• human moments,  writing

    Human Moments, No. 8

    The moment is right.  The days of slow percolation are over,  as the months of procrastination disguised as thinking have finally come to a close.  The notebook with the rapidly jotted notes is taken from the commuter bag and consulted, with a final nod of satisfaction at the contents.

    The writer has an hour, a simple hour before her train pulls into the terminal, before she has to turn into someone else for an entire work day.  She competes for a seat by the window, in a carriage with few people in it, in the hopes that no one will talk to her.  The train whishes-whishes-whishes as it speeds along the miles, and she focuses, thinking about the plots and the scenes and the characters that she’s imagined for weeks prior to this final moment.

    At last, she begins.  She opens her computer and clicks open the program that she’ll spend the next year working with, gnashing her teeth at, sweating blood on.  It pops up a dialogue box.

    “File name?” it asks.

    “Crap,” she mutters.  The entire process grinds to a halt, while precious minutes tick by.

  • writing

    El Presidente

    Superior_Funeral_Home_hearse_2012_07_08_Memphis_TN_002-740x365I am pleased to share with you the news of my short story “El Presidente,” which was published at Punchnel’s a few days ago. It is a lightly fictionalized account of some true events and I hope that you will enjoy it.

    This is exciting news. As this is my first professionally published piece, I am amused to find that all I can now see in the story are things that I would change. I have a bad habit of dwelling in editing longer than I probably should, to the point where I find myself alternating between the same two edits on subsequent revisions. When I’ve reverted the same sentence back to its previous form multiple times, then I know that it’s time to put the story away and let others see it.  I hadn’t read “El Presidente” in six months, so reading it again now makes me itch to edit, even though I know it is really time to move on and celebrate and work on different things.

    So, fly away, little finished story. I wish you well, in your new home out in the big, wide world.  This author has other stories to tell.

     

  • human moments,  writing

    Human Moments, No. 7

    Brennnessel_1“I don’t know how he did it.  Our father used to take us fishing and let us wander through the woods after we got bored of it.  We’d fish for maybe twenty minutes, and then we were off for our adventures. Just free, like. But now I don’t understand how you could do it.”

    We are lying in bed with the lights out.  It’s late and I can feel the sleep drawing on me, which is just the hour when my Beloved is most prone to reminiscing.  “Maybe he secretly hoped you’d be eaten by bears.” I suggest.  “I know the kind of child you were.”

    “Ireland doesn’t have bears.”  He pauses and thinks.  “Or snakes.  Or large cats.”

    “This sounds like a very pansy sort of island.  Don’t you have any real predators?  What about wolverines?  Or maybe wolves?”

    “There’s badgers.  But they’re mostly underground during the day.”

    “Badgers!  I said real predators.  Not ones that just slap their tails at you.”

    “Badgers can really hurt you!”

    “What about foxes?  They have sharp little teeth.”

    “Oh, those would be well off, gone before you even saw them.”

    “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fox, outside of a zoo.  Isn’t that sad?”  I pause.  “You must at least have seals.  Or selkies.  Or trolls.”

    “That’s hilarious.”  The only sound in the dark is the cadence of fingernails scratching against a day-old beard.  “Well,” he says, his voice hitting that special soprano pitch only available to Irish men, “we do have nettles.  You’d be sorry if you ran into a patch of them, to be sure you would.”

  • writing

    The Power of the Few

    notepad-691250_640On the third Sunday of each month, I pack into my car with a folder full of writing and drive down to the beach town by my house for a morning of writing workshop and coffee.  A few months ago, I found a new writing group, which has been forcing me to produce new writing on a regular schedule.  We are small but mighty: just a group of three people that are writing different genres, but who are dedicated to actively writing and supporting one another.  Our deadlines have snuck up on me once or twice, but having this group has forced me to put out at least a first draft of a short story each month.

    At best, my writing has been very unstructured over the last year.  Being a working mother has made it so that there are days when it doesn’t feel like I have stopped sprinting all day, but if I let too many of those prevent me from writing, I know that I’ll miss my monthly deadline.  Because we are such a small group, I can’t miss a week or tell myself — as I’m afraid that I have fallen into doing with this blog — that there are other writing projects that need a more immediate focus.  I simply have to produce something worthy of discussion.  It’s been really good for me, as losing the structure of grad school means that it’s all too easy to allow the urgent demands of motherhood and being a worker bee take priority over my writing.

