Monday, June 25, 2012


"A good time to finish up old tasks."

SNARKY RESPONSE: Really? That's a "fortune?" I really have to say that I've been a bit disappointed in the fortune cookie sages. You know, something about that windfall just around the corner or that perfect someone headed your way. Ah well. Maybe next week.

A good time to finish up old tasks.

Though I can see where you could take this as a call to arms. Who doesn't have old tasks that need finishing? And why wouldn't Now be a good time to do that?

However, you know what? I'm going to take the contrarian point of view and ask WHY? Sometimes we start something and discover that it was the wrong thing, but because we've invested time, money, and/or effort, we don't think we can just let it go. We've been taught to believe that you must always finish what you start. So we tuck it up on a shelf, push it to the back of the closet, or wear a path in the carpet going around it. Instead, what we should do is acknowledge that it's not ever going to be completed and let it go. Give it away, take it apart, trash it. Rather than burn time and energy feeling guilty about that project you never intend to finish, just admit you won't and move on.

Think how liberating it would be to give all those little guilt monsters the big "heave-ho!" How much better would you feel if you looked in that closet and didn't have to face that moldering 'one day' project? Besides, you can probably use the space for that 'today' project!

Who's with me?

Monday, June 18, 2012


"The weather is wonderful"

SNARKY RESPONSE – You're kidding! Who put this in a fortune cookie? The weather is wonderful? Well, they do have a 50/50 chance of being right, but come on. No one opening a fortune cookie is looking for a weather forecast. We prefer to roll those dice by watching the local weather guy so that we have a clearly defined target if the forecast is wrong. When we crack open that golden cookie at the end of a delicious Asian meal, we're looking for something more esoteric, more thought provoking, more prophetic. Granted, trying to forecast the weather is prophecy in action, now that I think about it. But for a fortune cookie-FAIL.

That said, if there is a case to be made that the fortune you receive is the fortune you should heed, then The Weather Is Wonderful described my week-end perfectly. (WooOooo note: I pulled this out of the bowl last Sunday – did "they" know something after all?)

I was at a writer's retreat called The Porches with four wonderful writers: Gigi Amateau, Erica Orloff, Katharine Herndon, and Shann Palmer. Do not confuse this with a girls' week-end away. The Porches is designed to provide an opportunity to step outside of daily life with its myriad distractions and focus on one thing—writing. Nestled in the Virginia Mountains, The Porches Writers Retreat is seriously just that. To get specifics, click here.

Suffice it to say it's a slice of seclusion designed to encourage the creative process. From early morning until 5:30pm all residents are expected to create, whether in their rooms or in any of the delightful nooks and crannies around the house and grounds.

Each bedroom is a haven for writers seeking to commune with their muses—spacious, pleasantly decorated, and set up with writers in mind. Desks are positioned in front of windows with views of the grounds or the mountains. Comfortable chairs are included if you need less formal writing space. I was quite comfortable at my desk, the ceiling fan quietly stirring the cool mountain air (did I mention the weather was wonderful?). For more photos, check out my fb author page, Denise Golinowski/Author.

Being the dedicated writers we are, we all pretty much stayed in our rooms working on projects we'd brought for this specific week-end. Though the muses were definitely in attendance feeding our minds, they could not provide our bodies with sustenance and guests at The Porches bring their own food & drink. Breakfast (my responsibility and laid out Continental style) and deli-style lunches provided by Katharine were eaten only when the hunger pangs drove us from our rooms. Like ancient hunter/gatherers, we'd emerge from our rooms, stalk the selections offered, capture our choices, and retreat to our sanctuaries.

The only truly communal meals were marvelous dinners prepared by Chef Gigi and consumed al fresco around a large wooden table on the front porch. Bottles of excellent red and white wine provided by Sommelier Erica were the perfect accompaniments to the meals and encouraged us to linger over empty plates and full glasses sharing stories both writerly and personal as well as marveling over our good fortune to be there.

Tea lights, lightning bugs, and stars created an ambiance any five-star restaurant can only wish they possessed. I can proudly report that during the two days, I accomplished my goals of revising two chapters, tweaking the ending for one short story, and writing this blog. And I hope to return to The Porches again soon. Maybe I'll see YOU there!

Monday, June 11, 2012


"Behind bad luck comes good luck."

So, this is the first of your Weekly Fortune Cookies.

You know all those fortune cookie fortunes you abandon on the table or tuck into your wallet to be forgotten until you dump all your change into your change bowl? Well, I've been stockpiling mine in a small bowl on my writing desk and I've decided that I would pull one, try to be creative with it, and then subject you, Gentle Reader, to my result. The selected day will be Mondays, and this week's selection is:

                            "Behind bad luck comes good luck."

Snarky response: Well, after a case of bad luck most anything different will feel like good luck.

Okay, so my snark needs a little work, but it's true, right? I mean, when you've been dealing with something bad, and it ends, that's good! It's over! The relief factor will elevate the mere cessation of stress to a level of wonder and gratitude in orders of magnitude directly proportionate and opposite to the stress. Hence, good luck!

As a fortune, I'm thinking it just means - hang in there, things'll get better.

RESEARCH SIDEBAR – Ever wonder who writes those fortunes? Here's a link to a New Yorker article about one such pithy writer –  Cookie Master by Jeremy Olshan, The New Yorker - Thank you, ilovegoogle, for posting this link.

So, that's your first Weekly Fortune Cookie. See you next week.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ruminations Upon Getting Started

I've been neglectful of the blogosphere and hereby intend (operative words) to become more attentive. As a writer, the primary focus is, and should be, on the work--writing, but how many blogs on writing can the blogosphere support? So, it then comes down to identifying a niche for myself and here's my first attempt. And I should warn you that this is totally subject to change without notice or provocation.

I have been a writer my whole life, though I did fall away from it after a particularly painful encounter with a writing instructor. It took me gaining some years and perspective to acknowledge that like a particular bodily orifice, everyone has an opinion. I don't have to agree or accept it. So, as an adult, I decided to jump back into writing. And here's my plan.

I shall blog here about many things, small or large, wonderous or wandering, but mostly it'll be about my experiences as a woman of a certain age pursuing the dream of writing. This experience may entail meditative musings, technical tantrums, and selective silliness. It may include soulful scenarios, blatent bragging, and cackling commentaries. However it falls out, I will promise you this--I'll always give you my best shot!

Hope you'll come back to read and COMMENT!