Monday, March 31, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How was your weekend?
JOE: Productive. I held my second presentation yesterday on Writing for the Soul.
CALLIOPE: How was the turnout?
JOE: Not too many people showed up but I did have productive conversations with those who did. I got some publicity in two newspapers which was a good thing. However neither listing was specific about the details of my presentation. I had a better turnout for the first one which was more specific. At least I got my name in the paper with a reference to The Pastor's Inferno.
CALLIOPE: Can't argue about that. How are you doing with publicity?
JOE: I have been searching for all the information I can find, especially on Internet marketing, and am now starting to sort through it.
CALLIOPE: Anything particularly useful?
JOE: Yes. I found a series by Angela Hoy on Internet marketing on her newsletter, Writers Weekly at I thought this was the same series her husband published a few years ago but just realized it was a new series. It looks quite specific and promising. I plan to work on her suggestions this week.
CALLIOPE: It sounds like you are starting to get focused.
JOE: I am. Sometimes the task seems daunting. Then I realize it is new territory for me and will take time to learn the lay of the land.
CALLIOPE: Keep at it.
JOE: I plan to. Talk with you tomorrow.

(Sunrise over Nantucket Sound- Oak Bluffs- Martha's Vineyard)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Quite busy. My mind is swimming.
CALLIOPE: What's on your plate?
JOE: I have a presentation tomorrow at 1:00 PM at the Lift Bridge Book Shop in Brockport. I have done the presentation before but want to review it and make sure everything is ready to go.
CALLIOPE: What's it about?
JOE: I will be discussing the various types of writing I do and using examples of my work for people interested in writing. It is part public relations and partly for publicity.
CALLIOPE: What else is going on?
JOE: I received my first professional review of The Pastor's Inferno. I will post it on my website. The problem is that I can't access my e-mail or website for some reason. I am trying to reach my Internet service provider to see what the problem is.
CALLIOPE: Anything else?
JOE: Yes. I have come to the realization that I have been presenting The Pastor's Inferno as a novel about sexual abuse with I think might be turning people off. It is really about the search for redemption and I think I need to stress this more in my publicity.
CALLIOPE: Good thought.
JOE: I better get going before I run out of time to do everything. See you on Monday.

(Last gasp of winter in Batavia)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you this morning?
JOE: Six inches of snow was rather daunting, especially this time of year when I am about done with it.
CALLIOPE: Was there anything good about it?
JOE: As a matter of fact there was. On the way from Leroy to Batavia, I noticed many trees clothed in snow, providing a beautiful scene by the dawn's early light.
CALLIOPE: Interesting. Are you going to do any photography today?
JOE: I might. I could use some good winter scenes for painting.
CALLIOPE: That might be fun. How is your writing coming?
JOE: I had to take time out to post my Daily News column for tomorrow and send it to my community. I also had a chance to finish the chapter of Marital Property I was working on.
CALLIOPE: The one about the family meal?
JOE: Yes, that one. Next is a trip the family planned.
CALLIOPE: What made it possible to finish this chapter?
JOE: I stuck to my schedule yesterday. Knowing I would probably not have time to write in the afternoon, I did it as soon as I was finished with our conversation.
CALLIOPE: Do you plan to do it again today?
JOE: I do, but I have a little research to do about Nantucket, their destination. I had better get going on it. Talk with you tomorrow.

(Tom Sawyer- Sculpture Garden- Nantucket)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope:
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Fine. I feel energetic and focused.
CALLIOPE: What brought that about?
JOE: Darned if I know. Maybe it was the beautiful sunrise this morning with it's promise of Spring. Or maybe it was the progress I made yesterday getting my space organized.
CALLIOPE: Whatever the reason, I hope to put it to good advantage.
JOE: I hope to. I have a busy afternoon with an appointment and a mental health board meeting, but I'll do what I can.
CALLIOPE: Did you do any writing yesterday?
JOE: Yes. I wrote a column on Living in Our World Community and got it sent to the paper this morning.
CALLIOPE: Can I see it?
JOE: It will be on my website Saturday.
CALLIOPE: I understand there is an addition.
JOE: Yes. For some reason my ending, Life Lab Lessons, was not included with the column, so I added it to this week's. I hope this doesn't become a habit.
CALLIOPE: How about Marital Property?
JOE: I got to start my next chapter at the dinner table, but the family is still eating. I will have to help them finish their meal today. Talk with you tomorrow.

