Archive | January, 2013

The 1950’s.

30 Jan

My (unfinished) novel takes place during two decades: the 1950’s and the 1980’s. Spending equal time researching as I am writing, I have discovered plenty about both decades. I was alive in the 1980’s, but considering I think I still had baby teeth in 1990, more exploration was needed. Today’s blog post may shed some light for you on the 1950’s. Don’t worry, I will take a walk down 1980’s memory lane eventually, but haven’t you had your fill from the ever-present, “You know you were a child of the ’80’s, if…” Facebook posts? Yes, I know it’s fun to remember all the fun you had with your Glow Worm.

Here are 10 FUN FIFTIES FACTS (learned through books, documentaries, articles, and interviews):

1. Women always wore gloves to job interviews.

What better way to hide a wedding ring, which meant you were about to be knocked up (if not already) or the lack of a wedding ring, which meant you might be a floozy?

2. Babies and children rode around in the back seat of cars in ‘car beds.’

Nothing says safety like a small metal bed with a blanket, not secured to anything.

3. Domestic drinking gained popularity and the cocktail hour was born.

Awesome.

4. It was acceptable to serve jello with meat and vegetables inside.

This is disgusting, even for the Midwest.*

5. The Frisbee was invented.

Who knew then that this would lead to Frolf?

6. A pound of hamburger was 30 cents (in St. Louis).

It was still $19.00 a pound in California.

7. Candy dishes could be found in every room of the house.

This trend needs to come back into fashion, so I don’t have to keep asking people if they have candy for me to snack on while we chat in their living room.

8. Andrei Gromyko became the foreign minister of the Soviet Union in 1957.

Don’t even pretend you knew this.

9. Most people ate sandwiches for lunch.

I guess this isn’t so groundbreaking. I was just surprised. I thought lunches were more pork-chop and meat jello based.

10. The very first Major League Baseball regular season game was played in California.

Yes, the St. Louis Cardinals had already won six World Series titles at this point.

*my pretentiousness rears its ugly head.

With that, I wish you a very happy Wednesday. 🙂

An average Tuesday.

29 Jan

By all appearances, it’s an average Tuesday. I went for a run this morning. I am spending the day researching and writing. I am volunteering this evening. But at some point between my cereal and my coffee, I got to thinking. Over the years, I have worked in different fields and received higher education from different schools. For the most part, I have enjoyed everything I have done. My choices, although not all without consequence, have lead me down different paths that have lead to where I sit right now.

We live in a world, particularly in more recent years, where finding your passion is strongly encouraged. While this outlook is far superior to the alternative, it is not easy deciphering all the choices out there. Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes just to decide on shampoo. I mean what is the real difference between daily moisture, moisture renewal, and moisture balance? No one knows. I do know that I am a person who likes different things, and by things, I mean potential career paths. I am also a person who needs to try something before committing. I’ve always been jealous of the kid who knew at seven years old while playing operation that he was going to be a doctor. And guess what? Now he’s a doctor.

Yet, somewhere along the line, there has been this soft, mousy voice telling me, “Don’t stop trying to find what you are meant to do.” I don’t think the language was quite so clear, but there was a definite “don’t settle” undertone. Ever since I started writing, really writing, it’s like I have solved the Rubik’s cube. I am meant to write. Well, I can only imagine that’s what it’s like because I’ve never even held a Rubik’s cube in my hands, but I hear they’re difficult.

In light of the fact that I am reading Stephen King’s book “On Writing,” a memoir mixed with writing techniques and guidance, I’ve decided to share one of his tips. I mean, at this point, who am I to be giving writing advice?

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” Stephen King

Happy reading and writing or whatever makes you tick!

 

 

Differentiating yourself.

28 Jan

So this blog is probably serving the purpose of improving my writing skills and entertaining three people, but what else? Successful blogs, like anything for consumption, differentiate themselves from the rest. They are successful because they provide something you can’t find anywhere else. This blog is obviously not going to be too niche. I’m not exactly cooking through Julia Child’s cookbook in a year. I am simply writing a (somewhat) personal blog on the Internet for anyone to see chronicling my “adventures” in writing. My differentiation is my personal experience and my point of view that maybe someone will be able to relate to. The question remains: how can I make this blog a little more unique?

