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Yay, I'm a writer

"There was no magic banner that appeared over your crib at birth saying, "Yes, this one, let's make this one's life an agonizing, lonely struggle with very little money and even less success. Let's make this one a WRITER."--Caroline Sharp  Writing is a disease--a sort of psychosis--and people who do it well share the same set of symptoms or neuroses--which ever term suits your fancy.

A friend lent me a great book about writing through writers block--A Writer's Workbook--by Caroline Sharp. In it, Sharp identifies many truths about the chore of writing--perhaps most affirming, if you identify yourself as a writer, is a tidbit from author Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote the forward.


Gilbert recollects a phone conversation she had with a writer friend about not writing.
The friend posed a hypothetical question: "Would you rather wash all your dirty laundry, run it through the drier, fold it, put it all away in your drawers, and then take those same clean cl…
Recent posts

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: Give yourself a break!

The holidays kill me. There's so much stuff--lights, trees, parties, happy, alcohol, children, hot chocolate, snow, family, fudge, Charlie Brown...It's so exciting, and there are so many sources of inspiration, BUT it's exhausting and everything moves so fast.

I never get much writing done at the end of the year.

Perhaps back in high school, when my world was small and ALL ABOUT ME, the words came effortlessly. And I wrote and wrote for days, thinking I was the poo. And I was--a big smelling one. The writing was worse than poo--I can't even read it that's how shitty it is.

There's one story--I must have been 16 or 17 when I wrote it--about a tricycle. I spent most of a single-spaced page explaining how red it was--candy apples, rubies, fire engines, cherries, screaming, burning, red, RED, RED...It baffles the crap out of me that I had so much to say about a primary color. Surely there was something more interesting in my life than a tricycle.

Some days you have …

Huh, what?

My husband complains that our children never listen. Sometimes he blames it on me, "You never make them do anything."

I have a different theory.

I believe our darlings are mimicking their daddy's behavior.


Exhibit A: I'm in the bedroom typing.
The door and windows are closed. The television is off. The heat is on. I run to the kitchen for something to drink. The trip takes no more than 30 seconds. And when I return--the the door and windows are open. The television is on. The heat is off. My husband is watching a football game.

"I'm trying to get some writing done," I tell him. "Maybe you could watch the game downstairs."

Silence.

"I said I'm trying to get some writing done. Could you maybe watch the game downstairs?"

"Huh, what?" He stares at me blankly.

"The football game is distracting me. Could you please watch it downstairs."

"OK."

I return to my computer screen. What was I writing about? People?…

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: poor little cry baby

I'm a train wreck these days. My brain's distracted by a lot of stuff I'm not supposed to talk about--it's nothing medical or life threatening. I just have a lot going on, and I'm finding it particularly difficult to stay focused on things like writing and reading.

I'm sitting here in my chair with my eyes closed, which makes me nervous, because the bedroom door is open, and I'm not sure the house is locked up, and the hairy stranger, who my aunt tells me is Santa Claus, is probably climbing the stairs silently; I won't see him leaning over me, because I'm trying to meditate.

I open my eyes and no one's there, but my cats are staring at the spot where Creepy Santa should be standing, so I'm thoroughly convinced the ghost that my daughters go on and on about is reading over my shoulder, and I don't care for it. GAH!

I've spent the last few weeks reflecting on things--parenthood, marriage, unemployment...I was devastated when I lost my…

Children and demons: is there a difference?

I'm a fairly dramatic woman with two fairly dramatic daughters; I've been waiting for, "I hate you," and, "You're the worst mom ever!" But my 9-year-old, Lily, caught me off guard a couple of weeks ago with this gem, "We used to be so close, Mommy. What happened?"

I swear it all went down in slow motion--the end of everything. There was no reason to get out of bed or brush my teeth or watch TV. There was no reason to go on living. I putzed around the house aimlessly. I picked a fight with my husband.

I cried all day until Lily got home from school, and I asked her what she was thinking.  
She told me we drifted apart shortly after her sister was born.
"Ever since Ashlyn was born I've felt this way."
"Well, that was five years ago," I told her. "You don't think we've been close for five years?"
She shook her head.
"LILY! OH, LILY!" My heart was screaming.
Ashlyn saw that I was sad, and asked …

"I hate eveything"

I try to keep things funny, so even when I'm a Debbie Downer there's an element of comedy to it, but I swear John Steinbeck moved into my head space this week, and he's kind of a joy sucker.

I've got lots of things to be grateful for: a wackadoo cast of characters who are kind enough to call me their friend, wife, mother, daughter, niece, etc. I have two cats and a guinea pig and a house and shoes and coats and food and books and a Dyson vacuum cleaner. So it's mildly embarrassing when I reach the end of my thank-you list and still feel rotten.



Things go wrong sometimes. There's no rhyme or reason. They just fall apart. Is it worthy of saying "well done" when you make it through the day intact? Showered? Dressed?

I pounded the crap out of my computer keyboard all week with these freakishly long fingers of mine, but nothing remotely life-affirming appeared in my word box. There were rants and screw-you manifestos; there were prayers for employment and …

The robots are coming!

I thought I'd sit down really quickly and transfer my blog to a different hosting space, because I was tired of the Blogger layout--I wanted something shiny and new. I wanted something that said, "Here's a girl who knows what she's doing; here's a girl who's clever and sophisticated."

I am none of those things--NONE of them. "Really quick" turned into an 18-hour disaster from which I will never ever recover--like EVER. There were robots in my room. They crawled out of my computer to "guide" me through the setup process for my new blog space.

"We're helping hands," they told me. "Please remain calm while we help you."

I was prompted by a friendly pop-up window to answer a series of extremely personal questions as completely and honestly as possible (* requires an answer):

1. Full name *
2. Age *
3. Gender *
4. Sexual preference *
5. Marital status *
6. Number of partners *
7. Drug use (including prescriptions) *

Change our name to Partridge

I had some really fantastic crap to write about today, but it got a little rowdy here this afternoon, and I went completely off the rails.

My 9-year-old daughter, Lily, is learning the violin; her best friend, who comes home with her after school, is learning the viola; and one of the neighbor boys is learning the trumpet. All three of them were in my living room this afternoon practicing their instruments. AND (suspenseful music) it was totally F-ing awesome--the craziest, loudest afternoon ever. I loved it.

I ended up playing my own trumpet--sorry neighbors--for three hours. My wrists hurt from holding it. My mouth hurts from blowing it--I don't care. I can still hit the notes above the ledger lines. I'm a brass goddess. BOOM!
I used to play that thing out my bedroom window every day from the time I got home from school until way past my bedtime. It was the first and only thing I kicked ass at academically, and then I gave it up in high school to chase boys and kill brain ce…