Monday, May 22, 2017

I'm Excited to Jump into Editing

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Five days : writing and writers, in the middle of nature as far as your eye can see, fed and caffeinated and watered, extraordinary faculty.

With particular thanks to Pam Houston for starting Writing by Writers (and for making one of the sites at Methow Valley)


Huge thank yous to Lidia Yuknavitch for being, and for being present with our group of 12 and helping us find ways to make our work stronger, for your support. And thank you to my workshop writing partners, Sheila, Kristin, Chelsea, Taylor, Arielle, Ellie, Rochelle, Bridget, Marcie, Cindy, Chanel.


I know it was an especially good writing workshop when I come home excited to jump into revisions and rewrites, which includes not only the editing I knew I had to do, but two more threads/themes I need to go back and incorporate throughout the project and some questions I have to answer.


Next up isr Ariel Gore's Summer Manuscript online class, which begins in three weeks. Currently printing the full manuscript to begin final prep for that. So, more editing!

If you know me in my writing life, you know that "I'm excited to edit" is not usually in my vocabulary. Which is how i know this is the real deal - that the gems from Writing by Writers are true and that the timing for Ariel's manuscript workshop are spot on.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Writing, Not So Solitary a Task


I'm at the Writing by Writers Methow Valley workshop again this year. The drive up was gorgeous. The lodge is expansive and feels like a great place to meet to workshop writing, the beds are heavenly, the location far from city lights & traffic & incidental noise & distraction; good food, friendly staff; the faculty and participants are delightful.

And I was sitting here on a free-time break, in my room, on my laptop (my roommate is out hiking; some people are writing; some are in the hot tub or doing other activities). And thinking.

Last night I skipped the Cowboy Dinner, which also meant missing the founder's reading. But I skipped last night's event because I was writing. During the day yesterday I knew I was going to stay and write, because I felt inspiration in me, waiting for me to sit down and listen. I didn't know exactly what it was but something was there.

And I was right. I wrote a small but very major piece of the story. A piece I've struggled with since stories morphed and became The Writing Project. And I also am 100% sure it is right because the other thing that happened is that this new -- okay, I'll say it -- new ending not only feels right, but there are other signals that it is the right thing to do. Because this new ending of this book means there are some things I have to go back and change, or back and add, through the entire project. And I am completely fine with that. This is what needs to happen and it feels right and I'm looking forward to my next tasks. Which are huge. And I do mean gigantic huge pieces of writing work. Wow.

Yesterday, the second full day of workshops and events, my creativity said "hello, oh it's you, yes, I know, but I've been waiting for you and now you're ready, so let's go." Yes, I get small bits here and there. But this is the real deal.

I don't know how it will balance out. Still or again and that question doesn't entirely matter right now.

This was another moment of noticing how having time held for the sole purpose of writing and writing related conversation/inspiration/sharing/exploration generated - surprise - writing.

And sitting here on my bed with my laptop, I was thinking about the last three mornings of workshopping other writers' pieces. Discussing creation and craft and opening and what's working and ideas for going deeper and richer and signature moves.

And that, even though I was alone in the room last night when I was writing. Even though I am often alone when I am writing, for me, at least, writing really is not a solitary task. And even the Tuesday times when I meet with another writer for two hours and we write, my writing is mine and hers is hers and we are together but doing the parallel task of writing independently. And I think - not for the first time - that writing is not a solitary task.

Not really. Or not always. There are solitary elements and times where we probably need to be alone to do what we're doing.

But writing, I don't think, is solitary. It can be at times. But it isn't really.

I'm sure someone can give me some names of writers who have done it without anyone else.

But these days here I see, again, how we need each other, too. How our writing can be strengthened by having other eyes and ears on our words. How other perspectives can help us see our work in new ways. And, as Lidia says, they can help us find our "signature moves." Which we don't always see because we are too close to the words or other reasons.

So the words are individual, yes; the stories come from our bodies. But we benefit from exposure and time with other writing beings, other creatives.

The myth of the lonely writer is another traditional trope I think we can let go of, too. Writing in community has many benefits.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rearranging Letters to Make Words


So much happening - in my local world of words and theater. In this country with the - no, I'm trying to keep politics out of here, which is one reason why words have shown up here less frequently, I believe. 
I do not mean that personal and political are unrelated. Or that writing about the political situation and the crisis we are in are separate.

But I have been overwhelmed with many things that are happening. Overwhelmed and yet I call and/or send emails and/or send postcards and/or do the online forms with or without personalization other than my name. 

Facebook has become a daily near-ritual, which I vowed it would never be. But politics and having people I know in the 3-D world I trust and respect who are helping keep me informed. Finding links to research. Reaching out and being there for others. It is all important.

