Posted in Blogging, Writing

I Love my Own Voice: Confessions of a Narcissistic Writer

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I love the sound of my own writing voice. I can listen to my composed words all day long, like a favorite Bruce Springsteen song. I especially enjoy reading aloud to myself. During these private performances, I literally laugh and cry at my own words, pat myself on the back, and swoon over a lovely phrase. What I adore most about my writing voice is how lyrical, poetic, punny, and funny I think it is.

I am not bragging but am complaining. My voice vanity sacrifices substance and meaning. I confess: I am a sinner of word pride, a glutton for longer sentences, greedy for witty and lavish phrases. I kill stories. I am a killer.

I am skilled at murdering plots. I fire guns filled with fluff and random bullet points that scatter irrelevant details like shrapnel. I chop up focus and sink story arcs. Then I abandon entire worlds that I create. I violently shove the underdeveloped pages into a folder that I lock in a box, slam into a drawer, and starve in a basement. I can bury a body of work without anyone ever knowing. I am a sneaky, garrulous monster.

I brainstorm ideas, outline plots, write about 10,000 words then get confused. I lose focus, so I usually give up. Why do I kill so many stories? I think my frilly, rambling writing voice is the main culprit. I call her Fancy Nancy.

I write lyrical, artsy prose that tends to stall the story. I waste too much time on wordplay then lose interest in the piece. Still, Fancy Nancy tempts me and I write: I ceaselessly practice to compose a symphony of melodious sentences filled with scales of ABC’s until the score becomes too lengthy and twangs with discordance. When reciting these musical lines, I can’t help but exclaim, “Bravo!”clap

Then I feel a need to say it another crafty way: I paint stunning phrases better suited for a centerfold than a plot diagram. “Ooh, la la!”

I can’t stop myself: I am a word warrior who blasts the page with exploding metaphors and onomatopoeia. “Bam!”

Here’s another song: I’m a master at choreographing a scene that tap dances the keyboard with personification? “Click, click, click!”

What the hell? It took me two hours to come up with that stuff, a bunch of disconnected images of me being a wordy writer: composer, painter, soldier, and dancer. Before that, I was a sinner and killer. These lines are fun to write, but they make for a recipe that’s hard to follow and swallow. (Add rhyming cook to the list.)

What to say to the amateur who dabbles too much in the italicized, verbose passages? “Dammit, Donna! Just tell the story already.” (Although my mother considered naming me Nancy, my real name is Donna and nickname is Sunshine, and I know this is random, but I thought you would like to know how I refer to myself as “Dammit Donna” when I need a scolding reminder to focus, get it together, and quit screwing up. I call out to “her” daily. Hmm.“Dammit, Donna” would be a good name for a book title.  I write book titles more than books.  I could write a whole book of book titles.)

Dammit, Donna!

I’m trying to clean up the clever clutter and stick with storylines, but it’s a true challenge. The best approach is to write less and cut more. Oh, how it pains me to weed though. What if I accidentally pluck the best words, my pretty little flowers?

That’s where Dammit Donna needs to swoop in, display the blooms, elsewhere, like in a vase, and move on to more meaningful tasks.

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I really can’t stop the playful metaphoric ramblings, can I? I actually talk this way though. I have writer’s eyes, so I want to share the world with you the way I see it (Okay, now that line just made me cry proud tears.) My habit would be to go on and on about eyes, but I’m going to stop, and trust that you get it.

I don’t need to be a parrot, but I’m a mother and teacher who has to repeat, reiterate, restate, rephrase, echo, echo, echo… I AM wordy! (FYI – my quiet husband can successfully parent with one word, “No!” compared to my breathless arguments with our teenagers.)

I’ve received a lot of professional and constructive criticism about my writer’s voice. College professors told me I was trying too hard to sound like an English teacher, even though I majored in English education. An agent told me the first two pages of a book were too clever. An editor claimed I was too funny with too many punch lines. Ha! At first, this might seem like praise, but they quantified their comments with “too.” I get what they were saying. “Don’t over do it. Stay focused. Dammit, Donna, just tell the story already!”

Bruce Cherry, my Gotham Writers instructor for “Essay and Opinion Writing” offered this feedback concerning my voice:

You have a very exuberant way of using language that helps to convey the passion you feel. It dances right at the edge of becoming perhaps too florid once in awhile, but it’s really a matter of personal taste. Your writing style reminds me of the recordings of the great blues players like Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters who went electric at Chess Studios in the 50’s and 60’s. They would play so exuberantly that they would occasionally cause compression in the mics and push the VU meters into the red–technically a big no-no. But they used the sound of that compression as an element of the recording, and it became a signature sound. Technically speaking, they were going too far, but they refused to be constrained by convention. So definitely use it to your advantage.

