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February 2006
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April 2006

Nod if you can hear me

Is there anybody out there?

Today I met with a friend, fellow writer and blog-enthusiast, we talked about strangers reading our blogs ... I don't have a clue who reads this but am honored by the fact that people do. I'm just curious which people. Who? Why? When?

She shared how it felt that a stranger had posted on her blog. I could relate because one time someone I didn't know posted on mine and it was this strange, euphoric feeling to realize that someone I didn't know was reading my stuff. Even if they thought it was shit, it still felt good to me ... once step closer to the dream of publication.

Even though my work has been published, it was different when it was journalism because it wasn't personal. Sometimes it seemed that way, but having my byline in newspapers wasn't as real and raw as sharing my fiction.

Another feeling I can't put into words is the feeling of having something I've written "out there in the world." I entered a local writing contest recently with a poem and an essay I wrote. Last week I got a note in the mail that it was received and I should hear back mid-April. So right now, right this second, someone could be reading my work and I want so badly to be a fly on the wall to know what they think. Did it move them? Did it take them back to a memory they'd long forgotten?

I like to connect with people through writing. And, I like the possibility of getting a break. I'd love to add contest winner to my writing resume. To launch me to the next goal. And eventually ... Oprah. So, nod if you can hear me.


Autobiographical Ani?

So it's come up a couple times that even with my little disclaimers, some of you seem to find a resemblance between my character Ani and me. I don't know if it's because her family make-up is similar? (Fine, it's the same) Or, because her dad is also a doctor? Or, because she's all kinds of angsty and makes the same kind of bad dating choices (until wonderful Matt, of course)? And sure, she goes to the same college I went to ... okay I admit it - there are some similarities.

I'm concerned about seeming totally vain by liking my character so much if she appears to be based on me - and the truth is that Ani is what my most favorite self would be. She is a composite character made up of my favorite qualities in my girlfriends - so if you recognize a piece of me in her, look closely for a piece of you as well. Maybe a mannerism, a sense of style, the words she uses, a lesson you've taught me ... This is true of all the characters in the book. Part of it is about writing what you know, so it comes across as real and believable. Part of it is just how it's all coming out. I have some ideas for where this is going, but it's got a life of it's own at this point and I'm pretty much just along for the ride.

Speaking of Ani, one of the things I worked on this week is looking over the pieces and stories I've written about her so far and noting all the details, then fleshing out discrepancies. I found some funny ones - like in Kickin' it with Ralph her birthday is in June but in another story her birthday is April 3. Because I wanted the birthday part in Kickin' it with Ralph, and I wanted her and Ralph to be Geminis, I went with June. But then I realized that the story opens on her birthday, before she ever lays eyes on Ralph so  had to change the date again .... At that point I decided to spend some time making conscious choices about dates and details to avoid such inconsistencies.

She's born June 14, 1981 (Same birthday as Che Guevara), the "Day of Gutsy Confrontation." I didn't want her starting college during a time where "texing" was a verb and post-September 11th. She'll be just starting her sophomore year when the towers fall. Trying to figure this all out was like a crazy game of dominoes where every choice I made had to make sense for the whole series.


Progress Report

I haven't had an office this clean since, well, forever. It is truly organized and clean with no secret stacks of shit stashed in every corner. I don't feel right going on and on (even though I'm SO stoked) until I get the boxes and garbage and recycling out of the other room. And then, we do the dance of joy.


Overheard

Matt and I talking about what we're doing for Spring Break, and how it's the opposite of a nice vacation, yet it's awesome to have time to catch up on stuff. I told Matt I was a little concerened that he was going a mile a minute and not relaxing at all. In true Capricorn style he replied:

It's relaxing to get a bunch of shit done.



Thank you & Why I haven't written much this week

I've received some emails and phone calls from friends wondering how my morning writing thing is going ... more on that in a minute, but first - your support matters to me. a lot. Thank you from the deepest part of my heart to everyone who reads my blog and encourages me in myriad ways to be true to my heart and the stories in my head  ... Some days just being able to post something here, or even thinking about what I'd like to post, puts me in that writer mode that makes me a calmer, better human being.

I get all kinds of angsty without writing and am discovering what a difference it makes in may day if I haven't written, after several days in a row of no writing, even if it's a journal entry or post, I can't even stand myself.

So writing in the morning is a perfect way to start the day - perfect may be a stretch because there's still that morning thing to overcome - but still, it reminds me that writing is my priority and the job I have is just that, a job. I love the job and want to keep it for a long, long time but I need to keep focused on the fact that I'm the secretary, and I chose this particular job at this particular time to allow us to meet financial goals and the idea was for it to be the sort of job that worked well with my real work - writing.    

It's Spring Break so as many have noted, I haven't been rising at 5:30 to write, but instead have used this chunk of time to catch up on some things and take care of personal business I can't seem to get done during the workweek. My parents are coming to visit - hurray - and so I'm busily trying to pretend that I'm perfect. This dawned on me yesterday when I wondered if there was any possible way to loose thirty pounds in a week. No. The answer is no. So, instead, maybe I can pretend that I live the way my mom raised me - clean, tidy house, ironing caught up, closets organized ... I really do make my bed everyday but that's pretty much it on that list. So, you see I have a lot to do.

Container_store Also, as a person who is accustomed to operating under deadline Container_store_basket pressure - you should know that the Scrapbooking organizational class is almost over and it's time for the "After" picture ... so I'm busting a move in here inspired by a fun day with YaYa - which included a trip to the Container Store - so that I can wear my mortarboard with pride.

