sharing a poetic LIFELINE with the world

Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Lisa Gentile, Mentor and Moxie Maverick

We’re delighted to spend some time today with
Lisa Gentile,
the “Moxie Maverick”,
career coach, writer, poet, creative artist,
and mentor to
the Poetic Muselings.

 Michele: Well, Lisa, we’ve had a bit of history since meeting in cyberspace at the October 2007 Muse Online Writers Conference. So much has changed for all of us! Your poetry workshop in 2008 was so powerful, it literally burned out your internet connection on that last day of chats. As I tap-danced my way through a room full of writers from all over the world, we decided to let you know what we were taking back with us from the intense week. Last November, Lifelines was published, the culmination of our efforts following the workshop.

 Did you ever think we’d be having this conversation, in this way, and this time?

Lisa: I had no idea what I was starting when I signed into that first workshop. I never expected that we would later meet up in various states. Now it makes perfect sense that  we are writing to each other, with each other, and in one another’s spaces.

 What do you think helped us succeed when so many drop by the wayside?

It seemed to me that you all immediately appreciated the potential of your sharing. Our workshop exercises asked you to step back and really listen to your work, yourselves, and each other. But you trusted each other, or at least wanted the possible outcomes enough to take risks together.

 We learned so much from you — what might we have taught you in return?

I was humbled to hold an early version of your manuscript, which would eventually become Lifelines, in my hands. It was the culmination of your shared perseverance and vulnerability. I was grateful to have witnessed its creation, even from afar. You taught me to remain open-minded with respect to what others may achieve.

As you know, I see connections in even the not-so-obvious places. When people “take root” in each others’ lives, all kinds of things are possible.

For me, connection has always meant to witness another person, to see, acknowledge and respect what’s important to them. I like how Dr. Brené Brown defines connection as ‘the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when  they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.’ I find her use of the word ‘sustenance’ compelling. It seems like an important part of the connection between the Poetic Muselings that became Lifelines.

Tell us about Moxie Mavericks — how does one “become” one? And why should one?

Moxie Mavericks is the name of my company, my professional life coaching practice. Moxie means gumption, derring-do, etc. But for me it’s a family value with which I was raised. I come from several generations of people who stand by their principles, whether they make us heroes, antiheroes, or observers. We enjoy each other’s stories. And those stories don’t even have to be spectacular, as long as they are real. We simply witness each other’s moxie when we see it. So people with similar values tend to feel at home here.

Mavericks are the sorts who get very serious about creating personal meaning in their lives. They are, by definition, out on the very edge of the frontier. It’s important to note that the landscape might be internal. People have special needs when they shift to maverick mode. It gets lonely out/in there. Very often others in their lives don’t see the singular vision that a maverick might have or initially understand the actions he or she chooses. So in coaching we build a space where mavericks can get customized support and feel safe to experiment with ideas.

We all have access to moxie and can be a maverick. It’s in there.

I know you are passionate about the concept of transition in an individual’s life. What does this mean to you? What are you seeing that’s so exciting?

People usually expect life coaching to be about defining their dreams, about setting and reaching goals, and about overcoming challenges like procrastination. Indeed, these are some of the tactical aspects of the work we do in coaching. But what I see over and over in my clients is a desire to make meaning out of a transition, to understand what’s being lost and gained by moving. In some cases, if we rush into goal setting we miss the opportunity to slow down and reflect. Forced goals lack authenticity. They are burdensome rather than enriching. Giving clients space and time for this reflection has deepened and enlivened the experiences my clients and I share.

As we talked recently, I envisioned transition as trying to figure out what you need to put in your backpack for a journey — and more importantly, what you must take out and leave out in order to make a transition. That’s the hard part — letting go of what only weighs you down. Any guidance on this? 

We often don’t know that we are entering the journey of a transition when it begins. Sometimes we realize we are far from “home” only when we feel lost. Something has changed but we don’t know what. We also might not know where we are going next. So it can be tricky to pack in advance. Either way, it helps to have a stash of compassion, for oneself and for others. We are all doing the best we can. We need to be patient with ourselves. This is how we can safely look at what’s holding us down. I won’t pretend that it’s easy work. The second handy item is appreciation for ourselves and others. I work with clients on spotting signature strengths–the ones that offer us the most pleasure and personal meaning when expressed. They make for an internal compass of sorts, one that can be recalibrated as interests change.

Where are you going with projects and other aspects of your life these days? 

