Write Right Now!

I went to my writers’ group today and enjoyed listening to the works of three of the members. I wasn’t one of them…why? I have two works of fiction—one completed and one in progress. I have read part of the first work of fiction to the group; they enjoyed it and wanted to hear more. The second piece I have only been working on for a short while and have a good beginning, but have not shared it with anyone and have “put it to bed” for now. I also have a family history in progress. It is a memoir from my great, great aunt, who recorded her life’s story. Someone transcribed the tapes with a manual typewriter and I have committed most of these pages to my hard drive, but have stopped in this effort, as well. Why?

What is it about writing that makes me shy away? I have attempted several artistic endeavors in my life: painting, playing the piano, and writing. Most have received fair praise with the writing receiving the most encouragement, yet still I cower in its shadow. There is a friend in my writers group, who would rather write than speak. She carries a small tape recorder and records random thoughts all for the purpose of placing them in a story. I have another friend in that same group, who gets up every morning and devotes at least an hour to her craft, before she goes to work. If only this writer had that kind of drive.

Instead of writing about, I wake up most mornings thinking about my muse. I wake up thinking about the characters I have created and how they long to be heard. But each day I hush their yearnings and do something, anything but succumb to their quiet, painful cries. I will do things like have lunch with a friend, talk on the phone, clean the house, watch T.V., write a blog—all common and harmless distractions, but when placed against letting the world know the outcome of “Beth Jameson” or “Alex Farthing” is it really all that important and are those things worth the time I give them? In the coming months, I hope to find the answer to that question. I have settled within myself that I will commit this summer to writing. I will put thought to paper, fingers to keys and write and write and write.

Fresh Meat? Not This Shopper!

So I’m not very good at cutting out coupons, see. Wait a minute, I take that back. I cut out coupons and place them in a drawer. When I think about it again, swelling with pride that I remembered, I’ll go to the drawer to retrieve them only to find that they have expired. So, I’ve mostly given up on coupons. 

I have learned to save money at the grocery, however, without the aid of coupons. When I enter the grocery, I know that I have spent $5 without placing anything in my basket—the $5 being the tax that is now added to the grocery total. I have also learned that fresh produce can increase my total quickly, so I tread lightly. On Friday of this week, for example, one of my favorite apples was $1.99 lb. They were small enough that it would take about two apples to make a pound (yes, I know one can weigh them to be sure, but who has time for that?). Buying five apples, I knew that I had spent about $5. Now my total was up to $10. Grapes were the same price. The store had separated them into bags of about 5 lbs each. How nice of them, right? Hold on a minute, at $1.99 lb that’s $10 a bag! Instead, I grabbed a plastic sack from the roll and made my own 2 lb. bag of grapes, “stealing” from several bags. Now, my total was $14.

I am also careful about ounces. On Friday, my favorite chips were two for the price of one…great, right? On a closer look, however, we noticed that one bag was 11 oz and the second bag of a different flavor was 10.5 oz…sneaky,huh, so we bought two of the same flavor. Grocery stores are very sneaky like that…always trying to rip-off the consumer. Cereal is the worst and is the place where you really have to notice the ounces. Also, if a favorite cereal goes on sale, like a two for one sale, stock up, even if you don’t need it. Cereal keeps forever and is the biggest rip-off there is. (For that matter, stock up on anything that will keep, even it you don’t need it right away).

A final way I save is I will go to a Wal-Mart Superstore or Aldi’s. The latter is insanely cheap, so I’ll go there to buy staples, like green beans, pasta, and so on. I don’t like to shop at those two stores regularly, because the first is too crowded and large (may I borrow a pair of skates, please) and the second doesn’t provide grocery sacks and you have to pay .25 for a grocery cart, which is reimbursed. Still the savings there are worth some visits.

We have a small family, so this may not appeal to most people, but if you don’t like juggling coupons (why do they make them so slippery?), then you may find something here you can use. Until next time, I’ll see you in the frozen foods.