Here, writing, that side of me which creates because I can't not create. Who writes because there's a drive and words to say. The me here, "inside voice" is what burbles to the top of word lists right now. I don't have to shout about it, I can just be the quiet me, the reflective me, the going inward and bringing up stories and words and putting them together into something to share. Or not.

Not separate. 

But right now vulnerable. Not just because of politics. Because of writing. Because of my writing. And I keep going, will keep doing it. Will get it done.

Vulnerable. Yes. And sometimes that is hard to put down.

I just did.

I'm still here.

Next week I will be going to the Writing by Writers workshop/conference at Methow Valley and I'm excited. I will be in the Lidia Yuknavitch group again this year. What I submitted this year is not as strong as what I sent last year, which is okay, it's a workshop and there will be feedback, which can only help make the two chapters stronger. I am also working on revising a piece to submit; I haven't found the deadline yet, so I hope I don't miss it. I am also doing a different sort of daily writing, which is hard to get myself to do and I have, for six consecutive days; yay, me! 

And I've been writing a lot of correspondence related to a major section of my work - performance interpreting. There are some conversations happening related to some potentially exciting performance events, which I can't say right now and I'm sorry for being vague. I will be posting more over at Performing Arts Interpreting Alliance (PAIA) about three interpreted shows which have just been added ("Sordid Lives" as part of the OUTwright Festival on June 10; two short Kabuki plays being performed in English at PSU on May 30; "The Tempest, a Magical Steampunk Adventure" at Experience Theatre on July 2). 

Oh - and back to writing: I signed up for Ariel Gore's Summer Manuscript Workshop. Twelve weeks devoted to working on/finishing a book project. Yes, I did it. I signed up. I had secretly set a date to complete the revision of the manuscript in mid-October. When I saw a reminder about Ariel's workshop and I checked my calendar, the timing was almost perfect so, I took the leap. I am excited about that and. Wow!
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Friday, April 21, 2017

Hey, It's Me!

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Checking in here as me. Just me. Not me the interpreter, not me the coordinator, not me the how-I-appear-to-others. Me.

I guess.

Or me in the moment. Yes, this is me in the moment.

I just created and posted several interpreted theatre events in Facebook. And forwarded some news of the day things; reposted is the correct word.

And caught up with some work people about this project and that idea and the things I've been discussing with different people.

And.

This morning before I went to work another of my providers not-so-subtly, yet kindly, suggested that I might want to look at when I have a break coming up. Which I do.

Sort of. No really, I do. It's five days not only off of work but completely away from work. I will be steeped in writing, again, for the Writing By Writers Methow Valley writing conference/retreat/workshop. That will be awesome. And I will be unavailable for work while I'm up there soaking in the writerhood and being my other me.

Okay - in my writing world. Things are moving and happening. No, I'm not done with the major WIP (work in progress). I am making great progress, though. And a plan, goals, have emerged (again, but I think this is "it.").

I had some huge insights and my heart and guts shifted during the Corporeal Writing Revision workshop I attended recently. It was amazing - everyone was amazing. All of the words and the open and the being together in a room with these excellent beings, sharing air and food and words. I left with some insights; major insights.

So, I've been writing more, again. Some of it enforced by needing to submit work ahead of time for the Methow Valley experience.

Oh - and if you didn't catch it on Facebook (I know there are a couple of followers here who aren't on Facebook), I received heartwarming news from Hippocampus Magazine. My "Alone in Reno" piece, which was published in the December issue, was given the Most Memorable piece for that issue. I was surprised and touched and it means so much to me. (I just found out a couple of weeks ago; you haven't been kept in the dark for too long!)

I also have been writing short poems this month. The goal is one per day - after all, it is National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo - not officially affiliated with NaNoWriMo). I did well for a while. Slipped behind and caught up. Now I'm behind a few days, again. I will try to get caught up, again. These have been primarily haikus, with a couple of etherees, a really bad (I am not exaggerating) limerick, and a cinquain. You can take a look over here in the Playground if you dare - but don't say I didn't warn you!

I now return to the other thing I was doing.

Writing is happening. Theatre - lots of theatre - is happening. There are new ideas and projects in the works (no, I'm not saying anything, yet). And I am looking for the places where I can get a little R&R.

Keep creating!
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Friday, March 17, 2017

Breaking News: Politics induced anxiety?



There is still so much. Every day. Some new horror, travesty, embarrassment, destruction. 

We are not even two months into [45] and the gang's term and the world and especially our country are turning upside down, inside out. Somersaults of terrorism on  its own people and people of other lands.

We believe horrific things which seem like they could be true. Sometimes they are, sometimes it is something being told slant to cause a ripple a wave a tsunami of reaction while something else is being done behind the curtain. 

