Sunday, December 26, 2010

Today.....


To be perfectly transparent, I was post 2010 before it even began. Now that I nearly reached the end of another year, I cannot help but feel a sense of relief.

Since, Thanksgiving I’ve been in a deep introspection about my life and what direction I would like to head. I definitely know that I am at a critical choice point.  In the next months what I choose to do and not to do will change my course of my destiny. I know I am not alone in this feeling. Others around me have expressed similar opinions.

With New Years only days away suddenly the intensity of destiny is magnified. People will be making resolutions. Anyone, who knows me, understands I do not believe in making New Year’s resolutions. I believe, if you feel the strong urge to change something, do it now. Take one-step towards the desired goal each day don’t wait until the New Year Day to begin. None of us are promised tomorrow.

My wish for anyone who:  wants to write that novel this year, take a few moments {TODAY} to write a couple of sentences or the first paragraph.  Or desires to paint or create something sit down at your kitchen table {or where ever you have the space} and do it.  There will never be a perfect time or space. Today, is a good day to start.

Don’t make resolutions make goals. Break your goals down into monthly {daily or weekly} achievable steps.  This will help especially if you are going from procrastination to making it happen.
Understand the choices you make to create or not to create something could dramatically affect your destiny. How many times, have you come up with an idea and opted not to do it. A period of time later, someone executed the same idea with a degree of success.

Embrace you destiny. Do it now.

For all you veterans who have an established artistic practice, congrats! Please share your insights, I know many readers would benefit.

Best of luck to one and all! May you accomplish your destiny.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

The photo to my left is my new Kindle. {I think it is only appropriate Charlotte Bronte, appeared as the screen saver when I shut it off. I did not even plan that!!!}

The Kindle was a gift, from my infamous friend, Mycroft {and company}. Mycroft is also voracious reader. In fact, we talk about books and literature more often than not.

To be completely transparent, I was ambivalent about the Kindle because I did not have one. Now that I have one, I LOVE IT!  I was able to download all the classics, foreign language eBooks, a couple of romance novels and even a subscription to the New Yorker for a very reasonable cost!!!

What I like about the Kindle so far :

  •  I live in a small space because my space is compact, I need to be mindful about I bring into it. I have had to downsize my personal library to comfortably function in my parameters. The Kindle helps me save on space. 
  • Also, I will be traveling over the next year. It will be nice to take a little library with me. 
  • I am also able to read a romance novel without being embarrassed about the cover. :-)
  • Magazine subscriptions - I love reading the New Yorker. The magazine is published every week. That adds up to a lot of paper being used. This is a great way to read the New Yorker, save a few trees and spend considerably less on subscription fees!

I will continue to purchase select 'hard copy' books at my favorite independent book dealers and used book shops. Nothing will ever be able to replace the love of turning pages and the smell of paper.

There is one draw back - no reading in the bathtub.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Time for a new story?

Lately, I've been in deep thought. {Consider yourself warned...}

Thinking about the plethora of stories out in the world. Wondering why I keep on seeing/reading the same story over and over again? This hold true especially in Hollywood, how many times, have we all seen:

Boy meets girl, falls in love, looses girl, gets girl back....

Girl chooses family over her love? Then defies her family to 'win back' the love her life?

Child is sick, parent (usually the mother) goes to extreme to find a cure...

Or how about the girl good "taming" the bad boy? Better yet, how about the 'prince' rescuing the damsel in distress?

The list could on...

My challenge to all writers {and Hollywood}, let's dig deep into our imaginations and life experience to find new stories.  Stories that go beyond the superficial paradigms of romance, power, desire into the anatomy of the soul....

Who is with me??????

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quotes - from C.S. Lewis





My dear Lucy,
       I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be, your affectionate Godfather, C. S. Lewis
                                  
This is the dedication page from the book:  Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. 


I have started to re-read the series for the first time since the age of 10. I finally understand what the words underlined above mean. Let me encourage all adults to pick up a fairy tale and read it. I think you will get more out of it.....


Happy reading and writing! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Process - Pen and Paper - Moleskines and fountain pens

The photo to the left, is a story I drafted while on my lunch break. It is written on a combination of scarps of paper and my Moleskine (imagine in the far right background).

Initially, I began writing the story in my Moleskine. I used the shards of paper to organize my thoughts and play with the time line a bit. I am a visual thinker so it helps me to play with ideas on note cards, napkins or anything else I can find.

I just wanted to share a snapshot of my process with you all.  Also, I want to say that you can write anywhere, without your laptop or electronic device. Really. Next time your hanging at your favorite writing place, bring a pen and paper with you.  (My favorite writing combination is a  Moleskine and fountain pen.) Pen and paper? Sounds completely mad! Try it! :-) You might discover something about your process.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Re-Edit

Oaaalalalala! I just re-edited my previous post. There were some glaring errors, I apologize.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oh no, you didn't!?!?!

