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Writing How To’s

The Worm of Juruti – A Novelette

An review sample of my new book, “The Worm of Juruti”  I appreciate any and all feedback and comments.  The finished Novelette is in final edits now and should be ready for purchase on Smashwords by January 2018

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6So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. 7But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. 8When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “Death is better to me than life.”…

Jonah 4.6-4.8

The Worm of Juruti

New York City, NY.  1915

The distinctive clip clop of the doctors carriage; drawn by a single horse, broke the stillness of the damp night air. The sound drew the attention of the street urchin huddled in the corner of the church stairwell; the carriage stopped close to where he lay under a cardboard box and canvas, trying to stay warm. The lad looked up to see who could be out at this time of night, afraid that it might be the constable. He automatically tensed, but no one came and eventually he tucked himself back under the pile of canvas. There was a slight mist crowding out the dim light from the gas lights. The waif knew by the pain settling into his bones, that soon it would turn into a downpour. He was always right. Tonight he was fortunate; he had the heavy canvas and he would at least stay somewhat dry. The more worrisome growl of his stomach reminded him that his biggest problem was not rain. Still he thought as he rolled back under the tarp, he was better here rather than living with his drunken whore of a mother and her never-ending stream of abusive boyfriends.

A gaunt figure of a man in a long black theater cape, black bowler hat, and tweed pants stepped from the carriage. In comparison to most men of his era, he was tall at 5’10”. Tonight, however, hunched over against the rain, hat pulled low on the brow, collar up and pulled tight around the neck, he looked undeniably short and sinister. Reaching back into the carriage, the man removed a lantern; lit it and then removed a rusty shovel. Walking quietly, trying to avoid the echoing sound his boots made on the wet cobblestone walkway, he went behind the church and entered the pauper’s cemetery located there. At a freshly completed grave, he stopped and waited, listening. Finally he stooped to examine the simple wooden cross grave marker. There were two names on it. One name weathered and barely legible on the left arm of the cross and the other fresh, painted no more than a day or two earlier on the right arm of the cross. Two names meant two bodies. This was expected. Often, in order to use all available space in the cemetery, the church would bury the bodies of paupers on top of one another. This grave was one of the many paupers’ graves this little cemetery had.

Checking cautiously to make sure no one was around; he buried the spade into the soft earth of the grave. On the third strike, he reached the simple pine wood box, two feet beneath the surface. Two more strikes broke through the flimsy lid. He removed  the thin wood panels, exposing the grizzly contents. Getting down on his hands and knees, he removed a small hard leather case from his pocket, opened it and carefully withdrew an ancient scalpel. Hesitating slightly, he reached into the box. Working quickly, he made a vertical incision into the throat of the once beautiful young girl that lay in the coffin. Reaching inside the incision with his first two fingers, he probed and widened the gap in the flesh until he felt her already decaying vocal cords. A little more probing and he found what he was seeking. He brought forth a fleshy glowing body part that he quickly put into a jar that he also took from his pocket. Just before getting up, he touched his finger tips to his lips and then pressed his fingers against the cold forehead of the deceased. He said a silent prayer, asking for her forgiveness, then stood to refill the hole. Dirt sifted through the broken opening and covered the corpse. He continued to fill. With the rain, the dirt would eventually sink into the hole in the coffin, creating a depression in the grave, signaling an intrusion. By that time, he would be long gone.

1.

1925 Broadwick’s Opera house, New York City

Sarah Keller nervously paced the floor of the backstage. Her audition for the small part in the off Broadway opera was next. She cleared her throat trying to loosen her vocal cords without stressing them. Softly, she ran the scale.  “Do, ray, me, fa, so, la te, do.” Her voice cracked. “Shit, she said out loud to no one.” Nerves, she assured herself. She would get better once on stage. Tonight was the night. Tonight would be the night she would walk into that worthless diner and tell that snake – Stan, you son of a bitch, I quit. The look on his face would be precious. It was the words and the look she had rehearsed in her lonely one room flat above the pub, each and every night since arriving in this god forsaken state four years earlier. Thirty seven failed auditions later, she was beginning to see her dream as nothing more than smoke.

