Thursday, August 28, 2008

Story Download

A free download of my selected stories can be found at: Enjoy. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Whole Dirty Deal. Worms and All

I am currently reading, When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris. I needed something butt-kicking humor after the past few days that I will attempt to touch on here. The first essay is about worms crawling out of a woman's wound and how this is the topic of conversation one Christmas Eve. Now most might not find the combination of worms and wounds funny, but me and my warped sense of humor finds this topic totally acceptable. This coming from a woman who gave her husband a pain pill instead of his antibiotic yesterday morning. Now, it just so happens, said husband noticed he was awful lightheaded as he drove to work. He then noticed he was going to puke his guts out because he doesn't handle pain pills all so well. And me, the said murderess, is having a fit at home on the phone with him because he tried to make his work deliveries.

Husband: I think I might have to call someone to come get me.

At this point has driven over forty miles from the earth he lives on.

Murderess: I can't believe you went ahead and drove.

Of course this is the guilt speaking.

Husband: I can't take this. I feel so bad.

Murderess: I told you to get some coffee and some food.

Husband: I got to go. I'm going to be sick.

But don't worry. Your favorite all time Writer Woman is not behind bars. No, she's at home reading her book. Said husband made it home, where he slept in the back of the work van for three hours in a rainstorm because he could not walk into the house. Around 8:00 pm he came into the house and passed out on the bed. All this from one pain pill he took twelve hours earlier. This morning said husband woke rested and bright-eyed.

Ah yes worms are a wonderful thing. I'll take worms and wounds any day over my sometimes crazy upside down life.

Signing Off


Friday, August 15, 2008

Week One Of Walking and More Writing Stuff

I've decided wouldn't it be fun to journal about my commitment to walking my daughter home from school. I wrote a little about this at the end of the school year. Now we 've begun a new year and with the gas prices like they are, my commitment is stronger than ever.

This week is what I call warming up. If you read between the lines, you see that for one reason or another I have not walked regularly all summer. So warming up is a nice way of saying this walking stuff is for the birds, except birds rarely walk. They get to use their wonderful wings. I wish I had wings. If I did then I could both address the fuel prices and save my arches. Enough whining.

Since May the city has placed a sign at each crosswalk telling drivers that its the law to give foot traffic the right away. Yeah city! No doubt foot traffic has increased. I've seen this with my own two eyes. Many more people are using the buses and the sidewalks are busier. The temps this year are beautiful. This time last year I had to contend with 100 degree weather. This week I've seen 85 as the hottest temp.

Rain: Ah, I always struggle with rain. We dodged the downpours this week. They occurred overnight and cleared out by the next day. Since we've had a drought, I don't pray for it not to rain. I'll deal with it.

While walking this week, I've listened to two podcasts. One was an interview with Wayne Dyer. I found it very useful. I also discovered a solution for my novel. Walking does that for me. Yes, I look funny standing in front of the school, scribbling on a note card, but so is the life of a writer.

Yesterday I began an hour long podcast interview with Andre Dubus III author of House of Sand And Fog and his newest novel, In The Garden or something like that. I was mostly interested in what he had to say about plotting a book. He said don't. I love this man. He said allow your characters to show you where they are going and what they are doing.

So often I am asked how I plotted that story. And I just shrug my shoulders and tell the person asking he or she would have to speak to the characters. You wouldn't believe the looks I get from that comment.

Andre Dubus says to plot is to tell your imagination you don't trust it.

Thank You!

So my week of walking has been intellectiually stimulatling, even if my body has cried.

Walk more. You might be surprised where it will take you.

Monday, August 11, 2008

First Day Of School And Writing Routine

Today I saw my daughter off to school. Wow, time flies by. It's so quiet here. In front of me is this large amount of time. Did I say it was quiet here? I miss my daughter calling to me just as soon as I get into the best part of what I'm writing. I never thought I'd miss that.

So this is the first day for both of us. I'm back to writing four to five hours a day. Today I managed three before I broke for a blog break. I'm nearing the end of my novel polishing. In front of me stretches a new project. Many writers hate the first draft part, but I love finding the new voices and following their lead. I love the thought of this so much, I find it hard to focus on finishing this project.

Over the summer I've spent time writing in my notebook. Many sketches for the new project appeared here, but much of it is still too foggy to talk about it. I might talk it away :).

Sometimes it's tough being a writer. Bet you never thought I'd say that! Many people don't get that it is work. They see me as having it made, and in many ways I do. I work on my own time. I don't have a boss breathing down my neck. I knock off when school is over. I have school holidays off. But it is a little harder than it sounds.

First: I set a goal of at least one chapter a day. This runs roughly three to four thousand words. I don't have to show it to anyone, so I can fudge if I want. Sounds good! But to be a professional working at home, I have to produce. So, I'm the boss of me, and let me tell you I'm my own worse nightmare. No writing in pajamas. No being sick. No checking email while writing. No going on the internet. No breaking for coffee and a stretch. Gees, I had it made when I worked in an office.

Second: I have a certain amount of editing I do each day. This requires me to sit someplace and really focus. I can't answer the phone. I can't watch TV. I can't do the dishes from that morning. Edit only.

Third: I only get a half of an hour for lunch. When I worked in an office, I got an hour. Gees.

Fourth: I have to fight off the questions: When are you publishing that book? How much money do you make? Really, how many people do you know asked that question of a corporate professional? Can't you skip writing today so you can do what I need? Now most people don't ask in this way, but they ask this question in many of their own ways. Why does it take so long?

Fifth: Working on the filler stuff. What is filler stuff? It is book reviews, short stories, and book introductions. This is the work that keeps my name out in the publishing world, and yes, brings in some money, so I can answer that income question.

So as you can see, I have to be my own boss, multitask, focus, and develop tough skin. Many of you are saying why do it? Get a job where you're noticed and you can make more money? Are you kidding? This is the best job in all the world and I would not change a thing. I know this each school day when I see my daughter come out of the school looking for me. God, just keep me writing.

Off to edit.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dancing In The Streets

When is the last time you danced in the streets? Well, I did this past Saturday night, after a huge thunderstorm, when Smyrna celebrated their 136th birthday. I danced with my youngest daughter and hubby to really bad Jimmy Buffet music. Once a Parrot Head, always a Parrot Head. We danced while people lined up for free birthday cake and ice creame. We danced until the fireworks began just over our heads. Wow, what a show!

It felt so good to let go and just dance. Try it. You may just enjoy your new freedom.

This night has helped a lot while wading through the chaos that comes at us from all sides. Give yourself a night. It's well worth the effort, my friends. Daughter begins school next Monday, so this is our last week of summer together. Both of us are ready for a change, but yet, we'll miss the summer routine. This week we are doing all those things that we missed. Today we watched Titanic. Daughter is a romantic, and I just need a good reason to be one. Tomorrow we will make shower plans with middle daughter for pregnant daughter. I don't know what we will do on Wednesday. Whatever hits us.

My collected stories published at The Dead Mule will be available in a pdf file soon. I'll give you a heads up.