    And now, a few months into our new group, the beautiful thing has happened.  One story lead into another.  In our monthly discussion, I asked one of my writing group friends about the antagonist in her story, because I wanted to know what led him to the moment where he does the unforgivable thing.  And then I started asking myself that same question about my story.  I realized that I wanted to try to answer it, because my characters were complex enough that the first story had only scratched the surface of who they are.

    As the characters in one story stepped into the beginning of another, I felt my heart race a little.  I started to really feel the characters, to wonder what they were getting up to when I wasn’t thinking about them.  I wanted to know their history better, to understand the before and the after.  A second story followed and, as the word count expanded, I realized that I wanted to know yet more.  There is a third story coming, which I believe will be an ending of sorts.  Perhaps.  I am very fond of triptychs and trilogies.  Can I publish three stories together?  Is that a done thing?  Does it matter if it is?

    This last month also introduced some technical difficulties.  My writing laptop  has developed a serious enough video problem that it had had to be shipped back to the manufacturer and my loaner laptop is a beast!   It is so big and heavy that commuting with it is risking a shoulder injury.  I am already fighting with an ankle that just will not heal (because being in your late thirties is amazing), so I’ve decided to be prudent and leave the laptop in the office.  My only reliable writing time is my forty-five minute train ride, so to be without a computer on my commute is challenging.

    I’ve had to start writing in a notebook. It is  much slower process; my hand cramps and my…uhh…creative handwriting is not improved by the bumps and vibrations of the train carriage, so decoding it back into digital form is a true test of my intentions.  But slowing down has its perks.  My notebook has no distractions.  I am both alone with the page and alone in the page.  When the writing goes well, I forget my cell-phone talking, Long Island drawling, opinionated and whingy seat mates.  By the time we arrive at my stop — sometimes as I am racing to record my last thought as I shove my notebook back into my bag — I have been so immersed in story that I have completely forgotten the details of my work day.

    It is this immersion of thought and mind that always brings me back to the page.  Even if I never publish a thing, I would still keep writing.  As I grow older, I find that I need art to keep my life authentic.  Even when I am writing about the darkest parts of my life, the writing frees me to feel without judgment, to dwell in the hardest moments of my life without having to face the real life consequences again. When that happens, I can close my notebook without ever needing to read those pages again, and feel satisfied that I have done something worthy and good.

    But then there are characters like the ones I am writing now, who demand to be seen again, to be taken out of the first draft and into the next.  And that is a different kind of creation.  In this case, it is a preparation to share a deeply vulnerable part of my history with the world,  to use these characters to visit a place that I don’t often share with even my closest friends.

    Just the ones who write.

  • ethics,  family,  introspection,  motherhood,  writing

    Happy New Year!

    blue_new_year_greeting_card_266209I spent the last day of 2015 switching between taking care of a sick baby, a sick cat and sorting through boxes of my mother’s things.  It’s not just my mother’s things — we are hoping to move in the spring, so I’ve spent the last week decluttering our basement storage so that when we show the house to potential buyers that it looks like a place where you can put things.  I’ve been going through all the stuff that we’ve forgotten that we owned, like fish tanks and snorkel fins and Halloween decorations, and trying to find new homes for them so that our house looks like a place where someone else can put their forgotten stuff.

    Ironic, isn’t it?

    The upshot is that Baba and the cat are both on the mend.  Our eighteen-year-old tabby tore out the dew claw on his hind foot on Christmas Eve, which led to him spraying blood all over our kitchen floor and being very indignant about all the antibiotics and pain medication that I’ve been force-feeding him for the last week.  He’s also been cordoned off from the back yard, which wasn’t too big of a deal until he started feeling better.  It has been Howl O’Clock ever since.  On Thursday, I strapped Baba to my chest and slung the cat carrier over my shoulder and went back to the vet for the follow-up exam.  Baba ate much of the furniture in the exam room while we waited, but the cat’s prognosis is good, even if he is still forbidden from his backyard prowling for another week.  Howl, howl, howl.

    Baba is a little slower to heal, and we’ve spent most of last few nights attending to her cough. It wasn’t exactly my plan for ringing in 2016, but it is what it is. In a sense, I can’t think of a more appropriate way to ring out 2015 than to stumble around with exhaustion after a long night of baby tending.  Here’s to more sleep in 2016.

