Sunday, December 20, 2009


Why do people make art?

Not too long ago, I felt like I could have answered that question, but over the last few years the feelings of being an "artist" have eluded me. I still would talk, here and there, about wanting to get back into "this" or start to get into "that", but the ugly truth is that I haven't known why. Like anyone who stays in a relationship long after it should have ended, I suspected it was because I didn't want to admit that passion had left me.

This evening, however, while methodically arranging my bookshelf, emotion hit me in the same way a cold wind will bite at your insides: I had become content. I was no longer restless, and so I lost what every artist posses: the entirely unattainable drive for perfection. Not the drive to make everything around you perfect, no good artist sees perfection in the world. They see beauty and pain in the imperfection all around them, and have the insatiable urge to express that imperfection as perfectly as they can - in a way that will make people feel engulfed in familiarity and fantasy all at once.

I no longer want to be merely satisfied by my life, there is always something lying underneath the surface, and I intend to uncover it, the way no one else can.

Monday, December 7, 2009

10,000 words ain't nothin' to be ashamed of ...

At least that's what I keep telling myself. I did not finish NaNoWriMo (a fact that I'm sure none of you are shocked by) but I'm surprisingly okay with it. I stopped because my main protagonist had the likeness of a woman, but she had no past, and therefore, no story. I realized if I wanted to write this novel (which is a character heavy novel), I have to write some background on her. I don't know why she does the things she does, and that's kind of making her feel like a character from a sitcom.

I think the reason I'm okay with this, is because it got me writing again, and that's the point of NaNoWriMo. 10,000 words is more than I have ever written on one project that wasn't intended for scholastic purposes. Far more in fact, and that's really the whole point of NaNoWriMo, to get people writing fearlessly. I am dead set on finishing this novel. It will probably be a short novel, and it's a baby step in terms of creative fiction on my behalf, but it will happen. I've put too much thought and energy into it to never see it happen. Also, I will be participating again, and hopefully around the same time next year you will see not just a "2010 NaNoWriMo Particpant" badge, but a "winner!" badge as well.

Additionally, I re-realized I my love of poetry. There's no future in poetry, except to become a teacher, and teach other students with no monetary future in the craft how to write it, and then they will teach the next generation, and so on and so forth ... but I love doing it. I also find I hate most contemporary poetry, which is kind of okay, because I think there are poets who follow in the more traditional styles and still convey a modern voice.

Back to fiction ...

I was thinking for a while that I don't want to write anymore fiction after this current project. My best prose is when I'm just writing blog like things, and while there is a market for that, I like the idea of challenging myself to find a story within all of the emototing and thoughtful phrase turning I do, which will be part of the challenge in writing Grasp (the tittle of Sonya's story).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Giving Birth

A tight feeling constricted my chest as I sat quietly reading. I have this feeling often, a feeling of emptiness and anticipation. The space between my ribs becomes starved for undiscriminating abandonment of all responsibility – I never give in.

I always wonder if I did, what would happen? In these moments, I don’t have any particular desire, except I know that art is an adventure that I have yet to embark upon. Would this emotion look like paint splattered carelessly across a canvass, or the words on this page being fleshed out into the form of something more? Something with life, something that people would read and they would feel the breath of literature on their necks; sparking their insides and becoming aware of the emptiness that too lay in their chests.

As I write these words I know there is a character waiting to be nurtured, and a poem waiting to be unbound and woven back together in tighter, richer patterns. These are children born of my mind, and I deny myself as I deny them.

They say art is a labor of love, and not unlike raising a child you raise your artwork up. You give life to it, and as it grows you grow with it, putting more stake in it’s future with every caress and extension of your being. Like children, denying their growth is to deny yourself, and leave the space between your ribs tense and hallow for all time.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Lone Writer

Well, Matt left Wednesday morning, and since then I've written aprox. 3,000 words, leaving me far more than half way behind my word count. Matt and I thought this time away from each other would be great time to focus on our novels, but it seems for me I need another writer around to inspire me to write.

A couple of people have asked me what my novel is about, and I have divulged to them the plot (which isn't incredibly interesting) and gotten asked more than once, "is the main character you?"

"No," I always explain, "she's not me at all, she just happens to have a few experiences in common with me for the sole purpose of me being able to write about them well."

This is true, or at least it was when I started the novel. As my writing goes on, I'm starting to not be able to write because I'm realizing I have no idea how this character thinks. I mean REALLY how she thinks. I know how she acts, that was vaguely outlined when I first had the idea, but she has no voice of her own. Sonya (my main character) is a mere shadow of a human being right now, and while she has revealed a little about herself to me as I write, she hasn't revealed enough and I know I need to make some decisions for this writing process to continue.

Oy, my words wreak of "amateur writer", but that's what I am right?

Also, Audrey Neffenegger has a new book out, Her Fearful Symmetry, which I couldn't help but buy even though it's not in paperback yet ... (I love you Matt, don't be mad!)

