Creative Spaces — Guest Post by Beate Boeker

Creative Spaces

My workspace is one of the smallest and least impressive looking author offices you can imagine. It’s in the middle of the living room, and while writing, I’m reclining in a loom armchair with my feet up on a multi-cushioned stool, lifting my legs high. My keyboard is on my lap, and as I tend to freeze easily, I’m usually swathed in one to three extra blankets, with the occasional curl sticking out. Not that it’s always freezing in Germany, where I live, but it’s always good to have an extra blanket handy! I love that writing position and feel that it’s important for my health because I sit in an office all day long and all that sitting is not good. At least, while it’s technically still sitting, this gives me a bit of variation. It also makes me feel very relaxed. Basically, I don’t like to sit on chairs. I much prefer to sit on the floor!

My flat screen is fixed with a bracket to the wall, and I can swivel it around, depending on the jobs I do. When writing a novel, I turn it so that it looks more like a book. In doing so, I can make the print very large and still see a lot of text (which is necessary because I’m far away from the monitor due to my reclining position!).

Another essential is a mug with green tea next to me. I easily down half a gallon while writing without noticing it. My somewhat antique wooden desk is only there to hold my mug and my mouse and a notebook. It has roughly the size of a standard towel and boasts a tiny, overstuffed drawer. I like that it’s small because I don’t work well in cluttered surroundings, and I’ve learned that it’s easier to keep a small place under control than a large one. 😉

Creative Spaces -- Guest Post by Beate Boeker

German author Beate Boeker’s creative writing space is in the middle of her living room.

Usually, people say they can’t work when surrounded by people, but I like it because it makes me feel that I’m still with my family and not shut apart from them. I read them excerpts, discuss my plots and just continue when any immediate emergency (like finding those very important trousers or judging a brand-new drawing) is dealt with. It’s only when I’m writing very touching scenes that I need silence around me. I never listen to music while I write because music changes my mood dramatically, and that would reflect in the novel.

As to my books, I’m writing romances and cozy mysteries with mischief and humor and am just busy plotting the fourth novel in the series Temptation in Florence. The second novel (Charmer’s Death) will be free May 15 – 19, but if you want to start at the beginning, here’s the link to Amazon for the first, Delayed Death.

The most important advice I would give to any aspiring author: Learn the craft from professionals, and then, persevere. Never give up. It takes years to learn any other job, so give yourself time. While writing, little voices will tell you that it’s all crap, all boring, and that nobody will ever want to read this. Don’t listen. Write on. The little voices are wrong, and if you take advice from professional writers, your writing will shine one day.

Creative Spaces -- Guest Post by Beate BoekerBio:  Beate Boeker is a traditionally published author since 2008 and has 11 novels and short stories online available. Some of them were shortlisted for the Golden Quill Contest, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the “best indie books of 2012” contest.

Beate is a marketing manager by day and a writer by night. She has a degree in International Business Administration and her daily experience in marketing continuously provides her with a wide range of fodder for her novels, be it hilarious or cynical.

Widely traveled, she speaks German (her mother language), English, French and Italian fluently and lives in the North of Germany together with her husband and daughter.

While ‘Boeker’ means ‘books’ in a German dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as ‘Happy’ . . . and with a name that reads ‘Happy Books’, what else could she do but write novels with a happy end?

Although being German, she has chosen to write in English because she appreciates the professional support and training opportunities a writer can find in the US.  Contact Beate Boeker on her Website, Facebook page, Amazon author page, Goodreads author page, and on Twitter: @BeateBoeker

Also, check out Beate’s Book Trailer.

Creative Spaces -- Guest Post by Beate Boeker

Sixteen Things I Would Tell my Sixteen-Year-Old Self by special guest Lita A. Kurth

“Here is the question: If you could talk to your 16-year-old self, what would you say? What advice, warnings, or encouragement would you give your younger self?”

