On Monday, September 11, 2017, I spoke to a group of church ladies at a luncheon about my writing.
Quiet as a Mouse—Means subdued or hushed. This dates from the 16th century and probably refers to the behavior o a mouse that stops dead in its tracks at the approach of a cat. The mouse remains as quiet as possible—to avoid notice. Also used as still as a mouse—it’s been repeated over and over, outliving the still older version quiet as a lamb (14th Cent.)
Knock on Wood—Hope for good luck and/or avoid misfortune. In Great Britain used as touch wood. This phrase is based on superstition that rapping or touching on anything wooden will avoid a disaster, especially after a person has boasted. “Touch wood, it’s sure to come good,” is the proverbial saying. Might have an ancient religious significance, maybe from time of Druids, who regarded certain trees as sacred, however the exact meaning has been forgotten.
Blaze a Trail, to—To begin a new enterprise or find a new path. Comes from the practice of marking a forest trail by making blazes—spots or marks on trees made by notching or chipping away pieces of the bark. First used in 18th century America by scouts who marked new trails for the soldiers behind them. Used figuratively from the late 19th Cent. on.
All For Naught—All done has been in vain. A poetic word for “nothing.” Naught formerly meant “worthless” or “morally bad.” See King James version of the first Book of Kings (2:19): “The water is naught and the ground barren.”
A Mixed Bag—A haphazard collection of people, categories, or objects. Dates from the 1st half of the 1900s. A Behrend, Samurai Affair, 1973: “Representatives of the press, a mixed bag in age, but not in sex.” Means—journalists of different ages but all either male or female.
So, how many did you find?
Well, this week I put together a panel of four local women writers to speak at our church ladies’ luncheon. The program was 20 minutes, so to fill the bill, each lady had 5 minutes to tell how, why, what they write, and if religion has any effect on their writing. I had to mind the store and do the introductions for the panelists, even though I was one.
I write psychological thrillers; Bonnie Willemssen writes humorous essays and a column for the local newspaper, as well as working on a book about her adoption and how she met her birth family, and is writing a cozy mystery; Mary Maas writes pictorial history books from Nebraska, freelance articles, poetry and homespun essays, plus she published Sisterhood of the Wounded Breast,a collection of stories written by survivors of breast cancer; and Bonnie Papenfuss writes book reviews for the local paper and poetry.
After giving a brief bio of each speaker, I broke ground and told my story. What is my story? Check out my About Page. But I also told the luncheon that I have always made up stories. I was shy and quiet, so writing was my main way of communicating. That’s how I ended up with my first boyfriend in high school– a writing assignment in study hall where I sent a fictional account of me to a very cute boy. He liked it so well, we became friends. My first husband and I used to argue, but my arguments were always written on paper.
I wrote poetry (for myself only), and started writing mystery children’s stories for my son. I published a couple in magazines. But then, he grew up, so I started writing what I thought were adult mysteries. However, my editor says they are psychological thrillers, and I have an alter ego that she would not want to meet in an alleyway.
I took correspondence classes, joined writer’s groups and joined an on-line critique group while I lived in Baja Mexico during the winter months for 25 years. When I returned to the States, my writer’s group encouraged me to self-publish my novel Night Terror, which I begin in 1989 and finally published in 2013.
Anyway, when I finished my story, the other ladies told their stories. All of us have different backgrounds and write different genres, but our passion from writing shown through. Hopefully, we encouraged some of the women in the audience to start writing. I know we inspired a few, because they wanted to join our critique group in town.
So I say, until next time,