Oh no, you didn't?!?!?!
Yes, yes, I did. Well, not exactly.

Here's the story.....

Come hell, high water or lots of snow - I have been participating in National Novel Writing in a Month, right now, I am sitting at 14k word count, ideally, I should be at 22k. I am not too discouraged or upset about my 37% word deficit. I am writing. At this point it all that matters to me - writing.

With that being said....

In the midst of the stream of conscious writing, I had a children's story appear in my head. Attempting to stay focused on my current project, I pushed the story out of my conscious mind into the realm of sub-conscious.  What I did not fully understand the potential repercussions of my actions.  The story began haunting me in dreams. In fact, the protagonist (who happens to be a fairy) began chasing me in dream time. She kept on saying, "oh no, you didn't just say 'NO' to me!?" In my dreams, the protagonist enlisted children to dump fruit over my head until this story is written. Finally on my lunch break on Tuesday, I wrote the first draft of the story. The story is short, it is a children's story. I am excited to have finished a story. Looking forward to illustrating the pictures for the book. Although, that will have to wait until NaNoWriMo is over.

I happy to report my dreams are back to 'normal'. No more protagonist chasing me around for now.....
:-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

When Do You Tell?

"As for my next book, I am going to hold myself from writing it till I have it impending in me: grown heavy in my mind like a ripe pear; pendant, gravid, asking to be cut or it will fall." ~Virginia Woolf

"I think it's bad to talk about one's present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension." ~Norman Mailer

"Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially." ~A. Bronson Alcott

So, at what point do you talk about a project? I personally tend to agree with Norman Mailer that talking about a story too early in the process is a bad idea, simply because talking is so much easier than writing and if I can get a story out of my system simply by chatting about it I may lose my impetus to write it. The story goes flat like an opened bottle of ginger ale. Better to just let it stay shut-- or better yet, to shake it a little in my mind, so that when I do crack it open it has a little oomph. Plus, if I talk about a story too soon I run the risk of having someone accidentally squash it with a casual comment ("Oh, I read something just like that." "That sounds really complicated," etc.) Story ideas are fragile when they are new. Sometimes I start to describe a story to a friend, only to realize that it is still really just fragments, as hard to get a hold of as the memories of a dream. I get that Orpheus and Eurydice feeling: I have to get this thing out of the underworld of my subconscious before I can turn and look at it head-on. Expose it to the light too soon and it's gone.

And then, of course,there are times when I wouldn't share even if I could. It's a delicious feeling, having a new story idea-- warm and secret as a note from your crush tucked in the back pocket of your jeans. Sometimes I just want to savor it a little longer on my own.

But once a story has reached a critical mass of words on the page there comes a tipping point when I really want to talk about it, especially with other writers.
That's when I like my critique group the most. They come in like adoring aunts and pinch my story's little cheeks and never tell me that it looks like Winston Churchill and its diaper stinks. There's plenty of time for that later-- a whole critique process, in fact. But that's after I've gotten a little distance, when I'm ready to hear it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quote for the Day

"For anyone who is: just keep writing. Keep reading. If you are meant to be a writer, a storyteller, it’ll work itself out. You just keep feeding it your energy, and giving it that crucial chance to work itself out. By reading and writing."--Robin McKinley

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Quote for the Day

"I have had a very thin time of it these days. My money ran out on Thursday and I have lived for four days on twenty-three cups of coffee."
--Vincent van Gogh

So, how's NaNoWriMo treating you? Caffeine intake up? :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What am I doing?


What am I doing?????????

By the time I hit the 1714th word last night, I was ready to: scream, apologize to everyone and retract the commitment I made. As I have said in pervious posts, I am a slow writer. It takes me hours to write a single page. Days to pick out names for my characters. The fact I have output at least 1666 words per day to achieve 50k by the end of the month absolutely terrifies me. I do want to run and hide BUT I am committed. I am going to do this. NaNoRaMo is similar to running a marathon, you have pace yourself and work through the pain. Well, I am working through the pain.

For those playing along at home, here are my current stats:

Day(s): 1
Total words: 1714
Percent to Goal: .03% 

Quote for the Day

"You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children." ---Madeline L'Engle

Monday, November 1, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

Hi Writers!

National Novel Writing Month has returned!!! Are you in????

If you ever wanted to write a novel and needed a deadline, here is your chance! I encourage anyone who is interested to sign up! Discover what you can do! Build self-confidence! Build community. Learn how to forgive yourself and try again!

