Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The secret to writing fiction

"You only learn to be a better writer by writing. I don't know much about creative writing programs. But they're not telling the truth if they don't teach, one, that writing is hard work and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer." ~Doris Lessing

Every so often (okay, just about every day) I have this little crisis of faith with regards to writing. What am I doing, is this any good, why didn't I go to law school like my dad wanted. I ask myself: are you happy doing this? The answer is yes, most of the time. I love writing poems and in my journal and these rambling blog posts that mean nothing. Fiction? Fiction is different. Fiction, to me, is like a sleight of hand that I haven't yet perfected. When I'm writing here or in my journal, the only person I have to convince is myself. With fiction, the trick is to convince everyone else.

I came to writing late. At 24, most of my writing experience was limited to what my college courses required. I could write a pretty decent critical essay for English Lit but I had no experience with "creative writing". Then, one day, completely on a whim I said, "I know, I'll write a poem." So I did and yes, it was terrible. But the next day, I wrote another one and the day after that, and so on. Then, I thought, "I know, I'll write a novel." So I started writing it. It was a totally cliched idea that I won't even share with you here for fear of being laughed out of the blogosphere but you get the picture. I had no idea what I was doing but how hard could it be?

Fast forward a bit. I'm still writing, although not every day. At this point, writing's kind of like a hobby, this little thing I do when the mood hits. I'm still working on the "novel" and in the meantime, I get an idea for a short story. I write it, I revise it, I send it out, and....of course, it is soundly rejected. At the time, I thought it was the end of the world but now I can see all the flaws that I was blind to then.

A year goes by. I'm getting bored with the first thing I started and so I get another idea, a this-is-going-to-be-an-instant-bestseller idea. I start writing. I write some more. This one ends up on the shelf with the other one, abandoned and half-finished. Of course it stinks just as bad but I can't really see that yet. I write some more poems. These are marginally better than those first ones. Another year goes by.

Most of 2004 passes with me writing in spurts, here and there. I get bored with something and start something else. I end up with a huge pile of unfinished, undeveloped junk. I submit some of my poems, which I consider to be earthshakingly brilliant, and am rejected, again. In December of 2004, I write a short story in three days, with no clue what I'm doing. I submit it to a contest. Seven months later, I find out I win. In September 2005, I officially become a Published Author. I don't write much else for the rest of the year.

Skip to 2006. I tell myself that this year, it will be different. I will write poems and stories and a novel. I will work at it every day. I will devote myself to writing. It will become my sacred cow. So, how's all that working out for me, you ask? Well....

When I first started writing, I didn't realize the amount of practice, effort, and skill that it required. I went into it without really knowing what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it. I wrote things that were amateurish, lacking depth. I didn't take writing seriously, I hadn't developed a passion for it. I didn't realize that it is an art and like any art, it takes time and energy and yes, talent.

I know that at 27, I'm getting started late. I know that there are younger writers out there who are doing it way better than me. I know that I need a lot more practice, maybe years of practice, before I'll be any good. I know that in the end, I may never get good at it. I know that I could quit and no one would be hurt by it except maybe myself. I know that I still have a lot to learn.

The secret to writing fiction? That's one I haven't figured out yet. But I'm working on it.

For your inner artiste

Two fun links:


Jackson Pollock (Thanks to Willowtree for the link.)

See if you can do better than this

(Sadly, this is what most of my paintings usually turn out to look like in real life)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tonight, I am thinking of horses

When I was a little girl, my mother fell in love with a cowboy. He was the real deal: he wore cowboy boots and Stetson hats and belt buckles the size of hubcaps. On the weekends, we would go to rodeos and watch him scream around the ring on the back of a blue roan.

He lived on a ranch not far from our house. At any one time, there would be a hundred or more horses and ponies of all kinds treading through the fields. Some of them went to horse shows, some to rodeos. Some were for trail rides and others were strictly for breeding. The ponies went to carnivals and fairs, where they walked in endless circles, giving rides to children. All of them had a purpose, a job to do.