People have been asking for retreats so I’m working that out. I understand more fully now how they might be of service. This fall two plays that my husband, Nick, and I wrote will be performed at the San Francisco Fringe Festival. Our program is called “Weird Romance”. We have a wonderful director, cast, and crew bringing our characters to life. It’s quite a treat to have others see your imagination walking and talking under the lights. We love hearing the audience laugh.

And what about your future? What’s coming up? 

I am exploring the vulnerability of stillness. It’s a wild ride.

You can’t get away from here without a few words about one of the strangest boat stories I’ve heard in years — and I’m a (somewhat) experienced sailor!

What is the project that made you take to the seas, what’s happening with it now, and where do you see it going?

You are talking about Spirit of the Sea, a new youth sailing program for which I volunteer. This year we acquired a very special boat as our flagship, S/V Ocean Watch. In February we splashed her, cleaned her up, and sailed her from Anacortes, WA, to San Francisco, CA.

We take youth sailing on the San Francisco Bay at not cost to them. Just participating in the sailing of a boat and experiencing the marine environment can be powerful to our youth. But we’re taking it a step further by offering activities that incorporate experiential education, citizen science, and service learning to connect these kids with critical thinking, mentors, and possible career paths. We hope to instill these young sailors with a sense of agency that will transfer to other domains.

“No one makes that trip at that time by choice.” 

That’s exactly what half a dozen insurance agents said.

Why did you do it?

I no longer know why we delivered the boat at that time. To get it done, I suppose. I did it because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sail with an incredible group of experienced and moxie-rich sailors, some of whom had become my dear friends. I did it because I had earned it. We had worked hard to get the program to that point and sharing this adventure was a celebration. Also, I was ready for a new way to access information about myself in the world. This is the point of the adventure coaching that I do with some of my clients. This adventure was an opportunity for me to exercise different strengths outside of my daily routine.

Any highlights?

I witnessed first-hand the value of a “game-face” in sailing leadership. It keeps everyone calm and focused. There were many perfect moments. There was a perfect hour of a perfect afternoon. I felt secure with my fellow crew so I was free to marvel at the ever-changing shapes of the waves, patterns of the bubbles, and colors of the waters. And I had some chocolate. I think I felt deeply myself and connected at the same time. But I find that the more I try to look back at these moments squarely, the more they seem to shimmer and dissolve. They are prismatic.

So my work now is to remember how these moments felt and stay open to those sensations in the future.

Was this a transitional journey for you?

It offered key moments in a larger transition. The engine died one morning at dawn, just before a shift change. So everyone was up, exhausted, and busy. While others tracked the problem and rebuilt parts I stayed on watch alone at the helm. We had no wind so we were especially vulnerable. Even once we started moving again, my job was relatively simple: monitor the radar, watch for hazards, make course adjustments, and scan the horizon through the binoculars. But I was absolutely satisfied. I loved that no one checked on me. As the sun came up I studied the beautiful sky and coastline and faced the notion that I had fulfilled, in one way or another, just about every promise that I had made to myself as a kid. I decided to not even review the list, to just let it all be. Now I’m shifting my focus from doing to being.

They say you never return from a journey to the same place. 

When I left I was thrilled that I didn’t know when I would return. I don’t think I’ve quite yet returned. I am practicing patience and expressing my curiosity.

Your websites are as eclectic as you are, Lisa — so much more to talk about at a later date! 

Glad to see that Spirit of the Sea is a recognized 501 tax-exempt Public Charity  — which means that donations not only go to a very good cause, but are tax deductible. I encourage our readers to look at this site and consider a donation to the worthy cause. (Hint: the price of a couple of lattes could help float the boat.):    www.spiritofthesea.org

Your theater production is a hoot! How I’d love to be in San Francisco on Sept. 8, 9, 11 or 14 to see “Weird Romance”:   http://www.sffringe.org

Thank you so much for joining us today! As always, we appreciate your generosity of spirit, wisdom, humor, and that sense of connection we cherish. Good luck with all your adventures.

Thanks, Michele. My pleasure, and I look forward to sharing more soon.

To learn more about what Lisa does, check out:  www.moxiemavericks.com

 

 

Farewell, Ray

Photo of Ray Bradbury.

The writing world lost one of its most gifted writers when Ray Bradbury passed away on June 6th. He was one of my literary heroes. Not only could he captivate me with strong story lines and amazing characters from his brilliant imagination, his style reads to me like poetry. It has a magical quality to it that strikes a deep chord in my soul.