Second to rock and roll, I treasure the blues, so what an amazing comparison! My take-away from this is to amp up my signature sound when it works to my advantage. Although, I’m retraining to write more concisely, I’m not entirely abandoning my florid voice. I will continue to decorate pages but in moderation. Fancy Nancy needs to focus less on beauty tricks and more on working diligently with Dammit Donna. *The two voices need to be friends so I can author more pieces that an audience bigger than myself craves.

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The author in me needs to help balance Fancy Nancy and Dammit Donna.

I will continue to read my works aloud and praise them. Next time, I’ll set my voice to some background music, the blues. I’ll make a date with me. I’ll have wine and Muddy Waters and cherish the beautiful AND purposeful words resurrecting my stories. It will be delightful. I will be a better writer, not a killer.

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Getting ready for a date with me, Muddy, and my manuscript.

*My first book, The Pencil Sharpener, is being published by The Wild Rose Press.  It’s release date is July 26, 2017, and will be made available through The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.com. The Pencil Sharpener is a novella, a rosette, in which my editor, Melanie Billings, and a team of professionals helped me polish my prose into a piece I’m proud of and looking forward to sharing with you. I’ll blog more details soon.  Shine on!  ThePencilSharpener_w11567_ib (1)

Posted in Shopping, Women

Refund Issues Finally Solved – Chat Transcript from Amazon.com

amazon

Amazon.com failed to refund my account for two items that were recently returned: a Kindle Fire and a white womens shrug.  When I realized this, I started an online customer service chat with an Amazon representative to troubleshoot.  It took four reps to resolve the issue, which is surprising because all of my other Amazon chats have been quick and smooth.  This morning, was a different story, one that I now find comical. There were a lot of workers involved in helping me out, that’s for sure.  

Before I share the transcript, I want to say a few things:  

  • I still LOVE Amazon.com!  It’s my favorite way to shop.  
  • I am not getting paid to write this.  The advertisements on my blog occur because I won’t fork over the three bucks a month to block promotions.  And three bucks can get me a cool prize on Amazon.  My blog is currently a way to improve my writing and share what’s on my mind with anyone who wants a slice-of-life read (thanks for being here, reader).  Maybe someday I will try to monetize.  
  • I color coded this transcript to reflect the different speakers (My words are black).  I changed some line spacing and the order numbers for the blog.  Aside from that, I did not edit the content or grammar.  
  • I did not try to get a refund for sending  back a confused shoulder lift from a Caucasian lady.  I returned a white shrug for women which is a short jacket that ends above the waistline. 

Here is a copy of the chat transcript: 

06:33 AM PDT Milind(Amazon): Hello, my name is Milind. I’m here to help you today.

06:33 AM PDT donna lucas: Hello.  This item was returned, but I did not get my refund: Fire Tablet with Alexa, 7″ Display, 8 GB, Tangerine – with Special Offers. Order # 1234567

kindle fire

06:33 AM PDT Milind: Please allow me a moment while I look into this for you.

06:34 AM PDT donna lucas: And this item also was not refunded. Red Hanger Women Bolero Long Sleeve Shrug Crop Top, White-M.  Order # 12345678

white women's shrug
Model for the shrug. She looks a lot better in it than I did.

06:34 AM PDT Milind: Okay

06:35 AM PDT Milind: Could you please stay connected for 2 minutes while I look into this for you?

06:37 AM PDT donna lucas: yes

06:39 AM PDT Milind: Famavala Folio Premium PU Leather Case Cover For 7″ Fire 7 Tablet (LuckyTree)

Red Hanger Women Bolero Long Sleeve Shrug Crop Top, White-M

Red Hanger Women Bolero Long Sleeve Shrug Crop Top, Red-M

Above are the items you are reffering too am i correct?

06:40 AM PDT donna lucas: Just the fire tablet and the white shirt.  I was refunded for the case and other shrugs already.  

06:40 AM PDT Milind: Okay

06:42 AM PDT donna lucas: Got it?

06:42 AM PDT Milind: Yes

06:43 AM PDT Milind: Please allow me a moment while i check

06:44 AM PDT Mahesh Prabhu(Amazon): Hello, my name is Mahesh Prabhu. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.

06:45 AM PDT donna lucas: Ok. I have not been refunded for the above two items. I have to teach a class soon.

06:46 AM PDT Mahesh Prabhu: Give me a minute.

Let me connect you to a member of our concern team. It will only take a moment.

06:46 AM PDT Ramanathan(Amazon): Hello, my name is Ramanathan. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.

06:46 AM PDT donna lucas: Oh my my!

06:47 AM PDT donna lucas: Why is this taking such a long time?

06:48 AM PDT Ramanathan: Thanks for waiting. I’m sorry for this.

06:49 AM PDT Ramanathan: No worries, I’ll help you with this.

06:49 AM PDT donna lucas: Ok. Can you please apply the refunds for the above items.

06:51 AM PDT Ramanathan: Thanks for waiting.

06:51 AM PDT donna lucas: You’re welcome.

