Monday, January 28, 2008
I was moved by Doris Lessing's plea for books in Africa and wondered what I could do about it. Then life caught up with my contemplative moment and moved on. It's wonderful that others were already there, doing what I only thought about momentarily.
Books are indeed scarce in Africa. In 1996, three camels and a handful of visionaries changed all that. I give you, The Camel Book Drive.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Oh hai. Iz Friday and time for kittehs. Dis one is gud. How gud?
Kitteh even kept teh aaba, bbcb rhyming scheme.
Iz verra nice, I tink.
Stoppin By Couch when TV is Showing
Oh hai, whose nice place is dis
I dunno. Oh wait, I does. He not live here tho.
Sneeky cat iz 2 sneeky. No fear,
He not see meh watchin show.
Mah hooman thinkz Iz weird
I starez at space wif nuttin near
Not even a Cheezburger, fer gudness sake
An Iz hungry at dis time of year.
Mah hooman giveded hiz head a shake
And tries to pick me up. Misstake!
Mah claws com out to cutz him deep.
Iz last time that wrong act he makes.
Teh cushons on the chouch iz deep.
And I haz naptime skedul to keep
Now iz teh time fer kittehs to sleep.
Now iz teh time fer kittehs to sleep.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Just this is the part where I blog about my ass. His name is Blackjack and he's an adorable, miniature donkey. He's also the foundation sire for Mossy Oaks Miniatures--even though he's only ten months old and doesn't know it yet. Soon, his future harem will arrive. Three prosepective young ladies are being evaluated at this moment.
My hubby and I have become smitten with these little guys and have been taking in Donkey and Mule shows. I love my horses and riding, but my back interferes with this more and more. I also love driving carts and let me just say that having one of these little guys wheel you around is more fun than ought to be legal.
Each donkey has his own bray, and I must be a smitten mommy because I think Blackjack has the most adorable sound. My youngest misunderstands his name and calls him Jack-Jack like the baby in The Incredibles. So Blackjack's registered name will actually be "Nameoforiginalbreeder's Jak-Jak Attack."
Yes, it's a sickness, but I love playing farmer. The only two animal breeding groups I belong to are the American Rabbit Breeders Association and the Southwestern Donkey and Mule Society.
I guess I'm all about the ears.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
It was his first symphony that nearly did him in. The first performance of Symphony No. 1 was a disaster. The conductor butchered the piece so badly that Rachmaninoff's wife later insisted he was drunk. It was so bad, that Rachmaninoff went and hid in another room. Critics savaged him and made a mockery of his promising career. The piece was never performed again in his lifetime. And he stopped writing music. For three years.
Imagine that. One of the greatest composers of his generation--indeed of all time-- a veritable musical genius. And he just stopped. He plunged into a dark despair. A psychologist finally helped him unlock the chains that bound him and the result was one of his best known and loved compositions, Piano Concerto No. 2.
During this time of blockage, he received some great advice (although little sympathy) from Leo Tolstoy who reportedly told him something to the effect that he should "work every day, young man. Just as I do. It's the only way. Do this or you'll never amount to anything." Not terribly helpful for someone with depression, but good advice for anyone whose craft requires you to work alone.
On another note, I had a parent/teacher conference today at the school. My son is flunking the writing portion of English. His paragraphs are short and thin. Here he should be able to write 250 words on a topic, he only manages 50. Or 30. Or 25. I asked him about this, but he got flustered and said he just couldn't think of anything to say. What if it was wrong? What if he sounded stupid? What if he was just repeating himself? So instead of say something wrong, he said nothing. If you don't try to write, you can't suck at it. I expect that sort of logic from a nine year old, but I'm surprised how often I see that from wannabe writers. They talk a lot about writing and they write a lot about writing and they blog about it and post about it in message boards. Someday they will write that novel. Someday they will finish that book they started three years ago.
