Writer of Soul-Searching Snark

Posts tagged ‘writing’

Stagnation

quicksandDo you know what it feels like to stand in the middle of quicksand and have no idea how to get out? You can feel yourself being pulled under and have no control over the situation. The more you move, the quicker your sink, but doing nothing is against your nature. You HAVE to do something!  You can’t just stand there and be sucked into the bowels of the earth, right?  You’re overridden with despair, agony, regret. Where’s Mr. Darcy when you need him?

So, I’m not literally sinking in quicksand, but life circumstances have made a head dive straight into a pit of said substance sound appealing. How do things get so out of control? How do I let myself become so overwhelmed by issues that I don’t even care about? I know what I want. I want to make a living as a writer. I know what that entails, writing, promoting, blogging, promoting and definitely more promoting. What am I doing? Herding goats, managing a rabbitry and slopping hogs.

Recently, in the most ironic of situations, I busted my kneecap while doctoring our goat herd sire, Alonzo’s, busted kneecap. Yeah, I know, I should find the humor in it, but sitting on the couch with my leg in a brace is driving me nuts. Guilt overcomes me every evening when my 76 year old mother tends to all the farm critters. Work that I can do in three hours takes her at least six. What do I do? I try to help and end up doing further damage to my knee. alonzo

When I first discovered that the lightning bolt shooting from my knee to my ankle was indeed caused by a real, legitimate cause other than me wanting to avoid farm chores, I thought  woohoo! I can write.

Reality? It’s really difficult to be creative while doped up on pain pills and/or an electrical storm is brewing in your calf.

I’m stagnate and I hate it. Detest it really. I never considered myself an active person, but being planted on my backside for four weeks has taught me a thing or two about myself.

1) If I want to do nothing, which I do on occasion, it has to be under my terms. Then again, that really shouldn’t be that big of a surprise. I’ve never been good at following orders.

2) I have a sick obsession with Criminal Minds. Of all the shows on television, I choose that one to watch while vegging on the couch?  Disturbing right? Does it count if the Criminal Minds marathon has been coupled with BBC mysteries. Probably not, huh? You’d think I’d be spending my time watching sappy romances. I guess I don’t feel like crying on top of all the physical pain. Who knows? I can assure you that I don’t want the Behavior Analysis Unit of the FBI messing around with my brain. Oy! Talk about frightening.

3) My mother can guilt me with one raised eyebrow. I had no idea she had that much power over me. It’s wicked. I need to study her technique.

4) I already knew this, but it has been confirmed. I have some awesome friends. Really amazing ones really who are willing to drive to the middle of the boondocks to keep me company or schlepp me into town. That makes me happy, but I don’t think I really needed a busted knee to discover that truth.

5) Writing erotica when in pain, and sex is the very last thing you’d consider doing at the moment is impossible. It’s impossible to write romance too. When you’re in a mood most foul and you don’t want to talk to anyone, happily ever after is buried in the dark recesses of your criminal mind.

So, three more weeks of leg brace. Will I decide to pull my way out of the quicksand–or in my case drug-infused fugue–and do something productive or will I continue to veg on the couch with a bunch of psychos? Maybe if one of those psychos was super-duper hot my thoughts about sex might change, resulting in the ability to write erotica again.

Hey, a girl can dream!

The One Legitimate Excuse

Seems like I need to introduce myself to everyone again. It has been months since I have blogged. Trust me, the reasons/excuses are many and legitimate, but I can’t help recalling the words of the wise, talented, and divine Mrs Velda Brotherton. Early on, during one of my first meetings with the Northwest Arkansas Writers’ Workshop, someone commented, “I haven’t written this week. Who has time?”

To which Velda replied, “You WRITE. Everything else goes to the wayside.”

Dusty Richards piped up and said, “No husband has ever died from making his own sandwich for dinner.”

Velda added, “And no one has ever been killed by a dust bunny.”

