Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Great Expectations

Today's Mood: Tired. Today's Music: U2 at the moment. Today's Writing: Black Dragon Part II. Today's Quote:

I'm lucky. On the way home from the Glen Lake Fall Conference, I get to debrief and decompress with Gloria since we ride together. We talked over the exercise we did on Saturday night--everyone had a sheet of paper on his/her back and had to go around and write on everyone else's piece of paper. Write a word (or a few words) about that person and/or that person's writing. For someone like me, who analyzes every word, expression, tone of voice, this was an intense exercise. And one that I will probably continue to over-analyze. What did someone mean when he or she wrote voluminous? I write a lot? I'm bigger than I look? We talked about words having different meanings, connotations and denotations.

This led (and I'm sure it was in a fairly round-about way because that is how conversations usually go) to a discussion about what makes a conference (or most things, for that matter) a success or a failure. We came to an agreement that often it was our expectations that made the difference. If one comes expecting to write volumes (is that what voluminous means?) and doesn't, then often the conference is felt to be a failure--even if there were absolutely wonderful discussions and insights into the writing and writing process. If our expectations are met--we had great shopping trips or we finished the story we were working on (your expectations depend on who you are)--then we go back home to the real world feeling fulfilled and successful.

So how often do we miss gold just because we are looking for rubies? And does that mean we should come with no expectations at all? Surely there has to be some sort of balance, an openness to all the wonder of the moment, and yet a focus, a direction to start out at least.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Work area

Today's Mood: Relaxed. Today's Music: Matchbox Twenty. Today's Writing: Black Dragon. Today's Quote:

Writers drive and plot. And you thought cell phones were dangerous. - bumpersticker


We've talked about what we read--or at least, what we pile next to our bed (or in our relaxing area)--so let's talk about where we do our writing. What does it look like? What things are on the desk or table or floor next to your recliner? What things are on the walls? What can you hear? What do you smell? What do you have to have in order to enjoy a good writing session? And most of all, what do you think it says about what kind of a writer you are?

During the week I write in my office at school. My desk is small and solid wood. I need to have my cappuccino because it is 6:45 a.m. Music is also a must--I usually do shuffle on the music library on my computer. I have a Thesaurus next to the desk, a nail file in my desk drawer, Internet access in case I need to look something up, and notes about characters, eye colors, names, family and so on. While doing this Black Dragon revision, I leave the draft with Tricia's editing notes sitting on the desk to refer to as I go along. The room smells like orange blossoms due to the reed diffuser sitting on my filing cabinets. And I am surrounded by dragons and fairies, many, many books, a spilled cup of coffee, chocolate, and the Sorting Hat, Fawkes, and Time Traveler--all replicas from the Harry Potter books.

I love my Brazilian Cherry desk at home, although I don't use it to write except for during the summer or during school breaks. It smells like kitty litter with the faint hint of Bounce, since my desk is between the cat's litter pans and the washer and dryer. If I'm writing for an extended period--say, I send the kids to daycare for the day--then I light my cinnamon candle. Tea or cappuccino is important for comfort (and diversion when I get stuck) as well as warmth since the basement gets cold. To my left I have my CDs, many writing books, and folders with all my writing stuff. My desk itself has all these great little cubbies that I can (and do) fill with all sorts of things.

My work area and habits probably show that I'm only a part-time writer. And that I'm definitely a multi-tasker. I'd like to think that my work space shows my artistic, eclectic, spontaneous personality, but maybe it just shows that I'm messy and immature. : )

Friday, September 12, 2008

What's on your bedside table?

Today's Mood: Content. Today's Music: Guided By Voices--Surgical Focus. Today's Writing: Black Dragon Chapter 4. Today's Quote:
"One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying." -Joan of Arc


So what's on your bedside table? I have a suspicion that writers tend to have a lot of books piled here and there, but maybe it is just that I am a librarian. So I am sending a picture of the items on the stand next to my bed (minus the glass of Hard Cherry Cider that is sitting next to me at the moment), and you can see if you beat me.

I have a Thesaurus, the book Cutting by Steven Levenkron (research for Black Dragon), the Intuitive Writer by Gail Sher, a Cherry Republic catalog, The Other Boleyn girl by Pilippa Gregory (I was supposed to read it for book club several months ago and still haven't finished it), Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, The Couple's Tao Te Ching by William Martin (given to me by my dad), Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (an attempt to understand my husband--still only 3 chapters in and can't say that I understand him any better : )) the September issue of the Writer, my sketchbook, A View from the Porch Swing by Becky Freeman (given to me by my father. It is "musings on a complicated search for the simple life."), The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer (given to me by my dad--still not read), The Shack (this month's book club book--I'm 3/4 of the way through it), and my journal for IFFY (in case I get a great idea during the night). The table also includes for AA batteries (the TV remote is still not working), various hairclips and chapstick, my alarm clock--unfortunately necessary), a pen, a copy of Inklings, and a couple of short stories I was revising to send in (which I have sent in so I guess I really should dump those.).

So, do you have me beat? Mind you, that is only what is on TOP of the bedside table. There is a drawer and a bottom shelf, but I don't have time to catalog all that.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Oh blessed routine!

Today's Mood: Tired. Today's Music: Matchbox Twenty--All your reasons. Today's Writing: Black Dragon--chapter 2. Today's Quote:
"Like dreaming, reading performs the prodigious task of carrying us off to other
worlds." -Victor Null

The only way I got out of bed this morning was by grabbing the scruff of my neck with both hands and dragging myself out from under the covers. I can't believe how dark it is at 5:30 a.m.! But writing every day makes the dark hours and loss of sleep worth it.

My office smells of orange blossoms and paper. I drink my cappuccino, turn on my music, get out my computer and then I'm gone. Gone into the dank basement room of Sera the dragon fighter. Gone into a world of darkness, soul-searing pain, and blood. Dreams and visions of blood.

It's always a bit of a shock when the lights go on in the main library, and it is time for me to go back to my world of books, technology, kids, and teachers. But I'm happy. The revision is going slow but I think good--although the backlash of thoughts/cravings/emotions is quite unsettling. Thought I put all that behind me many, many years ago. Never knew how long habits could hang around!

Oh how I love writing! Anyone else going to the Fall Glen Lake Retreat? How about entering the PW art show? I (foolishly) said I would and now I'm stressing because I don't have anything good enough to put in an art show. Silly, silly me.

Anyone reading anything interesting? I'm over halfway through The Shack. Now that's a book that makes you think! And I consumed Breaking Dawn in one gulp (which included very little sleep!). Happy writing!