Do I add “What I learned today (or yesterday)” at the end of each post? Do I pop in an inspirational quote? I realize this is not that unique, but man, I’m a sucker for inspirational quotes. Do I play up the “Californian learning her way in the Midwest” angle? Do, I include a cliffhanger at the end of each post so readers ‘are hungry for more?’ Am I grasping at straws here?

If any of my readers (or reader) have suggestions on how I could make this blog a little more interesting or unique, I’d love to hear it!

Stay classy, San Diego.*

*probably copyright infringement, doesn’t even apply, and is not unique. Damn.

The benefits of swimming.

25 Jan

I started swimming this week. Let me back up. I got married last summer, so the preceding months were filled with lettuce, water, and exercise. Post-wedding has been filled with bread, sugary drinks, and walking up and down my stairs (to get things, not as an exercise routine). The time has come to get back in shape. As this is my first winter in St. Louis, I’ve been wimpy and whiny about running outside. An indoor pool is much more enticing.

I am fairly certain that swimming also helps me with my writing. How I approach swimming is how I should approach writing. First, I have to start with a plan. If I don’t plan a workout, cue to me 20 minutes in, convincing myself that the warm shower is calling my name. Before I know it, I’m in that shower. The same is true for writing, maybe not the whole shower thing, but I work well with structure. Writing a novel is overwhelming and without a plan, I am lost. Just like without GPS or another human being with me, I am lost (sometimes where it’s embarrassing, like in a shopping mall). Once the plan is in place, it’s time to channel Nike. Just do it. A plan is just that without execution. Those first few laps are painful. Cold water. Stiff joints. Heavy legs. Weak arms. Eventually I stop fighting the water and I am Natalie Coughlin.* Once I have battled through the discomfort (or at times, more aptly termed, torture), my body moves through the water with greater ease. And once I have battled through the discomfort and/or torture of writers block, my brain operates with greater ease. After the warm-up, it’s just swimming. Swimming that can be sharpened through adjusting technique. If I hold my head too high in the water when I breathe, my legs sink. If I expend too much energy on a flip turn, I’m tire out quickly. If I booze it up before getting in the pool, I throw up. Just kidding. Although, I’m sure this would happen. Focusing on techniques that may seem like small details can have a huge impact. If I don’t develop flawed characters, they fall flat. If I focus too much on the emotional journey and not enough on the plot, the book will feel too slow, but if I focus too much on the action of the plot, the book will feel empty.

It seems that the benefits of swimming can be transferred beyond the pool. Perhaps you can transfer them to something in your life. Happy Friday! 🙂

*gross overstatement

Promoting the blog.

24 Jan

Day three of the blog writing; I mean blogging. So far I’ve only sent this link to my husband, so the question is when do I send it out to others? I will probably start out in the comfort of friends, but at some point I would like to post this link  to my Facebook page and maybe even Twitter. Now, seeing as I only have ten Twitter followers, I’m not really worried about becoming a viral sensation, but eventually, if I’m lucky, someone may read my blog who doesn’t actually know me and that worries me a little. I mean, I can be a little sensitive, and if people read my blog, they can comment on it. Have you ever read internet comments? Online comments are the new bathroom stall posted for everyone to see. Some of the most vile things I have ever heard have in my life have been comments on a YouTube video. The ability to say whatever you want without consequence because you have this (somewhat false) sense of anonymity  is a breeding ground for hateful words. I don’t think I’m a very controversial person who will necessarily incite heated debate, but I guarantee if you looked at Susan Boyle’s audition for Britain’s Got Talent, the YouTube sensation a few years back, intermixed with the “You’re an inspiration!” you will find, “You’re an evil, fat (insert your favorite expletive here) who should die!” posted by someone named ballmeister10. Do you think ballmeister10 would have the balls (pun intended) to say this to her in person rather than from the safety of his mother’s basement? No. And more than that, if he did have the balls, why would he? She’s just singing a song. Is this the world we live in? Why do people post things like this? Shock value? Because they can? Are people so desperate to be heard that they feel every inane thought in their head must be shared with the world? Oh shit, that actually sounds like blogging…

*Mom, if you are reading this, I am sorry I cursed.

twitter.

