Monday, August 15, 2016

Reading Suggestions? Road Trips!

What are your favorite road trip books?

If I asked you - and I am asking you - what are the essential road trip books I should read? I'm not talking about books one should take with them while on a road trip (although those suggestions are also welcome).

For you, here, now, today - what makes up a good road trip book?

Who and what should I read and why?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Summer Heat Eros or What I Did Today

EROS            THANATOS

survival           survival
instinct            instinct
physical          physical
love                anger
life                 death
creativity        violence
   passion         aggression
preservation    destruction
 -satisfaction   sadism

   each inside the other

Sometimes to create, do we not have to destroy? To destroy what has been placed over our Self and our Desire and what constricts us. And don't we, in our creative process, destroy something - make something different than it was before. And in destruction aren't we also creating something new, because taking something away leaves space and time for something new, a replacement, a creative opportunity.

Audre Lorde: "Erotic moves us toward personal and political change." and "Our erotic power becomes a lens to see the world."

Re-examining what "eros" means. Places where its power might exist and the knowledge. How we suppress the expression of "eros" and what if we didn't?

Lidia Yuknavitch: "Eros as activism."

Friday, August 5, 2016

Corporeal Writing Summer Session

heat words eros, breaking through timidity, first time second time many times returning to self to the body, speaking from the body breaking down personal limitations, being present in our messedupness not alone sharing space sharing wine whiskey beer soda water sharing breath and air and stories. standing swimming floating in pools of water cold hot. we. are. here. because words. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

On the Cusp of August

Where am I? Who am I?

Oh, me. Hello, again. Yes. Things have been busy. Good busy, but busy is busy. You know?

Yes, I know.

Hey - you know the coolest thing that happened to me today?

No, What?

The workshop I'm attending next week? They sent "this is the final email before the workshop ... important information ..." all relevant and all good. But. The coolest thing? They made a mix tape to listen to on the way to the workshop! How super awesome is that? I sampled a couple of the songs but am saving the full Listen for the drive next Friday.

Super cool.

Yeah. It is. They are. Super cool. Like that. Words and revolution. With its own mix tape.

August. The place to be.

Good night.


Friday, July 8, 2016

The Hardest Thing (for me) To Do

The hardest thing for me to do is to do nothing.

I want to take that back and say that sometimes it is hard for me to do nothing. But the reality is that Nothing is the hardest thing.

I recently went on vacation. The first three days were mostly driving and filling up the gas tank, getting food and coffee, then sleeping. Get up, wash our bodies, repeat. We arrived at our destination on the third day with daylight left and time to celebrate a birthday (not mine). We did. It was great. Then a couple of days off together.


Her workshop started on the evening of my fifth day off. The participants and the two instructors had a welcome dinner; I didn't go. The next day her workshop started so I drove her to the studio and then went back to where we were staying. With my coffee and no plans.

Truly, I had no plans. We had shopped. We had a little food and coffee and tea and. Laundry? I could do that. I had an event to post to Facebook (yes, a work event - which was fine). I could. Do nothing? Read? Play Angry Birds With Friends. Read. Nap.

Do nothing.

I opted to take myself to brunch after doing nothing for an hour or two.

Checked Facebook.

Read some more of my print book. Read more of my ebook.

Do nothing?

It was hard for me to Do Nothing. I did some Nothing. And a few things: read thought birds read cooked laundry read stare-at-ceiling-fan try-to-relax read nap? read birds ahha-fix-browser-no?-shit!-workaround FB-event email-re-needtoknowsituation nothing try-to-relax. Relax-dammit. Ah nothing.

And so it went.

Do nothing? Yes. I did some nothing.

After a few days I tried to write. I went to a funky cool very local cyber-café-retreat place and tried to write. Nothing came. But rather than be frustrated I worked on feedback for a friend's writing. That was good. Way better than being frustrated about my own writing. And it was fun.

Rinse. Repeat.

Nothing. Yes, some. And it was good. It did eventually lead to a bit of an anxiety attack and I wasn't going to admit it but there it is. But even that has led to good because it was and is being an opportunity to work through what I am calling "anxiety reassignment" : finding other ways to deal with anxiety than by keeping busy.

