If the Creek Don’t Rise, by Leah Weiss

As an aspiring novelist, I keep a writing notebook. In one section I write down the “hooks” from the novels I read. In the other section, I write down my favorite lines (and sometimes paragraphs) from the books I read.

As I learned from reading Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them, by Francine Prose, it’s okay for me to do this. In case you missed it, my April 9, 2018 blog post (“Reading Like a Writer”) is about that book.

If the Creek Don’t Rise, by Leah Weiss

Today’s blog post highlights a couple of my favorite lines from If the Creek Don’t Rise, by Leah Weiss.

If the Creek Don’t Rise, by Leah Weiss

The context of the following quote is that many volunteers went to the Appalachian Mountains in the 1960s and 1970s on the heels of the federal government’s emphasis on poverty in Appalachia. In this quote Kate Shaw, the new teacher, is paying Birdie Rocas a huge compliment while reading from one of Birdie’s “Books of Truths” in which the uneducated, eccentric Birdie writes her thoughts and observations.

Here are a couple of lines I really like:

“Do you know the saying, ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater?’” [Kate Shaw speaking.]

“The teacher in her don’t give me [Birdie Rocas] time to say so when she adds, ‘Well, you write about the baby while everyone else is writing about the bathwater.’” — from If the Creek Don’t Rise, by Leah Weiss

Since my last blog post

I’m excited to report that I’ve written more than 8,000 words in the rewrite of my historical fiction manuscript for The Spanish Coin! After getting bogged down in outlining and writing profiles for each of the novel’s characters, it was refreshing to get back to work on the rough draft.

After learning that the location of my fill-in format sign-up form for my sometime-in-the-future newsletter mailing list was causing confusion for readers wanting to leave comments on my blog posts, I tried to figure out how to move the mailing list form to a sidebar. The operative word there is “tried.” You know I’m not very computer savvy, so bear with me on this. I’m not a quitter.

To avoid confusion, I will not include the mailing list sign-up form in today’s blog post.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I’m reading The Hush, by John Hart. It’s a sequel to his 2009 Edgar Award winning novel, The Last Child.

I’m also reading Look for Me, by Lisa Gardner.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time, and I hope you and I will strive to write about the baby more than we write about the bathwater.

What are you reading?


9 thoughts on “If the Creek Don’t Rise, by Leah Weiss

  1. Hi Janet😊🌷
    I really appreciate you sharing your acquired knowledge and experience with writing your novel. I understand completely about the figuring out the tools of WordPress LOL
    I still have not figured out how to put information in a widget 😊
    Have a Blessed Day 🍀🦋🍀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Katrina.
    When I started my blog, I decided I would share my writing struggles and accomplishments in hopes that reading about my journey would help others in the same boat. I hope it has done that without being too discouraging. LOL! The journey is long and there are many bumps in the road and unexpected detours. It sounds like you picked up on that, which is gratifying.

    When it comes to the technicalities of blogging, I’m a fish out of water. Just about the time I think I have widgets figured out, I discover I don’t. It’s all a foreign language to me. LOL!

    Have a great rest of the day!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Janet, you are such a kindly soul: of course it’s OK to copy hooks and pilfer words and little phrases from other writers. Who was it who said that amateur writers borrow, but professionals steal? There is nothing immoral about that.

    You are the goldurndest writer I know–so organized and systematic. I just hope you’re not getting bogged down in preparation for the book and its revisions and sacrificing writing time. I used to over-plan to the dismay of my wife, who is also my best editor. Everything had to be worked out in advance in scrupulous detail. She would say, basically, “David, stop that.”

    Then I came to realize that much of that pre-writing work was unnecessary, that those ideas I would have written out were all in my subconscious and came into play as I wrote the text, without having written anything down before writing. The creative mind–left alone– is a storehouse of information related to the project at hand. I think of two of my favorites–Hemingway and Joseph Conrad who never once in their careers used a plan or jotted down a single note of preparation. Maybe that’s why they were able to finish works so fast and were prolific.

    I give you lots of credit for your industry, friend, and obviously you do things the way you do because that’s comfortable for you.

    Yesterday I published a post I think you may be interested in and may affect your work.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was surprised at your use of the word “pilfer.” That suggests stealing. If my blog post indicated that is the purpose of my writer’s notebook/collection of hooks and sentences I particularly like in someone else’s writing, then I failed miserably to convey my purposes. I cannot depend on my memory for such things, so I keep a notebook. When I use such opening sentences or other sentences in a blog post, I want to accurately quote such sentences. Without my writer’s notebook, I would not be able to do that. My high school English teachers put the fear of God in me when it comes to matters of plagiarism, so no worries there. LOL!

    I think you’re correct, David, in saying I might be spending too much time on plans and preparations and not enough time writing. It all goes back to my fear of failure and my equally-powerful fear of success. My energy is so limited, that little voice in the back of my mind continually tells me I won’t have the energy necessary to market the novel once I get it published. I have lost so much ground since having shingles in 2016. My energy, writing, reading, and confidence took a big hit during the months of that ordeal.

    You are fortunate to have Diana as your editor. Since my writing mentor died of cancer, I haven’t had anyone who could fill her shoes. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome prevents my being an active member of a writers group. I hope this doesn’t come across like whining. No one knows how hard everything is for me or how frustrating it is not to be able to move my writing process along faster than it’s moving now. I have secured the services of a writing coach, although we only know one another via cyberspace. Although not a friend in the sense of the word used in your April 25, 2018 blog post, I do trust her judgment, and I hope she will be my Diana.


  5. Janet, for fifty years I have been keeping large binders of sentences from books, and phrases, images, and words I’ve found particularly helpful to my writing. I find plagiarism appalling and underhanded (and of course, illegal), particularly since more than once I have opened books and articles and found my work has been stolen–sometimes many pages of it, and once a whole book was plagiarized. Publishing can be cut throat.

    One thing you have to do about fear of failure is to realize that feeling it, you are not special in any way, since every person on earth experiences it, some people infrequently, others, all the time. So you’re not alone. I did a prescriptive post on overcoming it, and if Fighting To Win becomes a part of a person’s psyche, they should have no problem with it. I was trained as a serious athlete to whom that fear was anathema, and had to be overcome.

    I am sorry about your illness. Don’t worry or feel regret about lost time. I was ill at one point in my life and did not write the books I probably would have written during that period when otherwise, I was in my prime. But, so what? I spent my time thinking and remembering details of my life, and studied hundreds of books. So all was not lost.

    Best wishes on high productivity till we talk next. As Diana teaches me, “Everything is going to work out.”

    Liked by 1 person

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