Interruptions At Home

I may be an excellent teacher and a good writer, but I am not savvy with technology.  I try to do things that are beyond my capabilities, and for those endeavors, I have to really concentrate.

I got a notice in today’s email that someone had liked one of my former posts. The post was dated August 19, 2018. I like to go back when I get a notice like that and see what someone liked.

I noticed in that post, I am writing about the book I hope to publish soon. I see a few people have liked that post and since others are now reading it, I think it would be good to add the cover of the book that is now published and tell readers where it can be purchased, if they are interested. If not, it still shows that I accomplished what I was working on at that time.

So I’m sitting here trying to copy/paste the cover of the book, or the link to the book from Amazon.com     . . .   the doorbell rings. . . I’m not expecting anyone and would ignore it, IF my watchdog, who is certain it’s the devil himself knocking, would just QUIT BARKING! She will not.

So I stand up and since I’ve been writing awhile and began during breakfast, I am still in my pajamas. I need to find and put on a robe. I got that accomplished and finally convinced my watchdog that I can handle whoever is at the door, if she will just go back into a room so I can see who it is without them getting bitten.

It’s a salesman. He’s from Spectrum. Or so his shirt says. Spectrum is an internet company that has tried to get my business for months, if not years. I do not want them. I’ve heard bad things about their service going out when it rains, and I am happy with the company I use and have used since I moved here many years ago. I tell him who he’s from and that I’m not interested. He tries to talk. I interrupt him and tell him I’m a writer, I’m busy, and I’m not going to buy Spectrum. (They send me info on how to purchase their service at least twice a month. They come by very frequently. I don’t want to be rude, but hey, I’m working and I want to get back to what I was doing before I forget what it was.) I finally close the door in his face and head back to my computer.

My head, I realized, was pounding. Between the stubborn salesman at the door and my dog who is glad to see I wasn’t harmed and that the danger is gone, my head is pounding. (To anyone who thinks I should keep my dog loose, first of all, she bites and second of all, when I put her up, I grab something else I can use for protection and take it with me.)

Where was I? That was my question when I came back in here after that annoying interruption. I could not get back where I was, so I made a sign to put on my door when I’m working. I made one to put over my doorbell when I had babies who would finally get to sleep. I remember the wording well. My friends were amused. Some of them thought it funny to knock on the door after reading the sign. That was never funny to me. That sign read,

“RING THIS BELL AND WAKE MY BABY,

YOU’RE GONNA CATCH HELL, AND I DON’T MEAN MAYBE”

I cannot be nice at all times. People assume I’m their doormat when I try. At least I’m honest.

Here’s today’s sign that is now on my front and side doors. (That salesman was in my carport, which infuriates me anyway. Stay away from my car. That carport is like an extended room to my house.) . . . but here’s today’s sign. I hope anyone headed this way can read.

DO NOT
DISTURB

WRITER AT WORK

FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A NOTE

And I did manage to copy/paste the info for the published pet poetry book. It looks like what’s below this line, and is also on my August 19, 2018 page.

(Now it is December 29, 2018. Here is a copy of the Pet Poetry book. Each poem tells a little story . . . usually a true story . . . about a pet or wildlife that live in or near my yard. This book is available at amazon.com   You can read the first poem page of it by typing                                Bow Wow! Meow! by Corbett in Amazon’s search bar and clicking on the   that is above the book on their site. Use the directional arrows once the cover pops up and it will lead you through copyright page to the poem. “Old Atlas”.)

 

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Uploading Another Book

I am uploading another book on Createspace. This is a book I have worked on for over twenty years. It’s probably completely written.

Yesterday I was motivated to get this book published now.

It’s about a time when I lived in another part of the state and was betrayed by close family members.

I just edited Chapter One.

I have been editing this book for years, wanting it to be perfect when it is published. It would have been nice to find a publisher, but for some reason, I never was able to find one.

I’ve had the same problem finding an agent.

Well, like The Little Red Hen, who has been my lifetime inspiration, if I can’t find someone to help me, I’ll do it myself.

The Pet Poetry book I published in September 2018 was done because I wanted to showcase my poems, and I wanted many of my poems about my pets in a book that could be read by others. It was also done to see how to publish on Createspace.com

I ironed out the nuts and bolts of that during the first part . . . up until September of 2018.