It was also a reminder that, although I may not need to Write Every Day as some writers say I should, I do have to write more often and, sometimes (often), after a period of no writing, I can't really expect to just sit down and have it flow.


Do nothing. Do writing. Do breathing. Do relaxation. Do work. Do writing. Do nothing.

Then today I read this in Austin Kleon's weekly newsletter and it's perfect. Yes. This. Me.

From Austin Kleon -


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reading Aloud as a Writer

I have gone to many workshops about writing. The process. The product. Structure. Poetry Fiction Non-Fiction Essay Memoir. Oh, I think I even went to one on travel writing a long time ago. And freelance writing, copywriting. Creative non-fiction. Playwrighting. Publishing. Writing conferences and retreats.

Most rooms in my house contain, among the bookcases of fiction and memoir and scripts and art books and mystery, interpreting and translation and language, many books on writing. Writing about all of the topics I've already mentioned. And more - such as "The Portable MFA" and several on critique/writing/creativity groups, being a writer, tips and hints and how-to and how-not-to.

One thing I've read and heard many times in many voices and in various word order choices is that writers should Read Your Work Aloud,. To yourself. You can read it to others, but the most important thing is to read it aloud to yourself, for yourself.

At this point, non-writers might think - why? I get that. I really do. Because, while in theory it's a practice I see merit it doing, it is not something I do that often. Yet every time, in critique group or with a writing partner or with someone I know, when I read what I wrote, I almost always find something which I want-need to change. Almost every time.

Still, I balk.

It takes too much time (the deadline is now; I have to get to sleep; I have to get ready for work; I have a list of things to do and don't have time; the cat is waiting for food; I haven't showered yet).

It's too late (at night; I'm too tired; I'll wake up S; I have to get it finished and submitted now, I have to get up early in the morning, etc).

I've read this a million and two times and I won't catch anything, anyway.

It's fine (not perfect I'm sure, but fine).

My friends and writing partners and critique group and writing conference readers have all read it and it's fine. (Ignoring the changes which have been made since each of those times.)

There are probably more reasons. Oh, and the "I don't want to" excuse. What?

I have been working on a piece of writing. It is an excerpt from a book in process and pieces have been workshopped and edited (repeatedly) and restructured, revised, chopped, rewritten. At the Writing By Writers Methow Valley in May I was given some suggested places where this piece might fit. So, as a good writer, I looked them up and selected one (for now). I read their guidelines, which also included having to cut about 1,000 words. And then there were the other story tightening and cleaning up suggestions.

I've been working on this particular version of this part of the story for over a month. I've read it at a writing group. I've had more people read it. I've read it to myself (in my head).

Finally the piece was where I wanted it to be.

Ready to submit.

But I had not read this "final" version aloud to anyone, including myself.

I forced myself to read it out loud. This submission opportunity felt important, it's a step into another level of commitment to my writing and I decided I owed it to this story and this part of the story to give it my all. I told myself I couldn't go to bed until I'd done it and I couldn't submit it until I'd read it aloud to myself. And I'd told another writer that I was going to submit the piece and read it aloud to myself before doing that. External accountability she called it (and we're doing this mutually in other ways, too).

So I did. I went home after my very late work and I read it aloud to myself.

And I found five things I needed to fix, in addition to one more that S found in her read of the piece. Three of the five things I found felt significant: grammatical errors or awkward phrases which were remnants of editing (overlooked cutting out one word from a previous version; accidentally cut out a pronoun in editing). I even found one phrase which was not a dangling piece of overlooked revision, but an awkward phrase which has probably been in the piece since its inception.

Maybe this time I "get it." I really thought this piece was solid and ready to go. I know that of the five things I found, I probably would only have found one on my final read in my head. If that.

Reading aloud. It works.

I did submit the book excerpt. And I feel confident that this draft is solid.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Little Me Limerick

I don't know what age I was when I wrote this limerick. Childhood poetry is funny.

Thank you to my sister who recovered it for me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Writing Breath

change and patience
color-infused breath dreaming
honor water spirit
creativity in my skin

Redtree Times
Austin Kleon