Introducing – The Protector! Faster than a misplaced comma…….

Today I took an online quiz to determine my storytelling superpower.

superhero woman

I’m a Protector – my superpower is writing superheroes. My favorite characters see their world in danger and will do whatever it takes to protect it and those they love in it. These characters may not wear spandex and capes, but they show almost superhuman fortitude in their quest to prevent disaster, whatever the cost to themselves. I’m drawn to characters who stand up to the forces of evil and protect what they believe in.

This makes sense, as the book I’m currently editing is about a fifteen-year-old girl who battles pirates and a Nazi U-Boat captain to save the world from evil. She doesn’t wear a cape, she’s a typical freshman in high-school, with a strong sense of adventure and the difference between right and wrong.

So, of course, I dug further to decide what my superhero name would be. There are several websites that will generate a superhero persona for you after answering a few questions. In the interest of science (because as anyone who knows me will tell you – I’m a nerd of several types), I visited several sites. Mashing them all together, I’m Dr. Polygraph/Jupiter Moon/Ghost Surfer.

I had a close encounter with a meteor which left me with the superpower of being a human lie detector. I can instantly tell whether someone is telling me the truth or lying. This way of saying it is politer than how I think of it – bullshit detector.

I am also able to channel and summon the natural forces of any planet or moon. The volcanos of IO, the acid rain of Venus, the sands of Mars are mine to command.

Oh, and I can fly.

Can’t wait to see what my imagination comes up with for a character and plot using this!  What is your superhero – whether it’s a storytelling hero or other?  Take the quiz and share the result here in the comments.

Up, up and awayyyyyy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Introducing – The Protector! Faster than a misplaced comma…….

Honoring My Reality

Today’s writing prompt, from Gabriela Pereira and her amazing DIYMFA Book Club, is about balance and honoring reality. Realizing that there is room enough for both things (writing and living) in your life.

balance

True to form, my schedule didn’t allow me time to think or write on this topic until this morning. And I’m allocating an hour to do so, because it’s a beautiful day, there is pruning to do, and I can’t sit in a chair for more than an hour anyway.

As with all difficult topics, I start with the dictionary. My handy, American Heritage Dictionary, which I won in 1975 in a writing contest, has fifteen entries for balance, which include: “3. A stable state characterized by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces.  4. A state of bodily equilibrium. 5. A stable mental or psychological state; emotional equilibrium.” And possibly my favorite – “6. A harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts or elements, as in a design or composition.”

All the dictionary definitions address the give and take of opposing forces. I’ve found that all forces are not equal, and rarely do they cancel each other out in any reasonable timeframe. Rather, a broader horizon is needed to evaluate balance. In my earlier years, I put writing on the back burner (I had an uncle that actively discouraged me to write, but that’s another blog post), and engage in a financially appropriate career. The scales of my balance beam tipped way to one side and I threw myself into several fields looking for the creative outlet that writing would have provided. All the while I journaled, wrote non-fiction articles, and picked away at a novel. I honored my reality of the time by working hard, dabbling in writing, and dreaming of a time when I could focus on it full time.

Flash forward (although the actual time didn’t flash at all – at times it seemed to crawl as slow as a worm across the sidewalk after a rain). I’m able to focus on writing, but other things have popped up to challenge me. Things I didn’t have while working, like friends, time to exercise, ten acres to take care of, a fledgling agri-business to run. Sometimes I think that I purposely throw barriers in front of myself to draw me away from writing. The truth is far more interesting. Life is what you make of it. I love my friends, learn through my business, and feel better than I ever have. Writing is how I think through things, analyze my actions, dive into my imagination. Everything else I do feeds that beast; gives me ideas, distance, and enthusiasm to write when I do spend the hours in front of my computer.

So, in a way, I can’t relate one incidence of a time when I “honored my reality,” because I do it every day. I call it life.

DIYMFA Book CLub

 

 

Honoring My Reality

Thank You Campbell’s Soup

As much as it feels like I’ve been writing all my life, I didn’t come out of the womb demanding paper and pen to write down a sentence before I lost it. The writing bug didn’t hit until sixth grade, by my memory. My family lived in West Bloomfield, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. At this point I attended Abbott Middle School, notable in the late sixties for not enough class rooms to educate the baby-boom kids. Not so important here in California, where I now live, but in Michigan a trek out to a mobile classroom unit in the winter was miserable.

My teacher, whose name I’ve unfortunately lost, had us cut pictures out of magazines for several months. She’d bring in a wide selection of periodicals and hand them out. We’d page through and cut out any pictures that caught our eye. Without a purpose in sight, we were free to pick anything. The cuttings were carefully stored in a manila folder with our name on the top. It seemed the most pointless thing I’d done in school. Between math, science, and history, cutting out pictures seemed soooo kindergarten.

Warhol Campbell Soup Can

Then one day she handed back our manila folders and told us to pick out one or more of the cuttings, and write a story about it. Now with a defined purpose, my structured mind wished I’d cut out different things. Interesting things, I could clearly see a story inside.

This was 1969. Andy Warhol had been painting Campbell’s soup cans for seven years, and in 1968 the tomato soup can screen print was released, among others. In my cuttings was a large Campbell soup can, whether it was from an ad for Campbell’s or his art I can’t remember. Of all the images, it is the one that struck me the hardest, and the only one I remember now, many years later.

I remember the empty hole in my thoughts that soup can picture created. What kind of story could I come up with that would get me an A? My academic career at that point (and for all of it really) was about getting good grades. The other kids were writing away, and I just sat staring at a picture of a can of soup. I put my pencil on the paper and hoped. As a rule, hope isn’t a strategy, but it worked. Words started to flow out of the pencil. Okay, I know that is a cliché, but that’s how it felt. It still feels that way sometimes when I’m writing and I’m not sure where it’s going. I can close my eyes and let something flow through, call it my muse, the creative force, or good luck. Yes, I edit heavily afterwards, because not all the words are needed, or eloquently state, but at least the idea is there.

In this case, the story that came out would foretell my interest in fantasy and science fiction. I wish I could say I have the story now, but it has been lost to time. What I do remember is that it was a tale of a society of very small people, who lived in a used tomato soup can, in the middle of a field. They rarely ventured out of the soup can because that was “out there” where danger lurked. I can’t walk a modern shopping mall without thinking about this story, as each store looks like a home. Come to think of it, old shopping malls might make great homeless housing. As I grew up, this story became an allegory for me of the narrow ways we tend as humans to view the world. Not realizing that there is a big “there” outside our view, whether it’s another county, country, planet, or metaphysical dimension.

So, I’ve been writing intentionally since eleven. I won’t do the math for you, but that is quite a few years, and I still find joy and frustration in the act. I know that’s what keeps me coming back to it.

Thank You Campbell’s Soup