Monday, February 28, 2011

In which I recall a similar leap of faith



Weird feelings.

All guts and writhing like a net full of butterflies. Or eels.

Did I swallow something wrong? Maybe I'm just crazy.

I mean, why ELSE would I be walking away from a job. Now.

There's many reasons: no future, no benefits, my health. My sanity.

The main reasons though are harder to put into words. I'll be getting all sorts of comments, looks. I've already braced myself for them. Water off a ducks back. Yeah. Right.

I worry too much about what others think of me. Something I need to work on.
Chiseling away at it for a decade...I still have a long way to go.

But I'm getting there.

Getting there.

Life is about transition. Sometimes it's forced upon us. Sometimes it's an utter shock and surprise.

Then there are times we step out onto the bridge between "the life that is" and "the life that could be".

Remember the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? Where Indy has to cross this vast chasm in order to reach the Holy Grail? It looks impossible, uncrossable, utterly idiotic to even try. Then he realizes, it's a leap of faith. There's no other choice. It's go back and watch his father die, have the villains win, have his world end.

Or take a leap of faith.

And when he does, he finds that everything he needs is right there. One. Step. At. A. Time.

That's what I'm doing. I have no guarantees. I'm taking an awful risk, Vader ;). But I have no choice. Unlike Indy, I can't turn around. The notice is given. In fact, The Job has announced I should leave sooner. You know, because the replacement can start now.

Ok. Boost that last day up a bit. I got nothing to lose.

Except fear.

Friday, February 25, 2011

In which I shamelessly exploit Lewis Carroll's brilliance

Have you ever posted something on your blog and then, throughout the day, wondered why you posted it?

The post in question is yesterdays about being mindful of your words as you write them.

Why? I don't know. Perhaps because I'm NOT mindful and I'm afraid to be mindful of them and I'd rather just plow through until I get to the end and sing and dance and not think about the edits.

The rewrites.

The drudgery.

The long dark corridor of rewrites that ultimately leads through the twilight gates.

But it's that long, dark corridor that makes us writers.

It's those hours of toiling over a sentence, of deleting those lovely, gorgeous, entrancing adjectives (heh) that makes us writers.

It's the unending pain of your characters who cry out for justice (or "The End") and you just can't give it to them because, gasp, if you type "The End" is it REALLY the end? Is it really finished?

This desire to pour over every word and see them, feel them, taste them is, perhaps, two sided.

Perhaps I want to spend as much time with them in order to put off the inevitable: walking down that corridor and facing the demons on the other side of the doors that line the walls.

Perhaps I desire to nibble each word because, like Alice, I find a little bit more or less of myself when I follow the instructions "Eat me" or "Drink me".

I'm in search of the enigmatic caterpillar who'll dispense with wisdom I'm not ready for. I'm afraid of the Cheshire Cat whose grin can skip heartbeats and whose twisted logic makes more sense than real life.

Both sides of that coin are necessary on this writing journey. Taste, see, touch, smell, hear. But don't wait so long that the torches on the corridor walls go dark and the cold chills your bones as you make your way to the end of the tunnel. That's where the fun begins. When you make it to THAT door, the one at the end of the hallway, then, THEN you've found your story. Some people will rush through the hallway, skipping over boulders. Some of us will have to painstakingly open every door, turn over every stone. But frabjous day, callooh! Callay! When we reach that door, when we have the courage to open it, we find behind it the blazing fires of brilliance.

That brilliance is our story.

Go after it. Don't fear the process. Don't fear the journey. And for heaven's sake, don't fear your brilliance! Caress those words, but don't hold them too tightly. Let them fly and run after them with all your might.

Now go forth and be BRILLIANT!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mindful Writing

"Travel, undertaken with mindfulness, can be a powerful vehicle for personal transformation." ~ Joseph Dispenza, The Way of the Traveler

If you're like me, you rush to the computer or notepad whenever time allows. You type story snippets into emails to yourself at work and scribble them on napkins during your lunch break. We write like mad because there's other things to do: the job, the family, the dinner.

What would happen if, maybe once or twice a week, we were able to slow down and savor our writing time? Trust me, I dream about this. Waking up slowly, blogging a bit, sitting down to my in-desperate-need-of-edits novel and taking my time to blot out extraneous adjectives and tighten up narrative. Why is it such an elusive pipe dream?

