The November Blues

It’s been a rough month and likely to get worse. Sometimes being human is just a bumpy ride and at other times, it’s talking yourself through the next minute without collapsing on the floor in a heap. I need to be in a heap for a bit. Administrative Note: There has been an uptick of abusive comments on this blog. The IP address arrives with the comment and will be reported, as well as added to the comment blacklist. All comments are held in moderation. Something’s been brewing all month. I’ve been… Read More

This Month at The Green Study

The last couple of months have found me desperately trying to keep my introverted self from going off the deep end. I made my local cable TV debut. I talked to a zillion people about voting rights, attended candidate forums, and wrote a lot of semi-political posts. But November is here and with it, some changes to help me regain my center. Writing to My Heart’s Content After convincing quite a few other people to do it, I felt compelled to join in with the NaNoWriMo crew and knock out 50K words… Read More

The Loci of Writing: Plantsing and Politics

It’s a year where satire and parody seem unnecessary – this political season has been aggravating and exhausting. I believe there are personal lessons to be learned and am mercenary about the sources. This last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people with whom I disagree. It would be a stretch to say I feel compassion or kinship or empathy, but challenging my thinking – a bouillabaisse of stereotypes, personal prejudice and simple loathing, is important to me. It’s about the locus of control. I’ve been a bit baffled by… Read More

Marlon James and Notes in the Dark

A good story makes you ask better questions. It’s scrawled twice in the margins of my notebook. I took notes last week in a darkened audience, attending a lecture by the 2015 Man Booker Prize winner, Marlon James. He received the award in October for his sprawling, intense novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings. One of things on my writing hit list this year was to seek out better writers and better writing. I am fortunate to live in a metro area for some of the big name writers who give… Read More

Unraveling: Fiction as Life and No, No NaNoNette

I put my 5th grader on a school bus this week for the first time. It’s not much to parents who have been doing this since day one, but I worked from home for many years. I felt like taking her to school was an opportunity. I got to know other parents and the school environment. Some of our best mother-daughter talks happened in the car and I was loathe to give it up. But for the sake of her growing independence, give it up I did. Six months ago, I quit… Read More

Slippery Pistons and Fiery Cupcakes of Love: Writing Sex Scenes

As I continue to write my second novel, I’ve stumbled into a patch of writing ground that makes me giggle like a 10-year-old or mutter “that’s just gross” under my breath to no one in particular. It is never my intent to write about love or sex, here, there or anywhere, but human relationships apparently involve a lot of both ingredients. And unfortunately, both my novels seem to include humans. If writing what I know is key to authenticity, I am, to use an obvious pun, totally screwed. Not to put too… Read More

The Writer’s Life Day #1: Everything is Awesome

I quit my job. I quit volunteering. I am well-rested. My office is clean. My desk a clutter-free, pristine horizontal landscape. My magnetic storyboard is up. Chapters laid out. Characters listed. My family ignores me. My cell phone is on silent. My email is shut down. Gentle music plays in the background, massaging my brain. My humidifier is ejecting the perfect puffs of mist to prevent my eyes from drying out. The sun is streaming through the study window. Cats doze with tiny snores on the reading chair. My hot cup of… Read More

The Siren Call of National Novel Writing Month

Fall brings the melancholy whisper from writers everywhere: Should I do NaNoWriMo? For those who are unaware of this event, National Novel Writing Month is in November. The Office of Letters and Light, a nonprofit organization, sponsors various events online and around the country to get writers writing. The goal in November is to write 50,000 words, an average of 1,667 words per day. A double-spaced page, average font, has approximately 250-275 words per page. This means 6-7 typewritten pages per day. Two years ago, I met the 50K goal and finished… Read More

Being Wanda Q

As I work on my outline for my 2nd novel (NaNoWriMo is here soon!), I am pondering how far a writer should go for authenticity. My first novel, Phoenix Rock, is still in play, as I drag myself inch by inch through re-writes. It was a nightmarish soap opera by the end, with a dysfunctional family perpetuating murder and mayhem. It started out as a character study. Obviously I got a little bored with it and felt compelled to kill off a few characters. I was excited about my second novel –… Read More

So I Wrote a Novel…and Then I Avoided It Like the Plague

And one day, when I’m mere ashes being transported in a tacky vase to my destination of choice (my reading chair, of course), they will rifle through my meager possessions to find a two inch black binder covered in a thin layer of dust and decorated with geometric coffee rings on every other page. There will be notes in red ink hastily scrawled along the margins: Geez, time travel much? Get Strunk and possibly White, this grammar stinks! Schedule mammogram. Look up spelling of onomonopea omonomopia. Bread, milk, canola oil, trail mix… Read More