Sometimes, my mother would take me to see them. I remember the chorus of soft neighing that greeted me each time I entered the barn. The soft swishing of tails, the heavy thud of their hooves as they shifted their weight. I remember their soft velvet muzzles and the stiff bristles of hair that tickled my palm when I laid it flat to offer them a treat. Their smell, a sweet, heavy mixture of sweat and fresh hay, that left me feeling drunk.

I loved these horses, even the ones who shied away from me, sniffing me cautiously and then exhaling roughly. I loved the way their ears pricked up or laid flat, depending on their mood. I loved the muscular beauty of their jaws, working over a bite of grain, the flat wide teeth that looked harmless but could hurt if they nipped. The dark eyes framed by a fringe of lashes, the deep V of muscle where their forelegs joined their chest.

When I was 11, she finally moved in with him for good. I remember watching the road from my bedroom window, waiting for her to come back to me. Instead, she took me there, to the horses, and to him. There was a price to pay for her company, although I didn't know it then.

When I think of these horses now, I don't think of what came later, of what they came to represent. What I remember most is watching them play after they'd done their service for the day. Running, kicking, rolling in the red clay until it clung to them like a second coat. They were always so happy to be free, in their own small way. When I think of them, I think of this: their pure, unshakable joy and I know that somewhere, it's waiting for me too.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day

This was on PostSecret this morning. Reading things like this make me wonder, again, what it is we're doing over there.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A completely useless Saturday post

Since it's Saturday and no one really reads blogs on Saturday and since it's a holiday weekend and everyone's probably out doing something useful with their lives I figured I could put up a completely pointless post and no one would notice. So here goes.

50 Silly things I love, in no particular order:

1. Good writing
2. The smell of fresh-cut grass, especially on Saturday mornings
3. Books--the sight of them, the smell of them. Rows and rows of them stacked, pressed together, waiting to be opened and pour out their mysteries
4. Banana pudding, the kind your mom makes at home with Nilla wafers and Cool Whip
5. Hydrangeas in a blue glass vase
6. Christmas Eve
7. Towels still warm from the dryer
8. 1980's hair bands. Long hair, make-up, tight pants. There is nothing so cheesily wonderful as the power ballad
9. A room of my own
10. Sleeping with a warm dog curled up against your back
11. The slow, soft swell of the violin
12. Fairy tales
13. Led Zeppelin (Come on, you gotta admit-Plant was hot back in the day)
14. A clean house
15. Road trips
16. Jane Austen's books (Odd, since most of the books I normally read tend to be of the horror/bizarro genre. Gotta love those English romances, eh?)
17. European history circa 15th-18th centuries (I have no explanation for this one either, except there were some really kickass women back in those days)
18. The paintings of Jackson Pollock and Gerhard Richter. Sloppy, messy, disorganized, and absolutely beautiful.
19. Vintage photographs
20. Old cars
21. Pumpkin pie
22. Fuzzy navels (I'm talking about Peach Schnapps and OJ. Get your minds out of the gutter.)
23. Christmas lights
24. Rainy days
25. Flip-flops
26. New notebooks (So much possiblity)
27. The first day of school (Still a nerd, after all these years)
28. Libraries
29. Full moons at the beach
30. Fairs, carnivals, and worst of all, fair food--foot-long corn dogs, turkey drumsticks, and caramel apples
31. Early morning walks
32. Wraparound porches
33. Chocolate milkshakes
34. Rufus Wainwright
35. Stargazer lilies
36. Travel guides (Not that I ever go anywhere)
37. Shabby chic decorating
38. Thrift stores
39. Whacking the hell out of a golf ball--I'm good at the whacking, not so good at the aiming
40. Getting mail, any kind, even junk
41. Long skirts
42. Candy canes
43. Fireworks
44. Making useless lists
45. Watching people
46. Reading fantastic blogs
47. Funny socks
48. Mountains, particularly the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia
49. Roller coasters
50. Making someone laugh

So, there is my completely nonsensical list. Maybe it'll inspire someone to go out and write something way better. Or it may just inspire them to click the 'Next Blog' button, who knows.