(Fishing bouys- Smokey's house- Hanover, MA)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How is your house cleaning coming?
JOE: I finished the rugs. Now I have to put everything back where it was or where it belongs if it was out of place.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a major spring cleaning.
JOE: I guess it is. I had not exactly planned it but did find that my whole space was getting cluttered. I was beginning to have trouble finding things too. I have also discovered that if my space is cluttered, my mind is too.
CALLIOPE: Good point. I will be interested to see how your mind is when you finish cleaning. How is Marital Property coming?
JOE: I spent most of the day cleaning yesterday and didn't get to writing. However this morning I was writing in my journal and realized my book is almost finished. It's an exciting prospect.
CALLIOPE: It is. What remains?
JOE: My family will be taking a little trip together to see how things are now among them. I think they will probably have another crisis but handle it better.
CALLIOPE: Do you have a final scene in mind?
JOE: I do but I want to think about it a bit more before discussing it.
CALLIOPE: Fair enough. Are you ready to get started today?
JOE: I am. Talk with you tomorrow.

(Sculpture Garden- Nantucket)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good afternoon Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon Joe. What happened to your schedule?
JOE: I got as far as writing in my journal and then got waylaid by a variety of tasks. I won't bore you with them, but I just came up for air.
CALLIOPE: I'm glad you decided to share your air with me. Did you write yesterday?
JOE: Yes. I did a chapter about my couple discussing how they would try to prevent further conflicts, at least of the recent magnitude.
CALLIOPE: Sounds conciliatory. What about your plan of balancing marketing and writing?
JOE: I had some time to think about it but I don't have a definite plan yet.
CALLIOPE: As I recall your first step was to decide on you audience and what might interest them.
JOE: I thought of a number of target audiences including those struggling with relationships, those thinking about marriage, readers who wonder why people stay together and why they don't.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a good start. What do you think these people are looking for? What would make them choose your novel about addressing marriage difficulties?
JOE: I guess I have to do some more research on that one.
CALLIOPE: Maybe some of your blog readers have some ideas about what would interest them. JOE: Good point. I'll keep my eyes open for replies.

(Wedding attendees)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How was your weekend?
JOE: Busy with Carol's house renovations and family get-togethers. I enjoyed it.
CALLIOPE: You said you were going to take the weekend off from writing. Did you?
JOE: Yes and no. I wrote in my journal Saturday and Sunday. I also had some time to think about my writing yesterday but did not do any direct writing of my novel.
CALLIOPE: What did you come up with?
JOE: I realized that when I write, I focus on what I think should be said and how I think it should be said, taking into account what selected reviewers think.
CALLIOPE: So what's wrong with that?
JOE: I have concluded that I need to take marketing more into account even before I write?
JOE: I can't tell my readers what they should be interested in. I think I have to redo my approach.
CALLIOPE: What would you do different?
JOE: I think I need to understand the needs and interests of my target readers as well as what would grab and maintain their attention and then write with those considerations in mind.
CALLIOPE: That sounds like a good approach. Do you plan to try it?
JOE: Yes. I will begin today and use the approach for the rest of the writing of Marital Property and in the revision process.
CALLIOPE: I will be interested to see how well that works.
JOE: So will I. I'll keep you posted.
(Nantucket Windmill)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE:Good afternoon Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon Joe. I was not sure I would hear from you today.
JOE: I stayed out of town last night and went shopping this morning with Carol for so new living room decorations.
CALLIOPE: Feeling creative, are we?
JOE: I was just the helper today.
CALLIOPE: How did you plan work out yesterday?
JOE: It was a good idea. I wrote right after I finished our conversation and did not have time to be distracted by anything else. I think I will try to stick to that plan.
CALLIOPE: But it's hard when you're not here.
JOE: I can't argue with that. I just stopped by briefly to say hello and will be gone the rest of the weekend. I think I will take a break from writing until Monday and just work on some reading.
CALLIOPE: Did you run out of words?
JOE: No but sometimes it's good to see what others are saying and how they say it. I think of it as priming the pump.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a good idea. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.
JOE: I will. Back to the grind on Monday.