Tolstoy (and Uncle Jim and a host of others) have the answer to this paralyzing self doubt. The only way to be a writer is to write. You'll never know that you write crap if you don't actually write it. So what happens to the writer, one who actually does it for years and then just stops? I go through an annual writing stoppage around December and January of each year. For me, it's two parts hectic schedule and one part seasonal depression. I get caught up in the craziness of meat space and family life until I feel myself sliding towards the darkness. So I try to keep the darkness at bay by filling it up with more activities and responsibilities and lots and lots of food. Gradually, I'm jolted out of this bad place and emerge blinking into the light a good ten pounds heavier.
I'm unstuck once again and productive this week. I don't have the answer to getting out of writer's block. I just do it. The good news is that I seem to do this even faster each year. Last year was bad. It took me until March. But here we are in 2008 and I'm writing again in January.
If you came here expecting kittehs, have no fear. They will return. Writing my Friday kittehs was something I could do, even when blocked. This year, I wasn't completely blocked. I thought I was, but the truth is that I edited, beta read for people, wrote the occasional blog post and kittehed great works of fiction. Hey, I just wrote 704 words about not being able to write. And I call that progress.
Friday, January 4, 2008
U know Carrie, A.J. and Tori!
U know PeeDee and Kristine!
U know Ferret and Lori!
But doez U recall most famus kitteh of all?
Rudy teh lazer kitteh
Had 2 very shiny eyes
And if U evah seen dem
Dey wud makeded U cry
All teh udder kittehs
Wuz afraid to calleded him names
Dey always let scary Rudy
Win dere kitteh games
Den 1 foggy Catmus Eve,
Santy Paws came to say
Rudy wif UR eyes so brite
Won't U guide my slay 2nite?
Now teh udder kittehs still fear him
As Rudy runs teh elf crew
If U has been naughty,Santa Pawz sending him 4 U.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
I've been editing heavily and it makes me feel like the Godfather. I shamlessly kill my darlings--both characters and scenes--with the cold heart Don Corleone.
I look back to editing my first book and have to laugh at the amount of angst it caused me to delete scenes and lose characters. Now I read a scene, realize it's garbage, and simply hit delete and rewrite it. I don't save endless copies of my book in every revision phase. I just keep my current version (with appropriate back ups).
If the scene works but simply doesn't belong, I might save it in a folder that I call snippets for further use. If it doesn't work or there is no chance I'll ever want it again, I rub it out with savage glee.
Die! Die! Die!
Goodness but I've become ruthless. Good thing I write mysteries.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
And cause UR all speshul, I maded U something.
On teh first day of Catmus, mah hooman gave to me a Lolzcat in a tree.
On teh secund day of Catmus mah hooman giveded to meh two DONOTWANTS, and a Lolzcat in a tree.
On teh sixth day of Catmus mah hooman giveded to meh six Narnia portals, 5 kittehs of peace, 4 comfy beds, 3 demon cats, 2 DONOTWANTS, And a Lolzcat in a tree
On teh seventh day of Catmus mah hooman giveded to meh seven trojan kittehs, 6 Narnia portals, 5 kittehs of peace, 4 comfy beds, 3 demon cats, 2 DONOTWANTS, And a Lolzcat in a tree
On teh eleventh day of Catmus mah hooman giveded to meh leven kitteh costumes, 10 pimped alpacas, 9 babushka kittehs, 8 lolrus buckets, 7 trojan kittehs, 6 Narnia portals, 5 kittehs of peace, 4 comfy beds, 3 demon cats, 2 DONOTWANTS, And a Lolzcat in a tree
On teh twelf day of Catmus mah hooman giveded to meh twelf cheezburgers, 11 kitteh costumes, 10 pimped alpacas, 9 babushka kittehs, 8 lolrus buckets, 7 trojan kittehs, 6 Narnia portals, 5 kittehs of peace, 4 comfy beds, 3 demon cats, 2 DONOTWANTS, And a Lolzcat in a tree