Posted in Craft of writing, Travel Writing, Writing

Writing dialogue using colorful, old sayings

Breakfast on the Porch this Morning

I recalled one of my current writing projects this morning. Our neighbor Niel (yes, that’s how he spells it) stopped by with his standard poodle Maggie on their walk while Lynn and I were having breakfast on the back porch.

As we discussed places we have lived before Lynn described to Niel that Madison, Wisconsin, the state’s capitol and home of the Badgers at the University of Wisconsin in the early 1980s was known as “ten-square miles surrounded by reality.”

Niel followed with his experience in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Raleigh was referred to as the pat of butter on top of a bowl of grits.”

Old sayings or saws are colorful and useful in dialogue of specific periods of time and with specific trades or types of people.

Why am I collecting old sayings?

I set the historical romance that I am writing in the year 1906, the year of the San Francisco earthquake. My protagonist, Fiona Weston, travels on ship from San Francisco to India to sell her uncle’s remaining nine broodmares to the British/Indian military to breed with the their Manipuri horse for selective polo ponies in cavalry training.

I am collecting sayings that might have been used during that era and particularly by horsemen, and sailors, or old salts, as they called themselves. When using familiar adages or maxims, they bring dialogue to life, make people sound natural, and offer clues to the setting or era in which the story is written without having to state them explicitly.

How can you help? 

I’m asking you to submit old saws (or sayings) that you think might be useful in delivering dynamic dialogue in the novel, true to the period and a seafaring crew.

EXAMPLES

My dad was a colorful and humorous storyteller. (I got the story writing from him, but the humorous part–not so much.) Here are example of my favorites I remember from him, because of the image they sear into the imagination.

  • Giving that speech, Mama was as nervous as a cow on skates. 
  • Miss Blixen barely took a breath between sentences; her mouth ran like a babbling brook. 
  • When Buddy was around a girl he could be as skittish as a cat in a room full of rockin’ chairs.

Here’s how you can help!

Please add one or two favorite old sayings of yours below in the comments section, especially one for sailors or seafaring crew members. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. I’m indebted to you.

Posted in Craft of writing, Travel, Travel Writing, Writing

About Travelling and Writing

This savvy traveler, Marcia, explores the reason she journals during her trips in the world. She expresses what research has shown with Study Abroad students: “I started to understand what I really care about, what I really crave to experience and what is worth doing when I visit a new place.” Enjoy this short insightful and relatable post by a young women on the road through.

Posted in Spirituality, Travel, Travel Writing

Where is HOME for you? A place in space or a place inside you?

Last week in yoga class at the Red Buddha Yoga Studio in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, master instructor, Meg DeClerck asked us to consider, “Where is home for you?MegAfterClass

Each one of us in class had traveled to Isla Mujeres for an extended stay (one week to six months or more). Meg encouraged us to meditate during yoga practice that day on where we find home for ourselves.

  • Did we view the house and hometown from which we traveled our home?
  • Were we able to see our temporary home of the island as home for the duration of our stay?
  • Did we always interpret home as a place?
  • Or could we consent to the intangible concept of home as the truth that resides within us?

In her gentle way way of merging meditation into yoga practice (which by the way makes her the best yoga instructor I’ve ever had), Meg invited us to contemplate what our truth was and how it could be the home we carry with us, regardless of where we find ourselves in the world.

MegInYogaClassThe question resonated with me, because of the title of my blog.

As would happen, unfortunately my thoughts ran wild with how I would use this experience in my blog, only to find I lost a sense of being present during yoga practice and failed to meditate on the question.

So now I reflect on the still lingering question, where is home for you? Here is my belated, stream-of-consciousness exploration.

  • I recall at age fifteen while traveling in Europe one night I told fellow travelers I was tired and ready to go home. All of them, older than me, tried to console and convince me that we could not go home yet with ten days to go. I laughed. I wasn’t homesick, wanting to go back to the States; I wanted to go back to the hotel and go to bed.
  • My truth is that I’m at home most everywhere I go. Oh yes, I can fear the unknown. I can be physically uncomfortable; therefore I’m not likely to choose a mountain bike tour or a high-ropes course.
  • I like my creature comforts. A soft but supportive bed, and drinkable water are must-haves for me; while delicious food is a plus.
  • One year in anticipation of staying in a empty college dorm room while attending a writing workshop, I brought a brightly colored quilt for my bed, a photo of husband and daughter, and a candle to enhance the lonely feel of the space. Beauty in the broadest sense is important to my well-being.

My conclusion or truth:

I usually find comfort and beauMeOnBeachInShadeCompressedty wherever I go and make myself at home. I attempt to create beauty and comfort, if they don’t exist. That’s one of the reason I attend yoga classes while at home and away.

For me “Naked and Afraid,” a reality show, is not my idea of a fun adventure. A journey might include some discomfort; but certainly not hazardous and life-threatening elements. That’s why I seek out travel that is both comforting and comfortable, and is beautiful–for example the ocean, sand, surf, sun, and shade combination at Isla Mujeres, Mexico.

What is your truth about finding home? Is it a place in space or a place inside? How do you go about seeking, and finding or creating it? 

Posted in Spirituality, Travel, Travel Writing, Writing

Why and What I blog?

Let me introduce the blog and my intentions for writing it.

WHY?

I am blogging publicly instead of keeping a personal journal, because I believe I have ideas, past experience and current learning to share with you and others, on topics such as 1) travel, 2) practical and spiritual matters, and 3) the writing and publishing process.

WHAT AM I BLOGGING?

I hope to write about my travel experiences, general benefits of travel for all of us and how to make it easier. As a writer and professionally an educator, I expect to draft blog posts about the craft and process of writing. I plan to share some of my own writing (published and unpublished) with you over time, as well. As a Christian and spiritual seeker in the Quaker tradition, I won’t be able to NOT write about spiritual matters, even the practical side of spiritual things.

WHAT AM I WRITING?

Blogging gives me a chance to connect to people (young and old) around these topics, which leads to the introduction of my coming-of-age, travel and spiritual memoir entitled, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up and Growing Away, published in 2014. The book tells the story of my life and travels from age 10 to 27, guided by a mother wise beyond her own experience; journeys provided by my church or because of my association with my church, including two mission projects (one, ten weeks; the other, an academic year of college); and the final trip abroad as an act of progressive independence as a young professional woman in graduate school. Each excursion offers growth and personal insight.

I’m currently writing an historical fiction of an early 1900s unconventional horsewoman who travels with her younger brother to India to sell horses. During her journey she loses her brother, encounters two men who help her discover more about herself, chooses one who will aid in her learning to live and love without regret.

HOW COME THE TITLE OF THE WEBSITE?

As a take-off from the title of my memoir, I felt like “Finding Ourselves at Home in the World” would be inclusive and inviting. I hope that works out to be accurate. I also view my protagonist in the historical fiction as finding her way in the world.

My taglines, Travel – Travel Writing – Writing, offer a quick description of what reader will find on my website and blog.

WHY DO I WRITE?

Both books reveal my interest and passion in young men and particularly young women growing up independent, strong, and resilient.

WHO SHOULD READ MY BLOG?

I believe many folk interested in travel will pursue this blog and it topics. I anticipate writers will be energized by travel writing and posts about the craft of writing and travel writing. I hope single women (college age through young 30s) will read my books to produce their own thought-provoking self-introspection. I believe young women (in their 30s and  40s) raising children will find food for thought about parenting to help their own offspring grow up ready to take their place in the world. And I suspect that many older women in their 50s, 60s and older will seek to reminisce about their own experiences of being who they are.