I Must Be Getting Old

Jan Morrill Writes

When I published my last couple of blog posts, I noticed that WordPress had made a HUGE change. For anyone who currently has a WordPress blog, I’m sure you already know what I’m talking about. But for those of you who don’t use WordPress, here’s what changed:

THE TEXT EDITOR!

Here’s a snapshot of the good, old “Classic Editor.” It was so similar to Word, I hardly had any learning curve at all when I first started blogging on WordPress. I took for granted that I hardly had to think about it as I used it.

Then came the Gutenberg Editor!

According to WordPress, the Gutenberg Editor is new and improved. Oh. . . and more intuitive for WordPress users. Not.

Also, can anyone explain why, if it’s new and improved, they decided to call it “Gutenberg?” Here’s what it looks like. You tell me if it looks intuitive.

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One Question – My Experiment

What happens when two author friends get together to chat? Meet Kathleen M. Rodgers, author of The Flying Cutterbucks!

Jan Morrill Writes

Recently, after a couple of Zoom conversations with my friend, Kathleen Rodgers, I thought it might be fun to record conversations with author friends about their thoughts on writing and their recent work or novels. (SEE OUR “CHAT” BELOW!)

After weeks of thinking about it and trying to find a good time, I finally jumped in and interviewed Kathy about her latest novel, The Flying Cutterbucks.

The conversation was intended to be just that–a conversation, and not an overly formatted interview. This made it both exciting and scary.  Though I did have a couple of questions in mind to ask, Kathy didn’t have a heads up about what I would be asking.  I think you’ll see in the video, it really was spontaneous–especially by the fact I didn’t even have a title for the “episode” yet. But we had fun, and hopefully, viewers will learn a little bit…

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Farewell to the Grumpy Cat Who Loved the Best She Could

Farewell, Malika
Even a grumpy spirit
Can be sorely missed ❤️

Malika: 2010-2020

Jan Morrill Writes

Malika, 2010-2020

Yesterday evening, as I began to prepare dinner, I heard Steve call, “Jan,” kind of soft, kind of panicked. In that one short word, I knew something was wrong.

I hurried from the kitchen toward his voice in the hallway, where he held Malika. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“She can’t move her back legs.”

“What?” I thought, initially thinking, How can that be? “What do you mean she’s not moving her back legs?”

“She can’t move them. I just found her dragging herself across the room.” He put her down gently as she whined.

Our minds filled with all kinds of questions.

What could have happened? She was okay just an hour ago.

Did she fall from something? Break her back?

Did she have a stroke?

Did she jump from something and injure herself?

We only knew it was serious, so Steve called our vet. He said we…

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Empathy – A Cure for Our Ills

Writers use empathy to create a character in fiction. But what happened to empathy in the real world?

Jan Morrill Writes

What makes you love a book? For me, it’s the author’s ability to draw me into the character. If I can sink into a character’s mind and see the world through her eyes, feel her joys, sorrows, anger, passion, love or lust, I love the book.

My friend Linda Apple and I sometimes debate whether it’s called point of view or perspective. But, it doesn’t matter what it’s called. What’s important is to understand the importance of the author’s ability to help the reader experience the story through a character–to get the reader to empathize with the character.

My own writing journey began with writing in journals in my early teens. In the very secret and very private writings of those journals, I tried to get someone to see the world through my eyes, even if that “someone” was only my diary.

From there, I began to write stories in…

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Liminal Spaces

This liminal space . . .

Jan Morrill Writes

“Liminal” is a derivation of  the Latin word limens, which translated, means threshold. The Coronavirus has brought us to one of most visible thresholds I can recall in my life.

There are some wonderful liminal spaces, like the moments before the birth of a child, or before speaking the words, “I do.” Crossing these thresholds changes our lives forever, some in ways known, many in ways unknown. But, even with the unknowns, it seems easier to accept these happy liminal spaces as a fact of life.

There have been terrible liminal moments, too, like the 9/11 terrorist attacks that changed many of our lives forever. Even on a personal level, liminal spaces follow divorce, or even an empty nest. What comes next?

