Tag Archives: writing

love and imperfection

People will always let you down.
Love is seldom forever.
The hurt will always come.

I don’t want to know one part of those closest to me.

I don’t want to see just one facet, one side of them.  I want to see the ugly parts as well.

The whole picture, that’s what I’m after.  The multi-layered biopsy of the soul.

I can’t be content to hear things like I love you and I would never hurt you anymore.  Too often these sentiments have turned out to be lies.  Maybe they weren’t intended to be lies, but time always tells the ultimate truth.

Perhaps this stems from my childhood.  From never hearing I love you out of my parents, from never feeling at ease in my own home, from living with near-constant chaos and animosity.  Or, perhaps the root of my insecurity can be traced to my failed marriage, or the many lovers who followed in quick succession that promised me the world and gave me shit, or who promised nothing and left me empty.  Maybe – probably – it’s because I just lost something precious that belonged to someone I love dearly.

But, as Kurt Vonnegut once said, we are trapped in the amber of the moment.  And in the amber of the moment, I am insecure.

I find ways into the secret places people where people think they have their privacy.  They assume that just because it’s password protected they have an almost god-given right to absolute secrecy.  So they say whatever they please, with no thought for consequences, and there I begin to piece together the less desirable truth.

I wish there was a way to become more accustomed to betrayal, but it’s like that feeling of vertigo you get when you take a step expecting solid ground and find air: it’s always unexpected; the heart always skips a beat as the body panics and tries to work out a way to minimize the impending damage.

But I don’t mean to say that I can’t see the full scale of the bad and weigh it against the good.

An ounce of goodness is worth a great deal more than an ounce of badness, and so in the end it becomes a calculation of risk.

Recently, I learned that the badness drastically outshines the goodness in one of those people who are supposed to love and care for me unconditionally.

I’ve also begun to piece together a picture of someone I want to love unconditionally.  It’s hard, though, because the initial feeling of euphoric love wants you to believe in fate and synchronicity and meaningfulness, and it’s hard to feel that blind euphoria erode into a clear-sighted but happy contentment.

In the amber of this moment, I am scared.

I know time will reveal what the amber hid from my sight.  Betrayal is almost sure to follow.

Because hurt is inevitable, people will always let you down, and love is seldom forever.

The trick is to find a balance between love and imperfection, to see things for what they are and nothing more, and move forward the best way you can figure.

And hope.  You also need hope.


a blip in the flatline of my hiatus

[in]security*

i went to church once.  the pastor brought a piece of wood, some nails, and a hammer up to the pulpit.  he called me up to drive the nail into the wood.  it was hard.  i didn’t want to hammer my finger at first, and then the nail wouldn’t go in straight, and i couldn’t swing the hammer hard enough.  i handed the board back to him.  he said, pull the nail out.  that was equally as hard, but i retrieved the nail and handed everything back to him.

he said, get rid of that hole.

i said, i can’t.

hurtful things are like nails, he said.  when we hurt someone we drive a nail into their heart.  you can pull the nail out, but the hole is still there.  you can cover it up, sand down the rough edges, and paint over it, but the hole will always be there.

i was pregnant.  we stared incredulously at positive pregnancy tests.  we talked about names, looked at baby clothes in the mall, cringed at price tags in baby sections, and smiled despite people’s thoughtless words.  a few weeks later, we were holding our breath as a doctor searched for the flicker of a heart beat.  today, there is no more baby.

for a while, my insecurities were gone.  hope had numbed the pain of past hurt.  now it’s like i’m waking up still a little drunk from a night of trying to forget.

i’m insecure about my body.  about money.  about my worth as a person.  about love.  maybe i don’t deserve this.  i’m probably going to fuck it up.  he’s going to regret this.  maybe he regrets it already.

part of me knows it’s irrational.  i read into things way too much.  i’m constantly looking for affirmation of my fears, trying to keep my guard up so i can be prepared for the inevitable hurt.  but focusing on the possibility of failure never led anyone to victory, and right now is not my past.

i’m abandoning salvation.  i was going to give casey nine months to clean up the town.  nine months because cherry is pregnant with the native’s baby and if casey didn’t drive out the bad guy the baby would be killed.  i was going to give myself something to focus on so maybe i would still have the drive to write between feedings and diaper changes and whatever.  but there is no baby, so there is no salvation.

maybe i’ll write a story about a heroine who overcomes her insecurity.  i’ll make her do something completely out of her comfort zone, and i’ll put the life of someone she loves on the line.  i’ll drive nails into her and leave her to rip them out.

i think i’m actually going to start on that right now.


