Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tribute To You


I wanted to express my thanks to all those writers out there who inspire me. That would be you, by the way. Each one of you. I learn something new from your posts each day, see something wonderful in your photographs, and gain some very encouraging advice, just as I need it.

Thank you, Blogging Buddies. For the restored faith, the good humor, the window you provide into a wider, more beautiful world.

If you need a lift, check out Carolina Valdez Miller. She's amazing.

Like you guys.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Like A Puzzle


I am nearly at the end of a rewrite that has taken over six months. I stopped blogging about it altogether because I knew everyone had to be sick of hearing about my editorial woes. Believe it or not, I have mixed emotions now that the end is in sight. On one hand, I am thrilled to begin the querying. Rejection or manuscript request, it's a fun process, and I haven't been involved in it for a long time. The other side of the coin is missing my characters, losing the feeling of a story I love so well. There's always a grieving process at the end of a book. At least there is for me.

Last night, it occurred to me that writing a story is kind of like making a puzzle. Euphemistically-speaking, you are the puzzle-maker, you have the picture in your head. You lay it out for others to discover, only to realize that there are too many pieces, that your vision is too convoluted. So you reposition things, you remove the unnecessary sections. You polish the colors and throw in a trick or two, just to make things interesting. It's a wonderful job, isn't it?

How is your puzzle coming together?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Valentine File


I have a file of music with the title Valentine. Originally, it was a collection of upbeat tunes that I played loudly throughout my house on cupid-day. I have added many songs since then, an eclectic group to be sure. My kids laugh because my Valentine file now has angry, breakup tunes, plus music about death, disease, and addiction. I wasn't really trying to be ironic—it was a convenience thing. What do all these songs have in common? They're very well-written and they make me feel some strong emotion.

When I'm writing, I need inspiration to get into the flow. Music does this for me. It's like a hit of chocolate or caffeine. Lately, I've been listening to vintage--Billy Joel, The Eagles, Ray Charles, and Sam Cooke. And modern—Bruno Mars, Coldplay, and Melody Gardot. I wouldn't turn away a dash of Whitesnake, Journey, and AC/DC, either, and Johnny Cash and Keith Urban are also pretty awesome.

So there you have it. My Valentine list, my sound-muse. They're not Daniel Craig, Diet Coke with lime, New York pizza, or my dog Matilda, but they're always there, at the touch of a button.

Do you listen to music when you write? Who are your favorite musicians?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Midnight In Paris


I enjoy any movie about writers. I also like actor Owen Wilson's self-effacing charm. So Midnight In Paris was a great combination for me. This Woody Allen vehicle features Mr. Wilson as frustrated author Gil Pender vacationing in the magical City of Light. He favors literature by The Lost Generation and idealizes 1920's Paris. Gil dreams of moving to The Left Bank where he can finally write the novel of his life, but his bratty, American fiance refuses to support him in this ambition.

While wandering the streets at night, Gil hears an ancient clock chime twelve and then an antique cars pulls up. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald beckon him to join them and later Gil meets his idol Ernest Hemingway. (Sorry, but I don't think anyone can write Hemingway without sounding cliche. Even Woody Allen.) Cole Porter, Picasso, Man Ray, and Salvador Dali also make an appearance. Gil Pender reacts with such child-like joy during each encounter with these varying artists. I loved it when the time-travelling car pulled up and Gil opened the door to see one of his favorite poets. His reaction, "T.S. Elliot. The T.S. Elliott? Are you kidding me?" Like Gil, I couldn't wait to see which literary figure would show up next.

This movie is for writers. Maybe it's a tribute to all of us, those who hope to create something true and wonderful, those who long to express their stories of the heart, and those who have already passed a timeless treasure to the world before their spark of life was extinguished. I wish that Allen's old car were real . . .

What author, past or present, would you like to meet?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gratitude


I am grateful for a new year. Think of all the possibilities, all the goals we can achieve. Looking over your recent posts, I am amazed by what you have already accomplished.

I have been caught up in mothering-and-wifery, carpooling, cleaning of all kinds, and trying to get healthy. I need to increase my muscle tone and lung strength in order to have a reconstructive surgery in autumn of 2012. I have also been cutting and rewriting my women's fiction novel. I am going to a conference in May where I am scheduled to meet agent Weronika Janczuk. Yay!! I'm also doing a publication primer workshop-- which is me, other aspiring writers, and a published author critiquing our manuscripts without mercy. (okay, there's probably going to be a lot of mercy, but still it will be an intense six-hour experience.) I'm filled with gratitude for this opportunity.

Lately, my youngest child has been making great strides with reading. He struggles with this skill daily and is about a year behind his peers. When he finally grasped the concepts of silent-e and blended letters, I felt tears gathering in my eyes because I can't imagine life without reading, without an understanding of words and stories. I credit Brian Selznick with my son's breakthrough. Owen loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret. We bought it at a small bookstore when we were on vacation this summer at the beach. We would curl up and I would read it aloud, and soon, other children would join us. This book became a family event. Santa brought my little, grey-eyed child the newest Selznick creation, Wonderstruck. We began reading it last night after a laborious hour of homework. Already, I know it is going to be wonderful. Owen hung on my every word.

I am so grateful for writers. Mr. Selznick, in particular.

Happy New Year!