by Tami Kamin Meyer | Jul 3, 2022 | Blog, Write Now Columbus Essay Archives
July juxtaposition: You call this freedom?
The Summer of 2022 continued with a major slap in the face to every woman in America when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn the federal right to abortion. Nita and I are livid. I pray Ohio’s ‘Heartbeat Law’ is somehow deemed unconstitutional so women in our state can once again access the medical treatment they seek.
The numbers are on our side. We dissent.
On a lighter note, I’d like to share a glimpse into some of my recent writing successes.
I have been a freelance writer for over 40 years. As a freshman at the University of Cincinnati in 1981, I had no idea I could write. But I soon realized how enjoyable it was to research and write term papers and other assignments.
As a freshman, I joined the staff of The News Record, UC’s newspaper. Suddenly, I was interviewing people, asking questions to glean more information about the topic at hand, and writing article after article. I cried happy tears seeing my name in print. I did then and I still do now.
I have no idea how many articles I have written in those four decades, easily over 500, if not 1,000. One reason I honestly don’t know is that I’ve had several laptops and computers in that time, and not everything transferred each time I uploaded old data into new machines. Such is life. Also, some online publications don’t carry every article they have published, or perhaps rid their archives of content after time has passed. Therefore, I really have no way of knowing the actual number.
I’m grateful that 2022 has been wonderfully busy.
I have only written “on assignment.” That means I write articles based on a story idea and subsequent contract. The article suggestion is either one I made to an editor or one the editor offered to me. I receive a contract and write the piece.
I do not write “on spec.” Short for “on speculation,” writing on spec means I write the article, then shop it to several publications in the hopes one will buy and publish it. While that approach works for others, I simply don’t have the time to market my articles in the hopes of selling them after I write them. I strike the deal first, then write.
I am beyond proud to share one of my recent bylines in one of my favorite publications to write for, Cannabis & Tech Today. My editor there is pleasant, patient and honest, a joy to write for.
The article stems from my personal life experience. I possess an Ohio medical marijuana license for the pain and discomfort I endure due to arthritis. The idea for this article stems from my own difficulties opening certain types of packaging. Could it be that cannabis wrapping is ageist as it attempts to be child-proof?
You can find the article here.
by Tami Kamin Meyer | Jun 3, 2022 | Blog, Write Now Columbus Essay Archives
I was blessed to enjoy a solo 18-day odyssey of Colorado in May. I relish the research involved in learning about new places to see and unique activities to undertake. I mean, research is my life! I relish creating a driving itinerary and enjoy comparing the prices, services and amenities offered in various locales.
As my trip unfolded, unusual happenstances occurred, which are the hallmark of my life. For example, when I thought I had registered for a fundamental yoga class, it turned out to be an hour of fundamental jujitsu. I had little idea what that entailed, but I had driven to their studio for exercise and I was determined to move my body, no matter what.
I was promptly outfitted in a gee by a sweet and highly patient company rep, another occurrence demonstrating how unpredictable my life can be.
I participated in the various warm-up exercises without issue. “Oh, I can do this,” I thought smugly.
Then, shoulder rolls commenced and I knew I had met my match.
I bowed respectfully to the Sensei (teacher) to communicate I appreciated his assistance, but I was bowing out. I wanted to stretch my limbs in ways that helped me combat the discomforts I experienced due to arthritis. I also knew if I tried those somersaults, my classmates (30+ adult males and teenage boys and two teenage girls) would have rolled over me repeatedly. Everyone but me was somersaulting beautifully on their shoulders, one roll after the other down the long mat, five rows across. Imagine Twister and Cirque de Soleil, all in one, rolling towards you. I would have slowed everyone . . . to a crawl.
The situation was comical, but I didn’t dare laugh or giggle during class. That would have been incredibly disrespectful. But I sure did smile inside, knowing that once again, I had done things my way, even that day in the jujitsu class.
When I stretch my limbs, my mind frees and wanders. Topics flit through my head. As usual, writing and words are the focus of my thoughts. For example, I might see a word on a wall, and then I spell as many other words as I can using the letters of the target word.
Yup. Pretty exciting stuff.
As a freelance writer, I try to drum up viable story ideas nearly every waking moment. It can be maddening, but I can’t help it. Crafting an article suggestion that might appeal to at least one editor is not as simple as “Poof. Here’s my idea.” It takes time to massage an idea into an actual article query I send to an editor in the hope of attracting their favor.
A freelance writer needs to be aware of a publication’s demographics. An article about training bras would not be appropriate for a website aimed at Baby Boomers. If I don’t know the editor to whom I hope to pitch a story, I research them online before I send off my query. I try to discover anything we might have in common, like both of us graduating from the University of Cincinnati, for example. Having something in common with an editor is usually a great way to instantly connect with someone.
