Required Reading – The Raves: Shelley and Dickens

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My introduction to the classics was completely voluntary. I was homeschooled, and my mother decided not to require a literature course from me at all to graduate high school. (To be fair, the course teaching me how to balance a checkbook was probably far more useful, and a skill I am very grateful for now.)

There were a few reasons to her decision about literature. First, I read a lot on my own. I read encyclopedias for fun, even, and it was clear even at a young age that my critical thinking skills were not lacking. Until puberty hit, at least. Second, there was a lot going on in my home life as a child, much of it not good (though not horrendously bad, compared to many other people). We learned the important things, and sometimes there wasn’t time or energy left for anything else. Third, I don’t think my mother had a good introduction or experience with literature during her own school days – either grade school, or college – and she probably was at a loss of how to teach it to me or my siblings. I know one of her most memorable moments was in one of her literature classes in college, when she had to read The Two Towers. But she hadn’t read The Fellowship of the Ring, and so I’m sure you can imagine that was more than a little… confusing.

I read a few classics in my school days (The Scarlet Letter, and several of Jane Austen’s works, for the most part) but didn’t start branching out into the ones that had always caught my eye (the ones I sometimes set back because I didn’t know if my mom would let me read them because she might think they were too scary) until I was in college.

My ‘rave’ for today is one of those.  Continue reading

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Introducing… The Off-Balancing Act Series!

Yes, that’s right, it’s time for another series from the RRFS! (Please note, we created the lovely banner with the picture Lazy Limbs by Michael via Flickr’s Creative Commons with the CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license. The image was slightly resized, and our text added. No other changes made.)

Do you ever feel like, no matter what you do, you can’t find creative balance? There’s always chores to be done, meals to be cooked (and, most importantly, eaten!), people to see, places to go… How does one do it all?

Well, sometimes you just don’t. And we Ferrets have, appropriately, not even started on this particular series yet (I’m writing this the evening of April 25th, and it will go live on April 26th). We usually have a series mostly written and pre-scheduled at least a couple of weeks before the introduction goes live. Oh well!

The fact is – sometimes you can’t do it all. But you don’t have to lose your creative balance just because you’re overwhelmed, but it’s okay if you falter a little.

So every Tuesday in May, we will take turns discussing how we deal with being creatively off-balance. Stay tuned!

Is your creative life on- or off-balance currently? If you could change one thing about your creative struggles right now, what would it be?

On Retreat! (What ‘Writing Retreat’ Means to Me)

Hello September! I am very excited for this month (the arrival of which I have been anxiously awaiting) because . . . later this month the Ferrets go away on retreat!

Some of us have mentioned the Ferret Retreats before (there’s even a video from our last one, courtesy of Lissa) but I (Serena) have not really talked about the topic myself, and I am so happy to be going! We’ll be off together, five of us, to a cabin away from work and errands and housework and family and . . . well, pretty much everything except our writing and each other.

It's not quite time yet, but my bags are ready to pack and I'm raring to be off!

It’s not quite time yet, but my bags are ready to pack!

It seems from what they’ve said that what is really great as far as the other Ferrets are concerned is the getting away and having no/fewer distractions and being able to just write for days. That sounds so wonderful, doesn’t it? For a while – a couple of years and several Ferret retreats – I tried very hard to have that same feeling myself.

Here’s the problem though: it doesn’t work for me.

That’s not to say I don’t absolutely love our retreats, of course! And it isn’t to say that they aren’t good for my writing, either; they really are. But they aren’t good for me, or enjoyable for me, in the same way what they seem to be for the other Ferrets. And that’s okay!
Continue reading

Strengths and Weaknesses in Writing

What are my strengths and weaknesses as a writer?

Great question to ask. Sometimes hard to answer. Michelle and I had a great conversation about that recently, which led to this example.

We all struggle in one area or another. We all have gifts. Some aspects of writing come naturally to me, while others have knocked me down more times than I care to count.
Continue reading

The Rabid Rainbow Ferrets, A Short (Short) Story

Once upon a time (one October), there were five writers.

These five writers decided to take a trip together.

This trip was to a writing conference. For three of them, it was their first writing conference.

They stayed in a cabin.

Five Writers & a Cabin

(For a while, they suspected they might be in a horror story.)

One night, they sat down to plot things, because NaNoWriMo would soon overtake them.

DSCF5379

They shared a bottle of wine. And lots of story ideas.

Water is as good as vodka

And somehow, during the evening, there was a ferret.

Not a real ferret, but rather the idea of a ferret.

This ferret became rainbow-colored. And rabid. And it wore a fez.

When drawn, the ferret appeared to be wearing a potted plant, rather than a fez.

(This drawing has long been lost. It is a good thing.)

Then, these five writers realized that this Rabid, Rainbow Ferret was more than an idea.

Ferrets!

It was them.

So an unbreakable sisterhood was born.

Unbreakable Sisterhood

Then, that NaNoWriMo, these five writers found a new sister.

They didn’t even realize they were missing a sister.

But when they found her, they couldn’t live without her.

All the Ferrets!

So they became six.

And then they went insane, and decided to share their insanity with the world.

Ferret Vacation

The Ferrets’ Favorite Vacation Spot