I will miss him for that, as will many others. If you ever need a dose of literary Red Bull to energize your writing, get yourself a  copy of his book Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You. I promise you won’t regret it.

 

 

Editor’s POV: How to Submit your Work

Lin Neiswender’s Post about Publication Leads was great. She reiterated that there ARE places to send our work, and that we writers and poets are a community; when we share resources, advice, ideas, and our hearts, we all benefit. We are the Poetic Muselings, with a published book of poetry, because others before us opened the doors, reached out to help us, and now we are continuing the process.

I’ve been Poetry Editor for Apollo’s Lyre e-zine for almost two years, having inherited a marvelous forum that I’ve made my own. We publish poets and poems from all over the world, from highly credentialed folks, and those who are courageously sending their work out for the first time — some of it decades old, but unseen by other eyes. I love this unpaid job, the discovery of a fresh voice, vivid imagery, the teasing of form. Our readers must love the publication, too, because they’ve commented about how particular poems inspired them to send their work for consideration.

We get LOTS of poems, and often the decision of what to publish is very difficult. When I first read the incoming items, I do a quick scan of the poem. Some grab me immediately, a huge “YES!!!” bounces in my head. I tag these stars, so they stand out. I don’t pay attention to the bio info yet — I just know I want to find a spot for these words in a future issue.

The next category are those where the poet didn’t follow any of the guidelines:

Soldiers at Yorktown

Soldiers at Yorktown (Graf, 2005)

— a maximum of FORTY (40) lines of poetry, excluding stanza breaks

— spread out in up to FOUR poems

— subject line: Poetry, YOUR NAME, # of poems, # of lines total

—  poem and bio  in the body of the email. No attachments

— at a minimum, the use of “//” to designate stanza breaks.

(I also ask for “/” at the end of each line of poetry, but that seems to confuse people.)

— People may send in their work whenever, so long as it doesn’t exceed 40 lines and four poems in any three month period. In the guidelines page of Apollo’s Lyre, I lay out this information, with examples.

Ignore these and your poems are likely to be returned or ignored, depending on the circumstances. Send something with a blank subject line, or an attachment (unless I’ve specifically requested it), and it will travel directly to “Trash”. Do yourself a favor and make it easier for the editor or publisher not to say “NO”.

I’ve received emails from some folks who send (I kid you not!):

— one long email, with over 250 lines of poetry, in multiple poems

— one long email with ONE poem of over 200 lines

— one poem per email, with over a dozen emails received in a short period of time.

— collections of poems (often a dozen or more, with around 100 lines or so)

These leave me with the feeling that I’m looking in someone’s closet, and it’s my job to decide what they should wear. Don’t send me “everything” — send me your very best poem(s).

The next part is trickier, and always amazes me, since it gives the impression that the person submitting didn’t care where or to whom, and assumed we’d figure it out:

— maybe because my name is so often misspelled, I triple-check the editor’s name, spelling, title, etc., before sending anything out. So, when I see my name spelled in any of a multitude of variations, it says someone didn’t proofread before mailing, or didn’t pay attention.

— recently, I got a spate of poems addressed to me as well as about a hundred of the poet’s nearest and dearest editors — with all of our names listed in the cc’s. This really tells me that someone was hunting with a shotgun, not a rifle, hoping to hit and slow down at least one of us without extra effort.

We’re talking about email, people! It’s not like they were worried about postage! What would an employer say to a letter like this? “To Whom It May Concern: I would really like to work for your company, but I don’t think I should have to do any research about what you do, or what you ask for. I don’t have to follow any of your rules, since I’m so incredible you’ll be in a bidding war for my services. Oh, yes, I don’t have much in the way of publishing credits, but that shouldn’t worry you.Please call me back tomorrow. Sincerely, Princess Poet OR Frog Prince.”

Believe me, every time you send your work out in the world, you are applying for a job, that of writer.

If you don’t follow general guidelines, you leave the impression you might be difficult to work with. This leads me to a third category of poems — those with potential, maybe some minor fixing or clarification to bring out their souls.

This pile is reviewed several times, under different circumstances. Some poems take more concentration to grasp, and are worth the effort. Some may need a bit of rearrangement of images, or a shift to present tense, reduction of “ing” words and unneeded articles. Poetry doesn’t have to have complete sentences, cover all gaps. I read these poems aloud for cadence, rhyme, awkwardness or smoothness of sounds.

