Friday, April 29, 2011

The Razor's Edge: 4/29/11

Today instead of prompts, below are two short videos from Jennifer Egan in the My New York series. She is one of the authors to recently win a Pulitzer Prize. I've enjoyed her novels and thought I'd see what I could find on YouTube from her.
The third video is from "Cooking the Books" in which Ms. Egan specifically talks about her process of writing the Pulitzer winning novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

article sharing: defining your brand

I stumbled across this series of articles about social media for writers. Looks like some great information - and this first one is information for writers on defining your brand. Writers, social media, platform, branding.

There are links at the end of this article to others.

Social Media for Writers, Part 1: Define Your Brand

You’ve found this blog, so you have at least a working knowledge of the online world. Maybe you have a Facebook account or you send out the occasional tweet. But are you diving into social media in particular to sell yourself as a writer?

Whether you want to find writing assignments or become a staff writer, social media can help you get noticed and meet your goals. Today, we’ll look at building a brand. Next time, we’ll look closer at the tools and how to use them. In a future post, we’ll take these lessons and apply them to selling your writing directly to readers.

Define Brand You...


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Memoir and Bicycle and Work, Oh My!

I have all of the most current versions of pieces of the memoir printed out and in a new notebook. Each section has its own beginning page and ending page (some are chapters, some will become inserts into chapters, some are probably two or three chapters - and one is several chapters). This will supposedly make it easier to move them around. Or not. But it does make it easier to find them. When I found a "hole" - a missing piece of information or a place I want to add something, I used a page with the title or theme of that missing section.

And I placed them in order in the notebook.

Except that now I am going back to my original plan, rather than my newly hatched plan. And - oh, wait - yes, I printed them out in a way that makes them easier to move! Good for me.

Next step in the memoir: write the missing pieces and rewrite the other pieces so there is a consistent voice.

After that: editing. Well, after more rewriting and tweaking. Then edit.

And I took the bicycle out today. I think this is going to work. It was fun! And it feels like it will be a nice compliment to the exercise I've been adding back into my schedule. Swimming and biking and walking and weights. Yes. I've been able to add bits back in, slowly, cautiously, paying attention to my neck while swimming from the December car accident and paying attention to my back as I add walking back in. And now bicycling - this feels right. I know I've only started - but I enjoyed it and I haven't fallen off and I'm doing really well on flat, wide, low traffic streets. Yes, a lot of conditions in there and that's okay. Today I even tried a slight incline and I didn't fall, didn't run out of breath, and couldn't get the gears shifted quite right so it was really hard - but I did it.

Remembering how to ride a bike. Remembering and telling my stories. Fine tuning and being patient and going ahead even when it's hard.

Then work. All of the places I work and the hats I wear and the days and hours spent doing them. Things are coming together and it's going to be okay. Planning a little and some good news here and there. Setting some boundaries on scheduling and trying to stick with them. And planning little bits of time off here and there.

Remembering that I count, too. The people I work with - clients, students, and more - all count and are important and that doesn't devalue my needs as a person, as the person, the writer, outside of my profession. Fine tuning how I work and what I want. Being patient. Going ahead with the meetings and the new ideas, even when I think it may be a stupid one.

And remembering that this coming Saturday, April 30th, is the Write Around Portland event: WRITE! Several two-hour free writing workshops scattered around Portland. I'll be facilitating one and there will be a couple (that I know of) people who are Deaf in my workshop - and my friend and fellow interpreter, Steve, will be with me to interpret so that I can facilitate. I'm very excited about this opportunity, too. There may be more that comes out of this weekend that getting a Deaf friend and another person who is Deaf hooked on writing!

Moving forward, incorporating what works into the changes and letting go of things that no longer fit.

Write. Bike/swim/walk. Interpret.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Quote for Monday 4/25

Sy Safransky talking about editing in the May issue of The Sun

Readers sometimes ask how much I edit my own writing. I edit until each paragraph has lost the ten pounds it gained over the winter. I edit until each sentence can survive three days in the wilderness on its own. My father taught me to look at a sentence and, if it didn't deserve to live, shoot it between the eyes. Ignore the pleas of the women and children. Take no prisoners, he said.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blue Pens and Bicycles

I am making progress on the memoir. I am using a hybrid of electronic and paper cut-and-paste for putting together the pieces. I have spent many hours this week reading through the pieces, putting together an outline; seeing where there are gaps of information and where there are gaps of editing.

