Fiction Friday: What do you think about them apples?

By Leslie Lindsay Misc Feb-March 2013 012

Yesterday, I wanted my 9 year old to get off the couch. She had the flatscreen tuned to TeenNick, a tall glass of milk, and a Little Debbie fudge brownie at her fingertips. If I let her, she would have sat there all afternoon. Homework would have gotten ignored, bickering with her sister over the remote would have ensued…and well, I wanted her to get off the couch.

So I said, “Come with me…I want to get your opinion on something I wrote today. I need to know if it’s realistic 9-year old talk.”

She rolled her eyes and stared at me.

“C’mon. Really,” I urged.

Reluctantly, she got off the couch. Grabbing her brownie, but leaving her milk behind, she followed me to the office where I opened up my document and began reading to her.

When I was finished, she said, “Yep. That’s pretty realistic. I could picture it all in my head.” She scampered off and headed to her own desk, a slanty artist’s table and said, “I’m gonna write, too.”

She took some printer paper from my office, folded it lengthwise and stapled, fashioning her own little book and then sauntered up to her desk wielding a pencil. I started on some edits.

“Mom!” she called. “How do you spell nowhere?”

I spelled it.

“And how about castle?”

Again, I spelled the word.

“And dresses?!” She called out. “It seems like there are too  many S’s.”

“There aren’t. That’s how it’s spelled.” I am getting annoyed now. So much for trying to share a workspace with my 3rd grader.



“How’s your book coming?”


“Oh, well mine’s almost done,” she chirps.

Figures. I’m spelling every word that goes into her book.


“Yes, Kate? My story is about Cinderella on the Titanic.”

I roll my eyes. The kid’s been obsessed about the oceanliner since forever. “We’re learning about folktales at school right now. Did you know there are about 40 different versions of a Cinderella story?”

“I didn’t know that.” I am partially awed and annoyed.

“Well, now there’s 41 cause I added the Titanic version.”


“Mom! How do you spell marriage?”

I blow out a puff of air, an exaggerated sigh before praising her efforts then spell marriage.

“Well, my book’s done!” she announces. “How ’bout yours?”


And so I capture this exchange for several reasons:

1) My writing (and subsequent reading of) only inspired my daughter her to do the same on her own level. That’s a win.

2) Creativity is contagious. A little spark from someone else can create a fire within someone different.

3) Ideas and inspiration can be shared.

4) 3rd graders are decidedly less sophisticated than their adult counterparts when it comes to writing a story. And that’s probably the way it should be. However, life would be so much easier if authors just took a few pieces of paper, stapled them together, grabbed a pen, and began.

5) The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And what she creates may have some similar ingrediants, but it may result in an apple cobbler, pie, cake, bread, danish, applesauce, or just sliced with a schmear of peanut butter. No matter–it’s still her creation. And that’s what matters.

Happy Weekend, all!  Write something delicious.

Fiction Friday: Novel Newspaper Article

By Leslie Lindsay Write On, Wednesday:  Creating a World So Believable Your Critique Partners Think You're Having an Affair

Here’s a glimpse into one of my newer characters, Nolan Baxter.  He’s a journalist for the Chicago Tribune who mostly writes things in the fluffy section of the paper–which just so happens to be my favorite section.  This is a mock newspaper article that will fit somewhere into that novel of mine…


Nolan Baxter

Wednesday, May 22, 2013      Chicago Tribune

          Every opera you’ve ever heard, every painting you’ve ever admired, every book you’ve ever read is reducible to a chemical released in the artist’s, composer’s, or author’s brain.  We can even map where in the brain that work got done.  Some may have occurred in the occipital lobe where imagery lives; some in the insula which feels emotion, and some in the prefrontal cortex where problem-solving and language take place.  It isn’t artistic beauty, it’s biology. 

          At least that is one way to look at it—but not the way we prefer.  Instead, we prefer the more esoteric way: that creativity is a flash in the pan summoned to you from some deep, dark mysterious place.  In a recent study, 58% claimed to have “sudden inspiration” when it comes to producing creative ideas, whereas 32% claim it takes time—that is, thinking about a problem for a good amount of time. 