If she failed tonight, she had enough money left for passage back to Ohio. She had been duped into thinking that the off Broadway theaters wanted up and coming actors / singers. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. Maybe it was time to quit pissing and moaning about it and admit the truth. She was not a great actress or even a decent singer. Thirty seven failed auditions were a pretty clear indicator that she was kidding herself.  She was running out of money, struggling to maintain her confidence and time was not on her side.

“OK chickee, you’re next.” The stage master, a gruff looking old bastard with a Boston accent, shoved her towards the side curtain.

She stood at the edge of the curtain, nervous, too afraid to move. “Any words of encouragement,” she asked

“Yeah, break a leg, knock ’em dead, all that other happy horse shit. Should I grab my horn and blow an intro for ya?”

The skinny assistant stagehand laughed as he opened the curtain and shoved her out onto the massive oak floor stage. She stared out into the audience area and saw nothing, the harsh glare of the spotlight stopping her cold, blinding her.

“Hello?” she said shielding her eyes, trying to see in to the darkness.

From out of the seats, a voice loomed. “Hello pretty one, what is your name and how long have you been singing?”

My name is Sarah Keller and I have been singing for 11 years.”

“I can hear from your accent you’re from the mid-west, oh yes, it reads that on your bio. Ohio is it? Have you had any formal training?”

“School plays and the few small stage plays I have done.” Suddenly, old anxieties surfaced. What was she doing here? That sounded so weak. Truth be known, she had little to no experience. Who was she kidding? Why put herself through this. He was only going to reject her, as the others did. This was nonsense. And then he spoke again.

“What were the names of the stage plays?”

“A City Players production of Pygmalion and Peter Pan. I played one of the Indian girls.” Cheap little Indian girl, a bit part that amounted to nothing. Why had she told him that?

“Wonderful,” the director said dryly as he made the notation ‘amateur on her bio. “Is that your real hair color? Are you naturally blond? When she responded “Yes,” he said “Beautiful, very pretty. If you’re hired, we may need to change it. Hope that isn’t a problem for you.”

“No, no problem.”

“Good, So what are you going to sing for us today?”

“The theme song from Pygmalion.” It was the only song she knew by heart, what else could she sing.

“That figures,” he said under his breath. “OK, go ahead Miss, dazzle the crap out of us,” His snarky response was not what she was looking for, but, as her mother would often say, “in for a penny, in for a pound,” She turned towards the piano player, who boringly nodded that he was ready. Turning back to the stage, and waiting to the count of five to set her nerves, she nodded and he began to play. She waited for the opening bars and as the intro reached the fifth bar, she sang:

“I’m dirty; I’m food on the ground,/ “I’m lonely, will I ever be found?” / “I’m sorry, that I’m not what I’m supposed to be,/ “Could you help me?”

“Stop, stop, stop” the director held up his hand and stood up in the row. “Look at the size of this theater girly. Can you see us out here? We can barely hear you and we’re in the fucking 5th row. Jesus Christ girl, I’m looking for a stage singer who can belt out a song and hit the back row audience between the eyes. Do you think you can you do that?”

“I can try.” Of course I can sing loud you arrogant bastard. Clean the hair from your ears and maybe you can hear me. God, let me quit now, this isn’t going to go well.

“Do better than try sweetheart, do it. Now go ahead, dazzle my pants off.” Muttering to his assistant, “where the hell do you find these people, from the bread line? God damn it Stanley, your job is on the line if this is all the talent you can muster up.”

On stage, Sarah paused to regain control of her rising anger. This was the last time. Once again she nodded towards the pianist who started over with the opening bars. She waited, took a much deeper breath and in a voice that was practically yelling, sang out,

“I’m dirty; I’m food on the ground, / “I’m lonely, will I ever be found?” / “I’m sorry, that I’m not what I’m supposed to be, could you help me?” / “Make me shiny and new. like a baby, can I talk just like you?”

