Monday, January 30, 2006

My new project

It's called the Traveling Poems Project. Check it out here.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Frey is Frey-ed

As I watched James Frey on Oprah today,I couldn't help but feel just a little bit sorry for him. He knew he was caught and there was no way out of it. The only thing I couldn't figure out was why he went back on the show in the first case. I was also surprised at Oprah's quick turn around from her phone call to Larry King a few weeks ago. I got the sense that the whole thing was less about discovering the truth than it was about salvaging her image. Yes, Oprah is a very powerful figure in the book world and yes, she had a right to be upset but geez. It just goes to show you who can make or break you in the book world. Somewhere, right now, Jonathan Franzen is counting his lucky stars, I guarantee.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Ta dah!

Got a new template, obviously. Still working out the kinks, though so stay tuned.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Jesus, what was I thinking

That's how I'm feeling right now. For some reason that is completely unknown to me, I just submitted an application to the Kenyon Review summer writer's workshop. Seriously. What am I thinking? Do people do things like this? I must have a head injury. Oh well, at least I gave somebody up there a good laugh today. Now I must go have my head examined.

Reading and writing

If there's one complaint I have about writing it's that I can't just read a book anymore. Now, when I read I find myself paying attention to the details instead of the story. I suppose it's good because it means I'm reading like a writer but damn, it's annoying. I'll read ten pages and be so absorbed in the dialogue and studying the style that I won't know who half the characters are. Then, after I finish the book I'll end up echoing the style in my own work somehow. This seems to be true whether I'm reading fiction or poetry and I'm not sure if this is something to be concerned about or not. I know the first best advice about writing is always to read everything you can get your hands on but when does that begin hurt your own writing style? It seems like sometimes I read books and the writer's voice and style are almost nonexistent, they're just following the same pattern, over and over again. Or I could just be crazy. It's always possible.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Do you think it's possible for a human brain to explode?

I've spent the last oh two hours, staring at the computer screen, waiting for the magic to happen. Remember how a couple of posts back I said I'd nailed the climax for the novel I'm working on? And all I had to do was tie it in to the stuff I'd laid out in the beginning? Yeah....about that. It seems that now that I've decided on this particular ending, the beginning I wrote six months ago no longer works. My problem now is, do I keep the ending, which I really like, or the beginning, which will veer the story into an entirely different direction? I've been sitting here, literally wanting to scream or throw something, telling myself that I was stupid to think I could ever be a writer, blah, blah, blah. I spend so much time thinking about it that by the time I get around to the actual writing, I'm completely frustrated and my confidence is shot. I was so worked up I had to go and clean something for awhile.

Now I'm back and have resumed my zenlike posture and I just wanted to post about this great site I found called'm all about websites that offer tips, story starts, creativity exercises, etc. and this one has them all. Definitely worth checking out. Lots of things there to get the ball rolling or just provide a creative break, especially if your head's about to explode. Okay, deep breath. I'm going back in.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Thoughts for the day

Not a lot going on the past few days so I thought I'd post a few quotes I like:

"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." ~ Winston Churchill

"A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." ~ Thomas Mann

"As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It's a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. Having anybody watching that or attempting to share it with me would be grisly." ~ Paul Rudnick

"Don't loaf and invite inspiration. Light after it with a club, and if you don't get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it."~ Jack London

"The only certainty about writing and trying to be a writer is that it has to be done, not dreamed of or planned and never written, or talked about (the ego eventually falls apart like a soaked sponge), but simply written; it's a dreadful, awful fact that writing is like any other work."
~ Janet Frame

"Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day."~ Norman Mailer

"The time to work is shorter all the time and if you waste it you ... have committed a sin for which there is no forgiveness." ~ Ernest Hemingway

"Writing is the only thing that ... when I'm doing it, I don't feel that I should be doing something else instead." ~ Gloria Steinem

Friday, January 13, 2006

Does it make you a geek if.... secretly watch and love "Dancing With the Stars"? I have no idea what on earth compels me to watch this show but I.AM.HOOKED. It makes no sense to me. I always tell people that I really hate reality TV and that only total brain-dead troglodytes watch it but secretly, I looooooove it. It is my secret shame.

Since that was a little O/T, I guess I'll move on to what this blog is supposed to be about, namely writing. Yesterday, I had the breakthrough I've been waiting for in terms of the novel I had put aside. I finally, finally nailed down the climax, now I'm just trying to thread it all together with the stuff I wrote at the beginning. This was something that I agonized over for months and last night, it came to me, all at once. Funny how that happens, I don't know why it took me so long to think of it.

Found a new blog today, W3 Wise Words on Writing. It's basically a writing newsletter and each post tackles a different writing-related issue, i.e. research, writer's block, etc. It's got a lot of useful info. Perhaps it can help me finish those stories I've been meaning to send out, which I still have not done. Damn you, "Dancing With the Stars"!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My so-called writing life

Spent the last couple of days, sorting through the bits and pieces of what I've written and trying to make some sense of it. Started a bunch of things and have two stories I'm working on for contests. I'm trying something really ambitious by writing a story for the Glimmer Train Fiction Contest. We'll see how it goes.

Today I pulled out a novel that I started last year and set aside. I was rereading the first few chapters and it's not bad, at least I don't think so. I'm going to work on it a little more and try to put up a couple of chapters. We'll see how much progress I make on it in the next few days. I've been on a writing tear today. I guess I was feeling inspired after reading
this over at The Stealing Season. I stumbled on this blog at random and have been hooked ever since, lots of great writing here.

On another note, I saw
this today over at For his sake, I hope it's not true but if it is, I think some of the blame should go to the publishers for putting it out there in the first place.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I hate Mondays

So I was going to write this long post about how I was having doubts about writing and whether or not I wanted to continue, blah, blah, blah but then I decided I wanted to contribute something positive rather than negative today so I deleted it. So instead, I will just say that I'm having some issues with self-doubt but I'm doing the best I can to get around it. One of the most surprising things I found out when I started writing is that it really is hard work and it's up to me to decide if I'm going to put in the effort on any given today. I just have to decide how much I'm willing to give. Anyway, that's all I wanted to say. Hope it didn't come off as a huge downer.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I've got the Thursday blues

Well, so far I haven't been doing very well with my writing goals. The past two days I didn't write a word because I was a) working, b) taking down Christmas decorations, and c) just being lazy. Today I've been working on and off on the novel that I have resolved to finish this year. I wrote another chapter and a half, which for me, is progress, even though it's very rough and not very good right now. The novel, if anyone's interested, is sort of like a southern gothic. The main character is a 14/15 year old girl living in the coal fields of eastern Kentucky in the 1930s. Her father has abandoned her and when her mother gets sick, she decides to marry her to a widower who is four times her age. Shortly after, her mother dies and she goes to live with this man in his cabin on the mountain. The novel is basically about how she adapts to her new life and deals with the various problems I plan to throw her way. It's kind of like a cross between Gap Creek and The Color Purple. It's meant to be a tragedy, with a little bit of hope thrown in at the end, at least, that's how I plan for it to come off. Life would be so much easier if I could just write chick lit. Nothing really bad seems to happen in those kinds of books.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

I can't believe it's already 2006. This year is my ten-year high school reunion. I am getting so old. Anyway, just wanted to spread the word about Jo Leigh's Uber Challenge. Basically, it's a writing group for people who have specific writing goals in mind. Anyone can join and you can find a full explanation here. I'm hoping it'll help me work towards some of those goals I mentioned earlier.

Here's to a productive 2006!