I had planned to publish the other books I’ve worked on over the years in 2019.

Why wait to publish this one about something that is evil in America and needs to be changed?

I’ll come back here daily after uploading a chapter to keep a record of what I’m doing.

 

Writer’s Guidelines and Themes

I’ve been so busy with editing my books that I haven’t really sat down and written a new article in awhile. I mentioned to my son that a few months ago a former editor had asked me to send another article, after she had accepted and printed two. ‘Why haven’t you?” he asked.

That was a good question. I just had been busy with the books. But it would be nice to do something different for a change. So, even though I’ve been published in their magazine twice before, I went to their Writer’s Guidelines to check the length requirement of any submitted article, and also to check on the upcoming themes for future publications.

Don’t know how to do that? A Writer’s Market book will tell you, OR you can try googling “Writer’s Guidelines for name of magazine” and see what pops up. To find out themes of upcoming issues, you can also google Themes for upcoming issues of name of magazine.

While you’re on the writer’s guideline page, read the whole page. Don’t just skip around looking for desired word length of submitted articles. Notice the font size. Pay attention to the editor’s name. Just read the whole page! because everything on that page is very important to a writer who wants to be published in that magazine. Do everything exactly right. And do NOT call the editor or anyone at the magazine about your submitted article. Most will send back an email noting that your submission has been received. Magazine editors are not going to hold your hand and reassure you. If they are interested in the article, they will contact you. Be professional and wait. Move on to your next project.

The theme for each issue, if they have one, is also something you need to pay strict attention to. For the next issue the magazine I am submitting my article to, the theme was a little confusing. Am I going to ask them what they meant? No. I am going to write the article I think will be relevant and submit it. If they don’t use it, I’ll look for another magazine in that genre and submit it to them. But first I’ll wait to see if this magazine wants it.

I noticed the deadline for the submissions for their upcoming magazine. I put that deadline and the place to submit the article on the notes page that I have started regarding that article. Writing takes time. I’ve chosen my topic and I mostly know how I will write it, but I’m going to let a week or two go by while my mind works out the details. Your writer’s mind will do that. Even if you are not aware of it, once you are planning an article, your mind will work on it subconsciously. Take your time. Do your best. Make that sale!

Will I sell this article? I hope so. I don’t know. I do know I have high interest in the subject matter. I know they have liked my writing in the past, but it’s been years since I submitted anything to them and the editor I had a relationship with has moved on. Like you, I can only hope they’ll like it and buy it. I’ll let you know.

The deadline is in September 2019. Publication will be a few months later and this magazine pays on publication, which means I won’t get paid until the article is in print in their magazine.  I’ve had other magazines that paid on acceptance, which means I got paid when they decided to use the submission. I’ve learned that magazines I’ve written for send complimentary copies so I can see my article in print. I no longer request one. That was a novice mistake, but I learned from it. I learn from every editor and every encounter I have while pursing this writing life.

Do your homework. That’s half the work. Read over what they want and send them that. Do not send anything you think is better than what they’ve asked for. They know what they want and will tell you on their writer’s guidelines page.

When I first started out, I had to mail my submissions. I typed them up on my typewriter and made myself a carbon copy. I would mail the submission and enclose a self addressed stamped envelope (SASE) so they could return it, if they didn’t want it. I usually had the name of the next magazine I planned to send it to on the back of the carbon copy so I could send it right off again, and not gnash my teeth and cry “Why, oh, Why??? didn’t they want it?” They didn’t. That was all I needed to know. Usually I’d reread the submission because when it’s been some time since you looked at a piece of writing, you can sometimes see changes you want to make before sending it out again. Or you might not. But send it out again and get back to the business of writing something else. The good thing is that most magazines accept online submissions now.

It’s much like sending your children off to school. You’ve prepared them (and your article/submisson) as best you can and it’s in the hands of someone else how it’s received.

Making Dreams Come True

I have big dreams. I’ve always written and much of what I’ve written has been noticed, but there are the nuts and bolts of writing that I do not understand.

