In A Word…

Musings from the West Coast

A Quick-Ref on Pitching:

Nobody teaches you to pitch in college.

Let’s just be clear on this for a moment.

From my experience, which may or may not be typical:

  • NOBODY is going to teach you to pitch your article, your play, your musical, or your poetry collection, unless a professor is aware and steps in to include a segment in their class.
  • I’ve been in creative writing classes in High School and College.
    • Nobody suggested it would be a NECESSARY thing to learn.
    • Nobody suggested it was an IMPORTANT thing to learn.
    • Nobody even suggested it was REQUIRED in order to move from personal writing to professional writing.
  • Having an editor or a manager was recommended.
  • Submitting your work to as many sources as possible was recommended.

So you get left to your own devices.

While this list is not perfect, and will eventually be full of broken links, I have a comprehensive list of suggestion palettes of how to pitch and how not to pitch.  This list is based on article pitching: pitching short stories and novels have a slightly different format, and I haven’t dug into short story pitching for a while.  I’ll try to revisit those soon.

Things to think about when considering your Pitch:

Have you pitched articles before?  Do you have any suggestions for budding writers or college grads?  What was your best or worst experience as a writer?  Going to give these a try?  Leave a comment with your experience.  I’d love to hear your story!

Okay, No Election Talk.

I wrote a ranty post about the election, deleted it, rewrote it, deleted it, and then just decided to write in “Fred, the Spider” for president.

Actually, I know who I’m voting for.  I’m just leaning on “can’t we all just get along” for the next eight years.  Four to get us through this current election cycle, no matter who is president, and four more to have a more peaceful, “I can talk to my child about this candidate and the other candidate” sort of election.

I don’t want to do this again in four years.  I don’t, I don’t, I don’t.

Missing Lilo & Stitch footage: How NOT to Behave on Vacation

On Tumblr, Itsagifnotagif posted a missing scene from Lilo and Stitch.  Maybe it was the pacing, maybe it was where it was in the movie, maybe it was any number of logistical reasons.  The reality is, it was cut, but is a reminder of the rudeness that people face every day in tourist-heavy “destinations”.

The last few frames are absolutely heartbreaking.

When you visit someone else’s hometown, the very LEAST you can do is be polite.  Lilo makes it sound like she deals with this once a week.  Once a month.  Even twice a year probably feels like it’s too much.  Microagressions can build their way into people’s hearts (in both directions), and it creates things like separate subway trains for noisy passengers, and booklets on “how to behave” by tourism committees.

If you want to know how to avoid being a rude tourist, let’s have some resources.

How about a list of 8 things to avoid ticking people off with, when traveling abroad?

Or a well-explained article about a Kyoto infographic on how to behave in Japan… with some of the pictures being obvious common courtesy.

A suggestion guide specific to Paris, because who DOESN’T want to see the Eiffel Tower at least once.


Spider Tango!

(Just in case it’s necessary – Trigger warning for Arachnaphobes goes here )

Not too long ago, my husband coined the term “Spider Dating”.

My son and his dad were talking about spiders this time of year.  In September, it’s spider season in Seattle.  All of the spiders build webs between August and September, where the mosquito and bug population is at its greatest and, as my husband put it, “All the spiders go out looking for dates”.

Sometime around this conversation, I named the three spiders I scared off my back porch by doing crafts (here one day, terrified and gone the next- So long, Bob, Francesca, and Indigo).  I’ve also named the two that popped up by my doorway and their new friend: Bouncer, Gladys, and Dominique.

I told my son they were my pet spiders.

“Do you let them in the house?”

“No, No. They are outside pets.”

“Ahhhh.”  He paused. “Do you feed them?”

“No, they’re pretty self-sufficient. My light attracts the bugs that keep them fed.”

He nodded.

Spider Resources –

If you live in Seattle or the greater northwest, you’ll see an abundance of webs and cobwebs this time of year.  Just remember, those eight-legged critters are mostly just doing their best to keep out of your way.

Here’s a handy guide of venomous spiders, just in case:

Venomous Spiders of the Washington Area

A quick-glance map of where venomous spiders typically call home

And here’s a spider date for the most romantic of spider lovers.  This little cutie isn’t venomous or from the Pacific Northwest, but is pretty showy:


And here’s his brother cosplaying as General Grievous, because why not:

(The note on the video says that this was rotoscoped.  Well done!)

Happy Spider-tember everyone!

The Displacement of Arriving in Everett

Note: This is not the post that I have been fighting with.   I think it might help me finish wrapping my head around the aforementioned post, though.

When you grow up in a town, you are forced, as elementary and middle school students, to learn your local heroes.  Local heroes range from anything notable in literature, the arts, or sports up to future governors and presidents.  You gain insight from the names of streets such as “Chippewa” and places such as “Pere Marquette”.  You learn what significance (or lack thereof) your city has had in society, what homegrown talent arrived and left.

Almost exactly one year ago today, I was still commenting on how strange it was to not live in St. Louis.  How it was so green up here, how the temperatures were so mild.  How the rain really wasn’t as bad as everybody was letting on.  You know, for Seattle, anyway.

And Seattle was progressive.  And interesting.  And exciting.   And the birthplace of Grunge.  And the seat of Amazon, and Microsoft, and other companies.

Almost two years ago today, I gave up on a small project, which led me to bigger projects.

There is nothing like a drive to get to understand the history of a community – to try to connect with its past players and find places in its knowledge to connect with.

It’s silly the things you think about when you get nostalgic.  Like me, remembering how it is, grasping for knowledge as an elementary kid.  I’m doing it again now.  Instead of hunting down early Mark Twain or visiting the Scott Joplin house, I’m reading Norman H. Clark’s  Mill Town.  It’s been… interesting.  It’s also been the second time I’ve cracked the book, but the first time was just skimming to get taste of the flavor of the town.

I’ve been told to visit the “North-West” room in the Everett library.  I’m hoping to find some Max Miller there.  I’m hoping to find the history for a photo of one of the first Asian import stores in early Everett.

I need recommendations for early Seattle next – early authors, heroes, and histories to follow.  I’m intending to start with either Chief Seattle or with some of the other historical monuments out here, but whatever comes next, it’s sure to be new.