She was screaming the notes and at the top of the mid C, her voice cracked, garbling the note and rendering it so far off key as to be embarrassing. It also hurt. The result was to make the notes indistinguishable from that sound a wounded crow would make if you shot it.

The director held up his hand. “Enough, thank you.” Angrily turning towards his assistant, “Damn it. Are we done for the day?” The poor man cringed under the glare of the directors eyes. “We better be.” When he got the weak yes nod, he said “Good,” and got up to leave the area.

“Is that all?” Sarah called out.

“Oh, now you speak up. Jesus Christ,” he said under his breath, “Yes my dear that was all,” turning to leave he suddenly stopped in mid stride and turned back to the stage. “You’re a pretty girl, so let me give you some advice. Do yourself a favor for Gods sake. Learn to sing, take lessons or something, learn how to sing good, but more importantly, learn how to sing loud. You’ve probably got a good voice, as long as you are singing in a bedroom. Who would know? No one can hear you. You need a lot more training. Quit wasting yours and everyone elses time. We’ll get a hold of you if we need an off stage whisperer, but I wouldn’t wait by the phone.”

She stood angrily forming a response in her head, waiting for him to say something else. When nothing else came, she opened her mouth to give her response to him but then realized – he was right. She stopped, knowing that anything she said would fall on deaf ears. Hanging her head she turned and quickly walked off stage. Now she was pissed and knew that she had blown it again. As she rounded the curtain, flinging is aside to avoid crashing into the stage prop hidden behind it, a voice called out from the darkened side stage.

“The director was very rude. I thought you were quite good. Quiet, but very good. For a smaller stage, you would be passable. Here, I am afraid, you are out of your element.”

“Oh, thanks a hell of a lot buddy. Just what I need, another critic, Sorry asshole, one was enough for the day” As he started to speak again, she held up her hand, “Skip it, I know the routine. I’ve heard it before. Thanks anyway, but do you mind? I’m going to be a bar maid forever and I am not feeling very social right now.”

“I understand. How many auditions does this make that you have failed?

“That’s a rather strong term asshole, failed? Let’s just say I have not won a role in the last ten or so attempts.”

He laughed. “Okay, sweeten it any way you want too. Simply put, you failed them. And I think it is more like over thirty, maybe closer to forty. It’s okay however, not many people make it in this business.”

“Like I said, not interested. Besides, who the hell are you? What credentials do you carry that give you the right to critic me? Or are you some back stage Johnny just wanting to get in my pants? Come out of the shadows where I can see you.”

“No,” he said still in the shadows, “It’s not your body I want. It’s your voice. I want to make you a better singer. I want to give you the opportunity to have a life of nothing but success.”

She was already in a bad mood and this clown was not making it any better. “Alright, enough,” she said, peering into the darkness again, looking for a face, “who are you?”

“My name is not important unless you agree to work with me. What is important is that I can make you a world class singer. I will even go as far as to say I can make you a very famous actor as well. Would you want that kind of success, or is singing nothing more than a hobby for you?”

“Enough,” she said. “I get the picture now. I have heard that line many times. You’re a want-a-be singing coach and for your services, I am required to give you my body, my soul and share your bed. No thank you, I’ll pass on your offer.”

“Once again, you have it all wrong. No bed, no body, no soul. I want nothing but your commitment to your own growth.”

“And once I give my commitment, once you have me locked up, you’ll want my first born and a healthy agent’s fee. I know you, she said knowingly, “your name is Rumpelstiltskin. Forget it buster, I know the story.“

“Play it your way, that is not my name, and you are wrong about what I want. The question remains the same, do you want to be famous?” Before she had a chance to speak, as if reading her mind, he said, “Believe me, I understand your hesitancy, but do you want the riches and accolades that go with being a beautiful singer? Do you want to make an impact on the lives of others, or as I asked before, is this a hobby?” That stopped her cold. No one had ever asked her that before.  Was this a hobby? Did she want the riches and fame, or was she destined to be nothing more than a bit part singer and happy for it because it was easier? No, she decided, she wasn’t a bit part singer and no this was not a hobby. When she spoke again, there was a conviction in her answer.