Well, back to the writing grind. Wish Sonya and me luck!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

One word after another after another ...

Okay, first to credit my ever encouraging and under appreciated boyfriend Matt-Josh, he said this to me many times before I went on my digital inspiration journey: JUST-KEEP-WRITING.

Last night I only pumped out a couple hundred words because I kept changing little tiny words and phrases so as never to complete more than a page. I sat down to write tonight, and I found myself researching everything I wanted to write about. The mention of a city, a color, the anatomical make up of a strand of hair (okay, that last one is an embellishment). Finally desperate from my own self inflicted sabotage, I went to NaNoWriMo for some inspiration.

I read through all of the pep-talks by published authors, and of a collective 17 respected authors, only two really did it for me. They came down to three simple facts:

1) Writing is the hard part of being a writer. The plots, the metaphors, the shimmering, cleverly flawed characters laying in wait - those are icing yet to be spread with out the messy toiling of a first draft.

2) At more than one point I will hate every single word I write and try and convince myself to do anything but write, as every writer has done this with every book they have ever written.

3) Writing is a journey. You start with a few basic ideas and then it takes on a life of it's own as long as you let it and don't get bogged down by the "rules of trade".

Now, without further butchering of good advice by neophyte like myself, writing pep-talks by Neil Gaiman and Tom Robbins:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy NaNoWriMo!

Most of the last 24 hours has been Halloween, which Matt and I celebrated'ish. Matt ordered 25 fair trade chocolates (we only gave out 22 though, in part to end of the night laziness, and in part to a sweet our monstrous sweet teeth). They came with little cards about fair trade, organically grown chocolate alternatives and little patches of that tacky glue stuff often used in cheap packaging, which we pressed onto the cards. It's called reverse trick-or-treating. We got asked a couple of times what we wanted once we handed them the chocolate and said our little spiel, and got genuine surprise when we said, "nothing." We were offered non-fair-trade chocolates many times, which not long into our roll reversal adventure, we gave in and accepted graciously. We also ran into my co-worker, Bekha, which was awkward because work is kind of shaky right now. A story for hopefully never again because I'd really like to just get on with my day to day life, and never relive this past week.

More importantly though the last hour has been the start of NaNoWriMo! Matt and I went to Frontier, a local, cheap, New Mexican food place where the first NaNo write-in began promptly at midnight. We got there a little later, and there were easily 15 people there, most in Halloween costumes, all typing away furiously. I'm really quite sad we didn't bring our good camera (the one that kind people at cost-co so graciously let us take out on loan for $1,000, which we'll bring back within 90 days and get our money back) so we could get a picture of just how amazing of a scene that was.

I've written approximately 750 words so far (goal for the end of November 1st being approx 1600), and I'm not even sure I'm going to stick with this story line.

Wish me fruitful noveling!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Confessions of the Hermit Within

There is something absolutely inspiring about being alone.

I don't mean alone in the romantic sense, or people simply being around you, I mean being solitary. Sitting in a cafe' or a park watching passers by (the obviously newly in love couple, the teenagers who think they're older than they really are, the hoards of people walking by talking obliviously on their cell phones who make you wonder, "do I really look like that?"). I can't spend every waking moment with other people, something inside me starts to slowly die and at some point I begin wonder if I'm just a shell of the person I thought I was, or if this is the person I've become?

Tonight is very important, I'm spending the night alone in my house for the first time in a long while. For anyone who hasn't discovered it, your home is a very magical place to be alone. When I'm in a place with people constantly, every footstep, every banging of a dish in the sink resonates throughout my mind. When I'm alone, the house comes alive. The constant buzzing of the heater, the squirrels scampering on the roof, the occasional creek of the gate. They all become part of what feels like one, holistic, vibration which I've become a part of with every page I flip in my book or bubble boiling on the stove.

Let's be clear here, tonight I will be sad when I crawl into bed and Matt isn't there to wrap his arms around me until I feel sufficiently cuddled, in the morning I will miss the sounds of him singing (which he does no matter how bad of a mood he's in), and at some point tonight I will think of something very silly and be disappointed when he's not here to do something silly back ... but this isn't about that. This is about a state of consciousness, one only achieved when you stop for a moment, and in your stillness you know that even though you've stopped, the world isn't passing you by, you're just catching a glimpse of it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Well then, I signed up on a site to write a novel from start to finish in the month of November.

The actual winning process works like this:

From 12:00:01 AM, local time, November 25 until 11:59:59 PM, local time, on November 30, all participants who have written more than 50,000 words can have their winning word counts verified by our site. Uploading your novel to the Word Count Validator makes your NaNoWriMo victory official, gets you listed on our Winners Page, and routes you to the secret spot where you can collect this year's winner's certificate. It will also turn your word count bar purple.

Since I can't start writing any prose for the actual novel until the month of November, and I can't seem to write an outline to save my life, I've decided to write bits of prose spontaneously on this page to encourage myself to write more, and the first bit I write on November 1st will be the start of my novel.

Creative prose soon to come ...