Tag Archives: marching band

Writing and Real Life Inspiration: One Leg at a Time

Another successful marching band season has closed for Dear Daughter. Likewise Middle Son’s football team finished the year with 1 loss. (Don’t tell anyone, but it might help that he has an ex-pro-football player as a coach.) Regardless, it was a busy Saturday for our little fam.

But it wasn’t the wins that inspired me. What impacted me far more than Dear Daughter catching her rifle after five mid-air rotations or Middle’s touch down on the last drive of the game was a young gal from another band.

She had a prosthetic leg from the knee down. And yet, she was out there on the field dancing, tossing flags and marching to the beat of the drums. All with a smile on her face.


Remind me as a mom never to let my kids take the easy way out when they are pouting about someone getting more football passes than they got. Remind me as a writer never to let another person’s success get in the way of my own ability.

Writer’s block be damned. If a young lady can learn to toss a flag on one foot, I sure as heck can pen a few hundred words. And then a few hundred more.

Ohhhh, how easy it is to bemoan our writing rejections or to blame the wind for missing a tossed flag. Better that we give up and quit trying than to complain incessantly. Seriously, it gets old after a while.

Better yet that we should buckle down and move toward our dreams one step at a time.

I thank this young lady for silently reminding me of my blessings and my short-comings. May I do her justice in my daily writing life.

How about you? What events have inspired you over the years to be something or someone better? Please share your tales of standing tall despite the odds.

Curious minds want to know.

Reaching The End

I’ve reached the end.  My newest WIP is complete and marinating before its edit.  Fall, with its chill winds and splendid show of changing leaves, has replaced the warmth of summer.  On Saturday, Eldest will perform his final marching band show, rounding out his sixth season.

The End.

Sometimes those words are bittersweet.  Sometimes they are just bitter.  Rarely do I look back on them and feel sheer untainted joy.

The End.  My baby is growing up.  I’m no longer allowed to pamper him and smother him and do everything for him.  I’m no longer allowed to act on my motherly impulses, but rather, I’m in a place where he is in control of his new beginning.  I’ll cry this weekend.  No doubt about that.

I’ll cry for everything he’s accomplished and for everything he has yet to do.  I’ll cry for every missed moment and for every mistake I’ve made while raising him.  I’ll shed tears for the baby he’s left behind and the stunning young man he has become.

Even while I know the end is not final, it is a chapter closed.  One I will never get back, save for the memories and photos I have.

In the same way, finishing a manuscript feels final.  Yet, unlike raising a child, it is a chapter we get to read many times.  It is an opportunity to fix our mistakes and change the outcome to be stronger, better, healthier, more satisfying.

~the end~

Or, is it really just the beginning?

Writing Humor: Me on Time Management

Humor rocks my socks off.  In some ways, I’m a big kid who never grew up.  I laugh at kid jokes.  I tell kid jokes.  I smile when most other adults turn their noses up in disdain.

Heck, I have a three-legged dog in one my of novels, and after 273 read-throughs I still laugh at all the good parts.  But I’m quirky that way.  In fact, when my pirate chapter book received a pass due to the reader’s “dry sense of humor”, my immediate reaction was–under my breath whilst surpressing a grin–“Then why read a book that takes place on the ocean?”

I know, I groaned too.

But hey, at least you know where I’m coming from.  And now I’d like you to follow along and see where I’m going.

Today I’m guest posting at The Write Time.  Fantasy writer and fellow AQer, Dean C. Rich,  has a great blog on time management as it pertains to the writing life.  Please check out his blog and learn a thing or two about how I mismanage my time when it comes to writing and life.

Other things I’m doing today: helping out with vision and hearing checks for our elementary kids, finishing an edit of another chapter book (same quirky humor as the first) and getting started on cleaning my house.  Company is coming down this weekend for the marching band performance and the only room that’s clean enough for hosting is currently in someone else’s house.

It’s been a long summer with lots of dirt and I need to get to the bottom of it…er, on top of it before the dust bunnies carry us away.

What kinds of things tickle your tweeter?  Do you like dry humor, slap-stick or bathroom humor?  Are you mature in what makes you laugh, or can you find funny in almost anything?  And more importantly, do you write humor?  If so, how do you make humor rock instead of fall flat?

Curious minds want to know.

Writing Precision and Marching Band

We’re gearing up for another weekend of marching band.  Saturday will be packed with a parade performance in the morning, a noon field show and a second field show competition in the evening.  The kids will be gone from 7:45am until midnight.  Hopefully they’ll come home with a few new trophies.

Last Saturday they won first in their class…out of two bands.  This Saturday evening, they will again be in a class (A) with two bands.  Maybe first doesn’t sound so impressive when thought of this way, but consider the following.

Last year at this same evening competition, they outperformed every band except two–including the bands in AA and AAA–and garnered the third highest score out of 15 against schools much bigger than theirs.  Now that is impressive.

Traditionally, our tiny band from our tiny town rules the field.  One year, we tied for fifth place in the finals at a multi-state event.  To even earn a spot in the finals, we had to score in the top ten out of 37 bands.  Our band of 60 outperformed bands with 200 marchers.  Another year at another competition, we won the sweepstakes award, which means outscoring every band in the competition regardless of class.

I could belabor the point, taking you through our trophies–which number so many the showcase broke under the weight a year or so back–but I think you get the point.  Quantity doesn’t matter.  Quality does.

Not just on the field, but also in our writing.

We won those trophies through precision.  Our music was crisp.  Our marching in sync.  Our color guard snappy.  The overall flow was perfect.

Likewise, writers do not get agents with sloppy sentences, wordy passages and poorly developed characters.  Authors do not get publishing contracts without honing their skills.  Books do not get buzz without compelling storylines.

Our marching band pulls 40 hour weeks in the summer.  Once school starts, they beat the teachers to school and march outside in the cold fall temps before the sun rises.  They continue to put in about 15 hours of practice each week.

Let me ask you, dear writers, how much time do you devote to your craft?  Are you out to win the trophy?  If so, how do you create precision in your words?  Does the success of others drive you to succeed, or does someone else’s good news make you aware of your own shortfalls?  How do you combat the urge to throw in the flag and march off the field for good?

Curious minds want to know.