Thursday, August 29, 2013

Typical School Day

Intro by Laurie Epps

Now that we're back to school, we have school on the brain. Trying to curb the late nights, and paying for it in the early mornings we're getting back to a routine. So please welcome my daughter, who has just started junior college at sixteen years old.

As many of you know, I'm also a college senior, and my youngest has also started kindergarten. The moms out there will relate to my agony with getting reestablished in our routine. Three girls, three schools, and all at 8 am... it can be a logistical nightmare. They are just some growing pains. If you have the chance please tell me about your mornings in the comments section below.

So without further delay, I'd like to introduce my daughter's poem with a quote from my mom, "Now get out there and learn something!"

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cutting Through to Your Best Material

By Laurie Epps

Today, we're going to cover the last three essays in Writing Down the Bones. It is fitting for me to be winding down with the book now because with the onset of a new school year, and a new job, it's a time for new beginnings. Today, we're going to talk about the process. How do we tackle cutting out what's irrelevant and what's not?

Goldberg uses colorful analogies, and brings to life some different techniques to break through to our best material. So let's dig in and get to cutting!
The Samurai
pp. 169-171

Yes, it's true. There really aren't any good writers or bad writers. We all deserve a little bit of room. We all have a unique voice. Just like any other artist, all of that is subject to interpretation. 

Every part of the process is valuable. Composition is valuable because our writing wouldn't exist without it. But today, we're going to talk about self editing. A preliminary step before you hand over your work to a colleague or friend to critique.

This is the moment your work meet the Samurai sword. Those grueling moments where you decide if anything you wrote is any good, or if it's relevant. 

Difficult and scary, this part of the process we tell ourselves frankly if it's any good or not.

Be careful and choose wisely. If only one line makes an impact, then only use one line.

Have you ever been in love with your own work? Like a sentimental parent, you don't want to give up a single word. What did you do when this happened? Please share with us below.

Rereading and Rewriting
pp. 172-176

Goldberg recommends rereading your journals. Become comfortable with how your inner mind works. As you're rereading circle phrases or sentences that stand out as being good. Merely, string those ideas together in a cohesive piece. You might be amazed at the finished product if you do.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to School Wipeout

By Laurie Epps

Lots of kids nationally have started school this week. However, the transition from summer mode to school routine can be exhausting for everyone. Personally, I'm functioning on 3-4 hours of sleep a night and wondering why I'm still tired. But I look at my kids who in the morning don't want to get up, and in the evening are asleep before dinner.

Today's poem was a joint effort with my daughter Ellen, who just started junior college Monday, and my little one kindergarten. The end of the day is just as arduous. I have to wake them up for a bath and dinner. Chores are undone, and I'm struggling with concentration after being in a summer routine. But like every other school year, within two weeks we'll be back into the groove of things.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Group Writing, Telling Life's Stories

By Laurie Epps

Today's the first day of school for many of us, and how fitting that we're winding down with our book. Next week will mark the last week of this series of my column. It still isn't too late to buy your copy of Writing Down the Bones, and scroll back to older additions of my Monday Morning Book Club to follow along. Don't fret, we will be picking up a whole new book by my friend and mentor, Edie Melson. It's on a topic that is difficult for a lot of us as writers, Social Media.

But for today, we're going to talk about writing in mass. By that, I mean to say this is Power Writing, or Writing on Steroids. The process is the same, but we write for longer periods of time, and often in the company of other writers. Call up your friends, and let's get to writing!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

School Days

By Laurie Epps

Today's post is a little dark for me. It comes from a very special place in my heart. Recently, I had one of my women from Bible Girlfriends Online tell me her friend committed suicide. Though there are a few things they have out there for trying to talk the victims out of committing suicide, there isn't much I've found about what we can do emotionally to navigate the gauntlet of feelings for the victims. With a heavy heart, I want to reach out to my readers who have lost someone this way.

*****Note: May be inappropriate for sensitive readers

Monday, August 12, 2013

Break Out of the Every Day

By Laurie Epps

All of us get stuck as writers. We all have those moments when we don't know what to write, or feel we're boring, or that we have nothing to say. Goldberg gives us some techniques or starting points to begin the process and find our own voice. So follow along with her book, Writing Down the Bones, and if you don't have a copy, click on the link above.

