Monday, March 23, 2015

Good or Popular?

I'm painting my kitchen and listening to some classic CDs, like REM's Eponymous. Part of one song catches my ear and I stop giving the wall and window trim the first coat of white.

Not everyone can bear the weight of the world.
Think compassion...

That's evocative of so many thoughts. I have family members and friends who suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and other mental illnesses. To me, this is a powerful phrase because it hits home.

While I'm mulling and painting, another (oldie) song comes up with these words:

You were licking your lips and your lipstick's shining,
and I was dying just to ask for a taste...

It's You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth  by Meatloaf. I swoon with the imagery these words provoke. This is good writing.

So when the radio comes on and I hear:

We found love in a hopeless place (repeat 100 times) it's kind of blah.... It's not descriptive, it's not emotional, it's just... words. But Beyonce's song is popular.

Some authors. like some songwriters, are beautiful writers and I want to weep from the power of their thoughts. Add moving music and I'm both envious and enraptured. I want to write something that affects someone in their heart, or makes them laugh and forget their woes for a bit.

Other writers are popular, and there's a difference. There are mega bestselling authors, or rock star writers and their writing is... okay. We all know personal preference comes into play, but I can't help wondering if it's like 'follow the herd' mentality. There are Pulitzers that put me into a coma, yet they are labeled 'great' writing and everyone rushes out to buy the book. (I wonder if they read it...) Then, there are little known writers whose book I chance upon (or am asked to critique) that will always stay in my head. Little popularity, but good writing nonetheless.

I'm not begrudging anyone their success, I'm just saying I won't be part of the herd. Like Andy Warhol's soup can art; it's called a masterpiece but I can't see it. I would argue that Thomas Kinkade was a thousand times more talented. Art critics and buyers don't agree. (I have some fabulous preschool art from my kids that should be worth a cool quarter mill....)

Eye of the beholder aside, it's another reason I don't do reviews. I don't follow the crowd when they ooh and ahh over a particular book and I can't give it away fast enough.

There's room for the less well-known authors (and singers and artists) to get their share of the limelight. Let's not drown one person with all our attention when we can lavish it on many.

Back to painting...


Monday, March 16, 2015

What To Do....

I love the idea of this one manuscript.

 It needs work, possible major changes, but to throw out almost everything?

That's the advice from a trusted friend/well known ed/publishing big wheel. And from my agent.

What do you do when the advice is contrary to everything about the story, in no way fits or enhances your vision and you can't even think how to make the changes?

I don't want to throw the story away--I love it too much. But the changes... make it seem too much like everyone else's story. A few I can make, one I even had in the beginning, and it's feasible, but the others just aren't me.

I don't want that.

Non-fiction is so much easier. Yes, research, but the facts are the facts. Writing about the Titanic? No matter how or why, it sunk and no non-fiction piece will ever tell you otherwise.

Fiction is where anything can happen, Unless it doesn't fit in with what the publishing world wants. I feel like my story has to be someone else's.

So do I kill the story?

For now, it goes in the drawer. Maybe I need some time, distance, and consideration. I just can't write someone else's story because the words won't flow.

Goodnight, sweet tale, perhaps we shall meet again in the near future...

picture courtesy of Microsoft

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Little Battered Up, But We're Both Springing Back!

The daffys are coming!!

The first buds on my daffodils are popping up!

It's been a hard winter for them; lots of snow, ice, subzero temperatures. I despaired at times that I'd ever see them. But here they are! Especially on a cloudy, looks like rain day, these make me sooo happy.

Last week, I felt like the daffodils buries in the cold ground. I had the worst case of the flu imaginable. Every joint hurt, I couldn't move off the couch for a whole week. Then I got the head and chest congestion, cough. Total misery.

On Tuesday, I started feeling a little better. Still stiff and sore, still congestion, but just a bit more 'awake.' I dragged my butt to do a few things around the house, took a nap, then dragged myself out to bell practice. I was dead by 9:30 pm.

But today I woke up feeling even a little bit more normal. Too sore to go to yoga, but I'm thinking a little swim to loosen up the joints. (I never knew what total body pain felt like-I will be more empathetic when people tell me how much their arthritis and similar diseases hurt.)

And then I saw the daffys. While it's still going to be tiring and painful, we'll both persevere and in a few weeks, we will be blossoming and joyful.

Wishing you all a burst of energy and inspiration!


Monday, March 2, 2015

These Things Happen

The Daffodil Watch has been suspended until:

1. It stops snowing every other day
2. I can move enough snow to get to my daffodil beds
3. When I go outside I don't have to worry about frostbite within 2 minutes

In the meantime (like until Wednesday when it's going to be 50 and I'll be out washing my car), I leave you with a picture of last year's glory:

And a little reminder from my friend and neighbor, Jeannie, to all of us:

Whether rejections, crises, upsets, disappointments--keep moving on.


Monday, February 23, 2015

One Good Thing

I'm taking a day long break from book writing/revising/PR while I contemplate a few things. Sometimes as a writer you have doubts or concerns and you need to step back.

But that doesn't mean give up.

Thankfully there are other aspects of my life over which I have total control and confidence.

I can caulk a bathroom better than anyone I know- even some 'pros.' (From my time working with my mom and stepdad in their painting business.) A few trade secrets:

1- Choose the right caulk. For bathrooms, kitchens, any place that will get wet, use a silicon caulk, even with tile. The sanded grout/caulk is too porous and can soak up water--and you don't want that in your walls.

2- Whether you use a caulking gun or a tube, don't cut off too much from the end when opening; it's better to add another line of  caulk than to wipe giant blobs off.

3- Wipe caulk off hands and gun/tube when done and before washing hands. It's less sticky (it's waterproof, remember?).

4- It's always better to go with a color that blends in rather than a contrasting one because people won't notice any boo-boos or when the caulk starts to age.

5- Keep a wet edge. Just as you would when painting a wall, don't stop and start in different places. Keep moving continuously in one direction, not doubling back so the caulk will smooth out nicely.

Here's my handiwork:

And don't tell me you can't do it because it's a guy thing. If you can fingerpaint, you can caulk. (And you'd probably be neater than the guys.)

So, I'm off to ponder as I putter.

Stay warm and stay positive.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Quick, Sneak a Peek!

I'm thrilled to do give you all a peek at what the fab people at Leap Books, plus a number of talented authors, have created.


Isn't it pretty???

Isn't it delightful???

Look for it soon....


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It's The Little Things...

Hi all! Yes, this post is late, but this time I have a good excuse.

My mom had a blood clot in her leg which moved to her lung. She was in the hospital. There were some other small health issues too, so I had to fly down to North Carolina to be with and take care of her. My stepdad could have managed, but in his voice I heard the stress he was under.


So I'll be back next Monday (hopefully on time).

In the meantime, take time for something that you really should do- either for yourself or for someone else. Our time on this blue ball is short, so put aside time for the things that matter: love, compassion, family, good friends, art, fun, and leaving some small part of this world a little better.