So I had, like, no ideas. And then all of the sudden I had one.

My inner dialogue has gone something like this:

Okay, let’s write something.
What should I write?
A western would be good.  I’ll do that.
Note to self: cannot write exclusively on one project.
How about fantasy?
I’ve never read a fantasy book.
How about young adult?
Or a flash fiction challenge?
OR ANYTHING?
Why is it so damn hard to come up with stuff lately?
Maybe I should write first thing in the morning.
…What is morning, anyway?
I’m obviously in a rut.
Write or die.
Write anyway.
JUST DO IT.
Now, what to do…

Yeah.  You get the picture.  I’d call it writer’s block but I know it’s because I’m going through some huge transitions in life at this point, some expected and some completely-out-of-nowhere-holy-shit-what-do-I-do-now?! unexpected.  I sit down to write and it’s like there’s this little black hole of worry sitting somewhere above my left ear sucking all of the creativity I possess into dimensions unknown.

So I had this idea, right?  I figure, I feel like my writing is just too weak.  No matter how I try to flex my writing muscle, it never seems to gain any strength.  I sit down to write and even if I felt a burst of energy not so long ago, most of the time I sit staring at the computer screen feeling completely impotent.

My idea is this: take shit that’s already been created and is awesome and rewrite it.  Give proper credit, of course.  I’m not out to plagiarize or anything.  That’s lame.  But I gotta write something. Anything.  Even if it’s not original.

Wish me luck.


Writer’s Block: Write or Die

It doesn’t exist.  I have to tell myself, over and over again, writer’s block does not exist.

You can’t touch it, or feel it, or wrap your fingers around it.

It’s not some kind of chemical imbalance that can be measured, monitored, and medicated.

There is no word troll sitting in my right brain eating all the words.

To sum up: there is no goddam excuse for my nearly non-existent word count lately.  None.  I sit here and beat myself up because my dialogue is weak and my prose is too sparse and I can’t seem to give anything I write momentum.

But rule numero uno in writing is, was, and always will be this: WRITE OR DIE.  If you don’t write, you won’t write.  Period.  End of story.  End of all stories, actually.  Tragic, really, if you think about it.  I beat myself up over my inadequacies but every time I post something my hit count climbs higher and higher.  People wouldn’t read what I’m writing if they thought it was garbage.

And I have all these sweet ideas, too.  Mostly they amount to chopping up books and movies I love and putting their pieces back together like Frankenstein’s monster, but whatever.  There’s no such thing as originality, after all.

And then, of course, there’s Salvation.  I’m in love with my characters.  I love Cherry because I’m narcissistic.  I love Casey because I’m going to be mean as hell to him but he’s gonna obey, anyway.  I love Rupert because he’s going to grow up to be one twisted mammajama.  And I love the man in black because he’s just so damn sexy in that powerful, evil, despotic kind of way.

But I keep getting hung up because I want it to be perfect the first time.  Even though I know it’s impossible, even though it was a project intended to be more word vomit than anything, some stubborn part of my subconscious gets all gun-shy and nervous about clicking the Publish button.

So consider my little hiatus over.  Done.  Finis.  I’m going to pony up and do what needs to be done, which is to write.  No more whining, no more second-guessing, no more pissing and moaning over a case of writer’s block which fundamentally can’t and never will hinder me.

I am a writer, after all.  So I gotta finish the shit that I start.


A Word on Writing

So I’ve been working on Salvation, my little miniseries.  The way it worked out, I started writing and about 600 words in I thought I’d use the firs 400 or so for a little “pilot” post.  I posted it and got a little praise from fellow writers, but then I got hung up.  I was trying to trudge along with what I’d already written, but I kept getting hung up on stale dialog and a slow pace.  I walked away for a bit, which I should never have done, and wracked my brain over what I should do next.  I realized tonight as I was putting my son asleep that there was only one thing to do: scrap what I had and start over.  So that’s what I’m going to do, and hopefully episode one will be published for your reading pleasure by the end of the weekend.

A friend of mine is also a writer, albeit a new one.  She texts me for advice and sends me Emails with pieces of her work to critique.  I find myself realizing how far I’ve come since August of last year when I started this blog with a couple trite posts about how to write.  Now that I’ve gotten a little more experience under my belt, I’m going to give the writing advice thing another go-round.  But, I’ll tell you, as any person who gives writing advice should, that what I’m about to say really only amounts to a bullshitter bullshitting other bullshitters.  Just because something works for me doesn’t mean it will work for you, but all the same, let’s begin.

