Buttons! Buttons! Everywhere!

Buttons! Buttons! Everywhere!

Friday, January 21, 2011

World War III?

A Catholic School in Bacup, England called a school assembly at the primary school and announced that London was being bombed and that World War III had begun. Herding the children to a school cellar amid air raid sirens and fireworks to emulate the sounds of bombs, the teachers sought to simulate explosions as part of a realistic lesson on what life was like during World War II.

What the instructors had not planned on was the terror the "lesson" had on the children, some of them having nightmares for several nights after the exercise and others not wanting to return to school fearful that what the teachers had told them was true.

Seems common sense is rare now-a-days, isn't it? Here's a short story written by a man whose name I only know as "kitosdad."


My position had been carefully chosen after hours of painstaking selection. From here I couldn't be seen. My camouflage was perfect.
My face was blackened and streaked with green and with a handful of the soft dirt that surrounded my position.
My long-range snipers rifle was similarly blackened and wrapped with the same grass in which I lay comfortably concealed.
I blended naturally into the thick grass on the crest of a hill that afforded me a wide vista of the terrain that lay before me.

Here I had lain for hours in No Man's Land; that area between the two advancing armies.
I idly wondered how many lives would be lost over the battle for this worthless piece of scrub-land.
Land on which shepherds had grazed their flocks for centuries, now a prized possession to both countries.
How many sons would never be returning home to their families after this skirmish?
How many wives and children would be without a husband and father, alone and lost, left to struggle for their very existence.

I shook my head to clear these unwelcome visions.
I'd a job to do, and I had to do it well.
There could be no time allocated for maudlin thoughts to cloud my judgement which was just as well, because I'd just sighted the first of the advancing scouts.
He moved quickly and deftly, using every inch of cover he could find.
My orders were to let the first three pass unharmed.
My colleague, suitably concealed about two-hundred metres behind me, would take care of them. I was to take the next three out. A proficient sniper should be able to kill three targets before being detected.

Lying stock-still I watched the first three pass close to me.
They looked so young. The sweat was running down their faces, and they were being driven by fear.
They were scared! They had been well trained, but the fear in their eyes showed that they were novices in this war game.

The next group appeared in my sights and I had a good field of fire.
Now I'd only to hear the crack of my colleagues rifle to commence my own onslaught.

Yes, war was hell when you allowed your sensitive side to struggle to the surface.
Will it ever end?.

God's Word tells us.....Matthew 24:6 "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. (New International Version)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Seeking Help in the Right Place

A 42-year old woman with more than 1,048 Facebook "friends" wrote the following message on Christmas Day. "Took all my pills be dead soon bye bye everyone." USA today reported that most "friends" did not respond, but when a few did they posted mocking statements or did not take her seriously. There were reports that some did try to find her contact information, no one local came to her physical aid. She died. Alone. With 1,048 online "friends". A sad commentary on the shallowness of our society.

Following is a Walt Whitman poem that even though written in the 1800's is still relevant to the news posting above!


You do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall'd as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me,
I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become not yours only nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass, you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone,
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

What the Bible says:
Psalm 34:4
I sought the LORD, and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.

Are we seeking help in the right place?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Something a bit different

Just returned from my last residency at Wilkes University. It was fantastic! The MFA students worked through two tracks, Publishing and Teaching. The days and nights were long, the homework pertinent to our careers. I'm home and recovering for a day or two, but I'll now be busy looking for an agent for my NOW COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT!!!!!!!

During this last semester I will be an intern for Estruscan Press and will be tackling a project that should benefit the press and its authors as well as the educational community. I'll be privileged to work with Phil Brady and Starr Troupe who will be my directors. Very exciting!

Secondly I will begin my search for an agent. At residency I met with two agents who, although they do not represent my genre, have given me leads and permission to use their names with friends of theirs who do work in the genre in which my book fits.

In between all of this, I am going to keep creating short stories and submitting portions of my book for publication. I will be submitting an educational srticle along with an interview (if I can get it) with Pulitzer Prize winner, Paul Harding. Lofty goals for this year, but I know God has a plan and I'm just plugging on.

The last bit of news is that I'll be changing the focus of my website. I'm going to post twice a week on something a bit different. I'm going to search the newspapers for current events, good and bad, and respond to them, not with my comments, but with exerpts of prose and poetry. I will finish with a scripture that I hope may give you hope! The goal is to encourage you to read!

So, don't judge me, just read and enjoy. The world may seem better through the eyes of a writer. Have a good day!

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Last Residency at Wilkes University

It's both exciting and sad to be back on campus at Wilkes University for the last time. My buddy, Gail Martin of the www.operatoonity.wordpress.com blog finished her degree in June, so I'm left floundering a bit this semester. Though my cohort is so supportive, I still feel like I've lost an arm. But, there's lots of work to do yet and I'm plugging on!