“Yes, I want it all and no, this is not a god damn hobby, this is my life, or at least it was. After today, I’m not sure. I’ll figure it out in time and I’ll start all over again. This setback is not going to stop me.”

“Good, I’m happy to hear that. Would you like some help?”

“I suppose I could use some formal training, but I don’t have a lot of money left and you still haven’t told me How you can help me.”

“I will tell you all of it but first, say you are willing to commit to fame and that you will follow my instructions – no matter how you may question them.”

“Mister, you are nothing more than a strange voice standing in the shadows of a darkened theater on some back street of New York’s theater district. You may have nice words but frankly you have said nothing. I need a hell of a lot more information before I can commit to trusting you, starting with – who the hell are you?”

“OK, fair enough,” he said stepping out of the shadows. He wore a theater cape, spats and a wool dress suit suitable of those who were highborn. He carried a silver tipped cane and was carrying a very expensive top hat. She had seen his kind many times, dining in the fanciest of New York restaurants and taking in every theater that opened onto Broadway. She instantly knew he had wealth and from the way he stood poised and so assured of himself, she guessed him to be a banker, doctor or Wall Street financier.

“We will talk,” he said “over lunch. Then you can ask me anything you want.”

“I suppose that would be acceptable as soon as you tell me your name?”

”Du’an, just Du’an. My patients call me Dr. Du’an.” She had been right on one count. He was a doctor. Was that good or bad.”

“That is an unusual name. First name or last name?”

“Only one name. It is Serbian and it means Soul, a meaning I would not have chosen for myself, but never the less, it is only a name. Come, there is a quaint bistro right around the corner.”

2.

When Sarah was 10 and on a visit to New York with her parents, she was introduced to her first Broadway musical. Mesmerized by the glamor, the lights and the theatrics she knew right then and there, that this is what she wanted to be when she grew up.  When her father took her backstage to meet the leading actress, she was hooked. Sarah could see herself playing center stage in a Broadway Production. However, the farm district of Olathe Kansas offered very little in the way of training or even theaters.  The poor dirt farmers could barely afford a radio, let along go into town for a stage play.

Sarah was luckier than most kids for her father was the town’s only dentist and the Keller’s were considered to be wealthy by town folk standards, even though much of his billings were paid in trade, poultry and the occasional handyman services. Never the less, they lived in a beautiful home, ate well and Sarah managed to go all the way through school, graduating at the top of her small 86 student class. And while she never did get to go back to New York while she was still in school, she did manage to be cast in the local school plays and the amateur theater productions that took place in town.  Gifted with a natural singing voice, any time she got a chance to sing, she would. Her High School Music teacher helped her with her singing and over the years Sarah continued to dream of being famous.

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Filed under Book Progress, New Book, novelette, Short Story, Writing

Quality Writing Instruments on a Budget.

At the request of a couple of my regular customers, I recently bought some low-cost Fountain Pens to add to my stock of vintage pens. There are many people whoCamlin Eyedropper Fountain Pen - Blue - Fine Nib enjoy writing with a fountain pen, but as in the case of a student or small business owner just starting out,, they may not have the budget for a #Mont Blanc, #Pelikan, #Cross or a #Lamy. I selected the #Camilin pen company because it is one of the oldest and best known pen companies in India.  They started in business in 1931 and produce a very nice functional fountain pen at a reasonable price.  They are also “Eyedropper” fillers, which I favor, but for some people because of the fear of leaks, somewhat worrisome – unless you know the secret.  The secret lies in a little dab of silicon grease applied to the threads of the barrel.  There is an excellent video on filling the eyedropper pen from the Fountain Pen Revolution website. Check it out here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL00ITrYFMg

When you stop by either one of my stores, American Classics Marketplace Space B26 or Antique Gallery, case 26, take a look at the Camilin Pens I have in stock. I sell them for $12.00, but don’t let that price fool you. They have the quality, look and feel of fountain pens that cost a lot more. All are new and uninked, so buy some quality ink from your favorite office supply store, check out the video and get ready for an excellent writing experience.