I would let you all know my user name on NaNoWriMo but I am trying to recover it from a few years ago. Apparently, you can only have one user name per e-mail. NaNoWriMo's server is running slow (as it should be!) :-)

I am still writing! I will keep you all informed of my word count.

Happy writing!!!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Perfection?!?! Or Wabi Sabi?



In the infancy of my artistic career. I was overly concerned about making the 'perfect' piece. It had to be perfect; in fact, I would not show any of my work (writing or art) to anyone until it was PERFECT!


This phase lasted a long time perhaps too long.

Until one day, a college professor who happened to be a former Zen monk, engaged in thought provoking conversation about art (writing/life.) as recounted from the pages of my sketchbook:

  • ·      Know the rules.
  • ·      Learn to apply them to the best of your ability.
  • ·      Marking art is the blending of the soul and pulse of the cosmos, manifested in physical form.
  • ·      Be mindful of what you choose bring into the world.
  • ·      Understand nothing in this world is perfect-everything has a flaw.

Years later, I would come to know what his insights as, Wabi Sabi, which means flawed beauty is a Zen philosophy.  
Wabi Sabi is used primarily to describe art but it can be applied to writing. In fact, this philosophy has brought me comfort in my writing process.
 I love to write but I must confess it is difficult for me to express myself in complete sentences. From a young age, I had a series of teachers telling me, “you can’t write…. you are not a good writer… this paper is not good enough….”
Not once did any of my teachers in elementary, junior, or high school, sit my down and work with me on writing. I had a love, a passion, drive to do it but I was a not “liked” student in class.
I learned the writing skills I do have from practicing, reading other people’s work, Death Pixies and mentors.
What may take someone a few minutes, will take me hours. I’ve come to realize that I will never have prefect grammar; spelling or punctuation but I do know good copy editors (DP and other people). Whom I lovingly give a bouquet of red pens and tell them, ‘show no mercy.’
My manuscripts are returned looking like a valentine vomited on the page but I don’t mind. I know many of the ‘great’ authors did not have perfect grammar or punctuation, Jane Austin, the Bronte Sisters etc . What they did have was: a strong story; commitment to penning the story from beginning to end; an editor to clean up the page.
The best advice I can give all of you is:

  • ·      Write the story you want to write.
  • ·      Get it all out on paper.
  • ·      Revise to the best of your ability.
  • ·      Have your story critiqued and edited by others.
  • ·      Revise again.
  • ·      Send it out.
  • ·      Let go of perfection.
  • ·      Accept your work for its beauty and its faults.


Best of luck to you all!!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Drunken Sage

Over the weekend, I planned out a couple of creative projects to work on over the next few months. I woke up this morning jazzed about bringing them to life but as the day pressed on, I became discouraged. My creative flow seemed to evaporate into the world around me.

In a state of utter frustration, I had a silent conversation with the Universe that went a little something like this - I don't know what you want from me!? Our relationship is manic, you give me great ideas and in a manner of moments all inspiration is gone. Empty. Frankly, I am tired of being empty. When I get home tonight, I am going to sit. Simply sit, in silence.


Tonight, I was on my way home from French lessons, on the bus I sat next to gentlemen who smelled like a distillery. We began talking, actually, he began talking to me. Asking me a bunch of rapid fire questions, in the mist of answers I began telling him about my ideas and my frustrations. One I was done with my monologue.

There was a long pause.

 He held up his arm, "you see this?" He shoves his arm in my face.
 "These are goosebumps. You have a special connection to the heartbeat of society. You have to use your artistic visions. Now, I am not trying to be all philosophical but I am speaking the truth. Most people get caught up in the cycle of the mundane. Us visionaries are destined for a different life. Not that we are any better everyone else but we've simply made different choices. You've found your talent. Now find your tribe."


I sat for a moment stunned - speechless, humbled.
I thanked Tom (that is his name). Told him to have a great evening. His witty reply, "I already have..."

The moment I walked in the door, I took my first 'action step' to bring my project into reality.

As I work away - I think, how poetic that guidance was delivered in the form of harmless drunken sage on a bus......

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Talent is a universal gift, but it takes a lot of courage to use it. Don't be afraid to be the best....."

Paulo Coelho - The Winner Stands Alone

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Community.

Community.



I feel really compelled to write about this topic. I was inspired, a couple weeks ago, when listening web cast from Robert Ohotto, had entire an show dedicated to this topic, which I was moved to tears. Not in a bad way, in a “ I really needed to hear that message.”

I am going to speak to this topic from an artistic point of view.

Creating art (writing, painting, graphic design) is very solitary act. Hours upon hours are spent in a space creating. One trap, that I find myself falling into is, blocking out my peers, friends, family because I am so focused on the creation of my work. Long periods of time spent in this space, can leave to intense isolation and melancholy (or artistic funk). Humans are naturally social creatures. Whether we want to confess it or not we need human contact and interaction.