Everyone has heard that if you can't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else. It's true. What if we treated writing this way? I mean, if we don't respect our writing, how will we ever respect someone Else's? Deeper still, if we don't respect our writing, will anyone else?

Even if you have 5 minutes to eek out a few words, pay attention to them. Really pay attention. Why are you writing that? Why did you protagonist do that? I'm not saying we should question the revolution of the planet, but to simply pay attention to what's going on in your story.

I'm guilty of taking story for granted. I tend to breeze through the "sides" to get to the "main course". Guess what? It's all meat and potatoes. It has to be while we're writing it. If we treat every word we write with care, it will show in the finish product. Even if all the reader tastes is gravy ;)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Totally Random Wednesday

I see I have a few more followers! Thanks and welcome along for the ride! Today's post may be a bit ... off, thanks to copious amounts of Pepsi for dinner last night and strange goings on at The Job:

1. Started reading Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith. Wow. Holy Crap. Shudder. That is all. Will report back when book is finished :D

2. Seems my stint here in Job Land will be shorter than I'd anticipated. I turned in ample notice last month and have now been told that the person who will take my place can start in two weeks. I'm being shooed out the door faster than a bat stuck in your living room at 3 in the morning. Oh well...viva la writing life!

3. Upon further reflection (and one last chance given) Star Wars: Episodes 1 and 2 are as disappointing as I remember them.

4. Final exam time, duckies, and then it's off to my next class in which I get to spend 8 weeks learning how to write convincing arguments. College credit for arguing = FABULOUS!!

5. It's been 65+ degrees here for the past week (don't hate me). I got sunburned this past Saturday. Sunburned! In February. Ca-RA-zy.

6. In writing news, my book is still sitting on the trunk in the back room, patiently (HA!) waiting for me to pick it up, dust it off, and whip it in to gear. My muse isn't amused (heh) but he's dealing with the delay. However, looking again at #2, I should be back in the writing realm sooner than I originally thought.

How's THAT for random? How's your week been so far? Tell me something random!

Cheers!

Monday, February 21, 2011

news, views & more links than you can shake a lightsaber at!



I know, it's early in the week to get my geek on. But seriously, any excuse to search for pictures of Ewan McGregor...



Yet ANOTHER fabulous blogger passed along the Stylish Blogger Award :D I'm honored, truly!! Thanks a whole heaping lot to Misha over at My First Book. I received this award last week so I'll send you on over to that post so you can read my required Seven Stated Things :D

I may or may not have gone to the book store yesterday. I may or may not have bought three (THREE!!!) deliciously dark novels to devour: Lockdown: Escape from Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith, The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith and Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker. Yum.

We've all dealt with burnout. Here's some good tips to help the words flow even when you don't feel like writing - When Burnout Sets In

Here's a breath of fresh air for those of you who, like me, worry about the physical book going the way of the dinosaur (or archaeopteryx) - The Evolution of Reading

I see you're interested in a life of harmless crime. Excellent. So am I - How to Get Article Ideas: Steal Them!

A wee bit o' dialogue help over at Writer's Digest. You know...for all those...um...uh... - How to Edit Your Dialogue

So, you want to start a book group AND need a good laugh? Read on :D

Sol Stein talks to us briefly about Laziness

Got a great short story sitting there, waiting to win you $1,000? Then send it on in to the Writer Short 2011 Story Contest! Deadline is 30 April.

Now, go forth and render yourselves FABULOUS!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Travels & Thank Yous


Behold! The mighty archaeopteryx!

The blogfest yesterday was too much fun! I met SCORES of new people and learned some pretty amazing curse words (what? oh, that wasn't the goal of the fest...my bad!). Plus, I learned I can read 120+ blogs in an 8 hour period of time providing they are only 10 answers long and make me guffaw out loud!

A HUGE thank you to each and every body who stopped by, left me a little comment and decided to follow me into the madness. Welcome and welcome :D May the archaeopteryx of abundant blessings perch upon your doorstep ;)

O_o

On to business...

