Author Confessions Round 28

 Jonathan Carroll once said, “I find you write with one person in mind. Usually for me that one person is my wife, because she’s my most severe critic and understands best what I’m trying to do.” I guess the one person I write for is my mother-in-law, who has encouraged me from day one. She’s a huge Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts fan and keeps telling me I’m going to be the next Nora Roberts. I just laugh at her and think she’s crazy. But she believes in me. So when I write, I think about her.

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Author Confessions Round 25

I have two inspirational quotes I like. One is writing related. One is not. The first is from my favorite poem by Robert Frost, The Road Less Traveled.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

My life has been full of less traveled roads. Each road I’ve taken, although full of rocks and potholes, has been well worth the journey.

The second quote is from Pulitzer Prize winner, Junot Diaz. I kind of live by this quote, simply because it defines who I am as a writer. Even if book sales aren’t going well, writing goals aren’t panning out, I receive a crappy review, or I’m just flat out having a sucky day, this quote inspires me to remember why I write, and I push forward.

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A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Even though it’s 99 degrees outside today with 43% humidity, I took a break from my writing world to go on a photography adventure.  Taking pictures is one of the things I do when I’m not writing.  Usually my kids rush me through the picture taking process, but today I was able to take my time and soak in the scenery.  Perhaps some of these photos will inspire your writing, or just give you a break so you can enjoy a beautiful place for a while.  These were all taken at the Tea Gardens in San Antonio, TX.

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The Japanese Tea Gardens is often used as a wedding venue, and many people have photography sessions on the grounds as well.  The flowers were all in full bloom today, which was nice.  The large amounts of rain we’ve been blessed with lately have made everything around here so green.

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The Koi pond attracts ducks and other birds to the area.  Some turtles live here too.

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But it’s the flowers and greenery that I love most.

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A waterfall trickles into the pond.  You can hear it throughout the garden.

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The Tea Gardens is one of my favorite places to go in San Antonio.

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The Tea Gardens used to be a cement factory, but when the factory shut down, they turned the quarry into this beautiful place.  During WW2 the name was changed to the Chinese Tea Gardens, as the sign at the entrance says.  But today, it is known as the Japanese Tea Gardens.  Up by the pavilion, a little restaurant serves tea, fresh lemonade, sandwiches, salads, and sushi.   Great place to have brunch.

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If you’re ever in the area, stop by the Tea Gardens.  It’s free to the pubic and open from dawn ’til dusk.

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Raining on Sunday

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I love the rain.  I grew up in an area of the United States where it rains almost daily.  Now that I’m in Texas, rain is a rare treat.  We’ve received more rain this year than we have in many years, so much rain that many cities have been devastated by floods.  Despite this, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Texas so green.  It’s beautiful.

It happens to be raining again today.  I love the sound of rain.  The sound of rain not only relaxes the mind, but it can inspire creativity as well.  Art, photography, music, poetry, theatre, literature — rain has provided inspiration for many artists.

Today I’d like to share some rain-inspired works that I love.

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A painting by Belorussian painter Leonid Afremov.

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This awesome photography shot is called Rain Again.

A poem entitled “The Rain to the Wind” by my favorite poet, Robert Frost

The rain to the wind said,
‘You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.

—Robert Frost from his poem “The Rain to the Wind”

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One of my favorite musicals is Singin’ in Rain, starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds.

See Gene Kelly Perform the song “Singin’ in the Rain” here.

Rain has a purpose.  It brings life by providing water for flowers and plants. Rain fills reservoirs, which provides clean drinking water.  It keeps lakes and rivers at capacity, which not only benefits fish, but also gives us a place to go waterskiing, swimming, or enjoy other recreational water activities.  Rain supplies puddles for kids to splash in and a water source for animals to drink from.  Rain cleanses the Earth, relaxes the mind, and cools the air.  I love rain.

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The lake ripples as boats float by.

The clouds pour raindrops from the sky.

Puddles are fun to splash in and play,

Cleanse in holy water before you pray.

Making spaghetti, it boils and churns,

But frozen as ice, it cools down burns.

Putting out fires and cleansing thirst,

And on a hot day from a sprinkler it bursts.

Delicate snowflakes fall from the sky.

In summer the water balloons sail by.

It combines with soap for washing my socks,

Then helps me relax on sauna rocks.

Vapor or liquid or solid as ice,

Water is life, and water is nice.

L.M. Nelson, Author of Scrubs

What Inspires You to Write?

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Almost every writer is inspired by something, whether it be another person, music, photos, books, movies, or a number of other things.  Inspiration to write doesn’t always come easily.  Often times a story idea just pops into my head, and I take off with it.  Other times an inspiration-seeking session is in order.

As a writer, I find myself reading constantly.  I read from a variety of genres and from many different authors.  Books allow my imagination to run wild.  Not only can a book create images in my head, but reading also allows me to see different author’s writing styles.  Sometimes a phrase or particular scene from a book gets the creative juices flowing, but in all honesty, gaining inspiration isn’t why I read.  I read simply because I enjoy a good book.

An author can gain a lot of insights from watching people, which I do almost subconsciously now.  I write realistic fiction, so I spend a lot of time watching how people react to certain events or stimuli. I strive to make my characters as real and believable as possible.  Making mental notes about how people act or jotting down what they say often inspires me to write.  I create scenes based on what I hear or witness people do.  Although my characters are not based on real people, some of their personality traits or dialogue bits may reflect those of people I’ve come into contact with.  This makes my characters real and easier to relate to.

Interesting photographs grab my attention.  In fact, I have a bad habit of taking pictures of interesting things during routine shopping trips or when I’m sharing lunch with my family.  An example of this is when my husband, my kids, and I were eating lunch together and a framed picture on the wall called out to me.  It was a photograph of a man in a black trench coat and black fedora walking down a lonely street holding hands with a woman in a black dress.  It was raining outside so the woman held a black umbrella in her hand to retract the rain.  The man, however, walked unsheltered, with rainwater dripping off his hat.  That particular photograph had a story behind it, a story I intended to write.  So I pulled out my phone and snapped a picture of it.

I listen to music regularly.  I don’t usually do this while I’m writing, but song lyrics often lead to a story.  I’ve heard it said that music stirs up memories–memories of a particular person or event in your life, whether joyous or disheartening.  I firmly believe this is true.  This may seem odd to non-writers, but certain songs bring particular characters or scenes to mind.  Music often inspires me to write.  I place my characters in a scene and imagine a song playing in the background.  The song in my head fits the scene, and my character’s actions and words could easily be a part of the lyrics.

Writers are inspired by just about everything, and inspiration comes differently for every writer.  Share your thoughts.  What inspires you to write?

L.M. Nelson, Author of Scrubs