Saturday, January 31, 2015

A poem for my Captain

Getting ready to publish my poems for the first time (and probably only time).  I wanted to share one with you.  I think you can guess by the title who it's about.  February 14 and you'll be able to own the whole collection.


I love it when your hair is crazy,
and you tell me I'm an angel.
When the air is clean in my lungs,
and your voice is soft in my ear.

don't be so dramatic,” you say.

then hold me,
until the drama subsides,

and I will be stronger come morning.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Procrastination and Kitten Juggling

What is going on?  Why am I writing a blog in the middle of the week when I should be writing my intro to the Poetry Anthology?  I think I just answered my question.

I procrastinate like a mofo.  I think the only one who can even come close to topping me is Laura.  I like to stay busy and just a little bit stressed out.  I tried to explain this to Cap.  He thought I had too much on my plate and thought maybe I'd be a little less stressed if I got rid of a couple of things.  He said this because he has my best interests at heart.  What he didn't realize is, the very idea of not being stressed out a little bit, stressed me out.  I think that if I didn't have several creative projects surrounding me at once I would truly go mad.  It's like it's the only way my brain knows how to function, juggle all the kittens, balance all the bananas, twirl all the traffic cones. 

Here's the difference though in my type of stress and "your" type of stress.  I choose what I want to do.  The thrill of trying new things, staying busy with new stories, building my body to where I want it, those are good stresses.  They make me grow as a person, challenge my mind, push me to succeed.

Bad stresses are manipulative people, sickness, financial struggles, relationships that drain you rather than fill you, loss of personal control.  Those things suck.  And they will continue to suck until you're dry if you let them.

So back to my good stress.  My fifth novel releases on Thursday.  

I have a website now.

I get to see Miles again soon.  The same weekend that Naked Came the Trio releases.

Which is what I'm supposed to be working on right now.  My intro to the anthology.  But I'm avoiding it because, while it was my entire idea to do this thing, I'm having significant doubts about adding own work to be among the gorgeous words of my two compatriots.  

I find my work here... lacking.  It's young and unpolished.  But honest, I suppose.  Which is all I can really expect of myself-- to be honest.  Going through my notebooks and trying to decide which should be included and which should be ignored.  I keep thinking of a line from a Jewel song, "My youth, scattered along the highway."  

I'm very proud of how far I've come, though I think I could have done a few things differently or a few things better.  

That probably just comes with the business of juggling kittens.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A teaser of things to come

If you read the blog I posted earlier for Ms J, you can relax.  I feel better now.  I worked out all my issues by using my words and my head is back to where it needs to be.  Mostly.

I'm tired and I have a lot on my mind.  

I'm going to keep this short because, while I want to write, I don't want to write it all here.  I have a couple characters that I need to delve into and see what's got them in knots.  I may have mentioned that I have many projects going on at once.  It's more true now than ever before.

And I switched from listening to Incubus tonight to this:

So I'll give you a glimpse, a tease of what's in my mind.  The smallest little bit of a story that has every intention of ripping out my heart and showing me what it was made to do this whole time.

Sometimes the words are harder to find than at other times.  Occasionally my feelings get in the way of the declaration.  It comes out all garbled and messy and entirely too transparent.  The anger is easier to deal with, it's focused and burns like a fire.  I know where it's going and I sure as hell know where it's been. 

Even in my show-and-tell, I hardly show.  And I never tell.  Self-preservation and all that.

I'm sorry.  I wanted to stay, and I suppose most of me will.  I just can't stay and watch you try to get Venus to revolve around Jupiter.  That might not make sense to you now, hopefully it will someday.

I'm sorry I can only tell you how I feel in code.  I'm sorry I couldn't keep my own promises.  I'm sorry I can only leave my heart with you.  I know it doesn't seem like much, since it's so quiet in your grip.  But it's the only thing of worth I had on me anyway.  Keep it, it always brought me a fair amount of luck.

It's winter in Wyoming.  It's time for me to head south.



Friday, January 16, 2015

Toxic Is My Favorite Britney Song. Coincidence?

