Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Writer's Bulletin: Best Books on Writing



Readers make the best writers. Just like any profession, studying your craft can make a difference. The four books listed below can help you through creative hurdles. Take the time to read these books. You won’t regret it.

1. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B White

A timeless edition of writing guidance that is imperative reading for every writer. Technical and creative writing reference that you will go to again and again, this book is in 4th Edition.

2. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury was an award-winning American author and screenwriter. Working in a variety of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery fiction, Bradbury shares his successful writing techniques.

3. On Writing by Stephen King

This one is a must for every writer. Order it today. Read it immediately. Thank me later. King writes about first drafts, self-edits, and more. To the mouths of babes, King will inspire and motivate you to become a better writer.

4. War of Art by Stephen Pressfield

A friend recommended War of Art to me several years ago. I wish I had read it much earlier in my life. Written for every writer, Pressfield addresses writer’s block, procrastination, and difficulty engaging with creativity. War of Art will challenge you to stretch your writer’s voice and explore your own creative process.

Whatever you do, keep reading, keep writing. Take the time to have the best writing tools in your toolbox. Take notes, read poetry and prose, step outside of your comfort zone, stay connected with your favorite authors, keep an open mind, take constructive criticism, and enjoy the process. Creativity should be intentional.





Monday, February 24, 2020

Milliron Monday: Landmarks 2 24 2020

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

Traveling to Milliron Farm to visit Dr. Smith's widow, Jody, I thought about the many times I made this journey while writing Milliron. Difficult to believe, but this year marks ten years since Dr. Smith left us. Now, driving to Milliron, memories won't stop.


Across the rumble of the cattle guard to Milliron bridge, sycamores tower over Milliron Clinic. Empty, the Clinic and it's buildings are quiet. The fences and gates are weathered, but most still standing... some have fallen. The Clinic on the left, with it's signature variegated brick, looks the same. It's the same, just different. Proverbs 22:28 says Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. Let's keep our memories and landmarks as long as we can. 

Have a great week ahead.

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Letters from Larry: Angels... as Explained by Children


Good Afternoon Everyone:
Several years ago a good friend who is a Sunday school teacher sent me some comments from her students about Angels. I thought you might enjoy reading some of these today.
Angels... as Explained by Children

I only know the names of two angels, Hark and Harold.
Gregory, age 5

Everybody's got it all wrong.
Angels don't wear halos anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working on it.
Olive, age 9

It's not easy to become an angel! First, you die.
Then you go to Heaven, and then there's still the flight training to go through. And then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes.  
Matthew, age 9

Angels work for God and watch over kids when God has to go do something else.
Mitchell, age 7

My guardian angel helps me with math, but he's not much  good for science. 
Henry, age 8

Angels don't eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!!! 
Jack, age 6

Angels talk all the way while they're flying you up to heaven. The main subject is where you went wrong before you got dead.
Daniel, age 9

When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to ten.
And when he lets out his breath again, somewhere there's a tornado.  
Reagan, age 10

Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy.
If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow.
Then when it gets cold, angels go south for the winter. 
Sara, age 6

Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his Son, who's a very good carpenter.  
Jared, age 8

All angels are girls because they gotta wear dresses and boys didn't go for it.
Antonio, age 9

My angel is my grandma who died last year. She got a big head start on helping me while she was still down here on earth.
Ashley, age 9

Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And if  they don't make the animals get better, they help the child get over it.
Vicki , age 8

What I don't get about angels is why, when someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them. 
Sarah , age 7

From the mouths of babes!!!!
Much love from the beautiful Smoky Mountains,

Larry


NOTE: This letter is sent to anyone interested in receiving these inspirational notes. There is no charge and you are encouraged to forward these to anyone you think would benefit from reading them. If you would like to receive them direct, just send an email to me at larryperry@att.net and request to be added to the Letters from Larry list.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Milliron Monday: Robert McIntosh 2 17 2020

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

Recently I came across An Australian's Story by Robert McIntosh. I had been in contact with McIntosh several years ago when I was writing Dr. Smith's biography. Dr. Smith and McIntosh knew each other from a horseback riding vacation; Dr. Smith was the vacationer and McIntosh was the tour guide. Dr. Smith enjoyed his travels with McIntosh so much that he wrote about his journey. Dr. Smith's Panama travel journal is recorded in Milliron.

