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 LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Orange is the new book cover

Figured I'd do a third novel update just to keep things on track. I had to stop writing for a couple of weeks, family obligations got in the way, family first, what a concept.
First week I was burning...a hundred pages in. Though I loved it something didn't feel right.

Bought Nathan Bransford's HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL within hours of it's debut. Spent the morning reading and BANG there it was. My point of view is wrong.
So...I'm into going from first to third person and loving how I can be such a know-it-all in the story.

Got back on the wagon yesterday changing the POV in what's already written, what a pain in the carpal tunnel that is, and I'm adding.

This morning I did a timeline. Yowsa ! Looks like what I've written will be a third of the whole.
Got to go to work now, damn it, but I feel so writery today.

110 pages 31,000 words.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

The wisdom of my journey

I borrowed this quote from a woman who knew all the rules and wrote the book on grace.

In the end only three things matter:
How much you are loved, how gently you have lived, and how gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you.   Budda

In today’s society we race toward what we think we want. After a lifetime of laps I have realized that all along, what I wanted was sitting in the stands cheering me on. Stopping short of the finish line does not define failure, continuing the race for the sake of the race does. I’m not saying give up, give in, don’t try, I am saying run, just as fast as you can but enjoy the process of each footfall because, one step in front of the other, may be all you have.

When time is limited, and it is, shouldn’t we pick and choose, sweet instead of bitter?
Shouldn’t we spend our days gathering fulfillment instead of dissatisfaction, practicing grace instead of ire and patience instead of irritation. Shouldn’t dreams enhance our vision, not block our path?

I have run the extra mile, hiked the mountain and yes, I swam the channel. I am not giving up, or giving in. My nose is pressed against the glass in amazement. I continue with the shades up and the windows open. And my friends, how fortunate I am, and  lucky, that as the age of 65 winked into existence I realized the wisdom of my journey. 

It is at this point that blog-writers ask questions to enlist comments. I'm not going to do that this time because I know who stops by, I know who cares and I know how important the wonder of shared thoughts and words are.  

It's okay. Sometimes silence is the greatest anthem.

I may not be posting for awhile because I must focus on my column first and my third novel. But then again I may. Who knows what wonders lie beneath the leaves?


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Ant Story

Roselle Park, NJ, 1957.

Sitting next to a cinder-block wall which was painted white I watched as a big black ant struggled to carry a leaf twice its size. He labored up half a block, walked horizontally along the grout line, and then slowly tried to continue his vertical climb. Each time he just sort of wandered back down to the grout line and did what I interpreted as rested and then he tried and tried again. Finally I reached over and grasped the tiny leaf piece and tugged. He let go and immediately climbed the stark face of the wall. Just as he reached the top I placed the leaf in front of him, he took hold and carried it up over the lip of the wall all on his own.

Some folks would have watched him attempt the impossible and moved on, some would have never noticed and walked away as if nothing was happening around them, and some would have smashed the little bugger without a thought.  

When our almost impossible dream, struggle, quest, or whatever-it-is, is mirrored in the expectant eyes of someone else it’s hard not to put them out of their misery with the truth.
I don’t do that anymore because...well just because.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hard to be humble when you are perfect in ev-er-ry way

Does this mean that all detritus is valued?

A few days ago a woman who once worked for me, told me how upset she was because she couldn’t find my columns in the Shoreline Times anymore. Yesterday at work, three customers I see often, came up to me and mentioned that they miss seeing my column in the paper as well. They thought I had either stopped writing or I had been dropped by the paper. I mentioned that I am now in eight ‘Times’ newspapers, a division of The Day in New London. So yesterday, as each woman approached me to express their dismay, out of my pocket I pulled my little pad of Post-its and wrote down the on-line address and how to find me.  It made my day that readers mentioned how much they miss reading my column. I felt famous.

