Searchlights & Signal Flares


Tiny Lights' On-line Writer's Exchange

What are your writer’s resolutions for 2003? (01/15/03)



Featured writer: Clara Rosemarda



Contributors this month:
Betty Winslow
Clara Rosemarda
Elizabeth Hannon
Randal Matheny
Rebecca Lawton
Susan Bono


Clara Rosemarda



In these extraordinary times whatever our relationship to world events and economic conditions may be, our connection to Self provides the foundation of how we respond to these circumstances. If we are looking for safety and a sense of security we know it resides within. With the excitement of the holiday season merely a memory we have the opportunity to check in with our inner wisdom and set our intentions for this next year. It's crucial that we stay aware not off-guard, that we embrace consciousness rather than despair, that we respond from a place of self-trust rather than reacting to events or "following the crowd," simply--that we know our own mind.

Clara Rosemarda has used these words to launch another year of writing, teaching and healing in Sonoma County and other parts of the world. Find out more about her workshops and services by contacting her at rosen@son

Betty Winslow



My resolutions this year are to approach everything I write with an attitude of prayer and thankfulness, to write at least a little bit every day (e-mails don't count!), to do more marketing (I want to make at least twice next year what I did this year) and to be bolder in doing so, to organize my home office and keep it that way (my school office was last year's project...), and to finish at least one of the book proposals churning around in my mind and send it out to make the rounds.

Betty Winslow, Bowling Green, Ohio

Clara Rosemarda



In these extraordinary times whatever our relationship to world events and economic conditions may be, our connection to Self provides the foundation of how we respond to these circumstances. If we are looking for safety and a sense of security we know it resides within. With the excitement of the holiday season merely a memory we have the opportunity to check in with our inner wisdom and set our intentions for this next year. It's crucial that we stay aware not off-guard, that we embrace consciousness rather than despair, that we respond from a place of self-trust rather than reacting to events or "following the crowd," simply--that we know our own mind.

Clara Rosemarda has used these words to launch another year of writing, teaching and healing in Sonoma County and other parts of the world. Find out more about her workshops and services by contacting her at rosen@son

Elizabeth Hannon



I resolve to break it down. One step. One word. One question. One possibility, the promise held in one brown, bittersweet square. I resolve to stretch my arms, hands, mind taffy-like, warming to the task, playing with the recipe; heat, sugar, butter, all the imagined goods I pull from the cupboard to create something that sustains me, raising it to the lips of others.
This year I will think of writing as food, as water, as the dark chocolate scientists now say is both delicious and necessary--- more catechins and epicatechins than red wine. How I shall feast! One ounce a day, two "Dark Dove" bites, 57 chocolate chips. I can't say what Tuesday will require or what will happen in October. This year I resolve to meet each day, ready for the questions. What? When? How much? I resolve to both listen and to expect answers. I know I write because it satisfies both tongue and heart. That is no longer in question. I am mostly interested this year in how it tastes to let myself have it.

Elizabeth Hannon--Santa Rosa, CA.

Randal Matheny



A Writer's New Year Resolution

To write with purpose every day,
My single resolution;
Ah, yes -- and cash the old cliché
Of wealth's redistribution.

Randal Matheny tweaks words, and they tweak back! Much of the tweaking goes on in his weblog Random Variables (http://random.antville.org).

Rebecca Lawton



There is one writer's resolution that I aspire to keep in 2003, and that's to sit and write six days a week, rain or shine, early or late, and rest on the Sabbath, which can actually be any one day in seven depending on your energy level. There are so many pulls on our time--and it will always be so for writers. For me, with a new book out and signings on my schedule, writing time is even more dear than when I was just trying to squeeze it around my job and parenting. Writing time is one of the first things we need to survive and one of the first to go in a pinch.

But I find I can write a lot in an hour. Or twenty minutes. Or ten! The important thing is to sit down and make room for it every day. Or five days a week. Or four in a row at least. I once read a magazine article about a nun who wrote a novel in the ten-minute spaces she had in her life in the convent. She was more often in prayer than at work on her mystery novel, but over the course of many months she finished it. And published it. And received much acclaim. And she'd built the whole thing--characters, plot, tension, resolution--in ten-minute blocks of time.

I told the nun's tale to a friend in my M.F.A. program at Mills, and she started to giggle. Then she sniggered, then outright guffawed! What's so funny? I asked. She couldn't come up with an answer. It just sounded funny. I laughed, too, but I even then realized that if it's comic that we squeeze art into the margins of lives, then I'm the Queen of Comedy! I'm Lucille Ball! Or Goldie Hawn! Or Lily Tomlin!

But it's still my writer's resolution to make that time every day, and I invite you to join me.

Rebecca Lawton is a writer from Sonoma, CA who has captured her experiences as one of America’s first women white water rafting guides in Reading Water: Lessons from the River (Capital, 2002). Find out more at www.becca.lawton.net.

