Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dreaming Up More Story

I love writing, in theory.  In reality, I love coming up with the initial idea, and I love sharing what I have written with someone who might criticize it or love it, but will at least have taken the time to hear my voice and validate that I really do have a purpose in this life, even if it is only to flood an already saturated world with more words and pictures.  That step in between, that actual "writing" step, Love might be a bit strong for that, might in fact be at times actually opposite of my real feeling about the act.
Snag in my yard that reminds me of unicorns
60,000 words into a project I can no longer bear to see, I still know I am only 2/3 of the way to the shortest acceptable end product.  Chaining myself to the keyboard with the promise of chocolate at the end of cranking out another couple thousand words, I still find distractions.  My inner princess is acting about 7 as she finds books to order, people to chat with and games to play, tweets to send about not writing.  My inner parent stands arms akimbo, foot tapping and IGNORED.

Rope swing my kids have outgrown
I push away from the computer and take a walk around my yard.  Except for the woodpecker drilling away on the redwood stumps, it is silent and my thoughts begin to relax.  Relaxation is key for my creativity.  I think of the best storylines in that almost asleep state, usually in bed, just before drifting off, when if I don't get up and take notes, they will have evaporated by morning.  I usually don't get up.  Real life demands I face it with well rested energy, or the students sense my weakness and become weak themselves.

My cat follows as I circle the yard, like the obedient dog who raised him, Rocky can heel with the best of them.  His chatter is designed to encourage me to sit and take him on my lap, instead of return to work at that beloved and hated hobby of mine.


I call my decorating style Saturday Cartoon, Smurf blue, Pikachu yellow
I loved finishing, Duffy Barkley Is Not A Dog.  Writing and being able to say "I have written a novel" felt so wonderful.  But Duffy was not finished with me.  More of his story keeps popping into my head when I am no-where near the keyboard, and flittering away as I sit down and focus.  Now Duffy Barkley:  Seek Well
 It has hit a phase that I had managed to forget in that first novel, the phase where I have told most of the story, but need to go back and expand it, to "Show, not tell."

And there is something else, a boatload of new characters who are insisting on being included, even though their ship floats ghostly and abandoned at sea.

And the drudgery of remembering my original story is amazing, I sweat blood over it, it was part of my lungs and bones, so why now, is it so hard to remember if it was Belle Island or Bell Island - Turtle's Bow or Turtles Bay,  Ah'ee or Ah-ee?
a lot of my stories are dreamed up in the Lovesac
If I could not be a writer, life would be easy.  There would be no guilt when I picked up someone else's novel instead of opening the file with mine.  There would be no blood on my keyboard from chewing my lip in frustration.  I know there is beauty in this confused and angry world.  Why do I have to share that instead of quietly enjoying it?

Anyway, I have found that even now, when I am avoiding writing, I am writing.  Hear me Twitter?  I #amwriting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Constant Change

I moved into my house 1n 1996 and found a small marsh area not far from home.  The Two dead snags were somehow symbols of steadinessin a changing world to me.  When the sky was blue or foggy, and when the marsh was dry or flooded, in spring and summer and brutal winter those two trees looked unchanged and I often stopped to stare at them and remember to breathe, in my own hectic life where Fathers grew sick with cancer, and babies grew into silent teenagers or snuck out and vanished overnight.

I could find signs of life everywhere, sometimes black tailed deer or great blue herons or loons, sometimes just fat spiders on dew covered webs.

The salty brine of the marsh was where two ecosystems collided to form a third, the fresh water creek, hitting a slough that formed a lake that breached into the Pacific

Whenever one part of life threatened to take over another, I would remember the fragile balance of the many plants and animals in this little slice of the world, and find my own balance once again.

Then the tall snag, snapped off, and left only a stump.  I actually mourned that dead tree.  Bur it was still beautiful there and I grew used to the sight of only one tall, almost winged sentinel standing with its much shortened companion.

But this week, when my Baby graduated from High School, and one of the students at the middle school where I was teaching was murdered, I came back to see for myself that there was some stability in the old dead tree.  But it was gone.and so I have to find another strong, source of support and comfort, or perhaps learn to bend and flow like the grasses and the stream that remain.