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Filed under Academc, Pen History, Pens, Student, Writing, Writing Tools

From Hand to Brain, a Pen is the Connection

For all you #parents, #grandparent, aunts and uncles who are struggling to figure out what to give your #graduating scholar as a special gift, know this: The Pen is Mightier than the Computer.  #Research #scientist have shown that taking handwritten notes improves comprehension. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop/

I’ve known this for years, having experienced this with my children. For example, while my youngest has access to a variety of desk top, laptop computers; as well as iPhone’s and iPod’s, (don’t they all) she still takes handwritten notes in all he classes. Because of her very level of comprehension and retention associated with the pure psychology of hand to brain association, she also has a very high GPA.  The fact that she takes after her mother and is very smart is inconsequential, but it does lead me to suggest to you a great graduation gift for your academically student.

A “Cross”, “Pelikan” or “Mont Blanc” roller ball or ball point pen from my vintage collection for your graduate, will go a long way towards insuring their successful college experience.  You can see my vintage collection at both American Classics Marketplace in B26, or my newest site in case #26 at Antique Gallery on S. Wahsatch, downtown Colorado Springs.

As we are talking note taking here, I do not suggest a fountain pen, even though I love writing with them and have some beautiful ones for sale. For the student, fountain pens need a longer drying time which hinders rapid note taking.

Every Cross, Pelikan and Mont Blanc has a lifetime warranty, regardless of age. Pens in my collection are all made in the USA or in the case of the Mont Blanc’s, Germany. Refills for these pens can be found anywhere, including college supply stores which insures that they will not end up unused, sitting in the bottom of some backpack.

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Filed under Academc, Pen History, Pens, Stationary, Student, Vintage, Writing, Writing Tools

The Analogy – A Writers Sword

I love a well crafted analogy.  The fun of being a writer – for me – is being a word smith.  Drafting an analogy does that for

Broken coffeemaker, NYC, 11/21/07 - 1 of 4

Broken coffeemaker, NYC, 11/21/07 – 1 of 4 (Photo credit: goodrob13)

me.  Analogies keep a writer’s mind sharp, which is why I started doing them years ago.  The best ones come off the top of my head, other times I have to work at them.  That’s why its good to have a small notebook handy.   Today’s impromptu analogy came about when I took my car over for some minor repair work.  A man – sitting next to the coffee pot, asked me if I thought the coffee pot should be on when the pot was empty.   As I was sitting on the other side of the room and we were the only two people there,  I said “no, you should probably turn it off. ”  His reply was “well I didn’t turn the pot on.”   The analogy I thought of right then; and one which I voiced rather sarcastically, was “that’s like watching someone who is going to fall into a hole, and someone saying “hurry – warn him,” and you saying,  “But I didn’t dig the hole.”  

After his brain engaged; it took a second or two,  (yes, ignorance is bliss) he got the point.  The coffee pot was saved.

Wikipedia has a good definition of Analogy – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analogy  but I am interested if you readers / writers have ever come up an original analogy you want to share.  Comment back.  I look forward to reading them.

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Filed under copywriting, New Book, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Tools

Christmas 1957

Not every present has to be new; it just has to have love and a special meaning attached to it. 

Every year, as the temperature starts to drop and the leaves turn brassy gold, an old memory comes back to me.  It dates back to my early childhood in Michigan, specifically the fall of 1957.  The air was crisp and filled with the smell of pine burning in fireplaces and nutmeg.  Leaves from the six oak trees that bordered our yard had already fallen and the squirrels had harvested all the acorns their little nests could hold.  Winter was fast approaching –“softly,” as my grandmother would say, “like the whisper of little duck feet paddling through the grass on their way to water.”  Dad was out in the garage putting the finishing touches on the converted house trailer that held the 22 foot Chris Craft cabin cruiser he had built.

“Son,” he called out, “come on, we’re going shopping.  Get in the car.”  To go shopping with my Dad was a big deal for me.  I piled into his pink (yes I said pink) 56 Buick convertible and threw my arm up on the windowsill that, at nine years old, came just about level to the base of my earlobe.  An awkward position I had put myself in, but it was semi-warm, Dad had the top down, and I looked cool.