~

Infodump and expect your reader to flush what you wrote.  To put it another way, don’t tell me, show me.  If you weigh your prose down with overwrought descriptions about your character’s hair color, what brand name she’s wearing, or how he parts his hair just-so, I’m going to get bored and skim over what you’ve spent so much time writing, or worse, dismiss what you’ve written altogether.  Information is best given in little snippets to keep the reader interested.  Limit your descriptions to two or three important pieces of information and move on.  Leave some of the work to your reader’s imagination.  That is, after all, why most people pick up books instead of turning on the boob tube.

Lean how to write a sentence, shithead.  A sentence is, at its most basic level, a noun and a verb.  A subject and an action.  Deify plums.  That’s a sentence.  I could go further and talk about subjects and predicates and all that other high school English gobbledeegook, but to be completely honest I was the kind of paradox that passed English with flying colors, all except for the grammar part.  That’s not to say that grammar isn’t important, not at all.  Grammar and punctuation are the aesthetics of any piece of written work.  if yu reed a sentance tht looks reel sloppy youre gunna feel lyk an idiot just reeding it?  But when your reader’s eyes skim over something coherent and structured, they’ll continue reading because reading isn’t work.  The sentences you write are your direct link to your reader.  If I write a sentence like “Elaine splashed a bit of lilac perfume on her neck, and glossed her lips cherry red,” you, the reader, can imagine the smell of lilac, a burst of vapor from a perfume bottle, the sheen of red lipstick.  From my finger tips, to little black letters on the computer screen, through your eyes and into your brain – through the magic of the written word we writers have the ability to create.  Every writer should have enough respect for the art form to at least master the basics.

Cut unnecessary words.  Adverbs are almost always unnecessary.  Following a line of dialog with anything but “he/she said” is almost always unnecessary.   Superfluous descriptors are almost always unnecessary.

Stop trying to edit as you write.  You’ll kill your flow.  First drafts are always nasty and full of plot holes, rough spots, and entire sections that need to be gutted and rewritten.  Worry about that later.  Much later.  For now, focus on the hardest part of writing: the motherfucking writing.  Trying to rectify every mistake as soon as you make it will take all the piss out of your story.  It’ll lose its life, its momentum, and become more a mother in law than a lover, and your story should always feel like a lover.

~

Aaaannndddd, that’s all I’ve got because I’m way too distracted by writing my miniseries to give this any more attention..


In Which I Announce My Intentions to Become a Goddess

I’m gonna write cereal fiction on TMD.

The way it works out in my head, I write a story in episodes, each with its own conflict and resolution, with the whole of the episodes tying into a bigger plot that arcs through the whole project.  Each episode has a word count between 400-800 words so as not to be exhausting for reader or writer, and updates come along once or twice a week.

So, yeah.  Look forward to something of the crime noir/western/coming-of-age/romance variety coming down the pipes.

Now I just gotta figure out what the hell to write about.

I gotta create people that don’t exist, construct a setting that will never be, and make my characters do terrible, awful, wonderful things that they will never and can’t ever actually do anywhere but within the realm of my word processor, and within the confines of your imagination.  I gotta become Goddess of a world of my creation, and then fuck it up big time until something memorable and worth while rises from the conflagration.

Wish me luck.


20 Great Things About Dating a Writer

You can read the original “20 Great Things” post here.

I’ve seen this list several times floating around the internet, and I guess for a while after its publication it went viral in the blogging world.  Maybe I’m a little late to the party, but after a long conversation last night with my boyfriend, I realized that posting this might help him get a little better perspective on what he stands to gain or lose by choosing to stay with my slightly cracked writer self.  But in the interest of being genuine, I’ve taken the skeleton of the original post and added some new flesh to make it personal.

20 Great Things About Dating a Writer

1.  I will romance you with words.  Love letters are no longer a thing of the past, not with me.  Maybe a note turns up in the jeans you wore to work, or a letter appears on your night stand after I go home.  I will tell you everything that’s great about you, at length, until I’m sure that you know exactly what kind of a wonderful person you are in my eyes.

2. I will write about you.  Sometimes you’ll notice I posted something new in my blog, and you’ll recognize yourself reflected in what I’ve written.  You will, in a way, be immortalized in word.

3. I will take you to interesting events.  Part of being a writer is broadening my horizons, which in turn broadens my writing.  You don’t always have to go, but expect to be invited to anything from drag shows to flea markets, or to watch a weird movie, or to find some beautiful natural wonder hidden in the woods near where I live.

4. I will remind you that money doens’t matter so much.  I know it matters, in its own way.  I know that money can’t buy happiness, but a happy home can’t be built on hopes and dreams.  But I also know that persuing one’s passion is the key to happiness, and the money should always be secondary.  After all, I am a writer, and writers don’t write to get rich.