In 2018, McIntosh wrote his book An Australian's Story about his life "rich in incident and anecdote which he recounts with verve, passion and a fine portion of personal sarcasm and humor." His book is about growing up in Australia's outback, university, successful business, and horse back riding around the world. Besides his own anecdotes, McIntosh writes about Dr. Smith. He also shares the same travel journal that I shared in Milliron. Here's the intro to Dr. Smith's adventure in An Australian's Story...

Many years later, when horse riding and the company of the fellow riders became a most enjoyable affair, I decided to organize an ocean to ocean event, midway along the Panamanian coast from the inland town of Santa Fe on the Pacific side, to the Caribbean coast.
     The following is an ad verbatim report written of the horse ride which six of us undertook, as written by our horse riding companion friend, Pete Smith. I recently received a request for it from Gina McKnight, who was writing a biography about Dr. Pete Smith DVM and was looking for insights into his riding experiences. The book, named Milliron*, has recently been published.
     I first met Pete during that Ecuador ride in November of 2000. We traded jokes continually during our ten day ride. What a character he was! He owned a large veterinary clinic south of Columbus, Ohio. His brother had once been a New York mayoral candidate. Pete was tragically killed recently when a log rolled on him as he was clearing a portion of his forest.
     I invited Pete and four more horse riding friends from the U.S. to participate in this ride. It involved a seven day ocean to ocean crossing from the Pacific Ocean side of Panama, across the tropical mountain range, to the Caribbean. 

Congratulations to McIntosh for writing his accomplishments. I appreciate the connection and enjoyed talking with McIntosh about his travel with horses. McIntosh incorrectly writes the title of Dr. Smith's biography as *Millpond. It's Milliron (I corrected the title in this post)Read Dr. Smith's record of his adventure in Milliron


Have a great week ahead.

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020

Milliron Monday: Mrs. Rhonemus and Phyllis Diller Part II

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

Last week I introduced you to Jody's grandmother, Mrs. Jessie Rhonemus. Jessie retired as an English teacher. She taught at Lima (Ohio) High School for many years. One of her students was the famous comedian Phyllis Diller. Living in a nursing home in Mansfield, Ohio, Jessie was excited about Phyllis' visit. It was April 13, 1973. A local newspaper reporter, Joan Brown, documented the event...

Phyllis Diller Pays Visit to High School Teacher

You can take the girl out of Lima Central High School but you can't take Lima Central High School out of the girl. Underneath the fright hairdo, the hokey cigarette holder and the Salvation Army castoffs, Phyllis Diller is "just plain folks."

Except that yesterday afternoon when she came to visit her 89 year old high school English teacher, Mrs. Jessie Rhonemus, now a resident of Winchester Nursing Home, it was a STAR who emerged from the chauffeured Cadillac, not little Phyllis Driver, class of '35.

Who else but a star would be wearing a quilted orange floor-length gown, a black sable cape and inch-long eyelashes at 2:30 in the afternoon in Mansfield?

Miss Diller, primarily in the city for a two-night engagement at the Blue Dolphin, said "yes" to a visit when she was notified that her former teacher was staying at the rest home. Mrs. Rhonemus, the grandmother of Dr. Gary Haley [Jody's brother], eagerly waited with her grandson, his wife and two children for the arrival of Miss Diller.

"You don't look like Phyllis," said the perceptive little grandmother, who, dressed in her Sunday-best, had been positioned in a chair in her room.

"I had my face lifted and my teeth fixed," replied her student of almost 40 years ago, bending close so the aged woman might hear. "I can't believe you are 89!"

Miss Diller quickly flipped back the pages of time and recalled an essay she had written for her teacher, selecting her own subject material - the "hereafter."

"I can see it like yesterday. You read it to the class which thrilled me. I realized I was going to get an 'A'."