One example: there is one section near the beginning of the book that I have worked on quite a bit. It has been run past other writers and a mentor/editor. I have tweaked and changed and added and smoothed and it feels pretty near done. But when I read through the printout of all of the parts, I saw that there is another piece which goes with it - extends the part I've spent so much time on.

It's not a problem. Just that the polished section's most recent version was March 2011; the additional section - which has not been touched since it was first written - is from 2007. My writing has changed (for the better) within that time, I'm happy to say. But the writing of two pieces of that section or chapter or larger scene is very uneven. It's not a problem and I'm looking forward to the challenge of bringing it all together.

So what I'm doing right now is starts with the three inch notebook containing the printout, which has various colored sticky notes, handwritten notes, circles and arrows and names on the back (no, wait, that's from the song Alice's Restaurant!).... *smile*.  I have the notebook, my notes, the stickies, the cross outs and tear outs and I'm putting the pieces together and taking them apart in a computer document.

I've downloaded all of the parts to my laptop and combined the ones that were online with the ones that were already on the laptop into a MEMOIR folder. Then, within that, I have a FILE called MEMOIR Editing and I'm doing an electronic cut and paste of the pieces. Trying to order them and clearly mark where heavy editing needs to happen. I haven't gotten to a hole yet - but I will just put HOLE in 24 point font or something and probably fuchsia color, easy to find. I've bracketed the needs editing parts with double lines and EDIT START/END bolded and highlighted in yellow.

Each time I make changes to this master editing document, I upload it back to Google Docs before shutting down the laptop. I really like using Google Docs, because I can access it from anywhere. But one problem - which is also one bonus feature - is the automatic save. The good thing is that I don't lose much - if anything - if there is a power or computer failure. The bad thing is that, with a large document, which this book has quickly become, the auto save slows my computer. My laptop works fine - but it is not the fastest laptop around (it's several years old, works fine, but not the speediest).

So - hybrid editing: computer, online, paper and pen; and local hard drive and cyberspace (I'm not sure if I'm actually in a cloud - I don't think so, but something I heard recently, I may be).

And: I'm making great progress!

Oh - one more thing. Tomorrow I'm meeting a friend to borrow her bicycle. She's not using it much right now and I've been thinking I'd like to have one and start riding. But I don't want to put out the money if I'm not going to use it. So, I'm excited - another physical adventure lies ahead! I've also returned regularly to the gym (swimming, weights, will add in a few machines) and walking (I'm up to 2 miles now - after getting over the cold/flu and feel I'm near the end of treatment for the December car accident).

Things are definitely looking up. Adventures are back in the forefront with writing!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Quote for Today

Sent to me by my friend and paddling buddy, Gail, of Ridgefield Kayak in beautiful Ridgefield, Washington. The quote came from one of her paddling guides, David:

" dip paddle and renew spirit "

picture from

from BLOGORRHEA: What are you doing on Shakespeare’s birthday?

from Mead Hunter...

BLOGORRHEA: What are you doing on Shakespeare’s birthday? "His putative birthday, anyway, which is this coming Saturday, April 23. I’m inviting you herewith to spend part of this high holiday talking about a subject central to the Bard’s life: playwriting. ... We’ll discuss both the plight and the promise of being a contemporary playwright. Can you be one without living in New York? Or sans MFA? How do you get known outside of Portland, which is fast becoming known as the nation’s favorite “tryout town”? ... "

the press release for this event:

Panel includes nominees for Angus L. Bowmer Award

This year on Shakespeare’s birthday — Saturday, April 23 — the Dramatists Guild offers Northwest members an opportunity to meet some of Oregon’s finest playwrights, ask questions about their work, and hear what they have to say about the dramatist’s life. The panel discussion includes Wayne Harrel,* Susan Mach, George Taylor,* and Cynthia Whitcomb, the Oregon Book Award finalists for the coveted Angus L. Bowmer Award for Drama.

