Carole Hetherton "Hether" Ludwick was born in London on the "worst day of the Blitz," according to her mother, who was prone to exaggeration. She grew up in Canada and Southern California and has been a long time Oakland resident. At last count, she has one husband, four children, five grandchildren and two cats, listed not necessarily in order of precedence. Her professional career has spanned 40 years, teaching Latin and the Classical Humanities to mostly willing Junior and High School students. Hether says of her writing, "It tends to emphasize the humorous and quirky things that have had the audacity and delight to show up in my life."
Not long ago, a visit to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest website (www.bulwer-lytton.com) to read wretched opening sentences in imaginary novels provided me with a postprandial belly laugh. It happened on a bright but otherwise cheerless afternoon owing to the internal regurgitation of un-diluted cherry juice mixed with the ice of a leftover Costco 59 cent soda. Had I also ingested the Costco Polish dog I would be writing this from the morgue right now.
Here is 2015’s winning entry:
Those unforgettable words put me in mind of an exercise assigned at the 2016 Mendocino Coast Writer's Conference by Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an organization that presents the annual challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Faulkner gave us three minutes to write three sentences incorporating the following words: WEASEL, BATHROBE, WEED WHACKER, HOT ROD, SHOVEL, TEDDY BEAR.
Here are my sentences:
"A Teddy Bear attired in a Ralph Lauren bathrobe challenged the Weasel, wearing a wife beater, to a contest. The prize would be a shiny new hot rod. The contest was to see who could destroy more contraband growing objects with either a weed whacker (Weasel) or a shovel (Teddy Bear)."
Do you think I should enter the Bulwer Lytton contest next year? What would be your entry?
Grant Faulkner also got me thinking about NaNoWriMo, whose philosophy of novel writing is based on the belief that the only way to get your book out there, written, finished, etc., is to just get started and see where the spirit leads you. Or, as one of the most prolific of all authors, Joyce Carol Oates, who writes a novel just about every weekend, said, "Getting the first draft finished is like pushing a peanut with your nose across a very dirty floor."
Here are some helpful tips I jotted in class:
I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced. Will SOMEONE please remind me to go to nanowrimo.org (http://nanowrimo.org/) before the Day of the Dead to sign up?
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