When I’ve talk to friends and family, I’ve learned that much of the stress during this time is due to the uncertainty of what’s next. The past…

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Home Alone

Here’s an idea of something to do while to maintain contact with loved ones while isolated at home.

Jan Morrill Writes

What are you doing with your time while at home during this pandemic? Working? Perusing social media? Watching the news? Reading? Binge-watching favorite series and movies?

Since I’m not set up to work from home, I’m doing a little of everything else. But, I want to make the most of this time, so I’m also working on:

  • Getting back to my writing
  • Blogging
  • Learning to play the piano
  • Familiarizing myself with graphics programs

Today, I started a project I’ve been thinking about for some time–writing very short stories for my grandchildren. These are not stories I intend to sell, they’re simply to give to my grandkids, and it will hopefully inspire a love of reading and writing.

This is something all writers can do while “stuck” at home!

It began as an idea to hand-write letters to them. Few people send letters anymore, and though Tommy, Allie and Jack may…

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Where Were You When We Ran Out of Toilet Paper?

Empty Shelves at Walmart on 3/14/2020

I didn’t title this post to be clever or funny. After all, there are far greater worries today than running out of toilet paper. But it does seem to provide one of many visual representations of where we find ourselves today.

These are interesting and troubling times and so, for the following reasons, I’m going to post every once in awhile about my thoughts during these times:

  1. Blogging is one of many ideas I’ve come up with for things to do as I maintain my “social distance,” as recommended by the CDC.
  2. If I don’t write, my head might explode.
  3. I want to document my thoughts about this time in our history. Who knows? My grandkids may be interested someday.
  4. A blog is a good forum for us to share ideas about how to “get through” this time.

Here’s an unfiltered outflow of what I’m thinking today:

  • I don’t get how people think things are being overblown. Do they not see what’s happened in S. Korea, Italy, Spain, Iran, etc.? Do they think America is so “great” it can’t happen here? Let me just say, a virus is a great equalizer. We are no better than any other country this virus has invaded.
  • In fact, I’d say the way this pandemic has been handled by our federal government has been disorganized and full of disinformation. Among 8 affected countries around the world, the United States has done the least number of COVID-19 tests per million people. WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH STILL NOT HAVING ENOUGH TEST KITS?

Courtesy ScienceAlert

  • There’s a fine line between panicking and preparing, and it is a moving target. But there’s no doubt unnecessary panic is causing the rush to buy cleaning supplies, groceries and even toilet paper.
  • Never in my life have I hesitated to go to work while suffering with a minor cold. I’m actually debating it today. (Is it irresponsible to go to work? Or is it a paranoid over-reaction to stay at home?)
  • There must be millions of people like me all over the country. People who are either dealing with a minor cold, or even allergies and who are unsure of whether to stay home or go to work. It’s a “social distance” issue vs. a financial issue. A panic vs. preparedness issue. Where’s the line?
  • Which leads me to my question of why more companies aren’t being pro-active in establishing the means for employees to work from home.

I’ll end here for now. I have many other thoughts, but I’ll save them for another post. Until then, stay well, be patient, focus on gratitude.

P.S. – We all could use some good news, so at the end of each of my posts on Coronavirus, I’ll share a positive news story:

Quarantined Italians Are Singing Their Hearts Out

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The Crack and the Light at Highland Park High School

THE RED KIMONO

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
~~Leonard Cohen

On Friday, I was honored to participate in the Highland Park Literary Festival. I was first greeted by several parents who had dedicated many long hours organizing the festival. At several points during the day, I thought about how lucky HP students were to have a group of parents and teachers work together to provide an opportunity to be introduced to a variety of arts and artists.

Next, I met a few of the teachers, including Aaron Smith, Creative Writing teacher and Faculty Advisor for HP LitFest. We had an enjoyable conversation about writing and I told him how my Creative Writing teacher in high school had been instrumental in inspiring my desire to be a writer.

I met several other authors, a songwriter and a playwright, and was even fortunate to have a…

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