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My crazy spelling idea, placed among Oklahoma artifacts, including my favorite–rose rocks (barite)! We’ll talk about that in the future, too.

It’s nice to return to blogging. It’s already an exercise in tightening up my skills. Writing the title of this article was a challenge. Titles and subtitles and headlines are a challenge for me. It’s like condensing everything you want to say down into just a few words that will grab the reader and inspire them to continue reading. See, I want to talk about colloquialisms today and if I had titled this, “My Top Five Oklahoma Colloquialisms,” you probably would have skipped out on the fun. (Maybe it’s only fun to word nerds, but I think it’s fun.)

Anyway, in the past I’ve been confused by the differences between colloquialisms, jargon,  and such. Here’s a great explanation I found where they define the words and give examples of usage and even a little quiz at the end, if you are so inclined. (I know. It’s official. I’m a giant word nerd.)

For now, let’s skip the definitions and get right into the language and you’ll see what I mean.

There may be other segments of the South/or central regions of the United States that say “fixin’ to,” but in Oklahoma, people say that a lot.

“I’m fixin’ to go to the dog swap. Do you need anything? Chickens? Guineas? Goat?”

“She’s fixin’ to call him back as soon as she finds her phone.”

“I’m fixin’ to give you a whoopin’ you’ll never forget.”

See? Now you know what I mean, right?

I think one of the top colloquialisms that Oklahoma is known for is, “Ya’ll.” It is a contraction for “you all” and is normally used when speaking to a group of two or more people, but not always.

“Ya’ll calm down in there, or I’m goin’ to give you that whoopin’ we talked about earlier.”

“Ya’ll need anything? Dr. Pepper? Iced tea? Mountain Dew?”

“Ya’ll look like you’re itchin’ to jump in the water? You hot?” (See what I did there? Threw a  handful of colloquialisms at you in two sentences, in each example.)

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I’m thinking this needs to be the title of the chapter in the memoir where I tell all of these fun stories and more. :^)

My personal favorite is “idn’t it.” Mercy. When I catch myself saying “idn’t it,” I  cringe. Why do I say that? I don’t know. Because I live here, I guess.

“Idn’t it odd that she suddenly disappeared when the rent was due?”

“Idn’t he a sorry potlicker?” (Sorry–I’ll explain “sorry” and “potlicker” on another word- nerd day.)

“Idn’t she a sight for sore eyes?” (That one, too.)

Obviously, “idn’t it” stands in for “isn’t” and I have no explanation. It’s regional, because I’m not the only one who says it. Thank goodness.

“Howdy” is a good one. You probably already know that it’s used in place of “Hi” or “Hello,” but it’s considered less formal and more friendly. But it can be used in formal settings–just depends on who you are and your personality. (Which is the same with any of the above-mentioned colloquialisms because they have nothing to do with your current status, education, or job title. It’s regional, as I stated previously. It’s probably not a credit to an English major/editor/writer to chat with your co-workers in this manner:

“I’m fixin’ to send out an email inviting ya’ll to the next potluck lunch. Idn’t that a good idea?” Mm hmm.

It has nothing to do with living in the city or country, wearing Prada or Faded Glory, heels or boots, but you’d probably better live in Oklahoma. Or Texas. Or thereabouts. Or people will look at you cross-eyed and walk away. Quickly.

The last one is another personal favorite, just because my dad says it to be funny. “Far,” as in “fire,” and not how far you have to travel to reach the fire. Far.

“He preached hellfar and brimstone again.”

“I tried to light that far, but the wind came sweepin’ down the plain.”

“It’s hotter ‘n far today, idn’t it?”

Yep. (There’s another one for you.)

So, if you travel and a bunch of Okies are having a conversation and you feel like you’re visiting a foreign country, you very well may be. But Okies aren’t the only ones. Here’s another link to a great article that gives you a visual on this very thing. Some of the topics are pretty hilarious, too.

Hope you’ve enjoyed and that you understand what I’m talkin’ about. If not, ask questions in the comment section. And leave a comment listing your favorite colloquialism from your area. That should be fun!