I've been reading the most fantastic book called "The Way of the Traveler" by Joseph Dispenza. I've had it for years and have read it before (as noted by my gratuitous underlinings and dogeared pages). However, this time, I was struck by an oddity that made me giddy with glee: Writing is a LOT like traveling. In fact, I'd even be bold enough to proclaim that writing IS a journey and the beautiful wisdom Mr. Dispenza presents in this book could apply to the writer's way.

Ever heard the little diddy "Monday's child is fair of face"? It goes through the days of the week and gives a bit of a prediction for children born on each day. I was born on a Thursday. Surprise, surprise "Thursday's child has far to go". And my mother wonders why I can't just keep my feet planted on familiar soil.

So. Thursdays will be a bit of traveling music. I hope to draw from this travel book and others some semblance of wise words for writers. Heaven knows, I need the guide book entitled "How to Survive the Call of the Writer and the Perilous Journey that Follows".

Thoughts? Questions? Rotten tomatoes?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An excuse to use the word "Archaeopteryx"



Nicole Ducleroir is hosting the Bernard Pivot Blogfest. Since she does such a great job of explaining it, I'll let her words do so here:

Anyone who's watched Inside the Actor's Studio will be familiar with the questionnaire. The show's host, James Lipton, asks it of every celebrity guest at the close of the interview. The questionnaire was originally created by Bernard Pivot, a French journalist, for the cultural series he hosted on French television from 1991-2001, called Bouillon de Culture.

What I love about the questionnaire is you can either answer the questions with all the truth in your heart, or you can approach them with creativity and cleverness -- finding answers or deliveries no one else has ever come up with. But which ever way you go, each of your answers will be revealing, telling us interesting things about you.


Here's my questionnaire!

1.What is your favorite word? Archaeopteryx
2.What is your least favorite word? Can't
3.What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Thunder storms, fog, the ocean
4.What turns you off? Technology
5.What is your favorite curse word? Fewmets. It drives the dragons crazy and confounds the humans.
6.What sound or noise do you love? Rain
7.What sound or noise do you hate? People yelling at each other
8.What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Quantum Physics
9.What profession would you not like to do? What I’m doing now, answering phones
10.If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Welcome. And you were right: Heaven really IS a giant bookstore/coffee shop on the beach!"

Now then, shuffle on over to Nicole's blog for the grand list of participants. Read their responses, get to know some new people in this great, big, grand blogsphere we call home. Tell 'em I sent you ;D

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Been thinkin'...

Dangerous words, I know.

I set aside a couple of days a week (when I'm able) to catch up on my blog reading. It doesn't always work out the way I'd like. You can thank the gods of the telephone for that.

Today there was a reoccurring theme, one that my muse has been whispering for some time. He's now standing across the room from me (Yes, at work. He has no shame) giving me that "Told you so" look I hate. He knows that. That's why he does it. Have I mentioned my muse is evil?

Writing is scary. Or it can be, if you're writing about anything worth writing about. It's scary because when we put words on paper, they are there. Forever. Even if we delete them, throw them away, burn them, there are there. We've brought them forth from the aether and (even if for just a moment) they existed. And we never forget that.

Many times I fear what I'm writing because it's different. It's weird. Sometimes it scares me (content wise, not just the fact I'm doing something different). This fear, however, only comes after I've been writing a while. When I start, I'm free, I pound out words and I'm blown away by what's coming out. I'm not thinking about it. Not thinking...

Then, slowly, I start thinking. And all that awesome dwindles until my characters are cardboard and their words taste like sawdust. Problem? Thinking too much about what I'm writing and thinking too much about what others will think of it when it's out there.

Solution? Write like the hounds of hell are after you. Write like you've only got an hour to live. Write like your life depends upon it. Because it does. If you're a writer, it does.

And if your muse is like mine, you might just have an hour to live. Or have the hounds of hell after you. Yeah. I love my muse. Did I mention he's evil?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday's Post, Part the Second: Challenges and Revisions

Aaaannnnnd I'm back!

First of all, it's hot. Seriously. As in I'M sweating (and I'm so cold natured I carry a jacket with me in July). At least I know our heat is working!

You've probably noticed the sidebar on the right has become very colorful in the past week. That's because I've stumbled upon quite a few sensational blog challenges and fests. Yes. SENSATIONAL!!!



