Tuesday, July 29, 2014

That Damn Little Thing

I confess. My book snubs the Oxford comma. I turned my back on the buggar early and didn't redeem myself in the final edits, except for a few places where I asked my publisher for the "extra" comma to be placed. I wish now I had included it everywhere. It's an old journalist's habit to leave it out. Blame my years in radio (where, hell, no punctuation is okay as long as the voiceover is coherent.)

Thank God the book is out. Thank God, and thank everyone who cared to share a kind word with me in this process. Thank God, everyone with a kind word, and all of you who will read my novel. Thank God, everyone with a kind work, all you readers, and the enthusiasts (good or bad) who will write me a review. (Even bad reviews are reviews. Don't go getting any ideas.) Thank God, everyone kind, all readers, all reviewers, and anyone who bothers to buy fiction nowadays at retail prices. Thank Amazon. Thank God for independent bookstores. Thank God for this cranky computer I put up with to continue to be a half-assed writer bent on following a dream. Thank God for dreams. Thank God, she, he, it, with a magic wand full of surprises, for I still surprise myself when I write, and it's been too long since I wrote.

Death sucks.

Death is the only permanent thing there is. Or maybe, the only other permanent thing besides death is the transference of hope. For that, thank humanity. Thank yourself.
On my doorstep. A real, live book.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Asterik to My Book Release

My book is being printed and released this week by a traditional publisher after five years of writing, editing, querying, and patience. This should be a champagne moment. I drank champagne over the weekend. At a friend's wedding. I celebrated his moment and remembered my own wedding 21 years ago. The recent death of my husband makes the book release a little hollow.

I am happy about the book, that it will live outside my own imagination now. I am also sad. Sad because he should be here. He lived through my obsession over the book. He came up with the title. He read all the sex scenes and cat-called. He will not realize its success. He will not benefit from the fruits.

I did not dedicate the book to him. He was a little pissed about that.

He loved me. I loved him. Some of the realities of love fill the pages. Not literally about my life with him, but broader, involving the spectrum of human emotion. Some of it encompasses pain. How can we love another person without a little pain? Read it. You'll understand.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Women Writing, and me

Hello. I have everything to say, and nothing.

From this time forward, I will misuse commas. Because writing allows you freedom. Once you learn it, you can break the rules. I find some comfort, in the rule-breaking.

In Portland, Oregon, my home for three years, many good women are writing and rule-breaking. They live in this field dominated by men. I should look up whether women writers also earn less on average than men. Or, on second thought, I shouldn't. I should keep writing.

These local and accomplished writers -- Ursula K. Le Guin, Cheryl Strayed, and Lidia Yuknavitch -- live in Portland and write. They came together this month to promote the new release of a selected, favorite, out-of-print book. They each picked a book that had touched them and wrote a foreward, then a publishing house bought the rights and reissued the works. (Pharos Editions: The Lists of the Past, a collection of stories by Julie Hayden, chosen by Strayed; The Tattooed Heart & My Name is Rose, two literary novels by Theodora  Keogh, chosen by Yuknavitch; and Crazy Weather, a classic coming-of- age tale set in the American Southwest, the selection of Le Guin.) 
From left: Yuknavitch,Strayed, and le Guin.
Bottom right: Cute blonde, my friend, Fufkin.
At Powell's in Beaverton, May 15.

At the event, each writer spoke about the books, their authors, the publishing business, and why readers are so important (buy from independents!). If I could tap every hour into their strength as true artists, my cup of inspiration would be overflowing.

But my cup is close to empty. If I were a tell-all blogger, you'd understand every nuance of why. When does a writer start thinking her innermost story is the one everyone is interested in reading? Certainly, Cheryl Strayed didn't hold much back in Wild. Lidia laid it all out in Chronology of Water. I'm not them.

I have many plans unfolding. A long road-trip, a relocation, a resettling. More writing, I'm sure. Close time with good people. In the next few weeks, I say my good-byes to Portland. I release my book. I re-assess.

I have everything to say, and nothing.