 

Sixteen Things I Would Tell my Sixteen-Year-Old Self

  1. Do you know how beautiful youth is?
  2. There is more to discover looking out the window than in the mirror.
  3. There’s an intellectual word called “agency” and it means our ability to influence our lives. Some say we don’t have any; others, that the entire responsibility is ours. I claim our agency is small, but powerful.
  4. You’ll be so happy to remember the times when, in the midst of narcissistic agony, you were able to think of others.
  5. One day you’ll appreciate your mother, when the bread you bake is nowhere near as good as hers, and you can’t seem to get your canning jars to seal.
  6. One day you won’t have to worry so much about money. You’ll buy a hundred-dollar pair of shoes (but you’ll never take it for granted).
  7. People don’t learn much from what’s spoken through a bullhorn. It might be necessary to speak through a bullhorn, but that’s a rare occasion.
  8. Promoting good is better than fighting evil.
  9. There are wonderful rewarding lives to be lived below the radar, niches upon niches, webs upon webs. Partake.
  10. The extremely memorable moments are not the ones unique to you, but the universal ones: lovemaking, parenthood, natural splendor.
  11. You’ll want to be a mother someday.
  12. You’ll get to be a mother someday.
  13. Small and beautiful dreams can come true. To be a published writer is not out of your reach.
  14. For fifteen years you’ll be a runner, yes, you, my little bookworm.
  15. Commitment is magical, just as Goethe said.
  16. The ability to work continually and consistently may be one of the greatest gifts a person can have. Persistence leaves genius in the dust.
Sixteen Things I Would Tell my Sixteen-Year-Old Self by Lita A. Kurth

Lita A. Kurth

______________________________________________________© 2012 Lita A. Kurth

Lita A. Kurth’s Bio:  Lita A. Kurth teaches Composition and Creative Writing at De Anza College and in private workshops and regularly contributes to Tikkun.org/tikkundaily andTheReviewReview.com. She has published essays, poems, and short stories in NewVerseNews, Blast Furnace, ellipsis…literature and art, the Santa Clara Review, the Exploratorium Quarterly, Tattoo Highway, and Vermont Literary Review as well as erotica (under a pseudonym) in Cleansheets.com and Oystersandchocolate.com. An excerpt of her novel was published as a story, “Marius Martin, Proletarian,” and appears in On the Clock: Contemporary Short Stories of Work (Bottom Dog Press). A work of nonfiction, “Pivot” appears in the 2012 University of Nebraska anthology, Becoming.  Here are two websites where Lita’s work can be found: The Review Review and Tikkun Daily.   She holds an MFA from the Rainier Writers Workshop.

Time Loop by special guest Dr. Harrison Solow

“Here is the question: If you could talk to your 16-year-old self, what would you say?  What advice, warnings, or encouragement would you give your younger self?”

 

Time Loop

If I could talk to my sixteen year old self, I’d be silent. I’m not disposed to dispensing advice. And she isn’t disposed to taking it. Already she has begun to sense the fallibility of the advice dispensers in her life, so she will view me with suspicion. She isn’t happy to see me. I know her. I know all about her. Every single thing she ever thought and did – 100% of her life. She knows but a fraction of mine – nothing beyond what she is at the moment we meet. She feels at a disadvantage.

And I’m no longer what she is…

I look at her, with her Catholic school uniform (plaid skirt, very white shirt and saddle shoes), thin, ink-stained fingers and sunburnt California face, knowing that this is the summer she will spend mostly at the beach, reading 133 books in a mad quest to know everything.

And now she wants to know what will have happened to her by the time she is me-now. I can’t tell her. I can’t tell her a thing, because, the time-space continuum being what it is, if I do, her future might not happen and my sons won’t be born. I will protect their existence over hers. I’m not her mother.

But she doesn’t know about time-space continua. She doesn’t like science fiction and Star Trek hasn’t even aired yet. Her mind is full of Whitman and Eliot, Merton and Woolf. She doesn’t know that she will take Astronomy & Physics at foreign universities or that I will have changed her mind about this magnificent speculative literature – that it will become an enormous part of our life, that sometime in the 1990s, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Harlan Ellison, most of the Star Trek cast and other icons of that world, will have become her friends and colleagues. She doesn’t know that because of it, she will marry a man whom Variety calls “a Hollywood legend” in that world and beyond.

She doesn’t care, anyway. She wants to be a priest.

That’s the first direct question she asks me – “Am I – uh – are you – or we – a priest?”

I don’t know if it’s okay, in this timewarp, to tell her what hasn’t happened – but I risk it. “No,” I say. “It still isn’t an option for women, even in my now.”

