Monday, January 24, 2011

a .38 Special metaphor for the new book

My son is very comfortable with live animals. Lizards, salamanders, frogs, baby squirrels, baby bunnies (someday I will link a poem here). He finds them often, picks them up always, and holds them gently but firmly. He is not afraid or squeamish (as I am). What is a good word for it? Pragmatic. He has a pragmatic touch. I stand back and want very little to do with them. I either touch them too gently or when I get freaked, too firmly.

What does this have to do with writing? I have a new manuscript in my hand (the one from Nano) and  it is like a wild animal right now, unpredictable, dirty (as in a mess and I'm not sure what germs I want to get on my hands), most of all scary. It seems like I should take my sons approach. Have a gentle but firm grip on the thing. Unlike the last one where I pinned it beneath me as I tried to wrestle it into shape. With this new one, I want to take a new approach and hold it like my son would, with just the right amount of pressure. Respecting that it has a will of its own, but also what? What is it about his grip that I still have to learn? He holds it without fear but also has this sense of propriety over the animal.

As I write this post, I have this song in my head!

I chose this Youtube version because the video game images seemed to go well with book writing. And I think my manuscript would do well if I approach it with like passion. Can I hold this one lightly and never let it go? "Don't let her slip away, you sentimental fool." That line works for me.

Pragmatic, I say. It will be my new mantra.

Come find us at TPR. It has been busy lately and Jon Arntson has been hosting some late evening times (eastern standard time). That's the time of day when my writing is at its most stilted, but a lot of you out there are brilliant all the time. The practice room has been busy most days, full of writers working towards their goals. Come and join us. We'd love to chat writing with you. Check out the schedule through here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Write Everyday (Resolution 2011)

This post is about resolutions. You've got to expect it from my first post of the new year.

I am joining Jon and Heather in their commitment to write everyday or give a dollar to charity. You can join too, just go over to their blogs and email them with a link to your post on the commitment. Start at anytime. It is never to late to write.

 So I will Write Everyday - beyond that my expectations are low. I will get up in the morning and put in 750 words and beyond that I can write all the crap that I want. The words will come out haltingly and like laundry lists of gibberish. And I am determined that I WILL KEEP WRITING THEM.

Like brushing my teeth, I will do it everyday even if I don't see immediate results.

Years ago, post-MFA, post-second baby and pre-novel I did the artists way ala Julia Cameron and the best thing that that book taught was to make writing a habit. She called them morning pages and only required 3 of them. The idea was to stay and plumb the secret depths of your mind just long and see what is in there waiting to come out. Let writing become your antenna. Like a prayer perhaps. Some people sit beside their bed with their hands folded. I do it a bit differently. I sit down on my exercise ball and type some words into the ether, using: 750 words . The guy who designed the site did Julia Cameron's artist rehabilitation as well. Then he made this website where I can go write into cyberspace. It's brilliant really. I make a mess far away from anything that resembles my manuscripts and the site keeps track for me. I can even rack up points although I am now on zero because I fell off the wagon over vacation. But oh well, no beating myself up, just put money into the charity jar. I choose St. Stephen's as the beneficiary of my laziness. My son has been serving meals there in preparation for his bar mitzvah. I will join him by putting my money into the pot - our family will take on ending homelessness with ferocity. So on the days when I can't write, I will make amends. (I'm $26 dollars in at this point - I put $25 in just to get myself started.)

As my yoga instructor said today: Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.  Actually Rumi said it first and I like it for this resolution, because you can't do wrong either way. I also like it for TPR. Come through the door at the right and check out next week's schedule.  If you can make it, there is an hour for you to meet your resolution.