Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Ever wonder about the backstory of pets or objects in your household?

Where was this antique embroidery before it came to rest on my dresser? Who was my kitty’s mother, and why was he left at the doorstep of the animal-shelter?

If I didn’t witnessed the birth, or in the case of an object— was there at its making, there’s a mysterious backstory I invariably find myself wondering about. And then...

I conjure a story.

Storytellers have this advantage. We can make up likely backstories, and even get so attached to the stories that we no longer know where our conjuring began, and when verifiable reality took over.
Thinking about this, it occurred to me that history is filled with the same: someone filled a gap in certain knowledge, someone then repeated it, while citing the source, then a third scholar cited both as verifying each other, and voila—conjured backstory became history.

Bet it happens more than we think it does.

Back to my perch, conjuring backstories, I think how enjoyable it is for writers. We get to leave no stone unturned. We get to explain it all. Everything can—and then does—make sense. Even if I can allow for the unexplained, unexplainable, or unknown— my beta readers will insist I fill in every gap. Otherwise, they’d say, “This part doesn’t make sense.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

RAIN RANT or-- No Gaslighting,* Please

*A term borrowed from the movie GASLIGHT, meaning to make one believe she’s lost her mind and what she sees and knows just isn’t so.

I’m sitting by my window and watching yet another deluge, blessed rain though it is. I’m wondering about reality and perception. What else is a writing person to think about, under these wet circumstances?

The State of California officials tell us we’re still in drought, even with the snow-pack twice the normal average and the rainfall more than twice the normal pre-drought.

So much for trusting these governmental agencies. Brings up the Yiddish saying: you can’t pee on my back and tell me it’s raining. In this case, it is you can’t tell me we’re parched while we’re drowning.

Oh, I know. I’ve read the explanations. I’ve considered them seriously. I tried to respect the experts who said that maybe one percent of the state is still in drought. Maybe the snowpack will melt too early. Maybe April showers just won’t be.

And maybe my cats are not crying for food, but telling me they’ve decided to run for the presidency. Oh, wait. That last one could be true.

It’s never a great thing to manipulate the reality that's right in front of our noses, even for “good” or “noble” intentions.

One such explanation "for the good" is that if the drought-watch agencies say the drought is over for now, people won’t conserve water in the future.
News Flash: California has had droughts cycles for as long as I’ve been here, (that’s a very long time) and we have shown we know how to respond.

What is more likely to happen is that the next time we have a real drought, we’ll not believe what well-intentioned government agencies say.

Even worse, we won’t believe our own eyes.

Gaslighting is only all right in fiction, where it is a requirement. Outside of creative storytelling, it’s not okay. OK?

Tell the truth, Ruth.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Is there anything more beautiful than a heart?

Is there anything greater than giving your heart?

Yes, Sweetheart—

When combined with hearty chocolate—

I’ll be yours
And you’ll be mine
Happy Valentine

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bio, About Me, and Stuff

Having just read yet another Bio page on someone’s website, it got me thinking.

Confession #1— that page is, invariably, my favorite page when I look someone up. I’m not referring to the people so famous there’s a Wiki page on them and books written about them. I’m thinking about the self-composed, let-me-tell-you-about-myself part of most folks’ websites. I get a lot from the personality of the narration (=voice) and the details chosen. Much more than a list of facts.

Confession #2— I’m disappointed if the page doesn’t contain a photo. Let me see your face, and you get to choose which picture you share. This is not a beauty contest. It is about revealing and sharing. Even what a website owner chooses for a bio photo tells me something.

Confession #3— I’m disappointed if instead of sharing pertinent and relevant information, you choose a list of “fun-facts.” The likes of “my favorite jelly bean flavor is cherry,” and “I once almost met the Queen of Sweden,” and nothing else, is not really a bio-fact, nor much fun. I conclude that you do not intend to give a real glimpse into what matters to you, and what makes you tick.

Confession #4— I’m never disappointed if while you told the truth and nothing but the truth, you didn’t tell the whole truth. The whole truth includes boring details and really, some things are not my business.

I tried to write a bio on my site that fits what I care to see on others. This, also, doesn’t make it right and the only way to do things. But it helped navigate this awkward task. I wrote it as if I were not the writer, nor the subject. I wrote it as if I were an interested reader.

Come to think of it, it’s how I write my stories and my blog posts.