Off we went until about ten miles later we stopped in our first antique store.  “I’m looking for a special something for your mother for Christmas,” he said turning to me, “so you have to keep this trip a secret.”  I swore I would, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what my mother would want from a store that sold old junk.  Never mind, I was with my Dad.  Three hours and four antique stores later, I was less enthused.  I was tired and bored out of my nine-year old skull.  I hadn’t learned the art of antique buying, nor for that matter – patience.  Besides, there were toys I couldn’t play with, tools I couldn’t touch and God forbid if I stepped too close to a shelf full of antique cut glass.  Dad however was in seventh heaven.

As I stood looking at a set of WWI medals and Meerschaum pipes sitting in a glass case, I heard Dad say, “That’s it!”  As I turned, he was reaching for an old dingy, dirty and bent brass ships bell sitting on the floor this old store.  Holding it in his hands, caressing it as if he were gazing upon the Holy Grail, he headed towards the counter where an old grey haired man and his wife sat; she crocheting while humming to herself and him, watching me out of the corner of his eye.

“How much for this old dirty bell,” my Dad asked.  “$15” the old man said without hesitation.  Remember – in 1957, you were “well off” if you made $5200.00 a year.  $15.00 was a lot of money and a weeks worth of groceries.  Dad put the bell down on the counter quickly stepping back as if it burned him.  “It’s not made of gold is it?” he asked.  The old man smiled but didn’t waver.  “Here’s what I’ll do” Dad said, I’ll give you $7.00 for it.”  The old man shook his head no.  “Make it $10.00 and you have a deal,” he grunted.  Dad shook his head and handed the bell to me.  “Here son, go put this back.  We’ll have to find something else for your mother for Christmas this year.”  Then turning back to the old man he said, “Sorry old timer, all I have is $8.00 to spend and I still have to buy my boy dinner after we leave here.”  Dad hung his head and motioned for me to hurry along.  “Ok,” the old man said, “You can have it for $8.00 but you’re killing me.”  His eyes were smiling as he and Dad shook hands.  By this time, that old bell was getting heavy.  “OK boy, carry it to the car,” Dad said as he paid the man.  On the drive back, Dad pointed out that what he had done was called the art of negotiating.  That was the first time I had ever heard that term.  “We made of great deal,” he said as he carried a Cheshire cat grin with him all the way home.

Christmas day that year brought snow – lots of it.  Early morning, after my brother and I opened our presents and Dad opened his striped tie we got him, Mom started to busy herself with cleaning up the discarded wrappings.  Dad left the room and came back with all of our coats and scarfs, announcing, “I’ve got one more present but it’s outside.”  Bundled up like refugees from a Siberian mining camp, we all traipsed outside, where Dad led us to the garage.  He told my mother to close her eyes.  As she did, he opened the garage door hiding the boat.  There on the stern of his newly built boat just above the dark blue fiberglass waterline were the words “The Shirl J” in gold letters with a red outline.  My mother’s name is Shirley.  He had never told her what he was naming the boat.  There was also a ladder leading up into the interior.  After Mom hugged my Dad, with tears in her eyes, he led her to the ladder.  She climbed up into the boat and there – just past the spot where the flying bridge windshield would eventually go, sat the newly polished – newly restored brass bell with the words “The Shirl J – 1957” engraved on the bell skirt.  They kissed so long this time, we kids were told to go back into the house.

I learned two things that Christmas.  The first was that not every present has to be brand new; it just has to have love and a special meaning attached to it.  Secondly, antiques – like found treasures, are great for conveying that special meaning.

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Filed under Antiques, Autum, Fall, marketing, Uncategorized, Vintage, Writing

A Touch of Elegance

English: A Montblanc 146 from ca. 1990 (top) a...

