Relatively Writing…

This week’s creative is young, talented, a writer to watch, and she happens to be my niece.  Amanda has been published in several literary magazines along with a study gig writing for Courthouse News and Westword. Her talents extend beyond the writer into translating and editing. Here is her creative process:

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If you haven’t written a word since your last school assignment, you probably think writing is a magical thing that happens to a few gifted people with great grammar. Truth is, I would be lost without spell check and muses are a lot like lightening, if you’re waiting to be struck, you’re probably still waiting.

My process is slow and tedious and involves countless hours of going back and crossing out whatever I finally managed to write down.

On a good day, I’ll wake up a good hour or two before everyone else in the house, make a French press, and get to it. On a bad day, I sleep in and spend the afternoon lying to myself about how I will make up for it later then inevitably go to bed early.

For me, the two most important parts of the story are the ending and the twist. Without those, my character is all dressed up with nowhere to go. In the case of “Two Soups for Table Eight,” I began with the idea that I wanted to write something that might be seen differently on the second reading—either Jean’s a bored waiter with a big imagination or he really is a reporter. I also wanted to capture that angst of being stuck at a day job, when you (feel like you) have more important things to do.

I try to put some truth in every story and challenge myself to experiments with new techniques.

I figure if I keep grinding away like this, the muse just might strike day and I will be ready for it with a kite and a key.”

“Two Soups for Table Eight” is in the August issue of ArtPost. Amanda also has had fiction on the Write Launch and Menacing Hedge. She writes true stories for Courthouse News and Westword.

A Writing Guru

I am fortunate to have many wonderful writer’s who work with me on my projects, inspire me to reach further, and encourage me to continue honing my craft. It’s a great life.

Way back during my undergrad at UConn, several writing professors had the book

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Totally geeking out about meeting Natalie Goldberg!

Writing Down The Bones on their optional reading list. Since I first purchased this classic, I have re-read it a dozen or so times. Natalie Goldberg’s classic inspires, directs, and assists writers through the process of writing.

I had the honor to meet Ms. Goldberg at The Bookstore & Get Lit Wine Bar in Lenox Massachusetts where she was promoting her latest book, Let The Whole Thundering World Come Home: A Memoir. Here she shares her cancer journey through writing and Zen. I bought her new one yet got my 1986 copy of WDTB signed.

I learned a few important things during her session. 1. When I asked a writing question, she answered, “one must just shut up and write” (she really wanted to talk about her new book) and 2. Ms. Goldberg doesn’t like cameras.

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A little more calm after she signed my book.

About WDTB from Amazon: “With insight, humor, and practicality, Natalie Goldberg inspires writers and would-be writers to take the leap into writing skillfully and creatively. She offers suggestions, encouragement, and solid advice on many aspects of the writer’s craft: on writing from “first thoughts” (keep your hand moving, don’t cross out, just get it on paper), on listening (writing is ninety percent listening; the deeper you listen, the better you write), on using verbs (verbs provide the energy of the sentence), on overcoming doubts (doubt is torture; don’t listen to it)—even on choosing a restaurant in which to write. Goldberg sees writing as a practice that helps writers comprehend the value of their lives. The advice in her book, provided in short, easy-to-read chapters with titles that reflect the author’s witty approach (“Writing Is Not a McDonald’s Hamburger,” “Man Eats Car,” “Be an Animal”), will inspire anyone who writes—or who longs to.”

Click here to visit her website. Click here to visit the The Bookstore & Get Lit Wine Bar’s website. Both links have options to order her books.

Inspiration Move Me Brightly*

Greetings All!

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Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com   

With some deep thought (still healing and getting more mobile 😊) this summer I will be switching up the blog. There will still be book updates, yes, I am still working on Maximum Trouble, and am hobbling to a concert or two, however I thought it would be fun to introduce other creatives I have the pleasure of spending time with during this crazy journey and sharing how they create.

Writers, artists, poets, musicians and more!

For example, I am a puker when it comes to writing. No, I don’t ingest weird stuff until I get sick, I write out a semi-complete project, usually without an ending, then go back and outline to see what I am missing.

My process takes longer than those who plan ahead yet in my mind, my characters and their situations dictate the story. Sometimes it works while other times the half story ends up in my W.I.P. folder to get re-hashed, reviewed, or deleted later.

