Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Spring! I love this time of new beginnings: the awakening of the earth after a long winter, soft and vibrant colors and fragrances that tickle our senses, and the promise of warmer temperatures.

I have made good progress on my novel and will post updates and excerpts along the way. I've joined Twitter: @donelleknudsen and my website is under construction, stay tuned. My Facebook Author page is up and running: www.facebook.com/DonelleMKnudsen.

Please visit my new pages and posts. Leave a message or tweet so we can connect!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Change - It's good even when it hurts.

Gosh, it's been thirteen months since I've updated my blog. Briefly, it's been one heck of a year. But I'm back on track and anticipate the coming year with the growth, challenges, and surprises it will bring. Our family dynamics have changed with the maturing of our three grandsons, and I am grateful for the love and joy they bring to our lives.

My writing has changed direction a bit, as I am focused on my first novel, as well as a fictional short story for an anthology which will be published sometime next year. But my first love is writing Memoir. Joining a critique group a few months ago has been challenging. It helps me see what I need to work on, throw out, and improve, but the reinforcement, encouragement, and camaraderie is invaluable. If you are a writer, I encourage you to join a writers' support group or critique group that fits your needs. We need to leave our solitary offices and meet regularly with other writers.

Have a wonderful fall and coming winter season  Talk to you soon. I promise. . .

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Skeletons in the Closet

October brings a dramatic change in the weather; the air chills, trees begin their shift from soft and vibrant greens to yellows, brown, red, and orange, and the sun sets earlier. As an adult I miss the nice warm days, but as a child I was more excited that Halloween was just around the corner. In keeping with the spirit of Halloween, this year I received some information about a deceased relative, news that surprised and saddened me: a true skeleton in the closet.

My mother's cousin is our family historian and genealogy expert. I am the writer of our group and often use her findings for short stories or character types. However, with her recently discovered facts about a loved one, I'm not sure how, when, or where to use it.

Growing up I idolized this person in question, and admired him for his strength, skill at overcoming adversities, and for his myriad accomplishments. I still do, but realize now that he was only human and made some mistakes, not earth shattering ones, but significant ones all the same.

Five years ago, on the ten year anniversary of my Mother's death, I wrote a short story about the days following her passing. It was cathartic, and helped me to understand Mother, myself, and our fractured relationship. In the story, I noted that we had a documented, (and hung) Massachusetts' witch who decorated our family tree. It was appropriate and enhanced the mood of the scene, adding punch to the ghostly elements. By the way, I do believe in the unusual, the supernatural, the unexplained, the things that make your skin crawl and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

So I think I should include our family's weaknesses and unexplainable actions in future short stories, or use them to enhance one of the characters in my novel in progress. Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ode to Fall

Creatures of the Night

As night falls, I hurry home
switch on lights, close doors
to the cold night air
and imagine the Boogey Man
outside, in the dark,
ready to pounce.

Sundown comes
filmy clouds drift
across the blackened canvas
to kiss the star-dappled sky
painted purposefully, perfectly
by One more skilled than any mortal.

On velvet pads
nightlife crawls over wet grasses,
along woody branch,
through their realm
unseen by man
one hundred times as large.

Why fear what is hidden?
Nocturnal life lives in twilight.
Where I stumble, predators are agile.
Cats fleet of foot, owls dive with
unblinking amber eyes opened wide;
they survive another day.

Invisible world could teach me to trust,
to open windows and doors,
tiptoe outside, breathe night air,
creep over damp soil,
look under leafy screens,
meet creatures one thousand times as small.

To appreciate lesser inhabitants
may be contrary to human logic,
but to embrace the universal plan
set in motion purposefully, perfectly
by Him eons ago
is worth the endeavor.






Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ship in a Bottle

The first time I saw a sailing ship sitting in a small glass bottle, I was a child. I couldn't believe my eyes and asked my father to explain it. To the best of his ability, he explained how this feat was done, and I was awed by it. I still am.

Writing is something like building a ship in a bottle; the writer constructs an idea which is transformed into words, sentences, and paragraphs to form a story, poem, or a book. Certain confines and accepted parameters should be followed in order to create a cohesive, readable piece that not only entertains, but instructs the reader as well.

My first book was purely a practice piece and it was long, way too long. I switched to poems and short stories and found I loved the challenge of getting to the point in as few words as possible. My second book which was published as a memoir, was a combination of diary entries, short stories, and the greater story I wanted to tell.

Thinking about a delicate, intricately constructed ship sitting within a solid glass container reminds me of my book, which was carefully crafted, strung together with my heart and soul, and endless hours of creating and editing. When it was finally inserted between the covers of a book, my "ship" was complete and ready to launch.

Think about creating your own ship in a bottle, in whatever form you choose. I assure you that it will be one of the most worthwhile and rewarding things you can do in life.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day, Back to School, New Beginnings

My favorite time of year is here. Even though Labor Day isn't the first day of fall, it feels like it to me. The nighttime temp got down to 45 degrees and the daytime temps will be in the low eighties. For our area, that's just about perfect.

It's time to plant winter pansies, green and burgundy colored kale, yellow mums, and to trim the dried rose blooms off; they are just about done for the year.

It's been a hectic summer here at home and my writers' critique group took a hiatus; thus, my writing projects suffered. Although I did enter four literary contests this season. Results of three are to come in October. When I write to specifications and deadlines, I turn out my best work.

I have had my new computer only two days and already I am at it more, updating my blogs, checking in on others', and I've even cleaned out my office. Fall does that to me. It reminds me of the "Back to School" feeling when I was a youngster: new clothes, new books, new teachers, and the promise of an exciting year.

Happy Labor Day, one and all. Check in on my blogs. I promise to update them more often. To read about my memoir, Through the Tunnel of Love, A Mother's and Daughter's Journey With Anorexia, as well as some of my short stories, poems, and essays go to:  www.authorsden.com/donelleknudsen

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Inspiration Comes From Unexpected Places

To my thinking, writers connecting with writers, either online or face-to-face, is imperative. Writers take on a lonely business, armed only with a pen and blank sheet of paper, or computer screen, and our imaginations. The wonderful thing is that these elements, combined with research and the desire to create, can take us as far as our minds and stamina are able.

So far this year I have attended one writers conference where I gained information and inspiration and submitted five entries to writing contests; however, my critique group is on hiatus, so my impetus to create something new every week has stalled. Add vacations, family time, and a recent surgery, and the result: my weeks have been chopped up into fragments with precious little to show.

One thing I always make time for is reading, and writing ideas down as they come, often at the oddest times. The most recent quote I wrote down is by Frodo Baggins from one of Peter Jackson's films in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien:  "He didn't mean for a lot of things to happen, Sam, but it did." Context: Frodo is speaking to his comrade, Sam, after Gandalf's untimely death in the underground caves. Their future looks bleak, because the leader of the Fellowship of the Ring has seemingly perished, and their grief is so deep that they fear the worst: utter defeat.

Frodo's observation gave me the inspiration to bring out a writing project I had been working on for six months, but put aside because it had become too difficult, too painful to continue. It was inspired by a true life situation that has caused our family much pain and stress over the last year. But from experience, I have learned that those are the best kinds of projects to tackle, because challenges, the hard things in life, are what make us stronger, teach us valuable lessons, and result in inspired writing.

So, thank you, Frodo, for reminding me that life isn't always easy, and to remember that I should never give up and to not admit defeat, no matter how daunting the task that lies ahead.