    After a hard week’s work, I am also beginning to see an end to the basement clean-up. It is a fitting project for the end of the year — trolling through old photographs, journals and letters puts me in a deeply reflective mood. I’ve now outlived enough of my relatives to have accumulated  generations of memories, so many of the letters and photographs that I’m rediscovering aren’t even mine.  Now, I am saving them for Baba, in the hopes that some day she will care as much about our family history as I do.

    I did find my childhood diary, which has only fuelled my recent desire to take up journalling again. For a writer, the benefits are obvious.  I have journalled privately on and off through the years, but it has been off again since Baba was born.  I already struggle with finding enough time to work on fiction and this blog, and journalling was competing with that time.  Time may be a finite resource, but I find that I’ve missed the clarity that journalling gives my thoughts and emotions.

    And yet, after finding my mother’s diaries, I am not certain about leaving behind such a detailed written record for Baba to find one day. My mother died suddenly, decades before she expected to. Her journals are filled with beautiful writing, but it is clear that they were an outlet for her when she was troubled or struggling with the depression that always chased her. This isn’t the picture of her grandmother that I want to leave behind for Baba. Every time I find my mother’s journals, I can barely stand to read more then an entry or two, because I know they weren’t meant for me. I know that I should destroy them, but I also can’t seem to bring myself to do so, knowing that they might have answers to some of the questions of my early life. They provide context to my memories, which my mother might have been able to do if she had lived longer.  I was raised thousands of miles from our extended family, so I don’t have the network of shared memories from cousins and siblings and aunts and uncles and grandparents that so many people do.  I just had my mother, who died too soon.

    In this cleaning, I found a baby memory book that she wrote for me, which has satisfied my curiosity about many questions that I’ve had this year. No one remembers when I began to walk, but my mother wrote it down for me. I found when I got my first tooth, grew my head of hair, began to sit up. I’ve wanted to know this all year so that I might know what to expect with Baba’s development. And here is a book that tells me everything!  I was so excited by this that I turned around and ordered a memory book to fill in for Baba, in case she finds herself in the same position that I am in now.

    What if there are more answers, more context, in my mother’s journals and letters? I remember my mother, mostly as the grinning, silly, playful person that she was much of the time. But Baba would only know her through these very painful journal entries. That isn’t a fair picture at all. And yet, my mother kept journals from 20 years before she died. Did she want us to find them?  Could she just not stand to them go?  There are some questions I just can’t answer.

    For now, I’ve put the journals and letters back in labelled boxes and pushed them to the back of our storage area.  I tell myself that after we sell our house and move that I might pull them out and read through them, but I know that a thousand things will take a higher priority.  They are journeys into the past and it is, after all, a new year now, ripe with the excitement new stories and memories to come.

    Happy New Year!

     

  • motherhood,  writing

    November, NaNoWriMo, Some Falling Down

    Some time between August and November, Baba changed from being a baby to being a little person — a little person that is brimming with opinions and ideas and curiosity.  I don’t know how it happened, but I suspect the when was sometime around when the plates in her skull fused together, transforming her from mewling newborn into a person.  An actual person, who spends every waking minute trying to find out more, more, more about her world.

    Almost overnight, she had a child’s face and head, and a child’s thoughts to go in it.  Two days after she learned to crawl, she tried to stand, dragging herself up on anything that she could grab.  Now that she can easily stand with help, she’s trying very hard to stand without help.   She manages to succeed for brief moments — a few seconds here, a few seconds there.  She’s taught herself to fall, so when her legs buckle, they buckle neatly beneath her, bringing her down onto her rump.

    Most of the time.

    My writing journey has felt much the same lately.  I’ve had a second short story accepted for publication and I have been holding off on writing here until I have the details to share with you, but it’s been nearly a month now, and the details haven’t come.  So I will share that I hope that things are happening.  The journey continues, but it does so haltingly, a wobbly baby step at a time.

    In the meantime, I decided to distract myself with NaNoWriMo, because I have deeply missed first draft writing.  I am working on an existing project — the novel that I began in graduate school — and I have been furiously burying myself back in the 18th century in order to do it.  Trying to write this intensively while taking care of my Baba has been a constant exercise in acceptance of my own humanity.  Although an experienced NaNoWriMoer, I am nearly 5,000 words behind where I should be. I am only scribbling off this post now because today’s writing went well enough that I started to close the gap.  This year, it’s not about winning NaNoWriMo — it’s about getting back to writing something new every single day, which I haven’t done for months.  On a day like today, when the baby slept and the trains were kind, my success fills me with energy.  I want to stay up all night and crow from the roof.  Tomorrow, well, tomorrow is, as they say, another day.