The happy Woody Woodpecker laugh which is Miss Diller's trademark, bounced from the walls. Somehow, even as the idolized focal point in the room, she had shed the bright lights and fame and become part of the small-town people in a small-town rest home. Gracious and at ease, she was almost "family" - "Cousin Phyl," in a cotton housedress instead of a silk gown.

"I was involved in drama," she continued turning again to high school days, "always the character. I was in charge of promotion, making posters." She attended 12 grades in the same building in Lima, a skinny little girl with brown hair the color of Mrs. Haley's, she said.

"It is what the world lacks now. That kind of wonderful security. When I think of my children alone. . . some of them have been in 14 different schools in 14 towns. Sometimes we came in so fast we would enroll them in the wrong class."

For a moment there is a touch of apology that her life was not that of a typical mother. But then her spirits soar and she cracks, "They would say 'mother, what's long division?"

Now her five children are grown and her youngest child, a college sophomore, is the son of her second husband Warde Donovan, who travels with her.

"They all live in the area (Los Angeles). I am running a very high class laundromat. They come to use the equipment. I don't have the guilt any more. But I was always able to plan it that they had three months with us so they have had some wonderful summers.

"They have been so many places and seen so much and met so many interesting people it makes up for not sitting in a classroom."

Miss Diller admits she loves performing in shows across the country. "I will open in Cincinnati Saturday," she points out indicating there will be no break between engagements. She had brought 40 suitcases on this tour for herself, her husband and two secretaries.

"I don't mess around. This time I didn't bring hardly anything. I feel I don't have anything to wear."

She explains that inside the luggage is a miniature kitchen - a two-burner hotplate, pots, pans and spices.

"I have to have two things in the hotel room - a refrigerator and a piano. I am tired of commercial food. I am a terrific cook and therefore bad food annoys me." It's a treat to eat out when you're home every day, she adds, but not when you're away from home 11 months of the year.

What about the piano, Miss Diller?

"I have played 14 piano concert dates with major symphonies I am going to do two concerts with the Lima Symphony for the benefit of Bluffton College and the symphony May 19-20, I have to practice every day."

Are you a kind of latter-day Jack Benny?

She laughs again and her body joins in. "He's getting on in years. He's nearly 80."

Then Miss Diller remembers her designer, Gloria Johnson, now called Omar, is a former Mansfielder. "She's working on a new concert gown to be unveiled in Lima."

How about the future, Miss Diller? Any plans?

"I am always up for Broadway shows. I always refuse. It ties you down and the money is not as good. Besides, New York is a miserable place to live even if you can afford it. The easiest thing would be a daytime television show."

Like Dinah Shore's?

"We are so different. She only has one thing I am interested in - Burt Reynolds.

"She stays in shape by playing tennis every day. I don't think she has ever been done over. She is just well preserved."

Now, without hesitation, the television and nightclub personality refers to her recent face lift. "Whatever they did with a knife is what they used to do on my pictures. It is never painful. For a long time you are numb - you have the funniest twitching. The only thing they did not do is my forehead. The eyes, face, under here (she touches her chin). Nobody's perfect."

Then she turns to Mrs. Rhonemus. "It is incredible how you have stayed so young looking. I had chins that were coming down here. They were like a turkey."

To demonstrate the skill of cosmetic surgeons, she grasps her short, straight hair and points to the fine lines near the ears and at the nape of the neck. She does not apologize for "removing" 10 years.

Does it bother you, Miss Diller, to come to a small town like Mansfield?

"I am happy doing what I'm doing. I was born in Ohio. I understand people all over the world.

"It is your life wherever you are and you have to be happy wherever you are."




Have a great week ahead.

Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.






Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Writer's Bulletin: Creative Writing Glossary



The love for creative writing, I believe, begins in school – elementary, middle, or high school. Depending upon your teacher, you will fall in love with writing. Of course, writing isn’t for everyone, it is a personal niche. But, if you do love writing, the right teacher can plant the seed that will grow and bloom.

I have this very map (see above) of Narnia hanging on my bedroom wall. The entire map shows all of Narnia – the wardrobe, lamppost, Aslan’s Country, the Fords of Beruna, etc. If you have not read the Chronicles of Narnia, it is recommended reading (for all ages). And, like always, the book(s) are always better than the movie(s).

