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.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A million words

This January is the anniversary of a remarkable event in our family. It was a watershed moment. That amazing pivotal adventure, which took a year to come to fruition, has me viewing life as before the event and life after; a benchmark really.
As the first month of this year comes to a close I’m using it as a point of reference for the next ten years. I try not to look too far ahead, because we are not guaranteed tomorrow, and I try not to look back on that which is writ-in-stone and unchangeable. But today has me remembering the myriad of things which took place since 2004; ten years of births, deaths, graduations, marriages, finally-got-togethers and it’s-about-time-split-ups. Overall it’s been a very good ten years with a significant speed bump which continues to cast a shadow which I will set aside for now.

If I go into my last decade’s file drawer and pull out my writing folder which must contain at least a million words, this is the resume I find.

Eight years ago I wrote a book.
Six years ago I wrote another book. 
Two years ago I started a third.

About four years ago I started a blog and then fittingly ended it on the day of Sandy Hook.

With a determination born of tragedy and reality, about two months later, I started a second blog.

In between all of those efforts I wrote thirty short stories and well over a hundred essays.

Two years ago I became a newspaper columnist. The deadline of the column and my humble fan base feeds my writer’s ego just enough to ‘carry on’ this writing obsession. And it fulfills the short-term dream of being a columnist which took over twenty years to come true.  

A little over a year ago I started a third blog which really isn’t a blog at all but rather a collection of my columns.

And always, always, there’s the memoir about my parents’ love letters. In a way the letters, particularly my father’s, are my talisman. From 1944 to 1945 every dream my dad wrote about came true. The ones not penned, only God knows, but the ones he wrote to my mother about, so longingly as something for them to share, became his to claim in the future.

And so I hope it goes with me. The last ten years have been amazing, so amazing in fact that I fear that forward can only pale in comparison. How could life possibly become better? I hope to find out that it does.
We don’t know how far the road ahead but we do know the route we’ve already traveled. Going back means taking every turn in reverse which sets us up for confusion and the very real possibility of getting lost.

I'm going forward, to live and write another million words...at least.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bent and BENT in the beginning

I am a writer with two novels completed are they ever really done until a publisher tells you they are. And I write a newspaper column which has to be done because of deadline. I often lurk the web for an agent who will fall in love with my title pages and/or my bylines. Over the last few years I have created a dream-team of agents, any one of which I would gift my Lamborghini to as a trade for representation. I don’t own a Lamborghini but they can have my Subaru. One of the agents on my list of heavy hitters is Jenny Bent. Yesterday I was reading her wish-list blog post and something, or should I say someone, caught my eye; it warmed my heart.

She mentioned Lori Roy's latest book UNTIL SHE COMES HOME which has been nominated for the Edgar. (The Edgar is awarded by the Mystery Writers of America, for distinguished work in mystery. It covers novels, television, and motion pictures.) The author’s name was familiar but it wasn’t until Jenny mentioned that Lori is the author of BENT ROAD, did I sit up and have WTF moment. (BENT ROAD won the Edgar for best first book).  

This is my snap-shot of how Lori Roy became one of Jenny’s authors. I love this little synapse-video because it tells the down to earth story of a writer's beginning with an agent.

A couple of years back I remember reading Jenny’s blog and a post written by Lori about Jenny requesting a full of BENT ROAD. As I remember the post Lori said that she was so excited that Jenny wanted to read her full manuscript, that the night before she sent it, she read the entire book out loud just to make sure everything was just right. I thought at the time, that’s exactly what I’ll do when an agent wants a full of one of my novels.

I've been reading my work out-loud ever since but not over night yet. I did become a newspaper columnist and I always read them to my dog, sometimes many times, before I finally send them to my editor.  Regarding my books, when I do a rewrite and edit and query and wait, I read aloud and promise I'll do exactly what Lori Roy did  - pull an over-nighter when an agent requests a full.

That Lori’s second book has done as well as her first is not a surprise, her voice is astounding and her writing superb. I feel as if in the beginning I had a little look-see into how Lori ended up working with Jenny Bent on BENT ROAD. I wonder if she read UNTIL SHE COMES HOME out loud through the night too.

Okay, now it’s time for me to read this post out loud before I click publish. Where's the dog?
When is the last time you read out loud before you clicked send?

Friday, January 17, 2014

I am an AARP member living in a world run by Chuck E. Cheese patrons

Betty, the remarkable Mrs. Allen Ludden

A few days ago I posted this on FB. Thought I'd share this slightly edited version with my on-line writing friends.

When I turned forty I was ecstatic because I was finally considered an adult.  At fifty the over the hill jokes began but I just shrugged them off and was glad to still be around to laugh. At sixty, a switch flipped and my future began to dim; 100 watt incandescent light bulbs were being phased out. Then sixty-five, how did this happen so fast?  I don’t feel old all the time, only on the days I wake up. So how do you know when you’re getting old? 

Remember Rich Little the most amazing impressionist ever?  His Johnny Carson was the best. How about a few of MY quotes as if I were a famous humor-writer.
Here’s my Rich Little impressions of famous humorists.

Lewis Black - age is not a four letter word, it’s a five letter word beginning with FU.
Jeff Foxworthy – If you think you know Victoria’s Secret you just might be too old for your britches.
Erma Bombeck – That green grass growing over the septic tank is the mildew on the concrete slab over the cesspool behind the senior center.
Robert Fulghum – All I really need to know about aging I learned from my retirement specialist at KinderCare.
David Sedaris - Me talk pretty one day, after I get my hearing aid.
Johnny Carson as Carnac the Magnificent – the envelope please: Barbara Walters, Regis Philbin, Nancy Pelosi and Mick Jagger. Answer: who are the members of The Committee on Aging?
Joan Rivers – So you think looking this good is easy, just ask my surgeon, personal assistant, personal trainer, housekeeper, dog walker and pool boy. Especially ask the pool boy, he’s blind.
Mark Twain – If you don’t like your wrinkles just wait five minutes and you can tuck them under that turtleneck you have on; you’re wearing a T-shirt?  Sorry.
Whoopi Goldberg – At my age temporary water weight buildup is caused by Metamucil.
David Letterman – the ten signs of knowing when you’re getting old.
10. The Fonz is your mortgage specialist.
9. The only birthday card you got this year came in a long white envelope from Medicare.
8. For Christmas you got a bathtub with a door in it and a Life Alert necklace.
7. You traded your driver’s license for a Hurrycane.
6. You’ve gone from shopping the family planning section, to the personal care aisle.
5. Your exercise equipment is a bag of tennis balls as grippers for your walker.
4. Betty White still looks sexy.
3. Your knees once belonged to someone else.
2. A good night’s sleep is better than sex during Saturday Night Live, unless that’s what you call it.
And the number one sign of knowing when you’re getting old:
1. Dick Van Dyke is younger than you.