unpublished writers


Go 32

Image via Wikipedia

Which is not the answer to everything but it’s pretty amazing to me. Today’s blog post makes 32 posts for the month of November between this blog and the one on BlogHer. My wrists ache, my brain feels emptied, and I am going to pretend that yesterday’s posts didn’t offend anyone.

From a pure writing standpoint, the last month has been quite productive. I’ve been taking an online class with Christina Katz and by this time next week, I should have a nice body of work to start shopping about in the big bad world of print. Take a stab at the freelancing thing.

Blogging daily. Twice no less. Has been good for my brain but I am still probably leaving my best stuff all over Twitter and Facebook.

I was on fire on Facebook today and not in a friendly way but certainly in a progressive feminist writer way, which someone mistook for “leftism”. When did refusing to be suckered by the politics of class-ism and racism and sexism become a “liberal” rather than a “moral” issue?

But aside from that and the fact that I made pizza crust from scratch for the first time in eons, the day was a lazy one. Wednesdays are slug days for me. I had good intentions but my ear is still bugging me and throwing off my balance and my brother, CB, called and we talked for over an hour. He talked. I listened. I’m a good listener. Just so long as I am not sitting in front of the computer because Rob will tell you that I have the attention span of a gnat and will feed my ADD if given have an opportunity to do so.

Which is why he shouldn’t give me a Samsung Galaxy II S with gazillions of speed and ninja functions for my birthday – but he so is!!

I will now be tagged and as baggable as every over sheeple in North America.

The Top Mom Blogs contest ends at 5 P.M. PST tomorrow. I am still no shoo-in for the top five. Most of the others in the top ten are sponsored and have advertisers. I am so out of my league, but I am giving it the good fight. Cajoling FB friends and family daily and have a few people helping solicit voters from among their FB and Twitter lists. Adds up slowly. The woman in the top spot effortlessly gains a hundred or more votes a day. She’s got over twice as many votes as I do. I have no idea how one does that. I should ask The Bloggess sometime. She wins these contests all the time. But one last plea, hey? Click over and vote for my blog. I’ve never won anything and this would be beyond awesome despite it being nerve-wracking and the fact that I will never do this kind of thing again because it’s bad for my fragile sense of self.


Writing

A couple of wonderful women I know via my traveling Twitter are going through some tough times. They are both writers. One recently suffered a Lupus related TIA and the other has sadly suffered another setback with cancer. Despite the difficulties, they write on. The latter, a NASA physicist, has a book in progress. Her latest scans show more cancer. It’s in the bone now. I, unfortunately, know what that means for her, and she made the comment in her last blog entry that it was time for her to quit procrastinating and finish her book.

Procrastination and writing are almost synonyms. I know some folks who write to the exclusion of all but breathing, but I have never been blessed with such nose-grinding attributes. However, I have been thinking. A lot. About going back to book writing full-time.

With the yoga studio closing at the end of June and my growing disaffection for cause and current event blogging making it difficult for me to muster interest in my paying gig, thoughts turned back toward the memoir and writing “that book”. Or rather, finishing it.

I am still stymied by theme. You don’t just write a book about a section of your life for no reason even if it seems like that is precisely what memoirists do. As more than one literary agent, author and indie publisher has pointed out – an author should have a point.

What’s my point?

A happy ending is not good enough.

Well, okay, it’s pretty darn good from the personal perspective but why should anyone other than my children or Rob really care about what got he and I from A to B?

More than once, it’s been observed that ours is a compelling story and that I have, on occasion, represented it well in words.

That I can write isn’t at issue, nor is the fact that people love a good happily ever after love story. What I am still searching for is an angle. The hook. What’s my hook?

Widowers, let’s face it, are hot these days. Can’t throw a stone without hitting one in film, books, or television. There is something more compelling about a man who’s lost his spouse than there is about a woman in the same predicament. Probably because  a single woman/mom is considered so dime a dozen in North America that they practically wallpaper daily life.

