This Versatile Blogger Welcomes You to the Planet Baltuck

Hey!  It’s official!  I’m a Versatile Blogger!  First, thanks to these  folks for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.   

Mike Reverb is a writer with a great sense of humor, plenty of encouragement and useful tips for his colleagues.

Samir, a citizen of the world, is a creative writer who asks thoughtful questions about the art and craft of writing.

Maggie Myklebust, an American living in Norway,  just published her memoir, Fly Away Home, and her blog is great.

And Now….Welcome to the Planet Baltuck.

Eli–a typical inhabitant.

 Part of accepting the Versatile Blogger Award is that I share my world with you–or at least seven surprising and/or little known facts about myself.  So here they are…

1.  There really is a Planet Baltuck up there in the night sky.  It’s named after my big sister Miriam, the white sheep of the family, for her contributions to science.   Learn more about it in my post, After All.

Bea says, “Don’t go away.  There’s much more.  For instance…”

2.    I am a twin.  My brother Lewis is older by three minutes, but I’m bossier.  He must have been hogging all the room in there, because he weighed much more than I did at birth, but I made up for it by stealing his baby bottle.  We are best buddies now; I need to stay on his good side because he’s a great cook, and desserts are his specialty.

3.   I gave birth to my own critique group.  I’m so dang proud of my kids Eli and Bea.   We share a passion for history, art, travel, storytelling.  Best of all, they are great writers, and I can count on them for an honest insightful critique.  To learn more, check out Bea’s blog for writers, Adventures for the Faint of Heart.

 

4.  I was a guest on Romper Room.  I was on the program as part of a West Coast storytelling tour sponsored by General Mills.  It was October, so I told a spooky story, and BOO!  I made Miss Nancy jump!  Does that make me a Don’t’ Bee?

5.  I saw the filming of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  We were on the Yale campus tour four years ago looking at colleges for my son.  It was all very hush-hush, and we didn’t know until we got there what was going on.  Traffic was diverted, curbs were lined with trailers, dressing rooms, antique cars, and camera equipment.  We saw two scenes filmed, including a car scene with old boats from the late forties.  But we couldn’t get close enough to identify the actors.  To learn about my real life encounter with Indiana Jones a.k.a. Harrison Ford, click here.

6.  We came over on the Mayflower.  On my mother’s side, I am descended from four of the original passengers on the Mayflower.  Elizabeth Tilley came over with her parents, John and Joan Tilley, and married John Howland.  He was the only passenger to survive a fall overboard on the journey across the icy Atlantic.  If he hadn’t grabbed a rope trailing behind the ship, I wouldn’t be here today.   Neither would most of America, because almost everyone and his cousin is descended from someone who came over on the Mayflower, whether they know it or not.  To see the ornament we hang on the tree each year to commemorate this event, check out my post, The Christmas Gang.

7.  My favorite candy is Good ‘n’ Plenties.  A sweet burst and a long chew!  When I sent my son Good ‘n’ Plenties in a CARE package, his college roommates teased him for eating ‘old people’s candy.’  But my husband Thom says he read that Good ‘n’ Plenties are a mild aphrodisiac—and then he gave me a box.   I really don’t know about that, but they were very good—both of them.

Now for the best part!    I get to tell you all about these talented and fascinating bloggers as I pass this award on to them.

Island Traveler  is one man’s inspiring journey through life.

Stuff I tell my sister— Good insight into life–and she tells you while telling her best friend, her sister.

I May fly– Lovely photos, humorous and witty.

Susan Wingate—  Award-winning novelist who knows how to herd cats, well, sorta kinda.  But can she write!

Sabrina Garie— A lovely writer who happens to be well-versed in sci-fi.

Saraflower’s Blog— The author of By the Sword, with plenty of  insight and support for writers.

Walking Papers BlogInteresting, insightful, and always intriguing.

Daily Sweet PeasSweet indeed!  Lovely photographs and poetry.

Let’s Cut the Crap--An irreverant view of life after sixty-five.

Sarahpotterwrites— Sarah is a talented musician, artist, and poet.

The ObamaCratMr. J.B. is indeed versatile–he shares recipes, music, poetry, but most of all heartfelt convictions.

Four Blue Hills— A very professional presentation of everything from fun facts to world events.

It’s a Whole New WorldThis is one mom’s everyday life, and what she does to keep smiling.

The Wanderlust Gene— An intelligent and well traveled sixtysomething’s photographs, stories, and insight about life and its adventures.

A Map of Time, a Trip Into the Past-– Fascinating, well told, and often obscure fun facts from history.

Using Your Outside Voice

Before publishing my very first blog post, I ran it past my teenaged daughter Bea.

She said, “Mom, you’re using your storyteller voice again.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

She shrugged. “Oh, you know…narrative, formal, soft and wise. You might think like that inside your head, but it’s not the way you talk.”

“How do I talk?”

“You’re funny.   And sassy.  Mom, your idea is good. Just say the same thing, only write like you’d say it. Write in the same voice you used to write Real Troopers.”

    Out of the mouth of babes. How many times were we told as children to use our Inside Voice, the demure, soft, polite, quiet voice that will offend and disturb no one?   I’ll tell you: LOTS.  Now my own child was urging me to use my Outside Voice, that of the goofball, smart ass, class clown. It’s the sometimes-too-loud voice that spills out of my mouth when I’m with my family and friends. As Bea observed, it’s the voice I used in my novel-in-progress, Real Troopers. Maybe I struck the right chord in Real Troopers because it’s about sassy funny Girl Scout leaders, written from the point of view of a middle-aged woman who is desperately trying to find her real voice.

That post is now much more a conversation than a story, and Bea was right—I like it so much better. Conclusion: I am happier when using my Outside Voice, in my backyard, in my living room, and in my writing. All I need to get going is to make my readers a virtual cup of coffee, and come to the table–or the computer–in my jammies for an early morning chat.

Hey, got a minute? Wanta cuppa? Cream or sugar?

Have you had to struggle to find your voice in your writing, or in your life?   Do you have any tricks you could share with us?

BTW: Adventures for the Faint of Heart is my daughter Bea’s writing blog.  I can almost hear her voice when I read it.  Here is the link if you want to look her up: http://adventuresforthefaintofheart.wordpress.com/