          When creative individuals were asked if they think in terms of images or words, exactly half (50%) indicated they saw their ideas flushed out in the form of pictures.  While 34% found that their creative bursts poured forth in words alone; 4% found that their creativity was revealed through sounds. 

          Did you hear that? 

          Say you hear the rumble of a train and the blow of its horn.  It may spark your creative powers to draw forth a metaphor for solving another, unrelated problem.  The tick-rumble of your refrigerator may lead you think of the silly joke about your refrigerator running, but that joke can trigger another helping you remember where you put your keys.  Individuals with ‘average creativity’ may have some of these abilities, but not as strongly as those who are crowned with a creative cap. 

          Don’t feel like you’re a member of the elite “Club Creative?”  Never fear.  We may not all be created equally where this trait is concerned, but we do have a choice as to how we use the creativity we’ve got. 

Write on, Wednesday: Setting up Shop

By Leslie Lindsay

My critique partner and I were talking recently about where we  write the best.  She says, “I think I write best at home, at my dining room table…at night.”  And I think, “Ew.  That’s the last place I would want to write.”  If you are lucky enough to have your own office–then great!  If you aren’t then read ahead.  This post is all about setting up your ideal workspace.  (for the record–I’m a coffee shop writer from 10am-4pm–at least those are my peak hours, I’m known to write later in the night, too…but not because I like to). 

Do you like the idea of working from home?  Think you can just plop right down at your designated space at crank out a masterpiece?  Well, you may be right.  As for me–not a chance.  As a busy mom of two school-aged daughters I find that there is just too much to be done around the house.  “Oh, I’ll just drop a load of wash into the machine….” and then I see something else that needs to get done.  The dishwasher needs to be unloaded, for example–what the hey! And now suddenly, 20 minutes is gone.  And that’s without the kids home.  Now imagine they are there, asking 108 questions.  See where I am going (crazy).  I do my best to reserve home for househould stuff only and relaxing with my family.  Misc Feb-March 2013 013(another rendition of my office by soon-t0-be 8yo)

But I am writing this from home.  Go figure.

Most successful, in-the-zone writing happens for me while I am at my favorite coffee shop.  I go for the duration–we’re talking 7-8 hour days in which I set up shop and literally camp out at Caribou Coffee.  I love the people there–the friendliness–the overall atmosphere (no, this is not an advertisement for Caribou).  The folks there have grown to be like family for me.  They know me, and I know them.  When I roll into the parking lot, I think, “Ahh…I am home.”  Plus, I’ve heard that there is something about ambient noise that helps folks be more creative…for me, it’s true.  Silence is stifling. 

Perhaps you fall somewhere between the two camps–write at home, write away.  If that’s the case, then writing is very portable.  You just have to find your groove.  In fact, I do have home office.  I’m rarely in it.  Here’s a my daughter -see above) the-designer created for me, “Mommy at work.”  (that’s our fat, senior basset hound, Sally Mae at my feet)Misc Feb-March 2013 012

Okay–so what do you need to be a writer?

  • A brain is helpful, but not always mandatory
  • A notebook and pen which you keep with you at all times (I have several–one in the car, one in my purse, and one in my laptop bag).  You never know when you’ll be inspired (watching your kids at play, listening to the morning talk show, a song on the radio–of course, if you are taking notes in your car, wait till you are in a parking lot, or at least a stoplight). 
  • A laptop.  Now a days you can find them pretty cheaply.  Get one.  Use it.  Keep your files clean and up-to-date.
  • When you first start writing, you’ll want every book under the sun about the craft.  Don’t give into your Amazon temptation…those books are great after you’ve made some serious progress in just getting your ideas down. 
  • The drive and desire to write daily.  I’m not kidding.  You have to do it every day whether you want to, or not.  Keeping a daily blog helped me way back in 2009 when I decided to seriously start writing.  My word count then: at least 500 daily.  Now–heck if I know–I’m betting 2,000!! 
  • Those are the basics.  Next week, we’ll cover things like tough skin, little to no money, and the like.  (sounds like so much fun, doesn’t it?!) 

So, what are you waiting for…write on, Wedneday!!