In 2008 a memoir/truth telling teacher at UNCW (I was taking her class) told me I needed to find an agent. I tried. I probably didn’t devote as much time to it as I should because I still was working, or trying to find a full-time job. I was finishing up a Masters Degree in Education because that was my life’s vocation. I had no idea how to support myself while being a full-time writer. I do write every day and plan and try to figure out how to be successful financially as a writer. I remember talking to my mother about being  a writer when I was very young and was getting noticed by teachers when I’d write. My mother had no idea how to do that. So I continued to write but went to school to become a schoolteacher. It was while I was teaching that I met a man who helped steer me into getting things published.

I actually started submitting manuscripts, or poems mostly, after he found a book of poems I’d written. We were dating, and I let him read my poems. He said they were very, very good and I should publish them. I told him I didn’t know how. He bought a Writer’s Market for me. I read through the book, but I still just thought about it. Then in the early 1980’s I saw a Creative Writing Class taught at NCSU at night. It met once a week, so I signed up for that. It was during that time that I sold my first poem, Laments of an old Cat. Shortly afterwards, I sold another poem To My Friend, George.  I learned in my class that you can resell things to different magazines. Laments of an Old Cat was bought and published by Cats Magazine and also by The Morris Report.

I frequently wrote letters to Dennis Rogers, who was a colunmnist at The News and Observer. He often used them in his Friday Leftover and Letters column. My NCSU teacher said to quit giving my writing to Dennis Rogers for free. I was busy having babies and tending to my young children and wanted to write and enjoyed seeing my writing in print. I enjoyed people contacting me and saying things about what I’d written after they’d read something I wrote that Dennis used in his column. But now I am interested in truly making writing a career. My kids are grown, and I’ve retired from teaching. I want to do this.

I am strugggling to figure out how to do all the things I am dreaming of doing. I would like to find an agent. I am working on my books and still plan to upload my next book on Amazon.com in their self-publishing venue. But what about the book after that? It is a very good book and I wonder will it be noticed among all of Amazon’s book listings?

I think I need a website. I would like to have one and see if I could also sell some of my books and get to know my readers through that. Although I write what interests me, I try to write so that others will be interested in what I’m writing as well.

I think I’ll make a month to month plan. For July, I plan to resubscribe to a magazine I’ve found helpful. My two favorite magazines for writers are Poets and Writers Magacine and also Writer’s Digest Magazine. I also want to finish uploading my Schoolteacher stories book and have it published by September. When in September I don’t know. I’ll aim for the first, but be happy if I do it by the 30th.

This is a happy endeavor.  Every day I work on something I’m writing or I have a new idea or I jot down a poem that I thought of. Many times thoughts come when I’m doing mundane tasks like washing the dishes, and I’ll stop to write them down. Otherwise they may be lost forever.

I’ll share anything I find or figure out in this blog. If anyone has any suggestions, please post in the comments. I do truly want to know what my readers think and how they handle their writing lives. Thanks. 🙂

Book Ideas And Work

I am uploading chapters of the School Teacher book, but have let my microsoft office subscription expire. I need to renew it and continue.

Meanwhile I’m looking at other books that are in various writing stages and working on them.

Do you know where to get ideas? Chances are your head is bursting with them, but then again, I had that topic covered in one of my writing classes, so maybe my ideas are gathered because of suggestions I heard.

One good place to find ideas is in news stories. You can think about what happened and then think “what if?”   . . .    What if something else had happened? Or what if it happened differently?

You can sit in a mall and watch people go by and make up stories about them in your head. You might even take a notebook and make notes. Notice clothing, hair styles, etc. too as you write. Details are important. Why are those two people together at this mall at this time? Mentally ask yourself questions and then make up possibilities. Can you tell by how close they walk or if they are holding hands or if one of them has arms crossed on chest in an angry manner while the other has a red, angry looking face, but can you see emotions? If so, can you write them up in your writing?

Sometimes when I hear something really witty, I will jot it down or put it in my memory for use at a later time.

Notice your surroundings. That’s where you can get good ideas. Notice things that happen around you every day.