(Just some trees- What would Joyce Kilmer think?)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What's going on today?
JOE: I was just trying to figure that out. I have quite a few possibilities. I think I will work on writing for a while this morning before I have to go out and run errands.
CALLIOPE: Did you get to do any writing yesterday?
JOE: No. I worked on networking in the morning. I had planned to do some writing in the afternoon between appointments, but it didn't work out that way.
CALLIOPE: You seem to have a hard time finding time to write lately.
JOE: That's true. I had been writing in late afternoon which seemed to work for quite a while. Now other things seem to crowd it out and sometimes I don't get to it at all.
CALLIOPE: What do you plan to do about it?
JOE: I think it would be best to start writing in the morning again and then I would be sure it gets done rather than pushed out of my mind by all the other things which are not as much of a priority.
CALLIOPE: Sounds like a good idea. When do you plan to start this revised schedule?
JOE: This morning. As soon as I get done here, I will write the next chapter of Marital Property. It seems ready in my mind but it is not doing much good there.
CALLIOPE: Then I guess you better get at it.
JOE: Right. Talk to you tomorrow.
(Waiting for Spring renewal)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Fine. I had a very busy day running around yesterday but today is a little less busy and I at least have the morning free.
CALLIOPE: Were you able to do any writing yesterday?
JOE: As a matter of fact I was. I had planned to write a chapter in Marital Property about my couple's next counseling session. But lately I have been nagged by the thought that I didn't handle a previous chapter correctly. Was that your doing?
CALLIOPE: Well... Why don't you tell me about it.
JOE: After my couple's argument, I listened to them talking it over and coming to some resolution. Still I felt unresolved. Later I realized that they could have used a technique called Vesuvius to resolve their difficulty.
CALLIOPE: Interesting. How did it come about?
JOE: Denis went to the bedroom and suggested Vesuvius. When she agreed, he talked about his side of the argument while she listened. He then left for a while. When he came back she talked and he listened. This felt like a much better way to approach it than a normal conversation under the circumstances.
CALLIOPE: Glad to be of assistance.
JOE: I guess I don't always realize when you sneak up on me and subtly suggest a better way. Thanks for your help.

(Tower Bridge beyond the Tower of London)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Fine. I got plenty done yesterday, including another chapter of Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about it.
JOE: I wrote about Cynthia's conversations with her two sisters about her recent confrontation with her husband.
CALLIOPE: How did they take it?
JOE: Pretty well. They both had helpful suggestions and wished she had contacted them sooner.
CALLIOPE: Was the chapter hard to write?
JOE: No. I used their earlier conversations for reference and alluded to what they had talked about before.
CALLIOPE: What's next for our couple?
JOE: I think it's time for another counseling session. Things are looking optimistic at the moment but you never know.

(San Cristobal Castle)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE:Good morning Joe. Where are we?
JOE: I thought we would start meeting at the Democrat and Chronicle.
CALLIOPE: Sounds interesting. Do you think your readers know what we're up to?
JOE: Probably not. I'll tell them. Calliope is my muse and we have been having an ongoing dialogue for several months about my writing, it's progress, pitfalls and inspirations. Mostly we talk about my new novel in the works, Marital Property. You are welcome to tag along and listen or to join in our dialogue if you wish. Welcome readers.
CALLIOPE: Thanks for introducing me. What are your plans for today?
JOE: As you know, I getting toward the end of Marital Property and am working on my couple's reaction to their recent fight after quite a bit of progress in their relationship. Today I plan to work on Cynthia's reaction and her discussion about the situation with her two sisters.
CALLIOPE: Sounds good. How did it go with Denis yesterday?
JOE: Good. He talked with his brother and best friend by phone and was able to look at himself a little more objectively. They still have work to do but are making progress.
CALLIOPE: Good. I hope the marriage makes it.
JOE: So do I. But it is at a critical stage right now. We shall see. Talk with you tomorrow.
(Plants waiting for Spring)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you?
JOE: Dealing with reality. I have been doing well with Weight Watchers until this weekend when I went overboard with two get-togethers. Time to get back to reality.
CALLIOPE: I guess so. Did you do much besides socialization over the weekend?
JOE: I baked bread for our friends on Saturday night. Yesterday after going out for St. Patrick's day and the occasional Guinness, I was busy sanding the walls of Carol's living room.
CALLIOPE: No work on writing?
JOE: I worked on the current chapter of Marital Property. But sometimes I feel I need to think about something else.
CALLIOPE: And this morning?
JOE: I worked on finishing up our photo scavenger hunt entries from the cruise. We had a list of pictures to find from A to Z and then distribute. Finally that is done.
CALLIOPE: What plans to you have for today?
JOE: I would like to at least finish the chapter I have been laboring on and start the next one.
CALLIOPE: You seem to be losing some momentum.
JOE: I hope it's just temporary and plan to get back to work this afternoon.
CALLIOPE: I hope you do.
JOE: I hope so too. Talk with you tomorrow.