February 16 (THIS Wednesday) starts things off with the Bernard Pivot Blogfest. Nicole Ducleroir is hosting it over at One Significant Moment in Time. All you have to do is follow Nicole's blog, sign up and post your answers to ten little questions on the 16th. That's it! A fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers and meet some new friends :D Did I mention there's a giveaway involved?



Got a hankerin' to write a short story, shoot the blarney and ride a wild, Irish pig? Colene Murphy is co-hosting a fabulously fun Luck O' the Irish Saint Patty's Day fest! Click over to sign up and join in the fun March 17th!



Lastly (but not leastly), Alex J. Cavanaugh is helping to host the A-Z Blogging Challenge. It will start April 01 and continue through the entire month. In his words, "It’s blogging a letter of the alphabet every day the month of April (with Sundays off for good behavior.) It begins April First with the letter A and ends April 30 with the letter Z." I'm really looking forward to this one! I need some discipline in my crazy life :D

If you guys are looking for some fun, up coming events in the blog-verse, check these out! Sign up, grab a button, and look forward to meeting a TON of other fabulous bloggers. Yeah, yeah, I KNOW we're all SUPER busy, but these types of things strengthen community, our writing discipline, and give us a dash of good, old fashioned fun.

And we all need more fun, right?



One more thing and I'll let you all alone (for now). Ali Cross (aka The Ninja) has some AWESOME blog hops set up for people writing novels or revising them. She's created her own version of NaNoWriMo. Instead of ONE month to write a novel, EVERY month is a chance to get that novel written. Or, if you're like me and in the middle of revisions, there's Ninja Novel Revision Month. Same idea as the novel writing. Go on! What better way to get those novels written or revised then doing so alongside other ninjas in Ali's awesome dojo?

Um...there's not :D

Monday's Post, Part the First: Awards!

Well.

It's Monday. That pesky day that follows weekends and has a nasty tendency to be less than welcome. Today, however, I was greeted by a mountain of chocolate on my desk (thanks ladies in the billing department!) and several very kind awards!

The Blogger Formerly Known As... AND N.R. Williams both passed along a lovely bit o' bloggy love this morning:



It was created by Jules who wished to spread a bit of love and cheer amongst friends. Please, take it! Happy Valentines Day to you all and THANK YOU ALL so very much for reading and commenting and supporting the madness that goes on here daily :D. Even if I don't post, trust me, there is still madness!

Both of these fabulous bloggy pals also passed on this award:



The rules for accepting this award, are:

1. Thank and link back to the person (people) who gave the award
2. State seven things about yourself
3. Pass the award on to 15 recently discovered great bloggers

Thanks a BUNCH to BOTH of you guys!! Your links follow thanks to you both being in my "Fifteen Most Recent Followers" list :D

1) I've been lost in three different countries: Mexico, Ireland and France. I seem to have a habit for wandering the wrong way!
2) I'm currently in university finishing my BA in English/Creative Writing.
3) I collect maps.
4) My father was a Vietnam Vet from whom I inherited my wanderlust and love for spicy food.
5) My mother is an herbalist, crafter and homesteader from whom I inherited my love for growing things and chickens :)
6) I love cheese.
7) I may or may not be related to Edgar Allan Poe.

Not sure if I have 15 NEW blogs to pass this along to, but I'll pick the 15 most recent followers:

Sara J. Henry @ Sara in Vermont (whose novel Learning to Swim comes out Feb. 22!)
Alex J. @ Alex J. Cavanaugh
Noelle Skeldon @ Noelle Skeldon, Author
Beth @ Of Muses and Meringues (which never fails to make me hungry)
Nicole Ducleroir @ One Significant Moment in Time
The Blogger Formerly Known As... @ The Blogger Formerly Known As...
Lin @ Duck with Wheel & String (who ALWAYS makes me laugh :D)
Linda @ Thoughts from a Bag Lady :D
Mary Aalgaard @ Play off the Page
Misha Gericke @ My First Book
Shannon O'Donnell @ Book Dreaming
N.R. Williams @ N.R. Williams, Fantasy Author
Shannon Whitney Messenger @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
Dawn Kurtagich @ Dawn Kurtagich's Blog
Glynis @ Author Blog: Glynis Smy

AAANNNND....