For more information on setting up your space, see Writer Mama Christina Katz’s page

Write on, Wednesday: Get Inspired

By Leslie Lindsay

You have had one of those “perfect” writing days.  The kind where you felt you were completely utterly in the zone, you close your laptop with a satisfying click, and have the best lines that ever poured out of your soul.  You know what I am talking about? 

You do?!

Because I would go as far as to say you haven’t gotten a clue.  No, no…now don’t get me wrong.  I am sure you have had a least a moment or two where the above scenario really resonates, but overall–those really great, ahem, “perfect” writing days are few and far between. 

Here’s how is usually goes:  “I have a stupid synopsis to write.  I don’t wanna.  This is hard.  Why does anyone even bother to write?  What a waste of time, words, and paper.  Blah.  I am no good.  No one will care.  This is all a pipe dream.  No agent will sell this.” 

Okay–that’s how it is right now for me.  I don’t want to project.  But, haven’t you felt this way at least once before, too?  Most of us will qualify a good writing day as one in which you 1) have the time to write and 2) pound out something you are somewhat ‘good’ with.  It may not be the most perfect thing ever, but you can work with it. 

For some dumb reason, us writers go back and do it again.  Yep.  I find myself hauling my laptop all over town–the coffee shop, the library, and now as I sit at Whole Foods near a faux fireplace after having eaten a nice, healthy organic lunch of tofu and quinoa.  Nevermind that I had a snack-sized Baby Ruth shoved into my bag and a Pepsi.  (Shhh…the folks at Whole Foods don’t need to know).  I have written in the car on  my laptop leeching off of various Wi-Fi connections.  I have written in notebooks when I was bored from the endless chatter of my in-laws.  

Were any of those “perfect” writing moments?  No.  But they did give me something to work with.  In face, the bored notebook scene made it into my novel.  Who knew?!

The key here is to get and stay inspired.  Here are some of my favorite tips to do just that:

  • Keep a notebook with you at all times.  Seems like a nerdy thing to do?  Not so much–it helps to jot down something you hear on the radio, or in front of you in line at the post office or grocery store.  I keep mine in the car and will scribble down something at the next stop light or before pulling out of the parking lot. 
  • Have a binder or file folder to keep all of your ideas for a particular project in one place.   Love me some binders!  Each one is labeled with a working title and then I drop clippings, snippets, paragraphs of prose, photos, etc. into sheet protectors.  It keeps my brian engaged. 
  • I have a goal to write something everyday–something of non-fiction and something fiction.  Stretch yourself.
  • Critique other’s work.  It may seem like a waste of time at first, but trust me–you will become a better writer and will actually be inspired to work on your own stuff (like that stupid synopsis).
  • Do some field research for a potential story. Once I stopped at a tiny roadside cemetary.  Older than dirt, but curious as hell…I stepped out of my minivan and walked along the bumpy lawn, inpsecting names and dates of the headstones.  I have learned that every time I venture into a graveyard, I feel weird.  Headaches and tummy pains.  Could I weave this into a story?  You bet!
  • Go to Barnes & Noble (or bookstore of your choice).  Wander about the aisles and see what speaks to you.  Turn over and read the back jacket blurb.  Sniff the binding (okay–don’t do this if others can see), and thumb through the pages.  Find a passage you love.  Imagine your book among them.

Go home and write it.  Write on, Wednesday!

Write on, Wednesday: Getting Distracted

By Leslie Lindsay

I am a stay-at-home writer who mothers.  I should have all kinds of time to pound out the Great American Novel, yes?  But I don’t.  Have time.  Or the Great American Novel. 

Here’s why:  life is busy.  You know that, I know that.  Your brother’s hampster knows that.  (Which is sort of how I feel sometimes–a hampster going round and round in their little sqeaky wheel).  Not only do I have two kids under the age of 8, but I have a house to maintain, a fridge to stock, a body to keep in shape (somewhat), and toilet’s cleaned.  All of this takes time.

I also have a non-fiction book floating around out there that constantly needs hand-holding, not unlike the freshman who just went off to college.  Calls for money (read: marketing),  how to sort laundry (read: connecting with the right readership), and what to do when the sorority girls are being bitchy (read: adult bullies who hate that you are stepping on their toes).  Yes, I have a lot to do. 

