Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Tue, Nov 30 2010

When life gets busy, the busy get bustling

I'm pressed for time right now, so the blog posts might appear infrequently, like rural train whistles heralding life on some parallel track.

Meanwhile, visit Deb's Monthly Review for festivals and other fun. I've just uploaded the December 2010 issue.

The week thus far has been a crazy mix of shopping for a gift exchange, volunteer work, professional and personal writing, calorie avoidance, calorie acceptance, exercise, making silk flower arrangements, escaped prisoners a little too close to a friend's workplace, trying to navigate Facebook and shopping for fake reindeer antlers for a skit. Tomorrow we'll add court (for jury duty) to the mix. Then it's cookie baking, research for more writing and trying to find time to vacuum the carpet. How on earth do people ever get bored? Life is full of everything if you give it half a chance.

posted at: 22:49 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Fri, Nov 26 2010

Thanksgiving, unplugged

Thanksgiving week is always a mixed bag for most of us. We juggle household tasks, travel, work schedules, food preparation and other details in order to get the most use out of a few days available for visiting and sharing. Then we try to factor in things like family members who are ill or who have recently passed away. And sometimes we have the tension of being in the same room with people with whom we've had conflicts in the past. People who own businesses are conscious all week long of the weight of Black Friday. Movies premiere. Ski slopes open. In-laws sometimes vie for precious time with offspring who now have offspring of their own and are trying to please everyone with equal time on the holiday. Churches schedule big Thanksiving production numbers for choir members and preachers are expected to deliver sermons on giving thanks that don't bore long-time members of the congregation and yet don't offend visiting cousins from some other denomination. Let's throw in college football games, nervous pets meeting new people, flight delays due to blizzards, road trip delays due to blizzards, power outages halfway through turkey roasting and the dog stealing and eating the appetizers off the coffee table and then passing very ripe gas throughout the rest of the day's festivities. Is it any wonder we're unable to concentrate on giving thanks except for the seventeen-or-so seconds just before the passing of the mashed potatoes and gravy?

What I think I've decided is that it's all okay. We don't have to have a picture-perfect holiday in order to enjoy ourselves. Part of the experience is the realization that we're human and that we're sad, funny, stubborn, moody, forgetful, argumentative, lonely, too-loud, dyspeptic, sarcastic, shy, fearful and maybe even a little crazy at times. And we have a Creator who accepts us anyway. If that's not something to be thankful for this season, and to pass on to one another with love, I don't know what it. So, maybe you'll understand what I mean when I tell you that I hope you hear someone's old stories one-too-many-times this week or that you have someone in the family who is blessed with morning sickness this week or that you set a picture of someone at the table in the place where he or she used to sit. Part of the joy and the miracle is that we get through it all again and again and we remember it with sadness and joy, with anger and with laughter. And we're learning about the way God invites us us all to His table, no matter how wacky a human family we are.

posted at: 15:34 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

Mon, Nov 22 2010


A few days ago we traveled to a meeting at a Grange hall in a nearby county. As we were driving into the parking lot we saw an ambulance coming from the other direction. The area is somewhat rural, with twisty roads and lots of tree-covered hills. One of our companions waved us off to a smaller parking lot on one end of the building and we saw a man heading up the driveway to place a flare nearby. We looked up at the other end of the building to see an emergency vehicle and a helicopter in the parking lot. And we were told that a second helicopter was on the way. An accident on a busy highway resulted in multiple injuries and air transport was needed to get the people to a hospital in a timely manner.