Marc Acito and Molly Best Tinsley* are also finalists for the Bowmer Award. The winner of Angus L. Bowmer Award for Drama, as well as the Oregon Book Awards winners in seven other categories, will be announced at the Oregon Book Awards ceremony on Monday, April 25, at 7:00 pm at the Gerding Theater. To learn more about the awards ceremony and view a complete list of finalists and nominees in all genres, please visit

The OBA drama panel on April 23 will be held at Portland Center Stage’s Julie S. Vigeland Rehearsal Hall, on the theater’s third floor, 5:30-6:30 pm, and moderated by nationally known dramaturg Mead Hunter. Admission is free. In addition to the Dramatists Guild, event co-sponsors include Literary Arts, Portland Center Stage, and Portland Theatre Works. The Guild’s Oregon representatives, playwrights Andrea Stolowitz and Steve Patterson, will also be on hand to answer questions about Dramatists Guild news and the playwriting trade.
Immediately following the panel, members are invited to a wine and cheese reception from 6:30-7:30 on the mezzanine level of Portland Center Stage’s Armory Building.
If you haven’t yet had your fill of culture, PCS also presents a 7:30 pm performance of Opus that evening, and you can receive $5.00 off your ticket price when you mention the promotional code “STRINGS” over the phone or when ordering tickets online. This offer is good for any Tuesday through Sunday performance from April 15 to May 8.
For more information, contact your Oregon Guild reps, Andrea and Steve, or contact Sarah Mitchell, Education & Community Programs Coordinator for Portland Center Stage, 503.445.3795 or
*Dramatists Guild member

Andrea Stolowitz and Steve Patterson
DG Portland, OR co-Regional Reps

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pulitzer for Fiction goes to Jennifer Egan

The first book Jennifer Egan book I read was "The Keep." I was immediately drawn in and it was a difficult book to put down. I saw a little while ago - via a Twitter feed from friend, writer, editor, and dramaturg Mead Hunter - that Jennifer Egan was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for her book, "A Visit From the Goon Squad." When I went to her website to get more information, I saw that this book has received many recognitions and awards.

from the Associated Press 4/18/2011

Jennifer Egan wins fiction Pulitzer Prize

NEW YORK (AP) — Jennifer Egan's inventive novel about the passage of time, "A Visit from the Goon Squad," won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction Monday, honored for its "big-hearted curiosity about cultural change at warp speed."

Egan, 48, has been highly praised for her searching and unconventional narratives about modern angst and identity. Her other novels include "The Invisible Circus," ''Look at Me" and "The Keep."

Critics were especially taken with "A Visit From the Goon Squad," with its leaps across time and its experiments with format, notably a long section structured like a PowerPoint presentation. Earlier this year, she won the National Book Critics Circle prize.

"The book is so much about how change is unexpected and always kind of shocking," she said by phone. Egan said she was inspired by Marcel Proust's sprawling novel "Remembrance of Things Past," which explored the passage of time.

"His book of time is all about how the work of time is unpredictable and in some sense unfathomable," she said. "So there's no question that winning a prize like this feel unpredictable and unfathomable."

Another book to add to my must-read list!  And I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Writing the Hard Stuff

Friday night I was out with a couple of writing friends for dinner and the live taping of Live Wire - which included an appearance by Anne Lamott, as well as another writer whose name I need to look up, some awesome musicians - including Holcomb Waller, director Todd Haynes, and more.

Over dinner we had a discussion about writing things that are hard. This didn't necessarily mean hard for us (though that was a part of the discussion, too) - but writing about things that may be hard for others to read or that someone may not like. We're talking about memoir. So the "hard to hear/read" and the "may not like" concern actual people and have potential ramifications.

Then at The Writing Life Too, musings and gatherings Jessica Page Morrell, there appeared this wonderful interview with author Lidia Yukanvitch about her memoir. I definitely want to read the memoir. And I like what Lidia had to say.

Here is one section that stands out for me. Click on the link below it to read the full interview.
But it’s just a veil we throw up when we say we can’t write stories because of how this or that person will react. It’s a safety veil. The reason to lift the veil and move through to your story has almost nothing to do with how the people in your life will react. You can’t control that. Ever. The reason to lift the veil is to step with your full self into your own story.

If other people find difficulty with your story, hey, they can write their own stories.
But I did list some good strategies: contact people you are worried about, change names if you must, use a composite if you can skillfully render events without distorting their truth, and this: trust art.
Full interview: Lidia Yuknavitch's The Chronology of Water

NPR internview: Donna Leon

I've been reading the Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series for a number of years and am happy to see there is a new book. I like the characters and the stories and she tells a good story. As they wrote in the NPR interview, she does a good job of keeping it real (she has lived in Italy for many years, so the sense of place is alive and real, too) and keeping readers engaged in the story.