Seems I am not the only writer who has distractions.  The most recent issue of Writer’s Digest talks about just that.  The article is actually about writer’s block, but we can all benefit from the wisdom  gleaned in this issue when you spin it the right way.  Here goes:

  • Willpower.  You know what I mean.  Do I have the donut or the wheat-grass shake?  Sure, we can’t all be in the zone (the donut)  but we can carve out time to write, even if what comes out is like wheat grass on the screen.
  • Discipline versus Distraction.  Okay, this is the heart of the matter.  We get mail all the time–electronic distractions such as Facebook, email, IM/texting, phones, all the time.  We can’t respond to those distractions every time they come.  We would literally  get nothing done.  So, best to be disiplined.  Say, “I can’t check my email till this chapter/scene is done…at least a first draft.”  
  • Reacting versus Creating.  It takes time and skill to craft something new.  Do that when you are most fresh.  And I am not talking ‘freshly showered,’ but mentally sharp.  When you need to react, do so when  you aren’t as sharp.  So, stave off those needs to respond to an email at the peak of your creative time.  Do that when  you are least creative, but still “sharp-enough.” In case you are wondering:  I am best from about 10-4pm and after that, forget it.  That’s when I take care of household things and read–because reading fills my creative cup. 

Handle your distractions:

  • Know when your peak times are.  You may have to fit your writing around a day job, or you may have to write when  you can…and that may not be ideal for your creativity, but you will find your groove. 
  • Make sure you get plenty of exercise, water, and protein.  It helps your brain think.
  • Think about telling your story to a single reader.  It helps you focus in a real and meaningful way.
  • Keep your writing sessions short.  Folks say that 90 minutes of focused work time is best.  After that, your mind doesn’t process as well.  And remember, your brain is made to process inforamtion, not recall it verbatium.  Give your self a d break …

But, Write on, Wednesday! 


Apraxia Monday (on Thursday): Teaching the Teacher about Apraxia

By Leslie Lindsay

If you are like me, then you have just spent a good chunk of your evening wondering about your child’s new school year.  Who is her teacher?  What time is the bus coming?   Do I have all of the necessary school supplies?  What about shoes?  That first-day-of-school outfit?  (It’s a big day for all that in my neck of the woods here in Chicagoland). 

But have you thought about how you might broach the subject of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) with your classroom teacher? 

Like many, your child’s teacher may not know what CAS is–or how to help.  It’s up to you to inform them.  Short of giving them a copy of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012)–okay, shameless plus–you can do a few other things to prepare yourself and your child for a successful year in the classroom. 

Teaching Your Child’s Teachers about Apraxia [excerpted from Speaking of Apraxia, Woodbine House 2012.  Available where books are sold) 

Do you wonder what you should tell your child’s teacher about apraxia?  Not all teachers will have specific knowledge on all special needs. Kate’s preschool teacher (you can adapt your needs to any grade) admitted that she didn’t know much about apraxia, but she was very willing to learn. She knew it had something to do with verbal skills, but that was about it.

It helped a little to give Kate’s teacher the scientific explanation: “It’s a motor-neurological communication disorder in which she knows what she wants to say, but just can’t quite get it out.” What really helped was when I said, “It’s like being totally exhausted and not able to carry on a conversation.” She got it then. I further explained that Kate had to work really hard to have even a simple conversation.    

Other explanations from parents you may consider adapting:

  • “You know that feeling of being tongue-tied, or having a thought on the tip of your tongue? Well, that’s how Adam feels most of the time.”  
  • “Ask someone how their day was, and then tell them they can’t use their words to tell you.

What’s a Parent to Do? Meet with the teacher as early in the year as possible and share with her specific information about CAS and how it affects your child. There is a fabulous “Dear Teacher” letter on the Apraxia-Kids website written by Sharon Gretz, MEd, the founder of CASANA (Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association North America). I urge parents to print it and give it to your child’s teacher. You can find the letter at Once on the page, head to the search field, type “teacher letter.” You’ll get several hits, but the one you want is a letter that is downloadable in PDF format. The neat thing about this letter is it gives suggestions on how teachers can help your child at school.