I’m looking for a nugget of familiarity, something I can write briefly about when I reach out, something to break the ice. That technique has opened many doors for me. I implore you to try it yourself.
I did a lot of stretching and therefore, thinking, during my time in the Centennial State. I’m excited to be back in front of my laptop where my fingers tap out the words of the articles I have sought to write.
No matter where I go or what I do, my life consistently revolves around one subject: Words.
What does your life revolve around?
(c)Tami Kamin Meyer, 2022, all rights reserved
by Nita Sweeney | May 2, 2022 | Blog, Write Now Columbus Essay Archives
Is it just me, or does every writer have favorite writing things?
Whether pens, notebooks, a keyboard or special mouse, or even your favorite writing t-shirt, I (Nita) bet you too have a preference for certain accoutrements of the profession. Here, I share mine. Full disclosure: these are affiliate links which means, if you buy anything by clicking through, Write Now Columbus will earn a teensy, itsy bitsy commission.
My long-time teacher Natalie Goldberg extolls the benefits of a “fast-writing pen.” My favorite is this Pilot Precise V5 rollerball. I prefer purple.
I also keep this assortment of colors on hand to match my mood.
Back in the day when I attended Natalie Goldberg workshops at Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico, we sat in rows of chairs, sometimes 60 or more of us in one room with no tables. We wrote in our notebooks on our laps. I didn’t think much of it until I brought a floppy notebook to a workshop. The ones I had preferred were out of stock at the office supply store. I never made that mistake again. Nat uses “cheap notebooks” and I can too. But if I have my preference, I want something sturdy with rings that don’t bend when I look at them the wrong way.
Notebooks from Carolina Pad fit my fussy requirements and come in wide range of collections from inspiring sayings to fun designs my current favorite, “Forest Friends.”
No surprise. I also have a few in the “Puppy Paws” collection:
And, I keep a copy of this around to write in when I need inspiration and instruction! 😉
Whether I’m in a library, coffeeshop, hotel, or the community room of a grocery store, I’m not great with the touchpad on my laptop. Wireless mouse to the rescue.
My original Logitech mouse had a place on the back where you put the USB receiver. That automatically turned the mouse on and off. I put off replacing it because I knew I would lose the (now much tinier) USB receiver if it wasn’t somehow attached to the mouse. Yes, I could leave it in the laptop. But at home, I use the mouse that’s hooked into a docking station with other devices and I need all (two) USB ports for other things. That tiny USB receiver would be lost in no time. But Ed recently found this Logitech mouse that has a tiny space inside to store the USB receiver so I won’t lose it.
So many colors! Not for the vegans or vegetarians, of course. But I grew up on a farm and have not yet let go of my attachment to fine leather (or the occasional good steak).
I haven’t purchased this metal one, but it looks cool and it too comes in several colors .
Before the pandemic locked us in our homes and threw us onto zoom, we didn’t know we needed a webcam, but now we can’t live without them. I love the built-in speakers in this one and the easy way it tilts.
I don’t yet own this shirt, but I should!
That’s a short list for now. Tell us your favorite (writing) things in the comments.
by Tami Kamin Meyer | Apr 3, 2022 | Blog, Write Now Columbus Essay Archives
When I wrote the March essay one month ago, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was fresh and horrific news. I expressed my hope that when I wrote the April essay, I could write how the whole thing had been a terrible April Fool’s joke.
Sadly, that isn’t the case, but the unmitigated resolve displayed by Ukrainians, is so reassuring. Of course, there’s not just fighting for show. They’re fighting for their very existence. They’re standing up to the Big Boys, and it gives me hope that Good can truly conquer Evil.
Besides the incredible loss of life, shocking destruction and sorrowful circumstances that have befallen Ukrainians and others impacted by this aggression, there have been additional deaths and injuries stemming from the war.
“Additional deaths and injuries”
Just hours before I sat to write this essay, the Pope asked people to appreciate the sacrifices of the journalists killed covering the invasion of Ukraine.
Pope Francis spoke to journalists aboard a plane returning from Malta. In the U.S. News & World Report story, he said he was prepared to travel to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, to express his condolences to “their fallen colleagues.” However, he noted, no decision has been made on the feasibility of such a trip.
“Your job is a job for the common good. They have fallen in service of the common good of information. Let’s not forget that they were courageous. I pray for them, I pray that the Lord rewards their work.”Pope Francis
It is incredible to me there have been and continue to be journalists, photographers and countless others in supporting roles who risk their lives to be our eyes and ears in the midst of danger and peril. As I sit in comfort of my suburban home, enjoying the freedom of living in the United States, I am forever grateful to them for their dedication and sacrifice.
