Thursday, November 27, 2014

small steps to regaining discipline

What is the smallest thing I can do to regain my writing discipline in the spirit of Kaizen?

1. Report here three times a week - let us say Tues, Thursday and Friday - on what I'm doing.

2. Write for a half hour a day. (at least - of course can be more but at least)

3. Send stories and manuscripts out to those who have promised crits.

  • I sent out Bright Angel today to an old pal who sent me her manuscript too.

That's it. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group Meeting is now called to order

Okay, okay ... I know it is a heck of a time of day to start this thing but I worked all night last night - 8pm to 8am - my very first foray back into the land of the salaried in a very long time. I came home, ate breakfast and went to bed. I slept til 1:30 and got up to have another breakfast (when one's inner clock is frigged eat breakfast is my rule) and then sort of lay about trying to recover. I couldn't sleep all day because I have to sleep tonight as I'm working tomorrow in the daytime (8 to 8).

I'm a writer.
I have no doubt of that.
I'm also a mortgage holder, a grand-baby gift buyer, a consumer or art supplies and pasta, and a lover of new books. In short - I consume so I must labour. It is that simple.

I am a writer.
I have no doubt of that.
I'm also a dog walker, sunrise admirer, friend to many, and ardent supplicant to the world of knowledge.
In short - I am busy burning through my life, hoping not to leave a trace of my existence except a faint perfume on the air - l'air du go go.

I write.
Let's not doubt that.
I sent out a short story to a writing pal yesterday - she's getting back to me. My novel is about to go through its last mighty edit and be flung into the universe, I have poems simmering, poems cooked and poems on the grocery shelf.
In short -

I doubt.
Who would I be without my doubts? A self-confident ning-nong is my guess. An irritating popinjay. An over-exuberant puppy. In short - me but worse.

So now is the time, dear fellow pen wielders to grab the plot by the short curlies and OUCH - don't do that! Now is the time, as it always is and always will be - to write. Get thee to thy desks (or tables in fabulous little cafes if you must) and pour forth.

I'll be the one here tip tap tapping.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

It has been so long...

Sometimes I dream I have forgotten a child in my care, or to go see a friend. It is a terrible feeling when I remember in my dream. I never realized that it has been so long since I posted on this site! I have no ready excuses but perhaps a bit of a psychological explanation. I went away to a writing workshop at the end of October - the 20th. It is called Piper's Frith and is held in Newfoundland. We had a week at a fabulous resortish (more rustic than that implies) with a mentor, lots of time to write, and readings by participants and mentors every night. It was beyond all my hopes and they were very high. My mentor was a generous, smart and funny man; my fellow writers were kind, supportive and sharp - a fabulous package! Most importantly, for me, is that I remembered my voice. The workshop I took was on voice - that elusive important element of writing. I had thought I was going to work on a memoir of my last year that I had started. It was built on the bones of my poetry, blog posts (Sojourner in Labrador) and face book bits. It had, I think, a nice quiet contemplative voice. I was building up to say how walking on the beach and communing with the wild had changed me - and it was all true. But. But it wasn't my voice. It was some voice that maybe more sale-able than mine, mellifluous, of contemporary interest (woman at the crest of her last quarter life moves to the northern wilds etc... ) but it wasn't my voice. My voice is sharper, funnier, laced with generous lashings of both bitterness and wry notes. I think I am thoughtful and kind but not gentle ...  So, within hours of being there, I decided that I needed to work on Bright Angel, my YA novel. My mentor agreed. We'd chatted in our first group meeting (5 students and him) and also that night at dinner and couldn't see how I was the same person who wrote the material sent in ahead of time.

I think a year of being on my own, with lots of online and telephone love but no direct contact with other writers, had left me feeling bad about my voice. Who wanted the screech and caw of a crow when I could pretend to be a lark? But crow I am and crow I will be. Now I am back in the saddle - I'm working renewed on Bright Angel, sending out my poems (which have ever been in my voice) and feeling good about it all. My reading at the Frith went swell - my mentor saying "You kicked the arse out of the room!" and so I'm raring to go.

I also got a job! I haven't started yet - I do my first shadow shift tomorrow night and then my second on Wednesday. I'm a 'casual' so will be called in to work when needed but I'm fiercely looking forward to it. My year of lolly-gagging about is over but my habits of writing, drawing, photography and meditation are well-established. I will be working with youth and their families and will be happy to get that fresh perspective again.

I will try and show up more often here, now that I've remembered who I am...

Here is a painting I recently did.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday! Get thee to thy desk, wretch

I will. I am. I'm here but I'm babbling on my blog. Soon I will stop - turn on a tomato and away I go. I've walked with the dog and had my gruel so I'm ready to write. I even know what I'm working on - my piece for work-shopping at Piper's Frith. Frith! Not Firth. Same thing but different name. The place is Piper's Hole really, but no one wants that at breakfast, so the writers, being writers, renamed it. Frith has a lovely sound I think - whispery celtic fairy with a bit of a well aged scotch in a nice solid glass with a bowl of cranachan for those hungry moments. Or a fella playing a sheep's stomach with no knickers on. Take your pick.

So...anyway...that's what I'll work on. Also I might look at sending a few poems out, which, I'm well aware, I've been saying I'm going to do for awhile. Not sure what the hesitancy is right now - I may try to delve that or I might just say 'shag it' and send some out despite my balking.

Enough for now. I'll get atter.  This first photo is Bella chasing Yellow Legs, futilely. The second is one of the paths between houses in Mud Lake - no cars! love it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Checking In Rather Late

I'm working. I'm writing. I'm gathering and stitching and tearing and cutting and pasting. I'm breaking down and building up. I am here for the muse and the muse is here for me. Is she a genius or a daemon?  Am I Roman or Greek?

I'm putting together this big unwieldy project - my Labrador Project which has no name because it does not know what it is. Is it memoir? Kind of. Is it poetry? Yes, indeed or it is somewhat poetic - like the fox we saw coming home from Nova Scotia was a ballet dancer - a little Degas girl in torn black tights with a real fire in her heart. Like that.

I've gathered all the sojourner blog posts, all the fb fragments and poems and I've begun to make a narrative of it. I need something to take to Pipers Frith, the writing workshop I'm going to. I need to send out about 5 thousand words by the end of the month. I have them - I have thousands of words but they are in strings, in ribbons, wrapped around piano legs, floating out to sea, ice skating on the canal. They aren't here yet! They're coming. Honest, they are. They've sent envoys to tell me. They are literally on the move, they packed their little word suitcases - though some insist on old-fashioned rucksacks, and they are taking trains, planes and dog-sleds to get here. One bunch of words was vacationing in Western Newfoundland in the Bay of Islands and they don't want to come - they want to live there forever - but they are coming. Just a bit slowly. They are mostly a dedicated lot, even that rebel gang in Newfoundland.

As they come they tend to bring the motion of their journey with them. They don't, can't settle down nicely on the page. No, like Bella, they hare off here and there, sniffing out more words I think. They don't just want to settle nicely - they want gangs and gangs and gangs. And I'm patient - god knows, I'm very patient. Well...with words I am. You have to be. You cannot force them. They are wild and any hint that you are going to try and colonize them or tame them or whatever and they are gone like the landlord's smile.

Maybe I'm a bit manic. I'm going to have a bath now. Talk to you later, when I'm done my corralling for the day. Tomorrow. Sometime. Yup.  Here is the airport at Red Bay, Labrador. Some of them might be stuck there. The weather is far too nice to fly in.