Friday, May 26, 2006

High School High

It started with the mail. A simple, unassuming envelope, with my name on the front in neat, bold script. Harmless enough, until I opened it. It took me a second to register what I was reading.

"Can you believe it's been ten years....."

I promptly balled it up and threw it in the garbage, resolved not to give it a second thought. Then the emails started.

"This is just to remind you...."
"It wouldn't be the same without you...."
"Don't forget to reserve your space...."

They'd slipped in quietly, along with the Viagra ads and the home loan offers. They were there, in my inbox, waiting to pounce. They'd found me. I don't know how, but they'd found me.

The high school reunion committee.

I couldn't wait to graduate high school. I went to four different schools in four years. The last one, the one I graduated from was where I spent the most time. It was in a nice neighborhood and was mostly attended by middle- to upper-class students who lived in the surrounding area. It was a good school, part of the reason my parents chose the neighborhood they did. In those days, no one had heard of the Trench Coat Mafia. There were no metal detectors, no bomb threats, rarely even a fight. It was the average all-American high school. In a word: boring.

So who was I in high school? It might be easier to tell you who I was not. I wasn't a cheerleader, I didn't play any sports. (I tried out for the softball team once but that's a humiliation I'd rather forget.) I didn't go to pep rallies or football games. I wasn't a band geek or a ROTC (pronounced Rot-cee). I wasn't weird enough for the artsy kids who were in drama club and wore capes to school. I wasn't misunderstood enough for the loners who wore combat boots and black nail polish.

I wasn't voted Best Dressed or Most Likely to Succeed. I didn't take part in the Miss Aquila pageant. (Do other high schools have beauty pageants? Ours did. For the guys too.) I wasn't on the yearbook committee or the school paper. I wasn't in BETA club (Okay, I was but I got kicked out for not doing my community service.) or on the homecoming committee. I skipped the senior booze cruise and the prom.

I didn't cut class or get into fights or get drunk at parties on weekends. I didn't hang out behind the gym, passing joints with the stoners. I didn't wear my pants low like the skaters or shop at the GAP like the preppy kids. I didn't have a ton of friends. Most people didn't even know my name. I was one of those in-between people, drifting between cliques but never a part of something larger. I was a ghost, biding my time until it was over and I could move on to something else.

High school, for me, was a mostly forgettable experience. The idea of a reunion doesn't appeal to me much. Am I curious about what's happened to these people? A little, at least the ones I remember. I'm curious to see what kind of people they've become now, what direction life has taken them. How they've adjusted to being a small person in a big world. You hear stories about how some people reach their peak in high school and for some of them, I think that was true. As for me, I'm still waiting for the peak but that's okay. It means the best is still to come.

**Yes, that is my actual high school yearbook photo. What can I say, I was going through an awkward phase. Hell, I still am.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Poetry Thursday

This is coming up kind of late so it's not related to the Poetry Thursday prompt this week. Still, it's an opportunity for you to feel better about yourselves as poets. Enjoy.

The bear

Last night, I dreamt a bear
was trying to eat its way
through the house crashing
from room to room staggering
like a punch-drunk prizefighter
It was a grizzly, like the one that
killed those people in Alaska,
and later all they found were pieces
We didn't think to ask where
it came from We simply
huddled in the bedroom,
me pressed against the door
trying to hold it off you with
hands on hips strangely calm
In the dream, you wanted to
reason with it (As if such a
thing were possible You were
always trusting like that)
Find out what it wants
you said but I’m telling you,
there's no reasoning with
a bear And so, I did the
only thing I could: I turned
to you and whispered,

