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March 2011 – Darby Rae

Archives for March 2011

Step away from the keyboard, Darby, you’re frightening our members…

Saturday was the monthly meeting of the Indianapolis Writer’s Group. (The members vary from writers who have multiple books published to members working to get their first piece of work published…fiction, non-fiction, poetry…).  We had a writing assignment this month. Sandra, our leader, emailed a bland paragraph for everyone to spice up. Her directions were to use, “…showing rather than telling…action verbs rather than too many adjectives or adverbs. Writing to the senses…making the reader feel your words not just see them.”(maximum of 250 words).

Here is the bland paragraph:  Zack stopped for a moment.  It was a fine day.  The sun was out and there was a nice breeze.  He could smell the odor of bread from the bakery as he crossed the street.  He saw Mandy standing on the corner.  He waved.  He knew it was going to be a good afternoon.

Saturday was my second meeting. I may have frightened some of the members with my writing. The others enhanced the paragraph with sweet and loving words….birds singing, love in the air.  Here’s what I did (the words in bold are the original paragraph):

Zack stopped for a moment. He could feel the adrenaline rush race through his system like an electrical current.  The anticipation was almost as exciting to him as the action itself.  His eyes locked in on his target savoring the hours to come…imagining the pitch of her scream…the strength of her struggle.

The sun was out and there was a nice breeze. Zach inhaled deeply.  He could smell the odor of bread from the bakery as he crossed the street. Fresh, he thought.  Again he inhaled like a lion stalking his prey, imagining the sweet smell of fear to come.

Zack had the face of a choirboy, but was evil to his core.  He saw Mandy standing on the corner, beautiful, innocent and unsuspecting. The anticipation was exhilarating and torturous. He nearly vibrated with excitement, but waved casually suppressing his wickedness.  He knew, in the most twisted way, it was going to be a good afternoon.

I think they felt my words…and now I’m wondering if I’m going to be voted off the island.


Sacrifices That Weighed Me Down

Every Lent for the past, oh, six years I have given up the same thing—yelling at my kids (sometimes I state my parental position a little too passionately—occasionally scaring the neighbor kids). My teens look forward to Lent every year because of the 40 day reprieve from yelling; that and they enjoy the Friday night Fish Fry at our church.

So this year, in addition to the standard—not yelling at the kids—I reflected on the last 12 months to see if there was anything else I should consider giving up. What I realized was I have given up quite a bit since last Lent. I gave up exercising, eating healthy, a few hours sleep, house work (to an extent), yard work, and I seem to have given up my weekends too (work instead of play and no sleeping in).

Is all this sacrificing a good thing? I examined results. My muffin top has expanded into a coffee cake (creating more of me to love), two flights of stairs winds me (I hear elevators are safer anyway), and when I feel like exercising—I lay down until the feeling passes (why risk injury).

While the results of my past sacrifices are evident, I’ve decided to forfeit last year’s sacrifices and replace them with a new one.  This year’s Lenten sacrifice is giving up my 70 hour work week to spend more time with my family and friends. I may not have figured out how to live The 4-Hour Workweek that Timothy Ferriss describes in his book (a must read), but I will commit to a 4-Hour Work Weekend. And that’s a start.