Posts Tagged ‘CurtissAnn Matlock’

One of the really nice rewards I’ve received from writing Napkinwriter is a few blog friendships and one I value greatly is the one CurtissAnn Matlock and I have from sharing our thoughts with each other and commenting on each other’s thoughts that come through in our blog.

We met about a year ago doing this and I see no sight in end as we each continue our blogs. We each seem very interested in what the other is saying, doing and experiencing. We find, among our writing, uncommon grounds, that we each feel deeply and passionately about and sometimes are surprised to find “it could be so with another soul.”

I imagine there are great differences between us too. One on the main ones being we have each written for over twenty years plus; CurtissAnn, author of many, many published novels, with editor and publisher ready for her next creation. Probably even pushing her for them, as Curtiss Ann sells her romantic fiction.

I, on the other hand, (seems like I’ve written this line before) have published as a columnist, feature writer and photographer, and held editor position in newspapers, but not published a book. I have books in preparation that I actively work on at this later stage in my life, but whether they are destined for an agent or publisher is clouded at this point. I both write and read for the pure joy of it.

So it came to pass during this last Christmas season that I won a drawing for one of CurtissAnn’s books. Holiday activity overtook my lazy dream of armchair reclining and reading during the first three-fourths of the fourteen or so days (seemed like 28 at least), but I recouped enough to sit-a-spell post January and into “Miracle on I-40” and didn’t part with it for long until I finished.

I liked heroine waitress Lacey right away. She was trying to accomplish a trip to her parent’s and her “little–girl” home for Christmas. She had business of the past to tend to and an introduction to her parents of her two children, not yet seen by them.

Got the grandmother’s heart in me right there. How she makes this trip is a thrilling tale, filled with the  “I wanna” emotions of children adults alike.

I was getting along pretty good in the story, when I put it down late one night to retire my sleepy eyes. Once in bed, my sleepy eyes popped open and my mind started a tattle-tale list of things I needed to do the next day on a project I was excited about……plus wondering how my story characters were going to handle their next obstacle.

I needed sleep to get an advantage on tomorrow, so I took a  sleep aid, a rare act for me. Back in bed, the non-sleep nonsence continued. OK, I bargained…..I’ll get up and read one chapter….

OK, I’ll read the next couple pages. All right, I’ll read until my eyes feel blurry, that always works.

Now, I’m having trouble. My eyes ARE blurry, I am almost dropping the book, but I can’t put it down. Because I am on 172 and between my droopy, sedated eyes, and my tears, I have to work really hard to see the words.

But I am on page 172 and I must continue because this is so important and I want to see that what I want to happen will  happen.

And I continue reading. And I only look with one eye at the clock as the dong, dong, dong tells me it is slipping past 3 am. And I stay until I finish the end which I am coming to quicker than I want it to end….even if I do have to get back in bed.

And, I only venture to guess, that is why CurtissAnn sells books.

Thanks for the story and the characters I cared about. My project turned out marvelously the next day. The morning just arrived extra early.

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Curtiss Ann's front porch chair

Order me one of those! This is author CurtissAnn Matlock’s chair. Curtiss Ann is a lot of things — vibrant woman, mother, grandmother, passionate gardener, but first and foremost, she is a writer — everyday, all days. And surely she is as she puts out book after published book with boatloads of characters, fictionalized towns and settings and puts numerous scenarios into action every day. she doesn’t spend the majority of her time in this chair — but what a luxury!

So her “just sittin'” time is pretty limited, I would guess. But I’d love to be just sittin beside her. When I saw that photo on her blog, my heart just went pitty-pat, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. We’d have only one rule between us. We would share the just sittin’ time in silence and well……….just sit!

All the other times, we are so busy in action or in our head, we don’t allow the just sittin’ experience to grace our life very often. Curtiss Ann describes the challenge, itself, to make ourselves “just sit.” And I share that with you below.

Author Brenda Ueland calls this time “moodling”. My workshop participants loved the concept and loved doing it and took it home with them as a new breast plate — a right they had that they could freely exercise without guilt.

Ueland says she used to imagine inspiration came like a lightening bolt and at once “a rapt flashing of the eyes, tossing of the hair, feverish excitement followed by the poet or artist beginning furiously to write or paint”… and that she didn’t experience anything like that.

She says it comes slowly and quietly. She says it can be dreamy time before you begin to write anything. And to know, you are going to at some time write -tell something on paper. You have to dare to be idle, for the letting in of ideas. You cannot will them in. This quiet looking and thinking is the imagination. Good ideas come from this. Big ideas come from this. Wait for them.

So she says to dare to be idle, not to be pressed and duty-driven all the time. So, here from CurtissAnn’s blog is her take  on this subject. When you connect to her website, you find many more fun and inspiring ideas to tinker with.


 Taking Time

“One day last week, by the time the sun had come up over the trees, I had gone through my morning rituals, cleaned the bathroom, started a load of laundry and set off on a bike ride. By the time I returned from the bike ride that I normally enjoy, I realized little joy had been involved. I had done it because I thought I should. I had done all I did because I thought I should, and with little thought but by habit and faint voices of generations in back of me.

Time is the coin of your life.  It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.  Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.  ~Carl Sandburg

Yesterday afternoon–by a determined decision to look away from pages that I’d been struggling to write, the messy kitchen, the gardenia bush wanting planting, oh, and all those ragged bushes that need trimming, what would people think!– I made a glass of sweet tea and sat in the porch chair.

Then I found myself looking at email and Twitter on my phone. Purposely, and like some alcoholic with a drink, I sat the phone aside and just looked around me.

Oh, how hard it has become for me to just sit!

Sitting and praying is acceptable, sitting and studying, planning with pen and paper, writing something, reading something–all of that producing something tangible is highly valued because of production. But just sitting? Taking time to really look at the scenery around me, let my body relax, let my true self have a chance to catch her breath and begin to wonder and imagine and speak wisdom. Such a concept was not something practiced in my family growing up. Nor is it valued in today’s fast-paced striving world. Today we want to see produce from every minute.

I learned… that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.” ~Brenda Ueland

There is value in just sitting. Immense value, and if we really believed this, we would do it. The treasure we seek and need is inside, but it has to have time to come out. To be let out. We have to take time for sitting in idleness, and we have to deliberately take the time, because the world is not going to hand it to us.

Eventually yesterday I did get quiet, and my mind bubbled up with interesting thoughts on a number of things. I saw the chapter I had been working on with new insight. And I ended up later having energy, and time, to plant the gardenia.

Today I mark on my calendar: Take time to sit.”


I end Napkinwriter today with a beautiful photo from Brenda Horton taken at their summer home on Mackinac Island where she captured her husband, Ted, looking like he has not one bit of trouble “just sittin” with his dog, Maddie. 

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