    And so it goes.  The days pass and I watch Baba, whose journey feels like a reflection of my own.  In the garden, the leaves turn and fall off of all the bushes and vines that I’ve planted, and I know that they too will be back to their productive summer glory…one of these days.

  • writing

    Easy Come, Easy Go?

    Kiera Knightly in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
    Kiera Knightly in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

    Mr. Bennet treated the matter differently. “So, Lizzy,” said he one day, “your sister is crossed in love I find. I congratulate her. Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then. It is something to think of, and gives her a sort of distinction among her companions. When is your turn to come? You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Now is your time. Here are officers enough at Meryton to disappoint all the young ladies in the country. Let Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you creditably.”

    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

    I had planned on sharing the news with you today of my first publication, a flash fiction story about two people who meet in a diner near a college campus.  “The Diner” was due to be published this morning in The Saturday Night Reader, an online and print magazine that specializes in stories under 1,000 words.

    Instead, I must share with you the sad news of the end of The Saturday Night Reader, as I received notice this past weekend that they closed their doors for good on Sunday.

    Well, okay then.

    It is far worse news for them than it is for me,  of course, but I must admit to a deep disappointment.  After so many years of writing privately, it was a great relief to have a story sell so quickly after I started submitting.  To finally be able to call myself a published author was a validation that all of this time and effort actually was leading me somewhere.  I know that I will get there again, but I need to grieve a little first.

    So there.  That’s the grieving done.

    One piece of writing advice that you hear over and over again is that you need to have a social media platform to have any chance of success with traditional publishers.  This is because the publishing industry is struggling enough (thanks, Amazon!) that taking financial risks on unknown authors is harder to do.  Having a successful social media platform tells a publisher how many fans the author already has, which lets the publisher make a guess at how much money they might make off that author.   It’s just business, baby.

    Other than this blog, I had held off on spending time developing any of this, because it felt like I was wasting time that would be better spent writing.  But with a publication pending, I finally set up a Twitter feed and set myself to learning about marketing.  It…has been an interesting learning curve.  After nearly a month of “interactions,” I still haven’t figured out how to get meaningful conversation and contacts out of it, even though I gain new followers daily.

    My greatest puzzlement has been my followers — the first of which found me before I had posted any content.  I quickly discovered the game of Twitter, as it applies to the writing community, which is to follow lots of other writers so that they will follow you back.  We all win from this — we all appear to be very popular.  But does it translate to book sales?  And, when you follow thousands of people, how do you get any meaningful content out of the Twitter feeds that you read?

    I admit it.  Social media does this introvert’s head in.  Won’t you be my friend/reader/mutual followee anyway?

    So here’s a serious question for you Twitterers and writers.  What tactics do you use to make social media worth your time?  How do you turn the constant chatter (or the loudest-chirp contest) into something that works for you?  Did playing the follower game translate into professional success?

    While I puzzle over the mystery that is the modern world, I’m back to working on polishing some more short fiction for submission.  Stephen King gave a piece of advice in his book On Writing that I have kept close to my heart over the last few months.  If you have enough work submitted, then it doesn’t matter when the rejections come — you still have hope for the fate of the submissions that you’ve yet to hear back on.

    So, cheers, Stephen King.  I’ll clink this glass to yours as each rejection comes in — after all, I’m one of your 971,000 nearest and dearest “friends.”

     

  • human moments,  motherhood,  writing

    Human Moments, No. 5

    The boy is tow-headed, in the classic sense, his hair blonde in the way that you only see on young children.  He crowds in to the park bench with his brother, who might have been a twin, and his small sister.  They all stare at Baba, from ever-decreasing distances.

    Baba, for her part, stares back at them.  She hasn’t had much experience with children that can walk, and she finds them interesting, nearly as interesting as standing up.  The girl, a curly-headed two-year-old reaches out to touch Baba on the face, while her brother repeats his question impatiently.

    “Is it a girl or a boy?”

    “She’s a girl,” I say, uncertain how to navigate this minefield of children.  Near me, his mother shakes her head, while his sister pokes Baba in the cheek.  “She’s pretty!”

    “But she’s wearing blue!”

