Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I’m literally at the very end.

Within five pages? I have the text mostly written and I'm just working on the nit-picky-ness of order. There is a lot happening all at once. I like to imagine that it is like the final scene of A Confederacy of Dunces. Although it has been so long since I read that book, I only have the impression of the scene I’m thinking of and I’m not quite sure it actually is at the end. But the characters in my book are lining up to create an action-packed, slapstick-y sequence. I have to find my way through some natural feeling explanations, let the readers have a little aha here and there, and get to a satisfactory end. Right about now(read that as: I am at a total loss as to what to do next) is when I like to make lists and draw and go to the co op and cook. I want to yell at my kids and throw away all my husband’s grandmother’s tea cups and wander in the garden and sit on the couch and read and have a snack and blog and re-read my manuscript and take a walk by the lake and vacuum all at the same time.
As always(gonna try and write it out),

Monday, September 21, 2009

Follower Nine and yoga

Thank you, Elise Murphy, follower number nine. She visited and followed me after I found her via Jacqui's Room. I loved her post on plot(I love the idea of writing a review for my WIP) that led me to Lev Grossman's Wall Street Journal article, where he says authors are making novels entertaining again. Her blog also led me to Pen Tales where, Ron Smith talks about Lev Grossman's novel The Magicians, according to Smith, Grossman provides a novel that is hard to put down(the likes of which books of the 21st century will be all about according to Grossman). I love blogs that spark your imagination and lead you all over.

I'm looking forward to reading The Magician. But right now Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl is waiting for me at the library and I haven't quite finished Kelly Link's Pretty Monsters.

On a totally separate note, I spent the weekend doing hardcore yoga(11 hours of it). I indulged in a retreat entitled Personal Transformation Training. Yoga Sculpt, circuit training and heated yoga along with meditation. I love meditation exercises that call to your subconscious. The symbol of my transformation involved a huge white storybook bear that hovered above me, made me feel small and protected. He also smelled a bit musky, which made sense. The room was decidedly moist with sweat. Not just mine.

I took this class because of a teacher that I loved. I realized I love her because of her music selection and her repetition of symbolic poses; hands at heart center, sun salutations, chair pose which leaves you prostrate and reaching to something above until you can't stand it anymore. In her class, I almost regularly get into flow, where I dripping and dancing and I feel as if I could do it forever. I guess that is what I look for in yoga, that connection a thing beyond myself that feeds the world within myself. That's where my ideas seem the brightest.

I am reminded yet again of Elizabeth Gilbert and her TED speech about artists finding that thing outside ourselves to blame our success or lack of success on.

So many other people there needed much baser transformations: a woman who was experiencing the anniversaries of her husband and son's death(on the same day, years apart); another woman cried every time she spoke, who only told us something devastating had happened to her this past year; another woman had not felt anything since returning from Iraq two years ago. In comparison my story seemed shallow. But if I have learned anything, I know I shouldn't diminish it. I need that thing like faith to keep me operating despite an unfinished book, shyness at conferences, and other disruptions(It really is very shallow).

As always(no bright ideas today),

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Sorry about the lack of posts. I haven't had the energy or the time to write a post from beginning to end. I have started a whole lot of them but never quite finished.

I attended the local SCWBI this past weekend. Enjoyed it.

Spent time talking with Steve Brezenoff. Nice to get advice from someone more experienced and wise than I. Also, he gave me book recommendations and so far he's not steered me wrong. And an introduction to Kurtis Scaletta. (Thanks, Steve.) I look forward to Steve's book next year and maybe seeing him at more conferences. I got to hear about Kurtis's many works, published, unpublished and in-process. Check out his book, Mudville(nice review, huh?). They were both kind to a semi-lost SCWBI conferencer. I think I salvaged my day because of them.

I have this fantasy of creating some kind of local kid-lit society where we meet for drinks once a month(not that I ever go out) and have each others' backs in a pinch(you know reading each others' books and recommending them). The place to start that kind of thing would be at SCWBI (or does it already exist because of SCWBI and I just don't pay enough attention?), but I did a miserable job of making friends. (Can you tell I have regrets?) Let's just say that in true writer form, I didn't try to interact nearly hard enough. I had put everything into a new draft of chapter one(Previously the end of chapter 2. I am throwing out the beginning.) and didn't have anything left for friend-making. I did have a wonderful Manuscript Review with Dara Dokas which should help me with round two of the new chapter one.

I really enjoyed Donna Jo Napoli. Now, she is a woman to admire just for her conference manner. She was not stifled by an audience and I liked that(I'm afraid I would be). She said what she needed to say. Both the cheer-leading and, unexpectedly, specific responses to first pages(awesome). Unfortunately my first page was at the bottom of the pile(vacation made me hand it in very late) and there wasn't time for feedback from those that be. The aforementioned Steve said(in full admiration of Donna Jo) that she should be my critique partner and, yeah, I would like that... Although Andy is a dream and I would not change my current situation for all the tea in China.

As Always(slow to post),