The parking lot at this particular Grange building is perfectly situated for such emergencies, though the roads leading to it are tricky. It's a flat, open area, somewhat elevated above the hills and trees, with plenty of room for a helicopter's rotors. Both accident victims were transferred from separate ambulances into the two choppers and taken for treatment. The pilot and other crew members and the ground crews assisting were all top-notch in their coordination of efforts. I should also mention that we had stormy weather and wind in the area that day, so any air maneuvers were especially tricky. The people participating were professional in every detail and all went well under difficult circumstances. I want to give a shout-out to CALSTAR for its rescue work. These folks are very worthy of your notice and support.

posted at: 21:04 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Mon, Nov 15 2010


This is the time of year when I start wishing we didn't live right beneath a street light. While it's nice to have a safety feature so close, it becomes a detriment during the holiday season. We enjoy putting Christmas lights up outdoors. the best place for Christms lights to strut their stuff is in a dark space, not one lighted by a lot of other ambient light. We've kidded about calling and asking them to shut the light down until January, but that wouldn't be very practical or fair to the rest of the neighborhood.

One of the other nearby street lights on a curvy road commonly shuts itself down when a badly-aimed car light shines on it in the middle of the night. I suppose its sensor mistakenly perceives that the sun has suddenly risen and that its light is no longer needed. After a few minutes the light flickers a few times and turns itself back on. This sometimes happens several times in one night.

It doesn't take much light to change a dark corner by quite a bit. And darkness has no way to be aware of whether light is from a bright bulb or a supernova. Those of us looking on from the side have a different perspective and can easily see what the light source is.

At first this whole topic seems trite. But the spiritual lessons one could draw from such things leads me wondering why we don't notice the interplay of darkness and light a lot more often.

posted at: 22:49 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

Thu, Nov 11 2010

Everything isn't for sale, but if the only tool you carry around is a hammer...

I've been having a little social media crisis the last few days. Well, crisis is probably too strong a word. It's been more of a realization. Writing is often a rather solitary process and I find myself wanting to connect with other writers. But I think what often happens is that there is a tendency for some folks to think we're supposed to talk about writing and about the process of writing, when what I actually want is to connect with writers. The writing is part of who we are, so an in-depth discussion about the mechanics of writing can easily turn into one of those conversations that people have where they compoare aches and pains. I can chronicle the aches and pains of verb conjugation and outlining by myself. That isn't what I'm after when I used social media to talk to writers. I'm seeking like-minded people who are comrades who will discuss and connect on all the other levels besides word mechanics.

And then there's the problem of spam and those individuals who use social media only in the interest of selling us some tooth whitening magic or hypnotizing us with their secret version of marketing mojo. Many of them do nothing except broadcast one ad after another, turning social media into one big lie. If the people who just want to have conversations get fed up and move on it will be a real shame. I like to think writers can resist that sort of depravity. But spam is the reason I haven't turned on comments on this blog. So, we'll see. We'll see.

posted at: 22:20 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Mon, Nov 08 2010

Belay that order.

I wrote most of a blog post and then deleted it. I was right in the middle of it, paused to finish some exercise-via-housecleaning, then went back to the post and read it as so much bunk. Don't misunderstand. It was good information. But it didn't ring true in my own experience, so why would I endorse something for readers that hadn't been truly put into practice by me? Never be afraid to take an eraser or a delete key to your writing. Most of what we've said isn't that wonderful or irreplaceable. (Just ask an editor.) Sometimes we simply need to get over ourselves and write something else. So I did.

posted at: 17:20 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Wed, Nov 03 2010

Fiction, holiday-style

It's hard to miss all the holiday-related activites and merchandise this time of year. It seems to begin with Halloween and then suddenly we're bumping up against Thanksgiving and all the rest of the end-of-the-year buzz. I've always been a little uncomfortable putting a lot of holiday talk into fiction. It's great fun to have it in a story, but I'm always concerned it will limit the publising possibilities. I must say though that a part of me wants to just cut loose at some point and write a madcap Christmas comedy.

posted at: 20:16 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Mon, Nov 01 2010

No, no NaNoWriMo

I'm a little envious of everyone involved in NaNoWriMo, but I knew better than to heap that process on top of everything else on my plate. I do wish all of you much success as you develop your novels. By now you're steeped it all.
And if you're another writer who's not doing NaNoWriMo, take courage. We can still get plenty of writing done, on our own time, in our own way. (I'm telling myself that a lot latelly.)

posted at: 21:28 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!