Technical Difficulties Beyond Our Control

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What gets you out of bed so early?
JOE: I wanted to check something on the new website I was building and found out my phone, tv and computer were all disconnected.
CALLIOPE: So how are you contacting me now?
JOE: Everything seems to be back after a call to Time Warner.The said they would send out a service representative, but now everything is back, at least for the moment.
CALLIOPE: Sounds frustrating.
JOE: It is. Maybe whatever the problem is has been resolved. Maybe not. We shall see.
CALLIOPE: So tell me about the new website.
JOE: It is just about finished. The draft is available at I have been fiddling with it but like how it looks now.
CALLIOPE: What’s next?
JOE: Getting some feedback. Let me know what you think and I will ask a few people as well. TTFN.




Living the Writer’s Life -Sliding Otter News

Joe's Work Desk

Joe’s Work Desk

He is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write.
He is careful of what he learns, for that is what he will know.

~Annie Dillard~

Last Saturday night I attended a party as the culmination of the Woodward Library Summer Reading Program. I read a couple of my old favorites, Jack London’s White Fang and Michael Crichton’s Prey. I also read Bob Dylan’s and Woody Guthrie’s accounts of themselves and their lives. I stepped into an Amish romance and science fiction about regenerating body parts.

I also ventured into new waters and stretched myself, delving into new reading adventures. At the same time I was busy formatting my books for ebook distribution, studied Nancy Kress’s book, Dynamic Characters, dusted off an aging manuscript and started a new book collection of columns such as this one.

Writing this down, I suddenly knew where my time went over the past couple weeks. A friend wondered where I got my recent energy. I can’t account for it but am glad it arrived when it did. Immersing myself in reading and writing stirs my creative energy and keeps me moving ahead. A far cry from my first high school writing assignment which I considered a form of torture.

I started writing seriously for my own amusement. Then I wrote as a marketing effort. As I moved into middle age, I started wondering about my experiences and those of people I encountered. I found that writing about adventures (of others and my own) helped me make sense of them and gave me a framework in which to begin understanding the world and its inhabitants, myself included.

Along the way I have spent years following Thoreau’s advice to start each day with a list of things which give me a sense of gratitude and Julia Cameron’s suggestion of writing three pages a day about whatever comes to mind. Both have helped me with my writing, the first is keeping a positive attitude and the second with honoring my creativity.

So now what? Am I going to suggest that everyone become a writer? No. Some people think they could write a book if they only had the time. Others would like to write but never put pen to paper. Still others acknowledge that they could never write anything of substance. I don’t know which if any of these people are right. I do know that you never know if you don’t try.

Even if you don’t aspire to write a great novel, writing might help you gain some perspective on your life and the world around you. On a smaller scale, you might get to know yourself a little better and might learn to pay more attention to what is going on in your life. Why not give it a try?

Life Lab Lessons

  • At night or in the morning, write down what made you feel grateful over the past day.
  • Write someone a letter rather than a text or email.
  • Write a love note to someone you love.
  • When you feel down, write about how you feel.
  • When you feel up, write about that too.

Chats with My Muse- Writing, Writing,Writing

Menemsha Beach

Menemsha Beach, Martha’s Vineyard

JOE: Good evening Calliope. I would have stopped by earlier but I have been quite busy working on my writing.
CALLIOPE: Sounds exciting. Tell me about it.
JOE: I now have five Ebooks published at Smashwords, including the one about our year’s worth of conversations, called Conversations with My Muse: A Year with Calliope.
CALLIOPE: I’m flattered.
JOE: You shouldn’t be. You have gotten me through many years of writing.
CALLIOPE: Where can I read about all this?
JOE: You can find my profile at
CALLIOPE: And what about the books?
JOE: I won’t bother you with all the links but you can find them attached to my profile.
CALLIOPE: Sounds exciting. What are you working on right now.
JOE: Two things. One is the resurrection of my novel, Marital Property, which seems to be in perpetual draft mode. The other job is working on publicity for my Ebooks.  Smashwords has a great free Ebook marketing handbook at I have been working my way down the list of possibilities and planning my strategies. Time for a little rest. I’ll be in touch.


Proofing Calliope

Iguana in Grand Cayman

Iguana in Grand Cayman

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. You seem pretty serious about your writing these days.
JOE: Very observant of you. I don’t know what aroused me to action. Maybe you?
CALLIOPE: Could be. What are you up to today?
JOE: I just finished editing my latest Ebook which was available as a PDF s0on my website.
CALLIOPE: What is the title, pray tell?
JOE: I hope you like it: Conversations with My Muse: A Year with Calliope.
CALLIOPE: I do and I am honored. When will it be available?
JOE: Hopefully in the next few days. I have to prepare the cover and the blurb and then post it to Smashwords.
CALLIOPE: I can’t wait.
JOE: I am excited too. I will keep you posted.


Calliope on the Internet

Sunset on Lake Erie

Sunset on Lake Erie

JOE: Good evening, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good evening Joe. What brings you to Muse World at this hour?
JOE: I have been thinking about you and all the inspiration you have given me over the years?
CALLIOPE: Thanks. Is that it?
JOE: Not quite. I thought it was about time I published the manuscript I have sitting around detailing a full year with you.
CALLIOPE: Recall it well. Sounds like a good idea. What will you call it.
JOE: Chats with Calliope: A Year with My Muse.
CALLIOPE: I like it. Let me know when it’s ready. What else is going on?
JOE: I have three books accepted at Smashwords in the process of distribution to the world. Marital Property is getting dusty but perhaps I will get back to it in the Fall.
CALLIOPE: I see. I am glad you are back to work on your writing.
JOE: I am trying to get geared up for next year when I can get back to it full time. Enjoy the evenin on Mount Olympus.


Chats with My Muse, Calliope

Joe: Good afternoon Calliope.
Calliope: Good afternoon Joe. How have you been lo these many days?
Joe: I just want to visit. Please be nice.
Calliope: Okay, what brings you to see me.
Joe: I told you in my last post that I was ready to get back to my writing. I have new developments and two writing projects.
Calliope: Let’s start with the developments.
Joe: Okay. I stumbled upon Smashwords while perusing Nook ebooks and finally visited their site. I discovered that a single submission can make my books available in just about any ebook reading format. So far I three of my books uploaded and two to go.
Calliope: Sound exciting but quite a bit of work.
Joe: It is but so far, so good.
Calliope: And the projects.
Joe: The usual- my novel Marital Property. I would like to try one last attempt to bring it to life.
Calliope: I will see what I can do to help. And the other project?
Joe: I have decided to compile a third book of my newsletters. I don’t have a title in mind and could use some suggestions.
Calliope: Let me give it some thought. I am glad to see that you are at last back to work on your writing.
Joe: So am I. I will keep you posted and try to do so more regularly.