It was hard to write in here because of the the fucked up Feng Shui and spending the time to get the office dialed in counts toward my writing goals, in my book anyway because the more inspirational and functional this room is, the better ... I should have an after picture for you by the end of the day.


Moxie

Moxie_cover Moxie_back_cover As I'm working on setting up my office - I want to be surrounded by things that inspire me - things that are purposefully placed, not haphazardly piled peeking out from under stacks.

I found this cool little book with my favorite word on the cover: Moxie and I love the orange color - it's made by Compendium Publishing a very cool company out of Washington - my home state.

Right off the bat I opened it to one of my favorite quotes:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of the universe. You were born to manifest the glory of the universe that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

- Marianne Williamson


Morning Two

Word Count: 983, total so far: 2,254

Still not a morning person, but I am excited to have completed my second writing morning. Coaxed myself out of bed by picturing my interview with Oprah between snoozes. She asks me something like, how did you do it? And I sigh and casually shrug my shoulders, "Well, Oprah, it was just a matter of actually doing it instead of just talking about it." And Oprah nods at me with her wise eyes and lovely smile. Beep, beep, beep - the sound of the alarm rudely intrupting our interview.

Again, just the raw stuff but here's a bit from today's work - Ani has just moved into the dorms and reflecting on her new digs:

What I didn’t know, is that this would be the easiest time in my life to make friends. Everyone was right down the hall, or a few stacks down. Intimacy was instant because you didn’t hang out in your parents’ kitchens or dens, or Denny’s. Here, you gathered in your bedroom, which also served as your living room and your half-bath – the half where you stand dripping in your towel, putting on lotion and fixing your hair because one of your 7 other roommates needed to shower. Community bathrooms is a funny term because “community” implies a sense of ,well, harmony. Harmony is quite possibly the last word I’d use to describe bathroom use in our suite. And suite? Also a misnomer. Suite implies something grand and fancy. Not so much.


Morning One

Word Count: 1,271 - Ani

I dragged my ass out of bed at 5:30 this morning and was writing by 5:40 ... sadly, the only reason I didn't just change the setting on my alarm and return to blissful sleep is because I had to pee so bad I couldn't wait. I had every intention of getting right back in bed and starting this foolish morning thing next week. Because next week seems to be a more appealing time to start things. But, on my way to the bathroom and with the shock of the light, I realized that I really can and need to do this. So, I did. I'm glad. Two chai teas helped. Mostly crap but a couple good lines. I worked on Ani. Which was fun because I've really missed her. See what I mean about mentally ill? And why is it that the best sleep occurs moments before the alarm goes off?

Remember this is raw, raw, raw - morning writing:

Over Christmas break I ran into Andreas at a party. Not exactly a happy reunion. I was alright but he was pissed, in the British-word-for-drunk sense as well as in the too- angry- to -be- rational sense.


Flunkie

Dscf2056 I am flunking my scrapbooking class. Really, I am. During this process I'm reminded of how when I was younger I'd be cleaning my room and my mom would come in and shake her head with kind of a "what in God's name are you doing?" expression on her face. I have this theory that when you're really delving into an organizing project, things must get worse before they get better. Which I'm currently trying to explain to Matt so he can understand why the current status of the office is worse, much worse, than before I signed up for this organizing class ordeal. I say ordeal, but secretly I'm glad for the challenge and opportunity to prove once and for all that I can do it. You'll see. Currently, I'm about four weeks behind .... but with my new tool Turnabout and my new method of sorting/storing photos, I'll be good to go in no time. Okay, fine - it might also take several garbage bags and discovering the concept of magazine recycling.

Week one: First Class - Intro

Week two: Paper

Week three: Photos

Week four: Tools, Adhesives, Stickers, Die Cuts

Week five: Punches, Stamps

Week six: Embellishements, Fibers, Ribbons

Week seven: Paints, Cosmetics

Week eight: Magazines, Ideas

Week nine: Garage Sale

Week ten: Crop Day

Week Eleven: Last class, Graduation


Jealousy

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

- Einstein said it, Franklin said it, Holmes said it - and I am experiencing it. At school last Wednesday we had an author visit - Linda Crew. As she sat autographing books at the table set up in front of the office I felt pangs of this horrible feeling ... jealousy. I was embarrassed to admit it, but I wanted that so badly and I'm not doing what it takes to make that happen. After mulling it over for a few days, I decided to use those negative feelings as a barometer and do something different.

In Bird by Bird Anne Lamott dedicates an entire chapter to Jealousy:

"Of all the voices you'll hear on KFKD, the most difficult to subdue may be that of jealousy. Jealousy is such a direct attack on whatever measure of confidence you've been able to muster. But if you continue to write, you are probably going to have to deal with it, because some wonderful dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry undeserving writers you know - people who are, in other words, not you ... Jealousy is one of the occupational hazards of being a writer, and the most degrading. And I, who have been the Leona Helmsley of jealousy, have come to believe that the only things that help ease or transform it are (a) getting older (b) talking about it until the fever breaks (c) using it as material."

Looking at my schedule and my current commitments, it is horrifying to admit that the only time I have for writing is before work. A reminder: I am the antithesis of a morning person. But, I want published novels more than I want sleep. I think. We'll see how it goes.

When I was a kid, I used to drive my brother nuts by writing schedules and lists of routines in my Trapper Keeper - I know it sounds mentally ill, but I really loved it. While I'm still a list maker, I've long since let go of creating routines for myself. I'm a little excited and mostly nervous about putting this out there, because of the high likelihood of failure, but here it is: I'm going to write five days a week from 5:30 to 7 a.m. I know, I'm laughing too. Mine is more of a nervous laughter, whereas yours is likely laughter of the "yeah, right!" variety.

I'll keep ya posted.