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Let me know what you think of my short story “Knock, Knock…Who’s There?”.  It started from a little writing prompt and turned into something fun:)

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It’s amazing that when I woke up this morning I had no idea what a twisty day it would become.  My goal was to visualize my day, carve out some time to write and meditate.  Needless to say…NONE OF THAT HAPPENED!  Instead my day started with a quick visit to my doctor to adjust some medication, meetings and a presentation that was moved up 3 hours.  That on top of lots and lots of “No’s”, I decided its best if I just go home.  The thought of going home and pouting in front of the TV for the evening did not seem attractive, so instead I decided to move my creative challenge to cooking dinner. Through the simple act of embracing the warm temperatures (95 in Grand Rapids), my thoughts of favorite places (Italy) and there you have it!  Dinner!  What started out as cold cuts turned into eggplant and tomato steaks with feta, cold gnocchi and pesto salad and watermelon sandwiches (Ricotta with mint between the slices) and good conversation.  Sometimes when you least expect it, creativity happens in spite of yourself.  Be open, be calm and be guided by your creative self.

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Waterfront Film Festival

I had the wonderful opportunity to partake in the Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck, Michigan.  As I walked the quaint streets of this beautiful town I overhead conversations of art, music and of course film making.  I attended an event hosted by Christopher Coppola, brother of Nicholas Cage.  Coppola, known as “Biker Chef” proceeded to entertain us with a cooking demonstration and shared history about his family and their passion around food, wine and all things art.  He requested that his assistant play Carouso and in a moment Opera filled the air and danced with the aroma of the delicacies he prepared.  I began to realize as he spoke that this was a man who lived a Creative Life.  He explored all areas creative whether it was food or wine, or creating art from something as simple as your cell phone video.  So today’s challenge is to find a balance of creative…where shall you explore?  Today, I write, but tomorrow I will dance.  What will you do?

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Ciao, Ya’ll!

Back in the early 90’s I made my first attempt at a full fledged novel called “Southern Exposure.”  I wanted to somehow share and honor the memorable experiences of growing up as an Italian in the South.  I wanted to capture the gregarious nature of Italians and Southern hospitality.  Some of my best memories are of walking barefoot on stained sidewalks, digging my toes in the sand and spending endless days outside while the humidity of the air kissed my skin.  These memories went hand in hand with local Italian bakeries, my father leading New Year’s Eve parades around Cordova Drive with his accordion and Ravioli dinners on Christmas day while Dad wore his Bermuda shorts.

While my first attempt to capture these memories never materialized, I continued to challenge myself to become a better writer.  I guess I’m at the point where, as an old college friend once said, “I’m better than some, worse than others, but no real complaints.”  And so I keep writing.

This year I would like to try something new.  I am working on a project set in the deep south, Georgia to be exact.  While my southern history hails from the great state of Florida, I’ve driven through Georgia enough to know it is a State with a personality all its own.  I want to capture those things that make the South endearing.  So, if you have a phrase, a special place or a favorite recipe feel free to share and maybe they can be added into a story I am working on.  I’ll start sharing sample chapters to get your opinion, suggestions and comments.  In a way, we are crowdsourceing the setting of my next book and who knows? Maybe one of those chapters might inspire you to share the best of what we all have to offer.

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Life, as we all know, twists and turns and babbles over rocks in the most unwieldy of rivers sometimes diverting our interests and purpose down unknown tributaries.  Such as been my challenge to write lately.  My passion for creative expression still exists, but finding the time to “love the word” and “craft the story” is something I just can’t rush!  So where does that leave the passion for the word–reading!
I just finished, Water for Elephants: A Noveland I have to say that this is one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a while.  I know, I’m probably one of the last people on earth to actually get around to reading it but it was worth the wait.
Sara Gruen blended fiction and history in such a way that the grimy back-tent stories of bumming one’s way into the circus brought to life a saucy tale told from two perspectives of the same person.   Of special note is her integration of the ages of the main character Jacob.  In essence, she captured that treasured quality of our older selves reflecting on life well lived-mistakes, love, pain and all.
In “Water for Elephants” you’ll fall in love with each and every character including the large elephant, “Rosie” who carries with her a wisdom and frivolity that we can only wish to aspire…I won’t give away the story and tell you details, this is something you’ll have to discover between these pages for yourself.

Looking for a good read?  You’ve found it with “Water for Elephants.”  For those of you who may be a bit squeamish, this may not be the book for you, but if you are looking for a bawdy, gritty and touching love story, this is the read for you.

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A Christmas Reflection

One of the joys of writing is that I can sit down at the typewriter and allow my heart to speak. With the holiday’s fast approaching, I’ve often thought…”What gift can I give that will express how I really feel?” In that question, I may have found the answer.

I’ve said before that I heard someone at a conference describe writers as deep-thinkers and dreamers. Nothing touched my soul more than that statement, for I do not claim to be a great writer, just one who loves to write. I grew up with a sister who is truly gifted in the writing world. She can take a word and make it dance. Luckily, I also met a wonderful writer who has encouraged me every step of the way. Her message to me was that we all have a story and a way to tell the story.

A popular book on the market is The Shack. In an interview with Writer’s Digest , the author explained how he did not consider himself a writer but wanted to share his story with family and friends. He printed up enough copies to send at Christmas as personal gifts. What happened surprised him. He started receiving calls from around the country from people he never met wanting a copy of his book. The rest, as they say, is history.

In today’s insane world, maybe you might want to take a moment and write. Keep this tidbit near by and add to it. Maybe by next year, your loved ones will open their present and find something unique. Your voice.

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Why Write?

The sunflower is a unique and beautiful creation.  Not only does it provide nourishing oils, but its beauty stands out among its surroundings and gives one pause, when least expected.  Another important aspect of the sunflower is its behavior.  When the sun rises and casts its amber glow, the sunflower opens its disk and turns toward the sun’s life giving energy.  It continues to face the sun, wherever it goes throughout the day.

There is something organic about its existence, its contentment in following its calling.  And that dear friends, is why I write.  I’ve always written stories in the back of my planners, notebooks, napkins and little scraps of paper.  Story ideas that beckoned me to bring them to life.  In high school, I would often make up stories to accompany the music being played.  Happy music, happy story.  Dramatic story, dramatic music.  It is just what I’ve done for as long as I can remember.

During a difficult time in my life, I rediscovered my love of storytelling when I pulled out two short stories and turned them into my first complete novel. The creative process of writing was my catalyst to conquering demons both inside and outside.

I look forward to sharing with you my musings, essays and short stories on this site. And, someday, hopefully my novels will be published. But, this site is not about that. It is about following the sun. It is about basking in the warmth of a calling. Of knowing that published or not, it always comes down to the creative process. If you can find encouragement to write, I’m so very glad, for as writers we are called to be thinkers and dreamers. Welcome.

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