Category Archives: Writing

Quo Vadis

I came not to add to this blog, but to bury it — or at least, put it on official temporary hiatus.

Wow, it’s kinda dusty here.

Some of the reason for that is that I do answer to a lot of demands over the end of the year holidays.  Some of the reason has to do with adjusting to a very different life – the proverbial “empty nest”.  Some of it is plain old “blank page” syndrome.

Writing has been a bit flat lately.  I have none of the fire I did last year.  Some of that is probably because I am working  through grief. On the other hand, when I do write, I think the work I do is better than before.

There is no way around the fact that, as a shy person, I still have to overcome a lot of hesitation about putting myself out there. Even if “there” is “here”, which, at this point in time, might as well be a room all by myself anyway.  The more I post, the easier it gets; I’ve known this for an age.  So, I have been trying to post every day to Facebook. Silly stuff, whatever is on my mind, pictures, serious stuff – just for the practice.

Which means I don’t need this site as much until – whenever.

But here I am, rambling on anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anniversaries

 

I have a birthday in another day or so. Not one of the big ones, with a zero, but I can’t help but remember the last big one.

It landed me here.

All I did was muse a bit over what I had accomplished with the time I’d used up and what I really wanted to accomplish with the time I had left.  I wanted the writing talent in my family to flourish and I came up with a plan.

We could read to each other, on Sundays, put a log on, make some tea and knowing you’d have an audience could serve as an incentive to make time and finish something.  Eleven-year-olds, for the record, exist to point out flaws in plans like that.

“But Mom, you don’t write.”

“I’ll come up with something.” And I did. And I didn’t stop. But the original motivation? It was to encourage them.

And here I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Stock

So, here we are.

There’s time to take a look at my goals.

Story every week? No. At least one for every month? Yes.

Blog Posting? Not too bad, could be better.

Reorganization of site? No. Too much going on. There’s a lot of learning curve in it for me and I can’t yet justify hiring help.

Queries? That’s an interesting one. The truth is, I’m not ready. Five years ago, when I finished my first book, I was so ready to be published. Now, reading the comments of authors who are, I realize that it is a very demanding commitment, not unlike parenthood, not to be undertaken lightly. I’m not ready.

I do however, intend to keep sending out short works. I’ve had enough near hits at acceptance to want to pursue that even more.

So off I go, to send out another piece.

 

 

 

 

 

On the Nature of Time and Tides and Talent

 

I’m sending work out again. I’ve focused some on a longer wip  which has been nagging at me.

My only child will move out in a couple of weeks and I want to spend this time with her.

There is plenty of time to write like a fiend looming in my future.

Marge Piercy wrote a poem called, For the Young, Who Want To.  It has always been one of my favorites.

“Talent is what they say

you have after the novel

is published and favorably

reviewed.  Beforehand what

you have is a tedious

delusion, a hobby like knitting.

 

Work is what you have done

after the play is produced

and the audience claps.

Before that friends keep asking

when you are planning to go

out and get a job.

 

Genius is what they know you

had after the third volume

of remarkable poems. Earlier

they accuse you of withdrawing,

ask why you don’t have a baby,

call you a bum.

 

The reason people want M.F.A.’s,

take workshops with fancy names

when all you can really

learn is a few techniques,

typing instructions and some-

body else’s mannerisms

 

is that every artist lacks

a license to hang on the wall

like your optician, your vet

proving you may be a clumsy sadist

whose fillings fall into the stew

but you’re certified a dentist.

 

The real writer is one

who really writes. Talent

is an invention like phlogiston

after the fact of fire.

Work is its own cure. You have to

like it better than being loved.”

 

Numbers Do Not Lie, But, I Am Not A Number

I’ve counted the number of weeks in the year so far and the answer is twenty-nine. I’ve counted the number of completed stories this year and the answer is nineteen.

I’ve counted the number of days until I leave the offspring at a college dorm and drive away and the answer is thirty-five.

I’ve spoken to my father and it will be another four weeks of physical therapy before he is sure how far his recovery will progress.

I have to make time for the people in my life.

I know what happened; I lost all momentum to the demands that were put upon me by other people this year.

……..I’m back. Just after I typed that, my mate came in to tell me he needed me to hold something for him while he fastened it.  Only a few seconds later, the offspring came in to ask me to help move a shelf as she is re-organizing her room.

Is there anything I can add that expresses the whole cosmic joke better than that?

 

 

 

 

Update

Spending whole days at a hospital and being there for someone going through the ups and downs of the last few weeks of high school have left me rather more drained than I had hoped.

I have still been turning out stories and sending them out as well, if not quite as often as I would have liked.  I ran out of the energy to do the more ambitious stuff this past month.

If I can get in another post next week, I will.

 

 

Course Correction

 

When people talk about life as a journey, they usually seem to suggest something out of Tolkien: a very long walk up one hill and down another, over rivers or sometimes through them although never, of course, stepping in the same one twice.

I think it’s more like a drive.

You only have so much control over how fast it goes by and it is not all about putting one foot in front of the other. It’s more like this: you have to aim in a general direction and constantly correct yourself, if you want to get where you want to go.

The heart surgery I mentioned in an earlier post hit the proverbial appliance earlier than expected. Hopefully,  the journey of my life will become more or less regular by the end of this month–and so will my posts.

Until I hit another pothole.

 

 

Patterns

 

I had a bit of an insight on the subject of my clothes-of-other-times fascination. I was browsing a kimono website,  window shopping, and thinking that if I did  place an order, I would want the under-garments, the accessory kits, etc.  Part of attraction is found in the business of how it all goes together.

So,  I realized that what is so interesting about Victorian clothing is, in part, the layers that build it, i.e. the drawers under the chemise, the chemise under the corset, the petticoats over the corset and chemise and so forth.

All of which parallels that which is interesting about the composition of a story, in the form of layers, structure, details and the final experience of pleasure–or not–depending upon the degree of success achieved in the balancing of all of these things.

Applying all of this to the subject of story-telling will have to wait for another post; this week is going to be a busy one.