It’s magical to me the same day I planned on writing about the bravery of news gatherers and their teams, the Pope expressed his support for them, too.
As a journalist, I am proud and humbled to be among those to receive Papal consideration.
(c)Tami Kamin Meyer, 2022, all rights reserved
by Tami Kamin Meyer | Mar 3, 2022 | Blog, Write Now Columbus Essay Archives
by Tami Kamin Meyer, Editor
I would be remiss if I didn’t begin this message with a note of love and deep concern for the people of Ukraine, Europe, and frankly, the world. Just when it started to feel like the most burdensome aspects of COVID19 might finally be lessening, even just a bit, our world has been rocked by a virus of hatred, violence and greed.
Both Nita and I hope for a peaceful, speedy resolution not only to the horrific situation in Ukraine, but to all conflicts worldwide. Yes, a lofty goal for one short month, but who would have thought we’d be where we are now just one month ago?
A few words about WORD
And now…an exciting announcement to hopefully lighten the mood. In a recent essay, I shared my excitement at being named the Producer of WORD – Live Literature & True Tales, at the Nest Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. WORD seeks and supports local stories, and has been a recurring show at the Nest since 2107.
WORD will unfold quarterly in 2022, with the first night of storytelling set for March 24 at 7 pm. WORD is a community-wide event that provides an opportunity to connect with one another through true stories from diverse voices throughout Central Ohio.
The theme of the March 24 event is SPRING FORWARD.
If you are interested in sharing a true story relating in some way to the theme (which is purposely vague for personal interpretation), please reach out to me immediately at Wordnesttheatre@gmail.com. When I say immediately, I do mean that! We are under a tight deadline for garnering interest and securing storytellers, so if you have any interest, please email me there. I will respond with an FAQ detailing info like length of stories, the perk you receive as our Thank You for participating in the show and more.
Our goal is to have our slate of storytellers set by mid-March, so time is of the essence. Please share this message with anyone who might be interested in participating. We are seeking a diverse group of storytellers, and appreciate the assistance in spreading the word about WORD.
If you would like to be support Central Ohio storytellers by attending the March 24 WORD event, tickets are $10 and are available www.nesttheatre.com. The Nest is located at 2643 N. High Street, with free parking available in the back lot and nearby streets.
My involvement with the Nest is separate from my contributions to this newsletter, and I appreciate Nita’s support in allowing me to mix my passions together. Like a Reese’s Cup, but without the calories or carbs.
I close with a prayer that when the time comes to pen the April essay for this space, our world has regained some semblance of peace, tolerance, and joy.
(c)Tami Kamin Meyer, 2022, all rights reserved
by Tami Kamin Meyer | Feb 5, 2022 | Blog, Write Now Columbus Essay Archives
The Fragilities of February
Guest Post by Tami Kamin Meyer
I write this essay cozy on my couch with my three dogs. Mother Nature coats our streets, cars and powerlines with layers of freezing rain. Several inches of snow are expected in the next day, wreaking havoc on people’s ability to drive, travel and even walk safely.
Although I am not a winter lover, I admit this unfriendly weather is ideal for my work as a freelance writer. Being temporarily quarantined at home, this time due to sleet and snow, affords me the delicious opportunity to read articles I’ve bookmarked, conduct research on story ideas I’m working on and even dally in Thesaurus.com.
In my mind, February is winter’s last attempt to make our Midwestern lives miserable. If the gray skies and frigid temperatures of January didn’t cause you to lose your mind’s last marble, February’s hostility seeks to finish the job.
February acts like a bridge
But one of the greatest joys of February, which acts like a bridge between the cold of January and the increasing mildness of March, is that it is the shortest month. February is like the stuffing of an awkwardly-flavored Oreo. You don’t want to eat it, but it gets forced down your throat, anyway.
Likewise, those delightful writing-related tasks I enjoy but don’t often have the time for are akin to being the Oreo of my freelance life. One side of the cookie represents the creating, thinking, researching and writing I do. The other half is comprised of the marketing, hustling and self-promotion I do to acquire opportunities to create, think, research, and write. Finally, the stuffing is composed of the activities I undertake to expand my knowledge base or sharpen my brain, such as crossword puzzles or researching pending legislation on a matter of interest to me.
When I write, I bring all those experiences and knowledge together. I create what I hope is a delicious, captivating and unique ‘cookie’ of creative expression.
In the meantime, I will make more coffee and heat the oven. It’s time to ‘get baking.’