Category Archives: writing

In Praise of Criticism

Making Use of Criticism
Rita Robinson

Many years ago, a woman, about my age at the time, early 40s, ran toward me in a busy Southern California bank, newspaper in hand, and asked for my autograph. Stunned, I began to cry. Her friend, also holding a newspaper, stood nearby pointing to the weekly column I had written that carried my picture.  The first woman patted my shoulder in comfort.

I was married at 17, three children by 23, and began writing in earnest after returning to college in my early 30s. I had ended up in a creative writing class because the English composition class I needed was full. Students couldn’t get a grade unless we submitted a manuscript to a magazine. Heart pounding, I submitted a fiction story to a teen magazine, certain that anyone who read it would think me stupid. It sold, and it was like the Red Sea parting. I still cannot describe how warm it made me feel.

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Writing Honestly Means Digging Deep
Rita Robison

My first writing instructor at a local community college, who possessed writing magic and teaching in her veins, walked slowly up and down the rows of students sitting silently at individual desks, stopping briefly to look them in the eye. Finally she said, “Every one of you holds a multitude of secrets, or you wouldn’t be sitting in this classroom.”

I frowned that wait-a-minute look, knowing that nearly everyone holds secrets, family or otherwise. As I continued to grow as a writer, however, it became evident that she was right. For writers, those secrets she spoke of eventually bubble up from deep within and reveal themselves as writer’s honesty.


How Does Curiosity Affect Your Writing?

 Curiosity,  a Great Writers’ Motivation
By Rita Robinson

“Is the dog friendly?”

The young man holding the dog’s leash grinned, prominent dimples on his round, tanned face. “Oh, yes,” he loves people.”

“May I pet him?”

“Oh, yes,” he’ll love that. He’s a great dog.”

I dug my fingers into the chow-chow’s white, hand-length fur, massaging it back and around to its neck where the thick fur could hardly be penetrated. He appeared to enjoy it as much I did. “What a beautiful dog.”

“I spend a half-hour every day brushing him.”  Again, the dimples.

Continuing on the trail in the Southern California mountain community where I live, I thought about how curious I had been to know what that fur felt like. It was thicker than, and not as soft as imagined, and cool for such a warm day.

When I was asked to post an article for LinkedIn on #IfIWere22, I thought of that white furry dog, and knew that curiosity satisfies a spark that has needled me throughout life. I suspect I’m not alone in the early pursuit of who, what, when, where, how, and why.

“Quit staring at those people, Rita Sue.” A mother’s lament. “Don’t ask some stupid question to get anyone stirred up.” A sister’s plea.  “Quit asking why, why why?”

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