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Je crois que vous devez mettre tout votre être à la table si vous voulez prospérer dans le monde fou d'aujourd'hui ; votre personnalité, votre sens de l'humour et, surtout, votre cœur. Tous ces éléments m'ont amené à lancer The Writer's Lounge.

7 mai 2021  

La fiction a été mon premier amour. J'ai adoré la façon dont Stephen Crane décrivait les scènes de la guerre civile dans   

« L'insigne rouge du courage », si clairement même s'il n'était pas là. C'était une représentation psychologique de la peur d'un jeune homme de mourir au combat. Crane a si éloquemment capturé la peur de la lâcheté de ce jeune homme, mais à la fin, il l'a conquise et il s'est senti comme un héros.  

  J'aime tout auteur qui maîtrise l'utilisation de  imagerie. L'un de mes passe-temps préférés est la peinture à l'huile. Un auteur qualifié peut peindre une scène avec des mots. C'est comme ça que j'aime écrire. Je veux mettre le lecteur dans la scène. Je veux qu'il ou elle vive la scène comme s'il y était. Je veux capturer l'émotion du conflit  en montrant et en ne disant pas. Qui ne veut pas une grande évasion, non? Quelle est ton opinion? 
J'aimerais avoir de vos nouvelles les gars. Passe une bonne journée!

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                                           How to Overcome a Writer

Not long ago I asked an online group of writers if they were lonely. I got over three hundred responses.  Eighty percent of them said that they sometimes felt lonely. Some people said they did not get lonely because the characters in their stories occupied space in their heads. I knew what they meant because characters can sometimes have a life of their own. 

But for many of the respondents, loneliness is a real issue. I know it can be for me. Writing is a solitary act. As I write this post, I am in a library because I rarely enjoy writing at home, so working at the library is less isolating. 


So how can a writer write without feeling lonely? 

Birds of a Feather Flock Together


 Find Your Tribe in Writer's Groups




Some writers find companionship in writer's groups. There are hundreds of writer's groups to choose from. I have been a part of three separate groups. The formats were set up where everyone took turns reading their stories. When it was my turn to read, the reactions to my work were usually mixed. There always seemed to be a nick-picker in the group. You know the type that questions every inconsequential detail from past tense to present tense who needs to know why street A does not cross street B at the correct spot (as if a reader from the far east would know any better).

It is not as if I expected them to appreciate my literary genius (just kidding). I wanted more input as to the story itself. Was it a good plot? Were the characters believable? What about the pacing? Was it too slow or just right? 

It was good to have some feedback, but sometimes the experience was not so much fun. I once wrote a crime story and read it to the group. One lady hated it and called and called it "dark." I found out later that she only liked romance novels. The story had a protagonist that was deeply flawed with emotional issues, and some people found him troubling. She said that she did not believe that anyone could be that unstable. She said he was "crazy."

The groups that I participated in were comprised of people who wrote in many different genres, so it was inevitable that some people would have difficulty relating to writing outside their niche. It dawned on me that this group of people was such a mixed bag of writers that it was impossible to get any kind of consensus as to the greatness of my work. All kidding aside, if you can find a group that is specific to your niche, that would be a good choice. 

So why join a writer's group? Why not just write alone and not be bothered with the opinions of others? In groups, there are newbies and established writers. Each can add value to the writing experience. Newbies can offer feedback and a fresh ear just as a new reader of your work can. Established writers can offer mentorship and guidance to aspiring writers. 

Human beings are social creatures. We are all tribal. We need the interaction and support of other people. I've heard that the hardest form of incarceration in prison is solitary confinement. People need people. Check with your local library for a writer's group near you.


Find Your Tribe in Book Clubs

The New York Times reports an estimated 5 million Americans belong to a book club (JStor Daily- Pamela Burger, “Women’s Groups and the Rise of the Book Club” August 12, 2015).

I like book clubs because it is an opportunity to discuss my latest reads with fellow readers. I enjoy hearing other people’s opinions about the current selection. My opinion of the protagonist may be different from other people’s. What I think is a delightful story may be terrible to someone else, and that is okay. 