(A stroll in San Juan)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Quite well, thank you.
CALLIOPE: To what do you owe your good standing?
JOE: Last night I watched Eckhart Tolle interviewed by Oprah about his book The New Earth. I like what he had to say about being in the moment.
CALLIOPE: How does this differ from being anywhere else?
JOE: We tend to focus on the past and future and forget that all we really have is right now. If we can learn to stay there, we save ourselves quite a bit of trouble.
CALLIOPE: Sounds interesting. How do you think it applies to your writing?
JOE: The only time I write is in the present moment. Comparing what I write with what others or I did in the past or fretting about what will happen with my writing in the future is a waste of time. All that really matters is focusing on my writing as I do it without any evaluating it.
CALLIOPE: I think you are right. Speaking of which, how's Marital Property coming?
JOE: Yesterday seemed to disappear with many small things I was trying to catch up with. I did start on a chapter with Denis exploring what happened in his fight with Cynthia and trying to make sense of it.
CALLIOPE: Sounds reasonable. Will you be working on it today?
JOE: Yes. I plan to finish this chapter and then move on to Cynthia's reaction in the next chapter.
CALLIOPE: Good luck with it. Sometime you will have to post some of the book for my consideration as well as for that of your readers.
JOE: Good idea. I will look for a representative sample. See you on Monday.

(Gate- Tower of London)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. A little late aren't you.
JOE: I decided to treat myself to a massage this morning.
CALLIOPE: Must be nice. Are you ready to get to work?
JOE: I'm relaxed.
CALLIOPE: What did you get done yesterday?
JOE: Quite a bit I guess. I spent the morning working on a publicity flier for my presentation on Writing for the Soul at the end of the month.
CALLIOPE: Can I see it?
JOE: I'll post it at the end today's entry and see what happens.
CALLIOPE: Okay. Anything else yesterday?
JOE: I did some more exploration of publicity and updated information about me in various locales.
CALLIOPE: Any actual writing?
JOE: No. I had some research to do for my next chapter. I would like to have my couple revisit their siblings and friends who appeared earlier in the book. I had to go back to find out what happened the first time around and what these people would be interested in hearing.
CALLIOPE: Do you plan to do some writing today?
JOE: That's my plan for the afternoon. Talk with you tomorrow. Following is the release, but with some of the formatting omitted:

Sliding Otter Publications
598 E. Main St., Batavia, NY 14020
(585) 343-2693

Writing for the Soul: A Conversation with an Author
Lift Bridge Book Shop
45 Main St.
Brockport, NY 14420
(585) 637-2260
Sunday, March 30 at 1:00 PM

Contact: Joseph G. Langen
Phone: (585) 343-2693
Have you ever wondered about writers or wanted to be one?
Did you ever wonder why writers write, who people write for or how they write? Many people say they could write if they wanted to or if they had the time and think writing is easy. Others don’t write because they think it’s too hard. Join Dr. Langen for a discussion of these topics, illustrated by selections from his writings. He will share examples of his journal, blog, short story, newspaper column, novel, memoir and inspirational writings. Maybe it’s time for you to start writing too. This presentation is free of charge.