I have a new neighbor moving in. I hear the couple has children. They haven’t moved in yet, but they have built a tall wooden fence around their backyard. I hear it’s because they have children. I see there is a gap under that fence large enough for a small child to crawl under, and I wonder how young their children are and how adventurous? I also have seen their yard flood. It flooded so bad one day that I took pictures of it. Will the flooding be worse because of the fence? I can make up a short story without ever seeing their children (although I saw one child down there one day), but suppose the couple moves in and the youngest child crawls under that fence while Mom thinks he’s fine out back alone (fence) and suppose that child explores the neighborhood? What adventures could he have?

I drive my own kids nuts! with my “what are they doing?” when we pass something unusual. They usually tell me it’s not my problem, or roll their eyes at each other.

Well, it IS my problem if it’s generating a story. My creative juices are at work.

A lot of stories are in my head. Right now it sounds like it’s raining outside and the wind is blowing. It was fine thirty minutes ago. I think I’ll look out the sindow and see what the weather is doing and imagine a story that could take place in this weather.

That’s where ideas come from. “What if?” and observation and interest in your fellow man.

 

One Of Those Days

It’s one of those days. I have some health issues and late yesterday one of them decided to rear its hateful head. I almost went to the ER. I had fitful sleep. Woke having a bad dream this morning. The dog had to go out, or I’d still be in bed. 

Ramen for breakfast. Why not? 

Watched “The Voice Finale” that had been recorded last night. Disappointed that none of my favorites won. 

Decided to work on the book I really want to publish. It’s about the Blindman. The Visually Impaired just doesn’t fit, or maybe it does. Who knows? 

Last night I went over one of the chapters that is already written. It read well, in my opinion. Is that what imo means? 

Just now I went to the folder that has the edited chapters that should be ready . . . done. I read over Chapter One and revised it slightly. Is it long enough? I’ve read some books with long and with short chapters.  My first one is short.

I’m planning to upload my Stories of a Public Schoolteacher book next, and then this Blindman book will be uploaded. 

Then if I haven’t heard from the publisher who is considering another book, I’ll upload it and publish it on Amazon. 

No one is buying the two books I already have published on Amazon. That’s not very encouraging. My sons says they’re mostly poetry books and few people buy or read poetry anymore. Why not? They listen to music and sing songs. Songs are just poems put to music. 

But I will do this for me, if for no one else. I’m getting older and having health issues. I want to see these books that I’ve worked on for years in print. 

My eyesight is failing. I may be the Blind Woman before this is all done. I see another eye doctor in a couple weeks, but I don’t think he’ll be any more help than the last one was. 

Bad day. Depressed. Still, I did a little work on the Blindman book. I worked on the Schoolteacher book yesterday. I work and nothing sells and the future looks bleak. 

But I know what my goals are (to see all my written books in print). I’ll push forward, until I can’t. 

My author name is Constance Barr Corbett. I have two books published by Amazon.com

One is about pets. Poems (or little stories) written about pets. The content of the other book is mostly four line rhymes about people studied during the month of February. Black History month. Teach your students these rhymes and they’ll know many of the great African Americans and what they contributed . . . I even included a few pages of worksheets and also links to find out more about the subjects. No one cared. Not selling. 

Well, I’ll just keep doing this because I want it done. I’ll do it for myself. 

I just wish I felt better today. I’m going back to bed. This writing life can be depressing and discouraging. 

Perspective

I read about all sorts of people in the news. Sometimes I wonder what motivates them to do the things they do. I assume their view of the world differs greatly from mine; or sometimes it’s the same.

I read posts on facebook from different people. I’ve reconnected with various high school classmates since my high school reunion a couple years ago. I read about what’s going on in their lives and what seems to be important to them. Like the folks in the news that I read about, these friends on facebook all have varying views of the world.

When I’m writing, I try to think like the character would think. I have to put myself in that person’s place with the same background and beliefs the character has. I have to become that character when I’m writing about him/her and behave exactly like someone with their belief system would behave.

I found this chart as I was researching perspective and what I wanted to say about it. I found the chart after the first two paragraphs were written. I often write and then my research goal is to verify that my information is correct. In one of the sites I read about the different persons you can write in as being the perspective, I, You, He or She, sometimes perhaps It? But that’s person to me, not perspective and on more research, I found the worksheet from Read Write Think, and I’ll put the link to it here. I did not design it. It belongs to that company. It is my understanding that educators can reproduce the page for use in the classroom. Writers can take a look at it and maybe use it to better understand perspective.

