Sweet Chocolate Bunny in the Pantry

Conversation with a chocolate bunny:

First, why are you still here?  Easter was…wait, checking the calendar…over four months ago.  Big eyed and all shiny in your pink foil wrapper, you aim to entice.  How many times has someone reached into the pantry for olives or oil, collard greens or BBQ beans, brushing you with a hand, but not grabbing you instead?

You don’t belong; surely, you know this, right?

Why, you could still be crouched there on that metal shelf come next Easter, for all we know.  Let’s see, when is that?  It’s in April, no March 31st next year.  That’s so far away.  By then you’ll be ruined, white or gray with sugar or fat bloom*, from those substances breaking down and destroying your smooth chocolate sheen.

*See:  question711.htm> 24 August 2012.

Hmmm, let’s see, maybe you already suffer from it.  We’ll just take a peak…

…thank goodness, no signs of turning.  Now, with your foil torn and that air exposure, yeah, that could become a problem for you.  Better, make sure you’re okay.

Yup, still delicious.  I guess you can stay.  We’ll just fix your foil…good as new.

What’s that Bunny?  No, of course you don’t need ears; you’re made out of chocolate, silly!   Trust me, you’re better off if you don’t hear anyone coming.

Echoes of the Silent Response

Thought for the week:  When seeking support, accept surprises, avoid obstacles and don’t always discount strangers.

Aside from other writers, I seek support and opinions on my writing from family, friends and acquaintances.  Interestingly, some of the most reliable feedback comes from acquaintances, not from my nearest and dearest.  Why?   I suspect the people who care about me, sugar coat their responses out of kindness.  I understand.  It’s hard to negatively criticize someone you like.

When analyzing feedback, I try to focus on common threads, tossing aside any commentary that falls too far to the extremes.  Good news always comes first.

“Great character, send more!”

“I can’t wait for the next chapter.”

Finally, the rare and valued, detailed critique:

“I was confused by this part.  I didn’t get where you were going with this or that.  My favorite part was such and such.”

From the rest, silence, leaving me to interpret its meaning.

You thought it stunk and don’t know how to say that without hurting my feelings.  Or you lost interest after the first sentence.

Silence leads to doubt and doubt has a way of coiling its slimy self in a dark corner of my brain, periodically raising its scaly head to hiss, spit or rattle its tail, lest I forget about it.  The longer this goes on the more agonizing it becomes.  

Do I really want to know that someone hated what I wrote?  Absolutely!  What I find out after probing is:

“I couldn’t find the file.”

“I couldn’t open the file.”

“I loved it, didn’t I tell you?”

“I was too busy to get to it.”

“I didn’t care for the story, but liked the other one you sent.”

So what does this mean?  Positive feedback is great, but just as important, is the other kind, it reveals something about your future audience.  You need a variety of test readers, including some lacking a keen interest in protecting your feelings, because assuming you publish your novel, readers who know very little or nothing about you will read your work, if you are lucky.

Readers of your published work will approach your story from a different perspective, bringing their own likeness into play, viewing it through their the lens of their history.  They will not concern themselves with what you think or how you feel; they expect you to fulfill their wants, needs and desires.  If you fail, will they be kind?

In the end, I gratefully take in to account all comments and then rely on my inner Editor and Critic, but sometimes, even she, tries to placate me.

Thank you for reading and keep writing!

Yet to come:  The Benefits of Insomnia; My First Writers Conference; Query Letter Hell! & The ABC’s…Author Websites, Blogging and Contests, Oh, My!

School Supply Savings

While chatting with a friend-R about the rising cost of everything, she mentioned she had just spent over one hundred dollars on school supplies, just for the basics like crayons and pencils. R also remarked that she recycled some of last year’s composition books by ripping out the used pages. It started me thinking. How much of this stuff did I have just lying around the house?

Checking our schools website, I found the list of recommended supply items for elementary school: Book bag, pencil-case, pencils #2, colored pencils, highlighters, erasers, composition books, wide ruled paper, ruler, binder or spirals, scissors, dividers with tabs, glue sticks, folders, post-its, pens and index cards.

This started me digging through drawers and closets. Between the children’s previous year leftovers, career or company changes and my home office glut, I emerged with an enormous pile of stuff.

Not only had I already covered the bulk of the supply list for both of my children, but had surplus to keep for home use or donate to their school.

The only thing we really needed were two new boxes of crayons, total cost, about .99 cents each.  Maybe I could have found those by recycling, but there is nothing like a fresh box of crayons to start a new school year right.  The one hundred dollars in savings will be better used in their college funds.  A hidden benefit was the organization and cleaning out of forgotten storage spaces.

So, before heading to the office supply store, first check your drawers and you may not have to lose your shirt!