Monday, December 20, 2010

Every word counts

I was a chatterbox as a kid and my mother used to warn me:
Someday your mouth
will get you in trouble.
So I stopped talking so much and took up writing, thinking, "Ha! Now I can't get in trouble. I can fix the words with an eraser, a white typwriter ink removal strip, or a delete button."

But my mother was still right.

I am toast. Burnt. Dried out. No butter or jelly.

If you look up the word 'pathetic' there are two definitions:

1. causing or evoking pity, sympathetic sadness, sorrow, etc.

2. miserably or contemptibly inadequate.

And when I wrote about House as a compelling character a few months ago I used that word (in addition to many complimentary words) sort of comparing House to my hubby. I was thinking: brilliant, funny guy who helps people. Who also seems unhappy in a way that makes you want things to be better for him.

I was thinking sympathetic sadness.

My hubby went with miserably inadequate.

So...yeah. I'm toast.

I've apologized. And I'm owning up and taking the lumps I deserve because I should have known better.

Every word counts when you are writing. Every word needs to be the one that captures exactly what you want to say. The audience brings their own experiences to the table which will impact how and what they take away from your story, but that is no excuse not to be specific with your words.

Because sometimes you don't get an eraser. Or a white typwriter ink removal strip. Or a delete button.

Even if you really want one.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Every. Day.

I didn't post about being thankful in November because I am a firm believer in being thankful every day.

Every. Day.

And I'm writing about it today because when a very good person dies, it reminds you to say it out loud.

My husband has already lost two medics on this deployment. SGT James Ayube died on December 8th; PFC Paul Cuzzupe died on August 8th. They were good guys. The kind that, even though you only met them in passing and knew of them from your spouse, make you break your once a year crying rule.

So you cry.

A lot.

And then you are thankful.

For your kids. Even when they drive you absolutely stinking bonkers.

For your spouse/significant other/friends. Because Today We're Not on the Bus.

And for words. Because when a person is gone the words we give them in a conversation...a the bottom of a photo...are the only way we have to remember them.

To be thankful for them.

Every. Day.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dry Spells

The dreaded dry spell.

The time we feel shriveled, bloated, wrinkled beyond belief, unable to produce anything worth anything, all the while feeling unbelievable pressure to do something.

Sort of like...having a period for the rest of your life.

This is what you sign up for when you decide to write: Heat waves. Flashes. Tears. Moodiness. The 'don't even think of touching me' lack of desire. Semi-psychotic behavior that has no true physiological basis.

Only it's not on a monthly schedule and there's no menopause to free you from it happening over. And over. And over.

But I think dry spells are good for us. And I don't think they're dry at all.

Sure you might not be putting thousands of words on the page a day. Or have any flashes of inspiration. Your semi-psychotic behavior might drive you to rewrite the same chapter forty times and then burn the pages in some ceremonial expulsion of demons. You'll probably do a little bit of crying. And 'have a happy period' will have NOTHING to do with fixing the punctuation in a sentence.

But you will be taking things in.

You will find yourself listening to things you might not have heard otherwise in your rush to get words on the page.

And without wouldn't have anything to write.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

George is BACK!

Since many of you are new here, I have to backtrack a little.

If you've never seen the speech by Elizabeth Gilbert about having a writing genius, you follow the link:

Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity Video on

Sorry I didn't make it look prettier and imbed the video, but I'm buried under 8 inches of snow with two kids stuck in the house and a dog who is suddenly too delicate to do his business because of, you guessed it, 8 inches of snow.

Though to be fair, when he raises his leg his privates are still buried 2 inches below sunshine, so I don't know that I could do my business with that kind of cold down there either.


George is BACK!

That is what I call my creative genius, who's been play hookie since this summer.

I've been struggling at my computer for a rewrite that's taking half of forever, always getting stuck at Chapter 8, waiting for George to show.

And he wasn't.

And he wasn't.

And he wasn't.

So I said, "Fine, George. I'm going to write whatever I d@*n well please." And I started to butcher my story. Total meat cleaver job, though I didn't go so far as bringing in a vampire.

And George showed up, "Fine. All right. So much for holidays and paid vacations. I'm here."

He's been working, maybe a little begrudgingly, ever since. All the way up to Chapter 14. Though I'm still trying to figure out just where he went that he got a paid vacation. Maybe he was visiting Elizabeth.


What do you do when your creative genius is playing hookie? How do you get him/her to show up and do their part of the job, whether it's pounding out a rewrite or getting your kids to do their homework?