Research

I read the first chapter in the book of Revelation. There was a prologue that told the book was written by John during his exile on the Island of Patmos. The research part of the writer in me wants to know why John was exiled to the island and at some point, I will search to find out. 

The blessing my grandmother told me was in this book, I thought was that final verse in the last chapter. I quoted it in the previous post. ” The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. A-men’.” (Revelation 22:21) However, I see in the first chapter, verse 3 that it reads “Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand.” I believe that was the verse she showed to me all those years ago. 

And as I read through the first chapter, I read about things I had previously heard about – the seven candlesticks and the seven stars. It explains what these are. I feel like so far I understand this book and I will read Chapter 2 and see what that is about. 

I am doing my own research into this book of the Bible because it has always fascinated me. Perhaps I have heard sermons about it and didn’t realize, or don’t remember? All I know is when my interest is piqued, I do my own research. 

The next time I post, I hope to discuss Chapter 2 and also to mention what I was once told as far as writing ideas and the Bible are concerned. 

 

Questions

All writers know you ask the question “What if?” to start the juices flowing. . . Do you know any other questions writers ask themselves? 

I frequently ask “Why?” Right now I am wondering why? (as I hear the same old Bible stories about Jesus and Palm Sunday and Easter . . ), I ask “WHY?” haven’t I heard more sermons on the book of Revelation? When I think about it, the books in the Bible that are preached on are pretty much standard fare. Can you name the last time a new one was used to support the sermon?

But back to the Book of Revelation. Why don’t preachers preach on it? I learned more from my grandmother about that book than I learned from anyone else, and I went to church regularly. She told me to turn to the ending and read those verses. She said anyone who reads the whole book of Revelation gets a blessing. It says so right there in the verse. She also said anyone who adds or takes away anything from the book will wish they hadn’t. It also says that right at the end of the book. 

I went to Catholic School from Grades K to 3. The first lesson of the day, every day, was Religion. So I’ve had some indoctrination into that belief. I attended The First Presbyterian Church in Washington NC for 7 years . . . for the Sunday School, I had perfect attendance for 7 years, so I heard a lot of lessons. I’m sure I went to that church longer than that, but that’s the proof I have in my jewelry box. 7 pins (and they hooked together and dangled and fascinated me as I began to accumulate them) to prove it. I’ve been to Baptist Church with friends. I could never be a Baptist because my beliefs aren’t close enough to theirs, but as long as we all believe John 3:16 (chapter 3, verse 16), we’re all good, right? And I don’t care if you are Baptist . . . if I see you at the liquor store I’m going to speak to you. ha, ha. Did you ever hear that old joke? “How do you tell a Baptist?”  . . . .  “They’re the ones who won’t speak to you at the liquor store.” 

Let’s start with the known, which is the way you learn or the way you teach. Where is that verse in Revelation about the blessing and the other part? 

Ok. Found the other part first. The part where my grandmother said not to add or take away anything from the book of Revelation either in speaking about it, or any other time. 

Verses 18 and 19 in Chapter 22, which is the last chapter in the book of Revelation, says if any man shall add unto these things, “God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book”, and if he takes away anything, “God shall take out his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City and from the things which are written in this book”. 

I tried once before to read this book of the Bible and I didn’t understand some of it and it frightened me. I’m going to try to read through it once again. 

I use the King James version because that’s the one I’m most familiar with and I love the language. 

Oh, and while I remember it differently, but what I found regarding a blessing was verse 21, which states “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. A-men’.”

*********************************************************************************

Meanwhile I also continue to write up the Stories of a Public Schoolteacher book as that’s the next one I plan to publish. I’m not really writing the chapters, but am more editing them. Most are written. A couple days ago I wrote one about my inexperience and something major that happened when I was a first year teacher. 

So Happy Writing! to all my Writer Friends and Readers and I’ll try to find a time to read the first Chapter of Revelation today and see if I can say anything about it tomorrow. 

When I’m writing, I do what we called “Percolate” in Reading Recovery. I take the time to sleep on it and let it work through my brain so I better understand it tomorrow. 

Your Opinion

For some reason whenever I tell someone something, they seem to think I’m asking for their opinion, but I’m usually not. 

