Friday, September 23, 2016

Cheating: a Novelist's Perspective

So La Louise and I were talking yesterday about what happens when the honeymoon is over with that novel you're writing that you were so excited about.

How excited were you?  You sent it roses.  You texted it non-stop.  You swore your undying love.  You updated your status on Facebook to "in a relationship."

But then you hit that middle part and gah.  Suddenly your love doesn't feel so fresh and dewy.  And suddenly you think about cheating on your manuscript.

What do I mean by that?  I mean you start wanting to write this OTHER book you've been thinking about because this OTHER book will be easier to write and more satisfying and Reese Witherspoon will option it and make you rich and you and Reese will go to the Oscars together, but only if you promise not to upstage her gown with your gown.

Reese can be tricky that way.

Anyway, this is me and Louise warning you to resist the temptation.  This is just part of the process.  Accept the fact that all middles are messy for awhile and then have a little faith in yourself and your story and see it through until the end.

Then you can decide what to do with it.

And never mind about the Reese advice.  Buy any damn Oscar gown you feel like, is what I'm saying.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Am I the only writer who . . .

doesn't like the rain?  Is it a prerequisite to like the rain if you're a writer?

The reason I ask is that last night at TKE, Matt and Jaime Kirby (both writers) came in and chatted with me (a writer) and Jen Adams (a writer) and somehow we got onto the subject of rain and its awesomeness and I went NO!

They're all happy that summer is dead and I'm all NO!

So then they doubled down on rain-awesomeness and I doubled-down on sun and summer awesomeness.  And then they all agreed it was their British blood that made them like the rain and I said I had that blood, too, but walking through sheep poo in the rain in England for 8 days pretty much made me never want to go back to England again.  And more to the point, never walk in sheep poo again.  Especially for 8 days.

And then finally I had to go  into the back room take a truckload of antidepressants and sit under one of those depressed-people lamps and tell myself that it's not the Twilight of the Gods.

It's just September.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Writing again

Seriously, I've probably written more this summer than I've written in forever.  It feels good.  Which is not the same thing as having written something that's good.  But still.

I've wondered why I've had this sudden burst of writing energy, and I'm not sure there's a single answer.  But part of it is that I've been going out into the playhouse--that one Ken Cannon is building in the backyard--and writing by hand, something I haven't done since I taught myself to compose at the typewriter.

Yes.  I said typewriter.

When I first started writing on deadline for Utah Holiday and Network many decades ago, I realized I needed speed.  The typewriter (and, later, the computer) provided that.  But with the advent of the Internet, the computer became a way to seriously distract myself.

Thank you, Internet!  Without you, I would never know what that great feminist Kim Kardashian who takes nude selfies on an hourly basis to empower us all is going to do next!

Anyway.  I'm writing by hand now.  And somehow that process keeps me grounded in the story I'm telling.

Monday, September 19, 2016

What's your campaign slogan?

A coworker at the bookstore shared a Facebook meme that tells you to take the last text you sent and turn it into a campaign slogan.

Hers was something about taking out a video game character while wearing her underwear.  Another's was "Happy anniversary."  Mine was "I won't be home until 7:00.  Hopefully the dogs won't destroy the house."

Ever since then I've been trying to turn that into a campaign slogan.


I don't know.  Too many words?

What was your last text?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Julia Claiborne Johnson on finishing what you started

So, given that if it weren't for Megan, we'd never know what happens to Bar. Bum., Jasper, the fairy woman Gwendolyn, and Hollyhock, I was particularly intrigued by Johnson's comments at TKE last night.

Johnson was in town to discuss her delightful novel, BE FRANK WITH ME.  Here's the thing (or one of the things) she said that had me nodding in agreement.  After reading a slew of books that made her go HOW DID THIS GET PUBLISHED? she finally realized they got published because they (wait for it) got finished.

If you want to publish a book, you have to finish it.

Amen and so forth with it.  (Whatever that means.)  (It's just that Ken Cannon says that sometimes.)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"Briarton," Part 8

TRIGGER WARNING:  You may be sad to learn that this will be the last installment of "Briarton."  Either I didn't finish this story.  Or the pages were lost in TRQ's storage unit.  I suspect the former.

"His Honor, the Mayor," gulped Dr. P.P. "wishes to see you instantly.  Bring the child with you."

Then struggling for one last breath, the poor tired doctor fainted and fell through the doorway.  The lovely fairy woman Gwendolyn smiled sadly and gently tended the doctor with damp leaves and hummingbird's nectar.

Jasper Jay reached for his lamp, wrapped a quilt about his son's body, and left for his father's home.


However, there is an opportunity for YOU to tell us all what happens next.  Have at it with my blessing!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

"Briarton," Part 7

As you'll recall, we left the mayor toddling back into his house.  Now we shift our focus and visit his son who married the fairy woman, Gwendolyn, against Mayor Bar. Bum.'s wishes.

As he sat holding his newborn son, Hollyhock, Jasper Jay Bumbleberry heard an urgent rap upon his door.

"I suppose," he spoke to Gwendolyn, his wife, "that our good friend the doctor has come to tell us that Father wishes to see me immediately."

Moving gracefully across the room which was carpeted with white and scarlet rose petals, Gwendolyn answered the door.  Doctor PP stood on the front step panting breathlessly. 


--Meanwhile, pant breathlessly amongst yourselves while waiting to see if grandson, son, and father actually meet.

--Also.  Hollyhock for a boy?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Briarton," Part 6

So how does Bar. Bum. respond once he scares off all his people?