Right now

  • Right now I still don't have a job.
  • Right now I should be worried.
  • Right now I'm not.
  • Right now it's beautiful outside.
  • Right now I'm in love with everything.
  • Right now I don't want this feeling to end.
  • Right now I'm uncertain about the future.
  • Right now I'm trying to find my place in the world.
  • Right now I'm not sure how to do it.
  • Right now I feel hopeful.
  • Right now I could be wrong.
  • Right now someone is reading this.
  • Right now I'm hoping they like it.
  • Right now I want to be a poet.
  • Right now I'm not very good.
  • Right now I think I could get better.
  • Right now I'm making this silly list.
  • Right now I should be writing.
  • Right now I want to tell you how I feel.
  • Right now you may not understand.
  • Right now I'm not getting any younger.
  • Right now neither are you.
  • Right now there are wars being fought.
  • Right now people are dying.
  • Right now we don't understand it.
  • Right now we're afraid.
  • Right now there's still no cure for cancer or AIDS.
  • Right now someone you love might be getting sick.
  • Right now there's no way to stop it.
  • Right now is a good time to tell them you love them.
  • Right now I need to call my mom.
  • Right now so should you.
  • Right now people are living lives they don't want.
  • Right now they should be grateful.
  • Right now I'm trying to take my own advice.
  • Right now it's not that easy.
  • Right now I hope you're still reading.
  • Right now you might be thinking this is stupid.
  • Right now you might think I'm full of shit.
  • Right now I don't care about that.
  • Right now I have to tell you something.
  • Right now I hope you'll listen.
  • Right now is passing you by.
  • Right now could be something special.
  • Right now your life is waiting.
  • Right now it's time to take a chance.
  • Right now it's not too late.
  • Right now is just the beginning.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It's happening

Slowly, quietly, things are changing, shifting. Listen, can you hear it?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I'm having a bad day and I hate writing and now I'm going to bitch about it so you should probably just go read something else for awhile

*Disclaimer: There is nothing in this post that will make you happy. In fact, the whole thing's pretty much a serious downer. I'd seriously encourage you to spend the next few minutes of your life in a more fulfilling way.

Why do I do this? Seriously, why do I continue to torture myself? I think I'm going to have bumper stickers printed up that say "Writing is for Masochists" because it's the only way I can describe how I feel today. I'm just so dissatisfied with everything I've been writing lately and I'm sick of it, sick of myself. Who am I kidding? I have no talent for this so why the hell did I even get started?

Case in point, I started working on a new story yesterday. After a page and a half, I stopped writing. I was worried I was beginning to overthink it and I just stopped. Instead of just letting it come out naturally, I felt like I was trying to push it. I haven't been able to write anything fictionish in over a month now and I haven't been able to finish a story in months. I've written a bunch of terrible poems and filled page after page in my journal but fiction is eluding me. I can't seem to get out of my head long enough to do the work.

Is this a sign and I'm ignoring it? Is this the universe trying to give me a hint? I've gone months at a time before without writing a word but I always come back to it. It's like a drug and I can't give it up, I always have to come back for one more hit. I know that if I give it up entirely, I'd miss it terribly and I'd regret it for the rest of my life. I don't think I can ever turn off that part of my brain that's always writing, always looking for stories, studying the details. It's gotten to the point lately where I've begun to dream about it, and let me tell you, it's weird to dream about people who don't exist.

I love writing. I love the possibility of saying or doing anything. I love the fact that you can live as many lives as you want and when you make mistakes, you can fix them. I love writing, even when I hate it, but that doesn't make me any good. I don't know, maybe I'm just not ready for it yet or maybe I need more practice. Maybe I just suck. I'm just not sure if it's worth it to try and find out anymore.

Today, right now, I wish that I'd never started in the first place. Tomorrow I might feel differently. Tomorrow I may sit down and the words will rush out of me, racing one another onto the page. Tomorrow, I may regret that I ever wrote this. I may come back here and pretend like it never happened. Right now I'm thinking about just deleting the whole thing.

