Have you seen the movie Grosse Pointe Blank, where John Cusack (Martin Blank) a freelance assassin goes back to his home town for his twenty-year high school reunion? There are some awesome quotes in that movie, and when I went to my own twenty-year high school reunion, I used that movie as inspiration. (I didn’t go trying to assassinate anyone, I mean more along the lines of the quotes. The quotes became a crutch of hilarious inspiration.)
Well, I’ve come back to my childhood home for a visit and I find myself recalling Martin Blank’s words once again. At one point in the movie he leaves a message on the answering machine of his therapist. “Dr. Oatman, please pick up, pick up! It’s Martin Blank. I, I’m standing where my, uh, living room was and it’s not here because my house is gone and it’s an Ultimart! You can never go home again, Oatman…but I guess you can shop there.”
I’ve been writing again. I know this is a thing where, if you’re reading this, you aren’t shocked. I mean, I’m a writer after all and isn’t a writer supposed to write?
Well, I’ve had some fun news and I finished a book which threw me off track and stalled me for a bit.
If you recall, a while back I was having a difficult time trying to figure out who I was all because of a question asked on the Grant application I was filling out. Well, I heard back from the grant people and was awarded a bit of money for my writing! This is the first time I’ve applied for a grant and was accepted into the community. (Insert momentary celebration here.) Continue reading
I lived in Colorado for a few years, and while I was there I wrote. A lot. I was finding my voice and trying to figure out my process. I wasn’t doing these things consciously, I was just writing because I had to. Looking back now, of course I see all the lessons on writing I was learning.
During that time I also began submitting short stories. I feared submitting anything to an agent then, that seemed like such a pipe dream.
One of the publications, Mountain Gazette, had a contest every issue, they published a black and white picture and challenged their readers to write a 1000 word story about said photo. I didn’t always like the pictures, but one caught my attention. I wrote a short piece called “Ending Up.”
The Gazette did not publish my story. I pulled it out two years ago and gave it a polish. It has now won me second place in a literary contest and was just published in Flare, a literary magazine.
I just received my copy this past week and I always get a little thrill at these stepping stones in my career. So of course, I had to share this news with my three loyal followers.
Click here to open the short story.
Oh, and you might be wondering if I saved that photo?
Of course I did.
Here’s something. If you have tried to use my contact form in the past few months, it was not working well with all the back end stuff. Apparently, website wasn’t talking nicely to the hosting site which was in a silent argument with the ISP which was being passive aggressive with the godaddy site (which I’m not quite sure what that had to do with anything, but here we are) and THAT site was on a hunger strike against the mistreatment of 1’s (or was it 0”s?)….
All that being explained…HEY GUYS, my contact form is working again. If you’ve tried to contact me in the past and I haven’t answered you, please try again. We’re cooking with gas now!
Was talking to a junior in high school who had an assignment for English class. After reading the first short story from The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, the teacher wanted the class to write a two-page paper about the things they themselves carry. They could be physical things or metaphorical things.
After reading the papers, the teacher commented that he thought the class would have more fun with the assignment. He mused that he thought the kids would talk about more physical items, instead, there was a lot of emotional and rather serious topics brought up.
I’m not sure if that is a sign of our times, but if I had talked to my seventeen-year-old self and made her write that paper, I know she was carrying the weight of the world. So it would have been emotionally driven in ‘my time’ as well.
Of course, being a writer, I started thinking about that idea and the book. I remember reading the first chapter of Mr. O’Brien’s book. I was in college and that opening chapter blew my mind. Tim O’Brien’s writing was mind-blowing. And beautiful and horrible and lovely. (I found the first chapter here if you want to check it out.)
All of those thoughts lead to my present day self. What do I carry? Without a filter, if I had to dump it all out and write about it right now, at this very moment… Continue reading
In seventh grade we had to memorize the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth.
After we had the poem memorized, we then had to stand in front of the class and spout the whole thing. Then we were graded. I remember sitting there and as my fellow classmates might have been embarrassed and shy about standing in front of everyone, no one was paying attention to them. We are all mouthing the lines along with them, grateful for the extra practice. Continue reading
At the ripe age of 44, I have trouble recalling some of my youthful motivations. Why did I want to be an astronaut? Why did I love Raggedy Ann and Holly Hobbie so? What did I ever see in that weirdly lanky kid in seventh grade that I had a crush on? (He must have had a great personality.)
I also have been wondering when my deep rooted love for Italy started. Was it ingrained in me? Italy was at the forefront of who we were, my family. Italy was where we came from. We had Italian blood running through our veins!
Perhaps it was the unattainable idea that was appealing to me in my youth. As an awkward, insecure teenage girl, Italy was far away and romantic and therefore, full of promise of the unknown.
It was Thanksgiving, the end of November. I was twenty-eight or twenty-nine. I went back to the place where my life began. A visit to the south. Georgia to be exact. Two aunts, an uncle and my grandmother still lived there. A handful of cousins as well. So I went back to visit.
The crisp fall weather was in the air. Sweatshirt weather to be sure. The barometer fell during my visit and the rains came and the freezing and the ice storms.
So I’m in the midst of another existential crisis of self-worth. Of course, I do believe some don’t get that fancy with the wording and refer to this as “life”. But then, I’m flowery, dammit.
I’m filling out a grant application and I have everything done. I’ve picked out the allotted ten pages that best define my work as a writer. I’ve got the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. But there is one last, teneey, tiny thing that I need to do. Answer one question in 1000 characters.
Here’s the question:
Who are you as an artist? What inspires you?
Insert existential crisis here.
Writer resolution 2018
Write without apology
Write without worry
Write for the sake of clicking keys on the keyboard.
Write to hear the echo of a pen scratching on lined paper.
Write because it slows down the moment.
Write to capture a few good words in a butterfly net made of a blank screen and a blinking cursor.
Write to breathe.
Write to escape.
Write to find yourself.
Write to lose yourself.
Write to delve deep
Write to skim the surface.