Once every soul had left, and the proud mayor BB felt quite alone, he plopped himself upon the mushroom in front of his tree stump house and shed two gigantic tears.  

When the last one splashed off the end of his balloon red nose and formed a puddle upon the ground below, mayor BB straightened his spectacles and walked slowly into his home.


I think Bar. Bum.'s balloon red nose deserves its own Facebook page.  Don't you?

Monday, September 12, 2016

"Briarton," Part 5

Oh, look!  It's Monday!  Time for another installment of the soap opera (featuring wee folk) known as "Briarton"!  When we last saw the Mayor he was--once again--"very upset."

"Summon my son immediately!"  the Mayor snapped. 

Instantly, poor Doctor Paddywise Putnam sunk upon his trembling knees in fear and crawled away.  Then, turning to the quaking citizens of Briton, Mayor Bar. Bum. [my abbreviations, because apparently it's a drag to spell a mayor's name out when you're in junior high school] roared like the crash of a waterfall upon rocks.

"Get out of here this minute!"

Within seconds, the good citizens of Briton scattered and disappeared, many of them leaving their clover and honeysuckle umbrellas behind . . . 


Meanwhile, please imagine what it feels like to crawl away on trembling knees after someone named Bar. Bum. yells at you.

Friday, September 9, 2016

"Briarton," Part 4

Okay.  Let's see what happens once the butterfly stops fluttering its wings.

"And is my grandson whole?"  [This is Bartholomew Bumbleberry speaking, FYI]

The doctor swallowed and wrung his hands in despair.  "That's exactly what I wanted to tell you.  Your grandson has a hunched back and a twisted leg."

When Paddywise Putnam [that's the doctor's name, FYI] finished his words, the mayor flew into a fit of rage.  Stomping angrily he shook his fists and screamed, "I warned that boy of mine not to marry that fairy-woman!  Everyone knows fairies are not but wild creatures, and I told him that such a match would be disastrous."

Bartholomew Bumbleberry was very upset.


Meanwhile, I got nothing to say about this installment.  It pretty much speaks for itself.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

"Briarton," Part 3

Yesterday we left the Mayor sputtering with his glasses perched upside down on his balloon red nose.

"Begging your pardon," the doctor politely remarked, "but we bring you news of great and serious import."

"Well, go on,"  B.B. demanded waving his arms so wildly that he knocked the spectacles completely off his nose.

After clearing his throat once and then once again the doctor said, "Your honor, I have come to inform you that your son's wife the fairy woman Gwendolyn has just given birth to a son.

Silence descended upon the crowd as they watched Bartholomew Bumbleberry's face.  It was so quite one could even hear a butterfly flutter its wings.



1.  Yay!  Wee folk family drama!

2.  Of course the fairy woman's name would be Gwendolyn.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"Briarton," Part 2

You'll recall we left the doctor with cheeks puffed with disgust knocking on the Mayor's door . . .

It was some time before the mayor, Bartholomew Bumbleberry, appeared before the indignant citizens of Briarton.  When he stepped into the sun's rosy rays, it was obvious to all that his sleep had been interrupted as he still wore his striped flannel night shirt and had a pair of spectacles perched absent-mindedly upside down upon his balloon red nose.

"I say," the mayor sputtered while rubbing the sunlight from his eyes.  "What is the meaning of this?  I just barely doze off, the first time I've slept all month, and you come to hound me from my bed."

Bartholomew Bumbleberry was very upset.


--Feel free to ask yourself why BB was very upset.
--Also fee fee to ask yourself if you, too, have ever perched your spectacles upside down on your balloon nose.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

TRQ finds another lost manuscript! Briarton, Part 1

I didn't put a date on this one.  I'm guessing I wrote it in junior high school.  I am sincerely hoping I didn't write it in college.

The wee-folk of Briarton gathered beneath parasols of clover and honey-suckle to protect themselves from early morning dew-drops at the base of a hollowed tree stump which served as the Mayor's residence.  [AAAAGGHHH!  I CAN'T BELIEVE I EVER WROTE THE WORDS "PARASOLS OF CLOVER!"]

With chipmunk cheeks puffed with disgust, the village doctor, Paddywise Putnam [Maybe I'd just read The Hobbit?] rapped his fist sharply upon the tree stump's door . . . 


1.  Feel free to wonder why PP is rapping his fist (sharply) upon the tree stump's door.
2.  Feel free to wonder why PP's cheeks are puffed with disgust.
3.  Feel free to wonder what cheeks puffed with disgust look like.
4.  Feel free to be happy I didn't take up writing fantasy as a career.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Viewing change

Change has always been hard for me, something I've mentioned NUMEROUS TIMES on this blog.  For as long as I can remember, the emotions I experience most intensely are love and loss.  And maybe craving for doughnuts.

Anyway.  DawnAnn at the bookstore told me about a discussion she heard where the speaker talked about her experience with Broken Heart Syndrome.  A REAL thing, people.  Who knew?   The speaker lost her parents in a short period of time and the loss undid her emotionally and physically both.

During her recuperation she reframed her thinking.  She began to think in terms of "completion" instead of ending.  A chapter of her life had been completed.  And now it was time for another chapter to begin.

The idea of completion is so much more satisfying, isn't it?  We feel satisfied and pleased when we complete.

As I move into what for me is a melancholy time of year, I am going to keep this in mind.

Meanwhile, TRQ, who is going through boxes these days, claims to have discovered more manuscripts by Young Ann the Budding Authoress.  There may be more installments ahead . . .