    Really?” his mother asks him.  She stands a few feet away, ready to swoop in the second her daughter crosses a line.  We had met just a few moments before, strangers bonded in a quick alliance against greater numbers.  “Really?  You know we’ve talked about–”

    “I like blue very much,” I say quickly.  “I’m a girl, aren’t I?”

    “Yes,” he says, looking at his brother for confirmation.  The other boy nods, shoving his hands into camouflage pants pockets.

    “I would even say blue is my favorite color.”

    He digests this for a moment, then speaks again.  “But, are you sure she’s a girl?”

    “Yes,” I say, laughing.  “I’m pretty darned sure.”

     

  • books,  culture,  writing

    Where Do You Buy E-books?

    When I moved in to my neighborhood seven years ago, there were three independent book stores, which fell like dominoes that year.  Then Borders Books & Music by my office turned into a bank, while my beloved Strand Annex notified its loyal customers that it was combining with its parent store uptown. The loss of the Strand Annex really hurt, because I was in the habit of spending my lunch hours browsing through stack after stack of stories.  Some of my most memorable books came off the dollar pile there — short story collections from the 50s, post-apocalyptic survival novels, books recording art exhibitions long since forgotten.

    Browsing seems like a lost art now, since it is difficult for me to drop into a nearby book store, even though I live in one of the most populated places on the planet. Every New Yorker knows that the song goes “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” so I admit a great anxiety for the future of book stores everywhere.

    Just yesterday, I got into the old discussion about paper books versus e-books.  I read both, depending on what’s at hand, but increasingly, it is digital books that available.  I do still order books to be shipped to me, from time to time, when the book is something special, or illustrations are an important part of the text.  But with shipping fees being what they are and the nearest book store is an out of the way forty-minute drive,  digital books are accessible books.

    And yet, I’m invested in publishing and writing remaining a profitable industry.  While Amazon is notoriously exploitative of writers and publishers, I bought into their system for convenience when I bought my first Kindle. But I’ve finally reached the moment where my conscience won’t allow for it any more.  I decided I wanted to support a real book store, a place where people can go and look and feel and touch books. Some of my best memories as a teenager happened while browsing the shelves of Barnes & Noble in a mall that is now closed and gone, and I want the next generation to have that experience too.

    I finally gave into my want-not-need longing for a modern e-reader.  I bought a Nook, thinking that at least my new book purchases would support Barnes & Noble — an actual brick and mortar book store as well as a company that has fairer practices for publishers.  Then I discovered that you cannot download ebooks that you purchase through their store; they will deliver them to your Nook, but you cannot download them anywhere else, including your computer. If you later decide that you wish to use a Kindle or a laptop or a tablet that is not from Barnes & Noble to read your purchases, then you’re out of luck.  If Barnes & Noble stops selling the Nook, again, you’re out of luck. This is not purchasing books — this is borrowing them at full price.

    Although my profession makes me think more about technological disaster than most people, it’s not crazy to be suspicious of the perils of allowing your bookseller to store all your books for you. While painstakingly downloading my library from Amazon (book by book, as Amazon provides no other method), I’ve repeatedly hit the message that the title I want to download isn’t available.  Once, while on a downloading frenzy, I was even logged out of my account.  I’m sure that was accidental…or am I?

    I’m not looking to pirate my books.  I’m simply interested in being able to transfer my property between any e-reader that I choose.  I want all of my books, no matter where I buy them, to work on the same device.  I finally got this worked out with my current set of e-books after fiddling with removing DRM for a few days so that I could put my Amazon purchased e-books on my Nook.   (This method has worked well for me.)

    I am admittedly the sort of person who, repeatedly and willingly, makes her life more difficult for the nebulous sake of principles. I want authors and publishing houses to be paid fairly. I want to support book sellers. I want to also own the books that I buy. This doesn’t seem like such a strange desire.   So, what to do?  How do I buy e-books?

    After doing a lot of reading, I’ve settled on a combination of direct purchases from publishers that offer DRM-free books and using Kobo to purchase books that are not offered in a DRM-free format.  Buying DRM-free books directly from the publisher has its obvious advantages, while Kobo is an online marketplace that facilitates e-book sales for independent book stores. If you’re inclined the way I am, you’ll do your shopping through your favorite book store and, presuming they’re a Kobo affiliate, follow their links for your purchase so that some of your money goes back to the little guys.  You can find a list of Kobo affiliated book stores here.

