A WORD ABOUT MY WRITING… My writing history includes an eclectic array of styles and approaches. If you’ve enjoyed the site so far you’ve had lots of opportunity to see how I write about my own work. In what follows I supply samples of my work in several different writing genres.
NON-FICTION SAMPLE #1 (Nutritional)
Do Carbs Make You Fat?
The word is out that carbs play a villainous role in weight gain. I love these myths, because exploring them inevitably leads to deeper understanding. When I decided to research the carb question, I found that saying that carbs make you fat is sort of like saying that fruit is a good source of vitamin C. Yes, some fruits are high in vitamin C, and yes, some carbs are likely to be stored in the body as fat.
One important factor with respect to carbs and weight gain is what is known as the “glycemic index” of the carbs in question. The glycemic index is a system for measuring the rate at which particular foods trigger the release of glucose into the body.
Carbs with a low glycemic index release glucose slowly and steadily, thereby giving you the stamina to make it through the day. Carbs with a high glycemic index give quick energy, but they leave you feeling hungry, craving more carbs. Is it any wonder, then, that it is the high-glycemic carbohydrates that trigger weight gain?
Taking this into account, it makes sense for an individual having no desire to weigh in like a sumo wrestler to replace high-glycemic carbs with low-glycemic carbs whenever possible. In everyday dietary terms, this means: Eating non-instant breakfast cereals based on oats, barley, bran, flax, and hemp; Substituting crusty whole-grain, stone-ground and sourdough breads for those with soft crusts or made with bleached flour; Cutting back on pastries; Eating fewer baked potatoes and less jasmine rice, replacing them with yams, sweet potatoes, new potatoes, whole-grain pastas, quinoa and basmati rice; Consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables, including salads with a dressing made with vinegar; Avoiding sweetened desserts, especially late at night, within three hours of bedtime.
The recommended increase in fruits and vegetables brings another weight loss advantage as well: Green leafy veggies, broccoli, and the skins of most fruits and vegetables — the “fibrous” carbohydrates — provide the dietary fiber so necessary for promoting proper elimination.
So, when it comes to carbs, don’t believe everything you read. With both information and carbohydrates, you have to consider the source.
NON-FICTION SAMPLE #2 (Instructional, from an upcoming book, Elationship: Love, Sex & the Playful Spirit)
Beginning A Relaxing Massage
STILLING (client lying on stomach): Standing or kneeling at the client’s side, rest one hand on the upper back and the other at the base of the spine. Holding your hands like this for a few seconds will set a baseline of calm relaxation.
FULL BODY WIPE: Remaining at the client’s side, place your palms on the soles of their feet. Using a gentle but firm touch, wipe your hands up over the heels, up the backs of the legs, up over the length of the back, down the arms, and off the fingertips.
THE BACK: Standing at the client’s head, lay one palm down on each side of the upper spine and stroke down toward the waist. Again, the stroke is gentle but firm. When you get to the waist, stroke out to the sides, and then back up to the shoulders. Let your hands cup the shoulders for a moment, then lay them briefly at the back of the neck. The client will experience this as both soothing and grounding.
NEXT, stretching to cross your thumbs at the base of the spine, stroke up both sides of the spine to the neck, crossing one thumb over the other in little spiral motions as you go up.
NON-FICTION SAMPLE #3 (Press Release, published 2005)
Press ReleaseFor Immediate Publication Contact: Tilly Rains, XXX-XXX-XXXX
BRITISH NATURALIST OFFERS COACHING IN ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
Ashley Burton, widely known in Europe for his work as a naturalist and environmental advocate, is offering an evening of coaching for effective environmental activism at Colby Town Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m.
Burton will screen videos of environmental activism filmed last year in southern France, discussing what worked and what didn’t and how to apply the lessons here to safeguard our endangered species and protect our threatened waterways.
The meeting is free and open to the public. For further information call XXX-XXX-XXXX.
NON-FICTION SAMPLE #4
THE JOURNEY FROM THE CENTER TO THE PAGE: Yoga Philosophies and Practices as Muse for Authentic Writing, by Jeff Davis (Book Review by Chiwah, published in The Light Connection, July 2008)
Find yourself in a room full of writers, look around, and what do you see? Coffee drinkers, cigarette smokers, binge eaters, brandy indulgers, bodies built of wiggle and bulge.
Is this a fair statement? Of course not. It was my first impression years ago when I attended my first writers’ group, but it’s a lot less true than it used to be. These days I see writers sharpening up, shaping up, shooing the old image out the door.