So when I stumbled on the interview with her, I want to share that. There is also a link on the page to the audio recording of the interview. There is an excerpt from the new book, Drawing Conclusions, on the website, too.

Oh - and I found the interview after following a link to an article about controversy regarding the "Three Cups of Tea" author's accuracy in his memoir - which led me to a story about a "Robot Journalist" who/which (?) wrote a better and more accurate sports article than the human reporter - which led me to this interview.

... Several authors in the news today (there were a couple other stories I didn't read) ...

Click here to read the interview and an excerpt the latest book starring Commissario Brunetti:  Venetian Verite: Donna Leon's Gritty Italian Mystery 
"Writer Donna Leon has lived in Venice, Italy, for three decades, and in that time she has published 20 crime novels featuring the suave detective Commissario Guido Brunetti.  
Like the rest of the series, the latest Brunetti thriller, Drawing Conclusions, features plenty of red herrings, glasses of wine and servings of pasta. In fact, the new book begins with Brunetti being called away from dinner to investigate the death of a widow. Although the medical examiner has declared that she died of a heart attack, Brunetti is suspicious and applies his considerable detective skills to get to the truth.... "

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Blind Cafe: Portland

Another moment - unrelated parts of my life aligning in a short period of time.

This one: I have a friend who is Deaf-Blind and I'm doing some online Deaf-Blind interpreting training - these two are related and nothing surprising about it. The two weeks ago I was at my favorite writing spot and there was a flyer on the counter about The Blind Cafe which caught my attention. Then last week I met up with my best friend from childhood who has recently become legallly blind. There are more areas of overlap there, as well. And a few days after that meeting, I was cleaning out my journal and there was the flyer for The Blind Cafe.

My friend just told me today that she contacted the organizers and will be volunteering one or two nights. I've submitted my name to do volunteer interpreting if there are any Deaf-Blind people who want to participate - and am willing to do other types of volunteering if there's a need.

This looks like an amazing experience - a meal in total darkness. And there will be original music and poetry.

The way these pieces have come together, I will be there whether as a volunteer or a participant. (And my refound childhood friend will be staying with me while she's volunteering since I live about a mile from the venue.)

The Portland Blind Cafe™

An Award Winning Community Awareness Concert & Dinner In The Pitch Dark!

June 2nd, 3rd & 4th 2011

@ Tabor Space / Mt Tabor Presbyterian Church
5441 Belmont Ave.
In beautiful South East Portland, OR
6PM Check In / 6:30PM Seating

The Portland Blind Cafe is a mind bending / heart opening experience where the audience will dine, particpate in a Q & A with their blind wait staff and enjoy a concert of orginal music by Rosh & One Eye Glass Broken...all in the pitch dark!

A delicious vegatarian* meal will be prepared with love to delight your senses by Portland's own Chef Ivy Entrekin and our lovely volunteers.

Your heart and mind will be opened as you embrace the poetry of Rick Hammond, celebrate and explore spacial awareness & darkness with Gerry Leary, while indulging in 'unencumbered music listening' without the distraction of visual conditioning, social etiquette & your cell phones!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Writing Playlist

Yes - it was another of those synchronous moments.

Last week I saw some tweets and read an essay with a question for writers about : What do you listen to when you write? Then at work on Sunday, on a break, I pulled out one of the writing magazines I carry with me to read on breaks or when I'm stuck some odd place between jobs - and there was an article about, yes, Playlists for Writers. I read one interview with an author who had some, what the interviewer called, odd things on his playlist when he was working on a particular book. (I apologize for not remembering for sure which magazine and which article - and I left the current group in the car; I think it was The Writer magazine, though.)

Then yesterday (Tuesday), what arrived in the mail? kd lang's newest album, with her back up band, the Siss Boom Bang. And I did get one of the signed manuscript sheets to one of the songs! Hooray. And, even better, when I popped that cd in to my car stereo, I had an immediate "ahhh." And I did something I've never done before, because I was excited at the first sounds I heard, I jumped ahead through each song, just to get a flavor of each one. Then went back to the beginning and started through it again. I didn't get to listen to much on Tuesday. But today (Wednesday), I had to do more driving - more time with kd and the Siss Boom Bang.

And I knew that this "Sing it Loud," kd's newest album, was on my memoir editing/rewriting playlist. Something about it connected and it feels like a fit. I don't have my entire playlist selected, but most of these songs will be on it.

