Saturday, October 22, 2016

Not Writing... RUNNING!

In my long-standing quest to avoid wasting my time writing, I've been working steadily on my house, painting rooms, ripping down wallpaper, sanding, buffing, replacing door knobs, etc.

But that wasn't enough for me. I also started back up running. And this morning I ran a 10K. In less than an hour and a half. Okay, so that's not fast. But I'm still doing everything I can to NOT WRITE.

How about you? What are you doing to keep from working on that novel in your second desk drawer? Have you taken up scrapbooking (always a time suck)? Decided to start a family? Decided to re-start a family? Moved three times in a year? Started up a charity dog kennel? Removed the paint from your fence? 

Unfortunately for me, my evil half also signed up for NaNoWriMo, so I'm stuck during the month of November. Damn you, evil half! Now I have to work on my sixth novel. Ugh.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Practicing Walking

My parents always told me a story about what I did as a baby. While other babies they knew were pulling themselves up on the furniture, taking a few practice steps in front of them, showing off day by day as they improved their skills and learned to walk, I didn't.

They wondered whether I was going to walk. EVER. How could I ever move from crawling to walking if I never tried, they wondered. 

What my mother finally realized one night, though, after she'd put me in my crib for the night, is that I WAS walking. I had probably been practicing for weeks. But, for reasons she could not fathom, my little baby self had waited until she was alone for the night. My mother only discovered this because she heard the springs in the crib creaking after she had put me to bed. She swung the door open, catching me in the act of walking around the crib, practicing.

Thanks to for the use of this picture!
The next day, found out, I simply walked in public. No tentative steps. No falls. Just walking. 

I cannot possibly explain why a baby would be self-conscious enough to practice walking before she did so in front of a crowd, and in many ways today I am far less self-conscious than I used to be. 

Except when it comes to writing.

I have several friends who are writers--poets, playwrights, novelists, essayists--and nearly all of them have, at one point or another, urged me to work towards publication. I tell them that I am doing exactly that, only my writing isn't ready for publication yet. 

"That doesn't matter," one poet told me. "It's good enough." 

Good enough. When imagining what I want readers to say about my work, "good enough" is not exactly what I am hoping for. I could self-publish, but I am pretty certain that the weaknesses in my writing would remain in the published work, a glaring reminder that my writing has not fully developed yet. 

Just this week I was reminded of the pitfalls of self-publishing. I bought two books by two different local authors. One, a YA book, was an okay read... but only an okay read. The plot was complete, loose ends tied up at the end, but it was too predictable, too neat, and not well written. I have no problem with simplicity in language, but I detest simplicity in thought, and it suffers from that. 

The other book, also at least partially self-published (I read the publisher's website), is, frankly, brilliant. It's by Paul J. Bennett, and it's called a Fall of Sparrows. Superb book so far, better than many Civil War era books I've read. It's meaningful without being preachy, descriptive without being overbearing... and I could go on gushing. What's sad, frankly, is that it's not a traditionally published book, distributed nationally. It would speak to many readers across the country, not just local readers here in southern Georgia. 

These two books give me a good idea of where I am in this process. My writing has come much farther than the writing in the first book. My characters are more complex, the plot lines and writing far better. However, my writing isn't as good as Bennett's. It just isn't. 

And that means, as much as I hate it, I need to keep practicing. The world is going to just have to wait longer (and I am just going to have to remain patient with myself) until my walking/writing is good enough for public consumption. Other writers might be able to blow readers' socks off, but, even in my mid-forties, I have a slower learning curve. I will just have to keep on keeping on, and hope that I eventually develop into the writer I wish to be. Back to the crib now, for a little practice. Maybe someday you'll see me walk/write for real.
This is me, only I'll be writing. Thanks,!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Too Long

It's been too long since I've seen some friends--Cherilyn, Susan, Paul, and a host of others…

And it's been too long since I've painted anything I'm proud of… I've finally painted something, but it is sort of lopsided. Okay, it sucks. And it's been forever since I've really painted consistently.

It's been too long since I've played piano. Once a week is not enough by far, and once a month is pathetic. So my piano adherence lately has been pathetic…

But it hasn't been too long since I've worked on my novel. Worked on it yesterday, as a matter of fact, and I'll be working on it all afternoon while I sit with my hubby, who will be getting his weekly chemo. I've made time for writing for well over a month now, and I won't stop.

In fact, I hope to find even more time to devote to writing.

So, if you see only a few posts from me, it's because I'm working on my novel, or my play, or my poetry.

Or maybe because I've finally sat at the piano again. *sigh*

Saturday, October 11, 2014

On Chemotherapy and Being Alone

Richard begins chemotherapy Monday.

And he's tense. And that means I'm tense. But as much as I can sympathize with him, and even though I'm driving him to it, sitting with him, and driving him home, he's really alone.

I'm not getting chemotherapy. Just him. Honestly, I feel as if I shouldn't even be writing this, like it's not my story to tell, for I'm not the one living through cancer. I'm just holding his hand, encouraging, and driving around a person who is living through it.

