Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Writing Vacation

Whew! My horrible vacation out here in Washington, waking up to coffee and a fantastic view of Puget Sound, is almost over. It's been rough, I tell you. Walks along the beach, nice restaurants, wedding cake (not mine--after eighteen years that would be gross), sight-seeing, shopping at all the open air farmer's markets, gabbing with old friends and great relatives...

It was hard. Excruciatingly hard. And we only have two more days to finish up the rest of the homemade ice cream before we fly away. Like I said, it's been rough.

The only good thing about it was that I hardly wrote anything. At least not real writing. I've written scads of stuff in my notebooks about my characters for a novel I've been revising. The characters are truly filling themselves out. But will their depth translate into my revision? No idea. I won't let myself work on it until I have the character bugs all figured out. Maybe I'll never work on it again. It's a waste of time anyway.

Oh, and I did write a poem for my newly married MIL, but, remember, my poetry is all crap. Only she and her new husband appreciated it. Then again, they were the only real audience. Kind of like Emily Dickinson writing poetry for herself, and maybe that creepy editor she had a crush on. The stuff made sense to her, I suppose, and she really didn't want to know if it made sense to any of us. So it doesn't. And my poem probably wouldn't mean anything to you, either. I won't even put it in here, or all two of you who ever read this will just mock it in the comments (and I don't take criticism well at all).

I've also been working through research for two different books. For my mermaid novel, I've been researching life cycles and habits of aquatic mammals, disappearances and strange sightings in the Bermuda Triangle, the Spanish slave trade in the Caribbean, and ocean life in general (especially temperature and sea life changes at various depths)... and soon I'll be researching genetics as well, for various reasons I won't name, mainly because I don't want anybody to STEAL MY IDEAS, even if they completely SUCK (and I'm sure they do).

And finally, I just dropped a load of money here at a local bookstore, where I found books on Native American folklore and spirituality, mysterious creatures of the Pacific Northwest, and a bunch of other eerie things that will likely end up in my Thomas novels--which most of you will never read because they will never be published. I've only written one and a half of them so far, and my aspirations for them are about as likely to be realized as I am to win the Georgia state lottery. (Does Georgia even have a lottery? Don't know. Never bought a ticket. Don't intend to, either. I'm stupid that way.)

Wait! How the hell did that happen? All this time I've been on vacation, I'm still working on my writing. God, this sucks! I can't even keep from writing when I want to. When I'm on vacation. When I've promised myself I'm not writing anymore. When it won't get me anywhere. When it's just frustrating and filled with pain.


At least I can find comfort knowing nobody's got to read it. Ever.

Yeah, I feel better now. Bet you do too.

Monday, July 11, 2011

You Rock!

Man, but you guys ROCK! You've taken this website to heart, and I could not appreciate it more! I put out the call for bad poetry, but you've taken it a step further--NO poetry! Not even some vapid haiku or limerick about a guy named Hammet.

I know why it is, too. You know I suck more than you do. So if you turn in some crappy old poem, you know I'm going to make mine suck more. And you're too competitive, so you don't want me showing you up. So you take the high road. You act all, "I don't have time to write a poem right now. I'm too busy negotiating this four-book deal with Simon & Schuster and checking the upward progress of my first novel on the New York Times Bestseller List."

Of course, you're also thinking, "That Shakespeare thinks she's so great, but I could definitely make a suckier poem than hers, no matter how bad it is." Only you don't have to prove it to me--or anybody--so you just sigh and shake your head at me. Because I care. Because I put out the call to compete. Because I want to be worse than you, but beating me isn't important to you. At all.

I don't matter, do I?

And even better, I got no followers. No commitment. No lavishing of praise where it isn't deserved (because it isn't, and I'm the first person to admit that). Awe-inspiring stuff, really. I can't fathom the nerve, the self-confidence, the sheer grit.

I'm amazed. Even now I'm on the ground groveling in the wake of your awesomeness. I could learn a lot from all of you out there. I should learn. If I did, I wouldn't waste my time posting anything.