About the Author
Dr. Langen has been a psychologist for many years working in various agencies and in private practice. His book, Young Man of the Cloth, chronicles his nine years in the seminary and monastery. He has also published a book of inspirational life observations, Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life. His novel, The Pastor’s Inferno, portrays how a sexually abusive priest seeks redemption for his misdeeds. He is currently working on his second novel, Marital Property, about a couple coming to terms with their marriage problems. For more information about Dr. Langen and his writing, please see his website at He also maintains a blog about the daily writing process through conversations with his muse at
(Tower Bridge- London)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: I guess okay but I'm feeling a little scattered.
JOE: I feel like I am going in quite a few directions and have some difficulty handling them.
CALLIOPE: For instance?
JOE: I have a column due Saturday. I wanted to write about sexual deviation but was not sure what to say. I sat down to write and it flowed easily. Thanks to you?
CALLIOPE: Yes. You're welcome. What else?
JOE: I was writing in my journal about all the things I have to do today. I have to post the column and then I have writing to do on Marital Property, a news release to get out for my presentation at Lift Bridge Books on March 30, my taxes to start, bills to pay. You get the idea.
CALLIOPE: Did you think of any ways to get organized.
JOE: Yes. I wrote down what I have to do today so I don't forget anything. I will also organize the piles of paper which surround my workplace.
CALLIOPE: Good start. Did you do any writing yesterday?
JOE: None other than the column. I plan to write another chapter today.
CALLIOPE: Good. Will I get to see the column?
JOE: I have an agreement with The Daily News to publish it there first. However I will post it on my website Saturday in case you want to see it.
CALLIOPE: Good. I'll be looking forward to it.
JOE: I better get going if I want to put a dent in my list.

(Raven- Tower of London)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today.
JOE: A little frustrated. I have been working on network connections and thought the new format at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle would be a good place to become involved. I have struggled with their registration process which seems to ignore me. Finally it told me my account was locked out without any explanation.
CALLIOPE: So what did you do about it?
JOE: Sent them an email to see what is going on and what to do about it.
CALLIOPE: That makes sense. Why are you so anxious to be part of their community?
JOE: With the Governor Spitzer sex scandal, I would like to be part of the discussion, especially in light of my novel The Pastor's Inferno exploring sexual deviance. I would like to have my say but so far can only listen.
CALLIOPE: Where else can you have your say?
JOE: In my column which is due Saturday. I think I will make deviant sexuality motivation the topic since so little is written about it. The only column I could find in today's paper about motivation was by a psychologist who ended up by concluding that he had no idea. This is an area of great ignorance and I would like to see people at least think about it.
CALLIOPE: I can see you are passionate about this. Do you think anyone wants to listen?
JOE: I am not so sure. It is certainly an uncomfortable topic I think people would rather ignore. I guess my challenge is to find a way to get people to take an interest.
CALLIOPE: How do you plan to do that?
JOE: I'm still working on it. I suppose the only way is to demonstrate the relevance to my readers' own lives rather than it just being an unsavory topic safe to ignore.
CALLIOPE: Good luck with that.
JOE: I know it's an uphill battle, but if I stuck to what is safe to write, I wouldn't feel like I was saying anything worthwhile.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: I started with a surprise. I saw a response to a posting here and tried to open it. Instead I got a message that I should scan my computer for malware. I realized there must be something evil associated with the message and deleted it. I haven't had that happen before but I was glad to be alerted.
CALLIOPE: Nasty surprise. Glad you caught it. What are you up to?
JOE: Working on networking. I saw news about interactive possibilities at the Democrat and Chronicle but was unable to sign up for some reason. I will try again today. Most people do not like the new setup but it does seem to have possibilities. Maybe it is just new.
CALLIOPE: Maybe. Did you finish the chapter of Marital Property you were working on?
JOE: I did. Things seem fairly resolved, at least for the moment. Now I think there might be some loose ends to tie up, such as the children, people the couple have talked with about their difficulties and resolution of the initial problem which started their crisis. I think this is related to current news.
JOE: Governor Spitzer was plastered across the front page of the paper this morning due to his indiscretion with a prostitute. It raised the question of why someone would risk his reputation and livelihood for sexual favors. If you recall the crisis for my couple started with a sexual indiscretion of the husband.
CALLIOPE: I do recall. Where do you plan to go with this?
JOE: I'm not sure. Perhaps it merits a column. I will think about it and discuss it with you further tomorrow.
CALLIOPE: Sounds good to me. I will be interested to see what you come up with.
JOE: So will I. Time to get to work.

