Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Missing MacDowell and the freedom to create

Here it is, Saturday morning, the third day of November, and I have written very little since returning from MacDowell, glorious MacDowell.
I have figured out the difference ~ and this was not difficult to theorize ~ but the difference between MacDowell and my home in Kansas City is all about responsibilities.
At MacDowell, I had long, long, long hours to fill, sitting at my laptop, or standing (which is frequently my preference), whereby my only responsibility was to write, and then show up for breakfast and dinner, 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively. Lunch was a thunk on my porch that came to me: delicious soup and sandwiches, fruit, and dessert.
At MacDowell, I made my bed, but did not get distracted by laundry or dust on my dresser, or a dog that wanted me to throw a ball ... over and over ... over and over ... over and over.
I love my dogs, but they are a HUGE time suck. They want in, they want out, they want in, they want out, they want me to take them for a walk, they want me to fetch them a biscuit, they want to go "bye-bye," they want to be fed, they want new water, they want me to pet them, to play with them, to let them in, to let them out, to let them in, to let them out.
I can deal with letting housekeeping wait; I can deal with eating sandwiches from Price Chopper and apples and pears when I am hungry; I don't need to cook big meals anymore: the children are grown, it's just me and my husband, and he's fine with sandwiches from Price Chopper, or dinner from the All-You-Can-Eat salad bar there.
It's the dogs. Millie and Bella, so damned cute and so damned needy.
They are the primary reason I have written so very little since coming home. Well, also, there's work responsibilities: yesterday I subbed at Liberty High School and then went right away to help out a neighbor ~ get her children off the bus and into the house; prepare a snack.
But it's the dogs, and the constant attention they seem to need, that's been my Achilles heel now that I am home.
When Tuesday rolls around, I am taking Miss Millie to doggy daycare so I can get some writing done. Without Millie, Bella quiets down. She will sleep for me.
Well. It's a plan.
I need a plan. I have written only 1,070 words on my NaNoWriMo project; I am still not finished with my Bologna book ~and I have put myself on strict deadline to be DONE by December 31.
My short short story for contest needs half a day of attention (deadline Nov. 15). And I haven't begun to solicit literary journals for another five short stories.
Anyone need an adorable cocker spaniel?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo starts today!

For National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which begins today and runs through November 30, I am attempting to write my first Young Adult (YA) novel. The write-a-novel-in-a-month competition labels all those who get to 50,000 words in thirty days WINNERS.
I am challenging myself to write for a fifteen-year-old audience. Will be thinking of those thousands of students I worked with every day for fifteen years. Going to keep one student in particular in mind.
My words come, or seem to come, more authentically when I visualize just one reader turning my book's pages. For my domestic fiction, I aim to please Anne Tyler. For my YA, I aim to please the most creative and intelligent student I've ever had, a young lady named Taylor Welch. She is now a sophomore in high school, maybe a junior (I've lost track). I know for certain that Taylor's future is a bright one.

My novel's working title: Little White Pill

Its first paragraph:

My name is Chloe, with a C, like the perfume, not spelled with a K, like Khloe of Kardashian fame. My family isn't Money. Not New Money, not Old Money. More like Just Enough Money to keep our lights turned on and hot water for the shower. There is something really wrong with me, and once I get to know you better, I am going to tell you. But for now, you're going to have to wait.