Image: OldPixels.com via flickr

Image: OldPixels.com via flickr

A friend sent me this article in today’s New York Times*:

Recession Fuels Readers’ Escapist Urges

Essentially, Motoko Rich’s article focuses on the success of the romance genre in the bookworld in the midst of the current economic realities. While other genres have seen stagnation or a decrease in the numbers of books being moved, romance has seen bigger numbers. The conclusion is that readers, amidst all the doom & gloom, want their books to have a happy ending. Apparently, the sci-fi and fantasy genres are also experiencing an upsurge. People want to escape. (more…)

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Currently listening to: Shh by Frou Frou

Yesterday I met one-on-one with a writing friend. “IM” & I met via my writing group. She’s decided to step away from the group recently, but she & I have decided to keep meeting every couple weeks. We spent 4-hours talking about writing in general & our work specifically. I love when I’m around people who see things the way I do & who are going through the same writing struggles. It’s nice to be able to encourage, motivate, & help each other.

I had sent my pages to her late the night before, so she’d only been able to get through the first half before we met up. She was incredibly positive. I respect her writing & her opinion, so it was a great vote of confidence. She had the same criticism as everyone else–those damn transitions. But, she said I shouldn’t use my struggle with them as an excuse to take the easy way out & retreat to a linear timeline. She gave me some ideas on how I might be able to fix things. So, I’ll keep playing.

I also received feedback from my instructor on my most recent submission this morning. Overall, really good comments. This is some of what he had to say:

“You’re narrating from the emotional center of your character. This story so far is so emotionally raw and truthful. Your decision to write about an emotionally repressed character…is brilliant because the emotionality of the story is played entirely inside the character. From the outside she may look like a cipher, but her interior struggle is powerfully dramatic, without being at all melodramatic.”

Again, the pesky transitions were mentioned; but more so the opening one than the rest of them. He pretty much told me to just move forward for now & put the opening transitions on the back burner. I’m still going to work on them, but he’s right, I just need to move forward.

Feeling good. Next, & final, submission is due in 2-1/2 weeks. I’m supposed to be up to 50-pages by then. I’ll try not to leave it all to the last minute this time.

avlxyz via flickr

Image: avlxyz via flickr

I’ll gloss over the fact that today is Valentine’s Day. I don’t buy into it. Ok, I’m currently single which could be coloring my view of the whole thing, but I digress.

21 Saturdays now. Not any easier. I made an effort today to try & do something I would normally have done on a Saturday afternoon. More often than not the last 21 Saturdays I’ve found myself at home around the time that I found her. My writing group ends at noon, & I’m usually home by 1 to check on the dogs, & then I just tend to get stuck at home. I don’t have the motivation to do much on Saturday afternoons–especially right around that time. If someone invites me out for that time period, I’m fine. But if left to my own devices, I seem to find myself here. Sometimes I’ll read, sometimes TV, sometimes just sitting outside, sometimes on the laptop; but here. So, today, I made an effort. I went & wandered around a bookstore for the afternoon; something, I oddly don’t think I’ve done in months. I know I have been in bookstores in the last 21 weeks. I have the books & magazines to prove it. But I don’t think I’ve just wandered as I would have any other Saturday afternoon before. So, today I did. I found a couple books to add to my to read list: (more…)

Currently listening to: All Right by Sigur Ros

Today, a member of my writing group emailed me this article from Writer’s Digest by Elizabeth Sims:

Get Messy With Your First Draft

Sims writes about letting yourself be free and open when writing your first draft. Tell your control freak side to surrender. Just let go & write. Don’t worry about structure. Don’t worry about ideas that come out of nowhere or tangents that don’t quite fit, get them all down on paper regardless. Don’t judge your writing. If you do this, you’ll find your second draft to be an easier going because you will have more good stuff than you know what to do with.

I think I followed Sims advice to a certain extent. My control freak-structured-side & my creative-day dreamy-writer-side have been at war for years. So, I did worry about structure & I did over think a lot of things. But I did explore the tangents; & I think for the most part, I let whatever was floating around in my over active imagination come out. And what she says about having an easier going on the second draft because you’ll have more good stuff than you know what to do with, I have to say, it’s kind of true. Admittedly, I’m struggling with transitions, tense, & other issues, but I’ve also had moments where I’ve realized that it’s ok to kill a darling because there is something else that’s even better. Now, that’s kind of cool & helps restore my faith that I will, eventually, get this done. (more…)

…and still counting.

At least Christmas is over. Got through it by ignoring it. I slept through Christmas Eve as I slept off the morphine. Christmas Day managed to be a non-event as I didn’t feel like going anywhere. My brother & I just stayed home watched movies & avoided the day. Worked out well. We agreed that next year we’ll make an effort, but this year it just wasn’t going to happen. The knee just made it easier to do that & get away with it.

Went to my writing group this morning. Nice to get out & to catch up. Not so much writing. I know, I know. I need to write. I need to get on it, but apparently I’m a master of avoidance. A theme these days I suppose.

On my own this evening. My brother & his girlfriend are off to see friends they haven’t seen since coming into town. I’ve been left with my supplies in reach: TV remote, laptop, books, magazines, assorted pain killers (although really haven’t needed them), water, & snacks. They took the dogs for a long walk & fed them before they left. They’re sleeping now. Hopefully that will remain the case until they get back. Otherwise if they’re looking for attention or to go out, I’m screwed; or rather they are. (more…)

Two weeks ago today.

Kept thinking about everything that happened. Hour by hour. Minute by minute.

I’m realizing I’m never going to forget the chain of events of that day. I may be hazy on the night before, the last night I talked to her; but I’ll never forget the day I found her. I hate that. I want both of those days to be just like any other & for her to still be here.

I keep readying to say something to her, but then catch myself as the first word begins to slip out of my mouth. She’s not there to hear it. I do talk to her, but it’s not the same.

My brother booked his ticket back to the East Coast for next Saturday. I know he needs to go back to school & the life he’s started there. It’s what my mother would want. But I don’t know. I’m going to be on my own. I don’t know how I feel about being on my own, without her.

I went to my writing group this morning. It was good to do something from my old routine. We just talked. No writing today. But I did put out there that I still intend to go to the Southern California Writers’ Conference in February & to have something to submit for critique. I’m not sure what it’s going to be at this point. I still can’t see myself starting on draft 2 of my current WIP. I don’t see myself continuing that story. I’m still thinking there is something else floating in my head that I need to get on paper. We’ll see. Maybe after more time has passed I’ll be able to go back to it. I’m just letting myself be open to whatever comes. There’s nothing else I can do.

Image: Unspeakably Awesome via flickr

I’m realizing, it’s going to get harder before it gets better.

Right now, it just feels like she’s away on a trip. She’ll be back.

But at the same time, I know. There are too many reminders for me not to know.

Two weeks ago tonight, right about now, was the last time I spoke to her. She asked me if I wanted to go get something to eat. I said, “No. It’s late. I’m going to bed.” I think she said “good night” to me. I think those are the last words she ever said to me. I hate that I don’t remember better.

I’m going to my writing group tomorrow. I need a distraction. I need something of my old routine. But my old routine is just that, old. I’m struggling here. I never knew how hard it was to remember to breathe, to eat, to wake up.

This is going to get harder before is gets easier. I don’t know how to do this.

Image: yanoche via flickr