(Frieze figure- Santianna, Spain)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I missed you Saturday.
JOE: Don't take it personally. BlogSpot was under construction or repair or something and I could not log on. But I did think of you.
CALLIOPE: Thanks for that. What did you get done over the weekend?
JOE: I was working mostly on networking. I found an organization called Linked In ( which connects like minded business and professional people. I signed up and already have one person to consider doing a professional review of Marital Property.
CALLIOPE: Good. What else?
JOE: I finally found out where the writing forums are on My Space. I thought it was just populated by teens, but I have discovered I was wrong, fortunately. I will start doing some exploration to see what might be useful.
CALLIOPE: Anything else?
JOE: Yes. I also found some more forums for writers of various persuasions on Yahoo and will continue exploring these as well.
CALLIOPE: You have been busy. Did you do any writing?
JOE: Not on Marital Property. My couple are still in mid discussion of their conflict, trying to sort things out. I did get back to writing my personal journal the last few days. I will pay them a visit this afternoon and see if the three of us, or four if you would like to be included, can come to some resolution.
CALLIOPE: Thanks for the invite. I'll join you. You sound like you have a pretty full agenda. You had better get going.
JOE: You're right, I do. Talk with you tomorrow.

(Beefeater- Tower of London)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. It's just barely still morning.
JOE: I know. I have been busy. I set up this blog so people could receive it automatically through their email. I also worked on Blogrush, a directory of blogs so more people could find mine. I also just got my new telephone connected so I am back in touch with the world.
CALLIOPE: You've been busy.
JOE: I have. I feel pretty well back to normal now. I even have a fax machine again.
CALLIOPE: Good for you. What about your writing.
JOE: I did the workshop Writing for the Soul yesterday and also completed another chapter.
CALLIOPE: How did the workshop go?
JOE: Quite well. I think it is ready for the road. I am in the process of booking one at the Lift Bridge Book Store in Brockport.
CALLIOPE: How about your writing?
JOE: Amazingly enough it went smoothly. I wrote a chapter about Cynthia pondering what to do about their latest conflict. I think I am getting my rhythm back. It went well.
CALLIOPE: Glad to hear it.
JOE: I think it's time for a swim and then back to work.

(Jackie Onassis Resevoir- Central Park- New York City)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Quite well thank you.
CALLIOPE: What brings on your good fortune?
JOE: My cold finally seems to be receding with prompting from my new neti pot routine. I was also quite productive yesterday.
CALLIOPE: What did you produce?
JOE: My priority was my workshop Writing for the Heart which debuts today at Genesee County Mental Health Association.
CALLIOPE: What does it consist of?
JOE: I plan to talk about why we write, for whom we write, what we write and how we write. I will also bring examples of various type of writings I have done including this blog, a novel, short story, newspaper column, journal entry and memoir.
CALLIOPE: Sounds pretty comprehensive. How about poetry?
JOE: That's the one type of writing which eludes me. I think I might bring along a poem but I don't write poetry. I'm not quite sure why, but I just don't.
CALLIOPE: Do you think it doesn't fit your disposition?
JOE: Possibly. I see poetry as "word painting" which is very precise. I can appreciate good poetry but don't seem to have the patience to hone my writing to the point that good poets do.
CALLIOPE: Well at least you accept this limitation.
JOE: I do. I think I will stick with the kinds of writing I like and am better at. See you tomorrow.

