Monday, March 29, 2010

Truth or dare?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The things we keep

Lately I’ve gotten into the habit of recycling drafts of my novels when I’m finished revising, and this is good; I haven’t missed them.

I’ve started doing this because I’ve dragged around about seven different versions of my first novel, the one I’ve put in a box, my troubled literary offspring that tried to grow up too fast.

I’m still holding on to original notes, original versions that are terrible and wouldn’t want anyone to see. But it’s kind of like a journal for me, an interesting study of how my story/writing developed. Still, I’m trying to pare down, keep just interesting pages of notes or beginnings or certain scenes. I like seeing how far I’ve come but I also hate seeing how bad it was. I haven’t given up on it; it just needs to hibernate for a while. Incubate. Immolate.

When I do resurrect it, it won’t be the same book, nor should it be. I’m not the same person or the same writer.

That’s part of why origins are so interesting.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vote of confidence

The note mom left me after reading the first few pages of my new novel. She's already thinking ahead to film rights but I think we should team on a graphic novel instead.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Summer Nights

We stopped in a smallish city where we lived when I was nine and ten, decided to have a look at our old house. My parents were unsure of the direction but I knew those streets, having traced them into my brain summer day by summer day, bicycling back and forth to the fairgrounds swimming pool on my mother’s old one-speed. The blue one with the basket. I once tried to steer it while also holding a snow cone, which ended up in the street when I came to a quick stop. Beautiful red ice and my last fifty cents. I picked off the stones and put it back in the paper cone.

Most of the houses still looked the same. If anyone repainted their house then they had chosen the same mustard yellow or olive brown. Bigger trucks parked in tiny driveways. Our house now had a connected garage but was otherwise unchanged. The biggest difference was the height of the trees and the size of the sled hill at the park across from my school, which had seemed so looming. Especially because the older boy across the street had shattered his leg there one winter, failing to navigate around a pine. His little sister was my age and we used to play but she threatened during one ill-fated game of something to never speak to me again and made good on her threat.

The visit made me dig out our VHS copy of Grease. My friends and I watched it back then as many times as their cable channel played it during waking hours, with no notion of its innuendo or generational significance. Or that the actors who played the Rydell High students were probably in their thirties, because that’s what high school kids looked like to us. We danced like maniacs to John Travolta singing “Greased Lightning” and begged our mothers to buy us rummage sale shoes that vaguely resembled the ones Sandy wore in the final number.

We measured and compared our wealth by our collection of Breyer horses. At twilight we clandestinely ran through our neighbors’ backyards instead of using the sidewalks, because that imaginary world where we were unseen and invincible belonged to us. That short time seems forever long and forever preserved somewhere, a section of memory hardwired. So powerful that I wondered aloud whether our sweet old neighbor still lived there, my mind tricked by her unchanged house and the plastic Easter eggs hanging in the window. But as soon as I said it I realized how ridiculous it was.

But in that time and place she’ll always live next door.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Charlene and the Chocolate Factory

Here's a 3WW entry, a little belated. The words are pulse, shard and weary.

Another time or place she would’ve made other choices but she found herself chasing one weary day with another, stacking time and building hours while other people lived better lives.
The shakers continuously pulsed, ridding the chocolate pieces of excess covering. Perfect pieces for perfect people in perfect houses. Sweetness all around her but all for someone else.
She turned and felt her elbow bump something that shouldn’t have been there. The bottle hit the cement, broke into a couple of large pieces and a few chips, some of them sharp.
The chocolate skittered by on the shaker. Pieces of glass on the floor, dangerous.
She bent, touched the imperfect pieces.
One sliver, tiny but strong. A little pressure would break skin.
Just one shard, pressed hidden in a perfect piece. It traveled down the line on its way to a pretty box, to a lovely store, to some perfect someone.
Licked her fingers. Hummed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Found a couple of treasures in my mailbox this week, words of encouragement among them. As always these things come at the right time. Reminded me that discussions of usefulness are largely useless. Planning is smart but knowing yourself is smarter. The real world isn’t real and to live life by someone else’s parameters is tragic.

My choices might mean there are things I won’t have. But there are things I don’t want.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Could we just ... not?

This Yahoo article about Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe dealing with criticism about her weight just makes me crazy. Could we just please, please stop commenting on women's bodies being too large, too small, too whatever? I cringe every time a late-night talk show host recycles yet another joke about Kirstie Alley or Nicole Ritchie (or sometimes both within the same joke). It's ridiculous, pointless, cruel, childish and sexist. Let's grow up and move the f@*# on.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Go, girl

Here's a networking site for women who write, as mentioned on Charlie Rose. There's an group within the site for just about any interest/genre, and if you don't see yours, you can create your own.

As an aside... an editing discussion. It's common to say "women writers" or "women aviators, etc...." (and I've used it myself out of laziness or because I'm following the crowd) but I actually kind of hate this because nobody would say "men writers." Better to say "women who write" or if you must differentiate, "female writers."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Creature from the fictional lagoon

Filled out my forms at the eye doctor a while ago and put 'writer' as my occupation. (I've put myself in this mindset now, income be damned.)

Didn't think much about it but then the assistant got a hold of my forms.

Her: "You're a WRITER?!"

Me: "Um, yes."

Her: (Pause) "I never met a WRITER before."

She could've exchanged 'writer' for 'swamp monster.'