Before you send anything in — even (in my opinion) novels or non-fiction, but especially poems — read it aloud. Hear what you’ve written, listen to how the sounds complement, contrast, enhance your intent. Where do you breathe? Is it clear from the poem? I know that my Mac desktop computer, and my Windows 7 laptop, have a text-to-voice program that will read your words to you. Usually this is part of “accessibility” options. Turn it on and try it.

There are two other general categories of poems that don’t make it into our publication:

— Those that aren’t quite the quality level yet, perhaps too cliche-driven, forced rhyme, or otherwise not appropriate for Apollo’s Lyre in subject matter. Not all poems are right for all publications. That’s where the search for publishers is important. Read back issues.

— Some incredibly wonderful poems may not be used simply because we don’t have room to publish everything we want, and/or we have other similar poems we’re using. Choosing is hard! Two poems about very similar subjects requires a decision about which one is “best” for us, at the time. I wish the poets success placing the ones I’ve passed on.

I’m as susceptible as anyone else when it comes to being treated fairly, with respect, understanding, and a willingness for a poet to work with me to edit a poem. Usually I’m right with my suggestions, since I’m approaching it with some distance; it isn’t my baby, but I care about it. Sometimes I’m wrong; I just didn’t “get it” about what was intended. When I’ve heard the background, I understand, and might suggest a few words be added to the bio, to help the reader understand, too.

I’m blown away at the talent out there, and here with our blog. I hope some of this helps you get ready for your next batch of outgoing angels. Help them fly to their destination, and not get eaten by the nasty gatekeeping trolls (like me!).

Let us know if you try this, and it works — we’ll spotlight your success. And, if you share other ideas of where to submit poems, we’ll keep an active spot here, giving you credit for it, of course.

Keep writing!

Michele

 

 

Make Visible: Start Your Own Tribe

Please refer to my previous post Make Visible:  Find Your Tribe.

So you’ve checked out a few social networking sites and been to a few local meetings but don’t really feel comfortable with any of them.  Give it time!  Maybe you just need to hang around for awhile and get to know people better.  Or maybe, and this is very likely, the groups don’t address you specific interests.  What to do?  Why not start your own social networking site or offline group and find your tribe?

Wait.  Don’t abandon the sites and groups you’ve tried out.  They are good places to find people with similar or the same interests that you have.  Here are seven easy steps to starting your own tribe:

  1. Decide on the focus for your group. It should be something you are passionate about. You don’t need to know everything about your subject to start a group about it.
  1. Name your group. Find a name you can live with that sums up what your group is all about.
  1. Find a free (or paid) platform for your new tribe. Or find a meeting place for your offline group.  Here are some suggestions, by no means exhaustive.

Online:

Google Groups

Yahoo Groups

Webs.com

Tribe.net

Ning.com

Offline:

Libraries

Churches or Synagogues

Community Centers or Convention Centers

Cafés

Restaurants

  1. Then set up your site the way you want or consider topics for your first offline meeting.  Real world groups have slightly different considerations than online groups.  You will need to find out about refreshments, if you need a key, if they need to buy drinks or food (if in a café or restaurant), and if there’s a fee to use the room.  For online groups you may be able to design the site the way you want it to look, and set notification and membership settings. You can usually decide whether to let anyone join, join by invitation only, or to extend your membership to a select few.  For offline groups you also have a choice whether to have a public group or a private group where you handpick the members.
  1. Advertise!  This is where those previous networking sites and offline groups come in.  They are great places to post about your new group and find new members for your new tribe.  You can email and call your friends and post on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  Keep in mind whether or not you are inviting “everybody”, interested parties only, or a few select friends.  That will determine how and where you publicize your new group.
  1. Provide content.  Some people will come to your group and just chat, but it’s better to give them something to chat about.  For online groups you can provide your own content, photos, writing, and artwork.  Depending on whether your group is public or private, you can also share book excerpts.  Always when sharing, share who the author or artist is. For real world groups, you may just have the group members bring something to talk about, or you could bring in speakers or teach classes in your subject.  It may cost to hire speakers or teachers, so this is another opportunity to provide your own content or have group members take on these roles.
  1. Don’t let all this go to your head!  Sure you started the group and can decide who goes and who stays, but don’t be a dictator.  Let your new friends voice their opinions and post their own content.  Encourage dialogue and respect among equals.  As owner, you are in charge of getting rid of any spam accounts, sharing basic guidelines, and discouraging explicit photos and profanity (if that bothers you or becomes a problem).

