Posted tagged ‘creative writing’

Last Stool On The Right

June 13, 2018

There are certain habits in our lives that bring comfort and consistency. They are the frame that support the structure of our life. Like the links of chain for a playground swing, habits bring a swaying rhythm to our life.

One of my habits involves a stool, a laptop, and an early morning cup of coffee. Where I write my Words from W.W. blog almost without exception occurs at the Starbucks in Colorado Springs on the corner of Union Boulevard and Briargate Parkway from the last stool on the right, facing out with a view of Pike’s Peak. It is where I ponder, create, and edit, sometimes slowly and other times at a frenzied pace.

Kathy Buchanan, who is one of the writers for the Focus on the family long-time series, Adventures In Odyssey, sits on the last stool on the left with six stools between us. We joke with one another about our ingrained habit for our writing. When someone is in one of OUR spots we give a look of dismay to one another.

“You going to be able to function today?” I’ll ask her. She sighs deeply and replies, “I’ll try!”

MY stool is the launching pad for discovering. It’s even come to a point now where some of my friends know where they’ll be able to find me at 7 A.M. on mornings I’m not substitute teaching. Some days my writing takes a series of breaks for stop-by conversations. My stool, however, draws me back to why I’m there.

I sip the coffee as I search for the right word. A second sip is required when I’m slow in figuring and finding. My third cup means I’m approaching the finish.

Jim Ryun, the famous track and field miler, once said “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going!” My stool is my habit.

Creating Poets Without Beards…or Rhyme!

January 27, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                              January 27, 2018

                             

I was given the opportunity yesterday to teach seventh grade Language Arts class. One hundred adolescents more excited about a weekend of doing nothing as opposed to fifty-seven minutes of literary creating and discovery!

The assignment for each period was to create a poem, based on an ancient form of Chinese poetry called “Shi” poetry. I explained the creative process to them, showed them a few examples and set them off on the road of pondering, erasing bad lines of gibberish, and creative expression.

“Mr. Wolfe, what do you think about this? “I have a flying dog who flies in the air like a pigeon.”

“Needs a bit of work!”

“Why?”

“Well, I’m not exactly sure where you’re going with this, but if you have a flying dog do you really need to repeat two words later that he flies? And, isn’t it enough to say it’s a flying dog, as opposed to comparing him to a pigeon?” He ponders, returns to his seat, and I notice he immediately flips his pencil to use the eraser.

A masterpiece just destroyed by a substitute teacher who doesn’t understand about flying dogs.

“Mr. Wolfe, what do you think about this?” He hands me his creation, which I carefully read.

“The season of winter has begin

The light will be dim…”

“Shouldn’t that word be ‘begun’?

“Well, I wanted it to rhyme with dim.”

“(Thinking the words but not saying them: Listen, Longfellow!) Begin doesn’t rhyme with dim.”

“Yes, it does…begin…dim…” He is trying to convince me that I’m in error.

“No, it doesn’t! And, anyway, you don’t need to rhyme!”

“I know, but I thought it sounded good!”

(Thinking the words again: “Well, it doesn’t!”)

There were other inspired students yesterday who impressed me with the depth of their thoughts and flow of meaning. Poems about the afterlife, death, and personal value were mixed in with other poems about chicken wings, watermelon, and having a rat for a pet.

The drudgery I sensed about the assignment was soon replaced with an excitement about personal expression. Even if the poem was about macaroni and cheese there was still a sense of pride about what had been transmitted from the pencil to the paper.

When students shared their creations they read them with smiles on their faces and the hope of recognition. When each student finished reciting we snapped our fingers together like we were beatniks from the 60’s.

A few poets may have been created in those moments yesterday, as well as visions of flying dogs who look like pigeons.

GoReadMe

December 30, 2016

                                                                                   December 30, 2016

                                          

I’m thinking of a new venture called “GoReadMe.com“. It would be completely self-serving and ego-stroking in a culture that is self-serving and ego-stroking. The purpose would be to increase reader traffic at my “WordsfromWW.com” blog.

