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When I was a young girl I took piano lessons. I really liked the piano until I was assigned “The Blue Danube.” By that time, I was sight-reading popular music and improvising some of my own touches, and the Blue Danube seemed so boring.

I wasn’t engaged in either its rhythm or its tune. I practiced it the first week and figured I had it nailed (as they say today). However, at the next lesson I made a minor mistake and was told to do it another week without even a chance to correct it. I never practiced it again, and weeks went by as I was stuck with the same piece.

During those weeks I realised the teacher had 2 new students. They were brothers. One had the half-hour before my lesson, and the other the half-hour following mine. The teacher started my lesson late by 5 minutes, as I sat in the hall and watched the clock. At first I was happy to be dismissed 5 minutes early, still stuck on the Blue Danube. Then it dawned on me I was having a 20 minute lesson and Mom was paying full price. I told her.

As a result, Mom asked our church organist to take me on as a student, explaining my fading interest in piano lessons. She suggested I might enjoy the organ, then she warned me I would have to start at the very beginning with scales! Playing scales with my feet? I was enraptured. Playing scales had never been so exciting. Two manuals (keyboards) for my hands and one for my feet. Using stops to change tones? I had oboes and violins and trumpets – oh bliss! A whole orchestra was mine in that pipe organ.

That was a life lesson well learned. It’s deadly boring to repeat the same activity over and over, but it’s bliss when a repeat is reinvented. In writing this is so true. I get a lift of pleasure creating a story in the first place, but then the boost from rewriting takes the pleasure even higher.

As I follow my four steps:

  1. Write
  2. Rewrite
  3. Edit
  4. Polish

I never find a stale moment in the whole process. No Blue Danubes!

At this time I am rewriting stories I wrote in the 1990’s. I am able to expand and change them with no word count restrictions and I am in bliss once again. Luckily there are 40 of them to do, so I’m happy.

p.s. I was a church organist for several years, but life took its turns and I relinquished that pleasure. I still play piano for pleasure.

The following is my attempt at a nonet, a new poetic form I encountered in Writer’s Digest. A nonet begins with nine syllables on the first line, and concludes with one syllable for the ninth line. Kind of a poetic version of Soduko!

My computer died mid-November.
I ask you, with no computer
how would a writer survive?
To depict his stories
of action and angst,
get his email,
or send it.
He’s choked.
Mum.

I ask you, have you experienced a line-up at a cashier where the computer system has crashed? Staff faces appear stricken yet vacant. They have absolutely no idea what to do, while frustrated customers stand patiently, or drop their merchandise and leave. It’s especially angst-ridden when the “manager” assures customers, “only a few more minutes.”

I recently stood through 2.5 hours of this frustration with said promises because I had already spent 2 hours selecting the merchandise. It would have been quicker if they had a pen and paper back-up system, but no-one seems to know how to write anymore.

I ask you, can you survive without a computer? I have been without my computer for more than a year! Meanwhile I have written:
  • one K-3 storybook
  • two grade 4-6 storybooks
  • one teen novel
  • one adult nonfiction book about coping with stress (about which I know a good deal from experience!)
I am currently working on two K-3 stories, and another grade 4-6 story. All are written with a ballpoint pen on paper. It can be done!

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