Category Archives: Rants and Ravings

Notes and updates

Step up to the Plate More Often

This is an image I took in Saigon, Vietnam las...

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I write. I write every day. Still I am not writing enough, not the right writing. I’m journaling every day which certainly has its merits, in fact I would never have written my novel Zizkov if it wasn’t for my daily journaling.

I started a new blog post, that I am only doing for one year. It is about journaling everyday for a year. I decided to do it because I was curious if I could and because one day I wondered; if this was my last year of life what would I do with it, then that translated into, what do I do every day. Sometimes the days just rush and blur.

But, it’s still not enough. I need to be doing more creative writing. Exercising my brain. I’ve decided that at least one day a week I have to write a new flash fiction or timed writing piece or a writing exercise. Once a week. That isn’t that much. I wont have time to go back and flesh anything out until I complete my novel, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the practice.

The more I swing the more times I will hit and eventually I will know the exact speed and curve of the ball.

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Setting Bolder Goals

I have just been accepted into a writing program. I’m very excited to grow as a writer. One of the things about this particular program that I like is that you have to set goals. I haven’t started the course yet, but I know based on the curriculum that what you need to be succesful in the program is to have goals. Here are mine: During the program I want to complete my editing of my first novel and I want to begin the processes of getting it published. By the end of the program I would like to have the beginning outline for my next book and I would like to have a strong selection of short stories for which I can put together a collection of short stories.

Based on my ten minute writes that I have done on this blog, I want to work on Sand and WheatGunther McWilliams, and the one about the abonne, the old man and the woman in the garden in Brooklyn, The Chinamanthe girl with the bright red handsThe Appalachian Girl and Touch and Lewis. There may be some others. My goal for this blog and its loose purpose is to do bi-weekly ten minute writes for more inspired ideas. After a month I need to pick one and get to work.

I sound like I know what is up, but I don’t.

No short stories in the works

I’m just sitting on my hands as far as Ishi goes. There isn’t much for me to do until I find out if I will get published. I have a couple of stories in my head, but I finally got back to work on my novel, and I’m spending all of my writing time on that project. Perhaps one day I will be so prolific that I will be able to write both a novel, and a short story simultaneously, but as far as today goes, that is not a possibility. Maybe at a certain point in the novel I will be able to switch gears.

Uh… About the editing part…

I’ve come to that part. I think. The part where the story is finished, as the story goes. I feel a little – um – unsatisfied, dissatisfied with the very last line of the story, so in that respect I think there is still more work, but I feel I’m pretty close to the right last line. But, what I mean about “that part” is that I am at the nitty gritty. Yep, its edit time, its grammar time, and I hate it, because I suck. Suck big apples suck, like choking on the apple, you know like when snow white ate the poison apple from the witch, but later in the story you find out it was just stuck in her throat? Yeah, well that’s me, with grammar. That’s me passed out in the glass case but I aint got no prince to kiss me with some proper punctuation, and them dwarves dropped outta school in like sixth grade so I gotta figure this stuff out on my own. Annnd… I hate it.

I hate it because I can’t see the problems. I think, when I get critiqued and it is punctuation and grammar focused, I get frustrated, defensive and pissed, because I feel embarrassed. I tell myself, grammarians are not really self gratifying snobbish stuck up assholes who get off on making people feel bad about themselves for being stupid; it is just my own insecurities. Yes. Oh. Yes. That makes me feel so much better. It works like a charm every time.

I am like a petulant child being sent to clean my room. It is more agonizing a task than getting my finger nails pulled from my finger tips with tiny pliers. I hate it… and when I say that, “I hate it,” my voice is deep and exasperated rumbling low like a distant storm the kind with thunderheads, and heat spreading over a flat landscape- you know the kind of sound.

I’m reading Rhetorical Grammar by Martha Kolln and it is as dry as a friggin salt lake. My child brain is pouting and whining, “but we’ll never get through it in time we’ll be dead before we get it published! We suck, this is lame!’ My child easily morphs from one immature age to the next like an amoeba, or some cell division.

I have a response for my child though. Yesterday we, (me and all my alter egos) scanned through 442 Literary magazines ( with the help of Poets and Writers) looking for at least one or maybe two where we could send the story. It was a long process, but shortened by the fact that many lit mags don’t take submissions till January, that is their reading time. Then there was an even smaller amount that takes electronic submissions. I’m not against snail mail, but I’m poor and I can’t even afford to print my stuff out right now. Pathetic I know, but I will, I promise. Come January I will print out a bunch and send to whomever takes simultaneous submissions. Another thing I need to consider (or we if I want to stay with the schizo chat) is that I need to read these mags to make sure they would even take my kind of writing. Know your editor, know your audience. Talk about expensive. I mean I wish I could subscribe to every one, but I can’t even pay to print copies of my story. Excuses, excuses. I know, wah!

I have so far read, American Short Fiction, and I think my stuff would work there, but I also think I’m not good enough to get published by them (ouch low self confidence?) and I have read McSweeney’s; ditto on the not get published, also I feel like I’m not cool enough for those mags, like somehow they would figure out that I’m not hip. And I have read The Sun, which is great, but they like non-fiction, maybe one day. So, I decided to go local, start at home right? I picked up a copy of Glimmertrain. They have open submissions in November, giving me a little less than a month to see if I can see what I can’t see that great  know it all grammarians see. Glimmertrain has rejected me once before but I’m submitting once again.

So it is onto reading Rhetorical Grammar. My child is not thrilled, I don’t think my adult is either, but I am determined to be a great writer. Even if no one ever knows!

This blog’s on hold

My Short Story workshop is going to be quiet for the next two months as I go on tour with the theatre company Dance Naked ProductionsInviting Desire. We are touring the Canadian Fringe festivals- so it should be a good time.

In the short story world: I titled my second Short story, Sand and Wheat, and have sent it out my first submissions.

See you in September. Thanks.