When I get genuinely stuck revising, I go to other projects like writing this blog or building websites, maybe designing a book cover, or helping with a children’s book, usually for friends, to relax my brain. Doing this currently works for me.

(Ta da!) This is my process.

Here is the part where I ask a couple favors from all of you; please let me know if you like the new format.  Feel free to leave a comment so all can see or message me privately.

And, for all those who have read Maximum Mayhem, if you have a better title idea for the sequel (yes, you read that correctly… Zack and Maxi are coming back to a bookseller near you) than Maximum Trouble, do the same here via private message or in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

*lyrics by The Grateful Dead

The Art Of Breaking Rules

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I spent a sunny, eighty degree Saturday getting my prose on at the Wesleyan Writers Conference, pictured here with the incredibly talented Steve Almond.

We have so many rules that we function by.
Life has rules.
Prose has rules.
Heck, everyone I know have rules.
Rules have overtaken our lives. But we need rules, no? Maybe? Yes?
Where was I going with this?  Oh yes, I remember now … In college I was taught a specific way to construct a story. Certain elements needed to be present while others induce boredom. I am a rule breaker at heart so when a presenter shows how to break all I have lived by, all I can say is that I am in!
Being given the option is freeing!
Side note:  Maximum Trouble will take a little longer…

The Jig Is Up

Please note: I was able to keep this quiet until I posted a photo of me leaning on crutches to a social media site.  My latest revelation is one can be observant without being aware…

So here is my original “Back To The Blog” post:

So sorry for disappearing on you all. See I have been away… At rehab.

IMG_20180520_194914Not that rehab… not Hunter Thompson rehab for wayward authors… not Hemmingway’s serenity village…

I am going to rehab for a torn ACL (destroyed if you believe my surgeon). I did it skiing a few months ago and recently had the surgery to fix it. Prior to that I have no excuse.

Being unable to do simple things, like driving and walking, gives one a new perspective. On a high point I have been writing a lot! A new release for the end of the year is a real possibility. I am bringing back Zach Brady and Maxi Malone in a new adventure.

I am also working on a sappy romance… really sappy… super organic maple syrup sappy… It has been fun to get to meet a new group of characters who hang out in one of my favorite places.

More to come as they develop.

So, if I may make a few observations…

Too many people use the handicap stall when they don’t need it.

The folks running College Street in New Haven are incredibly accommodating of people on crutches.

Chair dancing is still fun.

Physical therapy hurts.

College campuses are not designed for people on crutches yet with a bit of gumption and upper body strength, one can get around.

Not driving is a real drag.

My husband is the best and I am surrounded by awesome people.

Ah… exercise time.

Feel the pain…

 

Snow Day Writing…

Scene: Feet up in a recliner, green, fabric. A gift from one of my parent’s friends because he liked his old chair better. Heat radiating off the blue soapstone wood stove in the corner. Cadenced breathing coming from a black lump on a brownish gray dog bed. Dim lights.

A gray day sits out my picture window. A “snow day” actually.

Except there is no snow. The thermometer reads 38 degrees. If the sun would peek out, it would be beautiful. Instead today is dreary.

My next book is slow coming. I debate every move to the point where I write dual scenes. For example, my latest has two prominent characters making a narrow escape from a psychopath. One should get shot… then again, she might not.

The other version has the dual getting rescued and the bullet piercing skin is definite.

Otherwise the scene would be expected… boring.

The rhythmic sounds of my dog snoring interrupt my characters dodging of objects that would cause some type of pain. I wonder if dogs could have a deviated septum? Would they need an operation to breathe better? Should I be concerned?

Silence. Oh yeesh… She’s looking at me with her big brown Lab eyes. This could mean almost anything except she doesn’t want to go out. She crawls right up on my lap when she wants to do that. She doesn’t want food because she’ll sit in front of me and make noise by bouncing her tail off the floor. Water bowl is full. Her purple bone is under her stomach, hedgehog is to the right, and her head is laying on her squirrel. No missing toys.

Why is she staring?

Oh… more snores. I guess she’s sleeping with her eyes open.

Kind of creepy.

It is starting to rain…

Disclaimer: I got up to get my camera and apparently this is code for “cookie”.  Adorable dog quickly becomes P.I.A.  Moment over…