Who Needs Macy’s?

One of the many joys of moving back to Montana is the opportunity to observe the quaint traditions of the community where I live, namely, the Annual Holiday Parade. Granted, there were no balloons or Businessmen of Whimsy, but as you will see, a Western Holiday Parade is fraught with entertainment value.

Top 6 Things You’ll See in a Western Parade

1) A float in a Western Parade isn’t complete without a pair of antlers.

Continue reading “Who Needs Macy’s?”

Hey “Girl:” Life of a Temp

These past few months while finishing my masters thesis, I’ve been working for a temp agency to earn a little extra cash. With flexible hours, and the chance to get to know  the town I’ve just recently moved to a little better, the experience has, for the most part, been worthwhile.  Being that I’d never worked for a temp agency, there are a few things I’ve discovered worth noting:

photo courtesy of kellyservices.us

1) The vernacular of working for a temp agency.Despite that fact that it is not listed on Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, in this industry, “temping” is a verb. What surprised me was how often I was referred to as “girl” (or “girls” if I was in a group.) This applied to all the female temps, and it did not matter the age of the employees (I had co-workers who were in their 70’s.)Hopefully, this stemmed from the term Kelly Girl® coined by William Russell Kelly, founder of Kelly Services, who started a temp agency by loaning his employees to other businesses, and not from straight misogyny.

Even my boyfriend, who worked for the company as a gravedigger, was a Kelly Girl®. Continue reading “Hey “Girl:” Life of a Temp”

So, I just read “The Tiger’s Wife”

Cover photo courtesy of randomhouse.com

These days, when I want to know what other people think of a book, I go to Goodreads. Who should know books better than the people who aren’t paid to read them?

According to the novel synopsis posted on Goodreads:

Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Téa Obreht, the youngest of The New Yorker’s twenty best American fiction writers under forty, has spun a timeless novel that will establish her as one of the most vibrant, original authors of her generation.

Okay, Téa Obreht is a rockstar. Being an aspiring writer who is the same age as Ms. Obreht, I’ll admit I admire her accomplishments (did I say admire? I probably meant envy.) But, when I read her novel I was perplexed. Undoubtedly compromised by the petty tendency to compare myself to other writers, I couldn’t decide whether I liked her book or not. Continue reading “So, I just read “The Tiger’s Wife””

The Art of the Product Review

thumbs up, gnome
photo by nocklebeast

My cellphone contract will expire soon and as everyone knows, this means I get to upgrade my phone. While perusing my network’s online store, I discovered some of the best reading material the internet has to offer:

The product review tab.

I marveled at the passion that went into these reviews–emoticons, superfluous punctuation, ALL CAPS. Without any obvious external motivation or reward to review a product, the endeavors of these zealously happy or disappointed reviewers are admirable. Most people you have to pay to fill out a survey–these people do it for free! Some of these product reviewers deserve at least a certificate of completion from the hosting website, something comparable to what you might receive for completing a course in photography at your local adult education center. Continue reading “The Art of the Product Review”

The Character Arc of a Writer

At my last writer’s residency, sitting in my hotel room with a glass of wine in hand, a fellow writer and good friend pulled out a piece of paper and educated me in the fine art of plotting. I previously had miniature lessons in plot (“your story must have three things…”), but nothing as in-depth as the little mountain range of “rising action” and “denoument” my friend drew for me.

plot, plot graph, drawing, diagram

Thankfully, she also introduced me to The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. A guide more than a formula or prescription, his book provides an approach to understanding the ingredients of a story as a hero’s journey with twelve stages. I’ve been reading his book while working on my own novel. Here is a glimpse of my daily “writer’s journey” using the Character Arc from Vogler’s book. Continue reading “The Character Arc of a Writer”