Of Vipassana, Abandoned Dreams, and “The Map of True Places” …

I ended my last blog asking readers, “Are you a Tiger Mom? Cheetah Mom? A fierce feline mother of great prowess? If so, what is your story?
What hopes and dreams do you hold for your daughters and/or sons?
What are your passions?
Are and if so, how are you living them out?”

On reading the last three questions I realized that I had segued into new territory.

The hopes and dreams we hold for our children lie

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Of Writing, Time, and The Realities of Publishing…

The reality of publishing is that it is difficult to make a profit in this business.

And why does one want to make a profit?

Because editors need to be paid, it takes money to print copies of a book, and most importantly, authors need food, shelter, and health insurance, none of which are cheap, if we are to write entertaining stories.

When publishing companies agree to print book, the writer must deliver and on time, lest the publisher demands

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Of Memoir, Climax, and “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”…

Writing teacher and mentor, Clive Matson, always said that if a writer found her or himself wanting and/or needing to explain her or his story that the reader might gain the author’s intended message, the author needed to revise their story further.

Completing a manuscript requires more than simply writing the story, editing and revising it for clarity regarding grammar and typos, or even for development of plot.

Within each story or novel lives the narrative of that story, and how it came into being.

The author’s understanding and exploration of this process informs

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Of Colombiana, Contagion, and Miracles…

“If you are interested in something, you will focus on it, and if you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it.
Many of the things we find interesting are not so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them.”
— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

I saw two movies this weekend. Contagion, for the first time, and Colombiana for the 2nd.

Viewing a movie for the second time, much like reading a book, allows the opportunity to evaluate and inspect what either makes the story work, or remain vibrant in your mind, or the memories of its plot and characters, if you can recall them, slink into the recesses of the forgotten.

I was not excited at the thought of seeing Colombiana a second time.

Yet now as I write, I realize my hesitation came not from the quality of the movie itself, but quite the opposite.

The story of a young woman, who in losing her parents to a villainous killing at the age of 9, then seeking revenge, Colombiana is clearly a character driven story.

Contagion on the other hand, involves many characters whose roles work to tell the story of not a person, but rather display the effect of

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Of Grinding Pepper, Banalities, and Seeking That Which We Yet Understand…

Working as both a wife of nearly 29 years, and mother of 3, has prepared me in various ways to accomplish the work of a fiction writer.

Working as a wife and mother requires a lot of what an Islamic Imam described as grinding pepper.

Grinding pepper, from the perspective of the imam encompasses those activities that we here in the west describe as comprising the bane of our existence–mindless tasks, that we view as disrespectful of our intelligence and that devalue our worth as a person.

The world banal implies a lack of uniqueness.

Something that is banal possesses no originality.

It is like the wheel that begs for no reinvention, rather more unique and original ways of bringing a deeper level of presence and attention to the task(s) at hand–tasks that when practiced with a presence of mind and heart sharpen our skills and artistry in all areas of life, yield an original creation, and transform us as individuals.

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Of Revelation, Illusions and the Parallel Processes of Writing and Discovery…

Revelation plays an important role in constructing and/or assembling the middle section of a novel.

Revelation also encompasses the uncovering of truth of what has always stood present, but remained hidden by strong held illusions and beliefs.

Stories and novels stand upon revelations, ones that sustain the cause-and-effect events that comprise, most particularly, the plot of a novel and that lead towards crisis and onto climax.

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Cheryl Snell–Why Do I Write and What Is My Process?

Cheryl Snell is a poet and literary fiction writer, author of seven poetry collections, a book of short stories, and two novels.

She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times, had work chosen for inclusion in the Sundress Best of the Net Anthology, and, in collaboration with her sister Janet, won the Lopside Press chapbook competition for Prisoner’s Dilemma, a collection of art and poetry on game theory.

She can be reached at cherylsnell3@gmail.com

Cheryl keeps two blogs, one devoted to poetry and her sister’s art at http://www.snellsisters.blogspot.com; the other an author’s blog for her debut novel at http://www.shivasarms.blogspot.com

The novel, Shiva’s Arms (The Writer’s Lair Books) explores the relationship between an American woman and her Hindu Brahmin in-laws.
“When I first met my new family, this passage from Wonderland’s Alice popped into my head– “What if I should fall right through the center of the earth…oh, and come out the other side, where people walk upside down?”

I knew the basics—don’t touch the men, no shoes in the house, have a fry pan uncontaminated by meat handy. But there were an overwhelming number of ambiguities to sift through, from the comic head-shaking that looked like No but meant Yes, to the serious conflict between freedom and family.

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