No matter how much we share, and no matter how much I want to help, Richard is alone. Utterly. I saw the horrible room where he'll sit each Monday and be administered his Gemzar through a port under the skin of his right chest area. I saw patients sitting there the day we toured, sitting and waiting, hooked up to machines filling them with their own particular brand of poison.

Now that I think of it, the room is pretty big, though… and those other people are going through what he's doing. Some of them have probably gone through it more than once.

So when we're sitting in that room Monday afternoon, I hope Richard will find others to talk to besides me… people who can help him feel less alone. People who can touch him through their words. People who bring their hope with them to chemotherapy, who bring their smiles, who bring their fears, who share these, so that Richard can hear, can bring his own thoughts, and can even encourage others.

Maybe then he won't be so alone.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Taking Myself Seriously

I bet millions of people have checked out this blog in the MONTHS since I last wrote on it. And then they left.

Yup, they read the title, realized I was serious about this whole not writing stuff, and left.

I don't blame them.

One could say that I took my own words too seriously. Yup. I seriously decided I wouldn't write anymore (dammit!) and seriously took steps to make sure I didn't.

But one would be wrong.

You see, I didn't write here because I didn't take my writing seriously. I had decided NOT to be serious about my writing. As a result, I didn't write. Day after day, night after night, opportunity after opportunity, I let the voices in my head talk my out of writing.

Not anymore.

I vow, from this day forward, to take my writing seriously. Seriously, I do. I changed my profile. I quit my job. I have been slowly weeding all sorts of distractions out of my life to make sure I have room for writing, to make sure I have time to take writing seriously.

So, if you've checked back here a few times, come again. I'll be here. And if you just happened on this blog by chance, come back.

Or don't. Either way, I'm seriously writing.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Making Time

You don't have time to write. 

I know you don't. Neither do I. 

That's because time doesn't hand itself to me. It just floats by, and I wander around NOT doing the things I want to be doing because of other have-tos. 

And yet I don't. I make time for exercise. EVERY DAY. Sometimes 2 1/2 hours of it. Sometimes more (I do take off the occasional day, but not very often). 

I do make time to teach my kids. LOTS of time. I make time to play on the computer in the mornings. I make time to read, even if it's just a half hour before bed (but it's usually more). I would make time for writing if I made it a priority. 

Sounds like it's time for a list. I'm brilliant with lists--they are part of my daily life. I keep a book of them around me at all times. But this is not a daily list. This list is an expression of what is most important to me, judging by what I do. IN ORDER. And it shows why I don't write enough.

1. My children and their schooling.
2. My job at the Firehouse (must keep it!).
3. Exercise.
4. Cleaning my house.
5. Reading.
6. Paying bills.
7. The hubby (isn't it horrible that he's so far down the list?).
8. Artistic pursuits (writing, painting, drawing, sewing, cooking, piano, everything).

THIS is why I don't write. I put it last on the list. I am more likely to take out the trash or wash my car than write! Ack!

What the list should be…

1. My children and their schooling.
2. The hubby (sorry I don't keep you here).
3. Exercise (have to keep it here for health reasons).
4. My writing.
5. Other artistic pursuits.
6. My job at the Firehouse.
7. Cleaning house.
8. Paying bills and other necessaries.
9. Reading.

Now I just need to print this out and follow it! 

Can you re-prioritize? If you did, what would you change?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pulling Teeth

I did manage to write a little yesterday. Okay, I revised, but given that I'm changing verb tense throughout the novel, AND trying to make it into what it should be at the same time, I'm practically re-writing it.

But I don't have much time to write at this point. Homeschooling is taking every free moment I have (unless it's 6 a.m, and the kids are still sleeping, which is why I can write this entry). Getting my kids to DO THEIR WORK is about as difficult as getting myself to face this novel for the umpteenth time to make it better.

So everything in my life is dragging. And the stress that results is about to kill me. I looked in the mirror last night and thought THIS is the year I get my gray hairs. No way around it, not with this stress.

Could I send the kids to school? Yup, but it wouldn't work. I've tried that. It was nearly as time-consuming, between working all afternoon and late into the night with my daughter on work the school had brushed over, and going to face the principal and teachers when my son was acting up, acting out, or just refusing to participate in anything classroom-related. And then standing over him to make him do the make-up work that he refused to finish in class.


I'd rather be at the dentist.

In a bit, I'll have to start the long day again… my one-person fight to help my kids find something to love about school, to get them to take responsibility for their own tasks, to teach, to find any time for myself, to find joy in the moment, in the day, in the year.

Taoism specifically describes the "way" or "flow" of one's life. If one is following the natural "way," or "tao," one feels calm, one finds the tasks run smoothly, one has a sense that all the pieces fit together.

And that suggests to me that I am not following the natural flow of my life, for I feel as if I'm wading upstream, the stream is at flood stage, and I'm dragging a semi-truck that someone has tied around my waist. And I'm making no progress at all.

How do I find the correct path? I feel like I've been off the right road for so long that I will never find my way back.

I have no answers. I had hoped, with morning, that they would come--any of them--but I wait in vain.