But I won't, for now. For now, I'm going to put this out there and let it go in the hopes that I'll finally be free of it.

*If you read this whole post, I apologize for ruining your day.

**I know I said a few posts back that if I ever got whiny you could come and verbally kick my ass and I stand by that. Feel free to mock me, scorn me, tell me I'm not a real writer. Feel free to tell me I'm acting like a big baby and I should stop feeling sorry for myself. Feel free to tell me I suck and that I should just give up. But please, someone, tell me I'm not alone.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Poetry Thursday

That's right, kids, it's Poetry Thursday once again and you know what that means. More crappy poetry, courtesy of yours truly. Today you've been issued a reprieve because my poem is still a work in progress. For now, I give you this poem by Sharon Olds.

I first discovered Sharon Olds in my junior year of high school. I'd bought an old English Lit textbook at a secondhand shop (Yes, I was a total geek who did stuff like that. In fact, I still do it.). I found her halfway through the book, sandwiched between Seamus Heaney and Shakespeare. I'd never heard of her but the title got my attention. Like most 16-year-olds, anything with the word "sex" in it was bound to do it.

All I knew of poetry up to that point was what they make you read in English class: Frost, Spencer, Milton, Whitman. As far as the female poets went, all I'd ever read was Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Fine poets all but let's just say I had trouble appreciating the finer points of their work. (Translation: they bored me. To tears.)

I read the poem and when I was done I read it again. I kept reading it until I had memorized it. I cut it out of the book and carried it around with me. She had cast a spell over me with those words, half of which I didn't even understand. It never occurred to me that poetry could be about anything other than romantic love or wild oaks growing. Here was this person, talking about sex, sex, for god's sake and a woman, no less. It amazed me that she could be so fearless.

I've since read all of her works and she continues to amaze me. Every poem is still a surprise. I still have that page I cut out of the English book. It's pinned to the bulletin board above my desk. It reminds me of why I fell in love with poetry in the first place but mostly, it reminds me that in poetry, there's no room for fear. There are only the words and the willingness to speak.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A sampling of potential jobs I'm qualified for based on a search of the local classifieds

Medical research test subject

Plasma donor


Dog bather (Not a groomer, though. For that, you need experience.)

Substitute teacher (What can I say, they have really low standards here)

I did see this ad, which sounded interesting:

Attractive Individual To help w/body rubs. Will train. No experience nec. Excellent Pay. 554-****

Now how exactly do you train someone to give a "body rub"? And how much would that pay anyway?

And this one:

Dancers needed for busy golf season. Spinners Gentlemens Club Santee. No Tip Out . Work PT. Make Big Money . Call Kitty 843-909-****

Short hours, big money. No tip out though, wtf? Not even if I demonstrate my body rub skills?

Coincidentally, I also saw this one:

(Name omitted) The Season is Here! Now hiring: Servers, Hosts, and Line Cooks. Great Pay; Great Place to Work. Whiners & Complainers need not apply! Apply in person

This is for the place I just quit. Boy, they really know how to sweet talk their potential employees, eh? Seriously, though, they're only looking for timid conformists who are willing to let themselves be trampled on. Sadly, this disqualifies me.

It's not looking good people.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Why did I do that?

I just quit my job. Like an hour ago. I got into it with my manager and quit. I can't believe I did that. In a really loud, yelling, you're-a-crazy-bitch kind of way too. Shit. I knew before I went in there today that something was going to happen but I can't believe I actually did it. This could either be the best thing I've ever done or the dumbest. Either way, the lesson learned today is this:

You can't talk to crazy people. They can't hear you over the other voices in their head.

Something's in the air

The other day while I was out walking, I saw a sign in a store window that said Don't be afraid to get to know yourself and then a bumper sticker that said Don't put off joy. These two ideas stuck with me all the way home and onto the pages of my journal. That was the day I wrote the "Autobiography" piece. The further I went with it, the more I started remembering things I didn't want to.