One of the things I've really learned to understand through this program is the way writers reach out to each other and give, unconditionally. People share ideas, read each others works, comment, give hints to make it better, offer to share publisher's names, agents names, etc., in an effort to help another writer succeed. Just a week ago, I found myself in the midst of a total rewrite of my book, The Edge of Redemption,with just a few days to go before I had to be on campus. I was able to call my friend Gail, and ask for her help in reading the rewrite to be sure I hadn't missed anything. I sent her the book in three sections for a total of 283 pages. She had corrections and suggestions back to me in hours. For those of you who write, you'll understand the monumental task! Without thought for her own life, she helped me with mine. For that, I will be eternally grateful!

With that in mind writers, is there some way you might be able to help a fellow writer? Maybe it's just a phone call or email of support. Maybe it's an offer to read and respond to a writing. Maybe it's a cup of coffee or a prayer. Writing is such a lonely life. We need our family and friends to remind us that what we are attempting to do is not a waste of our time.

So thanks to those who continually send prayers my way or call to let me know you care about this journey! I'm trying to pay you kindness forward!

Got to run! Homework:)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My new article!

Sorry about the long hiatus, but the vacation was sorely needed! We got back from Hawaii and I found my article had been published by Hope Clark of www.fundsforwriters.com! She is a gracious and kind editor and a writers best friend!

Here's the full article! Now go on out there and sign up for your own newsletter which is filled with everything a writer needs to be successful!


Living the Dream

By Ginger Marcinkowski

Something happens to women as they age. It's not just about
hair that sprouts out of unnatural places, nor the waves of
heat that wash over our sagging flesh. No, it's something much
more exciting. It's the chance to live out a dream.

It happened to me at age fifty-five. A tiny hope I'd harbored
most of my life surged to the surface like a volcanic eruption
one night. My husband and I were both picking at our dinner,
half-watching a television sit-com.

"I want to be a writer," I blurted.

"So what's stopping you?" my husband said, never taking his
eyes off the television.

I'd been expecting some sort of protest, some awkward glance
that would pooh-pooh my little dream. I hadn't thought of a
comeback if he'd actually said, "Go for it." I had no plan. For
days, I walked around in a fog, wondering what I should do next.

One evening my husband pushed a stack of paper at me, data on
all of the MFA programs around the nation. My mouth went slack
in surprise. "Here you go, Honey," he said, pulling four papers
out of the stack. "I've researched them all for you. I've
narrowed them down to what I think will work for you, these
four are your best bets. You can still keep your job AND do
these programs online."

"But. . ." I protested.

"No excuses Honey. It's time you did what you really want to do.
Besides, I'm retiring in a couple of years and I need you to keep
working." A wide smile cut into his face as I threw my arms
around him.

I chose the Wilkes University low-residency MFA program, because
it offered the flexibility of two eight-day residencies on the
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania campus each year, and a chance to
interact with staff and students in person and online. Students
choose from five tracks of study: poetry, fiction, non-fiction,
screenplay and play writing. Tuition costs are $610 per credit
hour. Thirty credit hours are required for the Master's Degree
and an additional eighteen hours for the completion of the MFA.

The quality of the instructors and the outlets provided for a
student's completed work surprised me. Students work with mentors:
published authors, screenplay writers, stage playwrights and poets.
I work with the very talented, Sara Pritchard, author of the
threaded short-story collections, Crackpots & Lately. Having a
professional writer, as well as a skilled instructor available
online and by telephone has been invaluable to my learning the
craft of writing well. During the June 2010 residency, an agent
from New York read and gave an honest verbal and written critique
of my work, all part of the Wilkes program. I then got to enjoy a
one-on-one meeting with her during residency, an opportunity I'd
not heard of in other MFA programs. We "pitched" our work to
several agents and editors. Playwrights had off-Broadway readings
by professional actors. Wilkes's relationships with authors,
agents, editors and publishers have given me opportunities I'd
never dared to think about before this program!

I'm at a crossroads now, somewhere between ecstatic and afraid,
one semester away from receiving my MFA. I've completed my first
book and will be shopping it to an agent with the help of
professionals I've met. Other writers in the program have
encouraged and supported me the whole way; friends I'll never

Was it worth it? Every last harried minute of it! I'm living my
dream and writing like crazy!

Visit http://wilkes.edu/pages/412.asp for more information!

Ginger Marcinkowski is an aspiring author who's recently
received her Master's Degree in Creative Writing from Wilkes
University in Wilkes-Barre, PA and is currently pursuing her
MFA there. She placed in the Smoke City Narrators Novel Pitch,
and the Phillip Mangelsdorf Competition in Writing Excellence
and has received numerous Honorable Mentions in various
creative writing contests. She is an active blogger and is
in the editing process of her first complete manuscript.