Posts

Symbolism

 

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White roses are symbolic of a new beginning or of a farewell. Purple is symbolic of royalty and lavender is femininity. So what does all of this mean? The picture that you see is a corsage that my oldest granddaughter will be wearing to her senior prom tonight, given to her by her grandfather. Her dress is various shades of purple and so of course, the corsage has to complement it, which it does; more important are what the flowers and colors symbolize. While she is bidding farewell to her high school years, she is also saying goodbye to her childhood. And at the same time, she is welcoming a new beginning and getting ready for her future. When she chose the dress, of course the colors were chosen because she liked them, not because she thought that she is royalty. But she is. Eighteen years ago she lit up the family for the first time, and has continued to bring us joy all along. A person doesn’t have to be born into a royal family to possess royal qualities . And Michelle has those qualities–she is kind, caring, and determined in knowing what she wants in life. From the time that she was born, she has been a typical little girl–feminine in all ways. As a teenager, she learned how to perfect her hair and her make up. Tonight, when she puts on her special dress, high heels, and corsage, she will look like the “royal” person that she has always been.

 

Success As A Writer

IMG_3870As I’ve been posting, I spend a great deal of time promoting my work. It’s not an easy task and it certainly can be frustrating, if I allow myself to become frustrated. Like everything else that we encounter as we go through life, we have to measure our successes based on each accomplishment.

“My Name is Rebecca: A Novelette” is historical fiction about immigrants who came to this country in the early 1900s. My intention was to dedicate the story to my mother’s family but it evolved into a story dedicated to all who came during that era. Anyway, I’ve been busy marketing it and have it placed in quite a few stores on consignment. But let me tell you about my great accomplishment with the book. It has been accepted at two Jewish museums (one in Milwaukee and one in Miami Beach); at the Racine Heritage Museum (in Racine, Wisconsin which is the setting); and in the Racine Public Library. I am beyond thrilled that these institutions have accepted my donation of this story.

My grandparents were married in Racine in 1915–over one hundred years ago. Their five children were born and raised there. (I was also born in Racine.) I find it astounding that my family can be traced back over one hundred years. Some of the stories in the novelette are based on things I heard and experienced while growing up, making it even more meaningful to me.

So, I have been successful in marketing my story.  I have no doubt that my family is pleased at where the story will be housed. I know that I am. And by-the-way, the picture on the cover is of my mother, taken in 1931 when she was four years old. And want to know a little secret, in case you haven’t read it yet? Her original name was Rebecca and if you do read it, you’ll see what the title is all about.

The book is available on Barnes and Noble in Nook format; and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. (The e-books are only $1.25–and the story is worth a million times more. To me, anyway).

I hope you’ll read it–and share the experience that I have tried to convey about the experiences of the immigrants who came to America during that era.

Phyllis

 

 

Bouquets of Words

 

img_1794 I love flowers–all kinds of flowers. But my favorites are lilacs, peonies, irises, daffodils–and wildflowers. And roses. Okay–the bottom line is, I love flowers. I feel good just looking at a pretty bouquet, or even a single flower. Just think–they start as a little seed and bloom into something that brings a lot of happiness to us. Flowers are used for both happy occasions and sad times. Flowers mirror our moods and they have different meanings.  Roses signify love; lily of the valley is popular in bridal bouquets; carnations are symbolic of pride; daisies are symbolic of innocence; and on and on.

Words are bouquets to writers. We carefully choose the word that we want to use to express what we are thinking, and trying to describe. We HAVE to choose the perfect word to convey our meaning to the reader or our story will be lost. In my novel, “When Shadows Linger,” I carefully selected the descriptive words that I wanted to use to describe a New England town. My goal was for my readers to be able to envision themselves walking down Main Street in a small town; in this case it was Middlebury, Vermont. Having been there and fallen in love with Middlebury, I was able to do that. And I am very proud of that accomplishment.

In “My Name is Rebecca: A Novelette,” I improved the descriptions of the characters in the story. Not their physical characteristics, but who they were and how they “felt.” What was it like for a family to leave their home country in the early 1900s and come to a strange place? What were their fears? And what were their dreams?

My Bouquet of Words is plentiful. There is no shortage and the bouquet is with me all of the time. I can reach in and grab the one that will convey the meaning that I am trying to get across to my readers. And like a bouquet of mixed flowers, the possibilities of arranging them are endless. Like flowers, our stories grow from single words to sentences, to paragraphs, to pages, and finally to the place where we want our readers to be. So, when you sit down to work on your book, make sure that your bouquet of words is right there with you. I promise you–it will work for you just as it does for me.