While you’re on the Apraxia-Kids site, look at the brochures about apraxia written with a lay-person in mind. Like the “teacher letters,” these brochures are downloadable and printable. Consider including one with the letter you give your child’s teacher. Make it into a little “welcome to my child packet.” Including a brief write-up on things about your child is very helpful, too. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy, just a few bullet points like this:

  • Fun, outgoing child
  • Likes art and being creative
  • Excels at gross motor activities
  • Slow to warm up, may need to be drawn into social situations with specific questions or play
  • Loves books

Of course, your descriptions may be different than mine! Now if every parent would do something like this for their child’s teachers (whether or not they have CAS), it would take a lot of guesswork out of teacher’s lives.

Here are some more tips on putting together an information packet for the teacher:

  • Give her a book (like this one) or DVD on Childhood Apraxia of Speech (“Hope Speaks” is available on the Apraxia-Kids website:
  • Provide a list of easy ideas that may help with speech in the classroom (refer to Chapter 9).
  • Remind the teacher that while your child sometimes has a hard time communicating, or takes longer than usual to respond to a question, apraxia does not affect her intelligence.  She does not have to simplify things for your child if she only has CAS. (Of course, if she has Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, or another disability in addition to CAS, you will want to advise her about any learning difficulties related to the other condition.)
  • Offer to create a communication notebook or worksheet that can be shared between parent and teacher. We made worksheets on the computer. I printed out five of them Sunday night and placed them in Kate’s backpack for Monday morning. Each day her teacher filled them out and sent them home with Kate. This daily report gave me some talking points for Kate about her day.
  • Be open and available. In The Complete Guide to Special Education, authors Dr. Linda Wilmshurst and Dr. Alan Brue recommend that you keep your ears and mind open to new ideas from your child’s teacher or other school professional. They typically have lots of experience and ideas in working with kids that just might help yours. If you disagree with a suggestion, ask more about it. It’s part of their job to explain it.
  • Consider communicating some tidbits from the home front. For example, things like “Papa and Nana visited this past weekend,” or “Kate really enjoys the unit on frogs—ask her what we saw last night when we visited the neighborhood pond.”  This gives your child’s teacher something to ask her about and encourages verbalization on things that are meaningful to your child’s home life.


Write on, Wednesday: The Art of War for Writers

By Leslie Lindsay

The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises by James Scott Bell (Dec 9, 2009) (retrieved from on 8.8.12)

We writers are an odd group.  I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I know because we work really hard at nothing all day.  No, no…that came out wrong, too.  It seems so easy to be a writer, but alas it is not.  You see, to be  a good writer, one must really have the drive.  One must really have patience, creativity, observation skills out the waazoo…and have thick skin.  Really thick rhino skin. 

About 10 days ago, I was really struggling with my writing.  I was cruising through my manuscript on my laptop nodding here and there and thinking, “Hummm…not bad.”  And then I got to a place where I thought the whole darn thing just sucked.  I wanted to stuff it all and move on with my life.  After all, I was packing on pounds from writing at my favorite coffee shop (I swear just smelling coffee and carbs adds inches),  and figured no one will really care about my story, I might as well just call it a day and get back to the gym.  (“Body by Caribou”). 

Then one of my writerly friends suggested THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS (James Scott Bell, 2009).  I loved this book!   I can’t tell you enough good things about it (you can read my review on GoodReads).  But here is one thing that really resonated with me: 

The long-term career writer needs these skills: (pg. 11-12)

  • Desire.  Hunger inside of you…sacrifice time and money and endure frustrations. 
  • Discipline.  You gotta produce.  Quota a day, 6 days a week.  Give yourself a word count and stick to it.
  • Committment to Craft.  You can’t just “dash off a book.”  You need to learn your craft to do it well. 
  • Patience.  It’s takes time.  But you can cut down the time if you have the three steps above (desire, discipline, and committment)
  • Honesty.  You gotta confront your weaknesses as a writer
  • Willingness to learn.  No chip on the shoulder here.  Learn all you can.  You can never stop learning.
  • Rhino Skin.  Learn from every rejection and don’t let rejection hold you back.
  • Long-term View.  Don’t think, “Do I have a book inside of me?”  Think:  “Do I have a writer inside of me?”  And answer YES!!
  • Talent.  This is the least important.  Everyone has some talent.  It’s what you do with it that counts.