One caveat:  Your group may start slowly, may be active at times and inactive at other times, or may grow exponentially.  You never know.

If you are interested in Divination subjects, like Tarot and the Runes, please join me at The Divine Life Google Group:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Musical Chairs: On Writing Groups

Last time on Mary’s Expression, I posted about a famous writing group, The Inklings. Since then, Anne has written about how to find your own creative tribe. Today, I’m going to share my own experiences with writing groups.

English: Playing musical chairs at the Our Com...

Image via Wikipedia

Finding a good writing group is hard. Joining a new group is like musical chairs. You’re circling, getting a feel of the music, the routine, when suddenly it stops and you have to find your bearings. If you find a space, you have a moment to see who’s around you, how you fit in with the group. But just as you get comfy, the music changes and things get shook up. And the group always seems to be shrinking. No matter how many new people come in, there’s always a good portion who just can’t find a seat, don’t quite fit in. I’ve been on both ends of this.

And what’s a good fit at one point in your life or career may not work for you later. So you have to learn not to blame yourself or the other members if a group simply isn’t working out. Sometimes it’s best just to move on. You can’t always predict who you’ll finally click with.

The first group I was really a part of was Writing.com. It’s not a true writer’s group per se, more of a community. There are plenty of other members to share your work with and get comments from. But it’s huge. The number of members is currently approaching one million. This makes it very hard to get noticed. To get the most out of it, you have to put the work in. Review other members, participate in contests and forums. There are specialized groups formed by members, some for discussion, or games, or critique. I think Writing.com’s best strength is getting feedback on shorter works, poetry or short stories. Downsides to sharing a novel on Writing.com:

  • A free membership is limited portfolio space, so it would be better to upgrade
  • Formatting isn’t as easy as copy and paste. Even the formatting codes are site-specific, not standard HTML, so it takes a lot of effort to get your chapter/book presentable
  • The first chapter trap. With such a variety of members, it’s easy to get a lot of comments on your first couple chapters. Almost impossible to get feedback past chapter three unless you find a dedicated writing buddy or group. (Really, this is a drawback of most online groups.)

I’m still a member of Writing.com, but I don’t put the time into it that I used to. As I focused more on novels, I started looking elsewhere.

I’ve tried a few other online writing groups. Dreaming In Ink is one of the better. They are very strict on getting in regular critiques. This isn’t a bad thing, and has kept the group strong, but when circumstances came that I was no longer able to keep up, I moved on. Who knows, I may go back someday. They have a great system going for them.

For poetry, I was very lucky to be in at the start of this group, The Poetic Muselings.

Last year I started my own fantasy group, Society for Arcane Gibberish Authors (SAGA). We’re still fledgling, and open to new members. So if you write fantasy, and want a more casual group, check out SAGA.

One thing I’ve learned over the years, is that an online group has different dynamics and strengths than a local group. Online groups are great for the line edits, the nitty-gritty stuff. It’s super easy to mark up text and share with someone. But in-person groups are good for those moments you simply need to talk over a plot point, or brainstorm. I definitely recommend a local group or writing buddy. Even if you don’t critique each other’s work, talking with other writers is priceless.

When it comes to local groups, I’ve had a rough road. The challenge is finding people with the same skill and dedication. With my first group, only two of us wanted to write as a career, for the others it was a hobby. Since the dedication wasn’t there, the group eventually fell apart. With my current group, we’re struggling with scheduling so more people can come, and getting more members.

non-competitive musical chairs, Wikipedia

non-competitive musical chairs, Image via Wikipedia

So whatever route you go, online or in person, there will be challenges and downfalls. Sometimes you have to hold your spot in musical chairs, and sometimes you have to give it up. And sometimes you have to hold on to each other and do your best not to fall off.

Do you have a good writing group? How long have you been together? If not, I wish you the best in finding one! 

 

Next time on Mary’s Expression (March 5): Freeing creativity.

 

mary-sig2

 

 

Make Visible: Find Your Tribe

It is so important as creatives that we find a group of people that we feel comfortable with.  They share our values, our interest in creating and inspire and challenge us. Or maybe we just like to hang around with them, have fun and do fun things with them.  Groups offer us a chance to make friends, learn and share.  All this applies to both online and offline groups.

