Sunday, January 26, 2014

good stuff

I came across some really good stuff this week so I thought I would share it with you, with writers who feel stuck, victims of nefarious schemes, and human beings with broken hearts...among others.

Harking back to one of my favorite Stephen King quotes... was done to me today. I was writing about unbearable losses for my WIP when I read a piece that swept me away by the force of HER writing, a mother who lost her newborn child at three days of age during surgery to correct what I presume to have been a congenital heart problem. Please take a moment to read it here . Go ahead, just click here and it will come right up, really good writing about an unspeakable tragedy.
Will somebody please hand me a broom? I have some sweeping to do.
Then there was this empowering little piece from someone you might believe to be clueless about women-of-a-certain-age:
Andy Rooney
"As I grow in age, I value women who are over forty most of all.
...way over forty!
Here are just a few reasons why: A woman over forty will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, “What are you thinking?” She doesn’t care what you think.
If a woman over forty doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it’s usually something more interesting. A woman over forty knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of forty give a hoot what you might think about her or what she’s doing.
Women over forty are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.
Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated.
A woman over forty has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn’t trust the guy with other women. Women over forty couldn’t care less if you’re attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won’t betray her.
Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over forty. They always know.
A woman over forty looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over forty is far sexier than her younger counterpart.
Older women are forthright and honest. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one! You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

 Yes, we praise women over forty for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of forty-plus, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some twenty-two-year-old waitress. Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,” here’s an update for you. Now 80 percent of women are against marriage, why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig, just to get a little sausage."
Thank you, Andy Rooney.
And finally there was this piece from Janet Reid, known to anyone who has ever sought representation by an literary agent as The Query Shark.

Once and for all, she settles the quandary we all face: Should you have an editor review your manuscript before you query an agent about it? She rants about it here along with some basic business advice in case anyone else gets scammed.
So, for this week, Stephen King is proven to be right once again, The Query Shark lives up to her reputation, and dear old Andy Rooney comes through sweet and funny, as usual.
What did you come across this week that caught your attention? That broke your heart? That you needed to hear?
If you're tired of the cold and snow, remember this:
and this...
and this... 

Have a great day!

Monday, January 20, 2014

the grizzlies got it "write"

We're under a winter storm warning right now. The wind has started to pick up and the temperature is falling. Today I stocked up on dog food and I bought a big bag of the expensive bird seed...the kind they really like.(Yes, birds do have a preference when it comes to what you put out for them.)

I have a pot of chili on the stove and I dusted off the snow shovels. I am ready.

Clearly, the grizzlies got it right when it comes to surviving winter. Lay on some fat and curl up where it's warm.

In other words, hibernate. This is not a bad idea for humans, either...especially humans who write.
When you go into hibernation to write for the winter, no one questions your motives. Maybe your car won't start, it's just that cold. You could get frostbite out there. The roads are hazardous. It makes perfect sense to stay indoors and curl up with the book you're writing.
Here are a couple of images that capture the comforts of hibernation.

Keep warm this week. Stay safe. And write on!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


What do you call it when you have a great idea for a new book, but you just can't seem to get started? The debate rages on as to whether "writer's block" is a legitimate entity or just another excuse to avoid the self-discipline it takes to face the blank page...

...because the kids are fighting again, because you simply must mop the floor, or because the moon is full and you just can't concentrate.

For whatever reason, we all get stuck from time to time.

When it happens to me, I find that reading something by a favorite author often provides the jump start that gets me up and running again. So you can imagine my gratitude when Anne Lamott posted a short piece on Facebook this week.

She apologized for not posting for a while because she'd been sick. Then she went on to say:

"The real thing that's been going on, though, is that all the people I love who are seriously sick have gotten worse in the last month. They have the greatest hospitals in the world, ebullient attitudes, huge numbers of people praying for them. But one friend got the boot from a clinical trial because her tumor nearly doubled; and my darling teenage friend with cystic fibrosis has been in a downward spiral, from which she has recovered two times, but never quite enough to be of danger.

I hate, hate, this. I understand that one out of eight woman is getting breast cancer, and believe me, I have filed multiple briefs about this with the Complaints Department. But I draw the line at the suffering of children. It can't help but make you feel crazy with grief and impotence. The first thing I'm going to mention to God when we first meet face to face is, What the fricking frack were You thinking? So I draw the line, and cross my arms angrily at God, and then come back begging for the kids and their grown-ups to have a measure of peace, and what they call at my church "journey mercies." Please, I pray, let them have hope, humor, holy moments, a sense of safety. And 100% of the time, they do. They may go through awful patches, but they come through, in one way or another. They get their miracle, even if it isn't long life. I'm humbled by their courage and joy, which is pure grace, and the nurses in pediatric ICU, who will get the single best seats in heaven.

But I am still mad, and I get to hate it if I want."

This was just what I needed to read because I am writing about faith and misfortune, too...and she does it so well! You can read the whole piece here...and connect with her on Facebook while you're at it if you'd like.

Writer's block does not forebode a permanent state of mind. You must read in order to write. It's as simple as that.

The fact that someone else has written well is evidence that you can do it, too.

That said, today I interviewed a woman whose story I plan to use in my book. I reread a couple of pieces by my favorite authors on the subject of faith...Krista Tippett, Julia Cameron, and Thomas Merton. And then I wrote my opening paragraph.

Do you believe in writer's block? What do you do when you get stuck?
So, a book came in the mail today. It was from my brother...a book he wrote about "Awareness."
Now I can't stop reading! I should be supercharged by tomorrow morning. Thanks, Peter.