Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why Cool Air is Romantic!

Did you ever stop to think that cold air and bad weather are actually better for romance? Is there a reason the Sahara desert is still, after eons, underpopulated? Remember that fabulous love scene in the movie Against All Odds with Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward? I remember it because of the realistic looking perspiration. I find it funny when I read romantic scenes taking place in Mexico or Morocco and no one mentions heat. As someone who lived in the California desert for ten years, trust me it’s definitely something you want to describe. The heat is something that you can feel on your skin. It’s a palpable feeling that crawls under your clothes and into your shoes. It’s tangible and yet invisible. Sometimes it might cause you to have trouble inhaling and you can’t walk barefoot outside for fear of burning your feet. When the heat is dry, it feels like an oven and when it’s moderately humid, it feels like a sauna. Makeup rolls down cheeks and pompadours lie flat. If you aren’t a natural beauty, the heat will find your flaws.

Yesterday, a woman came on television calling herself a ‘Professional Cuddler’. It made me realize, there’s probably a need for her services. Everyone loves a hug but hugs are short and by the time you figure out what’s happening, the embrace is over. But cuddling-- now there’s something I want to wrap my arms around because it could technically last all evening. Possibly invented by Inuit’s or Nordic tribes freezing in the cold, I wondered why this woman decided to pursue her career path and figured maybe she’s an out of work sex therapist holding on to the last vestiges of her past. Actually, she looked like a nice person and she made everyone smile. She also, might have a point. And, I can’t help but think that without cuddling the Northern territories would be bare as a desert.

Speaking of the desert, I remember the end of our personal cuddling due to extreme heat. While we lived in La Quinta, a place most of you know as that golf mecca near Coachella Fest, touching was verboten and only allowed when the air conditioner was set on FREEZE. Outside the day temps rose to over one hundred and at night they lingered in the 90’s. Our first few years we tried to brave the heat and kept our windows open. Finally, we realized that our days were being wasted while we slumbered on the couch like boneless chickens in a pool of our own sauce. If I wanted to write, clean or cook, the air-conditioner had to be on 80 degrees or less. Anyway, now we’re an hour away and our nighttime temps are in the forties. Cuddling is back in fashion at our house and we love it!

Anyhoo, the point is: if you’re a writer then make sure to paint a picture about the temperature. I'm always struggling with this and often forget to do it too. If it’s hot then let them sweat and if they’re cold then get them cuddling so the romance can begin!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Writing for Peace

Buy it here:
I’m so excited to have a tale in this International Journal of the Arts and wanted to make sure you know about it. The title of my story is United Pride. It’s my memoir of an island bus trip where I felt united with everyone on-board. Due to damp and humid conditions, I even felt united with the scenery. I was part of a big, wet blob of life, rolling around and wondering why my tourist dollars didn’t cover the luxury of air conditioning. Looking back, I’m glad to have experienced the green and pink swirl-or the blob. Read about it by getting a copy today and you’ll also find many other wonderful stories and poems by other talented writers. It's a hefty book filled with "Nature" inspired stories, verses and rhymes. 

This journal unites all of us--you, me and all the other contributing authors and poets. The idea that we, in this chaotic world, are writing and reading comforting words of peace, fills me with incredible amounts of happiness. Imagining our collective words being shared and read internationally, makes it phenomenal. Don't you think?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Fame or Fortune? Why Do You Write?

The fun part of writing is the imaginative part. While fame and fortune sound nice, I prefer testing, stretching and twisting our language and breaking rules. I’m ashamed to admit that lately I've been choosing the simplest communication over art because there are so many serious or perhaps teasing, perfectionists out in cyberspace called grammarians. They make me question everything and sometimes I want to throw myself in a river. Sure, sometimes I’m lazy or pressed for time and sometimes I forget about the reader. In today’s world, it seems many things depend on how you make people feel. When I wrote my novel, Penniless Hearts--honestly--I didn't care about the reader. Sorry, but I desperately had to get the story out. 

Famous writers waiting for a huge amount of money, as in an advance, would naturally care about the reader. My novel is a raw piece of my heart that I had to write. There are sentences that beg to be re-written and there are typographical errors and yes, there are grammatical mistakes. (My manuscript was edited and I re-read and re-wrote it at least 30 times before publishing it.) Still, those who took the time to read it have enjoyed reading the book and amazingly understood most of the points I was trying to make. Hindsight makes me think it's cool just the way it is. Now onto the next one. Should I care more about the reader? Shouldn't we care more about the story? It's like going to a new restaurant with a giant menu full of delicious choices. What to do? What to pick? 

Take this sentence for example:

She went down to the river to pray.
I could be more specific:
Annabelle grabbed her hat, jumped on her green bicycle and headed towards the famous Mississippi where she intended on doing some soul searching by kneeling and reflecting on God.

Or I could add more drama:
Guilt made her run out the door-- down the embankment to the river’s edge where she stood on a bridge--allowing her  inner agony to fall away in tearful prayers—dropping--mingling in the current-- finally flowing out to a turbulent sea.

Or be more factual:
The weatherman said the river would flood but Tanya’s faith pushed her down to the shore, where she noticed the flotsam filled water, carrying the tiny chapel south.

Or write two politically correct-non-religious- sentences instead of one:
She knew it was time to prioritize, in order to figure out what was important. Following her heart, she left the city at dawn and drove to her favorite riverside cabin.
Picture from Edgar Allen Poe-To the River-(a poem)

Or be non-committal but better:
Rushing water lured her soul to the river’s edge where she knelt on soft moss to give thanks for all her blessings.

Or my funereal (kidding) version:
Eve decided it was more than writer’s block before ceremoniously marching to the rapid flow of the river, tossing her manuscript downstream, where strewn pages lodged between wet boulders becoming buried or quickly decomposing after her mumbled prayer and loud ‘amen’.

Could have, should have, would have. The options are endless and the creative part is fun. What do you think? Is simpler better? Are you going for word count or literary value? Would the promise of being a bestseller make a difference? Are awards more important than money? Does any of this matter to you?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Reflections on Surviving A to Z

Quite appropriately, we’re still in the Easter season, reminding me of the most famous words ever spoken:
It is finished.
Words that make me realize, complaining about the A to Z is inconsequential, bordering on stupid.
I, Eve Gaal accepted the challenge and my theme was—‘Home’.
You visited. Thank you. I am eternally grateful.
With God’s assistance, I finished the challenge.
 Surviving is a gift of life
Of love-of hope-of promise-of tomorrow.
Survival has to do with our reaction,
Our acceptance,
Our faith.

I survived but I’m not alone. You and your heart are important to me. It’s not like when you call a business and a machine tells you that your call is important and you laugh because you think placing you on hold is a strange way to show you’re important. Here, you’re not on hold. I read all of your comments and though I may not reply, it doesn't mean I don’t enjoy reading them. Sometimes computers confuse me and I can’t figure out how to reply-it’s a technology thing. (I’m working on it.) If I reply on my blog, it also doesn't mean that you’ll visit the same post again and read it. With an email connection, I always reply—so please sign up to get my posts delivered to your email.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the A to Z and thanks for visiting my blog. Spring is the time of rebirth. It’s a time to be born into new ways of looking at things and starting over. Perhaps it’s time to finally hatch some new ideas—spread our wings—take a chance. Sign up for some other challenge and grow. Who knows, maybe you’ll see me there huffing, puffing and praying for the finish line.