This Is to Mother You: On Caring for a Toxic Parent in Her Greatest Time of Need

I often write about fiction and fantasy, but I stumbled across this post and fell for the words and the style so I thought I would share it with all of you.

It’s a beautiful piece, both technically and creatively. From the story arc to the word choice, it’s worth following until the end.

Have a read and share your thoughts below.


Jane Demuth | Longreads | May 2016 | 11 minutes (2,632 words)

I don’t panic on the afternoon in August 2012 that my sister calls and tells me that our mother has gone insane and her boyfriend has rushed her to the ER. For the full four-week duration of her hospital stay, I don’t feel much of anything for her. Instead, driving to the hospital that first afternoon, I tell myself to keep my ears open in case she slips and says something important and true.

Three months before, she was diagnosed; two months before, she began treatment. Breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ, stage two, one sentinel lymph node affected, ER/PR/HER2 negative, BRCA gene double negative. I advised her on what to tell her doctor about her family history so Medicare would pay for the genetic test. She’s prescribed a lumpectomy followed by six months of chemo followed by…

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#FlashFictionFriday: Scrofulous Mudd

What a lovely little piece of fiction to go along with a nice cup of tea!

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

The following bit of fluff and nonsense was prompted by the first line. Once I had that, the rest of the story sort of followed.

Scrofulous Mudd was a dirty old man.

By that I mean he was an elderly man who sorted through the leavings in ancient privies and wrote highly boring papers detailing the history of what he uncovered. He kept himself moderately clean, and took baths every Saturday unless an additional effort was required, such as for his mother’s funeral.

I suppose his fascination with filth began with his elegantly disease-ridden name. His was a difficult delivery, and when the elderly volunteer came around asking about the new baby’s name, Maude Mudd was still a little out of it. A scholar of Roman Literature, what she had actually said was “Rogellus.”

The volunteer, a retired nurse of infectious diseases, had misunderstood her mumbled words. Thus, Scrofulous, or Scroffy, as…

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5 Hard Truths About Being a Published Writer

It’s not an easy road, but it’s a worthwhile journey.

Do you have anything you would add to this?

Carrie Cuinn

You’ve dreamed of being a writer, getting published, and finally – you’ve succeeded. Someone has paid money for your words, and they’re out in the world for people to read! Or, maybe you haven’t yet sold a story or novel, or you’re still writing for free on blogs and hoping that’s going to get you noticed. Either way, you aspire to greatness with your ability to turn a phrase. Here’s five things you definitely need to know, but probably no one has told you:

  1. You’re still going to be rejected. No matter how many sales or awards or accolades you have, you will still not have them all. You’ll submit work that won’t be purchased. You’ll write beautiful prose that doesn’t get nominated for an award, or doesn’t win even if you make it onto the ballot. You’ll be left out of articles talking about the books to read this summer…

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How to Be Taken Seriously as a Writer

We all want to be seen as professionals, but with every Tom, Dick, and Harry claiming to be a writer, it can be difficult to stand out.

Tips like these can help you to build your confidence and to write even better. Of course, as always, take the advice that makes sense for you, and leave the rest.

What would you add to this?

Kate M. Colby

writerSo writing is your creative calling, your life’s purpose, your ultimate joy. Congratulations! You’re part of (in my totally unbiased opinion) one of the best groups of people in the world. You know it, I know it — and yet, your friends and family don’t.

After all, what’s so special about being a writer? Literally billions of people on the planet write every day. It’s a basic life skill, one of the first we learn. And as a career? Psh! You might as well steal a cardboard box from behind your local grocery store and get comfy on the street.

Let’s get this out of the way: writing is a viable career and meaningful task. Whether you do it professionally or for pleasure, you deserve to be taken seriously and to receive the same respect that other professionals or dedicated hobbyists receive.

That being said, there are ways to…

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34 Reasons to Stop Writing Forever

I have decided to start reblogging more, because there is a lot of beautiful content out there that deserves to be shared.

So today, I chose this; a sarcastically smart, and wonderfully witty take on the many of the thoughts that can run through a writer’s head on a daily basis.

Don’t take it too seriously, just sit back and enjoy a laugh while you sip your Friday morning tea.

What would you add to the list? What was your favorite one?

Juggling Writer

I am now 34 years old. To date, I have zero bestsellers to my name. Clearly it’s time to give up writing forever. I mean, what’s the point of dragging it out for another three or four decades before I meet my untimely demise?

If you’re thinking whether or not you should do the same, here are 34 reasons you most definitely should never write another thing as long as you live.