Good thing, since I now have a new deadline to get a 25,000 word excerpt done for a contest! I have to have the manuscript excerpt submitted between June 1-30. I know what I'm going to be doing for the next 6 weeks!

Yes. Playlists for Writers. I like it.
Here is one of the songs, which is on the CD, although this version was recorded live at the Troubadour, on April 11, 2011.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I've mentioned this in a couple of recent posts - and it continues. So I looked up synchronicity, which I found out came from synchronic - which is a different meaning all together. Seems that "synchronicity" was kind of coined by Jung and it took off from there.

Anyway - a place I often start is with a dictionary - to at least see where a word came from. Even if it is being used differently or incorrectly or it has changed over time. So - I found this definition, which fits with what I've been experiencing:

World English Dictionary
synchronicity (ˌsɪnkrəˈnɪsɪtɪ)

an apparently meaningful coincidence in time of two or more similar or identical events that are causally unrelated
Then, for fun, and because I was following the root of the word, the origins, I went down that path and discovered synchronous. There is the synchronous engine, which is (in very basic laymen's terms from the different sources I've read) a spinning rotor with coils and alternating current - the coils pass magnets at the same rate as the current and it creates a rotating magnetic field.

from Freescale

So - synchronicity and synchronous motors: energy, in the field, laws of attraction and what goes out/comes back, it's "in the air." So part of catching what is there is being aware. Then there are other theories about putting out into the universe what you want to get back, or putting in effort gives you results, and so on.

Leading back to, for me, what has come up in one part of my life appears in another place. Unrelated. Sometimes unexpected - usually unexpected. Yes - I also know that, for example, if you're thinking about buying a new car, suddenly the ones you've targeted as possibilities are showing up everywhere on the road; or another example: quick, don't think of green elephants - and now you are. I know. There is that.

And - things have been popping up.

My best friend from childhood, whom I hadn't seen for 30 years, sending an email about meeting up right when I was writing a story for my memoir that was about the two of us. Then her talking about a disease, which I talked about with my partner the next day, which came up on a program my partner was watching that night (it's a rare disease). And other instances like that. I have a question about something and look it up - and there it is in an article in my email the next day. Or I'm talking with my partner about some news story and she just had a similar experience.

Or maybe I'm just in a time of being more mindful and more aware and so I catch it. Like the red and green spots in the motor.

Something to think about.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Networking versus Marketing

These are my thoughts in process.

I should probably think more and edit before I post them - but I'm not going to. I am curious what other writers think, how they are negotiating the tools or using them, or not, and why.

As I move closer to publication of one book, with another antsy to return in to active editing mode, one awaiting completion - the issues are coming up again:
..and a fourth one whose name escapes me right now..

[See, I said I should wait. I should get my facts. I should make up my mind -maybe.]

I'm on Facebook. I have a Twitter account. I've had several invitations to Linked-In but I'm not there (yet).

These started out (as fas as I knew) as Social Networking Sites/Tools/Communities. They quickly started being used as political action venues (yay - overall). And tools to get out the word on all types of things. Then companies joined in. And now it seems that almost every business - restaurants, clothing companies, adventure outfitters, organizations, non-profits, entertainers, on and on and on - are there. Fine. Okay.

But now there is this expectation that we, as authors, artists, dress makers, dancers, and so on, must be there and must sell our wares/products/selves. And that what was a social network is now a selling network. I'm not sure I like it.

Honest: I don't like it. I know I can opt out of 'fan pages' or groups or 'likes' and so on on Facebook. I can not follow people or not be followed on Twitter. And it's harder to block the forwards/shares/retweets from people I do want to communicate with because, well, they are the reason I'm there.

I'm not saying it's *wrong.*

It is what it is and it won't go back. And I see good uses and reasons - And. Well.

Is there anywhere left where we can just be friends? Share information? A laugh? Resources?

Is everything a sales platform?

What are your thoughts on the social/selling networks/markets?

How do you use them?

