I washed my jeans on the hot cycle.

With my cell phone in the pocket.

I called my cellular company, whose general attitude was “Too bad, suckah!”  I spent several hours online looking for a replacement phone.  I went through serious cell phone withdrawls, complete with the shakes and cold sweats.

Like eMail, I’m hyper-dependant on my cell phone.  I call my husband, friends, son’s school., work, pizza delivery, doctor’s offices, prescription refill service…all on the fly, from the driver’s seat of my car.  I multi-task shamelessly.  I call myself–leaving long messages on my home phone with reminders, grocery lists, ideas for books to write someday.

I’m getting a new phone today, and I can’t wait.  If loving my cell phone is wrong…well, I don’t wanna be a-riiight.

Unfocused.

January 28, 2007

I think there can be some benefit to being unfocused in my writing.  I am currently working on two short stories (one being for the First Lines contest…see below).  I am also working on a poem.  I have been alternating between these three pieces, going away from them–coming back to them.  While I normally would find this difficult in that it would be too messy, I’m rather enjoying the variations.

It’s fun to be undisciplined in my writing.  I am actually working on being a bit more reckless…taking less time to craft a single sentence, so that I can just get a story out on paper.  I can always go back to do the wordsmithing.

Focus. Hocus pocus.

I challenge you.

January 24, 2007

So, I’m writing a short story to enter in the The First Line.  This is a print publication that provides you the “first line” of a short story, and you go from there.  Make it anywhere between 300 and 3,000 words. Entries are due on February 1, 2007.  The first line?  It is:

In Pigwell, time is not measured by days or weeks but by the number of eighteen wheelers that drive past my house.

All kinds of images come to mind.  For more information, go here:   http://www.thefirstline.com/index.htm

Go to it.

Accepted.

January 22, 2007

A short story I wrote was recently accepted for publication.  The publisher even said, “I think you should be very happy because you just got by my toughest editor!”

Suffice it to say that I am over-the-moon.

There is something gratifying about having a stranger, someone who works in the business, tell you that your work is good.  So good, in fact, that they want to publish it so others can experience it.  That feels good.

A fellow writer I know recently pointed out that when writers submit their work, they are engaging in a veritable quest for acceptance.  She reminded me that the word “submission“–as in “sending in a submission to see if they want it”–is telling.  We submit to someone else, bowing at their feet in the hopes they’ll take our work seriously and find it fit for publication.  When we’re denied, it can feel personal (it isn’t, but it feels that way).  When our work is accepted, we feel accepted.  It is personal.  It’s personal in that you feel it in your bones, the success, the drive to continue on and keep writing.  It feels personal because we make it so.

Conclusion: be inconsistent, philosophically.  If rejected, chalk it up to experience and say “it’s not personal.”  If accepted, chalk it up to a big ol’ boost to the ego. Personally speaking.

Playing nice.

January 19, 2007

Observing my 3-year old son playing with his friends is like taking lessons on leading a good life.

The other day, a little girl from down the block came to play for a few hours.  The first hour or so was fine: 2 kids exploring through the toy bin and then snack time.  Easy.  But then, the struggle to share and be kind to each other began…struggles that any 3-year old must wrestle with.

The “he touched me!” and “she took it from me!” began.  I’d tell the kids to “hey, work it out; be nice!” And they would.  Most of the time.  When they couldn’t work it out, I’d intervene with a suggestion that they hug each other and say they are sorry to each other, so that they could continue playing. It was sweet.  They’d quickly hug, say “sorry!” and move on.  Beautiful.

When do we lose that? That easy ability to take things lightly, to move on in the moment, to let go of small slights.  Watching these kids, I told myself to remember this lesson–say sorry quickly, accept others apologies quickly, move on, have fun.

Novel thoughts.

January 17, 2007

Last night I attended my writing group, and was blown away by the material that was presented by the other writers .  Something funny happened, though: instead of feeling down and out about not being “as good as”–I felt exhilerated and recharged by the fact that these “ordinary” folk are just walking around town like normal citizens, but they are actually…NOVELISTS.  Real novelists (or they will be as soon as the manuscripts are done).

It’s wonderful to be in a live community of writers.  It’s inspiring, demanding…it brings writing into your life in a way that simply wordsmithing just can’t do.

