Saturday, August 6, 2011

Excuses, Excuses...

There are many excuses to not doing something but, the bottom line is you are what you habitually do.  The moment you truly decide to screw the excuses and get on with your life is the moment you become the person that God meant you to be.  We all have our talents and I truly believe they are meant to be shared with the rest of the world.  Imagine how life would be if there were no excuses and we did what we were meant to do.  I've been gone for over a year.  --No excuses.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Mid-Year

I'm one of those people who loves a personal planner, setting goals, and having a daily list of tasks.  There's something about being organized and having my life outlined in some fashion; be it on paper, in my phone, or on my laptop.  I must admit, I don't always follow through.  I have a romantic notion about how great my life would be if I were to put a check mark of completion and then move on to the next task.  Let's face it, feelings of accomplishment are a great thing because it ain't always easy.

One of my favorite times of the year is January 1st.  I make New Year's resolutions like you wouldn't believe.  I then go about my life full throttle in the hopes of doing all that I promised I would by the end of the year.  Every year I fall short somewhere.  It's okay though, half the fun is the journey, but the key to success is to never give up, right?  That's why I have a little safety net that helps to keep me focused: it's July 1st.  Hey, it's midway between the year.   I get to evaluate my goals and re-prioritize them.  I have six months to make the year right.  In relation to my writing, I sometimes take on new projects or simply get (or stay) on track with my original resolution.

So, to all my writing friends; it's never too late to start over.  What a great way to finish what you started by not giving up with a mid-year's resolution.  Good luck!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Childlike View of Things

Yesterday, after a huge downpour, my roof started leaking.  A good friend of mine came over to help me fix the leak.  The strange thing is I climbed the ladder without thinking to investigate the source of my problem.  I didn't realize until I reached the top rung that I was afraid of heights.  What's strange about this is that it's a new thing.  I've never been afraid of heights before.  In fact way back in my teenage years I used to shingle roofs with my dad.  Once I got over the fact that it was hard labor, it was fun.

I enjoyed looking over the neighborhoods.  The view was always breathtaking.  Looking out over the houses and that bird's eye view of the streets, cars, and children playing was a perspective I didn't always have; I appreciated it.

I had to figure out what the problem was.  It came to me sort of suddenly: I was afraid of falling.  Sounds like I had great epiphany doesn't it?

I never thought about falling when I was a kid.  I just did it and to hell with the consequences.  What is it about growing up that makes one so freak'n cautious?  Of course I used this as a teachable moment and related it to many things in my life--especially the blank page I stare at every day.  The bottom line is it's good to do things without getting hung up in the "what ifs".  The "what ifs" keeps you grounded and keeps you from experiencing the world thru that childlike wonderment.  In a lot of ways I don't want to grow up because it slows your living down.

Needless to say, I put that fear behind me and made it to the top of the roof.  I felt better for doing it.  The simple thing I did when I was a child became a big deal to me and  a step in the right direction.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dry Place

Yeah, we've all been there before.  To complain about it is almost worthless.  Yet, I'm complaining.  I haven't written in over a week and I feel miserable for it.

My characters are flat.  My plot is predictable.  I just don't have that "umph".  I know it's my first draft but I'm at that point where I feel as though I'm wasting my time.  Please tell me you've all gone thru the same thing.

For the umpteenth time this year I'm committing myself to write everyday.  It is inspirational to read others blogs which help me to stay somewhat focused.

What do you do to stay on track with your MS?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Called Her Patty

Wow, has it really been a week since my last blog?  Sorry for the delay.  I've really enjoyed reading all of yours--believe me, I've learned a lot.

A thought of an old friend came into mind and I really want to tell you about her.  I joined a local writing group several years ago when I decided I would take my writing seriously.  While attending the meetings I was drawn to an elderly lady named Patricia.  She seemed interested in my work and I was looking for any favorable feedback to make sure I wasn't wasting my time as a wordsmith.

Patricia was great because she held nothing back.  Her feedback was brutally honest and she was at that age where she didn't tip-toe around your feelings.  After mom and my wife liking everything I showed them, it was nice hearing someone say, "Now why on earth would you write it that way..."  Somehow, we lost touch but, she gave me one word of advice that has always stayed with me.  She said that everything I do should somehow come back to my writing.  Everything I read, every person I meet, every single occurrence should be used to teach me about my craft.