06:51 AM PDT Ramanathan: Just to confirm, you have returned “Fire Tablet with Alexa, 7″ Display, 8 GB, Tangerine – with Special Offers ” for refund, am I right?

06:52 AM PDT donna lucas: Yes. And the white shrug shirt.

06:54 AM PDT Ramanathan: I’m checking this for you.

06:55 AM PDT donna lucas: Oh my! You are the third person who said this.

Red Hanger Women Bolero Long Sleeve Shrug Crop Top, White-M  Order # 12345678

06:56 AM PDT Ramanathan: Thanks for the order number.

06:58 AM PDT Ramanathan: I’ve checked and see that we have not yet received your Kindle device, no need to worry, once we have received your item the refund will be credited back to your payment method directly without any issues.

And to help you further with Red Hanger Women Bolero Long Sleeve Shrug Crop Top, White-M item refund, a Retail Specialist is the best person to help you with this. Please wait while I transfer this chat.

06:58 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya(Amazon): Hello, my name is Pushkar. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.

06:59 AM PDT donna lucas: My sister returned the case and the kindle. I returned the shrug.  You only credited me for the case. She put both items back in the box it came in.

07:00 AM PDT donna lucas: I put the shrug in a box with other things. i was credited for two shrugs out of the three.

You are now the fourth person I’m speaking with and this is not how Amazon.com works.

07:00 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: I am sorry for the trouble donna

Is this a issue related to kindle?

07:01 AM PDT donna lucas: NO! the issue is the refund that I need.

07:01 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Alright donna

I’ll help you out with this

07:02 AM PDT donna lucas: My sister returned two items from the order. I was only refunded for the case not the kindle. I have to teach a class soon. Please fix this soon.

07:02 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Could you please provide me with the order id?

I’ll get this done as quick as I can

07:02 AM PDT donna lucas: Red Hanger Women Bolero Long Sleeve Shrug Crop Top, White-M Order # 12345678

that;s for the shirt

07:03 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Thank you donna allow me a minute to check this

07:03 AM PDT donna lucas: Fire Tablet with Alexa, 7″ Display, 8 GB, Tangerine – Order # 1234567

That’s for the tablet.

07:04 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Donna I’ll be able to help you with the other order however fire devices are handled by our fire team.

I’ll check both the issues for you

Please allow me a minute

07:05 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Red Hanger Women Bolero Long Sleeve Shrug Crop Top, White-M you returned this item and need a refund for the same right donna?

07:05 AM PDT donna lucas: Yes refund please.

07:06 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Please stay connected donna I’ll check this out

07:06 AM PDT donna lucas: I don’t have a fire device issue. I don’t even have the fire! It’s been returned. Now I need my account to be credited.

Are you kidding me?  are you kidding me

07:06 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: No donna do not worry

07:06 AM PDT donna lucas: I am worried…

07:06 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Please allow me a minute to help you out

07:07 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: I understand however I am gonna help you so you need not worry after this.

I’ll resolve all your issues just stay connected

07:08 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Would you like the refund for the red hanger on your amazon gift card or original payment method?

07:08 AM PDT donna lucas: Solve ALL my issues? Who would even know where to begin?

Original payment please.

07:08 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: We’ll get it done one by one do not worry donna

07:08 AM PDT donna lucas: Get ‘er done, Pushkar! You got this, buddy!

07:09 AM PDT donna lucas: We have three minutes. The clock is ticking.

07:09 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Yes I have issued the refund for you on the first thing donna

07:09 AM PDT donna lucas: Ok. Giddy up. Now the second item, please, Pushkar.

07:10 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Thanks for the motivation by the way

07:10 AM PDT donna lucas: No problem.

07:10 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: I have also issued the refund for the other item donna

07:11 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Is there anything else I can help you with?

07:11 AM PDT donna lucas: You did it!

07:11 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: It was a pleasure to assist you with this. We hope to see you again.

07:11 AM PDT donna lucas: Thank you! You saved the day.  

07:12 AM PDT Pushkar Ajinkya: Have a great day ahead donna 🙂

Please click “End Chat” to close this window

pushkar

I am not sure what caused so much confusion, and I admit to getting Kindle-Fired-Up, but it all worked out in the end.  Twelve minutes after the end of the chat, Amazon sent me an email from customer service apologizing for the dilemma.  

I’m sorry to hear about the problem you’ve had with your Fire Tablet with Alexa, 7″ Display, 8 GB, Tangerine – with Special Offers and Red Hanger Women Bolero Long Sleeve Shrug Crop Top, White-M.  I’ve requested a refund for which includes the cost of the item and its associated shipping costs.

A few hours later my refunds were processed.  Amazon always pulls through and delivers.  

I hope this helps. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

I think this company truly values me and my shopping “habits.” Shine on and have a great weekend!  I think I’ll buy something with my refund.  Time to check out the Gold Box Deals.  

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