There are things I used to not think about and lately, they're all I think about, so much so that I've started keeping a list. Anytime something comes to me that I thought I'd forgotten, I add it to the list. So far, it's been interesting, a little painful, a little embarrassing. There are many things on the list that I've never even spoken aloud and writing about them is a little frightening. I've carried around all of these memories, good and bad, for years but I've never really confronted them in any way. Mostly, I've just pretended that they happened to someone else but the truth is, they are all me, even the ugly ones.

I think, why are you doing this, what's the point in dredging up all this stuff anyway? I don't really know the answer to that. It doesn't really matter to anyone but me, it doesn't really hurt anyone but me. I've come so far away from that life that I don't even recognize it anymore.

Then I read over the list and think, this is who you are, for better or worse. There's no escaping that. So, here's the truth: I grew up poor, on a dairy farm, in a house full of people who couldn't be described as anything other than countrified. I went to school with kids who didn't know what poor was but knew enough to know that I was not one of them. I watched my mother move from man to man, using her body as currency. I saw my father once or twice a year, and learned that a child's favor can be bought but never their love. I grew up in a house where bitterness and disappointment were learned early and where no one expected life to give them anything better than what they had.

And now I'm here, trying to figure it all out. Trying to get to know myself and trying not to be afraid. I'm still working on the joy part though, so cross your fingers.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

What is this?

The other side of the bed

I've had this sentence in my head for the past two days. I'm not sure what it is, what it means. It could be a story or a poem or a small part of something larger. I'm going to go ponder this while eating E.L. Fudges and drinking chocolate milk.

**A few people have left some really good comments, including their own favorite unused lines. I was thinking if anyone else wanted to share theirs maybe we could post them all together somewhere for Poetry Thursday, as a group poem. Just an idea.

Friday, May 05, 2006

It's official

I have cooties. Pinkeye, to be exact. Pinkeye, people. What the hell? Isn't that something first-graders get?

For the next few days, I'll be walking around like this.
Go read this now.

Seriously. Go. What are you still doing here?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Poetry Thursday

(Click me)

Lynn and her friend Liz Elayne have started a new blog called Poetry Thursday. The idea behind it is to get people interested in sharing poetry on their blogs. Some people are posting their favorite poems, some are posting their original work. On the site, you can find links to everyone who's participating along with other poetry links.

So, since it's Poetry Thursday and since I'm into humiliating myself in public, I offer you a poem, inspired by this picture.

What the Camera Saw

I want to take your picture,
he said, reaching out a hand to
touch her on this lonely hilltop
the two of them out for a picnic,
an innocent thing and now she
is standing naked and barefoot
among the thistle a clutch of ferns
held to her like a bride's bouquet
the cherry blossom of her nipple
barely visible Years from now,
when she is an old woman and her
body has begun to betray her in
terrifying ways she will find this
picture in a drawer somewhere
and she will remember the way
the grass felt under her feet how
the breeze moved over her skin
She will take in the curve of her
stomach the flat square of her
hips the dimpled knees and she
will see what the camera saw: a
girl, alone, on the verge of life
and she will think to herself:
Yes, yes I was beautiful

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sending up the all clear

There now, don't you feel better?

(If you're reading this first, scroll down a few posts.)


Here is a little girl, dressed in pink and white, clutching a fistful of daffodils. In this moment, she is completely and simply happy.

What the girl in this picture doesn't know is that her parents will be divorced before she turns a year old. She doesn't know that her father will get drunk and beat her mother regularly. That once, he will come close to killing all of them in a car accident. She doesn't know that her mother isn't ready to be a mother, that she is still just a child herself. Neither of them will realize this until years later.

She doesn't know that there are men out there who will take advantage of little girls. She will find this out at five and again at eleven. She also doesn't know that eventually, her mother will choose her idea of love over her child and slowly begin to disappear from her life.

She doesn't know that she will spend most of her teenage years living in a house where no one speaks to her. Where she will become invisible until she leaves for college and doesn't look back. That she will never feel like anything but a stranger to her father.

