Girl on the Go: Gone Girl

I am putting a different spin on Girl on the Go today. I want to go right on over to my couch and read Gone Girl. Why? Because this girl needs to relax and lose herself in a creepy story. I don’t forsee this happening today, tomorrow or Sunday, but maybe next weekend. Even if it’s only for an hour or two. I want to read and relax.

For now, I have three articles to write and in-laws to hang out with this weekend.

gone-girl-book-cover

Today’s Haiku:

she opens a book
and huddles on the sofa—
she tastes each word

~

Anyone else need to relax, but find the to-do list too long?

Are you looking for Bucket list items? Check out some of mine here. Or, feel free to suggest a fun activity for my list! I love adventure!

Have a great weekend!

~Nicole

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Magazine Writing: The Nutgraph

Tuesday’s Writing Tips 

Portable MFA in Creative Writing: Magazine Writing

The Nut graph: 

After the lead is crafted, the nut graph follows (I never knew it had a name). It tells the reader exactly what they’e going to read next. This is the one place where you can invert the old adage, Show don’t tell. This is the time to tell.

For instance, if you are writing an article and the lead is about a particular patient with breast cancer, the nut graph might give a brief history of breast cancer treatments, bringing the reader up-to-date on what you’re going to be talking about in the rest of the article: the latest treatment.

Next week: Style Tips

I highly recommend The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. It’s on Amazon for under $13 right now. This book discusses Fiction, Memoir/Personal Essay, Poetry and Magazine Articles. The information I have been providing for the past several months has been from this book.

Today, I leave you with this brilliant quote…

dr-seuss-quotes-standout-haiku

Today’s Haiku

the magic inside
creates an original—
drummer dances

~

Have fun being YOU!

~Nicole

Burrr, Winter is Here!

I noted yesterday that although the winter solstice hadn’t begun, in my eyes, winter had officially arrived because it was spitting ice, it was pitch black by 5:30 p.m., and I had to run on a treadmill. And today, it was confirmed. Snow. And not a dusting of it either. There was three or four inches, and the roads were icy too.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write my first winter weather haiku.

Winter is here!

Winter Weather Haiku

The door is ajar—
Piercing air hovers over
heavy, damp snow.

Tuesday’s Writing Tips:

The Devil in the Details

We’ve reached week three in the poetry section of The Portable MFA. Focus on sensory details, images that capture and evoke your experience. All things that you feel, dream or think about. Search for the perfect details.

Continue writing for 45 minutes each day (I am getting better), there are a couple of writing prompts you may want to consider exploring.

There are seven listed in the book, but I’ll give a few for inspiration:

  1. Describe a place you’ve never considered including in a poem.
  2. Write about hunger.
  3. Write about an article of clothing: the feel, smell, color of it.

Continue researching your favorite poet, try to discern feelings, emotions, dreams or thoughts the poet was thinking.

Week 1 poetry tips

Week 2 poetry tips

Who spends time reading and studying poetry each day?

~Nicole

November is in Full Force

What’s up November?

A few days behind…

My first piece for the Rochester Women wine column is coming out in November. The article features Dessert Wines. The latest edition hasn’t been posted on the website. When it’s available I will share it right here at The Whispering Pen.

My first article for Radish Magazine, a healthy living magazine, is available today. The article is about the healing power of Reiki.

I donated a painting to a foundation called Hello Gorgeous. It is a non-profit organization that provides complimentary, professional makeovers and cosmetic education to all women battling all cancers.

A woman from St. Charles is getting a make-over and the ladies hosting it wanted to have a painting for her friends and family to sign.

Hello Gorgeous painting I donated to the non-profit organization.

Denise and I are hosting another Wine & Canvas Event on November 15th. This is our fourth event! We are painting a Rustic Tree. Here’s a sneak peek!

Wine & Canvas Rustic Tree

Rustic Tree Haiku

Off in the distance
a tree is drenched in rich hues.
Winter skies are near.

I’ll be traveling to a few local wineries for the next edition of Rochester Women Magazine. We are featuring Sparkling Moscato and Sparkling Cider.

And finally, what am I reading? A true crime book by Anne Rule, The Stranger Beside Me: The shocking inside story of serial killer Ted Bundy.

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

I literally went to Barnes and Noble and asked an associate for a book that would scare the bejeezus out of me. I told her that I wanted to be scared to go to sleep at night! I love all things creepy.