I've never forgotten this because it has somewhat of a Zen affect.  You know, like the guy who sits cross-legged in a garden and stares at a flower for hours.

When I think about it, writing is a study and interpretation of life.  Therefore, it's a beautiful thing.  We're all artist that seek the perfect bonsai tree then nurtures it while it grows.  Finally, we trim it to be this gorgeous thing from nature that put others in awe.  I get chills just thinking about it.  Our entire process is a life changing event.

I thank Patricia for pointing that out to me.

The reason for the title:  Patricia and I met often to go over our writings.  I guess I got too comfortable for her by calling her "Patty" for short.  She snapped, "Don't call me Patty and I won't call you Chrissy."  Needless to say that stopped that.

I'll leave you with this quote by Keats:  "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

To Cuss or Not to Cuss

The other day I had the pleasure of meeting the sweetest older couple. They were the type that reminded me to a large degree of my parents. We talked and talked; they had kids who were as old as I am. We got on the subject of my novel and they expressed a great desire to run out and get it. I'm proud of my work but I found myself giving them a little disclaimer:

"It's not for the faint of heart. There's some cuss'n in it," I said while looking at the carpet beneath my feet.

You see, our conversation was respectable. I presented myself as some sort of model citizen that didn't smoke, drink, or cuss. To crown everything off I was an author. The kind of guy (if I wasn't married) they would be proud to introduce to their daughter. I knocked down their ideal perception of me with literary profanity.

When I wrote my novel I justified every four letter word. I wanted the book to be real and the words to have impact about the world I know. I toned it down a bit because the cussing could have been more pronounced due to having some foul mouthed characters. There are ways to express without using profanity but the right words, profane or otherwise, have an effect.

But, why did I feel as though I was sitting next to this couple at a Quintin Tarentino movie? Cussing, is as prevalent as lying. Everybody lies at one point or another. If you say you don't then I'll file that as a white lie. Cussing has even crept into prime time television. I don't agree with it but I don't rule the world.

What's your opinion on how to cuss in today's literature, if at all?

Before you comment. When I had the nerve to look at the faces of the older couple, they both laughed at me and the woman said, "I'm sure it's the same sh#t we've heard before."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stephen King the Outcast

Stephen King writes everyday. I know this because I've read his memoir On Writing. Additionally, the guy publishes a new book every month. I can probably ramble off thirteen titles of his novels without even losing my breath but there are hundreds. He probably has thousands of manuscripts that he felt weren't worthy to hit the bookshelves.

There is a point I'm trying to make about our dear friend, Stephen King. It's not where does he find the time to write. I'd imagine that if you were as successful as him and could support yourself through your craft then you'd have the time also. The point I'm trying to make is he must be the loneliest man alive.

I'll explain. Writing is a solitary adventure. I write in a little closet away from the wife and the dogs. I turn off my cell phone and the only annoyance I have is the smell of mothballs and my sneakers. I can't have any disturbances in order to crank out three to five pages. I love it when my wife has an errand to run then I can make it to the dining room table and spread out papers, laptop and pens; like a buffet. The dogs know to leave me alone when they see me with the laptop. Actually, I give them a treat which is good for a couple hours of silence.

The thing is, my accomplishments are minimal compared to the great Mr. King. I have a social life. This guy has to have no friends. I cannot count the amount of days my friends have pulled me away from my writing. Well, in most cases, the thought of writing. I hate it when they ask, "How's the writing going?" I wanna say, "Well, if I weren't with you guys and didn't have to work and didn't have the lawn to do,(you're going to hear a lot about the lawn) it would be going pretty good.

I know I'm blaming my friends for my lack of success in writing. I don't mean to make them feel bad. But it is their fault--My wife's too. If I was more dedicated and didn't have a social life and was as creepy and isolated like a lot of Mr. King's characters, I would be the one with a book-a-month that has my name on the covers.

Stephen King is some sort of writing hermit that is successful because he chooses to not have the most valuable thing in life: family and friends. So, I'm not bitter in the least. Please do not leave me any comments saying that you've heard he has millions of friends and he donates time to a local youth organization. It's not true and I know it's not true (nana, nana, boo, boo).