English: A Montblanc 146 from ca. 1990 (top) and a Montblanc 149 from 2009 (bottom) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is something downright sensual about holding a finely balanced fountain pen in your hand.  The stimulating and provocative flow of polished metal on paper, coupled with the deep translucent color of fresh wet ink as it flows from the tip, stimulates your creativity like no other instrument.  It’s the same feeling I get when I cut a delicate line with a newly sharpened gouge while wood carving.  The connective stimulation one feels when fingertips and instrument are one and the same.

I sit here, late aDSCF3010t night, hold my favorite Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 pen while writing this.  On my desk and up for sale is my most recent acquisition – a rare Montblanc Meisterstuck 146 that I just got received from  Montblanc after having it fully refurbished.  I want to draw ink into it so bad that I had to pull out my 149 just to get over the urge.  It is a beautifully balanced example of German artisanship.  The companion desk holder does justice to the quiet elegance of this pen.

So much is written about the Montblanc, that I could not add anything that could further enhance its reputation other than to say, everything they write about its quality and beauty, pales in comparison to actually holding and writing with one.  The final test of this pens quality – for me anyway – is the hardest part to imagine unless you are a writer who uses a pen.  I will do my best to convey it however.  I have to end this piece and put the pen down.  Unlike many other pens in my collection, a Montblanc become an extension of you that you will not want to quit.

DSCF3016If you are interested in this unique Montblanc 146, ca late 1970’s, you can see it in my pen & writing Instrument case at the American Classics Antique Mall – space B30, (Dads Corner of Mom & Me’s Vintage Linens & Lace,) or write me at GAClark@Write4Me.net and we can discuss details.

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Filed under Pen History, Pens, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Tools

Copywriter VS Copyrighting

*Copywriting

*Copywriting (Photo credit: Bazstyle | Photography)

For most / many of you, the answer to the question of “what is the difference between the two words in the title” will be easy.  However, last week, I removed the words “Commercial Copywriting” from the sign on my car.  Apparently, it’s not as obvious as I thought.  I know – you are going to say you removed them because “Commercial Copywriting” might be redundant.  After all, “Commercial” refers to business and Copywriting is the act of writing copy (text) for the purpose of advertising or marketing a product, business, person, opinion or idea.   However, the question most asked of me is “I’ve written a book and I need to protect it.  Can you help me copyright it?”  The second most asked question was, “Do you write fiction?  I want to write a book on my life.  Can you help me write it?”  That was the reason for Commercial Copywriting.Yes – I write fiction.  I have two novels (print and e-book) on the market, (Show Low and Carrasco’s Gold) but that is not copywriting.  If I help you write your book, then I would be either your ghostwriter or a co-author.  If you want me to review and correct your book, then I would be your editor.  Then we get into the various degrees of editing.

If you want me to take your writing and correct, punch it up or fix it, then we are talking about copyediting.  Once again, we get into the level of copyediting you want done.  Do you need help making your book interesting?  Then copyediting turns into ghostwriter.  I have ghosted books, but don’t do it often.  No, I will not tell you who the clients were.  That disclosure would defeat the purpose wouldn’t it?

I write copy for companies, large and small, i.e. commercial copy.  I write brochures, web content, advertisements or other forms of writing that a business will use to sell their products or services.  I help my client sell or tell depending on their audience.  I also help them define their audience and hone their message so that it has the most impact.  I am for hire, as needed, therefore “freelance.”  I am part of your team, but not on your or anyone else’s payroll.

I help people communicate.  For a person, not a business owner, a résumé or biography is their personal sales tool.  That means that this person should use a commercial writer.  I use my commercial writing skills to write honest and accurate resumes and biographies.  Because of my background in business and sales, I help them properly define their job skills but I won’t create a skill where there was none.

How many of you have agonized over a presentation.  The task before you is to make your ideas logical and understandable for your audience.  I can help you do that.  However, I do not help people protect what they have written.  If you are afraid someone is going to steal your original ideas or work as an author, then you need an attorney who specializes in copyright law.

This week, I removed Commercial Copywriting from my vehicle, replacing it with Freelance Writer.  Yesterday – one day after the new sign was in place – I was asked, “What company do you work for?”

I can’t win.

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