I honestly want to know!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

submission: Ooligan Press Flash Fiction Contest

Flash Fiction Contest

Write to Publish 2011 Flash Fiction Contest

Presented by Ooligan Press

Deadline for Submissions: Sunday, April 24th, 2011
Submission Guidelines:
  • Please submit one flash fiction piece of five hundred words or less. While there is no specific theme, we are not seeking genre-specific work, such as romance, westerns, or sci-fi.
  • Any submitted work should not have been previously published.
  • The winning authors will retain all rights to their stories.
  • Each submission should include a note about your interest in Ooligan Press’ Write to Publish conference, and an optional, brief bio in the body of the email.
  • All submissions should please include “Flash Fiction Contest” in the subject line, and be sent as a Word document attachment to:
There is no entry fee for the contest. We are, however, encouraging contestants to donate to the Ooligan Press Offset Fund. The Offset Fund was created as part of Ooligan’s effort to promote sustainable printing practices. All money donated to the Ooligan Press Offset Fund will be used for the production and publication of Ooligan’s sustainable Open Book Series, to send students to workshops and conferences where they can learn and teach about sustainable publishing practices, and to help the press make more sustainable choices. Go to the PSU Foundation to get started.
All three contest winners will be given the opportunity to read their stories on the author stage during the Write to Publish Open House Day, Sunday, May 22nd. The three winning stories will also be posted on the Ooligan Press website and at the Write to Publish conference.
  • First Prize 1) One full day pass to Workshop Day, Saturday, May 21st; 2) two tickets to Open House Day, Sunday, May 22nd, and 3) copies of both of Ooligan’s most recently released books, The Portland Red Guide by Michael Munk, and Rethinking Paper & Ink: The Sustainable Publishing Revolution by Ooligan Press.
  • Second Prize 1) Two tickets to Open House Day, Sunday, May 22nd, and 2) a copy of Rethinking Paper & Ink: The Sustainable Publishing Revolution by Ooligan Press.
  • Third Prize 1) One ticket to Open House Day, Sunday, May 22nd, and 2) a copy of Rethinking Paper & Ink: The Sustainable Publishing Revolution by Ooligan Press.
Write to Publish
Open Books: Open up your book to the possibilities.
May 21st & 22nd, 2011
Organized by Ooligan Press, Write to Publish aims to demystify the publishing process for writers. Write to Publish is different from other writing conferences in that it does not focus on the craft of writing, but rather on the process of getting published via lectures, workshops, and industry professionals available to answer your questions. Speakers for the 2011 Open House Day author stage are soon to be announced.
For more information about Write to Publish 2011, please visit the website at:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hazel Dixon-Cooper's Retrograde notes

Mercury has gone retrograde, again. And I've found Hazel's notes pretty accurate for possible influences. The last Mercury in retrograde was a tough one for me - and I don't usually notice them much. Shortly after the events in my life began, I saw the link to Hazel's site in my reader and there, surprise, was just what I was going through, along with some timelines and guidelines. Those really helped me get through that period with more calm and awareness.

Thank you, Hazel (who is a friend and fellow writer with Bonnie Hearn Hill, and whom I hope to meet on my trip down to Bonnie's soon).

Mercury Retrograde in Aries - March 30 to April 23, 2011

Mercury, the planet of communication and ideas, is retrograde in impatient, action-packed Aries. Your mind could buzz with new ideas and brainstorms. You could also receive invitations, offers, and meet new professional and personal contacts. You could feel energetic and enthused.

That’s the good news.

The caution is to pace yourself and think before you act. Remember that Aries is the sign of impulsive behavior, and is ruled by competitive and hot-headed Mars. During a retro period in Aries, your mouth can easily kick into gear about ten steps ahead of your brain. The result? Pissing contests, bad business deals, and lust-vs-love affairs.

On April 11, Mercury spins backward into Jupiter, then into Mars on April 19. This is the critical phase of the retro period and it’s critical to consider your actions before you proceed. Make sure you understand what you’re agreeing to before you jump into a project or take on more responsibility at work. Give yourself breathing space instead of jumping into bed, or dumping a relationship. Impulsive action now can turn into a major regret later. On a bright note, these days are good finds ways to inject new energy into old projects, ideas, or habits.

For a sign-by-sign look at how this could affect you visit Hazel's website.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Meeting a Memory

This is a short post, as I'm still digesting the afternoon.

It was a good afternoon.

And an unusual one - but I hope there will be more.

