Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from Writers4Higher

Thanksgiving…hmm…gosh, there’s so much to be thankful for, I have a hard time picking out just one. Health, love, family, friends, food, shelter, job and a love for writing. Thank heavens, I am blessed to have a heaping share.

No matter if I grouse a bit about not being a svelte woman, or having an elephant’s share of smile lines, or dealing with texting drivers—any of the minor complaints peppering daily life—I really don’t have anything monumental to tally. Everyone snarks a bit. Keeps us from blowing up. We are human, after all, and thus flawed. Don’t the imperfections make us unique? I think so.

One of my favorite people came into the office this past week. Advanced age has robbed her of her eyesight and strength, but not her humor or love of life. She’s a writer too—we’ve shared many talks about this over the years—but can no longer pen her poetry, or read, due to failing vision. Still, she listens to audio books and comments about how “lovely” the words sound. She still has her British accent, even after many years in the United States. Her polished speech pours out, light and musical. I could listen forever, if we both had more time, which I fear we do not.

Her daughter and son recently culled her best poems from her computer files, compiled them into a collection entitled Pieces, and self-published a few copies. The day I received my copy in the mail, I cried. Though she had shared the lead poem “Pieces” with me, I had not read the others. Beautiful words from a beautiful woman. I cherish the book.

“Different people have told me which poem they like the best, as if I wrote that one just for them,” she said. “Poetry does that, resonates somewhere deep inside.”

So this Thanksgiving, I offer up praise for the people I have been honored to know. Such a variety of folks, all ages, all unique. 

The “lovely” line-up of talented authors that have joined me on this blog.

I thank God for allowing them all to grace my life.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Rhett DeVane

Writers4Higher blog administrator and fellow author.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Writers4Higher features Marcy Luikart

Welcome to Writers4Higher

The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn't promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.

This issue, Writers4Higher features

Marcy Luikart

Hi, Marcy. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!

Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

It’s always hard to know where to start with a question like Tell me about yourself. As an author I have no problem telling my characters stories but ask about me and I get a bit tongue-tied and shy. Basic facts: I grew up in the Midwest but moved to Santa Barbara when I met my current husband on a backpacking trip in Yosemite. I find my inspiration in so many places. I paint, I play the fiddle, I love to hike and camp, I do agility and obedience with my dog, I own a business, and I write.

It was an adventure with my husband that led me to write my current novel, River Braids. My husband and his brother had always talked about building a raft and rafting down the Mississippi River, Huck Finn, style. So in 2005, they flew to Hannibal Missouri and built a raft made out of an unwieldy piece of plywood mounted on oil drums. There was a bit of a railing around the outside and two oars to help steer, and they were ready. I flew out to join them and we spent two days floating down the Mississippi River. We went through a lock and dam and camped on one of the islands. When I got home I started a short story about two brothers rafting down the Mississippi River. While doing some research to refresh my visual memory of some old photos I’d seen in a very picturesque old bar, I found myself reading books about the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition and the 1904 Olympics. I read about the Ethnology Exhibits and discovered that Native Americans were not allowed to participate in the 1904 Olympics, but instead they participated in something called the Anthropology games. And that led me to the big “what if?” I found myself exploring the character of Joseph Barton who had gone to the Olympics to row and instead found that he wasn’t allowed to participate. My original story about the two brothers dovetailed with the story of 1904 and my novel River Braids was born.

For me, that is the magic of storytelling, taking my characters into imaginary places and finding the truth in them. I like to think that I paint the heart of humanity through my words.

Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

Each story that I tell is an adventure and an exploration, I’m never completely sure where it will lead me. When I started River Braids I had no idea it would take me on an adventure into the past. My challenge to myself is to remain open to the story my character tells. Although I have to admit that I am secretly hoping to tackle a mystery, but who knows. That’s the fun!

How do you use your talents/time to help others?

I just recently found that I enjoy working with kids and helping them explore their own voice and storytelling. I did a workshop with a group during a summer program and came up with some fun exercises. The trick is to help them find the words to describe even simple scenes specifically. (Sorry about the alliteration). When I paint I am always working to paint what I see not what I think I see. Writing creates the same challenge, to allow myself to slow down enough to write the story that I see, not what I think I should see. And giving kids the chance to work with that idea is very exciting to me.

Would you like to find Marcy?

Check out the links to this talented author:

Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist

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