I did have one negative experience in a book club that in retrospect was funny, but at the time I did not think it was appropriate. The group was discussing a novel by Agatha Christie. We were at a library in the back room seated in a semi-circle. The group took turns discussing their opinions on the characters and the plot. I thought it was an interesting discussion and I was enjoying myself. The only problem was that I had been sick with the flu all that week and I wasn’t able to finish reading the book. When it was my turn to give my opinion, I just took a pass. 

Apparently, one young lady in the group picked up on the fact that I hadn’t read the book. When it was her turn to share her opinion, she looked at me and said, “apparently this gentleman didn’t read the book.” I stared at her in disbelief, astounded and perplexed that a perfect stranger would feel it necessary to “out” me the way she did. Fortunately for me, no one else seemed to notice my embarrassing situation.  

I laugh today, thinking back on that situation, but it wasn’t funny at the time.  

It’s best not to take anything personal that someone says in a book club. Everyone has their own opinion about a story. That’s what makes it interesting. Check with your local library to see if they offer a book club.  

Find Your Tribe at Writer's Conferences


Many writers like to attend writer’s conferences. These are places where writers can meet editors, literary agents, and publishers. They can make some valuable connections and learn about the craft of writing   


Your Tribe on Social Media




  • There are Facebook groups where writers share experiences with writing their stories. Sometimes they need to discuss the development of the characters themselves. They also discuss issues with publishers and agents. They can connect with like-minded people who can provide feedback for their work. 

  • Instagram is a place where writers can announce book signings, and conferences and participate in discussions about the writing craft and other matters that concern writers. 

  • Twitter is a good place to build a following and interact with readers. 

          So stay connected to the tribe out there and don't isolate. Until next time...Norman.

Starved Rock State Park...A Hike Down Memory Lane












Recently I took a trip to Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, Illinois. I met up with a hiking group of about twenty-five people in the parking lot, and as we introduced ourselves to each other, I could not help but reminisce about my youth.  



I became familiar with Starved Rock when as a child of about six, I attended nearby Camp Illini. Every year, the staff would load us up on seven or eight yellow school buses that had terrible suspension and we would head out on the gravel road flanked by rows of corn on the right side and the raging river on the left. We sung camp songs that I don't remember, happy to go out for a day of hiking. I have been an outdoor person ever since. I loved those bumpy bus rides because it gave me a chance to laugh and tease some of the other kids on the bus. Those were some great memories.  

Starved Rock State Park is located less than an hour and a half from Chicago along the Illinois River. About two million people a year visit the park. It is a place where people come to picnic, fish for Channel Catfish, White Bass, Crappie, Bluegill and Walleye. Some people like to hike the narrow trails amid breathtaking waterfalls. They have a lodge, a campground, and a visitors center also.


We started down the trailhead, and I deliberately took up the rear because, I wanted to get some footage for my YouTube video.  Almost immediately a lady up ahead spotted a big bird in the trees. She said it was an eagle, but who knows?  

The story of Starved Rock goes back to the 1500’s when it was home to about 8,000 Native Americans. 


Image by Bob Bello from Pixabay 

I had forgoten how challenging the trails are. The group I was with are experienced hikers. I thought I was in good shape, but I had a tough time keeping up with them. I also had forgoten how many stairs there are on the steep inclines of the trails. People should make sure they have plenty of water. 

According to history, in 1673, French explorers Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette passed through on the Illinois river from Mississippi. Two years later Marquette returned to found a Christian mission.  

Later when the French claimed the region, they built Fort St. Louis atop Starved Rock in the winter of 1682. War parties from the Iroquois attacked, and the French abandoned the fort by the early 1700’s.  

Starved Rock Park derives its name from a Native American legend. Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa tribe, was slain by an Illinois brave while attending a tribal council in Southern Illinois. According to the legend, during one of the battles that ensued to avenge his killing, a group of Illinois, under attack by a band of Potawatomi, who were allies of the Ottawa, took refuge atop a 125-foot sandstone butte. The Ottawa and Potawatomi surrounded the bluff and held their ground until the Illinois died of starvation, giving rise to the name “Starved Rock.” The area around The Rock was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. The park region has been the subject of several archeological studies concerning both native and European settlements, and various other archeological sites associated with the park were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. ( 

This is based on oral history, there is no historical evidence that the siege happened. 











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