It’s that time of year again! Time to careen into January full of gusto and resolve. So what if we sputter halfway into February. That’s a whole month (and one twelfth of a year) of progress. That has to be worth something!
It seems like just yesterday I was writing last years new years blog, “Resolutions” Don’t Work. I get really excited about this. My readers, all five of them, know that New Years is one of my favorite holidays.
Once, I saw something on HONY (for those of you that are not up on HONY, I’m obsessed with him. It stands for Humans of New York and this photojournalist, Brandon Stanton, walks the streets and takes people’s pictures, telling little bits of their conversation. I’ve followed him for years and its always poignant and powerful and I feel he miraculously reveals a bit of soul in two or three lines of conversation. Readers, all five of you, follow him! You’ll thank me.)
So back to my point… Years ago, there was a post of a woman. She said something like… (Excuse the lack of verbatim. This is how I remember it.)
“I have this theory. We are all given the same amount of time but time is a subjective concept. So if things in our lives are always changing, it feels like we get “more” time.” Continue reading
Teenagers and Writing Critique Groups = Creativity Killers
Remember being a teenager? It seemed you had to hide any bit of individuality from the mob of your peers and their judgy-ness.
Maybe that was just me. It wasn’t weird that I quoted Shakepeare, danced to swing music and carried vocabulary flashcards in my purse. No. Not weird.
I have teenagers now and guess what? They’re still judgy! And I’m still weird. (I’m told this constantly.) But now, I like my weird. We’ve grown attached to each other. We clique off and snicker about our critics. In my head, we ARE the popular kids.
I’m all grown up now. But writing critique groups can kill creativity in much the same way as the high school mean girls can.
The first time I went to a writers critique group. I was young, not much older than a teenager, really. The group met in an adorable bohemian café that had ombre walls, sold forty different types of tea and had jam poetry sessions that packed the place. This is being a writer, I said to myself. How romantic! Continue reading
Sam’s eyes snapped open. The dark room was grainy with the promise of morning. She lay still as the sound of sirens rose from the fog on the marsh. At first, Sam understood. Just as everything presented while straddling a dream is accepted without question. The sirens somehow made sense.
When the sirens began a second time, Sam bolted up. She stumbled to the sliding door and scanned the light beyond the glass. The Kawainui marsh was the same. The Ko’olau mountains still steepled in prayer beyond it. But it all felt different. A dense shroud of grey pressed its belly into the thickets of mangrove. The trees looked bent like blades of grass.
She stood at the door, pulling the dream back. A woman, her mother but not her mother, her finger circling the rim of a crystal glass. Sam felt like she knew something she hadn’t known before. And then the dream slipped away, a stone sinking into the pond of her mind.
A shot rang out, sending a buzz down the walls. Sam didn’t move. She watched the wind digging into the cane grass. A mango rolled down the slope of the roof landing with a splat on the pavement outside the door. Continue reading
Gardens are like books. Ok, gardens are not as delightful as books and, well, gardens have bugs soooo… 😕 But maintaining a garden is like writing a book because…
Both gardens and books need constant care to grow. I liken that perfect, red glittery strawberry to a jewel of an idea you get at 3am. You know you should stop what you’re doing and pick it/write it down but “meh.” You’re too tired.You’ll do it later. Then poof! You turn it over and the potato bugs have swiss-cheesed it.
They both look easy, until you’re on your knees in aguish because grasshoppers have scarfed down your harvest or you discover that your protagonist is just boring.
Aaaand, if you garden (or write novels) only for food, you’re in the wrong business!
Way back when, I loved the idea of food being a simple equation. Seed – plant – stomach. Easy, right?
But after many moons of battling weeds and insects, I’ve realized three things:
1. I have not outgrown my childhood skittishness of all things crawly. Continue reading
I once told a fellow writer that every time I sit down, I feel like a different person and my work reflects it. My multiple personalities bloat my writing with their twisted humor, inflated description, gushing prose or snarky syntax. Whoever shows up that day.
“It depends on how caffeinated I am or how quiet it is or whether my dishes are done,” I said wistfully. “How do I write an entire book if I can’t even keep my scattered brain in line?”
My friend replied, “What is your workspace like? Where do you normally write?” Errrr. I did that embarrassed side-pursed-lips thing that you do when someone asks what you do to workout, then replied, “Wherever I guess. Cafes, the library, bed, my kitchen table.” She nodded knowingly.
So, apparently we writers are supposed to keep our environment stable if we want the tone of our writing to be consistent. I hope not EVERYONE here is like “duh” because this had actually never occurred to me. It makes sense, I just thought it was one of those in your perfect world scenarios. Continue reading
From my Attention-Deficit brain to yours, a thoughtful Haiku for Monday…
Steaming coffee cup
A blank screen glows before me
Did I lock my car?