Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Be a Writer

You've come here with hopes of learning how to be a writer. Isn't that my unspoken promise to you, as a writer and a blogger? Show you the wisdom? There are plenty of blogs saved on microprocessors at remote servers, housed in large manufacturing facilities, sucking up the AC and the electricity that will tell you: Here's How. You do this, then you do this, then you try this, and suddenly, you hold the brass ring and you are making money and you are happy and fulfilled.

Sorry. Wrong place.

Here's a funny story. I've recently acquired a cat. He is now half of my animal holdings. My dog and my cat have come to terms with each other. They are, despite their species, very much alike. We have negotiated a routine. I sit at my computer every morning, trying to work on something productive, and they watch me. There's no delusion on my part that they watch because I often eat my breakfast at the screen. Yogurt. Cereal. Today, a bagel. They are rapt because of my bagel. The aroma of toasted wheat and melted butter, who doesn't have a little chubby for bagels? I wave it over their heads and they follow this potential treat like a god-head. They follow it with their instinct, eyeing it as it circles in their sky (hey, I can tease, I feed them), and they flick their tongues, purr and wag, and believe the bagel will drop from on high and life will crack open into nirvana.
Worshiping at the Bagel Goddess

You think the same thing about reading blogs about writing.

Here's what I know. No bagel will do it. Bagels are too easy. You think like an artist. You are. But writing for commercial gain is a business. At some point, you'll find yourself making decisions based on forces that are counter to what brought you to the writing table in the first place. You will recognize creativity is good; the commercialism, at best, is annoying. Maybe you'll find nirvana by not thinking about either; you just write to write; or, alternately, you just write to make money. Very few do both.

My best advice? I have none. Maybe it is one of the reasons I blog, because I come here and try to figure out this path. Here is the dumping ground for my head junk -- on the page (more accurately, remote server) rather than the un-air-conditioned manufacturing plant of my brain. Lately, I've been focusing on reducing distractions: the chatter of world news, the infinite worries of parenthood, the price of bagels. Distractions suck the life out of writing.

So minimize them. Go write. Wallow in your creativity. Butter your bagel, snarf it down, and get back to me about how it went.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Earnest Aside: An Incomparably Beautfiul Line

Strands of thought today. My desk, I deny, is a reflection of inward misalignment. It is never clean. Papers stay unattended for too long. When I clear a space, within days another pile replaces the swept-away. My folders are reused, first labeled a month or a year or a decade ago, and re-labeled with a black marker, recycled but not renewed. It should be a sign of progress, new labels with new projects, and this is good. It feels instead like abandonment and a grasping for territory. Neat alignment. No neat alignment. Make sure the rows are even; the contents are not.

Writers write for different reasons. I wish I could say I've made peace with my motivation. Who wishes to be forgotten? Who wishes to be unloved? Remember me. Love me. Honorable motivation or sorry self-esteem? Eyes of the beholder.
See my desk unclean here. See the mind's folders stacked competitively side-by-side. Here is a streak of loveliness, a word next to a word next to a word, and together we proclaim them beautiful.

A beautiful line of prose is an elusive creature. I chase it. Can elusive be snared? I think I shall write an incomparably beautiful line sometime in my lifetime. End up in the Book of Quotations. Under the heading, incomparably beautiful lines. When I think of this, my thoughts go onto the body. Translation, beauty has a physical quality. Words have a physical quality. Read, and feel the affect they have on your pulse and temperature and erogenous zones. This includes the area behind your eyes, arguably the origination place. This is the experience of being alive. Words seep under the skin. They embed there.

Part of me wishes I did this writing thing for money. Maybe more for money than for admiration. A friend pleaded with me this week: Forget admiration. Get your books out. I want to agree with her. Want them out of my head and my body and into/onto someone else's. I reach for the folder that is labeled Grief. In it, I put my regrets, my misunderstoodness, my ego, my longing. Foremost, my indecision. I think this conflict has merit. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Take Stock, Moby Dick Lovers

This post has nothing to do with Moby Dick, other than I embrace the fact that I'll never finish reading it. On the other hand, here are few things in life I do embrace, not in any particular order:


the delete key

the malleable mind

My favorite cuff courtesy of Jerry Van Amburg.



a well-placed kiss

leather on skin

true love




the power of words

my voice as a woman


the constancy of change