For a moment I thought maybe I was well-known enough to have business cards. Like a real estate agent I'd have my photo on it, plus my newspaper on-line address. I would even include one of humorous quotes. That’s when I had to clean up a hand-soap spill in the clearance aisle and then help a lawyer’s wife load a chair, two lamps and three boxes of dishes into her new Escalade. And, that was after maintenance called out and I volunteered to sweep up the wads of paper towels in the ladies room and empty the trash from the employee’s lounge.

Nothing like providing service with a smile for a rich skinny-bitch, plus cleaning, lugging, loading, sweeping and dumping trash to keep you humble. Nix on the business cards, I’m buying lottery tickets today on the way to work.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Honesty beyond reason

How honest am I as a writer. How deep am I willing to dig, how low am I willing to go?
This is my attempt to turn over the spade and see just how grungy I can get. It’s about an overused term which has been floating among writers for, forever I guess. And it is this.
“Writing is hard work.”
Is it...really...hard work?
What part of writing is hard?

The digging, yes that can be difficult, or is it the sitting, the scribing or tapping. Unless you’re typing with a mouth-stick, what you are doing is easy. Unless you are writing about your dead child, or your rape, or your child’s rape, writing is easy. Unless you are revealing something which puts your life, you family’s lives, your community or your nation at risk, writing is an easy endeavor. Unless, as a result of something you wrote, looking over your shoulder is as practiced as looking both ways when you cross the street, writing is easy.

When I see highway workers laying asphalt at high noon in July, I know I have it easy. When I see electrical linemen climbing polls in February I am glad I write and that my battery is charged. We are lucky, you and I, our depth of difficulty involves our brains. We get to sit and struggle, wallow and wait in air conditioned comfort, in heated homes, on sunny porches and back decks or in well-appointed offices. I have a 9 to 5 which sucks but when I get to write I sit at a table in a HGTV kitchen with a full fridge and cabinets that could feed dozens any day of the week. Nine tenths of the rest of the world can’t even imagine what we do or where and how we do it. They don’t care because their hard work is survival.

Every day I read blogs written by writers and dreamers, editors and agents. To read about their “hard work” amused me at first but not anymore. Hard work is what the post before this one was about. Hard writing is writing about knowing that after five years of working unbelievably hard, post diagnosis for a future, you are about to die

To all of us working on novels and memoirs, to us struggling pen-people scratching our words into dreams of fame and fortune, if the agent doesn’t email us back or we don’t get ‘the call’, or the writer next door with no experience gets a six figure advance, and we get the ‘no reply means no’, we curse them. Why is that?

I’m done with lecturing, yelling, ranting, being honest or whatever the hell you want to call it. Honestly I don’t know how really hard it is for you to finish your precious tome. All I know is that one of the best writers ever, died two weeks ago.
She wrote through nightmarish situations with honesty beyond reason. Her gift was that she made us uncomfortable and smile at the same. 
She wrote.
She was hopeful.
She lived.
She died.
How honest are you?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

To honor a voice and a legacy

A friend died.
More than a friend really she was a family member by marriage. She was 31 years old. I won’t go into how long she suffered and how she died because her blog explains it all, her hopes, her fears and the speedway leading to the end of her life. Her battle was long, and her outlook always hopeful, so it surprised us all even though we knew the end was coming.

She was a writer, an amazing writer, a writer who was able to dig deep, connect and crawl back out of the hole fate dug her, while holding onto our hands and showing us the way.

Her husband, and many friends and family members, have organized a wonderful celebration of life in her honor. This was something she talked about before she died. We were asked to find quotes among her writings which were meaningful to us and post them in a book project which would be given to those attending the celebration. I chose to do something different.

From the hopefulness of the early days of her treatment, to hell and back, to hell again and back again, to a time when she admitted that the drugs they were giving her had only been given to rats, her blog is, at times, very difficult to read. 

But I read and reread her amazing legacy. 

From her chronicle of life, washed with hope and terribly diluted by agony, there is always her practical and poetic voice. I found dozens of wonderful one-liners about life, coping with illness, adapting, laughing and loving through adversity, and printed them on tiny strips of paper. Tomorrow I am filling bowls full of fortune cookies with them.

I am honored to share Karin Diamond's legacy, one fortune at a time.