Phyllis

Why Do I Write?

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In one of the on-line writing courses I took, there was an assignment about why we write. I don’t remember what my reasons were at the time (after all, it has been about three years!) but I can tell you why I continue to write.

Obviously my writing is not motivated by money. And that’s because I haven’t made any. It’s not for lack of trying, that’s for sure. But if my reason was to make money, I would have quit by now. (It has actually cost me a great deal, just with the promoting, etc.). I write because I truly love it. Just like reading takes a person on adventures, so my writing does that for me. For example, when I wrote, “When Shadows Linger,” I placed myself in Middlebury, Vermont. I have fallen in love with New England and so through my writing I am there.

“My Name is Rebecca: A Novelette” takes place in the early 1900s. When I was writing the book, I was able to visualize the various experiences that the immigrants had–life in their home country, traveling to America, the Lower East Side of New York, and Racine in the early 1900s and beyond. I was also able to put down family stories that I heard while growing up and share with readers. And when I included my parents’ names in the book, it took on a special meaning for me. I think you know what I mean. Also–the book has been accepted for the archives in The Racine Heritage Museum and for the archives at the Jewish Museum in Milwaukee. I consider that to be more meaningful than a sale. Why? Because my maternal family can trace itself to Racine for over 100 years, something that other generations of immigrants have not been able to do.

I can’t forget the two stories that were printed in Edify Fiction. “My Joe: A Reflection” will always be special because it was my first piece of fiction published in a magazine and not self-published. (Also because it’s a very nice story about a love that lasts over decades.) And recently, “Willow Falls” was also published in Edify–a story about a love  that is meant to be.

So, that’s why I write. I put all of my feelings into my writing and all of my dreams. I hope they are conveyed to my readers so that they can share my journey.

Phyllis

 

 

 

 

It Started With An Idea

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That’s right. I never had a plan to write a book. My first “official” piece of writing was an assignment in fourth grade–“My Dream House.” I remember loving the story. However, it has been about 60 years (oh, my!!) and the only part of the essay I remember was the butterfly table. If you have read my novel, “When Shadows Linger,” you’ll know what I’m talking about. I “designed” a kitchen table made of two pieces of glass–with real butterflies in between the glass. And then in ninth grade I wrote a poem that a teacher liked so much that he wrote music for it.

So, when I decided that I wanted to do some writing, I signed up for on-line writing classes with the University of Wisconsin. It wasn’t difficult for me because I had gone to school later in life (at the age of 40) and became a social worker six years later. I really enjoyed studying and learning new things.

As I gained confidence with my writing, I submitted an article to a social work magazine about going to school later in life. The editor was kind enough to let me do a series of articles geared to the nontraditional student. I also submitted an article to Extra Innings, a newsletter by the U of Wisconsin in Madison. I am now a regular contributor to the newsletter.

This is how my “idea” of becoming a writer took shape. In my next post, I’ll tell you about my first completed book.

Take care.

Phyllis

 

 

 

 


My Journey As An Author

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I don’t think that my “writing journey” is much different from yours’. I didn’t have a life-long dream of writing a novel. It’s really just something that happened–like deciding to go to school on a whim when I was 40 and six years later I had a Master’s Degree in Social Work. But anyway, after taking online classes through the University of Wisconsin, I wrote a few things. I’ve had two short stories accepted by Edify Fiction, and I’ve self-published two novelettes and a novel. I’m also a regular contributor to Extra Innings, a newsletter for the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and I am the “Social Media Specialist” for Edify Fiction. I’m going to write a series on this blog to tell you about the various steps of my journey. So, follow me on here for tips and the challenges I’ve encountered with my writing, self-publishing, copyrighting and promoting. I’d love to hear about your writing journey, too.

Rebecca

The picture on the cover of “My Name is Rebecca: A Novelette” is a picture of my mother at the age of 4, taken in 1931. The story, although historical fiction, has some true stories in it that I heard while growing up. I started out writing it as a tribute to my mother’s family but it evolved into a tribute to the immigrants who came to America in the early 1900s, not just my grandparents. The story captures the voyage from Russia to America and the difficulties that the passengers endured, as well as the process of going through Ellis Island.

If you haven’t read the story, I hope that you will. It is appropriate for all age groups, from young readers to adults of all ages. It is a story about the importance of knowing where we came from, the strength of family, and love through generations.

If you contact me after you’ve read the book, I will send you a bookmark to have. And I will also post the stories that are real!

It is available on Amazon in e-book and paperback format.

Phyllis:  mirikal1210@gmail.com                                                                IMG_3870