Death of an ice cream cone: words to rant by

Going, going...

Going, going…

Michelle Riesberg is one of the most creative folks I know.

Anyone can rant. You had a bad day? So?

How bad was it?

Our shopkeeper friend found a way to show how bad it was when she got trapped in a fast-food drive-through lane. Bumper to bumper, she had no way to escape from the world’s slowest service.

Michelle decided to illustrate her plight, whipping out her camera phone.

Arthur Miller would have titled this “Death of an Ice Cream Cone.”

Three morals here:

Gone! (courtesy Michelle Riesberg)

Gone! (courtesy Michelle Riesberg)

1. It’s better to laugh than to cry

2. Words can make pictures, too. Find a focal point, a poster boy, someone or some way to zero in on the point of your story.

3. If you want to take a cone break from your writing, choose carefully!

 

Chasing Kindle’s ‘verified purchase’ reviews up a tree

I loved the speculation on www.quora.com about the logo's meaning. Deep thinking!

I loved the speculation on www.quora.com about the logo’s meaning. Deep thinking!

Do you trust me?

I confess. I’ve posted non-verified Kindle e-book reviews on Amazon.com. I’ve been provided books to be reviewed on this blog, for instance.

I’ve been provided copies in exchange for honest reviews. And, I am honest.

If all customers are so doubtful about reviewer honesty, why would they believe every “verified purchase” review? All that’s been proven is the sale of a copy.

I’ve seen a bumper crop of verified five-star reviews with nothing but “Loved it. Buy this book.” All I believe is that a book was sold.

Analyze the stars on each review, if you want. Fret about how each reviewer acquired the copy read.

Or, look for insights from readers you can relate to. Why does the book work (or not)? How could it be better? Do you like the examples quoted and cited?

In short, trust no reviewer. Try trusting yourself.

 

Speaking for Ned Flanders and Mr. Burns: Goodbye, Harry Shearer?

Has the Reverend Lovejoy lost his voice? Who'll deliver the sermons? This fun Tumblr notes that Shearer has done 25 voices over the years!

Has the Reverend Lovejoy lost his voice? Who’ll deliver the sermons? This fun Tumblr notes that Shearer has done 25 voices over the years!

Could Harry Shearer walk away from The Simpsons?

He’s voiced nine different characters. In this contract dispute, he could be left behind.

Speaking to my wise wife Diana Star Helmer, she said:

“There are lots of mimics out there. Other people could do the voices.

However, doing the inside is something else.”

How does that challenge compare to your own writing?

Are you writing something that looks and sounds like something else? Or, are you INSIDE, within your idea, creating something memorable and unique?

 

Less is more? A tale of yoga, bad jokes and writing

Does your writing really need more? By lululemon athletica (SSC Yoga with Eoin Finn) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Does your writing really need more? By lululemon athletica (SSC Yoga with Eoin Finn) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

by Diana Star Helmer

When I was in yoga class this week, my teacher told about hearing a “terrible” joke, but she couldn’t remember it. So I told one I’d recently read:

Q: What did the ocean say to the beach?

A: Nothing. It just waved.

And the class of seven made the little room quite full with laughter. Not bad for a terrible joke.

But it emphasizes something I’ve thought about regarding writing for years:

What does writing really need?

The ocean used no words at all. It just waved.

————————-

Diana Star Helmer is author of Belles of the Ballpark: A Celebration of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (Summer Game Books, available in paperback and e-book).

Reviewing Hannah ‘If You Find This Letter’ Brencher

BrencherBookDear Hannah,

You’re all about letters. So why not? I agree that The World Needs More Love Letters. More blog posts, though? That’s a trickier one.

Your book If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers needed two readings. At first, I was puzzled that I found just four examples of letters you’ve shared with strangers. I  thought I might find a “Top Ten Tips For Better Letters.”

Upon a closer look, I gleaned from page 60 that self-help books “were anticlimactic” when you needed them most. After that, I was able to sit back and absorb your movement-in-progress.

Being willing to write encouragements to random passerby, all by sharing your own feelings and experiences as “A Girl Trying to Find Her Way” is the spontaneous love craved by so many. Then, you allowed others to enjoy the ride. You’ve created dots that others can connect.

Thank you for sharing this tale now, instead of waiting until retirement. This book is a testament to the written word in all its forms. Furthermore, If You Find This Letter shows that sincerity rocks. You didn’t have all the details worked out in the beginning. Nevertheless, you took action.

While a possible “how to” element in your memoir might be the cereal box prize some readers might be wishing for, that’s not the reason to feast on this story. This book is for all the other caring, hopeful people out there who want to matter. Creating contagious caring. It’s possible.

Just try. Just start. Just read this book.

Well done, letter lady!

Steve “On the Road” Hartman: Grammar Avenger!

Who remembers his dartboard-throwing feature story ideas? Don't miss this great Paul Post feature on Hartman from 2013's Saratogian News!

Who remembers his dartboard-throwing feature story ideas? Don’t miss this great Paul Post feature on Hartman from 2013’s Saratogian News!

Steve Hartman is one of TV’s finest storytellers. Charles Kuralt must be smiling down, seeing someone carrying his torch so well.

This past week, Hartman shined the light on two brothers who care about proper English usage. I’d call the pair “Ninja Editors.” Their efforts made another great “On the Road” tale, one worth sharing.

Words matter!