Posted by: Phil Anderson | December 6, 2015

Three Years…

It has been way too long since my last blog post. After posting faithfully every week for three years I’m taking a break, and I feel like I should make some excuses. I mean, offer explanations.

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Posted by: Phil Anderson | October 11, 2015

First Words

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” — Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

The first lines of any story are said to be very important. They give the reader a sense of what to expect. They might introduce characters, setting, mood, tone, voice, or all of the above. They are sometimes called “the hook,” which implies that if a reader isn’t immediately captivated within the first paragraph they are likely to give up and not continue reading.

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Posted by: Phil Anderson | October 4, 2015

Communication: Are We Getting Through?

After last week’s post about art and what it means (or doesn’t mean) to me, I’ve been thinking about the nature of communication. The dictionary says that to communicate is to share or exchange information, news, or ideas. Art usually communicates ideas or emotions implicitly, in a way that’s open to interpretation. Writing is an art, but I usually try to communicate more specifically, so that my meaning is clear. Read More…

Posted by: Phil Anderson | September 27, 2015

What is Art?

Grand Rapids, Michigan is hosting the seventh annual ArtPrize, an international art show with over 1,500 entries spread throughout the city. I spent many hours there over the past few days and saw a lot of beautiful, inspiring, thought-provoking pieces. I also saw some silly, tacky, and disturbing examples of artistic expression. I was awestruck by a few, and several times found myself thinking, “This is art?”

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Any description of what I specifically liked and disliked will reveal my complete lack of sophistication and good taste, but in general the entires I was unimpressed by fall into three categories:

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Posted by: Phil Anderson | September 20, 2015

Be a Pirate

Yesterday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a celebration of all things piratical in honor of the likes of Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, and Davy Jones. I’m amazed at how popular this “holiday” has become in recent years, spreading from port to port all around the world.

And it’s more than just talking like a pirate, saying “Arrr” and calling your pals “matey.” Our local Krispy Kreme had a crew of sea dogs lined up out the door, dressed in their finest seafaring togs and hoping for a dozen free donuts for their trouble. Read More…

Posted by: Phil Anderson | September 13, 2015

Pace Yourself

As I work on learning to write, I see a lot of advice on pacing. There are numerous articles and blogs and books about how to keep the reader engaged. Character development, backstory, and drama have to be built into the action. If a story doesn’t constantly move forward, readers will get bored and close the book, ready to move on to something more interesting.

I can’t argue with that advice. It makes sense and I experience it myself when I find my attention waning. But it wasn’t always this way.

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Posted by: Phil Anderson | September 6, 2015

Minding My Own Busyness

After last week’s post on how busy life can be, the last few days have been even busier. So it only makes sense to expand on my thoughts, and look at busyness from a different perspective.

My mom commented last week about the things she and Dad still do, and it struck me that even in semi-retirement the busyness doesn’t let up. Everyone is always busy doing something. You may be busy working, busy driving somewhere, or busy watching a movie. In fact, if you’re not busy doing anything, you might be dead.

So why do we complain about being busy? What makes busyness seem so objectionable?

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Posted by: Phil Anderson | August 30, 2015

Taking Care of Busyness

This past month has been very busy. You may have noticed that my blog posts haven’t been as frequent as they should be.

A week ago my wife and I took two of our kids off to college, and now there are only two left at home. That’s half of my kids suddenly gone, a third of my household. We already miss them a lot; we had to rearrange the dining table to makes the gaps less obvious.

Somehow I had the idea that fewer people in my house would mean less busyness. There has to be some kind of benefit to offset the loss, right? But so far, looking ahead, the calendar is just as full as before, if not fuller.

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Posted by: Phil Anderson | August 16, 2015

Feedback Requested

Writing is a mostly solitary activity. I write best in peace and quiet, with no one else around, so I can arrange my thoughts.

But at some point, I need help. I need to know if my idea is as good as I think it is, if my words accurately convey my thoughts, and if what I’ve written makes any sense at all.

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Posted by: Phil Anderson | August 2, 2015

Tales of Theran #2 – Part Three

Here is the conclusion of the second “Tale of Theran.” You can start at the beginning by clicking here. Leave a comment and tell me what you think, or leave a suggestion for a title.

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