She doesn't know that she'll repeat her mother's patterns, choosing the wrong men over and over. She'll throw herself blindly into love and stumble out on the other side, wounded but not broken.

She doesn't know that one day, she'll pick up a pen and unleash the flood. That the waters will cover her head but she will eventually wash up safe on the far shore.

I have no memories of that little girl in the picture. I don't know who took it, or when, or what it was that made her smile. For all I know, that moment may have never existed. Here's the proof, though, in this photograph. And I do know this: once, I was happy. Before the rest of the world crept in, I was happy.

That girl gives this girl hope.

A real writer

Even though I work in a crappy job, there are some small perks. Today, for instance, Mary Alice Monroe came in for lunch. If you don't know who she is, these are her books. In local literary circles, she, along with Dot Frank, Sue Monk Kidd, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Pat Conroy, are considered hot shit.

She looked like any other middle-aged woman: graying hair, a little tired around the eyes. No one else recognized her but me, which confirms my belief that the people I work with are semi-literate trogolodytes. Anyway, the point is when I realized who she was, I had to fight the urge to run up to her, grab her by the shoulders, and scream How do you do this? What's the secret? Tell me, tell me now!

I've never read any of her books but I know what they're like and I also know they're bestsellers. I know that these books allow her to live in a million-dollar beachfront home, same as the rest of those names up there. What I didn't know is how she did it, what the trick to it was. Hence, the urge to shake her senseless until she coughed up the goods.

I didn't though. I just watched her, eating and talking with her friends. She looked so normal, more like a lady who lunches than one who writes books. There was nothing extraordinarily special or mysterious about her, nothing that gave her away as a writer. Her fingers weren't covered in ink and she wasn't constantly scribbling in a notebook, taking down the most minute observations. She didn't have that panicky look that I get when I think about all the stuff I'm not writing. Frankly, it was pissing me off.

It didn't hit me until later that what made her different is that she sat down and did the work. She didn't dream it or wish it or talk about it. She just did it and she didn't let any of life's bullshit get in her way. That's the thing I need to work on, the focus, the determination. I've got ideas out the yinyang but ideas don't amount to anything if you don't do the work and they definitely don't get you million-dollar beachfront homes.

So, here is my proposal to you: whenever I start to whine or complain about how I can't write or I'm scared or I don't have time or whatever, please feel free to tell me to shut the hell up and get to work. I won't hold it against you. In fact, it may make me feel all warm and snuggly towards you. Trust me, you'll be doing us all a favor.

Um.... it bad that I almost feel sorry for her? I mean, yes, she is a liar and a fraud but my mother always said it wasn't nice to make fun of stupid people.


Since I haven't posted in a few days, I thought I'd unload some of the crap that's been on my mind. Consider yourself warned.

Monday, May 01, 2006


I may be the only person alive who is happy to see Monday come around again. Weekends for me are exhausting and I always welcome the peace of a quiet Monday morning. Mondays are all about possibility and new beginnings, starting fresh. It means sleeping in and watching People's Court. It means lying in bed and listening to the sounds of the world coming awake. It means a chance to walk around my neighborhood and appreciate how blue the sky is. It means playing with my dog in the backyard, laughing at her determination to murder a tennis ball. It means coming here, to this world, to see what's new with all of you. It means picking up the pen and getting to work.

I sat down to write this morning and all I could think was don't fight it. Don't fight it. The more you fight it, the harder it will be. I'm like a fish caught in a net, struggling to get back to the safety of familiar waters, gaping open-mouthed at the world and gasping for air. Don't fight it, don't fight it. This is advice I've given to others but I can't seem to follow it myself. It's like shadowboxing, dancing in the same cirles with yourself. You know what you're going to do before you do it but you can't stop it. I'm tired of fighting it. I'm ready to throw myself to the muses and let them do with me what they will.

On second thought, I have to agree with Garfield. I hate Mondays.