place with people laughing hysterically and I dare you not to put on a grin or start laughing yourself. I’m sure there are people that would be unmoved by the previous scenario above. “Variety is the spice of life….” as William Cowper was quoted.

Have you ever been mildly upset and have someone try to make you smile? There are all sorts of medical data available related to smiling causing a reduced stress response. Check out the article on Medical News Today.

I’ve heard and read over the years that laughing adds time to human life. Whether that information is factual or not, the laughing starts with a SMILE.

By the way, Happy National Smile Day!  Enjoy 😊!

R. H. W.  Dorsey  © 5/31/2019

https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/zygomaticus%20major

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248433.php

yellow plush toy

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Blogs, Creative Writing, Uncategorized

Non-scientific Writing Community Polls on Twitter

person dropping paper on box
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I enjoy Twitter polls and can hardly resist scrolling past them (no matter the subject). There’s something about being part of a poll that I just dig. (I’m a Boomer). I thought it would be interesting to get an idea of what writers think, feel, use in their craft, etc. For the last five weeks, I’ve polled the #WritingCommunity on things that piqued my curiosity. I participated in the polls, as well. The writing and publishing processes are dynamic, and I wanted to see what’s fresh. Some of the polls I ran had only a handful of responses – but some data is better than none. Of course, since this is a ‘non-scientific’ poll, the results are technically misleading. I could even go so far to say some responses may have been for sport (see the poll on 3-12-19 below).  At the present time, I’m content being a part of the #WritingCommunity on Twitter.

 

TWITTER WRITING COMMUNITY NON-SCIENTIFIC POLL

(Total votes are listed after polling data)

  • 2/21/19: Writers, how often does your WIP change genres?
    • 36% Sometimes; 18% Always; 46% Never (11 votes)
  • 2/22/19: How much time do you spend reading books every day?
    • 25% Less than 1 hour; 50% 1-2 hours; 0% 3-4 hours; 25% Over 4 hours (4 votes)
  • 2/28/19: Novelists, do you create an outline for your novel?
    • 36% Always; 27% Never; 37% Sometimes (11 votes)
  • 3/1/19: What writing software are you using, if any?
    • 30% Scrivener; 41% Word; 20% Google Docs; 9% Other (44 votes)
  • 3/6/19: Have you ever completely revamped your WIP before publishing?
    • 75% Many times; 25% Once or Twice; 0% Never (4 votes)
      • (I’m filing under questions just stupid enough to ask)
  • 3/12/19: Have you ever taken an online writing course?
    • 64% No; 18% Yes; 9% I’m a Genius; 9% Currently taking a course (11 votes)
      • (I’d love to meet the geniuses one day)
  • 3/16/19: What are you currently writing?
      • 80% Genre fiction; 13% Literary Fiction; 7% Other (15 votes)
  • 3/20/19: Are you planning a book launch?
    • 60% Not sure; 30% No; 10% In Progress (10 votes)
  • 3/26/19: What to do when writing and losing focus?
    • Total 39 votes: 31% Exercise; 23% TV; 31% Read; 15% Other (39 votes)
  • 3/30/19: Which of the 4 genres would you buy a book?
    • 41% Literary; 0% Nonfiction; 7% Poetry; 52% Crime (27 votes)

Tweet comments were posted on some polls (summarized below)

  • 2/21/19 Poll: “…while it might change, it’s never too far from where it started.”
  • 3/1/19 Poll: Other writing software noted in poll comments: New Novelist; OpenOffice; Zenwriter; Hemingway; Grammarly.
  • 3/26/19 Poll: Activities when losing focus noted in poll comments: watch videos; housework; write something else; nap; physically move to a new space to write.
  • 3/30/19 Poll: I purposely used the four categories of my personal interest in this poll. Two people commented:
    • Sci-Fi
    • Crime Fiction and a split between contemporary Lit.

 

What did I learn? I learned that I was almost always in the lower percentage of the polls. I embrace being different so very much!

What was I surprised by? 64% of those that answered had never taken an online writing course – I’m one of the 64% (the only poll where I was with the majority).

As much as the poll was unscientific, it helped me interact with the writing community.

 

Blogs, Uncategorized

National Clam Chowder Day

seashells in a bag

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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

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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?

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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?