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

Running with the Bull

There are the lies we tell others and there are the lies we tell ourselves. My lies to others tend to be the carefully curated lie-but-not-a-lie that tries not to hurt feelings or unjustifiably cause pain. I don’t lie about myself, although online I tend to be airbrushed. Catch me when I expected to have some solitude or ride my bumper in your oversized vehicle and the sharp edges emerge. The toughest lies to untangle are the lies we tell ourselves about who we are and what will make us happy. If… Read More

The Things We Carry (and Must Learn to Leave Behind)

In 1993, I dropped out of grad school after one miserable year. I was a failure, barely surviving academically, juggling three jobs, in over my head in so many ways. I make jokes about it, but when I pitched a nonfiction proposal to an agent last week, she asked about my education. I was truthful and while she was interested in my proposal, I could tell that I did not have a good “platform”. For nonfiction proposals, agents and publishers want someone with a platform. A platform is the writer’s expertise, background,… Read More

What It Comes Down To: The Pitch Conference After Action Report

For months, I’ve been eating, dreaming, walking through this pitch conference. I’d never been to a writing conference of any sort, and have long eschewed workshops and book clubs, and lived in my make-believe land of being a writer. This is the first concrete step I’d ever taken to make it real. And it was a great step. That I’ll likely never do again. There are writers who remain oblivious to the market, to the numbers, to the sheer complexity and enormity of their dreams. They constantly send out work and occasionally… Read More

An Introvert Walks into a Conference…

I’m in a hotel room in downtown Minneapolis, wrung out and exhausted from smiling and talking about my novel with other writers. My hobnobbing and pitching at a writer’s conference garnered two requests for pages from lit agents. I’ve already called and texted friends and family to squee about it. But as usual, the exhilaration has melted away into the realization that I will have to work harder than I ever have at digging in and writing. I do not spend a long time in joyland. The water’s too warm. The woman… Read More

Leaning into the Fraudian Complex

I’m a writer. I speak several languages. I am fit and active. I love my family. I believe love is the right choice. But, but, but… What about the fact that I’m none of these things consistently or expertly? What about the fact that I don’t spend each and every day honing my writer’s craft? And that despite working on a novel, 80% of my reading is nonfiction? What about the fact that if you ask me any question in the languages I know well on paper, I’ll have a blank look… Read More

Flotsam and Jetsam at The Green Study

It’s hard to write a blog post these days. I seem to have lost my sense of humor over the last few months and am writing serious missives about the promulgation of incompetence and grand larceny. I used a lot of words like promulgation and malfeasance and hackery, which is apparently not even a word. I finally deleted them from the draft file. You’re welcome. My life is more organized and productive than it’s ever been. Staying organized, working out and being busy with volunteering and projects every day – these are… Read More