23 Jan

So, I joined Twitter. No, don’t check the date of this post. It’s not 2008. I’m what people call a “late adopter.” The old woman in me has been looking at the feed, very confused over the re-tweets and hashtags and 140 character language. I tweeted for the first time yesterday and wasn’t sure if I should be capitalizing and using punctuation. It reminded me of when my dad first started texting and he would begin his texts with “Katie,” and end them with “Love Dad,” but I mean, I can’t really blame him. That’s how you begin and end written or typed communication, right?

I am still a little out of my element on Twitter. I don’t understand why I’m being followed by certain people and businesses, although I’m sure it’s not because they are interested in my intellectually stimulating tweets. I’ve only tweeted once and it was to tell an author that while reading his book I hadn’t cried so much since I watched Marley and Me. I meant this in a complimentary way, although he never responded, which either means he didn’t quite find it so complimentary or he has better things to do. Twitter is strange. It gives you this pseudo access to people you have no real connection with other than the fact that you find them funny or interesting. It connects you with famous people in a completely new way (well, new in 2006). I’ve never before read a book and then been able to tell the actual author my thoughts almost instantly. The only time I have ever reached out to a celebrity was some time in the late eighties when I wrote a letter to Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block telling him I was his biggest fan and that we would probably get married one day. He also did not respond. 0 for 2.

I’m a little late to the party and I kind of feel like the new mom telling all her friends with little kids about how exciting crawling is and they’re like, where were you four years ago? What can I say, I’m not only jumping on the band wagon, but I’m jumping on when it’s almost completely full. C’est la vie. But feel free to follow me on Twitter @katieannmeyer! #willtweeteventually

 

The rules of blogging.

22 Jan

Alright, so I am fairly certain I have broken the blogging rules. As a perfectionist (or more likely just a loopdy-loo) I actually Googled “blogging rules” in an attempt to get my arms around this thing. This was about as helpful as typing symptoms into WebMD. I became incredibly overwhelmed and found about 100 things I should have done before even starting this post. Determined to prevail, however, I stopped reading. Where I think I have broken the rules is in deleting old posts. I mean, I realize this isn’t illegal, but as someone who feels guilty about almost everything, it seems like cheating.

I actually tried to start a blog a couple of years ago, but first I had to write a pre-blog (yes, this is what I titled it) in a word document only to decide it wasn’t good enough. My blogging career was over before it even started.  Then a few months ago, I started the journey again. I have been knee-deep in working on a novel and I thought blogging might help hone my skills or at least force me through writer’s block. First off, it took me like half the day just to name the damn thing. I wanted to come up with something different. Something unique. Something amazing. I was also probably suffering from the delusion that some literary agent would stumble upon this blog and just think, I’ve got to get this girl a book deal. It’s also not like I’m offering helpful advice to people. Katie’s Dog Training Tips, which would be a horrible blog because my dog Penny only listens to my husband, just wasn’t the direction for this type of blog. I’m heading on a tangent here, but I needed something writing related and because I am just writing about my own experience and clearly not offering tips.

After landing on Succulent Words for the title, I wrote three blog posts that I later deleted, but these posts likely live somewhere on the Information Superhighway. Remember when that’s what everyone used to call the Internet? Anyway, I wanted to use this blog as practice for writing my novel, so I was writing the blog about myself in third person. Before you judge, I was simply trying to practice writing this way because my novel is from a third person limited POV. But let’s be frank, if you had read these, you should judge. After three posts, I just couldn’t take it. It was just so, so, pretentious. And while my husband will tell you that I’m a pretentious Californian, I’d like to limit the visibility of that trait until people get to know me and maybe I’ve been able to win them over with other qualities.

What have I learned? I will keep writing this blog and not delete posts. Lucky you, reader.

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