Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Me, being me, I wasn't satisfied with one photo. Lisa had mentioned putting a pet in a picture. I am pet-free at the moment, so I chose this little lamb, who once accompanied me to scary surgery. I thought Ava, who lost her Jackson and is sure it's her fault he died, needed the lamb, just like me. Ava says:
Monday, July 27, 2009
Having spent some contemplative time recently along the shore I gave thought to how I approach life, and, of course, writing--which is integral to my life.
Am I a fisherwoman or a surfer?
Both require patience and skill but one seems more passive, the other aggresive. I'm sure some people would debate this, especially since a fisherman reeled in a Great White Shark in San Diego last week! That ought to get muscles pumping, adrenaline surging.
But mainly, fishing is passive compared to surfing. I'm not trying to say one is better. Fishing can yield sustenance. Surfing results in endorphin rush. Both give personal satisfaction. I've done both but not in a long time.
As a writer, if I wait quietly like a fisherman, ideas may leap up from the deep, filled with energy. And if I sit bobbing on the water, waiting to see the dark rise of a building wave, then put myself in position and paddle hard, I might catch a most amazing swell.
Either way, patience and preparedness are key. Do you see yourself or your writing as fishing or surfing? Or am I hopelessly waterlogged?
Sunday, July 26, 2009
First, I considered a humorous story of a guy shanghaied and ending up pressing shirts in a steamy laundry, then a cookie factory where he pens personal messages. But I went for a relationship-driven story instead. There are so many amazing stories that have been submitted, you really can enjoy yourself by dropping in for a visit. The entries prove that if you give a bunch of writers the same prompt, you will get vastly different stories. The human brain is a magnificent thing.
If you read this post Sunday, there is still time to enter and possibly win Suzanne's great prize.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sometimes you gotta just stare out to sea and contemplate your next move.
I'm there right now. Whether it's another chapter of rewrite, the next blog or life stuff, I'm needing some stare time.
So I'm taking off for a couple of days to deal with some things and find enlightenment.
I leave you with this vista.
Friday, July 17, 2009
This morning found my back aching, eyes blurry and brain fuzzy after writing 5,000 words yesterday. I felt a bit like Sisyphus facing the boulder. But am I sorry? No way.
I stumbled up my local mountain trail at 6 a.m. looking at a sky blue as a robin's egg and strewn with wispy clouds. I had to push a bit to make myself climb uphill, just like I did to keep writing, but the reward was a clear head, a refreshed body.
My reward for yesterday is three solid chapters of rewrite. I looked at it this morning, and it rocks--very little to toss. I'll find out soon enough if my crit buddies agree, but I'm feeling very positive. I learned from the experience that I can do much more than I thought, even what seems impossible. I'm not saying I would do marathon writing as a practice, but every once in awhile it serves a function. It's invigorating and shakes up the status quo.
Thanks to all of you who cheered me on. I owe you a cool drink someday.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I really did not expect to when I reached mid-afternoon burnout. I was just over 2,000 and felt I didn't have enough juice to keep going. Loser, I said. But then I decided it wouldn't hurt to keep going and see what happened.
What is really neat is that I didn't thrash myself. I actually did 20 minutes of yoga, made meals, took care of business e-mails and phone calls, and still made the word count.
I've always worked with deadlines and goals but this took it to a new level. Happy re-writer here.
Sorry my photo of this postcard is off-kilter--so am I. It's early and I'm about to make a big commitment. This picture of a 4,500-year-old marble carving of a harp player sits in front of my keyboard. I found the postcard in a box of pictures I collected from museums and got chills when I discovered I had acquired it. My WIP is a YA fantasy about a girl with unusual harp-playing ability and roots that go back to the dawn of time.
Today I plan a marathon-writing session on the rewrite of that novel. I was inspired by Megan, as she was by the 10K for Writers. I'm not going to start a new work, since after two months of letting it rest I've finally started my rewrite. But I like the kick-in-the-butt of setting a goal, making a personal deadline.
I've never participated in NaNoWriMo, the annual challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. In 2008, there were 119,301 participants. NaNoWriMo's collective word count--1.6 billion words. Just wow. A friend of mine, Gayle Brandeis, wrote a first draft of Self Storage in NaNoWriMo. She was already the winner of Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize for The Book of Dead Birds. But like many writers, she wanted the power of the deadline. So I know it works.
Since I'm a free operative, what goal to set? In the last few weeks since I started to rewrite I produced about 5,000 words/19 pages. The original novel is about 90,000 words. I'm going to try for another 5,000 words of rewrite today. I have no idea what to expect, but don't we all love a challenge?
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Have you ever heard him read? Sooooo good. His tips will help anyone--whether you are reading to a child, at a booksigning or to a critique group. So link on over and get advice from the master. Any personal reading aloud tips you want to share? Or moments you'd rather forget? heh-heh
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
My fascination preceded Harry Potter meeting Fawkes or Neil Gaiman's "Sunbird" (Fragile Things), in which an eccentric group of gourmands discover the eternal bird.
The myth of the phoenix, rising from its own ashes, shows up since the dawn of civilization and across cultures. It was said the sun god Helios would stop his chariot to listen to the young bird sing. Tales are found in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia, Lebanon, China and more.
Early Christians modified the mythical bird into a story of resurrection. In the National Portrait Gallery in London is a painting of Elizabeth I with a medallion featuring a phoenix rising. It is conjectured that she wore it to symbolize her road to power. You might recall she had a few difficulties left behind by her father Henry VIII and her half-sister Mary.
I've come up with a few modern phoenix stories (Rowling and Gaiman above). Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Eudora Welty wrote a hardscrabble tale of the regeneration of blacks after slavery in "A Worn Path," which features a protagonist named Phoenix on a recurring journey. Even her apparel is transformative--an apron of bleached sugar sacks and a cane made of an old umbrella.
The British sci-fi show Doctor Who has Time Lords who get transformed over and over. And I can't help but think of the powerful autobiographical work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, in which a horrific childhood is turned into a bright future--much of it beginning with the knowledge and wonder found in books.
So what is it that makes a story, such as the myth of the phoenix, immortal? What plucks such a universal chord? Do you have any thoughts on this or would you like to mention some book you read or wrote that mirrors a phoenix tale? As always, I'd love to hear what you have to say.