The writing lifestyle is inherently sedentary, and it takes a good deal of commitment to keep it from being unhealthy. After years of writing and teaching writing classes, author Jeff Davis decided to turn the tables in his life by incorporating a series of basic yoga postures into his daily routine.
In The Journey from the Center to the Page he shares with us the difference that made in his life and in his craft, and urges others who struggle with the expression of their creativity to explore the deepening of connection with the authentic self that comes from integrating simple stretches and intentive postures into daily writing activities.
(NOTE: Oh, crumpled crabsfeet! MS Word’s spell checker says “intentive” is not a real word. It sees no problem with “attentive” and “retentive,” however. Well, I refuse to be controlled by an anal retentive computer program. I like “intentive,” and I’m the writer here. It stays.)
Back to The Journey from the Center to the Page: Beautifully written. Each chapter offers supremely readable stories culled from everyday life as metaphors for the writer/artist, then moves on to invite us to breathe and stretch and focus… and experience the spillover of grace and ease into our work.
You’ll find insights and simple illustrated postures to help you harness and explore your creative faculties; develop discipline; write more authentically; craft more convincing stories, characters, and dialog; convert fear and anger into powerful satire; and make better use of imagery, detail, metaphor and rhythm.
Although Davis intended the book primarily for writers, it’s packed with a wealth of wisdom and information for creative people in every kind of artistic pursuit.
FICTION SAMPLE #1 (from my unpublished novel)
Martin Runningdeer stood with his head bent over his work bench, carefully eying the distance between the holes on the white pine flute he was making for his daughter’s oldest grandson. The width of a finger should be perfect — at ten, the boy’s hands hadn’t yet grown to their full size, but he was showing signs of maturity. The time was right for the gift of a flute.
Standing in the dim light humming a little song whose words escaped him, Martin felt a message coming in. Without hesitation he marked the spot for the next hole. Another day. Tomorrow perhaps. He began putting his tools away. His attention was inside now, feeling, listening, attentive to the inner communication. He switched off the lamp and hurried toward the house.
Ten minutes later, he and Catherine emerged carrying the bags they kept packed for unexpected outings. Good thing he’d gassed up the pickup. The moon was high in the night sky when they drove off down the mountain highway toward Tierra Grande, some three hours south.
Chuckling to himself at his mix of Ojibway and white-man habits, he checked his watch: four-fifteen.
FICTION SAMPLE #2 (from my unpublished novel)
One afternoon in June Peter showed up in his fancy car with Meg, his woman of the hour.
Julie couldn’t help liking Peter, though his womanizing disgusted her. She’d never seen him without a girl in tow, and never with the same one for more than a couple of weeks. They flocked to him like bees to honey, attractive young things with barely concealed sexy little bodies. Ach! The predictability of men’s tastes.
From the kitchen she heard Reid invite them in. As usual, right on time for lunch. She slapped together a couple of extra tuna sandwiches, poured two more glasses of Chablis, and piled it all on a large wooden tray.
When she reached the front porch the visitors were already seated on the brown leather loveseat, Meg’s tiny hand on Peter’s bare thigh. Julie couldn’t help noticing that she didn’t lift it off to eat, just picked up her sandwich with her other hand and continued running her fingers up and down his leg. All through lunch Julie watched as her fingers disappeared inside the hem of his khaki shorts and then re-emerged to glide back down to his knee.
He pretended not to notice. But hey, he noticed.
This little game went on as the friends caught up on each other’s latest news. Peter’s mother’s cancer was in remission, and he had landed a contract with a major art museum. And all the while Julie felt Reid’s eyes moving back and forth between Meg’s hand and her breasts, erect little nipples proudly announcing themselves through the front of her blue silk sweater.
Hardly endearing, she mused. Oh well, this one won’t be around long.
FICTION SAMPLE #3 (a mostly unused passage for a client’s novel)
“Nate, is yer brain gone custard?” A husky man in the front row, whom Hans took to be in his mid-thirties, rose to his feet to shake his fist in the farmer’s face. “What’re you up to, inventin’ sich a scheme? Yer havin’ us on, an’ lovin’ it! How did ye think ye could pull this off?”
Nate’s eyes hardened. “Charles, sit down,” he said. “What makes you think I would joke on something like this?”
But the burly Charles was not to be put off so easily. “We want to know this bloke’s real intention,” he demanded. “He turns up here, an’ we’re supposed to believe this cockalane story o’ his?”
Trevor’s authority as mayor afforded him the clout to speak out. “Shut up, Charles,” he commanded. “We’re sick of your nonsensical diatribes.”
“Aye, spot-on. Cram a sock in yer gob, man,” muttered another man in obvious disgust. “Let us hear Nate out.”
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