5.  I will acknowledge you and dedicate things to you.   Open up the cover of any book and you’ll see a page with a dedication.  Sometimes it’s long and lists several people by name, and other times it’s short and sweet and refers only to a loving wife, or a supportive boyfriend.  Expect to be named as a motivator, a supporter, or a muse.

6.  I will offer you an interesting perspective on things.  As a writer, I experience life twice: in living and in writing.  I don’t just let little details slip by me in a rush from one point to the next.  I take in as much as I can from every experience, whether that means noticing a dandelion popping up through the ground in February, or all of the many and crazy ways people handle life, love, loss, disappoinment, and the rest.  Stick with me and you’ll soon be privy to all of my insights, and maybe you’ll begin to see the world a little differently, hopefully for the better.

7.  I’m smart.  I have to be.  I can’t just pick up a pencil and put it to paper and expect to create something worth reading unless I’m well-read and well-educated.  I won’t ever stop trying to learn new things, whether it’s fixing a car or finally figuring out just how the hell to properly use a semicolon.  I can hold a conversation.  I can match your wit.  I can make you laugh and make you cry, and it’s all because of what I’ve learned.

8.  I’m really passionate.  I use all of my senses, every one of them, in writing and in living.  I live my life with purposeful intensity, realistically expecting that hurt and joy are both inevitable.  Maybe, if you let it, my passion can enhance yours.

9.  I can think through my feelings.  I may be passionate, but I don’t fly off the handle or shoot from the hip when there’s confrontation.  I take a long time to process my thoughts and try to never make a decision without first weighing the possible consequences.

10.  I enjoy my solitude.  Unless we’re in a “honeymoon” phase, I’ll have times when I want to be alone.  That means if you want to go out with your friends or play some video games or otherwise do something that doesn’t involve me, that’s fine.  Because the act of writing can’t involve you.  I need my space to write, just like you need your space to be a man.

11.  I’m creative.  That might seem like a “duh” statement, but there’s a deeper application to my creativity.  I’m more capable, as a creative, of finding solutions to problems that most people wouldn’t recognize.  I can see a problem from many different angles, and from there work out what the best strategy is to handle said problems.

12.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I don’t hide my emotions, not one little bit.  If I’m happy, I’ll smile.  If I’m excited, I’ll giggle.  If I’m sad, my gaze will be downcast.  If I’m gloomy, my shoulders will slump.  You’ll never have to guess what my emotional temperature is at the moment: if I’m hot I’ll be hot, if I’m cold I’ll be cold.  I won’t fake anything.

13.  I’ll teach you some cool new words.  It might be agitating to hear me use a huge word in an every day conversation, but I’ll do it.  Don’t feel silly asking me to explain myself, either.  I love to explain.  I love words.

14.  I can adjust my schedule for you.  Even if I’m working, I don’t have to spend my writing time at the same time every day.  Writing is great, but life is better.  And life with you is best.

15.  I can find 1000 ways to tell you why I like you.  I’ll call you lovely, or handsome, or gorgeous.  I’ll tell you that you’re wonderful and remind you that your quirks are sexy.  I love to express myself, especially when my self expression means giving you a little boost in self esteem.  Because, honey, you certainly deserve to feel just as special, wonderful, and unique as you are.

16.  I communicate in a bunch of different ways.  Communication is important to me, but text works just as well as a call or a conversation face to face.

17.  I can work from anywhere.  It’s important for me to work on my writing, but I can take my iPad with me anywhere we go.  Fishing trips, family visits, wherever.  As long as I’m not being rude, if inspiration strikes wherever I am I can just take out my iPad and work without interfering with what’s going on.

18.  I surround myself with interesting people.  I know hippies and bikers and factory workers and hipsters and rock stars and goths and drag queens and rappers and gamers, and I value each and every one of them for what makes them unique and interesting.  Meeting new people doesn’t frighten me, and the thought of introducing you to old friends is certainly exciting.

19.  I’m easy to buy gifts for.  If you want to figure out what to get me, look at the kind of notebooks I’m using, my pens and pencils, and the other weapons in my writing arsenol.  Go to a craft store and look until you find something that seems like it could be useful for my writing.  Chances are it’ll be cheap, so you won’t go broke keeping me happy.  I value thoughtfulness over dollar signs any day of the week!

20.  I’m sexy.  Come on, now.  Bookish types are hot.  Imagine me all dressed up like a librarian, horn rimmed glasses and a pencil skirt and a ruffled button up shirt with my hair in a bun… Yeah, you get the picture.


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