Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What’s Your Line?

Today’s Write on Wednesday theme is “What’s Your Line?” How do you find your material? How do you express it? Have you found it yet, or aren’t sure you have one?

This was an interesting topic for me, because I haven’t really done a lot of "concentrated writing" or personal writing (like fiction, for example). Most of it is work-related.

But the writing does dance in my head – I have several mysteries going, but since character is my strength and plot is not, I’m challenged in the intricacies of the form! (Maybe I need a collaborator!)

What actually makes it to the page tends to be related to daily life: my family, friends, observations.

My slowly progressing project is a cookbook with the stories from my world that accompany it...
...warm times spent at the holidays and the recipes that were part of the traditions; lively parties and the good food that comes with it; stories of playing till we dropped at the lake and then the delicious summer-food we enjoyed.

Christmas parties...

And birthday celebrations from times gone by!

The recipes are part of it, of course. But the real writing comes in sharing the stories of my mother and her sisters spending summers at the lake...

... celebrations I’ve enjoyed with Rick’s kids over the years... well as those indescribably wonderful times with my amazing friends.

In Becca’s post, she speaks about being an only child and how she focuses on relationships and family in her work. That resonates with me, as I am an only child, as was my dad. My cousins are my spiritual siblings and we spent many hours together as children. But basically, it was our wee group of three.

Now I’m an adult orphan and as I look back at the things I think about and write about, much of it reflects past relationships, for I realize there are very few people who even knew my parents and I don’t want their memories to leave when I do.

In a small family, one often finds that friends become extended family – the family you choose for yourself. So, I want to remember those stories, too.

Even the poetry I write each year for the Valentine’s Day book I make for Rick – always a selection recapping our year – summarizes experiences, people and family. Things I know and love.

And when I write a travel related piece, it's a place I've been.

I realize, not surprisingly, that working the blog is fertile ground for sharing these types of things as well, and an excellent exercise in getting me back to writing on a regular basis.

So, when I go to the symphony, I will continue to make up mysteries about the timpani player who is married to the string bass player (they aren’t, really – I doubt!) and the murder of one of their colleagues! Or a major donor. Or the houseguest of the conductor. I know their lives and characters intimately, but can’t nail the plot!

When I take trips to the lake alone, or long walks up there, I’ll continue the small town mysteries set on a lake not unlike the one I visit, in a restored hotel (much like the one that used to be here in the 30s and is now a McMansion) with its widowed artist proprietor!

Those will probably never see paper, but they’re fun to think about and muddle!

So, what’s YOUR line? Do you have one or discovered it yet? And how do you express it? Don’t don’t forget to check out Becca’s wonderful post on this topic. If you write about “your line” on your blog, please leave a link on this post and on her blog as well, so other writers can enjoy!)


  1. I love all of your photographs
    and you~
    Thanks for your visits and kind words.
    Love Jeanne

  2. You have some wonderful ideas going on, Jeanie! I love the idea of your family inspired cookbook. One of my cousisn's recently published one like that, and it was done so beautifully. It's actually on sale in local gift and craft shops near her home, because many of the recipes and stories were inspired by the small southern town where she grew up and stil lives.

    And your mystery stories sound great - and I see the way you've work with your "line"...the observations you make about daily life and the people in it.

    Thanks for this wonderful post, and for sharing your ideas :)

    Write on!

  3. Aloha Jeanie,
    Im not in Japan..I'm just down the road from you in Ohio sweetie..
    The photo was taken in Sedona when all the glitter blog sisters got together.. :)
    Ty for visiting my blog and I'll be reading yours..
    PEace, Kai :)

  4. I find a picture I love on Flickr...and usually that's where my ideas come from !

  5. I seem to do fiction best. Always a young woman facing a challenge & overcoming her childhood. No Freud needed! I do well w/ poetry too. Your family cooking stories sound stellar. Love all the pictures already. Plus, food brings families together so there's so much material. Sign me up for a copy sight unseen. And thanks for all of your encouragement. You're just the best Jeanie.

  6. What a wonderful idea for a story cookbook Jeanne. I love how your imagination follows you where ever you go.

    Nice to meet you!

  7. I love your cookbook idea! I've been toying with doing a cookbook but only for my family. As for writing, apparently my horoscope seems centered around writing and communication but it's the last thing I would dream of doing! I feel lucky if I'm able to string a couple of words together to make a sentence!

  8. So many inspiring sources! Loved this insight inot your writings!

  9. The story cookbook is a great idea! If you ever have it printed I would love to get one.

    Thank you for your kind words!

  10. since i have never been here before this was a wonderful place to stop in and get to know a little bit about you.. i am a plot maker,, and i can do ok with the characters,, it is the filler that throws me for a loop,, you know the little every day things that need to be built in... i guess i am destined to never complete any of the full length pieces i work so diligently at piecing together.... so nice to have "met" you....

  11. I am always writing in my mind! I am always thinking as I see the wonders of nature! I choose to express myself through my photography of my world as I see it. through the lens of my camera..and nost times as I write and post my online garden journal and more it becomes my place of respite! I share it with all to see! keep writing keep thinking keep dreaming!hugs NG

  12. Your ideas and your writing is so awesome, such a neat friend!!! I want you cookbook too!!!

  13. What fantastic ideas! I especially like the one about your recipes for special occasions and family stories from such occasions, shared throughout the year. And how romantic that you compile a Valentine's Day book for your husband! I'd quite like to read about that symphony mystery as well - get to work, woman! :) xo

  14. You're an amazing gal. So glad you're part of my online family. I love the photos from the past and the writing. You're so fun.

    The elder

  15. I like your idea about writing a family-related cookbook to preserve treasured memories and recipes. If you're looking for information and ideas, please visit my website at There's a list of cookbook printers, a page to share your cookbook when it's published, and lots more tasty tidbits!

  16. Inspiration can be found anywhere - I love the notion of going to the symphony or a show and creating a narrative out of that. Very cool!

  17. "the real writing comes in sharing the stories of my mother and her sisters spending summers at the lake..." Sounds like treasured family stories and some great ideas in your head! My write on wednesday

  18. The only writing I do is on the blog. But yes, the imagination runs wild at the most quiet of times. I love your scenario at the symphony. To tell you the truth, I prefer the small family unit myself. When I visit the hub's family in NY (five siblings, five spouses, seven offspring and the inlaws) it's just way too overwhelming for me. I prefer the quiet talks with loved ones around the kitchen table, or a board game where everyone can play at once and a dinner where everyone has time to speak. I prefer the smaller, gentler family (and extensions), yes indeed. xo

  19. Thoroughly enjoyed reading about the many rooms in your life.

  20. Yes! I came back to make that last comment, but clicked it away before I explained! I decided to read your post a little more slowly than I did the first time! Just loved it!

  21. When you publish a book, let me know. I want to get a copy, whatever it is-cookbook, mystery, novel-just let me know!

  22. I love your photographs. I love reading mysteries but haven't felt like I could write one... too many plot intricacies, as you've said. I would love to read a mystery set in that house in the woods.


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