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Showing posts from January, 2010

Writing Waves

I have been in rewrite mode, so pardon the absence. This last week I had one of those breakthrough moments where a person has the chance to go one way, taking the safe route, or go the other way and risk failure. I took the second path, and I think it worked.
Have you noticed that writing comes in waves? Sometimes you're riding along and things are great, and other times you feel as if you were dropped down never to be picked up again? That's when we have to take a breath and allow faith--whatever that might be to each person--to take over. You have to believe in your talent and hold firm. The times I had the most trouble writing resulted in some of my favorite work. If I had not allowed myself to fight through the difficulty, I might have given up indefinitely! At the moment, there is a three-year-old climbing all over me. Talk about tough writing conditions! And this before coffee . . .
Have a great writing day! Fight, believe, take risks.

Sunlight, Sunlight, Beautiful Sunlight

Need I say more? Let's face it, we all get a little cranky when the sun doesn't come out for over a week. It's almost as bad as not having coffee, or chocolate, or cookies! When I saw it today, it was like a scene from a romantic movie. "What--" gasp. "Do you see what I see? It's . . ." Faint.
I love you sun. Love. Love. Love. Please don't leave me again. I'll be good and not hide from you in July. Oh, just please come back to stay.
My freckles are singing with joy. My eyes are burning with delight. The sun has come and momma's gonna have it up tonight.
Night. Damn.

Superman

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Okay, so now I'm obsessed with Superman. I watched the old 1978 movie with the kids last week and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it again. I've worn out all three Spiderman discs so it's nice to have a new superhero to dream over. Christopher Reeves was just perfect as Superman wasn't he? He was tall, thick, hooooooottttt. And he had that sort of nerdy gentleness which is so hard to find in the male species. When you think about everything that happened to Christopher in real life, and how he truly was a Superman in every way--both thought and action--well, it makes me a little weepy. What an inspiration!
Julia and Liam were so inspired by the movie that they fought over who got to wear Liam's Superman pajamas. I guess Julia won, because she wore it all day yesterday running back and forth through the hall on her tiptoes, cape flying behind in red flashes. Then last night, I walked into the bedroom and saw Liam in a dress and Julia in the Superman getu…

Survival

This morning I woke up convinced that I was the world's worst writer and should just give it all up. I even considered replacing writing with learning how to fold towels like they do in departments stores. A worthy lifetime goal, but not quite as satisfying. Man, was I depressed.
There's something that happens to a writer every once in a while where we lose our ability to think in a rational manner. Every word we write is like poison; every thought like the plague.
It started when I finally gained enough nerve to open my old manuscript and see what kind of drudge I sent out on that full request over a month ago. Yikes. Ouch! @#***?!! Mistake after mistake after hopelessly idiotic mistake. Now, I may not be a mind reader, but I can say this: the beautiful, wonderful agent that has my manuscript is in all likelihood going to send a rejection--if she sends anything at all--and I won't blame her one bit. It hurts, but that's life.
However, after a full day of de…

A Little Game

Last night before going to bed, I sat down and started clicking through some old Time Magazines I'd found online. I found one about a rising new star named Robert Redford dated February, 1969. A glorious full color picture of his face spanned the front cover, which I drooled at for a moment then slid past to read some old adverts. Julia came up behind me and, after seeing an ad showing a man in different stages of gradual hair dying, started a game called, Which man will I marry?
"Not that one," she said, pointing to the man pre-hair dye. "Not that one," she continued, pointing to the other pictures of him in his chemically enhanced follicle progress. I waited for her to say that she would marry the final man in the picture--the same one in the beginning but with darker, glossy hair. Apparently she didn't like the way he looked, despite his doing so much to please her; money all spent on dye and nice-looking suit.
"What about this guy?" I ask…

The Patient Cat

Yesterday I cooked up a whole buffet of wholesome treats, the main course being a chicken. All afternoon my black Himalayan mix stayed close, hugging the counters, sitting perched atop countertops, tall chairs--anything that would allow her to witness the wonderful spectacle of roasted fowl in action. She started to do that strange tick which all cats do upon coming across bird; her whiskers twitched and her eyes remained glued to object.
"It's dead, cat, and your not getting any until waaaaaaay later. Give up now."
"Meow." It was a quiet omission, which, in English meant, "Yeah, right."
She watched as I washed the carcass, then dried it off and rubbed butter along its jaundice skin.
"Not getting any."
"Meow."
She watched as I sprinkled herbs and spices, then drizzled olive oil and Worcestershire.
"None."
"Meow."
I opened the oven door and slowly shoved the pan inside, and with a dramatic blow to her plans, shut t…

Struggling With Writing

If you're going to be a writer, then you are going to suffer the pain of lost inspiration or interruption of flow. Here is another suggestion I think might work for most of us poor word slaves: keep a fear journal. It can be plain paper, or a separate word document, but allow yourself to have a place to write down all your fears, so that you can face them. What is keeping you from writing? What are you avoiding? Have you run out of ideas, or are you just burnt out and need to refuel? I know I get really sick of myself; I'm a defeatist and have always come down hard on everything I do. Others say they love it, but I start rejecting it like a mother bird with a overactive sense of smell. I had to sit down and write some things out this morning in order to come here and write this, because my neurotic self had gotten the best of me and halted all simple ability to just produce. If you face the fear, you can move forward.
Writing is about being in love with your project. …

