Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Doubt It

My writing life has been hounding me for years.  It’s like a terrier that yaps at my feet until I pay attention to it or take it for a walk or give it a treat.  I want to ignore it but it won’t let me.
When I’m writing regularly, as I am now, I should be on top of the world.  I should be proud of myself for sitting down every day and putting words on paper.  But instead I am plagued by self doubt.  When doubt creeps in the little terrier that begs me to write something down, that whines until I have, runs away with his tail between his legs then hides under the bed until it’s safe to come out again.
 I have written reams on what a shitty, shitty writer I am and why I should close up my laptop for good and toss it.  I have tried over and over to convince myself that my writing is a hobby, one I could easily trade for knitting or ceramics.  I have tried to let it go because it is painful to hear me talk to myself like I do.  It is painful to want something so badly but feel that you may never achieve it.  It’s beyond frightening to think that what I tell myself might actually be true and that I might suck more epically than any writer that has ever put pen to paper.  And then....just as I’m about to hit the ‘delete’ key the terrier will poke his head out from the dust ruffle.  He’ll creep closer and maybe lick my ankle or nudge my leg.  He’ll look up at me with those puppy dog eyes as if to say ‘so what?’  Then he’ll start to whine a little and just to keep him quiet I’ll write a poem or two.   When he’s satisfied he’ll creep back to his bed and go to sleep.  The only way to keep him quiet is to write. Because as hurtful as all this self doubt is, it is far more distressing to think that I quit, that I gave up on something that meant so much to me.  It’s impossible not to write.   And if I’m not the greatest writer, so what?
When doubt gets really bad, when it threatens to erase an entire manuscript or clear the contents of my computer I look to my bookshelves for inspiration and pull out the worst novels I can find.  Every author should stock a few.  I pick them up in the 99 cent bin once in a while and in times of great duress I open them and curl up on the couch with my terrier and read a line or two and think the thought that keeps all would be novelists coming back to the desk, “if they can do it....”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You Can't Have One Without the Other

It seems that I am never happy in my writing practice.  When I'm writing fiction I want to be writing poetry.  When I'm writing poetry I feel the need to hammer out an essay.  If I'm writing a mystery, I want to be writing a ghost story and... well you get the picture.  So if you're reading this blog,  and Thank You if you are, you'll see that I've split off into my multiple writing personalities.

At 365-Pages I'm writing a page a day of a story called Gideon's Folly.  It's a story about a boy who lives his life behind the stone wall of a crumbling mansion called the Folly and what happens to him when he finds a way out.

Pocketwatch Poetry came about because I often try to write a poem as fast as I can without editing or censorship.  This is where I put them.

Diary of a Catastrophic Thinker is a humorous look at my issues with anxiety.

And this one, 142 books, is a mixture of poetry and essays on writing.

It's possible that this is a form of writer's attention deficit but hey, on the bright side, look at all the writing I'm getting done.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Quiet One

they called her quiet
and refined
with her downcast eyes
and covert glances
they thought her shy
withdrawn and lost
in thought
or pursuits otherwise romantic
but in the avenues
she walks
in silent regard
and thin disguise
adrift in
sympathetic crowds

Friday, May 4, 2012

Writing Without a Net

There is a question that I have asked myself time without number.  'Why do I write?'  Followed closely by the subsequent  'Why do I care?'
As I navigate the world of Twitter and try to figure out how to actually get someone to read my blog(s) I am actually beset by something close to apathy.  It is exhausting to me to think that day after day I must sell myself. I must push my words at people like an unwelcome fourth drink at a tasteful event.  I feel pressure to squeeze my words into a size 2 so that no-one will realize that I'm not 26 anymore.  Unfortunately there are no Spanx for writers, no Botox, no collagen injections.  We have to constantly expose our flaws and then stand naked in hopes that the powers that be won't notice the cellulite.  So why??? Why bother?
I don't know.  The elusive dream of the contract is not actually on my radar anymore.  I used to keep a scrapbook, kind of a bound vision board, and in it I glued my dreams together.  One of them was a VW convertible.  I promised myself that when I got published I would buy myself that car and that the license plate would read "Author".  So many years have passed since I made that book.  It seems silly.  My husband suggested I get a plate that read "Arthur" instead.  I laughed. 'Close enough,' I thought. And then it occurred to me that it really doesn't matter.  Life is good.  I write because I always have.  I write because it is a part of me.  But not every part of me has to be compensated to be legitimate.  No-one pays me to be a wife or a mother and yet those are the roles that give me the most joy.   If this means I never unearth the Holy Grail known as the  literary agent so be it.  I will continue to write simply because I don't know how not to.  If there's no one to catch me when I fall that's okay.  I'll survive.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Soft breath
tainted with leaves and cut grass
and other growing things
inhaled and
breathed deep
nights have shortened
less time to be afraid of things there
less time to wait for dawn
and the relief of seeing
sidewalks wet from an evening's rain
fresh, clean
the footfalls soft against them
in this tower it wafts toward me
even now as i wait for death
I am alive