Oh, there will be several haiku poems to round out the month! Here’s to a great start to the week!

What’s everyone reading?

~Nicole

The Rustling Leaves

The shorter days are forcing me to run at dusk or in the dark. Last night, I chose a section of town that is new and only has a couple of homes in the subdivision. I knew this route would have less traffic, but it’s heavily wooded and lacks sufficient lighting.

What I didn’t count on was crossing paths with another person enjoying the evening. I was a lone runner climbing the hill leading into the woods when I met another person walking towards me. It’s a strange feeling when all that is recognizable is their long shadow and illuminated silhouette.

At that point, my imagination began to take over.

Eerie Haiku

The rustling leaves—
stranger lurks in the shadows.
Gone, without a trace.

~

Tuesday’s Writing Tip from the book The Portable MFA in Creative Writing:

This week is about “stirring the pot.” Spend about 45 minutes each day (break it up into 15 minute increments if needed) writing in your notebook.

“Record snippets of dreams or thoughts you have throughout the day…pay attention to sounds you hear, foods you taste, sensory physical details of your daily life that stick in your mind. Just ‘fool’ around with some words.”

Mantra for the week: “Don’t get it right, get it written.”

I allowed myself some time to do this today, although I find it difficult to break away from the morning pages. Those take about 30 minutes, and I don’t have an additional 45 minutes on top of that to let my mind wander some more.

So today it was a combined effort. For the next few weeks I am going to try to adhere to the MFA guidelines rather than the Morning Pages. Sorry Julia Cameron, you’ll have to wait.

I love this book and plan to share more information as I read along. I think it would be an amazing experience to go back to school for an MFA in Creative Writing.

Do you have any EERIE stories to tell, or poems to share? I would love to read them.

~Nicole

The Peregrine Falcon

I am reading the novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. Though I am not finished, I am loving this book for many reasons.

First, it’s peculiar. A teenage boy’s grandfather fills his head with tales from the past and pictures to spook anyone. As the boy becomes older, he is skeptical of these tall tales. On the grandfather’s death-bed, he asks the boy to find out if the tales are true.

After his grandfather’s death, the boy does just that. He travels to a remote island off the coast of Wales. He discovers an abandoned orphanage that houses very surreal looking photographs that are all to familiar.

The book is strange and thought-provoking. I don’t believe the author intended this, but I feel like it’s also a story about a seemingly ordinary boy wanting to be extraordinary, while many of the extraordinary characters in the book wish they could be ordinary.

I also love this book because it has many peculiar photographs included to help paint a picture of what or who resided in that orphanage. I am a visual person and love pairing a good photo with a bit of prose or poetry.

In the book, Miss Peregrine is known as the headmistress of the orphanage. A haiku follows…

The Peregrine Falcon - Worlds Fastest Bird.  I was lucky enough to rescue one many years ago....

 The Peregrine Haiku

Bird of prey soaring—
She’s high above the island.
Protecting her young.

 Is anyone else reading a good fantasy novel?

~Nicole

Comfort Food to the Rescue

A disaster at work, a melt down after ruining one painting for Wine and Painting, four writing assignments, two events for The Press and the Blacklight Bubble Party over the weekend has left me a little under the weather. Nothing major yet, hoping my healthy body plows through the head congestion and cold chills.

Since I wasn’t feeling well last night, I opted for comfort food instead of a four mile run. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I am sure my feeble muscles enjoyed laying on the couch with the book 24 Hours by Greg Isles.

The comfort food made me a little nostalgic last night. I cracked open a can of Vegetarian Vegetable, by Campbell’s, and toasted a grilled cheese sandwich with wheat bread, butter and Muenster cheese.

I felt like a grade school student eating in the cafeteria. Except the cafeteria grilled cheese was always made with stale white bread…and the cheese…well that’s questionable. The kitchen staff always served grilled cheese with tomato soup. But, by the time I sat down to eat, the tomato soup was always cold. The kitchen staff insisted on filling the bowls and putting them on the long dining tables as kids lined up to pay for lunch.

And because the Haiku Challenge has me thinking in short bursts, I thought a haiku from last night’s dinner would be appropriate.

Comfort Food

Haiku Challenge

Seeking remedies.
Warm and toasty bread and cheese.
Hints of nostalgia.

What is your favorite comfort food dish?

~Nicole