What I advise artists and non-artists, a like, get out at least couple times a month, for an hour. (I throw this out as a goal to start with especially for those of you work, have families, go to school or heavily booked.)To connect with other like minds. If you are writer, find a writers group. If you are a painter, find a painting group etc. Find your tribe.

There is a reason that rock groups exist, it is more difficult to rock out by yourself…..

I cannot begin to rave enough about the benefits about being in a writers groups. You have support, a group people to journey with you through the process. A place to talk “geek speak.” More importantly, it allows you to take a time out from being solitary and connect.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Geek Power!

Here it is people, the ultimate microcosm of the culture wars, the Good v. Evil lucha libre cage match of the century: the cosplay activist geeks of Comicon counter-protesting against the bigoted right-wing "church" lead by Fred Phelps. Resistance is not futile after all! The Force is SO with us. http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/07/22/super-heroes-vs-the-westboro-baptist-church/?sms_ss=facebook

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Talk don't cook rice, baby!"
--Chinese Proverb

Okay, maybe a loose translation of a Chinese proverb. "Talk doesn't cook rice" might sound a little more Chinese. And proverby. Proverbial? Whatever.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Here's the thing. Whether you want to get on the tiger again is up to you. Nobody is going to push you. But you have to ask yourself this: what is more important than the life you deserve?"
--Perry Farrell, frontman of Jane's Addiction

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hello Kids, We're Back!!!!

Hello to ALL our wonderful fans, friends and family!!!

The Pixies have returned!

Stay tuned for upcoming commentary!!!

Quote of the Day

"Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin and then the work will be completed."

--John Anster

Monday, April 5, 2010

Quote of the Day

"If I should sell my forenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for... I wish to suggest that a man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living." --Thoreau

Go ahead. Quit your day job.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quote for the Day

"Nature seems to exult in abounding radicality, extremism, anarchy. If we were to judge nature by its common sense or likelihood, we wouldn't believe the world existed. In nature, improbabilities are the one stock in trade. The whole creation is one lunatic fringe...No claims of any and all revelations could be so far-fetched as a single giraffe." --Annie Dillard, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Happy, freakish spring!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quote for the Day

"Everything seems impossible until it is finished." --Nelson Mandela

Okay, so Mandela was talking about sweeping, revolutionary social change and I am just talking about writing one little book. But the sentiment remains the same.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dog on the Blog


Okay, this doesn't technically have to do with writing but I just had to share the fact that our family adopted a new dog today! Zeus is a one-and-a-half year old blue merle Great Dane. He comes to us as a rescue and is the world's biggest puppy-- at 120 pounds, he is quite underweight for his height, and he still has about six months worth of growing left to do. So far he is settling in nicely. He hasn't tried to eat any of our three geriatric cats and he is adorably submissive to Magic, our fourteen-year-old blind dachshund. The kids are thrilled with him. My two-year-old daughter Miranda spent the afternoon asking him over and over "What's your name?" and then telling me, dismayed, "He not talkin'!" She also kept encouraging him to sing along to Highschool Musical and was a little put out that he didn't just join in on the chorus. I can see why; Giant breed dogs really seem like people. When our St Bernard Chaucer passed away two years ago he left a huge hole in our family. Zeus is a very different dog-- a puppy, where Chaucer was a wise elder-- but I still have a feeling that he is going to fill some of that hole. Now, if I can only convince him not to cry for us all night, when we are upstairs and he is down... Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Finding your story

Justine Larbalestier posted a great conversation between herself and Sarah Rees Brennan about their very different ways of finding their stories. Two great authors talking process, who could ask for more on a Thursday morning?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Free Fiction by Me :)

Hi, all! So, for the first time I am posting a piece of my own fiction to my blog, Children of the Night. "Fire and Ice" is a YA paranormal romance short story that I hope will be the first in a very occasional series I'm calling "Deadtime Stories." I would love it if you would stop by and check it out at http://childrenofthenightya.blogspot.com/ Thanks!

Quote for the Day

"Let us love winter for it is the spring of genius."
--Pietro Aretino

Are you feeling this? Does the cold weather help you to turn inward to your imagination? Do these indoor days mean fewer distractions to compete with your writing? I hope in the dead of winter your work is very much alive!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Deadlines or "Lifelines"?

Is this how you feel when you're facing a deadline? Or are you one of those people who thrives when she's expected to produce? I tend to procrastinate but I'm getting better and ultimately I think I work better with a deadline since open-ended
projects don't always get done. Creative projects have a lot to compete with at my house since three young kids and a bunch of pets and a constant battle with house entropy take up most of my energy! Having a deadline on a creative project helps make it a priority. What about you? What's your deadline style?