Some of you might be new to my blog and wondering about my writing. I write books and short stories. My books are crazy adventures with elements of ridiculous entertainment, a dash of bizarre twists, a splash of spies and sometimes murder. They aren’t romance, but there’s occasionally kissing. There isn’t in depth personal analysis, but there might be some human truth. I write to entertain and keep myself engaged and it seems to work for my audience.
Now, my short stories are not a reflection of my books. Sure, they have the same voice and tone that are all mine, but I’ve always found my short stories are my time to get my angst out. Most of the time, after I’ve written a short story, I’m not sure where it came from or where its going. I so love the process.
Here’s a piece I wrote a while back based on a challenge set forth by Terribleminds. It was something he did every Friday. (A writing challenge that is.) He hasn’t done one in awhile, but the man’s life has gotten significantly busier.
This challenge was easy. First, get a title from a random title generator. Then tell the story in 1000 words.
Here’s the title: The Apocalypse Ticket
Here’s where the story took me.
Like the old days…
I was thinking about the way I used to do things.
Truth be told, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my life used to be. In my younger years. When I was more outgoing. Not as worried and scared as I have become of late.
It’s a strange thing, there has been a noticeable timidness that’s crept into my once outgoing nature as I’ve gotten older. Yet, strangely enough, my self-confidence has been on the rise. I like to attribute the rise in self-confidence to exhaustion. I kind of don’t have time for the bullshit anymore. By Bullshit I mean worrying about what others think about my shorts in the summer, my unkempt hair, my submission to their magazines, my letting go of things that don’t serve me and never did. The other part probably has to do with my therapist and yoga practice.
(Oh god, there I’ve gone and done it. Made myself human to my three fans. Yes, I have been doing yoga on a daily basis for the past two years and yes, I have silently become that person who, upon hearing of someone’s woes, thinks to myself, “there’s a yoga pose for that.” Stupid yoga.
AND, yes, I’ve got a therapist. Sooo in touch with my feelings…(insert choking cough here.) But isn’t it interesting, the fear we have of showing our human-ness to the outside world. When my mom used to have parties at our house –and my mom was the original Martha Stewart; people came to her house and stayed long past the agreed upon conclusion time of said party -but I digress, when helping my mom to clean for those parties, she had us hiding all sorts of things. Put the toothbrushes under the sink, put the extra desk from the dining room in the garage; all clutter cleaned up and put in a closed closet. My sister and I would joke, as we helped that we needed to “hurry up and hide the human side”. I still do this, when people are coming over to my home I hide my ‘human’. I don’t let people upstairs to see the mess that didn’t get cleaned up. I hide the toothbrushes and vitamins under the sink. Little by little, I’ve been letting this practice go. I like to see other’s human side, why shouldn’t they be allowed to see mine? It’s a strange thing, allowing someone in that deeply. Past the superficial. And yet, that level of vulnerability is what draws us closer together. Isn’t this the stuff Brene Brown is always talking about?)
A woman writes in 1901
This is not the rejection you thought it was, it’s a different rejection of rejection. I’m pretty sure Yoda said that at one point.
So, this morning, I’m sitting in my haven of a backyard, the weather is nice and cool, cloud cover with active squirrels whooping it up, rummaging through the trees along my fence line.
I go through my normal morning moves: coffee, jazz, journal, and then check the email. I’ve subscribed to several informative ‘writer’ blogs and such over the years, and this morning as I read through one such one, an interesting article caught my eye, “Levels of rejection and what they mean.”
Of course, my gut reaction: What the fuck?! You mean there are different levels of rejection to feel bad about other than just the normal rejection that’s eating me up on the insides?!
A glutton; of course I read on.
I recently read the essay “One Hundred False Starts” by F. Scott Fitzgerald which was published in The Saturday Evening Post on March 4, 1933. It is an interesting insight to his process. The false starts are snippets he’d written down on pieces of paper that floated around him, on his desk, in his pockets. Bits of paper with bits of a story line written on them. Most of the ideas, he claims, he’ll never run down and make anything out of.