Online Groups:

Where do you start?

Tribe                                      many interests

Yahoo Groups                          many interests

Google Groups             many interests

Image representing Tribe as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

CoachCreativeSpace                all creative interests

Writer’s Digest Community       writers

Wet Canvas                             visual artists

For Tribe, Yahoo and Google groups there’s a box to put in your interest (keyword), a list of groups will come up that you may want to join.

Offline Groups:

Where do you start?

This depends on the size of your community.  You may be able to find groups through Meetup.com, your local newspaper, Weekly, or posted at your library or grocery store.  These groups may be related to interests, like writing, activities, like yoga, or church or self-help groups.

What next?

Join the group, post an introduction or go to the first meeting and introduce yourself, be friendly, become involved, participate.

It’s that simple.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Inklings and Writing Groups

English: THe Pub Eagle and Child in Oxford, wh...

Did you know that some famous fantasy writers were part of a writing group? The Inklings was a group of literary enthusiasts who encouraged writing fantasy. The four most prominent members were C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Owen Barfield. Other frequent members included Tolkien’s son Christopher, C.S. Lewis’ older brother Warren, Roger Lancelyn Green, Adam Fox, Hugo Dyson, Robert Havard, J.A.W. Barnett, Lord David Cecil, and Nevill Coghill. Warren Lewis described the group as “…neither a club nor a literary society, though it partook of the nature of both. There were no rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections.”

Who are these people?

English: Round sign at the Eagle and Child Pub...

  • C.S. Lewis is most known for the Narnia Chronicles.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien  is known for the epic Lord of the Rings.
  • Charles Williams wrote a total of seven novels, including “War in Heaven” and “All Hallow’s Eve”.
  • Owen Barfield mainly wrote philosophy, on topics such as the evolution of human consciousness. He did, however, write one fairy tale: “The Silver Trumpet.”

The Inklings usually met at Lewis’ college rooms or at the Eagle and Child pub (popularly called the Bird and Baby) in Oxford England. Meetings took place on Thursday evenings. They would read and talk about each other’s works in progress, discuss fantasy and philosophy, and enjoy the company of friends. The pub meetings were more for fun; they wouldn’t read manuscripts, but sometimes read bad poetry to see how long they could last before laughing.

The group started in 1933 and met regularly for the next 15 years. Everyone benefited. Tolkien continued to work on Lord of the Rings at the encouragement of C.S. Lewis. Each writer improved their work from suggestions by other members. Their discussions led to essays, lectures, and other works in the attempt to legitimize fantasy and fairy tales as more than children’s stories, to be seen as liable literary pieces.

What does this mean for me?

Writers can find similar benefits in today’s writing groups, whether you join an existing one or create your own, online or in person. Friendships can be made when you find someone with similar interests. Sharing work will improve your writing and critiquing skills. Or perhaps you only want to discuss literature. The Inklings showed that a writers group doesn’t have to always be serious, or have any sort of leadership. All it takes is a group of people with something in common. Next time I’ll talk about my own experiences with writing groups, and how you can find your own.

A fun, related bit of trivia:

Lord of the Rings Online is an online multiplayer game based on Tolkien’s Middle Earth. While my husband and I were playing, we came across an interesting quest chain from a hobbit named Ronald Dwale. At one point you have to fetch his lost paper. The sheet of paper starts out: “In a hole there once lived a boar. No, wait, that’s not right.” The second ‘R’ in J.R.R. stands for Ronald, and his story “The Hobbit” happens to start very similarly to this paper: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

The final part of the quest chain is Missing the Meeting. If you own the game, I encourage you to go experience the quest yourself, but the basics is that Ronald Dwale is unable to attend the next meeting of his writing society. You have to deliver his message to The Bird and Baby Inn. “With the return of my lost paper, I really should get started on my new book, but I haven’t an inkling how I should reach my friends in time to tell them of my absence.”

When you visit the Bird and Baby Inn, you see the following “Inklings” in the back room:

Jack Lewisdon ((C.S. “Jack” Lewis))
Carlo Williams ((Charles Williams))
Owen Farfield ((Owen Barfield))

So if you ever happen upon this quest in game, enjoy the developers tribute to the Inklings.

(Originally written for a Writing.com Fantasy Newsletter)

Next time on Mary’s Expression (Feb 20): Delving deeper into writing groups.

Tag Cloud