After my morning job, I drove to Salem and met for lunch with my best friend from childhood. She and I were best buds from second through twelfth grades. We had a little communication for a couple years after that - because I ran away and got married and commuted back to my home town to finish high school, so we weren't together all the time; our lives diverged.  (Yes - the stuff memoirs are made from *wink* - yes, this is the period I've been writing about in my memoir; yes, right now, editing, revising, adding/deleting - and she contacted me as I was writing the part about meeting the person I married who this friend I had lunch with today introduced me to all those years ago.)

I wondered what we would say, where to begin. And it was easy.




"Where do we start? Go back to the beginning and go forward, or start where we are and go back?"

"Or just jump right in."
And we did. We hugged. We were seated at a booth. We ordered lunch. We ate and talked and talked and talked. And four and a half hours later I headed home. After exchanging phone numbers (land line and mobile), more hugs, and a commitment to meet up again and continue the conversation.

It was a very good afternoon.

And it's nice and it's odd (in a good way) to have her back in my life.

So much has changed and so little.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I've been trying to write this post for an hour. Getting nowhere. So I won't for now.

Except to say that right now seems to be a time of pieces coming together for me. And some not. Of writing about something or a person and then, they appear somehow (an email, perhaps; or a mention from someone who I didn't know had that connection, too). Of reading a discussion thread about a topic and then receiving and email or a class list about just that topic the next day.

I'm not really talking about cause and effect.

More like the energy in the air and multiple sources picking up on it.

Yes - it's in the air and it's being tapped into. Like the waves at the beach, touching the shores for miles and miles and touching the toes or lives of many, who just happen to be there about that same time. And notice the water at their feet.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Script Frenzy update

Yes, I'm still writing the script. Whoa. Sometimes easy and sometimes not; two of the days the pages have flown by and I thought, wow this is easy! Then times like today - ugh. What do you mean I only typed 1.5 pages? So I typed another - what? 1? Okay....type type type type. Yay! I reached three pages. Wow.

It's still fun and I think I'm working something out through it.

Or priming the wheels for the other things I'm doing.

So my current page count is: 14!

And here is my little info from my Script Frenzy author page -- just for fun:

Title: The Not So Alternative Lifestyle
Script type: Stage play
Script genre: Romance/Romantic Comedy
Logline: A cautionary tale: the thing you fear may be no different than you. Love, laughter, and misunderstandings in a long term relationship.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Writing Our Way Home blog: What you feel deepest and hardest

Writing Our Way Home blog: What you feel deepest and hardest:

"Why write?

You could also ask, why create? Why bow to the golden Buddha?

Why love?

Writing gets us closer to what we feel deepest and hard ..."

I really like this post and wanted to share it. Click on the link - it's an awesome "why we write" piece and poem.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hazel Dixon-Cooper: Aries New Moon

Astronomer and author Hazel Dixon-Cooper posted about the Aries New Moon. I'll just let you read her words. (and there is a link at the bottom to click to see your sun sign's horoscope during this period).

For those friends I've been around lately, this note about the "a sky filled with wild energy" may resonate. Note to myself : pay special attention to the bit about "slowing down..."

Thanks, Hazel!

Aries New Moon - Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday's New Moon in Aries adds even more mayhem to a sky already filled with wild energy. This anything-goes Moon joins the Sun, Jupiter, Uranus, and retrograde Mercury in this impulsive sign. The resulting shoot-from-the-hip force can make us feel as if we're on a runaway roller coaster. Although the next few days are ripe to bring opportunities, invitations, and lucky breaks, the best way to snag something good is to slow down. Think about your options and don't rush. You'll need to stay organized and keep your eyes open because navigating the upcoming week can be as tricky as maneuvering an L.A. freeway during rush hour. Here is a sign-by-sign look at how this dynamic energy could impact you:
Hazel's sun sign horoscopes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Time on my Hands

How often do I say that? Not much, I know. But here I am, with a series of circumstances which have left me with gaps in my schedule.

I know. Don't get me started. What I'm calling "gaps" in my schedule may not even be considered "time off" for other people. But today I do have the whole day off. No work (the job I had canceled, billing done, emails responded to, no prep work to do, no play to translate or practice). No teaching (scheduling, grading, reviewing, contacting mentors or students - it's all done - waiting for replies). And with the canceled ongoing assignment, I have more time. Yes, I will have to pick up some other jobs to fill in that gap - but it will be fine. Those assignments will trickle in as I need them to (thinking positively here).

So I'm writing more. As I've already said here. I'm actually writing a lot. (And, see, I'm posting more. This was part of my commitment to myself - to post at least four times a week, with a secret hope of nearly daily.)

