By Jackie Houchin
A journalist among published book authors…what am I doing here?
I’m a “Writer In Residence” in a book emporium with only a pencil and pad and a rampant curiosity about everyone and everything around me – all of them possible subjects and mysteries to write about for the weekly (daily) news readers.
My newspaper articles (back in the day) were flashes in the night. Written fast, submitted, run through processors onto newsprint, placed in supermarket stands, picked up by semi-disinterested shoppers for a quarter, a buck, or even for free. And then gone; in the trash can, recycle bin, as puppy papers or to line a bird cage. (Does anyone have birds in cages anymore? Hmmm…. I must research and interview someone and write about that!!)
Today, my daily (hourly?) posts are on Facebook – yes, I know, that gobbler-of-time social media outlet that most people have a love/hate relationship with. I love it. I enjoy posting a variety of things on my “timeline page.” I share tips (how to make cookies either crisp or chewy) & fun facts (12 million adult coloring books were sold in 2015). I talk about people who do marvelous things (like my fellow writers), post upcoming events (Baskin & Robbins 31st-of-the-month discounted ice cream), and tell my friends and family what I am doing that is ho-hum or adventuresome.
And if you know me well, you also know I post a lot of things that I learn in my Bible study reading. And photos…. whoa, do I post photos. (Throwbacks from my photographer and photo-journalist days.)
But again… flashes in the night. Sure, you can scroll down to see former Facebook posts, but any more, about 10 days is all you can see without major effort.
My fellow fish in the sea of writing, Writers In Residence in particular, have finished products that are enduring; books bound in soft or hard covers, given as gifts, re-read, treasured, shared among friends, and at the very least, end up on Friends of Library book shelves or even at yard sales at discounted prices to be bought and re-read again.
Flashes in the night versus beloved tomes held erect by sturdy bookends. (Sigh) But we are all valuable, as I discovered recently.
Our Writers In Residence (formerly Wednesday Women Writers), had a brainstorming lunch-meeting about our blog. (I was taking notes, figuring in the back of my mind what kind of articles could come from it.) The others were discussing how to promote their books, encourage reading in general, and inspire others to write and write well. And entertain. We all want to entertain in some way – to inspire, enlighten, and make readers ponder… or laugh.
Hey… did you hear the one about why the French like to eat snails? It’s because they hate fast food! Get it? FAST food, SLOW snails?*
Or… How many cars does it take to fill a mall with shoppers? Why, a whole lot, of course!
About being the odd man (woman) out…I actually feel comfortable among my book writing and selling sisters. And if I can promote them, inspire them, write about them or their books, I will. (Look forward in the next months for some blog posts in which I feature these WWWs, or WIRs – you know, the talented, passionate, fun, interesting friends in our little lake of scribes.)
Well, if you will pardon this stream of consciousness post, I promise to do better next time. Meanwhile….
1) Check out my fellow writers (here and on their websites)
2) Buy and read their books (Amazon or other places)
3) Write reviews about their books (Amazon or Goodreads, etc.)
4) Tell your friends about them and this blog
5) Link our posts to your Facebook or Twitter page
6) And comment, oh please comment, on our posts (it’s how we know you are out there!). And it will delight us so much!
Okay, time for a swim among all the other amazing and eclectic fishes in the sea. SPLASH! Notice that we are all swimming in the same direction.
(Can you find me? Color me different, but blended in.)
*Joke submitted by Richard Pool.
(PS: If you don’t see a comments box, or an icon to Facebook or Twitter or a “like” and “follow” us button, GO TO THE TOP OF THIS PAGE (or any of the posts), click on the title (it will change to blue for a fraction of a second), and then………… Voila! All those possibilities are right here below.
8 thoughts on “A Fish out of Water”
Writers need chroniclers as well as just readers to get the news out that there is a new book to be read and enjoyed. And many of these small-publisher books are terrific. They just don’t have the big publishing company behind them, just word of mouth. But Facebook and those Tweets reach scads of people who just might find a new author to entertain them for several hours. I have met many writers on Facebook and have bought their books and a few have even returned the favor. But as a reader as well as a writer, I enjoy seeing what others are doing. My book shelves (plural) and Kindle are loaded with new finds. So thanks, Jaxon, for taking the time to not only read some of my work, but reviewing it, too. Some of your reviews have led to me purchasing some authors that I would have never known.
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Thanks Gayle, for the comment.
A chronicler I certainly am! I write briefly about a lot of things and I read a lot of books (or listen to them via audio). BUT I CONFESS I don’t often take the time to review them. YOU are wonderful at doing that! I should do better. I know you post them where you can, but you (or anyone who reviews good books) can send them to me and I will post them on my “Here’s How It Happened” blog as well! And pump them.
PS: In the FISH COLORING PAGE, I am the one hiding in the tall grass at the bottom right. Haha!
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Jackie, good writing is always appreciated, no matter what you write. Novels, newspaper articles, or jokes (I’m sharing the snail joke with everyone), it’s all about the quality of the words and how they touch an audience. I guarantee something you have written has inspired a reader – to read the book or see the play you reviewed, to follow in the footsteps of someone you profiled in the newspaper, to become a journalist like yourself.
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Thanks, Miko. I’ve gotten good feedback for my articles and stories over the years. This year I want to return the favor to my fellow writers here on The Writers In Residence and elsewhere. I hope to support them and their books, stories, blogs, and writing journeys even more … in the six ways I’ve suggested in my posting above.
Oh, Jackie, I am honored to be swimming in the same pond with you! And I’m not saying that lightly. I’ve stopped counting how many times things you’ve said, done, posted about…have inspired me with a new idea or a twist to a new idea. For example, just in this post, the fish drawing started me on mystery story path involving doodling by a murder victim (or the protagonist maybe) that are artistic, and of different animals, and, and, and…. Haven’t flushed the whole idea out yet.
And by the way, loved, “…did you hear the one about why the French like to eat snails? It’s because they hate fast food! Get it? FAST food, SLOW snails?” To me, this cute little joke says a lot about French culture and American culture–and in my mind then extended to writing styles! See, you’ve done it again, started me off on a train of writing thought…
Loved your post.
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Madeline, your are a awesome friend indeed. Thanks for the kudos, and for posting on Facebook. I’m glad to have inspired you… but most times I don’t even know I do it! HAHA. But isn’t that how it goes? We get sparks of insight, inspirations, ideas from the weirdest places. Not that I am weird or anything.
A few days ago I got an idea for one of my kids’ stories by hearing someone talk about how another person always said “No.” I got the idea for “Peter’s No’s” which can be confused in the story with “Peter’s Nose!” Hey!! Maybe that’s how Pinocchio got started! Oh! Now, I’m thinking of puppets…. a puppet show or a skit? put on by the kids? for whom? How with the no’s/noes aspect work out? Hmm. Will there be lies? What will be the lessons? WHO is/will be Peter?
Ahem… where was I? Oh yeah, keep on writing those lovely atmospheric mysteries you write, Madeline! I promise to post some reviews this year for you and the others.
Jackie – I always love your ‘ramblings.’ They are thoughtful, smart and very entertaining. I think you are a gifted writer, too – and hope you will turn your hand to novel writing. If you ever get the time! We love to hear about your adventures in every day life and your enthusiastic support of us fellow-blog writers is wonderful….. Keep rambling on….
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