Archive for December, 2010

Backtalk’s popularity has brought about an expansion in 2011, with gatherings every other month at the Sun Ray Cafe in Hyde Park.  January’s topic will be Internet Law & Social Media, with two experts on hand to discuss and answer questions on these mysterious topics.  Bob Shaver, from the Boise law firm, Dykas & Shaver, specializes in internet law, and IWG’s social media guru, Amanda Turner, will also be there to answer questions.  Please join us for good food and great conversation on Saturday, January 15, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM.


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Near Cleveland, Oct. 2, 2010

In writing this, I’m reminded of Natalie Goldberg’s advice to write “shitty first drafts” to get the dross out of your system so the gold can shine through. She wrote that years before this age of tweets and posts, however. Now people seem to consider dross good, as long as it connects them to someone. So in the spirit of “dross is good,” I’ll proceed with this SFD.

In preparing for this trip, Gary downloaded some audiobooks and a Robin Williams movie, “RV.” We finally got around to watching “RV” a couple of nights ago, and it’s a stitch, especially if you’re an RVer. I won’t go into all the slapstick jokes and plot angles, but one thing it shares with real life is never knowing what will happen next…with the rig or with human beings involved with it.

Today’s adventure: brown water gushing from our tap this morning. It rained last night, revealing there’s a leak somewhere in the well we’re hosed into. Gary had to flush out our whole water system (especially the hot-water tank), then find enough hose to connect us to the main house 100 yards away. Time elapsed: 1 hour. We hope boiling killed any bugs that might have been in our coffee water. Other surprises we’ve had include a leaking steering fluid pump (have you ever tried steering a 5-ton rig manually? Gary has!),  and s-l-o-w Internet connections that drag out my editing time, even when we have wi-fi (getting “four bars” really MEANS something to me, now).

Lesson: Be adaptable and don’t expect to control your life in an RV.

You can read more about Diane’s trip at http://www.dronayne.blogspot.com/.

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For Christmas gifts this year, I didn’t give anything that required a battery, an exchange at a store, or pages of assembly instructions that were translated from an unknown language.  I gave Pearl S. Buck.
For my adult children, I had copies of The Good Earth, her novel that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932.  I first read the book when I was in high school (a time so long ago that, of course, I read by candlelight in a log cabin).  The plot is one that continues to appear in and fade from my life’s situations – farm work, love of the land, success, and a family torn apart by greed.  I have the sequel in my head.
For the grandkids, I gave Christmas Day in the Morning.  Written by Buck and illustrated by Mark Buehner, this lovely picture book describes a special gift given from a poor farm boy to his father.  The plot includes milking cows by hand, a chore my mother did every day before and after school.  No machine.  No allowance.  It was her responsibility from age 11 to 18 as her penniless family lived in a sharecropper’s shack on a southern Idaho farm.
In past Christmases, I have given more elaborate gifts, many that included exotic trips.  But this year, I want my family to go with Pearl S. Buck to China and to a lonely farm.  I want them to appreciate their roots and build on the grit and determination of their inheritance.  And, I want them to enjoy the journey.  
Elaine Ambrose
Creator of Write by the River Writer’s Retreats
email: elaineambrose1@aol.com

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January 15th – Backtalk at the Sun Ray Cafe in Hyde Park.  Bob Shaver will discuss internet law; Amanda Turner will talk about social media.  Why should you educate yourself on these matters?  Well, we hate to break it to you, but writing is really only half the battle.  Join us for lunch and lively discussion. 11:30-1:30

January 22nd – Random Readings at The Cabin.  This month’s Random Readings will cover essays and short stories.  William Johnson, author of A River Without Banks, and Alan Heathcock, author of VOLT will read and answer questions.  We’re really excited about both of these authors and their works.  This is your chance to meet them, so don’t miss it! 1-3pm

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Let’s face it, writing can sometimes feel like a chore, and as much as we may love the final results, the initial start can all but stall the best of us.   As writers we all know that writing requires daily devotion. Like a child, it needs lots of care and attention. Even if it is just a few paragraphs or a couple of sentences that are recklessly erased or inked out later, a writer should devote a block of time each day for this purpose.  If you are looking for inspiration, check out http://www.creativewritingprompts.com/ Each day this website lists a different prompt and will help encourage that healthy writing habit.

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