Pick a Holiday

By Claudette Young

Everyday is a holiday. Pick one. Now, write about it.Simple task, right? Well, maybe not. Here’s a fun way, though, to pull out of a writing slump and perhaps earn some greenbacks in the process.

Many magazines need and want short pieces written about holidays. Those celebratory days don’t have to match major/national ones. Find something unique, perhaps even about your own town or state, and march words across your page.

Hop over to the Holiday Insights website. Scroll down to whatever month seems promising to you and click on it. How much easier can it get?

Find something fun. For example: Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day—January 12.

Know any wild men? Now’s your chance to go out and interview a few. Think about it. Get their take on such a holiday (one they probably didn’t know existed).

Invite a few of these men to a pizza joint and watch them celebrate. Ask about why they might think of themselves as wild men. Hey, it’s just a suggestion.

What about April? This month has special month status, honored weekly status, and daily holidays. You could keep writing for a year on this collection if you wanted to spend the time.

Here are a few selected possibilities for April.

  • National Humor Month
  • International Guitar Month
  • National Kite Month
  • National Poetry Month
  • National Pecan Month
  • National Welding Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month

These give a writer both fun and serious possible subjects.

For weekly honors, we have:

  • Week 1 Read a Road Map Week.
  • Week 2 Garden Week
  • Week 3 Organize Your Files Week
  • Week 4 National Karaoke Week

There are a few others, but not nearly as fun.

Daily celebrations run a gamut of subjects and attitudes. But, you get the drift. Every month has a plethora of options fully blossomed and ready for plucking.

So, when you find yourself feeling especially stagnant as a writer or just out of sorts and stuck, pull up this holiday calendar and start arranging a bouquet of short pieces for publication. Heck, you could base an entire blog on this fanciful possibility.

And remember, new holidays are created all the time by someone and that someone could be you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘Tis the Season to Stock Up on Writing Supplies

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By Deborah Epperson

 

You can’t turn on the television at this time of the year without seeing a glut of advertising for back to school sales. If you’re like me and your kids are grown, you may be tempted to tune the ads out, but don’t! If you’re a writer, a crafter, an artist, or work from home in any capacity, this is the time to shop smarter for yourself.  school supplies

There’s no better time than now to restock your home office. Back to school sales provide the perfect opportunity to save money on computer paper, pens, notepads, and almost anything you need (or want) for your office. Been thinking of getting a chalkboard for the kitchen to write down those grocery items as they pop up? Hoping your laptop can last until the Black Friday sales?

Now is the time to check out prices. It’s also a great time for artist and crafters to stock up too. Scissors, glue, colored pencils, tape, and chalk are priced right.

While you’re tracking down bargains for your office and home, you might consider picking up a few extra basic school supplies like pencils, paper, and folders to donate to your local school. About 94% of teachers end up buying some classroom supplies out of their own pockets.

Call your local school and ask them what supplies their teachers need and donate a few to them in honor of that special teacher you or your children had. Mine was Miss Alice Cashen, honors English, grades 10-12. Great teacher and great humanitarian. Without her years of preaching about the power and the importance of books, I’d have never dared think I might be a writer.  

Remember Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who advocated for a girl’s right to an education and defied the Taliban who in 2012 shot her in the head for doing so? After surviving her attack, Malala continued her activism for women’s educational rights, and received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala said, “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

As writers, we know the truth and the power of those words.

Thanks for stopping by,

Deborah Epperson

250,000 small      shadows of home epperson

A Necessary Inspiration

By Marsha Nash Sultz

Sometimes inspiration sneaks up behind you and whispers in your ear. Sometimes it knocks you over the head with great vigor. In my case, frustration once drove me to create a solution for the unknowable.

Years ago, I was interested in family genealogy to the point of obsession. Where did I come from? Whose genetic oomph propelled me to become me? I was hip-deep in Ancestry.com when I discovered that my great-grandfather’s information ended abruptly. He was born during the Civil War in a small town in Tennessee and raised as an orphan. The courthouse records, and the courthouse, were destroyed by the townspeople to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Yankees. 

What? Who destroys their own records? 

After searching to no avail for another month I sat back, dumbfounded and upset. I wanted to know the beginning of Great-Grandpa Sam’s life. The only thing I knew from my Aunt Margie was that he was a sweet man, an orphan who was raised by neighbors. That wasn’t enough for me.

What does a writer do when confronted with a bad ending? She writes a new one.

I took the bare bones of setting, time period and characters and created my own small town, Benson’s Furnace, Tennessee. I led with a skirmish set during the Civil War in which a wounded Confederate captain is forced to remain behind, in secret. What ensues is forbidden love, betrayal and misunderstanding between certain female citizens of the town and our Captain. Twenty-five years later, he decides to return to Benson’s Furnace to atone for his past behavior.

My story becomes a saga of Southern post-war life in a small town where no one wants to talk about the past. Unfortunately, the captain’s appearance brings up memories of southern defeat and shame and the unthought-of parentage of Sam, an unintended result of the captain’s liaison with the wrong woman.

This story is wildly different from Sam’s real life. He married a local girl, fathered three children and moved to West Tennessee to become a cotton farmer. 

Do I owe Sam the truth? Did my imagination bend reality to the point of denying the existence of an authentic life? 

I can’t help but think that I’ve improved the story while paying tribute to a relative whose history remains a blank in the record book. As they say in bad detective movies, names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Besides, everyone needs a satisfying ending – to a story, to a novel or to a life.

The Dancing Master

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By Catherine Browning

 

When I attended high school, everyone learned the basic dance steps in PE class. This included the waltz, two-step, polka, and some square dancing. All right! I admit it was somewhere back in the dark ages. But when you were asked to go to the prom, you knew the steps. More important, your partner knew the steps, too. At the more informal dances, we all learned the twist, mashed potato . . . well, you get the idea. 

My grandson is a senior in high school. I asked him if he intended going to the prom. 

“Probably.”

“Do you know how to dance?”

“No.”

“Does whomever you will ask to be your date know how to dance?”

“No.”

Now I ask you, what are they teaching students at school these days? I’m allowed to ask this question because I’m a teacher. As of a few years ago, I just do substitute teaching, but I still qualify. 

So I asked my grandson if anyone actually danced at the dances. 

“No.”

So I offered to teach my grandson and his choice of dates how to dance. Place your bets now as to whether or not that will happen!

My daughter informed me I was too old-fashioned and that she didn’t even know the present day dances. Perhaps my granddaughter-in-law could teach him to swing dance?