Friday, September 25, 2009

Celebrate the First Amendment!

How many know their First Amendment rights? As a reader and writer, I was served a reminder of its importance by following this link: Banned Books Week September 26 - October 3, 2009.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just a Phase?

Note: I posted this piece yesterday, and today I woke up with an entirely new perspective on the beast, which proves that publicly sharing angst divides problems to the point where they're no problem at all. Thanks, Universe, for so many wonderful, helpful and compassionate friends. (You all know who you are...)

hen to decide it's really over? Lately, through the musings of other authors, different components revealed the dark under-belly of writing: Publishing. Some publishers dropped print lines without informing its authors; agents not performing to full capacity; the chronic debate of what publishers want/expect. It's as if the publishing industry is a ruthless lot of cutthroats - the Debbie Downers of entertainment. And then there's validity. Some published writers objecting to the non-published writers' thoughts and opinions. "Hah!" some will say. "I'm published, you're not. Take your opinion and shove it!"

Well, okay then. Maybe I will.

I long for those naive days when I penned the first Epic. Day and night I wrote, so in love with my story. It was like a ridiculous crush on the cute boy who finally realizes you exist. I could not get enough of it or the two following Epics. For sure, I felt, I'd see publication. My Epics were masterpieces (in my mind).

Now I'm not feeling that love - not for the writing and clearly not for the publication road. For me it's a case of "too much knowledge is a bad thing" scenario. How happier I was in not knowing the forensics of writing and publication. My personal La-La Land. Just me and my pen.

Did I mention that the joy of reading has dissipated, too? Used to be I could swallow a book in its entirety within a day or two. Now I find myself in the thralls of guilt if I do that, thinking that I should be writing, not reading. Not to mention, reading is now an unconscious editing if I know that much about writing. Hah!

Where does it all lead? Is it a matter of joy vs. getting-the-job-done? My present feeling for writing and the lack thereof reminds me of my reasons for self-retirement. I left the job market because getting up in the morning was more painful than a slow bikini wax. Necessary, yet excruciating. My profession lacked self-fulfillment. I did not quit the normal work force in order to be a full-time writer, however. Writing did not come into play until almost a year later. Just something I decided to undertake, the voices in my head wanting a more tangible venue, thus, the Epics to follow.

That's not fun anymore. Learned too much. When thinking of writing for publication my thoughts waver to a more hermit way of life. The "Big Dance" is far out of reach, its preparation daunting. My heart aches for the times of blissful writing that entertains me.

Lately, the other writers don't seem as if they're having fun either. Was it always like that, back before I focused on publication road?

Perhaps it's my age getting in the way. I feel life shortening. That said, I want to enjoy more, angst less. Writing for publication just ain't doing it for me in that regard.

Is this blog my swan song? I'm not sure. Certainty comes in small bites these days. I drown in waves of doubt while longing for simple joy. "Take time off," some will say, but when I return the same dark underbelly awaits. "She's a quitter!" others might think. "Not a real writer in the first place." And there's the rub. Define what a real writer is, and maybe I can see things differently.

For now I sit on this fence, pondering which side appears greener.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Confessions of a Slacker

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It's been over eight (count 'em - EIGHT) weeks since I've last written...

But I'm not going down on my knees for forgiveness. I've got my reasons for being absent from the scriptorium, and even if that's a loser's excuse, so be it. I'm only human. Life happens. Guilt is for the insanely uptight perfectionists of the world. Let them take up room in that small, dimly lit confessional. I'm standing right out in broad daylight to say that I haven't written one stinking word in my Epic In Progress and I'm feelin' alright.

Life happens. We can't always carve out space for commitment to the pen and paper. Except for authors whose daily bread depends on their craft, the rest of us need to view it as a lesson in priorities. Or, maybe it's just the Universe telling us, "Hey, take a break and suck up some life, will ya?" because for this writer, life is story fodder. Where else to get cool ideas if not out there where life happens? It's sort of like dating; you're not going to meet Mr./Ms. Right by staring at the four walls of your house. You have to go where the action is. Interact with life's breath.

Yet, I'm a bit bothered, personally, that when this slacker cycle of mine ceases, I'll stare at my Epic and say, "Who in the hell are you?" Better yet, I'll probably say, "Who wrote this shit?" And there rests the slacker-dom rub. While life pulled me away from the pages in five thousand other directions, ugly-assed inner critic (U-AIC) did not take a break. This is where fear rears its ugly head as I pick up where last keystroke landed, the breaking moment that could push me back into slacker-dom.

Will it be like riding a bike after falling off, a wheel or two missing? That could make getting back on track extremely difficult. How do I kill ugly-assed critic before taking up pen again? That is my question. I'm giving this serious consideration because next week I plan to embark on a writing blitz (between unpacking boxes and returning to school). What sort of discipline will stop U-AIC from whispering those famous words, "Hey, you suck?"

Answer: The way I'll view my Epic. Not with eyes meant to discredit every word written, but with the eyes of an encouraging editor, one who would say, "It's a little wonky here, but damn, this part here is brilliant!" I feel I have a choice on procedure. Either I embrace the beauty with unconditional love, or I set out on the path of self defeat. It's all about knowing who I really am and not give in to U-AIC's belittling needles of contempt. It's a matter of realizing that the Epic is only going to get better because I'm ready to hit the pavement running. That's my choice.

Am I alone in my chosen slacker-dom? Those willing to admit the same, please share your experience in returning to the pages and how you dealt with the evil U-AIC.