N.R. Williams ALSO passed along the WRITE HARD award:



This one is for bloggers who inspire me. Guess what...that would be YOU. Yes, YOU!!! Seriously. Take, enjoy, and let it inspire you to WRITE HARD every day :D

Whew!! That's a lotta linkin'! Visit these fabulous bloggers, and all of you who I listed, feel free to do what you wish with the award. Some of you have already received this one, so no worries if you wish to NOT repost it! I understand :D

I've got some more news I'll post later on today (PS: it has to do with all the lovely challenges that are stylin' up the right side of my blog!) Do check back!

Cheers,
Jen

Thanks Mask and N.R. Williams! You guys made my Monday :D

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love, Hate & Mass Confusion!

POP QUIZ!

Raise your hand if you LOVE snow!!
…that’s all the skiers, snowboarders, and kids who want to stay home from school (and work)

Raise your hand if you HATE snow!!
…that’s everyone in the western and northern united states

Raise your hand if you LOVE snow until you get it then you hate it then you lament that it’s too cold and has never been so cold in the history of ever and you’d give anything for summer and then come July you HATE the heat and wish it would snow
…that’s most everyone in the state of Georgia.

Same item: snow

Different reactions: love, hate, mass confusion and no bread, milk or frozen pizzas on the shelves.

How can people see the same thing and have so many different opinions about it?

How can people read the same story and have so many different opinions about it?

Even better-

How can people have the same topic, the same general idea and create so many different stories with it?

Point of view is a powerful thing. So is experience. Every story written carries the authors perspective of an issue and experience with an event. Every reader brings to every story their own, very powerful and very influential perspectives. If you've experienced the loss of a loved one to illness, you'll react differently to a drama about death by cancer than someone who's never experienced that. You'll laugh at the kids who can't seem to do anything right because you recognize your own, awkward, twelve year old selves in them. Or you roll your eyes and wonder why they can't tie their shoes and move on to the next story.

Can we, as writers, write a purely objective story? Can we remove ourselves entirely and write a story that will appeal to both sides of every coin, giving every person the opportunity to pick it up, nod and say, "Oh yeah, I get THAT"?

No.

Sociology is a science. People who study its concepts must remove as much of their own objections and opinions and prejudices in order to study a group of people or a culture or an issue without swaying the reader into thinking anything negative or positive about them. When writing out my responses to discussion questions, I try to remain as neutral as possible, but its hard because I don't have all the facts. I have to respond based on my own experiences, my own opinions.

We can't have all the facts, even in our own stories. We're at the mercy of fickle characters who, just like the characters of our waking existence, have quirks and problems and issues and mood swings. We're only human and we project our own big mess of experiences into what we write.

And that's what makes story so beautiful. One story, one author's perspective. It may be the same as yours, it may be different. Is it right? Is it wrong? Doesn't matter. What matters is that it speaks to you, it moves you, it opens up your own perspective and makes you think a little deeper.

I'm not talking about changing your religion over a book. I'm talking about allowing yourself to grow as you write, grow as you read, and hopefully, sprinkle a little fertilizer on the imaginations of those who will pick up your book one day, look at that amazingly art directed cover and say, "Hn. Now THIS looks interesting."

Don't fear your experiences. Let them loose and see where they take you. And don't fear the responses of your readers or critics. Someone very wise once told me that if you're making everyone happy, you must be doing something wrong.

Ok kiddos, the room's open for discussion!

***

PS: A great big "HOWDY" to all my new followers! I'm sorry if I've not made it around to your blogs. I shall! I promise...just as soon as I scrape the snow off my car...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Linking We Will Go



I LOVE links! I do! I love finding new websites, discovering new blogs, uncovering the mysteries of the known Inter-verse. Seeing as today finds my skull unfit for normal word composition, I thought I'd share a few links I've uncovered.

Any Urban Fantasy writers out there? If so, check out this article by literary agent Miriam Kriss, "Is There Still Room in Urban Fantasy?"

How many of you are (like me) a bit Twitter shy, Twitter unsure, or just plain Twitter annoyed? Well...read this article by Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, "Confessions of a Tweetaholic". What are your thoughts on Twitter? *There's no link to her personal site so I thought I'd add it here: Ramblings of a Recovering Insecureaholic. Great blog title! Great blog :D

On the other end of the spectrum, check out Jane Friedman's Writer's Digest blog, There are No Rules. Here she shares how you don't NEED to Facebook, blog or tweet.