I love blogging and the online readers here…thanks for visiting.  But, if you are serious about writing, I suggest you find a face-to-face group of people to share with.  It adds to your experience in a unique and meaningful way.  You share in real-time, and the gratification is real-time…and lingers on.

Rejection dejection.

January 14, 2007

So I submitted a short story to somewhere around 10 different publications…rejected by all. It’s really disheartening.

There are a lot of really excellent writers out in the world, and it’s too bad that there’s such competition for space. What a joy if there was room enough in the magazines and publications for everyone to showcase their work. Sort of begs the question…are there enough readers out there for large amounts of good work to be published? It’s an issue of supply and demand, I think, and in the end, there may not be enough demand. Anyway, that’s my rationalization for being declined.

I think in some ways it’s hardest to get a rejection that states, “You are such a great writer, blah blah blah, however we only have X amount of pages and so have to make some hard decisions. Good luck with placing your work!” Ugh.

So, January is halfway through, and my New Year’s goal of publishing a short is still not realized. I’m kidding. I’ve got 11 and a half months to go…wish me luck.

The Gift.

January 11, 2007

I’ve always sort of fancied that I have “The Gift” for writing.

Maybe not.

I realized when looking at a few of my recent stories that I rely sometimes too much on cliche, that sometimes the piece doesn’t hang together, that I run off half-cocked on a story that needs a lot of tightening. I don’t plot out my writing before I start, so sometimes I get to the middle, or worse, the end and think, “now what?”

I’ve scoffed at those who buy books on how to write or who have signed up for lectures on how to sell a book. Hey, you either have it or you don’t, right? You can either do the work naturally, or you shouldn’t be doing it at all. But I’m starting to wonder. Can reading about writing actually make you a better writer? Can you learn to be good?

We shall see. Yesterday I ordered a book, called Plot & Structure, that focuses on, duh…plot and structure. It was a hard pill to swallow.

See what I mean? A hard pill to swallow! Forgive the cliche.

What do you want to be?

January 9, 2007

At my older son’s preschool today, they had a big sheet of paper on the wall with the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The kids all had their answers listed on the paper.

The question stopped me for a moment, and made me wonder what I would have answered when I was a kid. Easy. I would have said “ROCK STAR!”

I distinctly remember standing in front of the bathroom mirror as a kid, holding my hairbrush like a microphone, and belting out the lyrics of the song “Gloria” by Laura Branigan. There was a pipe in the back yard that gave off the best reverb…so I’d put the hairbrush down and go sing the song again out there. After a while, I tired of “Gloria” and moved on to Kim Carnes’s “Bette Davis Eyes or “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” by Air Supply.

My other idea was to become a Solid Gold dancer.

Obviously, neither of these early ambitions became a reality.

My son’s answer to the question, by the way, was…..drumroll……

A fire truck.

Yep, he wants to be a fire truck when he grows up. Grandiose dreams evidently run in the family.

Super productive.

January 7, 2007

Today, a woman asked me what I do. I gave her baleful stare as my two sons alternately clung to me, jumped off of me, whined, and were your general, well, little boys.

I told her I stay home. “You are so lucky!” she trilled.

True, I am privileged to get to be home with the kids, but as any stay-at-home mom knows…there’s a lot about the job where the word “lucky” just doesn’t apply.

Staying at home for me means being a mom first, then topping off the day with a laundry list of chores, including the namesake laundry, dishes, errands, grocery shopping, cooking, LAUNDRY (it is never done), and about forty six other tasks. The difference about being a mom who works outside the home is that if I did not get to the laundry list, I didn’t sweat it–hey, I was at work. I didn’t feel the sense of guilt that descends now when I don’t get the work done. I feel a pressure, self-induced and societal, to be hyper productive since I’m in the home the majority of the day.

Truth is, this is the hardest work I’ve ever done. If you know me, you know I’ve had some…how do I put this delicately…challenging positions, but they pale when compared to the MOUNTAINS of laundry that face me every morning.

Did I mention, the laundry is never finished?

I love my job, I appreciate my job, and I———–

Sorry, got to run. A load needs to be moved from the washer to the dryer.