This set of essay's talks about setting out to view ourselves, and those small moments in life more richly. Change your perspective, try something different, savor your food, reconnect with your roots. Mainly this is about self discovering who you are and not being afraid of it. Only you have intellectual property of your thought and ideas. Find it, yield it, and share it with an unsuspecting world.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Forrest Gump: Outline of Ch. 15-18

Outline by Laurie Epps

Forrest Gump was a blockbuster movie, but the book is a stark contrast to it. It's as if they just took the premise of the book, and just ran with it to create the movie. I don't remember seeing Forrest as an astronaut, and surely, I would've remembered Forrest being stranded on a remote island in the Pacific with an ape and a woman officer as company! So pick up the book, if you're enrolled in English 365 at Anderson University this fall.

Even if you're not in the class, feel welcome to follow along. If you need to purchase the book, click here. It's getting close to the start of school, and Forrest Gump is the second book of seven we will cover in addition to the textbook. These stories I'll assume we are comparing to the film for a college level analysis. This column is set up to be an accompaniment of the course, but will evolve into its own column at the conclusion of the course.

Especially for my non-classmate readers, I'd love to have you comment on books you'd like to cover beginning in January of 2014. You can just write the title of suggestions in the comments section at the bottom of today's column.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Time for School

Intro by Laurie Epps

It's getting to be that time again, where we say goodbye to summer, and children go back to the halls of academia. My own kids are so excited to go back to school this time, and both are embarking on a new academic adventure. My youngest starts kindergarten the same day my teenager starts at the local junior college. I know from experience, that they may be excited now, but a month from now they very well could be rolling their eyes about getting ready for school.

Today's entry is from one of my favorite local poets, Kenneth O'Shaunnnessy. Ken is an education major in addition to his job. Sometimes I wonder how the guy does it all, poet, dad to four, student, employee.... but he has been so gracious about giving me an original poem anytime I need it. Thank you so much Ken. Now let's get back to school.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Stepping Outside of Everyday Life

By Laurie Epps

Sometimes as writers, we get in a rut just like everyone else. But how do you break out of it? This weeks entry talks about everything from experimenting with form, to working in a different space, to playing with your writing style, and moves onto your commitment to write. What are you willing to do to grow as a writer? 

No matter what you do,life happens. At times, trying to write is next to impossible, and for many of us we continue you to compose in our minds.

Whatever the case my be, break out your copy of Writing Down the Bones and follow along with us. Don't forget to share with us what you find about writing and about life.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

New Time for Bible Girlfriends Online

Adriana & I, July 2013

What is Bible Girlfriends Online? Bible Girlfriends Online is a women's bible study online, where women can come to connect and grow with Christ. Due to the hectic American lifestyle, this forum can reach women that otherwise might not have access to a bible study due to living in a remote area, tending a newborn, dealing with health issues, or maybe even caring for an aging parent. This is also geared for busy college students, working professionals, or anyone seeking to know and grow in Christ while wearing their pajama's. If this sounds like you, then won't you join us?

The Lord laid on my heart to minister to women back in 1996 while my middle daughter was just an infant, but I didn't know how that would be possible. Thanks to Adriana Vermillion, I knew the moment she asked me, that this was the realization of that vision. I feel called to take this journey with all of you. I hope I will endeavor to grow in Christ, and get to make some new girlfriends along the way. I'd like to know each and every one of you personally. So stop, and introduce yourselves. To join our Facebook chat click here.

We are working out of a devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you'd like to follow along, or to purchase the text click here.

We look forward to seeing you at our new time.
Mondays from 7-9 pm you can follow along with us, we'd love to have you.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Forrest Gump: Outline of Ch. 11-14

Outline by Laurie Epps

Forrest Gump was a very popular movie starring Tom Hanks, but it is also a very different book by Winston Groom. In the Fall of 2013, we will be covering this book/movie for English 365 at Anderson University. This is a wonderful addition to my Fiction to Film column that's genesis is from the course. If you need to purchase the book, click here.

I would encourage students to check in for my outlines and class notes every Friday, but I also encourage those not in the class to read along. This will spin off into my own column at the conclusion of the course to exist on it's own.

To my faithful readers, I do apologize for getting the column up late. I wasn't feeling well, and I hope to put my outlines up earlier in the future.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake

By Laurie Epps

When I went to the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference, I attended a Marketing class where we talked about shocking BROCA. This technique basically embodies the spirit of doing something different to stand out among the other submissions. But I couldn't resist attending a Poetry class taught by my dear friend, Pam Zollman.

Pam talked to us about using some more unusual types of poems to make you stand out to a publisher. So we practiced a few in class together, and I was not prepared to actually work in these classes. But it just goes to show you, that the brain is still working, and we learned a few things they are looking at when you are pitching to Highlights Magazine.

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...