??????????????????????Clearly, Velda has never been to my house. A dust bunny ran out from under the couch the other day and tried to choke the dog.  Then again, house cleaning has NEVER been an excuse for me not to write. Good lord. You should see it now. Hideously disgusting. I keep the kitchen clean since I cook a lot, but the rest of the house is a disaster. Yes, it bothers me. Yes, I do clean, but this past week has been particularly difficult. Instead of sweeping, mopping, slaying dust bunnies and folding laundry, I’ve spent every moment with my cat, Dax.

Prior to this past week with Dax, I’d finally gotten back to my writing schedule. Petty, little things had impeded my creative process such as organizing the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. Conference, establishing Sunflower Heritage Farms, and assisting in the births of rabbits, lambs and pigs (trust me, you do NOT want to now about that particular experience!)

Finally, back on my writing schedule and Dax gets sick. Some folks don’t get it, but my pets are like my family. I love them. I care for them. I cherish them. Dax moved with me from Alaska along with Leo (who passed in February 2009,) Cedric and Jasmine.  Dax was diagnosed with cancer last week, but was too weak to do a biopsy to determine treatment. Dr. Larsen at The All Cats Clinic in Fayetteville was very kind when she informed me that the blood test results came back and the only thing we could do was keep Dax comfortable until he passed.

So instead of writing, cleaning, cooking, eating, breathing, I held Dax. Mama would come up and sit with him while I fed critters. I didn’t want him to be alone.  Yesterday, my other brother, Darryl and I were supposed to go to Cove, AR to get a load of goats. I refused to go. There was no way I was going to leave Dax. My other brother, Darryl, agreed to meet the goat lady on his own and take notes.

Dax Hugs CedricAbout 4 PM yesterday afternoon, I knew Dax wasn’t going to be with us much longer. I took him into the bedroom and we laid on the bed together, his furry back pressed against my stomach. My hand barely touching his hip, not wanting to hurt him, but needing to touch him. His breathing slowed. My tears increased. For fourteen years, that little guy brought me joy and happiness. There was no way I was going to do anything other than provide him solace as he had for me for so many years.

He passed peacefully in his sleep, in my arms.

Did I write last week? Not a word.  Do I regret it? Not for a second.

This week though, no excuses. The hero from Loch Lonnie (God, he’s hot) has been yelling at me. The heroine in Desert Dreams, Grace, is really, really mad at me because I left her hanging.  Desert Dreams is a Luna Zega story and stopping in the middle of a sex scene is just cruel–or at least Grace keeps telling me that.

So, look out world. Claire Croxton and Luna Zega are back to their writing schedule. Great literature is on its way!!

Thank you to all my friends who have been so very supportive and kind during this trying time.

Giant furry, gray, Dax hugs to you all.

 

 

I Need a New Title

My friends, I have a quandary. For over a year now, between editing other novels, I’ve been working on Ex-Ray–a story about Maggie Shaw who escapes her abusive marriage by disappearing without a trace. She moves to Barrow, Alaska, assumes a new identity, Anne Sutton, and becomes a 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher. After 4 years in hiding, she falls in love with the new cop in town, Joe Carducci, and eventually has to face down her husband, Ray Malloy. It’s a gritty love story filled with angst, violence, humor and tenderness–not to mention polar bears. Kind of a Sleeping with the Enemy meets Hope Floats.

So, what’s my quandary you may ask? Here you go. The title is Ex-Ray, Ma came up with the name, which kind of plays off the title of my current release, Redneck Ex. I was writing page 200 or so before I realized that Ex-Ray wasn’t the best title since Ray technically isn’t an ex. Maggie/Anne is still married to him. In her mind he’s an ex. He stopped being her husband the first time he punched her in the face, but she’s still married to the guy.

Is Ex-Ray a misleading title? Do I need to come up with a new one? Any suggestions?

Balance or as I call it WTF?!?