I do enjoy hearing their opinions enough that I listen, but I listen to many people. When you talk to me, you get my undivided attention. I find it helps when I’m developing characters in my writing. 

I may not be actively taking notes, but I am trying to memorize key features in speech, inflections, mannerisms, gestures,  etc., so that when I create a character,   I’m able to include some of them. 

I never want any character to resemble a real person – unless it’s a true story – in my writing. I find it perfectly ok to mix various characteristics of different people when creating a fictional character. 

People say I’m a good listener. I’ve been told this enough that I believe it’s true. I don’t think many of them realize why I’m paying such close attention. 

For example, there was someone I once knew who wore a lot of bracelets, and when she was talking animatedly, she’d use her hands to make gestures, and those bracelets would rattle. That could be worked into a character, or a character description.

One writing course I took taught us that we should know far, far more about our characters than the readers would ever find out. It makes the characters more believeable. You’ll draw on their background without even realizing it, if you write out a detailed description of who they are . . . their traits, beliefs, opinions, hobbies, dwellings, work, previous work, family members, etc. 

I am a poet as well as a writer. I had a poem titled “Characters” published in Writer’s Gazette years ago. The rights to publication reverted to me after it was published there, and it is copyrighted. However, I’m going to put it at the end of this blog. 

Poems are shorter ways for me to say things. I make them rhyme because I like rhymes, and also a rhyme sticks with me longer. 

Characters
Characters bring your story to life.
They must move, breathe and talk.
We need to see how they look,
And also how they walk.

Tell us some details about their work,
Including what they wear.
Give them certain, special traits,
Not something we all share.

Explain to us what their homes are like.
Describe each other scene.
How do certain places look?
What emotions do they bring?

Whenever you first introduce them,
Tell main characters’ names.
Paint well each person’s picture,
Including all the frames.

by Constance Barr Corbett
Copyright 1985

(First Published in Writer’s Gazette)

Schoolteacher Story

I just wrote about the bedhopping going on in society today in my other blog, “Proudofeverywrinkle”. It reminded me of what happened when I taught Fifth Grade years ago.

The fifth graders were placed at the Middle School because there was no room for them at the elementary school.

One of the other fifth grade teachers told me one day to stand by the bathrooms when the fifth graders went in. I told her I always did. She said she had caught three of them in one of the bathrooms having a threesome. Fifth Graders? Sex?

She ended up placing a chair between the boy and girl’s restrooms so she could sit there and monitor both restrooms.

That story is not in my book that I’m writing about teaching in public schools, but it’s only because I hadn’t thought about it in awhile.

I wrote instead about the boy who brought three guns to school, was sent to the office (or taken by the deputy who worked at the school) and then was returned to my classroom within 30 minutes.

I would come home after a difficult day (many of them were difficult) and write down what had happened at school. Some days I felt like I was getting more of an education than the kids were. . . especially is some of those schools. But I’ve gone through and picked out some of those “stories” to edit and put into a book of short stories about my life when I worked in public schools.

The schools were mostly Title I, low income schools and looking back on it, it’s a wonder I didn’t quit sooner.

 

Stories of a Public Schoolteacher

I taught school for eighteen years. Most of that time was spent in Title I schools. That’s where low income, needy children can be found.

Some of the things I encountered stayed with me. I’d come home after those days and write down what had happened to help me cope with it.

Over the years I have written many things about my life and time as a public schoolteacher. I’m editing the “stories” and putting them in a book that I plan to self-publish at KDP on Amazon.com

So far I have organized the most interesting ones into chapters and now need to go back through and edit/revise them.

My goal is to have this book published by September, although if I work hard, I might get it done before then.

I have self-published two books so far on KDP at Amazon.com. Friends have bought them, but I don’t think the general public has discovered them yet. The first was a short book of poems about my pets. These poems have been written over the last thirty years. Some were published in magazines; some had not been published before.

My second book was for teachers to use during Black History Month. It also contained short poems, or rhymes, to help children remember the contributions of various individuals.

I’ll put the picture of the front of each book below and I’ll continue to update on the publication and work being done on Stories of a Public Schoolteacher.

Bow Wow! Meow!: Poems about Pets Stories - Cats Dogs and Others                    Black History Raps: Spoken Word Poetry