Monday, December 26, 2016

A Good Book Here, A Good Book There

Took a hiatus. Yeah, I am sure you all noticed. Been trying to get things moving along and with that I had to slack and so I slacked on the blog. Now allow me to share our little artificial tree that our son and his grandma decorated with glee.

In the last two months or so, I no longer bring my computer upstairs. Instead I have started to read at night. While this may not sound like any big deal, it is a little for me. I love to read, but due to school, home, obligations, and writing a novel, I somehow pushed reading an actual book to the side.  Like a lot of folks I got more caught up in the rabbit hole of the internet. Now, I do love getting sucked down various rabbit holes, but I also felt that I needed to actually unplug.
Allow me to sidebar a bit here.

I had been struggling with my book for a very long time. In the last 6 months or so it got worse. I had lost the true nature of the story and could no longer hear the character voice. I am not the first writer this has happened to, but considering how much time and effort I had put in to this story it destroyed my sense of self in a way while also exposing various other ticks and broken defensive tactics i have used for many years. Clearly I needed some help along this crooked road to get my head right and not just with writing. I did research online and I found a mindfulness therapist. Yes they exist and yes she is fabulous.
One session we discussed who am I writing for? What is my audience? This is something I had struggled with for as long as I could recall. Who wouldn't want to have the glory of a Pulitzer or Man Booker attached to their name? Then it hit me. Did I really care? I wanted to tell stories. Did it matter if they used words half the population never head or rhapsodized for ten pages about the color and texture of sand? Was that even me? While I admire those that do fine literature well, that is not where I belonged. All this time I had fought against my true nature, my true voice. Wasted a lot of time too. My stories are vivid, but not in a mystical realism way. My characters are real people in the worlds I put them and they have feelings and thoughts and habits. So why did I fight it? I am a mass market writer. There is no shame in that. There is very good mass market fiction out there. The thing is, it had been a long time since I read anything truly mass market. I looked up the genre on goodreads and headed to the library.

By recommendation of my therapist I got "Killing Floor" by Lee Child. Yes it is Jack Reacher and I got sucked in so hard to the story that I was surprised. I had to stop myself from caring if the writer used the same word twice in a paragraph. This is an odd thing  I get bugged about, but I threw out those old ideas and said, "Who cares?" The story moved. I wanted to know Jack Reacher. I could see and smell the scenes without tons of details that weigh down some books. The writing was fun and fast and exciting and I loved it. To really state how crazy I am, I just finished, in two days, the second book "Die Trying". I will be ordering the third in the series from the library.

Meg Cabot was next and totally random. I was trolling the aisles of the library and the title of the book caught my eye, "Boy Meets Girl". Written in emails and notes it was hilarious and I really enjoyed it. The second book of hers I grabbed was, unbeknownst to me, a sequel, but it did not matter, I read the flap copy, laughed out loud and took it home. I have to say I really enjoyed "Overbite".  I do agree with other readers I would have liked the ending to go a little different, but otherwise it was a quick, funny read.

I also have, but have not started, "Sacre Bleu" by Christopher Moore.

Believe it or not, this has helped my writing tremendously. I trashed my novel, yes all 88,000+ words and have started from scratch. Was this easy? Nope, I would be a liar if I said it was a joy.  There is no pleasure taken in restructuring something you have worked so hard on and thought was right. To dismantle even the character's character has been tough, but it makes sense to me now. This new creation was the real story I have needed to tell. Maybe the other ones were too, but right now, where I am, what is currently going on paper is what wants to be told. So that is that.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Be Inspired By Mo

I don't watch Shark Tank. My in-laws do, they love it, personally it is not my bag, but God bless. A friend sent me a link to this young man name Mo's website.
He makes bow ties.
He is now 14.
This young man makes me happy.
Considering the world has taken quite the dark turn of late, it is always a relief to find good things people are doing out there. Whether it is assisting the elderly, giving a leg u to someone down on their luck or finding a 14 year old making bow ties and using proceeds to help send underprivileged kids to camp. Brava everyone!

Mos' Bows


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Recap in Pictures

Happy Summer.

Went to Philadelphia for the weekend with a gal pal. We went to the Mutter Museum, which is amazing and does not allow photos, and to the Rodin, which is charming and does allow photos.

 The Gates of Hell are imposing and stunning.

The Three Shades which stand at the top of the Gates of Hell. This particular sculpture is stunning.

 Went to South Restaurant for tidbits and live jazz. Neither disappointed. This is my drink. Fresh to Death. I had two and I have no regrets. The ingredients are listed below.

After the Mutter we stopped for lunch at the Village Whiskey. My friend had a Bloody Mary and I had a Bee Balm. Made with lavender infused gin. Yes, I realize I am now a true fan of the "cocktail" and have reached a "certain age." Bring it on!

I have recently read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" and was blown away. What Henrietta's cells, taken without her consent in 1951, have done for humanity is indescribable, as is the treatment of her family over the years who just wanted to know what happened to their mother. Quite a few times I was angry, thrilled, upset and flabbergasted. It gives real insight to how black people were treated by the medical community, why they distrust it, why it took so long for Henrietta to get recognized and how her family finally learns exactly what happened and what her cells have been used for around the globe.

Never a huge sci-fi fan, I was reading a article about women writing science fiction and Connie Willis' name came up more than once along with one of her short stories. I ordered the anthology from the library and read the story that was recommended.
All My Darling Daughters.
Yeah, that one was a serious doozy. So much packed in to make you disgusted and squirm. If anyone in Hollywood would ever dare to film this, best of luck to you. This was as dark as dark could be and I reread the last paragraph four times and then wished I could bleach my brain. Good times. Will let you know how the other stories go.

My garden was on its last legs then we got serious rain. hooray. Now my cornflowers are all droopy and wilting over the black eyed susans and blanket flowers. I may need to prune them a touch.

Have not worked on my book. Feels weird, but right at the same time. Our son did camp for 2 weeks and now he is home with me. Funny thing is I know exactly where I stopped on my outline and I know exactly why I need to do this. By stepping back I am getting a clearer picture of where the plot needs to go. Different ideas may pop in my head and I either keep it or let it flow out. I really need to write some of them down more, but for now, I am leaving creativity up to chance. There has been a snag between the 2 main characters that needs to work itself out and slowly I am coming to that resolution. Solutions pop in and out of my head. Sometimes I even speak to myself out loud wondering, "Would he really do that? Would she want it that way?" I am not sure what kind of mess I am stirring up, but I have a strong belief that when I do sit down to tackle it again, it will be the first time it has ever gone this smooth and will not require hundreds of edits and rewrite. This time, it will be done right.

The bathroom is near completion. Need to hang up the towel racks and closet and outside door. Ignore the old rug, but do admire the beauty of what we call our "Adult bathroom".

Have a wonderful day!!