We've reached the part of the evening where the dancing has begun.  If you don't believe me, check this out, that's totally me.
 I'm dancing because I hit all my deadlines and THE HOPE THAT STARTS will launch as planned.  This makes me incredible happy.  I am also dancing because dancing is the best.  Especially when done alone and for no reason.  This might not make sense to you.  Most people dance in groups, with other people.  Not me.  When I dance with other people, the derp face comes out.

 Now, derp in motion is way better than still derp.  Ask +Laura Gibson, she knows.  But it's not good on me, ever.  Because when the derp face comes out, you can be sure the manic elbows are going to be making an appearance.  They stick out, they fly up above my head, they jam themselves in peoples eye sockets.  And the legs get super stiff.  I'm like a zombie with rickets.  I teeter and collide with people, causing mayhem. 

But the best part of me dancing in public is my smile. 
I'm making this face because I am completely aware that my body is ruining everyone's good time and I can't stop it.  It's out of my hands.  

This is why at social events, you'll usually find me in the bathroom.

But when I'm alone... When I'm alone, I let it all go.  my body is fluid and graceful.  Finding the rhythm comes as naturally as breathing.  I have no fears, no reservations.  I feel the music and let it take me where it will.
Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating.  I actually have no idea what I look like when I dance alone, because... alone. Duh.   I imagine it's probably closer to this

Doesn't really matter.  I know how it feels and It. Is. Awesome.
I don't even care that my house smells like charred plastic and irresponsibility.  I hit my deadlines.  I kicked that formatting ass.  I drank the Cabernet.  

I'm gonna dance.

Friday, January 9, 2015

I Wish This Blog Had More Taylor Swift In It.

So I'm working on a new project, and you know me, there has to be music involved.  Music is part of my process.  Not just in writing, but in all my major life events.  The music of the moment has always impacted me greatly.  Still, there are songs that can start out of the blue and I will get lost in the memory.

I asked someone to pick their "theme song" so to speak.  It helps me get a feel for how they view themselves.  I guess it's not that simple of a question, especially if you're not like me and surround yourself with music night and day.  Then I remembered in psychology class when we were asked the same question and I immediately wrote my answer on the paper.  I knew what it was before the question was finished.  Then I sat there, bored, for the rest of the class as everyone else hemmed and hawed and thought about it until they picked something out of frustration.

Is that song still my "theme" song?  No.  But it was then, for all the reasons that it needed to be.  I was 17 and scared and unsure of who or what I was going to be or become. But that song made me feel like I was going to figure it out.  Curious? You can find it here-->Closer to Myself

But I also have a list of songs that are "reserved."  Most of them just make me smile now, some make me sad.  But they're still there and they're still important.  They're songs I won't be able to use while I write because in my head (and heart) they're reserved for a specific person/place/moment.  I guess I plan on using them for my semi-autobiography. But not every song made it to "theme song" status.  This one did-->Gray Matter

**Side Note**
I'm going to be publishing some old poetry next month (surprise!) with the Trio.  So if you want to know more about the years where that song was my theme, read that. 

My theme these days is a little less dramatic and a little more sweet.  Because that's where I am now.  In a few years it might be something else entirely.  It's me coming to terms with the things about me that I should be okay with but there's still a struggle to accept.  A song to myself--> Can't You Just Adore Her?

So here's your homework assignment.  And you can choose to comment here or email, message, text, Morse Code, whatever you need to do, but I want to know your answers. What's your song?  Right now.  Not what was it or what do you want it to be in the future.  What is it right now?

It's not a permanent decision.  It's a song that invokes a feeling, an emotion.  Something that says, "This is where I am and this is how it feels."

Share that with me.



Saturday, January 3, 2015

Advice You Don't Want, But Probably Need

Okay, this blog might not make me any friends.  But I think still needs to be said.

Writers, aspiring writers, writers who think they're writers but have yet to write anything, please read good writing.

I think it's important—so important that I took time out of my day to blog about this when I really should be hanging out with Sway—to read well written books.

I find that my writing suffers when I read things that are written... not well.  However, if I keep reading well written things on a regular basis, it reflects in my writing.

Now, before you all start to unite in madness about how reading "corrupts your voice" let me stop you.