Of course, that had me thinking about my own process. There are big ideas, bull-ish ideas that won’t let go until they are satisfied their story has been properly writ. However, when I need a break from the books, I write short stories. Some ideas come to me quickly, but sometimes I skim through my archive of ideas to find inspiration. And my archive of work, it’s pretty large. I have a whole file on my computer dedicated to documents named “just an idea” “idea22” “Idea on a Sunday evening” “Idea 543”. The file folder is bulging with my random thoughts, my angst, and sometimes it seems just writing for the sake of putting words on paper. I also have note books called “works in progress”, the tactile version of my own one hundred false starts. Bits and pieces of paper with ideas jotted down. Ideas that seemed interesting at the time, that seemed like something worth following through with. Like something worth holding onto. Continue reading
I’ve been listening a lot to Patton Oswalt lately. He cracks me up and I need the laughter.
He has this bit about how he knows he’s gotten old because he doesn’t hate any music any more. He said, there is music he likes and then there is music he just doesn’t listen to. And that’s where it ends. Then he goes on to say that when he was younger, there was music that he ‘hated’. HATED. He would go on wild rants and raise his blood pressure and talk about who’s selling out and who’s honing their craft and who is bullshit and who’s a genius. Backing up all his claims, of course, with his wonderful Oswalt perceptions.
I was thinking about that this morning and of course one thought began to flow into another. The new whirl of thoughts drifted to my time spent in Colorado. It’s today’s weather that brings on these new thoughts. It’s a cool gray morning, with slow, low clouds. A lot of the trees in the neighborhood have given up their harvest of leaves, others are still working on losing them. I see the light dusting of snow on the mountains beyond my window. Continue reading
There are clashes and rumblings. The noise is deafening. The silence is threatening. I feel like I’m trapped on Willy Wonka’s boat, toward the end of the tour. Where violent images flash and scream. When everything the man is crumbles and become shadows of goodness that once might have been. The moment when everything is tilted.
And nothing will ever seem as it was once before.
The disruptive noise taunts; a shadow of arid despair sucks the watery blood from life.
The tornado of vocal destruction swirls and whirls inside my self. Each energy receptive nerve flushes the noise outward. Only to become trapped in a different area of this human’s body. And it builds up. Bubbles up. And I whisper the pondering wonder, are we going mad? Am I going mad?
And the noise grows.
Splashes of paint on canvas, a hurried sculpture or two, some spliced pictures pasted together. A poorly thought out poem. A rushed fictional hand job. The guts of artistic endeavors bleed out. Into the world. Into the void. In an effort to silence the mounting racket.
And I can’t figure out if I’m going mad or if it’s the rest of them or if it’s a little of both and if the madness is part of a symbiotic something and if it matters and if anyone can stop it.
Or should it be split open wide? Should it be ripped open wide? Should containment be wadded up into a ball and thrown in the trash?
We’re are all mad here…worked for the Hatter. A little.
Since my blog is heavy on the daily ins and outs of the writer’s life; you know, the accolades and the challenges I face as a writer. It only seems apropos I talk about one of the stranger elements of this process. The rejection. I have willingly chosen to follow a career path that leads, more often times than not, to rejection. I wanted to talk about that today, but not just the normal run of the mill rejection, but rejection from a literary agent.
The dream of finding a real live literary agent to gush about has been swirling for a few years now. I dream of the day I’m able to gush wildly across my personal inter web spaces, “I have an agent! I have a downright, honest to God, Literary Agent!”
Attempt number six is finished my friends. I wrote 51,557 words in a month for National Novel Writing Month. (The challenge being to write 50,000 words in a month which is roughly 1,667 words a day. But when you skip an entire week that number of words a day goes up dramatically. I digress.)
It was a different year this time around. I’m not going to lie, the election effected me so vehemently I played with the idea of giving up writing. I couldn’t bring myself to write anything for about a week. Okay, that’s not entirely true either. I wrote long meanderings about how I was feeling and how I was going to fight. I wrote letters to most of my representatives. And I did write three few short stories. But the writing of this book, this thing that was supposed to be a story for two characters from a previous book…their joy was stolen a bit.
However, that confusion and anger and fear ended up working for good in the story line. Once I committed to finishing this goal I set before myself, it was nice to find solace in a different world for a few moments each day.
So again, I’ve proven to myself what I’m about. Reconnected with my voice and the writer within. And wrote a damn book in a month.
Each fall I dredge up an old post about autumn and the time I lived in Colorado and re-post it. I can’t help it. This crisp weather that has descended on my little corner of the world catches my breath first thing in the morning. I’ve moved my sweaters from the back of my closet to the front. Every trip outside results in a staccato crunch of leaves under my fee. It all puts me in that reflective fall mood where moments of my past swirl about and meet up with dreams of my future. Continue reading