Greetings beautiful readers and writers!
Things haven’t been going very well with the novel. Mostly, I’ve been writing short paragraphs of poo.
The characters are lovely and developing but, well…
It wasn’t their fault.
I started to read what I’d written and I then I began to think too much about how I’d like the characters to proceed.
Things got messy and not in the way my characters created.
The plot is all backed up. I created this and now I’ve got to swim in it’s murky mess. The only way out is through and so I sit down for the last possible hour I can stay awake and I write about Penny and Joseph and the end of the world.
This week, until next Monday, I’m focusing on details, specificity, the senses, and imagery. I’ll let you know how I do and what I find out, next week.
Don’t think, just write.
Posted in The Novel in Progress | Tagged Fiction, Novel, Short Paragraphs of Poo, Short story, The Novel in Progress, Writers, Writing | 9 Comments »
This week’s word is:
It means: self-confidence or assurance, esp. when in a demanding situation:
I like this word
1. because Neil Gaiman used it in a sentence.
2. because I need to, and often have it in my life, especially lately. Thank you very much.
3. because I’ve never heard this word before.
4. because it sounds like a combination of so many other words.
Graham Joyce says, “I think you’ll find Neil Gaiman meant “a plum”.
Could be and the conversation makes so much more sense now.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged aplomb, Graham Joyce, Neil Gaiman, Word, Word of the Week, Writer, Writers, Writing | 1 Comment »
I’m sitting here in a fog with juice and medications and vomit bag. I have no appetite and I’m exhausted. The more I try to think about what I want to say, the more frustrated and tired I get. I wonder how anyone gets any work done when they’re sick. I think the best part of not having a brain is that I can simply write, without too much regard to the final product. Yesterday I spoke about the writing life charged and how I felt publishing would be good for my writing spirit. A whole day later I still believe that, but I also want to acknowledge the theme of process over product.
People who work with artists, as artists or that teach are very familiar with process over product. It’s a theory that says we do our best work or learning if we’re in flow with the process. I believe we get stunted and blocked if we try to force a product. Publishing should be a way to share what we’ve written, but not a starting point. That said, there is such a thing as deadlines. We can still have this writing life charged, publishing and promoting but if we loose sight of the real work, it’s bound to stick out its pout lip, coil and go to sleep. So what should a writer do then? We can’t always wait for the muse to strike.
It’s true, muses are in short supply these days. The serious writer can’t wait around for the moments when inspirational devas pour their love goo all over the paper, but we can open the door for them. We open the door by showing up everyday to the page and by listening. Writing is an invitation to listen. What I’ve learned over the last few years is that writing isn’t about making something up, it’s about getting something down. It’s about turning off the thinker, letting go of the result and just punching the keys. If we get our brain out of the way and engage in the process of writing, the words will come.
Often we approach the page with such fear about thinking something up, that we forget to tap into what’s already there. It’s no wonder there’s something called the writer’s block. I imagine writers hanging out on the side of a building waiting for the pivotal turning point, the chance to speak to the muse in residence. The writer’s block is full of scared and silent types who are frozen in inertia because they can’t make up anything brilliant. In times of crisis, it’s best to get silent. Forcing a product comes out disingenuous to ourselves and to our readers. But if we’re to be writers we must write, and we must do it despite our fear. The secret is to enjoy the process of writing, not to force anything and to listen to what wants to be written.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Writer, Writers, Writing | 3 Comments »
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Maybe I didn’t realize it until my teens, but as a child the bookstores and libraries were the places that I felt the most at home in my own skin. The books and the art and the words all crept into my DNA and I became writer long before I imagined the possibility of naming it. Years later, when I was thirteen I remember reading Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums and feeling like I’d just been transported into a new language and dream. I tried to imagine myself doing that! I imagined writing like Jack, but how could I become a god? I figured I’d be a reader but never, even years later when I was told that anyone could try, could I imagine it was possible for me.
Fast forward to now. I’m lying in bed, filled to the brim with two different antibiotics, queasy and dizzy and exhausted. Mostly I’m really pissed off. I can’t work but I can write. My leg is propped up so that the infection, a red line from my foot chasing it’s way up to my heart, won’t kill me. My doctor made sure she was wearing her “beyond bitchy” tone of voice likened to that of a Nazi fear monger. “You will die if you do not keep your foot elevated,” she says and shows no sympathy or any sort of thing you’d expect from a doctor. I suspect it’s because she felt I should’ve known better and gone to the ER the day it started hurting, not the day after. Perhaps, but when the whole world starts to fall apart, the last thing I want to do is share it with a bunch of unsympathetic doctors who charge two hundred dollars an hour.
So I’m here now and I’m writing. And my writing life is full and fearless. I know what you’re thinking. This can’t last for long. The demon will come knocking and fear and loathing will step in. Probably you’re right. I think it too, but what if we’re wrong? What if something in the infection also gave me a kind of Stephen Kingesque kind of drive and knowhow? What if this something is akin to a charge that’ll keep me keeping on and make this my life? It’s as if I’m so pissed off that I don’t give a damn if I can or can’t do it anymore; I’m done second guessing myself and I’m just doing it. Everything that’s been happening in my life, the things they just keep coming. These things pushing me over the edge have given me a choice: to give up or to fly. So I’m taking this last straw and changing my perception. Though I lay here in bed, half-feeling like a person on the verge of homelessness, that’ll never be able to pay my bills because I can’t move, I’m also half-courageous and all we need is a little bit of courage to see us through this darkness, don’t we?
Over the afternoon I’ve re-read sections of Stephen King’s On Writing, read some fairy tales retold, felt nausea from the antibiotics and written bits of a new story called The Demon’s Tea Party or The Writerly Life of Emily Post—it’s a story about writing and I plan to publish online as an e-book. Nobody told me I could publish an e-book (except maybe my man friend, or boyfriend, or whatever the hell you want to call yourself) but I am publishing because why the hell not! I’m tired of sitting around feeling too scared to write anything that the world will see. I’m tired of being only half a writer (even though some of you may disagree). No need to publish, you can still call yourself a writer, say the well intentioned “them.” For sure that’s true but I’ve gone insane with keeping my writing to myself and the only way I can see to write more is to share my work. A writer writes, isn’t that right? But can a writer be fulfilled if they don’t show their work? Anais Nin kept her journals secret, but she had a reason. Oh, I have my reasons too. Eventually she caved in.
Now I’m caving in. I’m caving because in the end the dramatic epiphany of three years ago is still the same: art and writing save my life. I can’t imagine doing anything else that brings me so much joy. But there’s something missing from my writing practice, something I didn’t realize until yesterday. It’s true that I’m off target by a billion percent when I think that I can live without writing, but I’m also off target when I think I don’t need to publish. I’ve been feeling crazy about it lately, really itching and feeling like I’m lost. The truth is that I will probably write more when I’m publishing and that’s a good thing. Look, the world needs my wackiness and I need the world. I need the world to keep giving it to me: the good, the bad and the quirky because that’s my material and let’s face it, the world will always be good, bad and quirky. So finally, after years of courting this art form, I’m taking my joy, my sorrow and my wackiness and I’m giving it to you. Fearless and thorough from now on and to the very end.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Anaïs Nin, art, Jack Kerouac, Publishing, Stephen King, Writer, Writing | 2 Comments »