Monday, July 29, 2013

The Commitment to Write

By Laurie Epps

Dear Readers,

I am so sorry that I didn't get my Monday Morning Book Club column up. I've had a lot of family issues come up that demanded my attention, so please continue to come back every week for my column. If you follow my blog, Facebook, or Twitter accounts, you'll find that I'm changing directions a bit professionally. I'm encouraged and enthusiastic for these changes to unfold. Stay tuned to my Keeping Up with Laurie column on Sundays to follow all of that.

However, I will continue to work on the craft of writing both educationally in college and on my writing book column on Mondays. We are still reading along with Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. I hope if you are new, you'll just pick up the book and follow along with us. I'd love to hear your comments and ideas regarding writing along with your own experiences.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bible Girlfriends Online

Bible Girlfriends Online

I met Adrianna Vermillion at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference back in May 2013. Fast forward two months later, and we got together and talked a little girl talk to connect about her brainchild of a virtual online support system for women.

As women, there are times when family commitments, work commitments, dealing with a newborn or elderly parent, or health issues can take over our lives. But that doesn't mean we should depart from God, and that doesn't mean that we don't need to fellowship with other women. Bible Girlfriends Online gives us a place to do just that: reconnect with God, connect with new friends, and reconnect to ourselves as women. So won't you join us?

To find Bible Girlfriends Online, go to our Facebook page, and don't forget to also buy our first devotional book. We love to get to know about you, and grow in Christ with you.

Laurie and Adriana

Laurie Epps is a non-fiction author, essayist, editor, and poet living in Anderson, South Carolina. A seeker of beauty, her is dream is to travel the world one day and tell the many stories of those she meets. To read more of Laurie's stories go to her personal blog at:  for her column about Writing books on Mondays, Poetry on Thursdays, or her Fiction to Film column on Fridays. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Outline of Chapters 7-10 of Forrest Gump

Outline by Laurie Epps

We're beginning our countdown of when the Fall semester begins at Anderson University. This fall, one of the many English classes is Fiction to Film (also known as ENG 365).

For prospective students, I've created an overview of the books that will be covered in the class. However, it is not a requirement that you are a student to follow along. I've started with Forrest Gump since it seemed like the most approachable of the texts.

This column will evolve over time. Now it serves as an introduction to the course, when school begins next month I will post my notes from the class. Next year, January 2014, it will spin off to a column all it's own with my own literary comparison's of books that become movies.  Please let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Southern Summer Swelter

Intro by Laurie Epps

The sweltering summer heat in the Southern U.S. is notorious for being muggy with temps as high as the humidity. Nothing else is like a southern thunderstorm in the middle of July. Thunderstorms are often very loud, and give life to legends like God moving around his furniture or having a party in heaven. 

So break out your lawn chair, shorts, lemonade or sweet tea, and get comfortable. Play a little blues, and make sure to serve up some Carolina barbecue for this nostalgic type poem from our beloved Kenneth O'Shaunnessy.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Outline of Ch. 3-6 of Forrest Gump

Outline By Laurie Epps

Forrest Gump is one of the seven books that made film in our upcoming English 365 class at Anderson University. It seemed to be one of the most approachable of the books on the list, so I am starting there. Forrest Gump, like many other books that were made into film form, is nothing like the movie version.

As the first day of school approaches, I am both nervous and excited by all that the new year promises. Ready to see my old friends again, and knowing that it will probably be my last year working towards my undergraduate degree. I hope you will join along with me in this delightful little story. I think we all feel like a big "oaf sometimes" which is part of what makes Forrest such a relatable character.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Reflections on My Skin

By Laurie Epps

Something about the carefree days of summer gets you to go outside, either to a park or to wade in a shallow stream. Whatever the case may be, this particular poem was written about a moment when I was waiting for my daughter to come out of swimming class and I was hanging out on a nearby swim. Something about the sun shining through the leaves spoke to me. I confess, I do have a love affair with light. Maybe some of you are afflicted with it? Please share with me if you are, I'd like to know I'm not alone.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Finding Your Way and Breaking Free From Doubt

By Laurie Epps

We are beginning Week #11 with Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. This is a collection of essays that you can can read in small chunks. If you are new, you can just jump in and join the conversation. These essays are directly relevant for writing, but they also parallel life. Everything in life is a process, it is not exclusive to writing. Won't you join us?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Appearance in Book Fun Magazine

By Laurie Epps

I was both elated and excited when my friend on Facebook messaged me and asked if I had seen my picture in Book Fun Magazine. Of course, I had to check that out, and I am pictured at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference on page 24. So my claim to fame, I have been pictured in a writing magazine.
Check out my picture below:

Friday, July 12, 2013

Two Opening Chapters of Forrest Gump

Intro by Laurie Epps

Forrest Gump, much like other films is nothing whatsoever like the book. The only similarity is that he lives in a small town in Alabama and is intellectually challenged. Some of his adventures are the same, but most are not. The film is much like a Disney version of the story, they used the same premise as the book, and then just ran amuck with it artistically. Both are wonderful, but very different versions.

