Archive for the ‘Writer’ Tag

‘Singing’ to a mixed audience

Singing, or writing to a mixed audience is sometimes a complex thing. We writers are vain. I am, I will admit. We want recognition for what we write, praise for the piece, and honest feedback if we value others’ input. But, humility? Yes, that is important to me too. As writers we thrive on inspiration, and enjoy writing in the process. A writer cannot write to please all. So, how to choose what is most important to them. An old rule some people live by: don’t discuss religion or politics, so those are subjects some writers will maybe skirt around. If one is a politician how can they not write about politics? It would be as natural to them as delivering speeches. Understood! And when one is a Christian, or has another kind of faith, or belief? Well, again they will want to share and write on what they believe or feel strongly about. Understood! But, I also care about how my writing voice is received, whether I write fiction, or just prose or poem of another genre. Since I have written both fiction and non-fiction I cannot say which area or genre is where my most potential lies, but fiction is what I love writing most. Yet, it is often the non-fiction works that carries more impact. It is what influences one into remembering what they read if it hit a chord or note somewhere. And so that is where I stand now; at a sort of intersection in my writing. Do I write only to entertain? Or write to deliver a message? And what message? Sometimes it is just best to change direction for a while, and travel down a another path to test the potential there. What to do. What to write. Needing new inspiration and direction. As a Christian, and a writer I strive for wisdom in whatever I do, whatever I write. But, hopefully there are those out there in the blogging/writing audience that enjoy, or do not mind the variety in the venue found here on my blog whatever tune I choose to sing to (speaking metaphorically). And, I hope there will be those who enjoy my ‘voice’ and the music (genre) I use to sing to, and will stay tuned to my channel, and I will try to not disappoint.  

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Joyce E. Johnson            

Posted February 10, 2013 by Joyce in Essays, Faith, Writing

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READY OR NOT, IT HAPPENS

READY OR NOT, IT HAPPENS

When it comes to writing a piece of prose on real issues, there are times when I have not felt like writing something to share or post. Days go by before I am ready to attempt writing again, or try to put something into words. The emotion of what I feel, how to express it, and still be clearly understood does not always come together just right. I find myself needing to edit too much, start over, or delete it all, so I put it off again. I do not like spilling out my gut feelings on everything. I want my writing to have quality, be concise and have a message whether delivered subtly or overtly. Some things are just too personal and private to share, and I am not the type to expose things not intended for a public audience. By nature, I am a very private person. Even writing about personal experiences sometimes makes me feel awkward or uncomfortable.

But, in writing fiction there is freedom in being expressive, creative, and running with an idea or thought. Lately it has not been difficult to come up with ideas. With current headlines and news reports one does not always need a vivid imagination to come up with a subject to write about. Readers and writers may not always understand or relate to what the writer is saying when writing about a subject, but from the perspective of a character living it there is a way to reach the reader who sees life from that perspective. And, there are times when what a fiction writer writes that it actually comes true in real life, because there is hardly anything that has not happened in this world at some time that has left a writer wondering, What do I write about, now? What can I say that has not already been said by someone? How do I approach it? How can I convey a message by what I write, and have it be relevant to someone, or be remembered?

As a writer I like to write the kind of fiction that tells a story that lingers in the back of one’s mind thinking, This could really happen. And, what would I do if I was the character in the story? Characters doing things, saying things that will not be easily forgotten, but remembered for how they reacted to situations in life. Although some subjects and ideas from my short fiction ‘Friday Fictioneers’ 100 word stories are inspired from a photo prompt, and seemed real enough to turn into realistic scenarios, they are still fiction. But, are they? What if those things really happened? What if that could really happen just like that, just like it is written with that plot, and those characters? In the world of fiction one can visit that place, or experience it, all of it a part of the world of ‘make believe’.

It has not been difficult to come up with an idea to go with the photo prompt provided, but it does not begin to address the real issues that stir the emotion in one as do the real life stories happening all around us with real people, suffering, or dying. That is the reality that touches people’s lives, their hearts, and the stories that have recently filled our newspaper’s pages, the internet, facebook, twitter, television newscasts, and talk shows. Our homes and lives become so saturated from all the gloom and doom of this world, where does reality end and fiction begin? There is only an overlap, a merging of the real and the fiction coming together as one. It is life, often not the picture of a very pretty one.

And then there is fantasy that does not need to make sense at all, it just needs to entertain the reader, and the movie goer. Those kinds of fantasies are in abundance, but sometimes they can hurt, if one takes it to the extreme, goes ballistic, and cannot separate fantasy from reality.

