Saturday, July 31, 2010

Writing is a Game of Inches

My son recently linked me one of his favorite blogs titled Rands in Repose (another reason to raise children well: they turn out to be very interesting adults who can bring new ideas into your life).  While I liked the post about bookshelves, I was very interested in his new post about writing a book.  (The title to this blog is taken from that post.)

He has lots of great advice, but it begins with the bold statement:
"Don’t write a book. Even better, stop thinking about writing a book. Your endless internal debate and self-conjured guilt about that book you haven’t written yet is a sensational waste of your time. My guess is if you took all the time that you’ve spent considering writing a book and translated that into actual writing time, you’d be a quarter of your way into writing that book you’re not writing."

Somedays I think I'm about there.  It's been roughly five years since I graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing, and the (hideously complicated) novel is tucked away safely on some dusty shelf, the strains of pomp and circumstance long gone.  But so is the notion that I'd ever complete another book.  Or write and be paid for it.  I immediately went off on sabbatical with my husband, and I dutifully re-wrote the (hideously complicated) novel once but when I started in again, I realized it could probably never be re-written to my satisfaction.

One day I took an inventory of a few of my fellow graduate students.  Sherri is a roller derby queen.  EJ got one of the few available full-time faculty positions at the local community college.  Melanie is a teacher at one of the high schools in the area. Motherhood has captured Jenny.  Elizabeth spent the years after graduation nursing her son through his (eventually fatal) brain cancer. Kate still teaches part-time at the institution we all graduated from and is the only one I know that is writing (drama, for local productions, but I don't know if she gets paid for it). And me?  I write blogs and teach part time at a local community college.

The guilt over Not Writing at times is huge.  My sister told me she thought that my blogging was a way of getting my writing out there.  She's probably correct.  So when I read Michael Lopp's post this morning, it resonated.  I do write nearly every day, in short bloggy forms.  The habit--and the urge--is compelling.  But, in spite of that writing degree, the encouragement from people that matter to me, and that nagging thought that I if don't take a leap off the cliff I won't know if I can fly, I still don't know--even though I have the basic plot line and the characters for a novel--if a book will ever come out of me.

So instead, I just pull up the keyboard, open a blog, and start writing.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Filling in the Canada Trip Blog

While I posted just four pictures a night and wrote two to three lines each day while on the road in Canada, you didn't think you'd get away with just that little of a post from me, did you?

So, I've been filling in the posts this about our trip to Nova Scotia this past week, but it's taking me longer than I thought.  Tonight I finished our drive around the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton National Park (shown above).  If you're keeping track, head over to the Canada tab on the Traveled Mind homepage.  There the updated posts are listed.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Windmill Farmer--Video for Your Weekend

I found this on Boing Boing Blog (which I enjoy but can't keep up with--they're so prolific!).  I thought it was so nice--a perfect little video for a weekend, which I hope will not be quite so hot as the week!

They quote the filmaker, Joaquin Baldwin:
"This film was inspired while driving back from a trip to Palm Springs, when my partner said that it must take them forever to plant and grow so many windmills. I wrote down the title The Windmill Farmer for an idea to explore later, and about a year later I started developing it into a character and story. This film took 4 months to complete from the first boards until the final mix"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dinner: A Love Story

I happened on this article in the New York Times, while I was avoiding going outside in the 96-degree heat (I'm a heat wimp), and loved the idea that Jenny Rosenstrach had chronicled what she had cooked for her family in a small journal.  Of course, I love the idea of journals, and the dailiness of life that they can portray.  I'm always drawn to epistolary novels, the characters' lives revealed day by day (although a steady diet of those can get tiresome) and think that our own personal journals can function as sort of an epistolary fiction/fact/memoir in some way.

I clicked over to her website, Dinner: A Love Story, and browsed through it.  (I'm sure her hits for the day will go through the roof) and loved what I saw at the end of one of the posts.

Make Dinner, Not War.

My mother did just this for years and years and year, and now apparently, my Dad does a lot of the cooking, while she's busy recovering from various physical challenges.  I've followed in their footsteps, but we've always been a household that revolved around the table.

There's a saying around my husband's family that while his father was down in the basement, challenging the young adult grandchildren to get out and change the world, his mother was upstairs in the kitchen, fixing dinner and doing just that, meal by meal.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Filling In the Spaces

I'm starting to fill in the spaces on our Canada travel blog.  I've completed three days, but it will take me many more to finish (I'm going slowly).  If you want to head to the main Canada page, with a listing of all the completed posts, click *here* --or--click on the Traveled Mind photo (upper right) and choose the tab at the top of the home page labeled "Canada."

Friday, July 09, 2010

Slipper Chair

I found this slipper chair on the sidewalk last fall.  It was Providence.  I had decided I needed a chair in the bedroom--after all, Dave had one, and I had to resort to standing while we chatted or sitting on the bed.  I checked out Pottery Barn--they had some nice ones, but were Mucho Bucks.  And then, at dusk, while driving down the street on trash clean-up day was this chair and a broken desk.  I stopped, opened up the back and put the chair in and drove off, thrilled with my score.  Shades of New York--we used to find lots of treasures on those days.

I had intended to upholster it myself, but instead took it to a professional, and what you are seeing is a result of that decision.  Otherwise, it would still be upside down on top of the workbench outside in the garage, instead of sitting in my bedroom.  I used Amy Butler's fabric from her most recent line--a heavyweight twill just for home decorating.  The total cost was a fraction of Mucho Bucks.

This is the fun part--when taking photos for this post, I noticed this sweet little detail: a little flower centered on the button at the upper back of the chair.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

We're Home from Canada. . .

. . . however body time is somewhere over Ohio. While it's not that much, it appears to be significant in terms of function.  I anticipate very soon that my brain and body time will synch up and then I can write a coherent post or two.  Maybe.

Meanwhile, enjoy this blog post about the quilts I saw in Canada.