True to any piece of literature, the first couple of chapters are filled with outlines and nuances about characters that you will need for the rest of the book. So today, we will begin with the first two chapters.

Chapter 1

  • Forrest doesn't like being called an idiot
  • Forrest got his name from a civil war hero; General Nathan Bedford (p.2)
  • Forrest's father died on the docks when a bail of banana's fell on him (p.3)
  • His mama is a fine person, and received a pension from the incident
  • Forrest was kept inside as a child which caused alienation
  • Forrest was put in a "special school" by the second grade (p.4)
  • When Forrest was 13, he grew six inches in six months. By the time Forrest was 16, Forrest was 6'6" and 242 pounds (p. 5)
  • Forrest was pulled out of school to play football by a coach named Fellers (pp. 5-6)
  • Some goons put Forrest in and out of his uniform until he could do it by himself (p. 6)
  • Forrest started regular classes (pp. 7-8)
  • Forrest got a crush on his tutor Miss Henderson, and fantasized about her sexually (p. 8)
  • Coach took care of his lunch at school so Forrest could eat whatever, and as much as he wanted at lunchtime (p. 8)
  • Forrest met Jenny Curran who had long black hair (p.8)
  • Jenny starts having lunch with Forrest and another guy started flirting with her. This calls Forrest "Stupo" when he sticks up for Jenny and embarrasses Forrest in front of everyone. (p. 9)
  • Coach Feller starts teaching Forrest football plays (p. 10)
  • Forrest stands up to Jenny's other suitor and the suitor's parents call his mom all upset (p. 10)
  • That incident gives Forrest confidence, and improves his football. Forrest makes all-american and his mama buys him his first suit (p. 11)
Chapter 2

  • Forrest won all american for football and got a gold star for football (pp. 12-13)
  • Forrest had to pee at the wrong moment (pp. 13-14)
  • Forrest got a baseball signed but the NYC Yankees, but had his pet dog tear it up (p. 14)
  • Coach Fellers pulled him out of class to talk to the university about playing ball (pp. 14-15)
  • So they tested Forrest academically and he tested too low to play college ball (p. 14)
  • But Forrest's low score didn't bother the Army any (p. 15)
  • So he started physical testing to join the Army (pp. 15-16)
  • When the doctor told him to bend over and cough, he just about took everyone out (p. 16)
  • Forrest's enlistment in the Army is deferred (p. 16)
  • A lady boarder named Miss French offered Forrest divinity, and then touched him inappropriately. (pp. 16-17)
  • That personal encounter made him think of Jenny Curran, so when he told his mama she arranged for a date (pp. 16-17)
  • Forrest took Jenny to the movies and accidentally tore her white dress   (pp. 17-18)
  • When they were caught falling out of the theater by an usher, Forrest was taken to jail (pp. 18-19)
  • Forrest went to court, and the judge thought that the Army might be good for Forrest, but Forrest was too dumb (p. 19)
  • Forrest's mama kets them know that he was offered a football scholarship. the judge says it's ok as long as he gets out of town. (p. 19)
  • Forrest is packed up, and leaves for college (p. 20)
Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Monday Morning Book Club column dedicated to writers everywhere, and a Thoughtful Thursday column dedicated to the fine art of poetry.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Be a Patriot

Introduction by Laurie Epps

Whenever I think of romanticism, I think of Eugene Delacroix's Painting of Lady Liberty Leading the People (1830). The centerpiece, Marianne, remains an eternal symbol of the republic (of France).

For July, my theme for the month is Patriotism and our vision of Marianne exudes this very spirit. Still used as the symbol of the French government, Marianne is the used in the seal of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Department of the Army. It embodies and glamorizes young men sacrificing themselves in the name of freedom. Freedom is so easily taken for granted, and so the painting remains a symbol of all that is means to be a patriot.