I don’t look at her when I say this, not wanting to reveal by a single twitch of a muscle either what I feel about this; or that her current predilection has undergone considerable alteration in my life; that there are deeper priesthoods in her future.

But when I look up, her face is stricken. Her eyes are swimming with tears. My stomach tightens. My throat constricts.

“You’re sixteen,” I say, finally. “You would have had to have started seminary at eighteen. You didn’t really think the Church’s entire dogma on the priesthood would change in two years, did you?”

It doesn’t sound very compassionate to me, even as I say it, but I remember that shock, that bitterness so well – that day when I was sixteen and someone came to visit me and told me something like that. (Was it an aunt? I don’t remember. Someone who looked like me anyway.) The bitterness must have crept in from memory, changed the sound of my voice…

“I don’t know,” she says, squinting, looking up at the sky, “Maybe.”

I remember then how very young sixteen was then. Much, much younger than now.

Suddenly she says, “Is Brother Joachim okay? I mean in your time? Tell me.”

The intensity of youthful friendships in those faraway days, the loyalty, the honour, return for a moment. Innocence. Joy. I remember her – my  –  beloved Franciscan friar, close my eyes against decades of memory and grief, and nod almost imperceptibly, hoping the universe won’t notice.

She doesn’t press me for a verbal answer, but I see her body relax slightly.

“Do I get to go to university?” she asks. “Do I get a PhD?”

I can’t tell her any more, I say, but this time I tell her why. I tell her that her life won’t be like anything she has yet dreamt; that we are meeting in a brief aberration of time – a Temporal Paradox; and that anything she knows about her future could alter it.

“Then what are you here for?” she asks.

“To talk to you – to give you a little advice.”

“But hasn’t my future already happened?”

“Not for you.”

“Yes, but my future is your past, isn’t it?” she asks.

“Not all of it.”

“Well, up to this point it is,” she answers. “So what advice could you possibly give me that would actually work?”

I look at her squarely, face to face, right into the dark, dark eyes I know so well. It is then I realize what I’m really here for.  I give her the answer she already has:

“None.”

She smiles, then –  a clean, sweet, sad, sixteen year old smile, and turns away.

I begin to retreat into the unstable time vortex that seems to be forming around me but she suddenly turns back, takes my hand – and I return for a moment to hold her to my heart.

“Right,” she says, as I slowly release her into my past. “Because, of the two of us, it’s only your future that can actually change.”

__________________________________________________  © 2012 Harrison Solow

Harrison Solow Bio:

Time Loop by Harrison Solow

Dr Harrison Solow

American writer Harrison Solow has been honoured with multiple awards for her literary fiction, nonfiction, cross-genre writing, poetry and professional writing, most notably winning the prestigious Pushcart Prize for Literature in 2008.  A writer and strategic consultant of rare experience, her work spans Hollywood, Academia, Business, Law and Literature. Harrison Solow is one of the two best-selling University of California Press authors of all time (at time of publication), a Notable Alumna of Mills College where she earned an MFA, and holds the rare distinction of a British PhD in English (Letters) with a critical and creative dissertation “Accepted as Submitted: No Changes” from Trinity Saint David in 2011.

She lectures in English and American Literature, Creative, Nonfiction and Cross Genre Writing, Specific Authors, Science Fiction and American Culture, Professional Writing, Philosophy and Theology at a number of universities, colleges, arts and cultural institutions in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.Time Loop by Harrison Solow

A former faculty member at UC Berkeley, she accepted a lectureship in the English Department of the University of Wales in 2004 and was appointed Writer in Residence in 2008. She returned to America in 2009.

Dr. Solow is a strong proponent of the traditional Liberal Arts, the Fine Arts and the Utilitarian Arts as separate and equally respectable entities, an advocate for Wales and a patron of literary endeavours.

She is married to Herbert F. Solow, the former Head of MGM, Paramount and Desilu Studios in Hollywood and has two sons.

Her latest book is Felicity & Barbara Pym: Amazon and WordPress Page

Harrison Solow is available for interviews, lectures and workshops. She can be reached through her manager, Simon Rivkin at simonrivkin@solowtwo.com

Harrison Solow’s Web pages: Red Room and Academia   Follow Harrison on Twitter: @harrisonsolow and on Facebook