Image: eflon via flickr

Image: eflon via flickr

I can’t imagine a world without bookstores. Of course, 5 years ago I would have said I couldn’t imagine a world without record stores. Always a record store junkie, I was slow to embrace online music sales, one, because I appreciate the actual CD, & two, just because I love the atmosphere inherent in a good record store. But for the most part, I’ve accepted browsing and shopping for my music online.

There are definitely advantages: I can listen to samples & I can buy only what I want. Admittedly, online music sales have likely increased my music buying given the fact that I can try before I buy. Still, I always make a point to stop by my favorite record store in LA–Amoeba–when I’m in the neighborhood or when I really do want the hard copy of a favorite CD. I’m thankful Amoeba, and all the other independent stalwarts, have held-out. But, I guess if they too disappeared I would survive.

However, I can’t say the same for my favorite bookstores. (more…)

Even though I’m still wallowing in the middle of my own personal wasteland, AKA draft #2, I’ve started to pay attention to the business side of publishing. Yes, I have a ways to go before I need to face it head on with my own work, but the fact is, I find the publishing industry fascinating, so I don’t mind learning all the intricacies of the process, from writing to publication.

The bleakness of the publishing industry is a constant theme these days. I even touched on it in my post/rant yesterday on the state of journalism. And I’ve heard and read over and over again that literary fiction doesn’t sell. You would think that would make me reconsider my work-in-progress, but the fact is, I’m not writing for publication nor am I catering my writing to what sells. I am writing this story, which falls into the category of literary fiction, because it is the story I want to tell. It is also a story I would like to read. That has always been my foremost priority, writing a book I like. If someone else should ever like it as much as I do, well, great. But as I slog away at draft #2 that’s not my focus and it’s not what keeps me motivated on those days I just want to be done with it and chuck the whole damn thing. (more…)

Image: Inma :) via flickr

Image: Inma 🙂 via flickr

I don’t know where I’ve been, but I’m back.

Weeks 24-27 & number 28 today. They came & went. One just blends into another these days, so I guess I can just let them go without saying much more.

The 6 month mark didn’t pass by as easily. The day was blah. Tears were shed. I finally realized I do most of my crying while driving. Sunglasses help to keep the other drivers from wondering what the hell is wrong. I’ve been able to drive through it; only once in the last 6 months have I had to pull over. Anyways, I’ll get around to writing a post for that day. But for now, I survived it. I guess that’s the important part. The main observation to come out of it was how quickly & how slowly time has passed. And now I get to look forward to 1-year. Fuck.

On the writing front, things have gone really well. I took another writing class this past quarter (just finished last week). As I wrote in my last post, I got incredibly good feedback from my instructor. The positive feedback started with my editing skills and then extended into really great comments on my writing & my novel. The course focused on writing & rewriting the 1st 50-pages of your novel. So, I really feel like I came out of it with a good start, with material that should carry me forward. I had my weaknesses pointed out & spent the course addressing them. I feel like I know how to overcome them now which is great. (more…)

The decision to blog about the aftermath of my mother’s death was difficult. Grieving is incredibly personal. But in those immediate days & weeks after the only thing that still felt right was to write. I could have taken to my journal & kept my words to myself, but I’m glad I didn’t.

I’m not one to easily talk about my feelings. But the moment I was thrown into this experience I realized that few people understood what it’s like. You don’t know until you’ve been there. I guess I wanted to share my experience in case it could help someone else. But, through this blog I’ve not only been able to keep record of my good & bad days, but I’ve been able to know I’m not alone–even though, I know I’m not alone. I have incredible family & friends who help get me through. Still, it sometimes takes a stranger to put into words what you can’t.

I so appreciate Carol from My Sydney Paris Life for her comment to my post about the 5 month anniversary of my mother’s death. She apparently found my blog through the blog of a good friend of mine. Carol quoted a few lines from a poem written by Donald Hall that put into words the reality I’ve been struggling with all these months. The poem, Distressed Haiku, is about the death of Hall’s wife, but it is this stanza that Carol left for me that says it all:

You think that their
dying is the worst
thing that could happen.

Then they stay dead.

You can find Hall’s complete poem here.

Currently listening to: Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics (old school tonight)

As you can see, I’m playing around with a new theme. Not sure if I’m loving this one, but my old theme had some limitations design-wise. So, for now, I’ll try this theme on for a few days & see how I feel.

Along with the new theme, I also added a new widget (such a funny little word!). I finally succumbed & joined Twitter (@thisismewriting). Not entirely sure why or whether I’ll keep it up, but I’ll give it a shot. I’m already addicted to Facebook (after resisting for months), so maybe Twitter isn’t such a good idea given my highly addictive personality towards all things social media. Although, I did resist myspace. Ok, actually, I just couldn’t figure out myspace.

Anyways, I promise not to let Twitter get in the way of my blogging, nor writing. I remain committed! Now off to write something longer than 140 characters.

Last night it dawned on me that the day before I dislocated my knee cap & became incapacitated I mentioned my need for a day off, a day without responsibility for anyone or anything. Apparently, I got my wish. While I now can’t do anything for myself & spend most of my day on the sofa or in bed, & have to be waited-on hand & foot, this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

My brother has been more than great, taking over the care of the dogs, the house, & me. He’s doing everything; not exactly the vacation from school that he’d planned for. I’m incredibly glad he’s here. Honestly, don’t know what I would do without him. Few people would put up with me as well. But, this might be too much of a good thing. Day 2 & I’m over it. I want to cook for myself. I want to drive. I want to be able to move without someone clearing the way for me. (more…)

Came across this exercise here while doing some blog reading this evening. Apparently, the exercise originated here. The idea is to come up with 5 reasons why you love writing & 5 reasons why you think your WIP rocks. So, here are my thoughts.

5 Reasons I Love Writing:

  1. My overactive imagination is put to good use.
  2. I can’t draw, paint, or play the piano all that well. This is my art form; my way of expressing myself.
  3. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end that I am in complete control of.
  4. When an idea works, it has a life of its own; but still, I’m somehow responsible.
  5. It’s my escape from the mundane.

5 Reasons I Think My WIP Rocks:

  1. It’s an interesting take on the idea of the absentee parent.
  2. The tangled web of unlikely relationships.
  3. My main character’s psychology.
  4. Symbols & themes emerge without me planning them.
  5. I can actually see it in my head & I think it all works well.

Image: YanivG via flickr

The nice thing about blogging through this experience is the comments of support & commiseration I’ve received. Actually, one of the comments I received led me to check out someone else’s blog. There, I discovered what it is I really am mourning.

I’m not mourning the past. I am mourning the future.

I know I had a good relationship with my mother. I don’t regret any moment of the 33-years I had with her. Yes, I wish I had asked her more questions or told her more; but still, I have no regrets. What is now the past was good.

It’s the future that I’m mourning. I’m mourning what she will not be here for. She won’t be there to answer the phone when I call after work to ask if she wants me to pick up food. She won’t be at my brother’s graduation next May. She won’t be there to celebrate any birthdays or holidays. She won’t be there to tell me how old I am in a picture taken when I was a child. She won’t be there when/if I get married. She won’t be there when/if I have a child.

That’s what I’m mourning. It’s the reality of the future that is setting in. It’s the future that’s hard.

Image: brun_o via flickr