Today's entry from Kenneth O'Shaughnessy was inspired from the same scene that is the climax of Les Miserables musical that is in book, stage musical, and film form. Marianne leads us to battle in bonnet rouge and the story is now ethereal and has a legend all on it's own. With Bastille Day this coming Sunday, Marianne seemed a logical choice for my column. Viva la France!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Start Small, and Broaden Your Horizons

By Laurie Epps

For the last ten weeks, we have been discussing a book on writing called Writing Down the Bones. But this week's entry is different since we will discuss how to get our writing to the next level. How do you make a story great? It's the little subtleties that will get you there. Buckle up, and be prepared to dazzle your readers.

Please share in the comments section if you have applied any of these techniques in your own writing.

A Big Topic: Eroticism
pp. 105-107

When you write about eroticism, it is important to begin slowly. You do this by focusing specific in the room or somewhere in the scene. Think about it, when you experience the feeling of eroticism, you have it strike during an otherwise innocent moment. Try explaining a tea cup and saucer, a man washing his face in a stream, zoom in and out of your scene. Describe what you see, and go where it takes you.

A Tourist in Your Own Town
pp. 108-109

Sometimes we will live someplace for a long time and take it for granted. We no longer see it for it's possibilities. When I lived in Las Vegas, it got to where I wouldn't go to the strip or downtown, but Goldberg challenges us to get out there. Watch the canons and the play at Treasure Island, watch the volcano erupt at the Mirage, go and have a $2 steak dinner at Binion's Horseshoe downtown at 2 am, or drive to "Old Nevada" near Red Rock Canyon to feed the burros.Tell us all about it, what do you smell, hear, and touch? You might be surprised at what you find.

Write Anyplace
pp. 110-111

Goldberg talks about writing in the midst of chaos. Writing in the middle of the unemployment office, or at an above ground cemetery in New Orleans. There is something very reassuring about writing to those of us who work on it in traditional sense. No matter what is going on in your life, you take a pen & paper and your hand starts gliding across the page. Words emerge, and you put them there. This was true and will always be true. A manifestation of ideas are realized in a very concrete way. You are molding your words like a sculptor molds clay.

Go Further
pp. 112-113

Write longer than you think you are able to . If you promise yourself to write for ten minutes every day, don't stop there if you have a good idea. Write for 11-20 minutes, or an hour if necessary.

Sometimes that barrier isn't as tangible as time. For me, this is often emotional. Keep writing even though you are fighting back the tears and you can barely see the page because of crying. Write anyway and push yourself. Some of my best writing has emerged in those dark moments for me.

Laurie Epps is a non-fiction author, essayist, editor, and poet living in Anderson, South Carolina. A seeker of beauty, her is dream is to travel the world one day and tell the many stories of those she meets. To read more of Laurie's stories come back here for her column about Poetry on Thursdays, or follow her Tuesday column dedicated to writing on: http://the

Friday, July 5, 2013

Launch of Fiction to Film Fridays

By Laurie Epps

Fiction to Film Fridays is meant to be an accompaniment to English 365 at Anderson University. Class begins this fall, and I will use this forum to post class notes, and outline the books that are being covered in class.

Since there are lots of books that have made wonderful movies, this column will evolve at the completion of the course into my own analysis and I'm hoping my readers will submit books that they'd like to see in this forum.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Outcome

Intro by Laurie Epps

Happy Birthday America!

As you go out for your barbecue, cookout, or fireworks display with your friends or family today, I'd like you to consider what our forefathers went through to forge this great nation of ours. What they were doing was standing up for what they believed in, and this is not a small feat. In fact, at the time, it was a form of tyranny. Some of the possible disciplinary actions included imprisonment and even death.

As I have learned about our forefathers as both college student and home schooling mom, I can say these were very noble, honorable, and well educated men. Our government was founded on principles of the Ancient Greeks, and Romans with influences that also formed offices of Parliament in England and now those same ideals still influence countries forming a democratic government today.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Place to Write

By Laurie Epps

"Writing is the act of burning through the fog of your mind."
~ Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

 This week we are going to talk about preparing a place to work on your craft, not just a home office as I am erecting, but a space in your mind to get settled, and get to the craft of writing. If you'd like to follow along, you can buy your own copy of the book by clicking on this link for Writing Down the Bones

The Swan House in Atlanta

By Laurie Bower Epps Many don't know that I'm really from Atlanta. Somehow, as I've gotten older, it just seems to be natura...