New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t believe in them because years of experience have taught me that they simply set me up for failure. Who wants to start a new year as a loser? I mean, really? There are enough other situations throughout the year to confirm that I’m not the best at following through with plans. Boxes and boxes of fabric and shelves of quilting books remain untouched after years of being in the sewing queue. The ever growing stack of books by my bed shows that nowadays I read three sentences and then fall asleep. Not to mention the cobwebs in the corners of my house or the knee-deep cat-fur lining on the carpet upstairs.

So, for 2012 I made no resolutions. Instead I made a schedule with tasks that have to be completed each month. I’m a project manager for heaven’s sake. I know about planning, execution and completion of projects. I’m great at it when I’m working on a project for someone else!

By the end of 2011, I was so frustrated I was ready to go to work at the Japton feed store. To heck with creativity! I was prepared to drown my muse in the upper pond and leave his lifeless body for the snapping turtles, but even I decided that was a wee bit extreme.

Instead, I broke out the poster board and charted my life. God, I love charts. I get all tingly when I break out the multicolored markers. The only thing better is an Excel spreadsheet. Those make my knees weak. After careful consideration and navel gazing I tried to analyze the aspects of my life that I found most frustrating. When I figured it out, I was shocked. Shocked I say!

Unfortunately, I’d already killed my muse. Well, not killed exactly, but stuffed him in a duffel bag and buried him under tons of shoes and cocktail dresses in the back of my closet. (Don’t even get me started on how good he looked in those red-spiked heels and cute little black dress when I finally freed him.)

Turns out the reason I was so frustrated with my writing career was because I hadn’t written anything new in months. I’d spent hours and hours and hours editing, but had done nothing new and fun and creative.

On January 2nd, I sat in front of my computer and opened my current WIP and wrote. Oh God, the endorphins that raced through my body. Oh, the elation! Loved every second of it.

Only problem, that dadgum social networking. Seems like for me it’s either/or. I can write. I can spend hours online writing blog posts, visiting other people’s blogs, keeping up with Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.

I chose writing. The result? Nada on the social networking side of things. My family says this is a no-brainer. You write. I explain that sure, I can write, but who will buy my books if no one has a clue who I am?

How do you do it? How do you keep your house clean, your animals fed, yard mowed, write 4 hours a day and maintain a web presence? How? Tell me? How do you do it? Huh? Tell me! Now damn it! I must know!! How in God’s name do those authors who work full time do it? How?! I must know!

Upheaval

Upheaval.

Procrastination

It’s absolutely amazing what I will do in order to avoid doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Thank God for the internet. No chance of ever being productive as long as I have a Wifi connection. Writing? Huh? Reading? What? Sewing? Who? Exercising? Who did what now?

Nope. I sit at my computer. At least the current WIP document is open. Its nice little icon shows up in the task tray, but I ignore it. If an e-mail pops up, I’ll stop everything. So what if it’s an ad from Mother Earth News. It’s way more important that my next NY Times bestseller. According to my horoscope I’m supposed to meet someone today who’ll give me inspiration. Should be fun since no one ever comes to my farm. According to the Are You Good or Evil quiz, I’m evil. Big surprise there. My online Tarot reading went well. Lots of fame and fortune in my future (I’d prefer it in my present, but one can’t be too demanding when dealing with the universe.)

Fame, Fortune, Future-- Pissy, Petulant, Present

The current project that is a source of procrastination is a baby quilt. I can’t understand why. I love sewing. The only excuse I can come up with is that I don’t have a dedicated sewing space. The house in Barrow had a sewing room. Here I have 2 tables set up behind the couch. Fabric, cats and dogs litter my living room. It’s annoying and frustrating. Yeah, I know–a lame excuse.

Maybe I’ve used up all my creative energy developing the website. Once you see it, you’ll say, “not very likely.” So, what is it? All I want to do at the moment is crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep for 3 days. Early onset depression? Doubtful. Laziness? Probable. So, what’s a girl to do? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Get off my ever expanding backside and sew!

At least this post killed some time. Now, I’m going back to bed. I can always sew at night. 🙂