(Dome- Gugenheim Museum- New York)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What's going on today?
JOE: Just being careful not to become part of one of the car accidents I passed on the way to my office this morning. I saw two, one almost right in front of my house.
CALLIOPE: Glad you are safe. Tell me about yesterday.
JOE: I started on the next chapter of Marital Property, where Denis is pondering the blowup at dinner and wondering what happened. Cynthia stormed off to the bedroom, and I expect to hear from her a little later. Last night at the Lift Bridge Writers Group, I read chapters 3 and 4. I had not looked at either since I wrote them. I received some nice comments about phrasing as well as some excellent suggestions for changes.
CALLIOPE: For example?
JOE: I have a thing about conversation tags. I don't like them. However some of my dialogue was not clear as to who was speaking.
CALLIOPE: How will you address that?
JOE: I will work on it when I get to the editing process. What I have done before is to include something in the conversation which makes it clear who is talking or else add some description which points to the speaker.
CALLIOPE: Sounds good to me. Do you think it worked before?
JOE: I was happy with it in my dialogue in The Pastor's Inferno.
CALLIOPE: What's up for today?
JOE: I am presenting a workshop at the Genesee County Mental Health Association tomorrow on Writing for the Soul. I need to polish it and make some selections to demonstrate different kinds of writing. I have done just about every type of writing except poetry. I plan to use this as a road show instead of book readings. Hopefully it will turn out well. Tomorrow is my debut.

(Moorish Castle-Gibraltar)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. I'm almost afraid to ask about Marital Property.
JOE: Have more faith. I wrote the chapter, although I know I have promised to do it in the past.
CALLIOPE: Whew! It's about time. How did it go.
JOE: Actually it was quite easy. They had a blowup at the dinner table after nice pre-dinner conversations with the kids. The sailboat purchase seems to be just the right crisis for my couple.
CALLIOPE: Was it as hard as you thought it would be?
JOE: I'm not sure I thought it would be hard. It was just that it was a critical scene and I wanted to get it right. But no, it was not hard to write, any more than any other scene. But it might have been easier due to all the thought I gave it.
CALLIOPE: In any case it's on the table. Now what?
JOE: Now they have to figure out how to deal with it. I imagine they will fall into their old blaming patterns at least for a while but hopefully they will come to their senses and deal with it.
CALLIOPE: You don't know what will happen?
JOE: How could I? It's their story. I'm just writing it.
CALLIOPE: I will be interested to see how it turns out.
JOE: So will I.
CALLIOPE: What about marketing?
JOE: It's a bit slow going. I am gradually discovering some resources. I guess I hoped there would be an easy, quick approach, but I am finding out it is just hard work despite various promises I have seen. Well, back to work.
(Gibraltar Siege Tunnel)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Better. I struggled with my cold on Saturday. Yesterday was better and today I feel almost back to normal.
CALLIOPE: Good. Any work on writing?
JOE: With how I was feeling, I spent some time on nutrition and health. I read Dr. Oz's book on staying young.
CALLIOPE: Did you learn anything useful.
JOE: Yes. But much of it I am already approaching through Weight Watchers.
CALLIOPE: Good. What about writing.
JOE: I reviewed the materials I have on marketing and also found a good article in Writers Digest for older writers. It was encouraging and had some good tips.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: Use your experience and don't try to compete with young writers.
CALLIOPE: How's Marital Property coming?
JOE: I have been doing quite a bit of thinking about it and finally feel I am ready to write about my couple's crisis.
CALLIOPE: You have been stuck here for a while, haven't you?
JOE: I have not thought about it as being stuck, just being at a very critical juncture in the story and wanting to get it right.
CALLIOPE: This seems different for you. Before now you concentrated on writing the story and decided to save the polishing for later. What changed your approach?
JOE: I hadn't thought of it that way, but you are right. I don't know what changed my approach and it seems like I am wasting time.
CALLIOPE: I think you are. Why not just write what comes to you and edit later as you have done successfully before.
JOE: Good suggestion. I'll write what I have today and see what happens.

(Cognac still, Tio Pepe Winery, Herez, Spain)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Struggling with my cold which I thought was about gone but is back.
CALLIOPE: Sorry to hear it. Did you get any work done yesterday?
JOE: I was dragging but did manage to work on Marital Property. I finished thinking about the crisis and think I have one worked out.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about it.
JOE: Denis will buy an expensive sailboat, ostensibly for the family, without consulting anyone else. Cynthia will be quite upset that he did not consult her and Denis will be upset that she does not appreciate him. Then we will see what develops.
CALLIOPE: I guess we will. It seems like it took you quite a while to develop this crisis.
JOE: It did. I wanted it to be large enough to test them and also specific to their personalities, needs and fears.
CALLIOPE: Congratulations. I can't wait to see what happens.
JOE: Neither can I. I think I will get working on it. Talk with you on Monday.

(50 foot catamaran)