"Truth is stranger than fiction" is not a cute literary phrase when it's true. We have problems distinguishing truth from fiction and when lives are on the line we start parsing words, semantics, emotions on high. Just because something posted on social media seems too outrageous to be true doesn't mean it's not; doesn't mean it is. It is telling that we can even consider that some of the information being put out as "news" might be true. A year ago some of the truth would be seen as parody and some of the parody would be laughed at outright because there was no way it would ever be true. But, now, when there is such blatant disregard for people and the planet and any living being, the outrageous might actually be the truth. 

Right now I'm going to step away from Facebook and Twitter and the news because. Because right now my anxiety is high and my particular "health anxiety" has been triggered. I am going to step back from the news and politics for awhile. I am keeping an eye on my body and will go for medical help if necessary. But I seem to be in a state of old trauma response patterns so the thing to do is remove the trigger and be vigilant and apply some self-care.

I'm not stepping away from the computer because I  have a piece I need to edit (or write something new) for my writing feedback group. But I'm going off Facebook and the news for a bit.
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tale About a Keyboard

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Technology: one of the necessary "evils" of life (note the quote marks, which means I don't really think it's evil, okay, I mean, you know; a precedent has been set, right?). Today's journey through techlandia was this. I woke up and did my morning routine of check work email, check personal email, check text messages, go to the computer and check the overnightly news and FB posts about such news and things my friends are doing. Upon waking the computer, I was greeted with the 'need login verification blah blah blah" - yes, I know. I put in the password. Nothing. Thought I typed it wrong, did it again while sipping the dregs of yesterday's coffee. No response. Nothing. I tried to erase the password it thought it was and couldn't. To cut the story short - no response from keyboard, which was fine before I went to bed. Absolutely fine. And it's one of those ergonomic keyboards (love it!). Plugged it into different USB ports; nothing. Checked that another device and USB cord were working and plugged them into the original USB port for the keyboard. Fine; worked as it should; no problem. Found my backup ergonomic keyboard and plugged it in. No response. Tried different ports. No response. Retrieved the new-in-box-never-used keyboard (style I don't like, flat, narrower, shiver) - same thing. No response. Yes, I tried restart my computer. Voila - a message that there was a keyboard malfunction. Sigh. Searched online on a device. Told to restart computer and then press F2. Um, I can't, the keyboard doesn't respond. Another helpful person had replied with press F8 with restart - again, malfunctioning keyboard. Had to abandon the project for appointments and tonight a rehearsal. I had managed to get to the point before I left in the control panel where there was some potentially useful information. However, I couldn't start it -- I do know enough to not start a potentially hours long troubleshooting and repair event when I have to leave the house in 20 minutes. So I didn't. Off to appointments, dinner, rehearsal. Home ten hours later. Changed into comfy pants and a super soft t-shirt, made a greens & berries smoothie, filled up my water and I'm ready to attack the computer keyboard problem. Devices ready because I had a plan. Use devices to search internet for more potential issues. Email search results, URLs, etc so I could copy paste from email on my computer (luckily I was still logged in to my email account!) and, hopefully, resolve it quickly. Computer still showing no keyboarding device. I decided to try, one more time, to click the Microsoft "search for device" before proceeding with what was looking like it was going to be a very long night; the keyboard was not responding. This time, it took. Whatever it was, the problem is resolved. Whatever it was, leaving it alone, taking care of other responsibilities and knowing that this was low on my priority list, was the right thing to do. No reason. Nothing changed. Other than time and space for the computer and keyboard to think about what they had done and change their behavior. Sure, right. First world problem, I realize. Problem of privilege, I also realize. And, today, it was one thing I could do right, not related to politics or the state of the country, the world. One thing I can look at and know that I made the right decision this time. 


Monday, February 27, 2017

Today, this poem

Today I was reading through The Flavor of Unity: Post-Election Poems, by Kim Stafford, again.


This poem, today, yes. The children.




Champion the Enemy's Need
by Kim Stafford

Ask about your enemy’s wounds and scars.
Seek his hidden cause of trouble.
Feed your enemy’s children.
Learn their word for home.
Repair their well.
Learn their sorrow's history.
Trace their lineage of the good.
Ask them for a song.
Make tea. Break bread.




photo from Guifford County Partnership for Children

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Burnt Tongue 19

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I will be reading at this event on Saturday, February 25th. I am so excited and grateful to be invited to read at Burnt Tongue 19. Crush Bar here in Portland at 4:00. Some early for any hope of getting a seat.

I know what I'm reading but I don't know what I'm wearing.

And I finished editing the two pieces for the anthology today. And submitted them.

Writing is definitely going well right now. Which is good.

The WH continues the destruction of our country, and it was blatantly admitted that is the plan, well they said the structure - same thing. Continuing to keep up with what's happening and doing what I can and pushing my comfort zone in that area.