The most recent event of the theater massacre in Aurora, Co., only an hour’s drive away from where I live is an example of the reality and fantasy converging together that has changed lives, and will for a long time affect many the way they think, or live. If we are going to merely walk into a theater to watch a story acted out, or go into a store to shop, a restaurant to eat, or to our job to work, we take a risk, a chance that there might be a deranged lunatic out there that will rob us of our very life, and our last breath. It has even happened in churches where the killers storm in to find their victims in prayer, or hearing a message on how to live, how to love others. Where is there a safe place where the reality of death and dying is not real? There are many varied ways that take one’s life. No guarantee, no promise we will have a tomorrow in this life. So, we live daily with the fragility of life. Anyone of us can be the next one whose life can be snuffed out of existence into the pages of history to ebb away as did those before us.

The many tragedies and shooting sprees, such as the one in Aurora, at the Columbine High School, and in universities or places elsewhere have never been forgotten. Eventually, the horrific event just eases back into memory with all other past events as new issues come to the forefront. We move on. It is the sad part of life that we have to deal with in these times. And sadly too, new chaotic events will take its place. What do we learn from it? How is one to cope, or change their lifestyle to make themselves safer, avoid untimely death, and stay clear of a sniper’s bullets, the bullies, killers, the ‘boogey man’ in this world? One can’t. But, we can be ready to go out of this world and enter another one, a Heavenly one not of this world, not by contrast to the one we know here, but one that is real, waiting for us with our Father God if that time comes before we are ready. It is why I am prepared and thankful to be ready, if it should happen to me. Ready, or not, life happens. And ready or not death comes, to us all. There remains just one question. When? How?

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Posted July 31, 2012 by Joyce in Faith, Uncategorized, Writing

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Writing – Always a ‘Work in Progress’

I believe that variety and diversity is optional, but often needed, even expected for a writer to communicate effectively to the reader, depending on the message or style, genre, age and gender. Illustrating through stories, fiction, prose, poetry, essays – or any media – that can convey a message is not easily forgotten if it captures one’s attention from the start. Words live on in print only if saved and read, never destroyed: every writer’s dream. But, now with the myriad ways our words and images can live on through cyberspace one can leave imbedded impressions there.

In my writing I have used a variety of different forms, or format. I have rhymed simple poems and stories for the sake of just having fun at what I do, whether doing it for myself or for children. Not all of it will make sense, but neither did Dr. Seuss’s writing, while rhyming when he wrote children’s books. He was one of the best, and most known for communicating to children with his scrambled made up phrases and rhymes. His books are all favorites of mine and I love to read them aloud to myself and to my grandchildren. The old Mother Goose stories and rhymes are favorites of mine too. I think there is a sense of freedom and free style to today’s writing that can have a message, or maybe not, if it is written for the sole purpose of entertaining. That is OK, even if there is a lot that even I cannot relate to. But, it is the writer’s style all his, or her own that brings pleasure and satisfaction, however it is written, or for whom.

Whether to entertain the reader, to write for the pure joy and pleasure of writing, or to communicate a message of truth and conviction, there are things I write that I will share with the public, and other things I do not, reserving them for just myself, or for my family, friends, or for God. Not everything a writer writes will be enjoyed by some, but as a writer, we express, we communicate, we entertain. Some (people) will think some pieces sad, some will think some pieces bad, and maybe other things will just make some mad. But, it is the ‘craft’ of writing I work at, the tool I use to communicate, the voice I use to speak what I feel, what I want to say. Feedback and comments are always welcomed. All are a learning lesson. I am teachable.

Posted June 5, 2012 by Joyce in Writing

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There is no shame…

There is no shame in accepting failure; only in not accepting someone else’s success. Through the years this has been a learning lesson for me, when I heard of other writer friends’ reaching that point in their life to see their name and work in print. It is more a lesson in humility than merely reading the stories of literary success and greatness of well published novelists or poets. When one’s success at publication is not my own, but another’s. Rejections on submitted entries and manuscripts to writing venues, publishers, and editors can have one feel as if all their work on a story or book is in vain, not worthy of publication. At times when discouraged, or  disappointed,  I felt as if it was time to give up on writing. Sound familiar to some of you writers? Maybe. I don’t think I am the only one, but rather one of many to feel like this at times. But, I made a decision to continue with my writing, my prose, rhyming, story, or whatever my project was at the moment. Writing  is too much a part of me to give up. It is a part of who I am,  and cannot be compartmentalized, or put aside. That is like giving up on myself, and giving up on God who ultimately blessed me with a gift to use however He chooses to use it, and what I choose to write. When I believe in myself, what I can do, and what I am inspired to write is often a time  when it comes more naturally, unrestrained. And, when I am not under stress to ‘edit’,  meet a ‘deadline’,  ‘delete’,  or ‘cut’ what I feel is worthy to be read. But, part of that contentment I think too requires me to be happy for those, and congratulate the ones who have reached the pinnacle of success in having a ‘New release’ out, or ‘contract,’ for publication. Succeeding in that, is a lesson learned.

Posted May 7, 2012 by Joyce in Writing

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