The Library

After the divorce Mom was forced to find a way to make a living, the savings from her New York airline days already long depleted. Her first stint was at the Russell Stover factory up in Kansas City which, let's face it, was the best job any kids could ever want their mother to have. She walked into the house every night with a butterscotch for each of us, and tales of having eaten endless chocolate all through the day. Bemoaning the fact of how much weight she was gaining, she kept working until she saw a position being offered right there in Spring Hill as the multi-service clerk for the library up on Main. She, giving us a glimpse of the fighter within, took on the city council to secure the position away from a long standing citizen--a man. The look on her face when she walked into the house that afternoon was of disbelief and pride. "I did it." She sunk down into the brown print love seat with her purse slumping alongside her feet. "They almost gave it t…

Waiting for the Word

I was sick yesterday: stomach pains, achey joints, fatigue. Needless to say, I didn't get much done in regards to writing. I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch, or in the bed, watching movies and reading twitter updates from agents who are seeming to be having way too much fun if you ask me. Just joking--I like that they're having fun. It means they are happy, jolly people who won't be thrashing at my manuscript in crazed madness if I ever send it out again. I'm still waiting to hear from an agent who requested a full over a month ago. Agency standards are to wait three months until checking-in. That's a long time to wait, but I'm not alone in this waiting game, so I'll deal. In the meantime, I am going to set up a web-site for the book, and continue writing the sequel.
Since my brain isn't in full working order, I will stop at this and wish everyone a happy week-end with tons of great writing.


Why Writers Write

This entry should be taken somewhat lightly, as I am speaking only for myself drawn from my own perspective; semi-hard earned. Writers, each of us, have something we are sensitive about, and so I wouldn't dare presume what another thinks or feels. All I can provide is a generalization of what I assume we all share concerning the art of sentence creation and the meanings within.
With the tragedy in Haiti unfolding in front of our faces via flashing screen or buzzing radio, I began to equate what place a writer has on this delicate place called earth. Some are relayers of information, and so would be the most important at the moment. Many are in the coals of the fire as we speak, uncovering horrific tales for us at home to process and respond to. This kind of writer would be the most important, as human should always know the suffering of other human. I see it as a call for compassion, and growth, but most of all, urgency; a child--any human, but especially children--should n…

Ogden's Nut Gone Flake

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Small Faces is a band long forgotten in the scarf waving hands of time, their lead singer, Steve Marriott, buried years ago along with all the mod and psychedelia he touted so perfectly. He was small in stature, but possessed a voice of magnitude; huge presence, great musician and songwriter. When I went on a Youtube search looking for some tunes to keep me in writing mode, I found a song called Itchycoo Park and gave it a listen. I liked the lyrics and his sly way of singing and dancing around with no hint of reservation. Steve Marriott was truly a person born to be on stage.
Then I heard Tin Soldier. Blew my mind. The boy could sing! I started to do some serious Google research and found out that not only Led Zeppelin, but Jimmy Hendrix to countless others had been influenced by this wonderful fellow and his amazing well of talent.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has certain requirements for the musicians they choose to induct into their certified Holy Grail of greatness, but …

Folks on the Hill

Up on the top corner of Franklin stood a one-story surrounded by a large yard with lilac bush out by the ditch. Every spring Mom made us kids sneak over there to steal armloads of blossoms; the bush was large enough that we were well-hidden, and our house smelled great for a few days, making it well worth the risk.
Eventually, the inhabitant--a widow--moved away, leaving the house open for a short time before a family of three moved in. A few glances out of our salmon-colored curtains showed two girls about the same age as Cathy and I, and a mother in faded bell bottoms. Her hair was scraggly; a cigarette dangling from her right hand as she watched the girls running around the yard. A couple of trips up the street on our bicycles allowed fate to connect us, and we found out the older girl's name was Rhonda. She had fluffy curls of honey blonde and a sweet disposition. Christy was not so well-behaved, with layered brown hair hanging over a face more boyish than we had noticed…

The Butterfly Candle

On our bookshelf sat a tall candle with dozens of butterflies painted inside a sugary glass coating. It added just the right touch in between Mom's biography of Rose Kennedy and the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, which I took out to inspect every Friday night while listening to records. The candle was magic: when Mom fired-up its wick and turned out the lamp, butterflies danced around the room in alighted patterns, with each of us kids dancing around like druids; reaching up to catch each flickering winged apparition.
Those were special times, and stolen from the real life we lived, occurring only when Dad was away at his night job. He didn't know that we watched TV or talked in loud, joyful tones. He was away and we were the mice coming out to play: dance, sing, smile; no beer cans being thrown at the wall; none of us being yanked up by our feet and taunted; no hellfire and brimstone to taint our restless sleep. It was time to be free! And we knew, by the smile on Mo…

It's been a long, long, long time

Today, the temperature has a little negative symbol next to it. And it's supposed to snow . . . again. Now, normally I like snow, it has this magic quality to take the world and change it into the 1800's with all the cars and paved streets and signs masked into a white oblivion. If you listen close enough, you just might hear the sound of sleigh bells coming across the way, and a lonely train whistle blowing through the bleak, forever fields. Someone is drawing a match across flint, ready to light the fabric wick of a hurricane lamp. Shadows flicker across patterned wallpaper, reaching out to a dim light seeping into the room past heavy draperies; light which seems more like left-over moon glow, than the gold of a rejected sun. A cat sits up against thick, wavy glass, silhouetted against the white of the snow. And slow as molasses, it raises and elongates its back into a crackly stretch . . . then lays back down.
But here I am, 2010. It is a number of hope, asking for t…