Posts tagged ‘Creativity’

Movie Review: La La Land


We saw La La Land last night, and it was great, if…

…if you like musicals. This is not deep drama. It’s a musical. With people out of their cars and dancing during rush hour, with people breaking into song. You know, the things that make the old-fashioned musical fun. I was told that this movie was about song and dance, that the plot was unnecessary, and I have, in the past, condemned stories with no deepness, no real artistic value. That is not the case, here (but it IS a musical). To me, the music pervaded the story, rather than the story being a flimsy vessel for the music. I left inspired. And sad. Too bad I don’t do spoilers, or I would explain what it is that bothered me about the story but yet I wouldn’t change.

…if you like a sweet love story. There is no deep conflict between the two lovers, but rather between their love story and their dreams. They live in Los Angeles, the city of dreams, after all. That’s the feel-good, inspirational portion of the story; each of them was encouraging the other to be the hero of his/her own life story. When I think about it, that makes each of them a hero in the other’s story. See? Feel-good. Such an interesting and difficult-to-pull-off concept that their love and their dreams are the enemies of each other, while also motivating the other. What’s more important? Romantic love or dreams? (Christian note and perhaps spoiler: There is no sex in this story at all—again, it is the characters’ La La Land dreams that is the story’s focus—however, the couple does live together.)

…if you like jazz, or would like to learn to understand its musicians.

…if you ever had a dream you feared was only a pipe dream.

Otherwise, you won’t like it. 😉 The secondary characters are kind of placeholders, not bringing much to the story. And there is the odd part I wouldn’t change (no spoilers). BUT it is a musical. Some of these things take a back seat or happen because of the music. Which was enjoyable.

So enjoy.




GIVEAWAY NEWS: I was traveling back to Alaska from my mother’s memorial, and we had to spend the night in the Anchorage airport. Therefore I’m late in announcing that Trixi won the copy of Learning to Die by Amryn. Sorry, Trixi! Now back to your regularly scheduled flash fiction: 

This is week four–the last week–of my Flash Fiction Feature, introducing you to some of my awesome Christian writer friends. For the month of June, I challenged four of them to write a flash fiction piece for my blog…only I sent each of them the same photograph as inspiration. It has been fun to see how each one took the same photo and wrote such different stories!

Please welcome the fabulous Amanda Holland!!

Author Pic (1)

Amanda Holland is the author of three short stories and a 2014 ACFW First Impressions finalist for mystery/suspense. Her stories The Love She Never Had, Salt Water, and Coyote have appeared in Splickety magazine. She is currently polishing her first novel and preparing to send it to agents. Working mom by day, writer by night (and weekend and lunch break), Amanda was born and raised in south Arkansas and now lives in Texas with her husband of fifteen years, two boys, and a Yorkie. In her spare time, she runs, knits, and blogs at Grace In Our Moments


And here is the photo with which I challenged Amanda, and the other three writers.


By Amanda Holland

No escape. Mud sucked at her hiking boots as she slid to a stop. She stared up at her escape route, now covered in fog and mist, the mossy rocks too slick to climb. Well, she could scale the hill, but not fast enough to get away. Fear twisted her stomach into knots.

Voices echoed behind her. The cold, damp air muted the sounds. Impossible to tell how far back they were, but the very presence of the sounds assured her they were too close. Another glance up. The other sides of this cut were sheer walls. Her only options were to risk scaling the slippery rocks, or die here in the woods. Death might be her only way out, but she would die fighting.

“Can’t be far.” Clearer. Sharper. Time was almost up. Adrenaline pushed her to the mossy surface of the lowest rocks. Faster. The crescendoing thump of her heartbeat threatened to drown out the voices behind her.

“There’s a dead end ahead. We’ll get her there.” A shiver crawled over her. The distance and echoes warped the voice, but that sounded like—no. Sheer terror and her longing for the safety of home made her imagine things.

Why did she hike that trial? If she’d stayed with her plan, she wouldn’t have seen the body, and she wouldn’t be in this mess. A weekend on the hiking trials of her favorite state park usually erased her stress. With her husband’s “business trips” coming more and more frequently, her suspicions grew that something was wrong. She wanted a clear head when she confronted him and asked for the truth. Instead she’d stumbled across a horrible scene. She might never make it home to sort things out with him.

“Are we close?” Too close. Time’s up. Her muscles went weak. It was over. She’d be dead in minutes. Unless – a small opening, half hidden by moss and leaves, caught her eye just ahead. One more careful foothold pushed her to it. Her hands trembled as she pushed the moss aside to reveal a tiny cave formed by rocks and a fallen tree. Thank you. She breathed the silent prayer as she forced herself into the space, pulling the moss back over the opening.

“Where is she?”

The men came into full view below. Their backs were to her. That voice, the way he carried himself…no. It couldn’t be. They turned. As their faces came into view, she fought back a scream. Her husband gripped a rifle as he scanned the dead-end.

The other man circled the area. “How did she get away?”

“She knows these trails. Came here all the time as a kid. She must’ve cut back somewhere. C’mom, we’ll find her.”