 

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BEAUTY IN THE PARK, DURING TRANQUIL MOMENTS

It’s been a while since I’ve written. It’s been a busy time for me, with much writing on a professional level, but I’ve missed the easy-going, interesting, enlightening conversations that can take place by blogging. I’ve considered some different ideas for re-entering Blog World and finally ended up thinking that life can get complicated on its own. I’d like to keep this simple. Plus, as a writer, it’s nice to have a place to hone my skills in an easy manner — practice, and connect with other people who are interested in what I have to say, aside from social media, which can sometimes end up too complicated.

My interests tend to lean toward the eclectic — many and varied. Of late, I’ve spent some free time researching genealogy, which involves digging deeply into my heritage. I am currently thrilled with the long Scots lines that I’ve located, and although I’m proud of my ancestry, I’m particularly enamored with the Celtic aspects. I’m planning a trip. I have a long bucket list, but this trip seems to be calling out the loudest. I think I’m just going to jump off and go. (I kept telling myself that I wanted to wait until I could stay for two or three months, but that seems unlikely for the near future, so I’ll plan something more reasonable and see what transpires.)

I wrote another novel this summer. Well, it started out as a memoir, with stories from our family. It ended up being a collection of the beginning of several more story ideas, as well as an entire first edit of one of my previous novels. (I know! That seems to be part of my creative process.) I had wrestled with editing my novels for too long. I knew I had to start somewhere. I’m still dealing with what to do next. There is too much information on publishing and self-publishing and I get bogged down. I need to simplify this process, too. I really think the next step is to lay it all out and review it and edit again with my daughter who is also a writer.

This summer I also spent six weeks motivating myself back into better physical shape by taking the prodding of my daughter and joining the Couch to 5K movement (through the C25K app.) It’s actually eight weeks, but I made it for six weeks and actually felt much better. Then, I fell ill and have remained so for an entire month! Talk about frustrating. I spent time taking supplements and learning more and more about building my health through the immune system and then took a very hard hit. Well, it’s back to square one, but with some beautiful autumn days, hopefully, I can begin again.

Occasionally I’ve mentioned some writer’s quotes that inspire me. It might be fun to end some posts with some of my own. Quotes have to begin somewhere. It might as well be here. On writing — I know you’ve heard this many times before and it’s been attributed to many authors, but it’s true — just write.

 

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Camp NaNoWriMo Winner!

If you have ever said, “I’m going to write a novel,” may I suggest that you use NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) as your platform?  It is a wonderful tool to provide the motivation and encouragement from other writers that you may need to propel you from zero to one-hundred in thirty days!

Two years ago I participated in National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November of every year.  The goal is to write 50,000 words in thirty days.  That year, I was still in college classes, but it was a great way to put some fire behind one of my novel ideas.  I accomplished writing about 20,000 words that year.   The NaNo website, nanowrimo.org, acknowledges even your well-best intentions, but the “winners” achieve the 50,000 word mark.

I had it in my mind to achieve that, some day, but after graduation, I sort of crashed.  I gave myself a month to recuperate from college, then I was going to get back on the bandwagon and get writing.  But life got in the way and six months passed.  Horrors!

Thank goodness  I had the sense to “like” NaNoWriMo on facebook.  Every so often I would see their posts and the idea of finishing my novel that I wrote while in college continued to nag.

In July, the site hosts Camp NaNoWriMo, with the same goal as in November:  write 50,000 words in a month.  (There is also a level for rebels.  You set your own parameters and just participate and achieve success at your own rate.)  I considered this, but I really wanted to prove to myself that I have what it takes to be a writer who can really make it — and by that I mean:  work at writing, each and every day, in the midst of life.  That was the Camp slogan.  “Writing in the midst of your crazy life.”  Yep.  That fit.

Perfect.

I signed up.