    Kobo delivers its books in .epub format, which can be read in Adobe Digital Editions.  As a Linux user, I’ve set it up Calibre to scan for .epub books and automatically remove the DRM.  I have to manually transfer new books to my Nook (which Calibre makes simple), but I get a a DRM-free copy for my efforts.  If I ever decide to buy a different e-reader after the Nook, all of my purchases will transfer to it without hassle.  Its a little more work, but let’s me sleep a little better at night.

    I think what we will see as the e-book market matures are more marketplaces like Amazon Kindle Unlimited, where book are rented like DVDs. But what will that mean for authors? Will they see royalties for every rental? Or will it become even harder to make a living as a writer?  With the death of brick-and-mortar book stores and decreasing funding for local libraries, how will the next generation learn to love books the way that we do?

  • writing

    On Being a Real Writer

    writingThere are days where I spend my time marvelling at the coincidences of the universe.  As I’ve struggled to turn away from my news feeds, to stop reading story after story of human beings being awful, to try to convince myself that art has value in a world filled with such suffering, I received a notice that one of my stories has been accepted for publication.

    Just  like that, I will go from being an aspiring writer to a published one.

    The brain is a funny thing.  I read the email with the understanding that it would be a rejection, because it was only my second response out of the submissions that I made last month.  When I saw that it was an acceptance, the achievement suddenly became so much less worthy than when it was out of reach.  It must be a terrible magazine, I thought, if they’re taking *that* storyThey must accept just anyone.

    But they are not a terrible magazine.  It is not a terrible story.  The magazine did not somehow adopt lower standards just because they want to publish my work.  I worked hard for that 1,000 words of fiction, honing it and whittling it down into something much better than what I started with.  I did the legwork and figured out a few appropriate markets, then worked to format it appropriately and submit.  (Lesson learned: if your story is on the verge of being flash fiction, make it so.)  There was quite a bit of discovery, which required new approaches and hard work.  That alone is a reason to be proud.

    Artists are, of course, famous for their struggles with self-doubt.  What we do is so subjective that perfectly good pieces of work can be undervalued for centuries before they find the right audience.  Likewise, we’ve all seen art with astonishingly poor craftsmanship become bafflingly popular.  With the advent of social media, it’s certainly obvious that success in the publishing industry often is as much about having a magic number of followers than any inherent artistic merit.  With the accessibility of self-publishing and the many online web magazines, it also feels like there is just so much more of everything already out there.  If you go looking for books written around a certain person or topic, there’s likely to be five or more, published in the same year.   I’ve often wondered if it’s even worth publishing, as much as I like to dream about a life where all my financial worries are taken care of by my writing.  Is publishing just adding another voice to the already shouting crowd?  Where does my voice fit in?  How will I know if it’s any good, when popularity matters more than artistry?

    Yet, I want to write as well as I can.  I want to give back stories to the world, because I have enjoyed so many.  The kindest thing that a stranger has ever done for me has been to create a three-hundred-page world where I can lose myself for a few hours.  I want to pay that forward.  I know that to get to that point, I need to start sharing my work with larger audiences, so that I get the feedback that I need to keep improving my storytelling.

    This first publication is just a start, a small story in a small magazine, with a small payment.  (More details to follow, when the work is actually in print.)  But it’s more than that too — it’s a validation that my writing can be more than a hobby, that there are professionals out there that think it has merit.  This is a tremendous thing.  Later, I’ll worry about that dream of the luxurious house in the woods, where I sit in the loft in front of the huge bay window and write my stories, which naturally flow effortlessly into a perfectly complex first draft.  It’s a beautiful daydream, but it is just dreaming.  Getting my work out there, networking with other writers, keeping a blog — this is the reality of where I need to be right now.

    The next steps are in progress.  I’m already working on the rewriting of the next story that I’ll send out into the world.  On Sunday, I’m meeting with a new writing group that focuses on literary fiction, which is usually code for, “No vampires or ghosts here, thank you.” (Will they love or hate my magic realism?  I don’t know!)  The meeting place is very nearby — my current favorite writing cafe, as it happens — and the group is new, so I am hopeful that it will become a regular resource for me.  Certainly, it will be helpful for me to have the deadlines imposed by meeting with other writers, since finding time to write new fiction has been very challenging since Baba came along.  And yet, it feels like years of work are finally coming together for me, as my daily life becomes so much more writerly.

    And how will I celebrate my first publication?  Well, I sure hope it’s by getting published again, very soon.

Bitnami