I got the idea in my sleep last night. Well, actually it came about the time my senior citizen body took a bathroom break from actually sleeping. I figured that if “gofundme.com” can raise over 3 billion dollars for special causes, perhaps a new “GoReadMe.com” might greatly multiply the viewership of the “Wolfe words” I hammer out.

Sounds crazy, I know, but a “GoFundMe” cause set up to help Betty White survive 2016 has raised almost $7,000 so far! What??? I’m not sure what happens to her on January 1, 2017. Perhaps a new cause will emerge to finance another year of survival for her.

On “GoReadMe” I could develop categories such as “Non-sensical”, “spiritually uplifting”, “for substitute teachers”, “family reminiscing”, and…”other.” Or perhaps, like when we would go to buy a new household appliance or television and then get the warranty pitch from the salesman…”This may have been assembled on a Monday when the workers were still hungover from the weekend. You never know, so you might want to purchase a warranty to protect yourself!” Maybe my categories would be the seven days of the week, because…you never know!

Bottom line…I am totally clueless about how to attract people to read my writings. If you have any ideas, please let me know! In a world that is wordy, getting more readership feels kind of like the owner of a restaurant attracting more customers so he can stay in business.

And please…please…please…I do not want someone to start a “GoFundMe” campaign to help Bill Wolfe survive 2017! I know Betty and I have the same initials and all, but…NO!

600 Posts!

July 8, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             July 8, 2016

                                              

Today I’m writing my 600th Words from WW blog post. It’s been an adventure! The first post emerged on December 30, 2008. There have been times of writing frenzy, like in June of 2014 when I took on a challenge that wordpress.Com presented of writing a blog post each day for the entire month. Plus, they gave you the subject matter.

I’ve written about death…greatly on my mind when my mom passed away Labor Day weekend of 2013.

I’ve written about grace…and how it so often is lacking, oddly enough, in the church.

I’ve written imagined coffee conversations with Jesus…stressing that things are not always so cut and dried as people think.

I’ve written about personalities…people who have greatly influenced my life in various ways.

I’ve written about how weird people are…or should I say we all are!

I’ve written about stories in Scripture and what they teach me.

I’ve written about the church…my hope for it, and my frustration with it.

I’ve written about life…normal life and life moments that have a sense of sacredness to them, like my daughter’s wedding and car rides with my granddaughter.

I’ve written from a stool at Starbucks, my home study, and a cubicle at the public library. There’s been many occasions where I’ve sat on my Starbuck’s stool, looking out at Pike’s Peak, with no idea what I would write about and then God gives me a thought, an idea, a moment of remembering something from the past…and the words tumble out. With my earbuds in, tuned to the Coldplay station on Spotify, I go at it.

And the thing is, I write and trust that God will take it from there. He’s like the paperboy for my blog. I trust that he hits the driveway to whomever he sends it to, and it doesn’t end up underneath the shrubbery.

A couple of weeks ago someone I least expected told me that she really enjoyed my “Words.” “It is so where I live!” she exclaimed. I greatly appreciated that. I’ve never been one for high academia, as my college grades would attest to! I’m more like “The Hardy Boys”, rather than “The Brothers Karamazov!”

One of my best friends suggested that I try to get money for my blog. He knows someone who does. My mind can’t fathom that. My writing is kind of like my baseball card collection. It keeps getting bigger, but I never sell any. I’m just thrilled that people seem to enjoy reading it. According to WordPress I have 128 followers. I’m not sure what that means, and, quite honestly, I don’t know ninety percent of them. How closely do they follow? Are they more like stalkers who are following me, or readers who are looking for a chuckle in the midst of a ho-hum day?

And so I write as I sip on my Pike Place brew. Perhaps someday I’ll be on The Today Show…not!

What or whom might be the subject for #601?