They assign campers to an online “cabin.”  Like-minded writers, within a genre, age-group, or other criteria are assigned randomly, or you can choose your cabin mates.  I went for random and I could not have ended up happier with the situation.  The writers in my cabin were encouraging.  Each was at a different level in their writing, from “I wish I could write,” to “I write professionally.”    We were able to communicate on the assigned cabin message forum.  Each one of us achieved a level of success and one other camper besides me, made it over the 50,000 word goal.

I found that I was more competitive than I had ever imagined.  I wanted to meet my word goal each day, which was over 1600.  Some days I surpassed 3000 or 5000.  Once, I was side-lined for five days with zero words.  But I didn’t give up!  I came back at it determined to finish.  On day twenty-two when I knocked out the final word in 50,000, I was elated.  I did it!  Life and all.  Crazy life and all.  I ended up with a prequel to my first novel.

It was not my best writing, by any stretch of the imagination, but I got those words down in black and white.  Some of my ideas were great.  I can see what they will blossom into with some hard work.  It was just the doing, the discipline, the commitment, the promise to myself within the view of others that seemed to work for me.

Camp NaNoWriMo awards the winners with cool virtual badges and a certificate that can be printed out, as well as several online purchase discounts.  That was nice, but the best part was that I just did it.  I surpassed my goal.

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I think that I will continue to participate in NaNoWriMo.  It was a great way to set a goal and achieve it, with daily markers right before my eyes.  I’ve committed to my goal and signed up for November 1!

I have also found a NaNoEdMo site.  (National Novel Editing Month takes place in March.)  It is setting aside about two hours per day for a month to edit a previously written novel.  Perfect again!  Just what I need, because I have two novels to edit and a third on the way!

I encourage you to check out the websites and set some goals.  November is just around the corner.  You can do this!  I did, I know you can.

Have you ever wanted to write a novel?  Do you think you might participate in NaNoWriMo?  Let me know. . . .

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My Teacup of the Month plan has been derailed for a while, but with thoughts turning to the beginning of school for many, I thought it might be fun to get back on track.

I won’t be returning to classes this fall, since graduating in December, but my thoughts are with those who are.  I have a niece who is working hard to graduate college within a year.  My oldest daughter, Sara, is also taking online courses while taking care of three children and waiting for the fourth to arrive.  Whew!

I need a cup of tea just thinking about it.  :^)

With the words, back-to-school, my thoughts turn to  reading and writing.  I’m still working on slogging through some G.R.R. Martin.  I’ve spoken before about how much I love to love his characters.  And love to hate his characters, too.  The man sure is a prolific writer.  I think that’s the main point that I would like to learn from reading his books — writing that much!  I hope to achieve that some day.

I am super excited to say that I have written my second novel.  I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in July and knocked out over 50,000 words in twenty-two days!  It was a great experience and an amazing learning curve.  I’ll write more about that later.

Now, about this teacup.

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It’s a mix-match from my odd assortment of cups gathered from here and there.  I love the little saucer with the apples on it.  I couldn’t resist throwing a little nostalgia into the photo setting.  Jacks from my childhood, a marble collection in an old canning jar, a crocheted doily that I tea-dyed, vintage books (the one on the top is an autobiography of Ben Franklin, published in 1910.  I just love finds like that.)  (Thanks to my daughter, Lyndsey, who, by the way, is opening an antique, vintage-eclectic-stuff-shop on the plains.)  WooHoo!  Very exciting development.

And of course, in the photo I’ve included an apple for the teacher.  :^)  It’s my virtual thank-you to all of the wonderful teachers out there, helping to shape and mold the minds of students.  You deserve much honor and praise.

My youngest daughter is beginning her second year of teaching.  Her class is fourth-grade and they will be doing plenty of creative writing with Aubrey.  It’s exciting to watch this new journey unfold.

I would also like to say that since graduation, two of my writer friends and I have formed a writing group.  We’re staying accountable to each other and the writing world by setting goals, checking in, and . . . writing!  :^)

Thanks so much for stopping in and sharing this cup of tea with me.  Please pause to leave a few words to let me know that you’ve taken a moment to stop by.  It is important to me and I do appreciate the time you’ve taken,  because I know that time is often our most valuable gift.