And - you know what else I found myself doing this morning? Sitting here with my coffee (which is contradictive with the arnica I took; I'll have to take more in an hour or so) and my cottage cheese with kale and blueberries, ice on my achey ankle and foot raised - online, looking around at Masters and PhD degrees in creative writing, creativity, and MFAs. Again. I revisit them now and then. See what's new. If any of them look better than they did last time. What's close to home. Who is offering what for distance degrees/low residency options. And they're looking better. I wonder about those with graduate teaching assistance - maybe, that could be fun or could be H E double-toothpicks; it would certainly be a time consumer, as I know very well. Distance/low res options cut out the time and place requirements, but tend to be more expensive and don't have grad teaching financial help (but they could! I know they could! I've been a mentor and instructor in distance programs and I could do it for an MFA). Today I saw one, more local (and I forgot to check if it's at the local campus or only on the main campus) where a bulk of the classes are workshop. I love that idea!

Simultaneously I am thinking: what AM I thinking? How could I do this? Am I simply uncomfortable with time off or is having some time off from so many obligations giving me time to think about what I do want?

Would a Masters degree in writing or creativity or even the coveted MFA really make a difference? Further my goals as a writer? Or simply prolong or derail them? I've toyed with the idea of a PhD - with all the credits I have an my experience, there used to be a program that I could wrap up the Masters requirements simultaneously and go straight to the top. But the top of what? What is the PhD for - but to teach? And do I want to teach writing/creativity in a standardized academic setting? Or is it the experience and exposure and cameraderie of the degree; the shared space and the permission to write and the feedback (I have great experience with this through Ariel Gore's workshops - in person and online)?

Why do I keep looking at the degrees? And yes, I noticed the excitement I felt at the one with the workshop foundation. I don't know. I've been here many times.

Time consumer? Validation? Permission to write? Networking and information to move ahead?


Friday, April 1, 2011

Script Frenzy: Day One

Yes. I did it - I hit the minimum number of average pages per day in my Script Frenzy play - and more.

I'm ending today with 7 pages of my script written.

And I decided to insert a Poet into the play. Well, more like a wandering minstrel who will appear throughout the play. So I am also doing a poem a day, as well (we'll see how this goes).

I'm not quite sure why I'm doing this.

Maybe because I'm a writer.

Because I want a challenge.

Because I have some words I need to get out to keep the flow moving and there's nothing like Write X in 30 Days to get me going. Because I have learned that the more I write, the more I write.

And I've just been given back some blocks of time - so I have more time. (For those who know me, yes, this means I've lost some work. I'm putting a positive spin on it and trusting the universe to provide enough for me to meet my obligations.)

I planned to step up my walking and we'll see how that goes starting tomorrow. Tonight when I arrived home, I moved the blender from the counter in the disaster of our kitchen (this always happens with the grandson visits), slipped on some water that had been spilled from unloading the dishwasher and not wiped up, slid into the counter and grabbing onto the sink so I didn't fall and break the blender and knock my head on the still open dishwasher door and land on my butt - and the side of my ankle jammed into and under the bottom of the cupboard. That hurt really bad. I cursed like I shouldn't of with the grandson in the house. I twisted my leg a little or my knee, I'm not sure. I've taken ibuprofen and arnica and have ice on my ankle now and foot raised. I don't think anything is broken but it hurts. So my plans for walking tomorrow are probably curtailed. If the ankle or knee are sprained, maybe for longer. So maybe going from the half marathon on May 8th to the quarter marathon may not even be a possibility. I was excited to get a reply earlier today that I could go from 1/2 to 1/4 - it means I didn't have to give up, I only had to scale back (my training was interrupted by a car accident; then I got sick in February with the respiratory illness floating around - so I was being realistic and not setting myself up for a bad experience by scaling back... now we'll see).

I'm not sure how this applies to writing a script and writing poetry in April, while I'm working on the memoir and in the Literary Kitchen. But somehow it does. Maybe in terms of time.

And my friend and writer buddy, Deb, is also doing NaPoWriMo and she will be posting her poetry over at The Writing Vein Playground. Last year I put up daily prompts for April and she and I posted our corresponding poetry there (the prompts and the poems are still there; click on the 2010 archives, April; then our poems are in the comments for the prompts). Make sure to hop over to read her poetry!