Finally, if you're in need of a little pick me up, slap one of these lovely wallpapers on ye olde desktop and let the wisdom of these writerly giants prompt you to greatness.

Tell me what YOU think!

Spreading the bloggy love,
Jen

Monday, February 7, 2011

Adventures in Bat Busting!

Ever wake up in the middle of the night and hear a strange fluttering noise? I just knew that Foster Dog was eating something ELSE: another DVD, another Hemingway. Our bedroom is in an open upstairs loft area so I can get up and look over the short wall and see what the furry beasts are up to. I peered over the wall and my husband called out to Foster Dog to stop. "Gracie! Stop!" In true horror movie fashion, I turned to him and said, "That's not Gracie."

Gracie was sound asleep in the chair; Colby was behind me asleep. Down the stairs I go, turning on lights and walking right up to the front window. It sounded like dirt was falling from the ceiling. Assuming it was a bug trapped upside down, I looked around the floor, in an old cardboard box, even in the window sill but found nothing. Until it swooped down from the ceiling at my head! (Explicatives may or may not have been uttered at this moment...)

A bat was fluttering madly from one side of the room to the other. All I could think of was that if it got caught in my hair I might loose one of my nine lives. We put on sock hats (which was funny considering Jon HAS no hair) and grabbed a broom and a spot light (FLASH LIGHT is now at the top of our shopping list). Of course the bat decided to disappear. We could still hear it but it was no where to be seen. Little pieces of dirt fell from the brick walls and I jabbed at the curtains with a long stick left over from a craft project. Nothing. No bat. Just spectral scufflings. The dog stood next to us thinking it was all a game. The cat (who loves to play tough and try to pounce on bats and birds while watching safely from the window) ran upstairs and hid. Not finding anything (or having any idea as to how to eject the little bugger from the house at 3am) we called it a night and pulled the covers over our heads.

And I started giggling.
"What?" Jon asks.
"You know you're a writer when you're chasing a bat at 3am and all you can think of is what to title the blog post!"

How was YOUR weekend? Any adventures, bat busting or otherwise? (I'm so using this in a story...)

***
Epilogue:
- The bat was caught yesterday by a kind man with a long bamboo pole and a pillow case. It decided to perch in the far, right corner of our ceiling. Seeing as we have 16 foot ceilings and no hovercraft, the bamboo pole was necessary. No bats, humans, or bamboo forests were harmed in the making of this film.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Flood

Dramatic title. It's not raining THAT hard. True, it woke me up a couple of times in the night,pounding on the roof, but I'm not sending out an SOS for an ark just yet.

Winter in Georgia means rain. Cold rain. Sometimes it tiptoes sometimes it screams. Mostly, it just washes away your shiny shoes and follows you into the house, laughing with its companions Dirt and Fallen Leaf.

Ideas are like that too. They sometimes pour, they sometimes trickle. Sometimes we have to squeeze hard just to get a drop. And sometimes they wake you with a rat-a-tat-tat on the forehead.

This morning I woke up with plot thick on my tongue. A character I'd not thought of in years was hanging out in my bedroom, making himself comfortable on the ugly floral chair in the corner.

"What are you doing here?" I asked, hushed, trying not to wake my husband.

"Don't know." He grinned, his lopsided fourteen year old grin.

"I'm not ready for you." I argued, glancing at the clock and grimmacing: it was almost seven.

Again he shrugged and started picking at my jacket I'd flung over the arm the night before.

We stared at each other for a few seconds, seconds during which my cat began to loudly declare it was time for breakfast.

"Maybe you need me." He said.

"No way. I don't need you. I have my hands full with that gosh darned trilogy. You know that."

"Maybe you need to give it a rest. Come on," he smiled as only an awkward fourteen year old boy can, "give me a chance! Give us a chance. We might be just what you need." He took off his glasses, wiped them on his faded blue sweater, put them back on. "You're in a funk, you know."

"I know that," I started to get back in the bed, then paused. "I know." My shoulders slumped. "You really think wrestling you four will get me out of it?"

"The funk? Dunno. But it's worth a shot. You look tired."

"Thanks."

"Later."

Characters.
Sheesh.

