Cat’s Pajama Tour by Janine Donoho

Counting sheep jammies

Counting sheep jammies

During the time that our home was under construction, we stuffed a whippet, a greyhound, two cats, and two humans into a 27-foot 5th wheel. That was over a decade ago. Our home now sustains a whippet, an Italian greyhound, one cat, and two humans, although on the animal front, only the cat and we – her minions – started this journey. So measurably, it appears that not much has changed.

Each morning our tuxedo cat, now 15 years old, sits on my lap after breakfast so I can ‘groom’ her with a boar bristle hair brush. That probably makes me her Big Kitty, an honor I accept. Yet a funny thing happened along the way — a theme emerged from her photos.

Now you’re invited into a tour of this cat’s pajamas.

Plushie garnet jammies

Plushie garnet jammies

Llama jammies

Llama jammies

Cayenne jammies

Cayenne jammies

Pink love bunny jammies

Pink love bunny jammies

East Indian elephant jammies

East Indian elephant jammies

Puffer fish jammies

Puffer fish jammies

Pink flamingo jammies

Pink flamingo jammies

Teapot jammies

Teapot jammies

Cinderella slipper jammies

Cinderella slipper jammies

Blue rose jammies

Blue rose jammies

On Relevance – Part II by Janine M. Donoho

The view from our balcony in Leavenworth.
I had the opportunity to attend Write on the River in Wenatchee this May. Actually, my friend and critique partner Anjali Banerjee was a speaker, so we made it a girlfriend weekend of three that included best buddy and fellow writer Kate Breslin. Since Kate ended up coming a day late due to her spousal unit’s truly wretched bout of gastroenteritis, on Friday before the conference I assisted Anjali as she visited two schools. Incredible writer and presenter both, she gave four different and delightfully relatable programs for various elementary school grades. Introducing her, then juggling props, especially wrapping and unwrapping children in a stunning sari that belonged to her mother, I got a good taste of the peripheral nature of a sidekick. Yes, ‘relatable’ and ‘peripheral nature’ both refer to relevance.
 
Then on Sunday, opportunity again shone when Larry Brooks, who writes critically acclaimed thrillers, spoke passionately about The Six Core Competencies of Successful Storytelling. This offered another view of storytelling as espoused by Christopher Vogler’s “The Writer’s Journey” and more recently by Donald Maass’ “Writing the Breakout Novel”. However, Larry’s approach, soon to be followed by his book on the subject, clarified the process even further. One of the samples he gave for dissection was the movie Collateral, starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Fox. Dutiful student of the craft that I am, the movie arrived via NetFlix the following week. It delivered on all of Larry’s elements.
 
However, the shocker of the day arrived as an aside. Larry claimed that actual writing, that sublime weaving of words, comes in dead last when weighed against concept, theme, character, structure, scene execution and writing voice. Last.


Leavenworth goat–apropos of this writer’s journey.
As a writer enthralled with both the import and nuance of words, this served as a body blow. All the books on my shelves, also known as ‘keepers’, are well written. However, Larry’s notion does explain many of the big brands in publishing, some of whom no longer write their own novels. So to be relevant to publishers, the six core competencies are paramount, while beauty and specificity of your words rank much lower. Ouch.
 

Which means I need to review my stories for those competencies–again. Maybe you’ll want to do the same. Perhaps publishers will overlook that they’re also delivered with well-written language. We want to be relevant after all.

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27th, 2015
The big day is here.

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