What thoughts come to you when you think of back-to-school?

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Where do you find your inspiration? As a writer, I’ll tell you, I look in many places. Nature, however, seems to be the place I gravitate to the most. If I can see a waterfall, or hear a stream, it immediately brings a sense of calm. Later, the creativity will follow, into an uncluttered, open mind. (Well, as uncluttered as it gets anyway. There’s always something that could use a little work.) ;^)

Also, I think the best writers are great readers. Devouring books is the perfect way to see how it’s done. Of course, most of us read to read. That is a term that I tossed around frequently while in writing courses these last few years. While dissecting fiction, I wondered if I would ever be able to read for fun again, rather than reading a fictional piece to analyze the techniques.

Last semester, I was in the middle of writing a paper on a book that I really wanted to enjoy and was having a difficult time muddling through the technicalities that hover in the mind of a writer once trained. I mentioned this to a professor. She said, “Oh no! I want you to just read it. Don’t analyze it. Read it. Then go back and see what stands out. See what makes an impact upon you.”

So that is what I’m also asking you — not only where do you gain inspiration for what you do, no matter what dream chasing it may be, but what books do you read that inspire you? Is there someone that you’ve read that made you want to write like them? Why?

My daughter bought A Game of Thrones by G.R.R. Martin for me for Christmas. Looking at the 765 pages and the five or six volumes that follow, I was daunted, to say the least. But I found myself with a few idle days, (due to illness,) (boo) and I was able to read it. The praises of Mr. Martin have been sung far and wide. With an HBO series and untold volumes, he doesn’t need my praise. But I’ll tell you, I was inspired. I want to know history like he does. I want to design fully round characters like he does. I want to create antagonists that you love to hate and protagonists that you love to love, like he does.

I don’t want to be quite so graphic. Do you think that’s a requirement of a writer in this century? I don’t. I still believe that you can be effective without the gore and the four-letter words.  Eyes, ears, and hearts are assaulted on many fronts with access to extensive media and it is increasing.  Yet, I believe that we need more of the healing balm than ripping and shredding.    It  has to do with my views upon violence and its perpetuation.  Where do we draw the line?  On many subjects, I say, loose the boundaries.  But there are other places that I must say that I prefer the lines to be distinctly drawn.  I think that we need this as a society; not to take a head-in-the-sand approach, but to encourage innocence to flourish and gentleness to prevail.  I still hope that it can.

My youngest daughter, also a writer and the one who bought me the book, gave me the journal in the photograph for my graduation.  The embossed cover contains a Jane Austen quote. (She’s also the daughter who might chide me for being too uppity about this violence thing in the Thrones series.) But that’s okay. It takes all kinds. I appreciated reading the book. I loved it. I loved the characters. I want to know what happens to them. But I think that I will try a kinder, gentler writing style.

“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” (Jane Austen)

That’s how I feel.

Mary Stewart pulled it off in her epic series of Arthur and Merlin stories, Legacy — The Crystal Cave. She is brilliant at portraying the history, hooking the reader into a marvelous, sweeping tale, and leaves you wanting more.  She can write about the victim, but it’s more about the victory.

I think that is what inspiration is all about. Take a bit of this and a scrap of that, and work it into your own magnificent quilt.

One more quote for today then:
“Writers read.”

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The opportunity to begin again presents itself every morning and I am grateful for it.  I am excited to run into the new year armed with my recently conferred writing degree and a million ideas.  I hope that you’ll join me and see what we can discover.

In 2013, I would like this blog to be a place where we treasure words of wisdom by writers new and old.  I would like to dream here, of my perfect writer’s space.  I would like to write a little fun and fiction, and of course, sip a cup of tea, laugh, and relax.

All the best to you and yours in 2013!

Here’s today’s wisdom, which may be attributed to someone famous, but I could not find it in a quick “google.”  I will say that I heard it from my professors at the University of Oklahoma over and over again and I’m sure I’ve said it here several times myself.

“Writers write.”

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