I'd love to know what else you rock at. I'm perfectly vile at getting my picture taken--"hag" doesn't do the pictures sufficient justice--but I don't advertise that nearly as much as my writing. I make sure the pictures are rare, so I can shock people when they least expect it.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Fan-Based Fridays: Write an Awful Poem

I know I should post a bunch of examples of my own horrifically bad poetry today, but my plan so far is to make Fridays fun for readers (and for me, of course). Your task? To write the worst poem you can come up with, along these specifications:

1. Your poem must use a high level of emotion--
anger, angst, love, depression, bliss--
you know, anything that might make a reader
writhe in his seat.

2. Your poem must rhyme--or try to. The more
obvious and pathetically awful the rhyme
the better.

3. Your poem must use a cliche. More points
scored if it uses more than one.

4. Your poem must use an obvious symbol of the
intense feeling you are trying to convey.

Of course, nothing is more awful than a poem that doesn't fulfill any of the poetic requirements, so treat these as guidelines, to be dropped when they don't suit you. And for those of you who claim you don't understand poetry, give me a break. Don't write in that you would write a poem if only you knew how. Just put the godawful thing down, and make it crappy!

And don't try to show us all up and write something brilliant. That does NOT fulfill the assignment, and you know it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I'm Not a Writer

I'm not a writer.

I've been trying for years to CALL myself one, to LIVE the life of a writer, to THINK like a writer, to BE a writer. But it isn't working. I can try harder, or I can accept the fact that it simply won't work. I'm not the next J.K. Rowling. I'm not even the next Barbara Cartland. My writing sucks.

I've been writing plays since I was six, but I'm not a playwright. I'm a thespian with quite a bit of theatre experience, but merely a fashioner of inane dialogue. My characters are sappy and lifeless, and they don't seem to accomplish anything while onstage. Boring, truly boring. My favorite genre, it seems, is "kitchen sink" drama, which most professional theaters specifically request not to read. I even have one full-length play that takes place in a kitchen. No joke. The whole play. And there's a sink. And people cook and clean and eat and drink tea in it. Just like a real kitchen. You can't get any more kitchen sink-ish than that.

I'm not a novelist, either, just a writer of very long, highly craptacular prose. It's awful, really, even after eleventy-seven revisions. Don't believe me? Just post your e-mail address in the comments, and I'll send you a sample. You'll believe me then.

And I'm not a poet. Sure, I can put some pretty images together, give them a bit of meaning. I can even rhyme poetry, too, though I avoid that as much as possible since the moment I start rhyming my poetry starts to sound like a toothpaste commercial. Don't worry, if you bother coming back here again (and you probably won't), I'll post some lovely samples of my best toothpaste-y sounding commercial/poems. Fabulous stuff. It'll make whatever you wrote at thirteen--you know, all that "Jenny broke up with me so I want to die" poetry?--look brilliant.

Realizing I'm not a writer is quite freeing. I don't have to make my query sound good anymore. Why bother, when the novel itself sucks? I can send out chapters without the angst. I can go through life without being disappointed when somebody hates what I've written. Of course they hate it, I'll be able to say. It sucks! What else were they supposed to do with it?

Even better, I can stop writing. Completely. No more writing. Except for some awful poetry, since it isn't really writing. And these blog posts. I've had all sorts of people tell me that's not really writing, either, so I can still do those. I can keep working on all that other crap, too, without the pressure of having to somehow miraculously make it not crap. I can even give all of you a few days a week to post your own crap. Yeah, that will make me feel better, to know that I'm not the only one who isn't really writing.

Not that you'll come. I mean, who would? So don't come back. You won't like it. Go find some encouraging blog to tell you that you'll make it some day if you keep working hard, that you just need to find the right agent, or not say stupid things in your query, or get the right beta readers.

But if you come back, don't whine. I told you not to. That you can't follow directions only means you're destined to suffer. As am I. If I see you here again, I'll just know you're hopeless.

Just like me.