Thursday, April 24, 2014

"If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."

Today I find novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing. He eventually summarizes all of his wisdom in eight little words:

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

You might ask, "Well, what should it sound like, then?"

It should sound like your voice. It should sound like an actual person talking. When this happens, we won't be able to resist you. We'll feel such rapport that we'll gobble up the words.

But how?

It's about rhythm. It's about the rise and fall. The voice comes out when you vary sentence lengths and openings. The voice comes out in dashes and semicolons and parentheses and commas. It comes in word choice.

You're really making music, and somewhere in there, you come out. We can't wait to meet you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

4 Things to Pray for Your Life

When I read Colossians 1:9-14 today, I remember exactly how to pray for myself and others. I pray what Paul prayed:  

"We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

I remember the 4 things that make up this kind of life. It's one that:

1. Bears fruit in every good work
2. Grows in the knowledge of God
3. Is being strengthened (for endurance and patience!)
4. and Gives joyful thanks

What a wonderful life! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This Will Not Last (and This is Wonderful)

Two years ago, it was glorious. The Weeping Cherry bloomed in full. That bloom is what I've waited for all year.

It's here now! This moment! Today!

Sadly, the blooms explode on the very day the forecast calls for wind and rain. In fact, the rain falls even now. We're going to lose these blooms.

But guess what? This is OK. Cherry blossoms grow in beauty in proportion to how fleeting they are. The Japanese concept of the transient and the fleeting make cherry blossoms have special importance and beauty. They remind us to treasure the small moment that will not last. Cherry blossoms insist on this; they make this appreciation happen.

(I did want to picnic under them--like the Japanese do--but this year, the rain will keep us inside.)

And while I am delighting in this single day of blossoms, I also know this after four years of springtime blogging: the loss of blooms brings green foliage that houses the Robin's nest and the Secret Fort.

Every bit is wonderful, and I treasure these small moments that will not last.