I stay away from rock star novels.  I love them, don't get me wrong, and I have a whole list that I'm planning on reading after I finish my series.  Because corruption of voice is a real thing and I don't want to chance it.  I also don't want to be reading a book and see a similar idea and think that I'll never do it that well or someone will think this is where I got the idea. It's too much of a distraction and it'll make my job that much harder.  So I avoid rock star novels like no other.  But not joking about the list.  I'm going to go on a reading binge as soon as this series wraps up.

I still read in my genre though.  I read all the time.  I read way more than I make public because I can't always say nice things about what I'm reading so I keep it to myself.  I have HUGE opinions that belong to me and me alone.  I have no desire to inflict every single one on you, just the important ones (insert creepy winky face).  If I read something and LOVE it, you'll know, I'll totally share the crap out of that.

So let's go back to corruption of voice.  If you're reading things that are poorly written, that will corrupt your voice.  More than that, I believe it actually vaporizes brain cells.  Did you know that you can't regrow brain cells?  Once they're gone, they're gone.  That's it.  No more.  You have what you have and if you waste them on getting blackout drunk or reading piss-poor writing, they're still the same amount of gone.  Which is wholly and completely. 

This is why I download samples.  I have this habit of reading poor writing and trying to fix it in my head.  It's exhausting and drains me of much needed resources.  If I can't get through a sample without trying to fix the issues, I won't read the rest.  For example, first person present tense is incredibly difficult for me to read.  It has to be done very well for me to not look at it like a blog post.  A novel shouldn't read like a blog.  It should read like a novel.  It's supposed to suck me in and transport me to an all new reality where I don't even notice literary rules being broken.  I have a handful of authors who I have no trouble reading who write in first-person-present.  I love them.  They are awesome.

So I try to read amazing stuff.  It stimulates my brain to think in different ways, go in new directions, jump-starts stagnant ideas, pushes my creative boundaries.  Especially the classics.  Right now I'm reading three books at once. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexander Dumas.  I tend to read more when I'm writing, it makes a hell of a difference.  

Do I write like Austen, Scott, or Dumas?  Oh, hell now.  Not even close.  But they make my thoughts reach for the stars.  And the stars is exactly where I want to be when I'm writing. 

Here's a true story:
I read a book once that had a decent storyline but was badly executed, poorly handled, and it read like a rough draft.  I actually had to listen to heavy metal music with headphones to keep me awake while I read it because I kept falling asleep.  THREE TIMES.  I was under the impression that if I started something, I should finish it.  I have since revised this belief to make the exception for bad writing.  See, after I finished that book, I was broken.  For almost a month I couldn't write at all.  I was depressed and sad and lacked any motivation at all.  So I read all of Penny Reid's books in a week and suddenly I was cured.

Because she writes funny, smart, witty stories that I absolutely adore. (READ HER THINGS NOW.)

This is my plea to writers: be the best you can be.  
No, not everyone is going to go down in history as a literary genius like F. Scott, or lovely Ms. Austen.  But you can be the best YOU.  You're limiting yourself when you fill your head with CRAP.  Stop doing it.  I can tell.  You're not fooling me.  If you're satisfied with reading books that are bland, predicable, and quite frankly stupid, then your work is going to reflect that.  Very obviously.  Why push yourself when you're reading others that clearly don't care about doing their best? 

Or, and I can't even believe this is even something I have to address because it's ludicrous to me, if you're not reading at all.  

Now, I get not having time to read when you're in the editing process and it requires intense focus, but that's temporary.  Realistically, you should have a book on your metaphorical nightstand that you plan on returning to as soon as you can.  Writers who claim they don't read piss me right the hell off.  It's like, really?  You expect the world to read your stuff but, you, great awesome wordsmith, are too good to pick up a book?  Is it beneath you? Get over yourself. The best writers read.  Period.  End of discussion.

That would be like a mechanic too busy to drive.  Or a pastry chef who doesn't eat food.  Impossible I tell you!

OH! And mix up your genres.  Don't be a book snob (ew, I judge you for your judgements).  Read the classics, read new things.  Read something ridiculous and fun.  Just read!  ( I feel like this can apply to a lot of things, like music and movies as well.  Genre hating is stupid and you're missing out on life.  Really).  I love me a good thriller, or romance, young adult is wonderful.  It's not the genre that matters, it's the quality of the storytelling.  That's where you should be focused.  If it makes you think, if it compels you to better your craft, then read it.  

Read the crap out of it.