Happy weekend! Got any writing plans on the calendar? Any characters staging a coup? Do tell, I'm curious...and I want to make sure I'm not that crazy...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Growl

Growling I throw my head back and let loose a storm. I'm tired of pouring my energy into something that isn't me. Ever have a day where it seemed that everything must be done and none of it was something you believed it? Of course you have; you're human same as me.

Ever had a year where every day was like that?

Try four.

And now the song is breaking, spilling from my heart of hearts. The iceberg just hit Titanic and it's sinking. Me, I'm dancing a jig in Steerage, the pub band's barely warmed up. I know soon I'll be under and I'm dying to be born.

***
Can I just say "thank you" to everyone of you bloggers out there? Seriously. Not to be taken lightly. I've been catching up on reading and I am astounded (ASTOUNDED) by the wisdom and encouragement out there. Writing is hard. Those who don't write will argue that point and I let them. They can't understand the death of every pen stroke. I do. You do. This community of bloggers I've found myself a part of (a tiny, floundering, blubbering part) always pushes me forward in this vocation. You probably don't know how much your words mean. The words you fling out into the ether really do matter.

Keep writing.
Keep growling.
Keep howling up a storm.

As for me, I'm in transition. It's a wonderful thing, watching life be born. It's painful and uncomfortable when it's your own. But I'm breathing a bit easier now days. Why?

Because soon I'll bid farewell to The Job. 31 March. I shall ride my own Horse of the Apocalypse out the door and declare "The End is Here!" After that?

Oh, the places I'll go.

You'll see a lot more of me here. I've put the other blog on hold for a while. I feel an urgency towards writing and I'm throwing myself headlong into these black waters. I'm ready.

Are you?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Awesome Giveaway over at Victoria Schwab's Place

I don't know how many of you follow Victoria, or how many of you have heard of her soon to be published, fabulously cool book titled "The Near Witch", but I thought I'd make it my little mission for today to make sure you ALL were informed :D

She's got a really spectacular giveaway going on over at her place (see link HERE). So go on over. Take a look around. Learn about "The Near Witch" and enter to win some fab prizes!

Cheers!
Jen

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

word dreaming & a bit o' inspiration

Dreams are funny beasts, aren't they?

Last night, I dreamt I met Loreena McKennitt. Her music is so eloquent, even without her poignant lyrics and ethereal vocals. She appeared at the party of a mutual friend. (Note to that as of yet unmet, mutual friend: please invite me to the next Loreena McKennitt shindig. I'll bring the Guinness.) I was ecstatic when she arrived and eventually, as the night wore on, I got the chance to chat with her. I told her how much I loved her music, how I'd been an ardent fan for more than a decade. She even laughed when I told her my husband and I drove all the way to Nashville to see her in concert because we were convinced she'd never come to Atlanta only to discover a month later her tour would be passing through our back yard. What's funny is that she was just as eloquent speaking as she is singing. She used rich, fluid words, words that almost seemed archaic in our modern speech of lol, omg and sry brb.

I know, it's a dream, but our impressions of people (even those we don't know personally) are carried there by our perceptions of them in our waking lives. And it got me thinking: do I suppress my language, thus suppressing self expression because it's not popular to be well spoken? Do I curb my archaic tendencies? Do I dumb words down?

Do I dumb down my stories?

Sometimes, I suppress what my characters are really trying to say, what the story is trying to flesh out. Why? Because it's not popular. Because I'm afraid no one will understand me. That I'll be met with blank stares and murmurs.

How my stories communicate will form the perceptions the rest of the world has of me. Our words, spoken and unspoken, our stories, truth or watered down, will form the impression that sticks with our readers for ever. Think about that as you write today. What legacy of words, of story do YOU want to leave?

***

Here is a marvelous excerpt from Pat Conroy's new book "My Reading Life". If you love the lilt of a sentence, the rise and fall of the poetry of words, you'll love this.

Need a swift kick in the derriere, a jump start for that book that's stalled? Here's a great (wee) rant on How to Write by Patti Digh.

PS: I'm taking a break from my other blog, Culinary Vagablogging. I don't have the time or energy to devote to my culinary pursuits and it's not fair to my readers to give them drivel...you know...like camel wrestling....I feel the need to really concentrate on writing, on the creative process. Look for more frequent posts here and hopefully a regular posting schedule!

~Jen