Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Relentless Ruby, Find Me An Oasis - Nailpolish Stories


One haunted past

* plus *

One barren future 

* equals *

Two mini stories - Relentless Ruby and Find Me An Oasis, each exactly 25 words - published in the October 2018 issue of Nailpolish Stories.

Now that's my kind of math.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

No Soup for You! Next!


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I recently saw Jerry Seinfeld perform on stage, and it was an absolute blast. I literally laughed so hard I cried. And I wasn't the only one. The audience roared with laughter, and we were on our feet in a standing ovation before he even left the stage. When I think about how much talent and hard work it takes to put on not only a show like that, but also a career, a lifetime, like that, it blows my mind. 

I'm in kind of a writing funk. The creative energy is there - or so I'd like to believe! - but it's at a simmer, waiting for me to turn up the heat. Problem is, I don't know what I'm cooking anymore, what I'm creating. French onion soup? Chicken noodle? Chili? A novel? A novella? A collection of stories? Something I've never tasted before?

A very long time ago, I had a recipe, a career plan. I've since swapped some ingredients, changed things up, but the results aren't what I'd imagined. 

I'm trying to figure out what to do next. Keep doing pretty much the same thing, maybe tweak a measurement here and there? Or wing it, throw everything I've got into the pot? It could boil over, spill and stain, burn everything in its path. But it could also, just maybe, bubble and burble, smell oddly delicious - like grilled cheese and new books and the sea! - and possibly end up weirdly tasty . . . .

Monday, September 17, 2018

You Can't Handle the Truth!

Or so says Jack Nicholson as Col. Jessep in the movie A Few Good Men. Oh, but I disagree Col. J! I think we writers can handle the truth just fine, thank you very much.

Hmm, okay, maybe not. But at least we can handle these "25 Truths About the Work of Writing" written by Greer Macallister over at Writer Unboxed.

Like the first two:

1. Writing is the easiest work you'll ever do, more joy than labor, a flurry of words pouring from your fingers onto the page so beautifully and smoothly you're more witness than worker. Some days.

2. On the other days, it's so hard and slow and, yes, laborious, that you feel you must be doing it wrong because if it's this hard how could anyone possibly force themselves to do it?

My favorites:

16. Everyone works differently. You don't have to write every day or write what you know or stick to any other particular process that happens to work for other people. Even if it works for a lot of other people. All that matters is whether it works for you.

22. How you feel about the work of writing will change over time because you change over time. Don't be afraid to change your process or your goals. Something that worked for you 10 years ago may not work anymore. Explore. 

But the truest truth of them all?

7. It's work and it's magic and it's a mad alchemy.


*****

Do any of these truths - or others from the full post - ring true for you? (I'm smack in the middle of Number 22 myself. This is one of the reasons I'm now keeping a looser blogging schedule.) How is your writing - or other creative work - going?

Monday, September 3, 2018

Bound - 101 Fiction

How do you tell a Werewolf (or other Were-Creature) story in exactly 100 words with a one word title?

Here's my way: Bound.

And if you're looking for other ways, check out 101 Fiction's September 2018 issue (Issue 20).

*****

Time for a blogging break! I'll still be around though, just popping in and out. A new post will be up on Monday, September 17th! 

Monday, August 20, 2018

What If? - The Shambling Man

Sometimes I wish I was the kind of person who saw a field of pretty flowers for what it was and not as an excellent hiding place for slithering, slobbering creatures. Or who saw an old man at a garage sale as just that and not as a sinister Stephen King character shambling toward me . . . .

Scenario: You're wandering around a big neighborhood garage sale. It's a beautiful day, lots of people are out and about, and everyone is friendly. An old man - tall, thin, gangly - shambles toward you on the sidewalk. He moves as if his joints don't quite fit together, his limbs loose like a scarecrow. Hedge clippers - large, dull - hang heavy from his left hand. He doesn't smile, but he nods, says hello, shuffles past.

What if . . . he's on his way to take down more than the hedges around his property? What if he's going after his wife? A neighbor? Why?

What if . . . he believes he must protect himself from a time traveling murderer lurking in the woods beyond his fence? Or that he must slay a monster living in the bushes around his house? What if he's crazy? What if he's not?

What if . . . plants, weeds, spindly trees are growing where they shouldn't? In the attic? In the car? From the carpet in his living room, in his bedroom? What if they're starting to grow inside of him, sprouting out of him? What if he's the only one who can feel them, see them?

What if . . . the hedge clippers are cursed and everything they cut grows back faster, thicker? What if whatever they cut into actually bleeds? What if the people who sold them to the Shambling Man know exactly what they are, what they do, but this was the only way to free themselves?

*****

Your turn! What is this man's story? Did you ever make up stories about people at garage sales? Imagine the history behind the items being sold? Ever wish your imagination was wired differently, like in a way that would actually let you sleep at night? 

Monday, August 6, 2018

Synchronicity

You know how sometimes, when you're feeling blue or out of sorts, you stumble upon something - a quote, a picture - just when you really need it? And before you know it, you're feeling a little better, more connected to yourself, to others? This happened to me recently with a batch of Marzi Wilson's Introvert Doodles.

I hope the following Doodles give you strength and make you smile, the way they do for me. (Oh, and the last one makes me think of all of you out there in the blogosphere!)


BRAVERY


APOLOGETIC



REAL FRIENDS


(I've mentioned Introvert Doodles - the website! the book! - on this blog before and you all already know I don't receive any compensation. I'm just a fan!)

*****

Feeling brave today? Are you living your life unapologetically? Do you consider online friends "real" friends? I know I do!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG: The Writer as Whippersnapper


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Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but this month's optional IWSG question - What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey? - got me thinking about two things I would tell the writing whippersnapper I once was. 

* DON'T bother defending yourself to others. *

I spent years trying to prove to people in my life that my writing was just as important as anyone else's job/career and that my time was just as valuable. Not only did it not make any difference, but it was also exhausting, draining me of energy I could've put toward my work. 

* DO focus on the joy. *  

Of creating, of imagining, of stories, of writing. Publication is thrilling and rejection stinks, but like Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book, Big Magic, "You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes and failures." Living a life in pursuit of a passion, dedicated to the journey and not the destination, is something to be proud of. 

This is what I would tell myself then.

This is what I remind myself of now. 

Question is - will either of us actually listen?

*****

Do these warnings sound familiar? What would you tell your younger writing self? Don't you just love the word "whippersnapper"? Have you read Big Magic?