Versatility With Substance?

Holidays are my poor excuse for the delay in responding to Carol Benedict and Joylene Butler’s kindness in awarding me the Blog With Substance and Versatile Blogger awards. It’s such a precious gift to have one’s writing efforts acknowledged by other writers. Sincere thanks to both of you!

Both awards come with similar although not identical requirements. The Substance Award asks that I share five words that sum up my blogging philosophy. That’s something I haven’t thought much about. Let’s see, I want this blog to be a place that is:

  1. Respectful – of differences in people, their abilities and their opinions
  2. Reflective – of the world around me, of God’s light and love
  3. Helpful – sharing information, news and advice from within my realm of experience
  4. Individual – an honest expression of me, my faith and my ideas
  5. Uplifting – a place of encouragement and empathy

Then the Versatile Award wants me to share seven things about myself. Seems like I’ve already done that on a couple of occasions. Do you suppose these have to be seven new things? I may have to steal a few from a different list but I’ll give it a try…

  1. Although I’ve never been able to play it very well, my favourite musical instrument is the piano. I’m sure there isn’t a mood it can’t express.
  2. I painted in oils, mostly landscapes, for two decades, sold everything and now don’t own a single piece of my own work.
  3. Despite living on the Pacific west coast, the only kind of seafood I like is barbecued salmon and canned tuna.
  4. In 1954 I was a majorette, twirling my baton and high-stepping with a friend, providing half time entertainment for the BC Lions football games. “Lions roar in ’54!”
  5. Singing the Canadian anthem always brings tears to my eyes.
  6. I love a good mystery story but my favourite TV programs are non-violent ones such as “Little House on the Prairie” reruns, “Heartland” and “Divine Design”.
  7. If I had to pick just one food to exist on it would be soup. I love all kinds of soup except for clam chowder.

There! Does that do it? Not quite. The other requirement is to pass along the awards to several other blogs. I’m never comfortable singling out one favourite over another, and to complicate things, some of the writing blogs I might choose have already received one or both of these awards. Carol Benedict suggested nominating blogs that I feel qualify as blogs with substance, or listing the blogs I check most often. I could do that, but I don’t believe the owner of the one I have in mind would accept an award.

And perhaps that’s my answer. I won’t nominate anyone this time, but simply refer you to Ann Voskamp’s poetic words of faith. If you have not yet visited her blog, A Holy Experience, please check it out. You will be blessed.

Unexpected Glimpses

Tiny sprigs of luscious new growth are appearing everywhere. It’s spring, so I shouldn’t be surprised by these sightings, especially since I’ve been waiting for them all winter. It’s the unexpectedness, though – the delight of discovery when I am glancing at one thing and suddenly notice something else – that catches me unaware and elicits such pleasure.

These glimpses are bonuses… bits of joy among the ordinary.

But what if (the writer’s favourite question), what if the telescope is reversed and you become the object glimpsed? What if in your writing you reveal just a hint of your authorial self to those who are immersed in the lives of your fictional characters?

Such glimpses are not bonuses, but interruptions.

Carol Benedict left a comment yesterday saying she wants readers “to pay attention to what I’m writing, not how I’m writing it.”  She was referring to a quotation by Somerset Maugham about style, but it also applies in principle to those times when we as authors write something that our characters wouldn’t say, see or know. Suddenly we have injected ourselves into the story. We have given the reader an unexpected glimpse of something that shouldn’t be there.

Do you think authorial intrusion matters to most readers? How do you avoid it when you’re writing?