And men make tragic figures whereas women are just victims. Who loves a victim?

No one.

But, getting back to my pondering. I have been. I even have the makings of a plan. The universe knows I have a book.

I don’t want to look back and wonder what it would have been like had I just gone ahead and done it. Published. I don’t want to regret it from a standpoint of having run out of time. The image of poor old Ulysses S. Grant banging out his memories in the last cancer ravaged months of his life to save his family from poverty has always struck me as the saddest way to leave life, desperate and down-trodden and in despair.

I’ve spent the last four years learning to write. Well. It’s time to do something with all the free words I’ve given away in the pursuit of my voice.


I mentioned a little while back that I had an opportunity come up via my mommy blogging gig at 50 Something to write for an education oriented blog that’s getting ready to launch. Well, after emailing the contact person with my background – which is substantial if I do have to blow my own horn – I have an interview on Monday.

I don’t know much about the mother site other than it is cause/politics oriented. I checked it out a bit. Liked what I saw there. I like writing about social issues especially when they veer off into the political arena, so this is an awesome opportunity. The more I can write for people and established sites, the better for me as a writer. It’s being published – number one – as opposed to self-publishing, which is what I do here. It is job experience. I have learned a great deal about online publishing and writing standards from my previous gig with Moms Speak Up and now with SVM/50 Something Moms. Experience is experience and online publishing credits count, more with the forward thinkers than the traditional media/journalism people, but it’s only a matter of time before online will carry the same weight on a CV.

It’s exciting, and I need the ego boost to tell the truth. Wish me luck.


Time to put on my thinking cap because the month of November is Write a Novel in a Month time aka NaNoWriMo. I hadn’t given much thought to it until September rolled around and a writer over at the Slate decided to write a chick lit novel in the three weeks plus change she had before resuming her regular SCOTUS beat when the Justices picked up their gavels for their new session. She set up a Facebook page for people to comment, give suggestions and even direct the narrative, a kind of “choose your own mama-drama”. It set me to wondering. Could I do something like that for NaNoWriMo?

I think I could. When I was in high school, I wrote a soap opera (126 pages/college ruled – I still have it) for my friends. They would suggestion scenarios, characters (based on themselves and people we despised – whom I tortured without mercy in true soap fashion) and generally, a good time was had by all. They were entertained, and I got the kind of instant gratification that made me want to write more.

I am torn between chick lit and chick lit. Okay, modern day and historical. But nothing is set in stone. What do you think? Would you read a novel in the making (without becoming odious copy editors)?

I am really thinking hard about this. I will be working on the memoir still, but the word count for NaNoWriMo is a mere 1600 words a day. It’s really doable if I don’t blog, and I wouldn’t be. I would put up a segment of novel a day and that’s it.

Interested to read your thoughts.


I submitted a couple of piece to the Canadian Federation of Poets anthology drive a while back. They are attempting to put together a number of anthologies on different topics. I received a rejection email and then a callback on just one of the three poems I submitted.

The anthology is titled The Poetry of Marriage. I am not sure why they liked my poem. It doesn’t portray marriage as a rom-com or take a Disney princess view. I am totally in favor of marriage. I think those who eschew the legalities are nitpicking and taking a huge risk with the future well-being of their partner should anything ever happen*. It strikes me as funny that of the three poems I submitted, I should end up in the marriage anthology.

I don’t know when the anthology is coming out. I have to send a reply with my consent and vital data back and they will let me know. 

If I liked poetry more I would be jumping up and down, but I am at the core of my soul so not a poet. I don’t read it and have a hard time listening to others read their poetry aloud**. I only taught it under duress in fact and any school year that I could skip the whole things was a coup. However, I can write poetry and at different points in my life I have written only poetry. I had close to a dozen pieces published under my maiden name in fact. 

But as Rob reminded me, a publishing credit is a publishing credit. So there.

