Monday, February 22, 2010

Back to Basics and Chocolate Changes

Before we get to the Writing Tip today, I would like to invite you to a one-session class I am doing for Lent. It is on writing for spiritual growth and will be held in Kansas City, Kansas at Bristol Hill United Methodist Church. You can find details on my Calendar.

This week I have heard from several of you who are returning from winter trips and are ready to get back to writing. (A brief aside: Jane S. just returned from Turkey. She sent along a list of books she has been reading. I’ll include those in the future. Thanks, Jane.) This seemed like a good time to think about the mechanics of writing.

Look to Greenprints Guidelines where the editor of this unique magazine for those who love all things gardening has laid out a five-minute introduction to good writing basics. Whether you are a rank beginner or a writer with a bit of experience, you will find these guidelines to be an excellent refresher. Even if you are not interested in gardening or interested in writing for this magazine, this is good information.

Another quick, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive grammar review can be found at Five Glaring Grammatical Errors . . . and How to Fix Them. These are common mistakes that cause trouble so take a look.

You can find more nut-and-bolt writing information under Writing Basics on the Resource Page of Angel In Your Inkwell.


In the early years with my gentleman friend, we relocated for his job seven times in thirteen years. Oh yeah, I parroted all the blah-blah about moving being exciting and a new adventure, but what I really thought was I just want to find a rut and stay in it. I grew up in an Army town so I know our little relocations were nothing compared to those of some. And, Renee, in the Advanced Life Story Group may be the winner for most moves and most states and countries of residence.

So how do we feel about all that change? In the broader question, is change always good? Is it always better? Is it sometimes important to go back to basics?

That’s the prompt for this week: back to basics.

Write on the topic for ten minutes. Follow your thoughts wherever they want to go. Keep the pen moving. In a day or so, or month or year or so, look at what you have written. There will be something there you can use. Check your writing against the basics reviewed in the Writing Tip above. Shape, edit, polish. Ta-Da – a nicely finished piece of writing.


This week I am excited about a couple of basics that have undergone a change. First is a basic with a new twist. Second is an old favorite with a name change.

First – Coconut M&M’s

Have you seen these? Have you tried them? As I am not a huge coconut fan, I couldn’t imagine anything better than my old favorite Peanut M&M’s, but these coconut goodies are just great. In a scientific survey at the checkout lane at Price Chopper, I grabbed the package I had just spotted and ripped it open before the cashier could even ring it up. Samples were distributed to young cashier, young bag boy, gentleman friend, and self. All enthusiastically agreed –Coconut M&M’s® are yummy! Disclaimer: the bag boy liked them a lot, but said he actually prefers tart candies and plans to invent a super tart drink. And yes, the opened bag was scanned and purchased. NOTE: Grab them now. The M&M’s website says the coconut variety is available for a limited time.

Second – Ethel M Chocolates

I like Las Vegas about as much as I like coconut. It’s okay, but since I am not much of a gambler, some of the allure is lost on me – although, I do like bright lights and sparkly costumes.
One year when I was in Las Vegas on a business trip, a local resident took me to Ethel M Chocolate Factory, located in Henderson, Nevada, for a tour, complete with a tasting at tour’s end. Now that was a Las Vegas I could gamble on. In 2007,
Ethel M Chocolates became
I worried that the chocolates would have changed along with the name. No need to worry. They are still just as silky-ly yummy and conveniently available in their own retail store in the Las Vegas airport. I know because a friend returning from Las Vegas last week made a quick purchase in the airport store. (The empty box is now in my recycling bin.)
Now this part was a surprise to me. Ethel M is owned by Mars Incorporated and was named after the mother of Forrest Mars. When I started writing The Chocolate Inkwell today, I had no idea I would be stuck in the major candy manufacturing world of Mars.
Mars Incorporated candies might not be quite the caliber of our own Kansas City local Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates which I am sure I would love, too; but for now, I love Ethel’s chocolate.

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