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INside Scoop January, 2008

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By  Julie A. Pierce

Since my grandma's death, her cat Snoodles has become part of our household, which in turn has become more of an asylum. The two previously resident cats are not keen on the new addition, and for a month now they've been trying their best to avoid and deny his existence. However, Snoodles is anything but inconspicuous.

He's only four and still has quite a bit of the kitten in him, attacking anything that moves and inviting the other two to play with side swipes and drive-bys – sneek approaches at high-speed that provide Snoodles the opportunity to touch another cat very quickly while on the move. I think Snoodles hopes that the cat getting the drive-by will chase him and play.

The response to Snoodles' attempts at feline interaction is anything but playful or even mildly tolerant. Instead, he usually receives warning growls, hisses, and even kangaroo punches. Often, our little girl kitty gives Snoodles a big mean hiss and then turns tail and runs away. She fails to realize that this makes him chase her, inevitably to a spot where she is ultimately cornered. Then she pulls out her DOA moves and things get really ugly.

They each have their own space to eat, drink, and potty, but of course snooping the others' space is always so intriguing. Sometimes, they all need a time out and get sent to their rooms for quiet reflection and hopefully a chance to gain some calm. Well, it makes me feel better if nothing else.

It's only been five weeks that Snoodles has been here, so I hold out hope that things will get better. I'm probably delusional. My loving and supportive husband, a die-hard animal lover like myself, is less hopeful (or delusional) than I. This morning he suggested that they all need kitty Prosac so we can enjoy a more peaceful environment. This would be a last resort, but I have to admit, the notion is becoming very attractive. 

As I watch the cats, I see a vague parallel to our existence as writers. We want to be near the previously successful writers, to interact with them and befriend them in the hope that we too can achieve some goodness in our careers. Those that are already established probably find us annoying if we get too close or are in their space too much. Any scrap of attention and a clue that they throw our way is most welcome and craved.

Hopefully IN is able to accommodate some of that highly-desired interaction, affording the more established writers the opportunity to socialize at a comfortable distance with other writers who are eager to learn and progress their own careers. I believe the more established writers also enjoy this interaction once they give it a shot. How could it not feel good to know that you are able to nurture someone else through sharing your own experience?

This month, be nurtured by the collection of experience, education, and entertainment rounded up here. Over a long career, our cover author Sam Smith has experienced quite a few things, including prejudice. You may find his perspective on success refreshing.

Magdalena Ball and David Hough, both published by BeWrite Books, give us the low-down on what they've found on the road to seeing their names in print. Anne Allen examines the finer points of genre definition, while Peggy Bechko gets out her torch to light a fire under those of us who call ourselves writers yet seem to be doing anything but writing.

Ken Robinson examines the concept of time management and fitting (or stuffing) writing moments in everywhere, but also taking needed breaks when you've hit the wall. Helen Dunn Frame encourages us to slow down and give the writing a rest before moving to the editing phase, while Bev Walton-Porter explores the seven deadly sins as practiced by authors.

Rebecca Forster revisits IN with a brief anecdote about point of view and choices. Erika-Marie S. Geiss begins a three-part series revealing wisdom that your publisher won't tell you, and Kimberley Ann Sparks prepares you for the anytime-anywhere pitch.

Do you find Haiku intimidating or fun? Stan Grimes reviews its form and pattern, encouraging us to give it a try. Char Milbrett presents ten sites related to writing history, and Lori Myers concludes her series on writing while travelling. Joan Neubauer gives us words of wisdom on fulfilling editing requests and stalking your agent. Three must-have how-to-write books are reviewed by Sylvia Petter, Rowdy Rhodes, and Jody Ellis-Knapp.

In Items Of INterest, Rowdy Rhodes dishes the dirt on Canadian Internet abusers; the Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Doris Lessing; and, HP, and Penguin (USA) team up to create the Breakthrough Novel Award. Rowdy also gives us the Giller Prize shortlist, following up on last month's longlist.

Mark London gives us the heads-up on National Novel Writing Month – are you ready for the challenge? And for those of you in the Los Angeles area, Barbara Bordenave has discovered the ScreenplayLab.

Dig in and enjoy!IN Icon

Julie A. Pierce
Senior Editor
Inkwell Newswatch (

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Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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