How’d you do on that list?  Any weaknesses?  Be honest.  Can you turn them around?  The book actually suggests you journal about this list.  And then look back on it a year from now to see where you are in the process of becoming/being a writer, not “just” getting a book out. 

So, I have some revisions to work on…better write on, Wednesday!

Apraxia Monday: “Apraxia…You Just Gotta Practice!”

By Leslie Lindsay

iStock 000011309047XSmall 300x199 Speech Practice That Doesnt Take 4EVER!

I wanted to share with you a personal moment–and one that I think will touch you, whether you have a child with CAS, or not.  [Portions of this post originally appeared as a guest blog on Say What Y’all, hosted by Haley Villines.  Thanks, Haley for allowing me to be a guest on your blog].

You won’t soon forget her.  The red hair and blue eyes the size of saucers will linger in your memory.  So, too will the fact that she is as fire-y and energetic as that copper hair that cascades down her back, framing her freckled face with possibility. 

And when you hear her speak, you may have an inkling that she once suffered from moderate to severe childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), or you may be none the wiser. Although Kate is a bright, creative, and eager soon-to-be 2nd grader, she has overcome a road block most of us never have to deal with: a struggle to communicate expressively. 

I won’t bore you with the early days of suspicion and diagnosis and our first experiences with an SLP, but I will give you just a teensy bit of background:  Kate didn’t say much of anything—expect a friendly “hi”—for the first 2 ½ years of her life.  She was diagnosed with CAS at that time and began an extensive speech therapy regime 2-3 times a week for about 2+ years.  She is speaking  just fine now—with a few minor backslides here and there. 

When I was in the midst of writing, “Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech,” (Woodbine House, March 2012), I developed and facilitated a small parent education group called “Small Talk:  All About Apraxia” in the Chicagoland suburbs.  I wanted to connect with other parents also walking the apraxia path, hear their ideas and dilemmas, and facilitate their journey.  On one occasion, I brought Kate along.  Actually, she asked to join me!

“Mom, can I go to your [a]praxia group?”  She inquired one afternoon.

I shrugged and bit the inside of my cheek, “Well, I guess so.” I replied.  “But it might be a little boring for you…a bunch of mommies talking about apraxia…” 

“I don’t care.  I want to hear what you’re talking about,” she replied. 

And so she came.  But, beforehand, I asked her to think about what she might say to these parents.  She pondered that a moment and then rushed off to her room where she sat at her desk drafting out a speech.  She presented it to me just before we headed out that evening.  It read:

“I have upraxea [apraxia].  It is not seryous [serious].  All you have to do is practis [practice] your words more.  Don’t wory [worry].  Your kids will be ok.” 

Pride coursed through my veins.  I hugged my daughter and praised her for being able to communicate her thoughts on the disorder that has plagued her for most of her life.  It’s not every child who has that insight at her age. 

Once at our “Small Talk” meeting, I introduced Kate to the group.  The mommies smiled encouragingly as she read from her paper in stilted English, much like we might if we were visiting a foreign country and reading from a Berlitz book.  They beamed and applauded afterwards, some even dabbing their eyes. 

You see, it took a lot of courage for her to come to the group that evening and speak to a group of adults she didn’t know about something so intimate and close to her—to us as a family.  I couldn’t have been more proud. 

As usual, she was one to something.  Having apraxia really just means that one needs to practice speaking more than others might.  While I don’t want to oversimplify things—it’s hard, long practice—but if we as parents can reframe the diagnosis of CAS to “a-word-practicing-disorder,” we may have a lot less stress and anxiety.

Today—literally—we were talking about some words that are troublesome for Kate.  She said, “I can’t really say shoulder.  It sounds like soldier.  And what’s a scone, anyway?  You mean cone, right?”   As a family, we laughed—we agreed—there are some words that are hard to say.  But if you practice them, you just might learn to say them. 

“ Apraxia.  You just gotta practice.”  –Kate L. 

