I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD-SLAPS, SPEED-BUMPS and LIGHT-BULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life, is the name of my memoir/essay collection with why I wrote what I wrote and what happened after. They were published once and as every writer knows, once is not enough.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

I learn while I drink and drink while I learn



I bought a cup.
It’s one of those tall mugs, (caffeine addicts covet), with printing and drawings all over it like the Sunday comics. Largest among the adorable vignettes, the title:
ENGLISH GRAMMAR & PUNCTUATION.

I love it, not only because it’s clever, it’s super appropriate for me and beyond practical.
Have I ever mentioned I flunked English?
Yup, I did.
In high school we had to complete entire notebooks of diagramed sentences. Every day, new ones until I simply zoned out. Actually, that’s about all we did during the second half of sophomore English in Eureka Missouri. It was tedious and boring.

What I remember. The sentence went on the main line and then we had to draw slanted lines away from key words and label what they were, like, verb, adverb, noun, pronoun and all the rest. I got the nouns and verbs right but once you had to add more lines, which made the sentence look like a stick figure broken ladder, I got terribly lost. I always thought, who cares what the words are called, as long as they sound right and get your point across.

We moved a lot, (three high schools), so I had many teachers who loved what I wrote, but when considering analysis, I was a failure. My spelling sucked too but that's another story.

Anyway, now I have my mug. It tells me everything and gives me examples.
Problem and observation: be very careful when reading mug-rules.
Coffee is hot.
 
Do you stick to the rules or write what sounds ‘write’?

Saturday, February 25, 2017



The old homestead? I don't think so.
Gotta phone call two weeks ago which I can only call magical. A woman called to say she wanted to buy my house, (my house?), we only moved in six months ago. She said our house was her dream house and that she had put in an offer and lost out because her house did not sell at the time. Well, now her house has sold and she wants mine.
No way would we move unless financially she made it worthwhile, she did not, because she cannot.
BUT
The house I would move to, does make it very worthwhile.
It’s the old family homestead built by my in-laws almost 70 years ago. My mother-in-law brought her babies home to that house and I brought my babies home to that house after we bought it in ’83.

We sold that house in ’03 because a buyer knocked on our front door and made us an unbelievable deal we could not pass up. (That’s when the magic started.) It’s a long story, I won’t burden my carpal tunnel with it just now, but to move back would be OUR dream come true.

Now, the house is owned by a municipality, and a squatter (their word not mine) has been living there for years without paying rent. We came very, very close to making a deal to buy it but behind the scenes the squatter got a mortgage and closes in a short while. We lost out to a low-life, dead-beat.

How could tax paying, hardworking, upright citizens lose out to someone like that?

That’s the question which drenched every tear I have shed over this. And there have been many. I am heartbroken.

And then I realized something very important.

And what does this have to do with writing?

It is ridiculous that I have let the lowlife manage thoughts regarding my future. It is ludicrous that I allow agents, editors and publishers to flatten my aims when it comes to what I plan my writing future to be. I am in control of nothing from the lowlife guy to the hardworking folks in traditional publishing and yet I let them rule my feelings and thoughts as related to what happens tomorrow. What tomorrow?

It is foolish.

It will stop.

Do I want to move back to a house filled with family memories?

Do I want to live in a home perfectly suited for an aging couple?

Yes and yes.

Do I want to be traditionally published?

Do I want to be able to write full time?

Yes and yes again.

BUT

All I have is now, with thoughts of a tomorrow which promises me nothing.

Right now, my current house, which is pretty nice and someone else’s dream house, is mine. Sorry caller.

I’ve been published hundreds of times and that’s pretty good.

I’m going with what I’ve got this very minute, and that’s a hell of a cold, a warm house and a paid writing gig for a newspaper.

Life is good and I am grateful.

 

Who rules thoughts of YOUR future?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Angst in a file


Years ago, at a particularly tough time, with finances off the rail and the demands of family over the top, I wrote a short story, which became a 82,000 word book,  about a women who disappeared, (willingly), while leaving no clues behind as to where she went. I actually figured out a way to head out of Dodge and make a new life, leaving my adored children and once in a lifetime husband behind.

Writing the story was great therapy; I was able to go without going. It was like writing a scathing letter to your mother-in-law and then tearing it up.  The story was pretty good and the emotional dump was soulfully needed but I never did anything with it. It’s buried somewhere in my computer. The book however, neatly tucked into its manila folder, haunts me from the bottom shelf of a bookcase. It reminds me of how despair can cook a novel that once seemed tasty but has gone rancid over time.

My point is that, over the course of this thing I call writing, as a response to life’s travails, I’ve murdered my husband, sold out my parents, burned down a co-workers house and abandoned my children. Those stories were never saved anywhere. I live happily ever after at home with a husband of many, MANY, years and with children, on their own, but close to the nest.  I am privileged and in a very good place. I wonder if writing happy stories makes you happier.

Do you write your angst away?