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.

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



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Why I have not posted, why I have been so quiet


 My lesson.

Two o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon she felt a little off, nauseous, a bit dizzy. She told my daughter that she couldn’t watch the baby, stomach flu maybe, or undercooked chicken. She just didn’t feel right. Within less than a week this good woman in her mid-fifties was in the ICU, sedated and on a ventilator with pneumonia, heart attack and kidney failure.

We scrambled to watch the baby and maintain some balance within chaos. Frigid weather gripped the region, snow fell and gray skies became a bleak anthem to the 50/50 inevitable. We began to understand the overused turn regarding the raising of children, “…it takes a village.”

It’s been two weeks. One, I used as a vacation and the other a succotash of personal, sick and other time due me. Everyone has stepped up just to get through, just make to tomorrow, just to catch a glimpse of a tiny speck of light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.

The light flickered two days ago. Yesterday morning the flame steadied and last night the tunnel began to lighten. The crisis is not over and the difficult road to a semblance of recovery is beginning. For an instant we are all able to catch a breath.

What does this have to do with writing?

For many of us writing is like breathing. For two weeks I have not been able to exhale because of calamity. Now I think I can breathe but I’m not taking that sweet air for granted.

It just happened so fast.

Like many writers I have novels, stories, memoirs, essays and the like, stashed away in a vault of dreams which has, at times, ruled my life. I would wish away my days in “why can’t tomorrow come faster”, like a kid anticipating Christmas. No longer.

I may not have tomorrow.

I will fight hard to not wish away my ‘now’ for the unknown of tomorrow. All we have is today, this hour, this minute, so why do we fill it with wanting and longing, rather than appreciating and being grateful.

In the past ten years I have written two novels, (women’s fiction), two memoirs, (one a WIP and one complete), hundreds of by-lined newspaper columns, hundreds of blog posts and thousands of blog comments. I have filled my life with words, engorged myself with hope and have experienced enough rejection to dilute and almost wash away my tenacity with tears. I have chanted, “…will I ever get an agent, will I ever have a title page…” a bazillion times until my mind and heart have gone numb. I cannot do it anymore. I will not.

I will write.

I will dream.

I will desire.
 
I will step aside when I must.

I will relish my days and hours and minutes of my ‘real’ life because when my Wednesday afternoon comes and I feel a little off, I want the world and my family to know, I lived. I didn’t just wish away my precious, wonderful, life for something else.

The baby arrives in minutes and I have no time to edit. So what. I know you understand.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Well worn words and phrases


There are so many well-worn writing cliché’s, that by simply using them, the writer’s use becomes a cliché. Here’s a few thoughts on that which we lean when searching for better become too much of a chore.


 

Our baby

We should, as word purveyors, be able to come up with a comparison of the writing process beyond that of being gestationally connected. Because the result of our efforts comes from within, it is only natural to use birth as an analogy. To call your novel your child is, in some instances, apt I think, but what kind of child is it? A brat, a devil, a whore.  Which is it and is the birthing and child analogy appropriate?

Gatekeeper

Calling an agent a gatekeeper is like calling St. Peter God’s handy man. St. Peter has his own job and a pretty important one at that.

As a retail manager a few years back it was my job to pre-interview store management applicants for the regional higher-ups. I was their gatekeeper alerting cooperate to candidates which best fit the profile of the company. I wasn’t powerful, I just culled through the crap to find the cream. That’s what agents do. And then they drive around town delivering the bottles and hoping they’re not sour.

The call

As I see it there are two kinds of “the call”. The one from the agent and the one from the publisher. I’ve had neither. I have an editor and we email each other all the time but regarding "the call", all I can say is that I have a land line and my cell is always charged.

The dream

This is the term which best describes the conundrum I feel for writing cliché’s.

For many, writing is the task, being published in “the dream”.  Yes, it is a kick to see your name in print on something other than an obituary, but once you figure out what it is they want, you realize that getting there was easy, staying there is hard.

For me, maintaining and upping the ante is self-expected.  Rejection of new work after being published is hard. The tears I shed now are dry and filled with cynicism.  

So there you have it, a few thoughts on cliché’s, so called, and I’d add more but it’s snowing again and I have to go to work.

The nine to five

That “have-to” which pays the bills when here is where I want to be, making word babies, to send to the gatekeeper, which results in the call, as a culmination of the dream.

 

What’s your favorite writing cliché?