When You Only Have So Many Words and None of Them are Adequate

The Green Study is taking a break until November 15, 2017. Last year, I went to a lecture where journalist and novelist Anna Quindlen spoke about her writing practices¬†and career. One of the things she said was that while she was working on a project, she limited how much time she spent answering emails and engaging others. “I only have so many words.” I’ve thought a lot about that phrase, wondering if there really is a limit to my creative reservoir. I’ve made a habit over the last five years of posting… Read More

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I was listening to Tom Petty this morning, sad that he has passed away at a relatively young age. His music immediately pulls me back into the past, growing up as a teenager in Iowa. It reminds me of parties out in machine sheds in the middle of nowhere, of awful first dates, and coming of age when getting booze and pot and avoiding pregnancies were all that we worried about. It wasn’t a great age of innocence. We were still in the Cold War. Someone tried to assassinate the president. Terrorist… Read More

Getting Mocked by Alfred Adler

Over five years of blogging, and at least 50% of it has been whinging on about writing – doing it, not doing it, determined to do it, failing to do it. I’ve pitched to agents at a conference and not followed through.¬† I’ve been given the time, opportunity, and space to do it. I’ve set and promptly passed deadlines. I’ve made note cards, scribbled on white boards, discussed it ad nauseam with friends. I have skeletal novels and unfinished stories and poetry done badly. I have made myself feel physically ill, have… Read More

The Last Butterflies of Summer

I took an unintended hiatus when I realized that I had nothing to say. I go through periods like this, where writing words fail to comfort and when I’m so tired of my own story, my own patter, that I go dark. It becomes a time of frenetic activity, physical labor, compulsive reading, long walks where all I hear is my breathing and the sounds of furtive nature. It is a time to refill the reservoir, to get out of my own brain, to seek solace in the words of others, to… Read More

Empty Noise is the Gravedigger

I’ve been living a summer in quiet desperation. Fall is creeping in around the mornings. I smell it in the air and see the frantic scurry of squirrels hiding their winter stores of food. Usually, it brings with it a sweet melancholy that makes me more creative and introspective. This year seems different. I turn 50 shortly and it’s clouded my mind in all the expected ways. Ways that seem like stages of grief. I’m in the bargaining/rationalization phase. Initially, I mourned that there was less ahead of me than behind me…. Read More

Blogging in the Age of Twitter and Other Bits of Unsolicited Advice

Whenever a blog post gets any attention, I receive comments and emails from new bloggers asking for advice. This is all very flattering and for a few moments, I puff myself up to expound on guidelines about blogging. Except they’re only guidelines for me. What works for me, serves my purpose, meets my needs as a writer, reader and blogger, might be entirely different for you. This is the beauty and the challenge of blogging. We’re all just feeling our way through it. We’ve heard that blogging is dead for the last… Read More

A Brief Hiatus at The Green Study

The Green Study will return on June 15th, 2017. It’s down to the wire on getting my novel draft out to some amenable friends and family for reader input. Thanks to my skillful procrastination, this will be like writing my senior thesis in college, except that I won’t be running to someone’s office, reeking of all-night coffee, cigarettes and stale sweat, clutching a mangled stack of papers. Fortunately for my beta readers, I will only be repelling the postal carrier and she’s used to that. Until my return in a couple of… Read More

Committing to the Mistake and Writing in the Age of That Guy

The hunger divide between writing meaningful stories and writing what I am capable of feels like a gaping maw now. A novel draft I wrote in 2012 seems limp and unedifying. Great novels come out of periods of strife and war and social upheaval. My little domestic drama on paper seems out of step. I lay in bed last night rewriting my entire novel. It had power and endurance and spoke to the demographics and polarity in our nation – the great canyon between urban and rural, educated and uneducated. It could… Read More

Motley Thoughts on a Rainy Day

After wrecking my knee once again, this time by gardening misadventure and not running, rain has provided a welcome reprieve and excuse. I’m chugging through desperate re-writes to get my novel out to a lovely group of beta readers and a couple of agents by the first week of June. Since I’ve established a hard deadline for myself, I have been busy cleaning windows, rearranging closets, volunteering a few extra hours, sewing on loose buttons, reading obscure texts, and listening to writing advice podcasts while sharpening garden tools. All in all, this… Read More

Wildflowers and Weeds: A Sun-Addled Brain at The Green Study

It’s gardening season which means that here at The Green Study, the metaphors for growth are in full bloom. It also means that the sun has fried my brains and I have little patience for sitting at the keyboard. Still, with gardening comes the thinking, the settling back on haunches watching fuzzy bumblebees search for the first blooms and June bugs, startled and disoriented when accidentally uncovered. So these are some quick jots from the week, uneven and random, sort of like my lawn. ***** It was a tough first week for… Read More