But, I digress. I began this post about creative writing (which reminded me of whimsical ideas, far-away story-lines, and my favorite series – Narnia). Recently, I received an email from a teacher. Her students are fans of The Writer’s Bulletin. One of the students suggested I share the Creative Writing Glossary found at Crossword Solver.

The Creative Writing Glossary provides a list of terms often used by publishers, writers, editors, and illustrators. The Glossary begins…

Writing is as simple as putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), right? Not always. When you're creating a short story or novel, it's important to think about who your protagonist is and why they're doing what they do. It's important to make sure that each word you use does what you want it to do. And it's extra-important to make sure that the climax is placed right where it belongs. When you're working with an editor, you may have to know these terms and more: They won't just be correcting your grammar but giving you feedback using words like "epilogue," "hook," and "narrator." You may need a glossary like this one to bring your story to the next level!

Read through all of the terms here! Explore all of Crossword Solver writer’s resources!

Speaking of crosswords, they are good tools to build vocabulary. I enjoy working the daily crossword in my local newspaper. I set the timer to see how quickly (or how slowly) I can solve the puzzle.

Special thanks to the MPL Young Writer’s Club for sharing!

Keep writing!



Friday, February 7, 2020

Letters from Larry: The Tiger's Whisker


Good Afternoon Everyone,

I have some friends from Korea. One day while talking with her, she told this story that I want to share with you today.


The Tiger's Whisker

Once upon a time, a young wife named Yun Ok was at her wit's end. Her husband had always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the war but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.

When one problem or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Yun Ok. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. She was desperate.

As Yun Ok approached the hermit's hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: "I hear you. What's your problem?"

She explained the situation. His back still to her, he said, "Ah yes, it's often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it?"

"Make me a potion!" cried the young wife. "Or an amulet, a drink, whatever it takes to get my husband back the way he used to be."

The old man turned around. "Young woman, your request doesn't exactly fall into the same category as a broken bone or ear infection."

"I know," said she.

"It will take three days before I can even look into it. Come back then."

Three days later, Yun Ok returned to the hermit's hut. "Yun Ok," he greeted her with a smile, "I have good news. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger."

"What?" she gasped. "Such a thing is impossible!"

"I cannot make the potion without it!" he shouted, startling her. He turned his back. "There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I'm very busy."

That night Yun Ok tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?

The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away.

The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast.

So, it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger (thank goodness for that! she thought) though she knew from footprints on the ground that the tiger - and not a smaller mountain creature - had been eating her food. Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger's head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.

After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away (again, thank goodness! she thought, though she knew that someday, in order to get the whisker, she'd have to come closer to it).

Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers.

"Actually," she thought, remembering its almost kittenish look as she set down a fresh bowl, "it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it." The next time she visited, she glanced up at the tiger briefly and noticed what a lovely downturn of reddish fur it had from over one of its eyebrows to the next. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.

Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: "Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?" While petting the tiger with one hand, she held one whisker at its base and, with the other hand, in one quick stroke, she carved the whisker off. She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time.

The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. She ran to the hermit's hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: "I have it! I have the tiger's whisker!"

"You don't say?" he said, turning around. "From a live tiger?"

"Yes!" she said.

"Tell me," said the hermit, interested. "How did you do it?"

Yun Ok told the hermit how, for the last six months, she had earned the trust of the creature and it had finally permitted her to cut off one of its whiskers. With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.

"Yun Ok," the hermit said softly, "you no longer need the whisker. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?"

Yun Ok stood speechless. Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do.

~A Korean Fable~

Much love from the beautiful Smoky Mountains,
Larry


NOTE: This letter is sent to anyone interested in receiving these inspirational notes. There is no charge and you are encouraged to forward these to anyone you think would benefit from reading them. If you would like to receive them direct, just send an email to me at larryperry@att.net and request to be added to the Letters from Larry list.

Used with permission.



Milliron Monday: Abbott Pliny Smith 1853-1943

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M. June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010 Welcome to   Milliron Monday  where every Monday we...