The man she loved wasn’t having an affair—he was a monster, a killer. The sudden cold sweeping over her made her teeth chatter as the men retreated. Escaping this morning was just the beginning. She was going to be running for a long time.



Another fantastic author, right?

I encourage you to leave a comment below for a chance to win a handknit tea/coffee cozy from Amanda! What better to go with reading than tea and coffee, right? I’ll draw from all the commenters on Wednesday.



Blessings, Voni

Photo credit: Paul Baxter

Flash Fiction Friday: Rory’s Story Cubes Week #2


And there are the images from Rory’s Story Cubes that I am using to create today’s continuation of the story I began last week…. Welcome to my imagination! (If you see only a small rectangular image above this paragraph, click on the rectangle to see the Story Cubes picture)

Rory’s Story Cubes #2

The strange woman’s footsteps had long faded, but Jeremy still stood in the middle of the alley behind City Tower, unable to tear his eyes away from the message on his phone.

How did his account have $39 million dollars?

But then, how had he parachuted from a high rise office building?

But then, how had he escaped a gunman?

Just then, he heard a noise coming from above. The gunman swung himself down from the fire escape, dropping easily to the ground beside Jeremy.

Jeremy stepped backwards into the shadows as the man looked around, but he knocked a glass bottle to the ground. The man was on him before the glass finished shattering.

Jeremy kicked wildly and tried to scream, but the man had an arm around his neck.

The man picked up a steel pipe and struck Jeremy over the head.

Jeremy collapsed.

When he awoke, he was sheltered in the dark recess of the doorway nearest where he had fallen in the alley. But it was daylight. He could see the remnants of blood on the ground where he had fallen, and didn’t dare touch the back of his aching head to see where it had come from.


Jeremy drew himself up to sitting and looked to the right. A little boy was playing with action figures a short distance down the alleyway, under a clothesline stretched across the alleyway. He stood up and approached.

“Are you stirring?”


“Mama said to bring you to her as soon as you stirred. Are you stirring?”

“Mmmph. I guess I am.”

The boy held out his hand. “Well then, come with me.”

Jeremy patted his pocket. Empty. Cell phone. Gone. With no other choices in a strange city, he reached out to take the boy’s hand.

That’s when he saw the boy’s tattooed palm…

A square with a block letter L.

Tune in next week for more!



Word Nerd: Poetry Month

It’s a little late in the month of April, which is National Poetry Month. Nevertheless, the Word Nerd inside of me is begging to come out and explore the word poetry.

Simply enough, it comes from the Greek poiein, “to make, create, compose.” One of those words that just rings with the simple, vibrant clarity of truth. We are, after all, made in the very image of the Creator of the Universe, yes?

When we create, we are fulfilling our God-given design. May all we do be as a sweet-sounding poem in the ears of God!

God must like poetry…the largest book of the Bible is filled with song and poetry. Not to mention the poetry riffled throughout the rest of the Bible.

But wait! There’s more!

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God
hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.

See that word, workmanship? In the original Greek, it is the word poiema. Yep. Creativity and work are both embedded in the idea of poiein.

Yes, you are–I am–a poem written by the Creator.

Not some hasty glitter-and-glue project.

Not some clay slap-dashed into a shape of some kind.

No. We are each a poem written by the Creator.

May it be even so!

Love and blessings,


WORD NERD CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: Find the etymology of the word work, and please, let me hear your discoveries!

I leave you with a poem celebrating America, written by Walt Witman, from the National Poetry Foundation website

By Walt Whitman 1819–1892 Walt Whitman

Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
(ALSO: Check out my blogs below)

Some Use Words and Clay:

Short Story: God’s Gift of Music:

More on Creativity:

This is an absolutely undemocratic situation you face. You have no rights here. Your only right is to come to class and be wonderful. You can’t protest, you can’t be absent, you can only work…You must give your entire self in an act of faith. If you have any sort of resentment or lack of clarity, you will find heartbreak. But if you manage to live through four years of this demand up on your inner self, your life will be literally changed.”

 Lydia Joel, head of School of Performing Arts/dance, New York, 1982 Lecture to Freshman

I found this in an article about the real School of Performing Arts in New York, the school they made the TV show “Fame” about. As Hank Wittemore’s article says, the school was about the flame of inspiration, not fame.

I feel so blessed to have a husband who allows me to work at the very undemocratic situation of my writing dreams–without guilt or frustration.

What’s your dream?

Read the article, then get back to work on your dream!

Blessings Voni

More on Creativity

This song came on the radio yesterday at the perfect time to remind me to allow the Creator God to bring the words and stories out of me, like bubbles of air rising to the surface. He put them in there, after all.

(Selah’s “Hope of the Broken World”–Enjoy!)

Blessings, Voni


Click on the Short Story Tuesday tag and take your pick if you still want a short story break for the day.  A fresh Flash Fiction is on tap for next week.

And, especially if you’re a Jane Austen fan, I have a special treat for Word Nerd Wednesday tomorrow, so tune in.

Now, I’m going back to my writing to let the words and the story bubble out onto the pages of my novel!