 

*And I am aware that some common-law relationships are entered into with the full battery of legal documents necessary to ensure that neither party will be hurt in the event of a tragedy but that’s just not the norm. Most couples believe that bad things happen to other people if they’ve bothered to give it any thought at all.

**Mostly because poetry is the realm of the wanna-be writer. People enamoured of writing but not talented, flock to poetry. This has always struck me as odd because poetry – the good stuff – is far more difficult to write than prose.


Although he only existed in Eubie’s mind, Eubie liked to quote his old Canuck friend as though he was threaded through the fabric of a life Eubie blinked himself into like a bad sitcom episode.

“If you can’t be handsome, be handy,” was Robin’s shop-worn motto and since it was easier to fake handiness than handsomeness, Eubie went for the former. A roll of duct tape and the ability to tell a hawk from a handsaw had served him well in his salad days in The City, and even when maturity and responsibilities forced him to the chemically greener pastures on The Shore, a passing familiarity with a hammer, the ability to differentiate between a nail and a screw and the electric screw-driver with multiple heads meant Eubie more than held his own among the honey-do set.

Most of the time, the incongruity which was simply “then” and “now” to Eubie was like a well-crafted flight of stairs. Eubie glided up and down unaware because the effort required was negated by simplistically elegant design coupled with flawless implementation. There were moments though when the hasty craftsmanship of this new reality resulted in mis-step. A face would turn up wrong. Mud brown eyes tinged with jade that should have been the green of a shadowy forest, or a mis-matched couple with children who seemed uncomfortable in their skins. Children, Eubie noted early, jittered perceptibly with low-level awareness. The dissonance of existence coursing through them like the after effects of a taser jolt. They reminded him of Zoey’s Siamese, Mrs. Fletcher.

“She disapproves of me,” Eubie complained one hazy morning as they sat on Zoey’s enclosed patio that just skimmed the treeline of the massive green space of City Park.

Mrs. Fletcher narrowed her china sky eyes and sunk deeply into Zoey’s lap as she lounged on one of the rattan chairs Eubie had liberated from a posh address recently in lieu of payment for  a disposal service. Her snow white feet propped up on the matching table, she stroked the animal from head to rump with hypnotic rhythm.

“She has cause,” Zoey said, leaving Eubie to the mercy of his half-memories and imagination. It had occurred to him even before Mrs. Fletcher’s obvious disdain that the animals whose paths crossed with his own were aware in a way what was wrong.  Just as children sensed their altered states, pets possessed a caged attitude that manifested in knowing looks and inappropriate contact. Cats were especially seductive, Mrs. Fletcher excepted, when they weren’t sizing Eubie up for meal potential, and dogs ran the gamut of psychiatric disorders. It was like karma had conspired to incite a rampant deathbed belief in its own self.

Eubie missed Robin just like he missed Omar, the coffee cart guy. But the difference was that Omar still haunted the corner of 42nd and Passing Square which is where Eubie stopped for his double-double on his way to the public library on mornings after a subway run.

Running subway had been the bread and butter of his trade in the early days after he’d found Zoey again. These days his clientele was semi-exclusive and his reputation beyond his active control, but he found peace riding the sewers of The City. Far beneath the concrete, time couldn’t torture him.

Zoey called it “temporal sensitivity”. It didn’t bother the vampires. In fact, vampirism inoculated it’s members to a large extent from the déjà vu vertigo that roiled Eubie’s consciousness.  He remembered people who’d never lived, events which hadn’t happened and a world that suddenly wasn’t a cesspool at all by comparison.

Memory has become a perpetually chipped tooth that I can’t keep my tongue off of, Eubie thought.

He longed to be counted and ignorant, but he had stepped off the early evening transit eighteen months earlier to find himself displaced and horrifyingly aware of it.

“At least you’re not a cat,” Zoey said.

“And that would be the only upside,” Eubie replied as Mrs. Fletcher purred and smiled Cheshire-like, as though she knew something Eubie did not .