Susan Bono



The New Year stretches before me like an expanse of virgin snow. I am all suited up and eager to get out in it. But before I begin, I wonder if I'll leave behind a trail of graceful, evenly spaced tracks, or end up floundering through 2003 in my usual fashion, mucking up the terrain, getting bogged down in those same old landscapes.

I think my first step should be to train myself to write without stopping for at least ten seconds. No hemming or hawing and squinting into the distance as if the right words will appear over the rise and ski up to my doorstep. I'd like to experience ten seconds without telling myself I'm stupid and I don't know what I'm trying to say. And if I could figure out how to do that, maybe I could work up to twenty, maybe even sixty seconds at a time! Sixty seconds of unimpeded flow. That might change the way I travel!

If I could write for more than sixty seconds without stopping, maybe I could actually finish a few more things this year. Since I'm planning to spend more time writing, it'd be nice to have something to show for it. I think it's time to find out how things turn out instead of skittering by those opportunities for revision. Then maybe I could send some more things out, maybe I could even get published and paid on occasion.

Just the thought of using my time well has me feeling really empty-headed and destined for poverty. So now's the time to remind myself of the importance of enjoying my work. Fun has been painfully lacking in my writing for a long time. So has deep curiosity. It's not like I am chained to a desk writing technical manuals! I can write whatever I want. All I have to do is figure out what that is.

This could be a long damned year. But if I spend any more time thinking about doing things right, I might end up missing it. Instead I will take the words of Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen and go forth into the unknown: "Anything worth doing is worth doing half-assed." Maybe the best resolution I can make this year is to avoid looking back.

Susan Bono is trying not to regret the future in Petaluma, CA. She’s proud of the tracks she’s made with Tiny Lights. Become a hard copy subscriber or continue to enjoy the offerings at www.tiny-lights.com .

Searchlights Editor:

Susan Bono

Columnists:

Christine Falcone, David Samuel Johnson, Betty Rodgers

Susan Bono is a writing coach, editor and freelance writer whose work appears in newspapers, anthologies and the Internet. She has published Tiny Lights, a journal of personal essay, since 1995, along with its online counterpart here at tiny-lights.com. From 2000—2005 she helped coordinate the Writer's Sampler series for the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Her short essays and columns have appeared in various anthologies, magazines, newspapers and on the radio. Her most recent credits include Passager Magazine, Red Hills Review, the St. Petersburg Times, the Petaluma Argus Courier, the Anderson Valley Advertiser and KRCB radio's Word by Word.

Christine Falcone has been writing most of her life. Her work has appeared in print and online, and it has aired on public television and public radio. One of her writing goals for 2008 is to find an agent for her recently completed first novel, "This Is What I Know," which was named as a finalist in the William Faulkner Wisdom Creative Writing Competition out of New Orleans. She is currently in a new writing space, painted purple for inspiration, busily at work on another novel -- this one having to do with the nature of violence.

David Samuel Johnson was reared on a mountain in Arkansas. He lived the bohemian lifestyle in the Ozarks as a hillbilly vagabond, traversing the mountainside shirtless and most of the time shoeless, exploring the sensuality of the aromatic, organic-rich soil of the forest floor or the harsh poetry of greenbriers twined around a devil’s-walking-stick. As a kid he wanted to be a writer and own a snake farm when he grew up. His Mama knew she couldn't dissuade him from either goal. When he brought a poisonous copperhead snake home in his pocket, she bought him a book about snakes so he’d know which ones he could bring home and which ones to leave behind. When he wrote his first poem to a girl in kindergarten, she showed him how to use a dictionary so he could spell the word "beautiful." David's goal of a snake farm and the love of his mountain have manifested into a PhD in ecology. David’s dream of writing has evolved from his first poem in kindergarten to essays in newspapers to interview articles in magazines and columns in this journal. He is living a beautiful dream, some of which you can glimpse below.

David the Writer

David the Scientist

Betty Rodgers and her husband, Ken, live and watch birds in Boise, Idaho. A transplant among transplants, she has chosen to learn the local landscape through the lens of her Pentax K10D. Her writing career began at an early age when she wrote plays and coerced her boy cousins to perform them. She has enjoyed a life-long affair with journalism, writing for the Sacramento Bee, the Cloudcroft Mountain Monthly, the Sebastopol Times and News, and the Boise Weekly. Born in Steinbeck Country, she has also lived in Maine and New Mexico. Betty publishes a bi-monthly online newsletter for Idaho writers, a labor of love inspired by Terry Ehret. In 2006, she published A Mano, a book of poetry by the late Vince Pedroia.

Thanks to all who participated this month. It's good to know you're out there! We're looking forward to hearing from you and those you inspired sometime soon! Check this column each month to see what's new. Return to Searchlights & Signal Flares menu for future topics and guidelines.

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