Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The best way to demonstrate the truthfulness of this posting's title is a simple menu. Let's begin.
  • Strawberry Ice Cream served with a generous topping of "I Just Read A Negative Review of One of My Books"
  • Fish and Chips with Tartar Sauce and a side order of "Competitions Are Just a Cruel Way of Rejecting Writers En Masse"
  • Ice-cold Root Beer Float to wash down a helping of "My Monthly Sales Report Was Even More Depressing Than Last Month's"
  • A Bag of Reese's Pieces and a box of "Why Do Magazine Editors Hate My Submissions So Much; Must They All Reject Me?"
  • A Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and a bowl of "Celebrating My Decision Not to Read Any More Reviews of My Books"
  • Zesty Nachos and a tall glass of "The Critiquer Affectionately Known as 'Genghis Kahn' is Probably Murdering My Precious Child Even as We Speak, Which Would Not Be Bad At All If I Could Be Certain Genghis Kahn At Least Liked My Baby and If I Could Be Certain Genghis Kahn Did Not, In Fact, Resent Being Asked To Undertake The Task of Ripping It Into Unrecognizable Shreds Which I Am Then Required to Piece Back Together."
  • A Half Slice of Cheesecake with a towering dollop of "Hooray! Two Books I L-O-V-E-D Just Won Whitney Awards"
  • The Other Half of the Slice of Cheesecake, drizzled with a thin layer of "Next Year. Next Year."

Did I mention all of this has been consumed in the last two weeks. Thank goodness for Pilates, an elliptical machine and the fact that I recently ran out of Cheetos and have not had a chance to go to the store and get more.

Maybe I need a new outlet. Emotional Shuffleboarding? Emotional Bubble Blowing?

There's gotta be something...

Again, ignore the "Read More" - I'm not smart enough to figure out how to get rid of it. And knowing that makes me think I could use some Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's been one of those months. I've been wading through the undercurrent of less-than-glowing reviews, contest eliminations, self-doubt, frustration...

It's been one of those months.

Just as I was certain I was going to drown in discouragement, some good news came down the pipeline to brighten my outlook.

My short story "The KMart Incident" recently took 2nd place in the National American Mothers literature competition.



Saturday, April 11, 2009

I received probably the coolest package in the mail yesterday. Ms. Turley, whose 8th grade class called and talked to me a few weeks ago, sent me a newspaper clipping from their local paper about our conversation as well as a suh-weeet book report that one of her students did on my book "The Ramshackle Knight."

This particular book report assignment required the kids to create an advertisement for the book they had read. Here is the report done by J.B. (the student's initials - mysterious of me, I know):
caption: "My book is about how when you kiss someone you will have to marry them. Well someone kissed some lady and now they have to get married, but they have never met so they don't know each other. Catherine T never thought she would get married cause she has never met a nice man to get married to."


once again, ignore the link: nothing more to read

Monday, April 6, 2009

I have spent the last few days in a constant state of eulogizing.

I am working on a project that is particularly difficult for me. In other words, it is very much like everything else I have ever or will ever work on. No matter what you may have heard to the contrary, writing is very hard work.

I have begun, written and then deleted eight versions of the same chapter of the manuscript I have only recently stopped glaring at.

A particularly applicable quote I have heard attributed to any number of authors has been running through my head. In regards to writing, this bit of somewhat disturbing advice reads, "you have to be willing to murder your babies." Sounds gruesome, right?

Once you realize that this is not meant to be taken literally but, instead, as something of a metaphor, the cringe factor lets up a little. Essentially the as-yet-unidentified author of this tidbit is reminding writers that we have to be willing to delete anything we have written if it isn't good enough or right or exactly what we need. And we have to be willing to do that even if we have invested a lot of time and effort into crafting it. And especially when the writing is actually good, just not what the story needs.

So I've amassed a very large pile of pretty crummy writing that I hearby lay to rest as I move on to what will probably be mediocre writing that will soon join it in the great slush-pile in the sky in the hope that some really good writing will emerge to take its place.

Can you hear me giving a eulogy as the dramatic organ music plays in the background...
"These paragraphs were just so young. They never had a chance to grow into something bigger and better. The metaphors were tired and forced, but they tried hard. It is just so senseless that truly promising words could be lumped together in such a way that they never even stood a chance. May this butchering of the English language live on in our memories so that this tragedy will never repeat itself."

R.I.P. Really Crummy Writing. R.I.P.


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