1. You’re over 25 years old and have never written a bestseller (other than the time your self-published novel hit #99 in a sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-sub category at 2:47 AM on Amazon).

2. You are X years old and you know that so-and-so author had Y number of books written by that age. Naturally, you have fewer than Y number of books.

3. An online lit mag with 12 monthly readers rejected the best story you’ve ever written.

4. Only 10%…

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Weekend Edition – Writing is My “Real” Job

You all know I’m not much of a reblogger, but once in a while, I find something that I have to share, and this, this is one of those things.

Us writers often struggle with what to call ourselves, what to tell people that we do, how to explain that writing can actually be a job, and how to avoid probing and awkward questions about our writing.

That is enough to deal with, but it can cause us to question ourselves, and this post explains exactly why we shouldn’t.


Live to Write - Write to Live

“Real” is overrated.

pin opinion and perspectiveWhen someone asks what you do, how do you answer? Does the label “writer” trip lightly off the tip of your tongue, or do you keep that identity to yourself and instead talk about your day job? It seems like a small thing, but how we “label” ourselves  – to others and in our own minds – has a big impact on what we believe about ourselves and how we behave.

I actually do make my living as a writer, but the writing that pays my bills is not, in my estimation, “real” writing. When asked what I “do,” I usually say that I’m a messaging strategist and content marketer (and, then I have to explain what the heck that means). Even after nearly a decade of stringing one word after another for cold, hard cash, I still hesitate to grant myself the honorary title of “writer.”…

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What Makes a Good Book Good

heartIt’s hard to figure that out, since every person will experience a book differently. We all have different tastes and preferences, and those things are influenced by a million factors. Some of us like fiction, others prefer non-fiction. Some of us like to read articles online and others like to read big clunky hardcovers. That’s why it’s so important to remember that no matter what you write, someone out there will want to read it.

When I read a book, there are a few key things that either make my experience a good one or a bad one. I can be difficult to please, and although I try to keep myself from despising a book because of a small thing in the story, it happens anyway. Here’s what I look for when reading, and what will make or break my love of the story:

1) Believability. I want the story to feel real, whether it’s fantasy or a NatGeo article. Even if the author has created a fictional world with magical beasts and magic and dragons, I still want events to feel like they could be possible. I feel like this is where a lot of books fail. Some writers feel that their stories have gone stagnant, so they will add something unexpected and ridiculously awkward to the story to revive it. As an experienced reader, I can generally recognize when this happens.

2) Emotions. Sometimes characters do things that you don’t expect and it’s wonderful. They show you that they are braver and more honourable than you had thought. Perhaps they are less selfish than you had expected, or they have a dark side that you respect. These are all wonderful things and they are part of character building. But what happens when a character behaves in a way that the reader just can’t understand? They question the writer. Take a lot of these teen dramas as an example. Many of them have teen characters that do really stupid things for their boyfriends/girlfriends. There’s a difference between romance and reality, and sometimes they shoot just a little too far.

3) World/scene building. It’s important for me to be able to form a visual based on what the writer describes. I want to know the tastes, smells, and textures of everything. I want to know what shade of red the carpet is, or how bright the green. But, I don’t want it to be told to me in list format or thrown at me haphazardly. I want it to be subtle and quiet, but loud enough for me to paint behind m eyelids.

4) Romance. I love romance in stories, but I don’t want every page to be about some kind of emotional turmoil between two characters. I suppose I prefer when the love story is wrapped up inside the story, not the other way around. For a love story to be intriguing, to me it has to be something that you hope for in the background.

There are a number of other things that can tell me if I enjoy a book or not. I’m quite picky, so if I don’t enjoy even one of those aspects I may put a book down. It’s harsh, I know, but I have read so much that I know my tastes well, and I would rather not drag myself through something that I know I won’t enjoy. That being said, I do like a variety of genres, styles, and writers. I may love one book from an author, but not their next.

The role of the publisher can be felt in some of the things that I don’t like. Perhaps the love story was rewritten and added to prior to publishing so that it would appeal to a certain group. Maybe the editor felt as if the story was falling flat and suggested an addition. Or perhaps the author wanted to try something new.

Although it’s impossible that every book suit our personal preferences, it’s still good to remember that there are a number of reasons why a book may not be of interest to you. It can also teach you many things as a writer. Take what you find irritating and avoid doing it yourself. Make notes of the aspects in stories that don’t work for you and think about how you would do better. It’s hard to learn from your own mistakes as a writer if you’ve never done it professionally, so learn from the mistakes of others instead. Your writing will be stronger and you will have a better understanding of the art.

What really turns you off of a story? What is the most important to you when reading? Have you learned to rework your writing from any specific books?