For more information on the Say What, Y’all blog, visit

Coming up:  The Teacher is Talking (Tuesdays), will highligh the recently-released book, Imagine: How Creativity Worksby Jonah Lehrer (HMH, 2012).  From Bob Dylan’s lyrics to the Swiffer Mop, you will be amazed at some of the things that come from this arcane force we call creativity.  Stay Tuned.Product Details

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer (Mar 19, 2012) (image retrieved from 7/16/12)

In My Brain Today: Insult Others Like Dr. House

By Leslie Lindsay

Hugh laurie 01.jpg
Image Retrieved from on 6.21.12

I have a little bit (okay–huge) crush on Hugh Laurie.  I don’t know if it is really the man or the character, (Dr. Greg House), or some kind of hybrid version of the guy I am in love with.  And can I really be in love with someone I’ve yet to meet or spend any time with?  Exactly.  It’s all sort of speculative and fantasy…just don’t tell my hubby.  He tends to get a bit jealous about this…uh, unrequited crush.

So, when I was browsing the bookstore I came across this book, Lines for All Occassions:  Insults and Comebacks(Who’s There, Inc. 2008).  It had me laughing out loud in the store and it wasn’t expensive, yet it fits into my pocket or purse.  I bought it.  The book brings be a little closer to Dr. House.  It makes me feel like I can be as good as delivering one-liners as he is.  It makes me feel a bit like a bad girl.  I love it!  And it just may help me be a better writer…you know, get into character. 

So, here goes some great insults.  (Fair warning:  they are insults.  A few may be a little off-color).   

  • “You are so old, when you were in school history was called current events.” 
  • “You are the reason the middle finger was created.”
  • “Differential equations just aren’t sexy”
  • “I was at the ancient history museum today and thought of you.”
  • “If I wanted to hear from an a-hole, I would have farted.” 
  • “You are the dark and handsome type.  You look handsome when it’s dark.”
  • “You’re so old your social security number must be in the single digits.”
  • “I’m sorry, but I don’t speak skank.” 
  • “I don’t know what you’re problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce.”
  • “I think you put the K in crazy.”
  • “He can’t help it…he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”  –Ann Richards on George H.W. Bush. Hugh Laurie

And that is what is in my brain today, Thursday June 21st 2012. 

Write on, Wednesday: What a Writer Needs

By Leslie Lindsay

Even good writers need a break.  Bad ones, too.  Writing it hard work.  You may beg to differ, especially if you are not a writer.  “How hard can it be to sit and think and type?” you may wonder.  Oh, but it is.  Let me explain:

To be a writer, one has to be creative.  Then, one has to channel that creativity into something meaningful.  Read: organized.

So, to be a writer, one has to be organized and creative?  Well, yes.  At least to some degree.  (And don’t those two qualifiers sound a bit like an oxymoron?).  Exactly.

A writer also has to have time.  Time to ponder.  Time to process.  Time to live life.  Time to be out in the “real world,” (because good writing is based upon experience, and not just assumption).  A writer needs time to read.  Because good writing is often the product of good reading (and points one and two above).  But most of all, a writer must have time to write.

A writer must also have thick skin.  It’s hard to hear, “sorry, but your novel pretty much stinks and we can’t won’t publish it.”  Because, chances are you poured your heart and soul into that manuscript.  It’s a by-product of you.  How could anyone not want you?!

To be a writer, one must be persistent.  That means being persistent in your writing.  Do it every day.  Yes, that may sound intense…but hey, you eat at least once a day, right?  You go to the bathroom at least once a day, too.  So, why not write once a day, as well?  But not only that, you must continue being politely persistent with your proposed publisher, agent, whomever….they are busy.  They likely have many books and projects they are working on and thinking about.  You, not so-much (I know the truth hurts; see point above).  Remind them of your fantastic writing talents every so often.  Do it diplomatically, of course.

And now back to this “break” idea.  You do need a break so you can go out in the world and remember all there is to be thankful about.  You need to listen, observe–because that is the stuff books are made of.

Write on, Wednesday!

Leslie Lindsay, R.N., B.S.N. is a former child/adolescent psych nurse at the Mayo Clinic who feels her experience in “the real world” of nursing has helped prepare for her job as a mother to a daughter with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS).  Her book, Speaking of Apraxia:  A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech will be released next week by Woodbine House ( and is also being offered through Amazon.  She continues to write in the women’s fiction genre.