Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gray Matters and Water Balloons

I was recently whining to my friend and fellow writer--let's call her Kim Finnegan--about what an event packed year this is going to be for me.

The problem, I told her, is that in the middle of all this drama, I am having inspiration dropped on my head like a bunch of water balloons from a balcony above. How unfair for it to happen now, when pens and time run from me.

Her insight has put Eyore back in his place but good.

She said "The more you use your brain, the more it will work for you." Wow. Anyone else think about the movie "Phenomenon"? I got visions of my brain firing and parts near the hot spots warming up as well.

My conclusions? I will not begrudge how busy I am when that schedule is accompanied by water balloons. I will lift my face to the little buggers on the balcony and enjoy the bath.

( I will also buy a tape recorder today.)

I will pass on Kim's eloquent warning, too.

"Don’t over do and burn out. When you get your breaks…rest. It ‘s not just the notes, but the space between the notes that makes the symphony beautiful."

Ain't she a poet?

Thanks Kim


Monday, February 4, 2008

Reach out and GOOSE someone

Reach out and goose someone? Am I kidding?

As someone who has just been "goosed" in a sense, I say goosing is a service to your fellow man.

Surely she doesn't mean "goosing" the way I think she means "goosing". Ooooh, but she does. Alright, kind of.

When is the last time you felt wide awake with shock? Apart from a shower suddenly turning cold? I thought so.

Here's how I accidentally goosed myself...

Went to Vegas to a furniture show last week. Too busy to write, of course. Too busy to breathe, actually. But on the last night my boss, Kara, and I were determined to have a good time, so we walked the strip. Yes, we saw the water at the Bellagio, etc. But just before we gave it all up I got an idea. Kara wanted to see the roller coaster at the New York, NY casino. Just to see it, mind you. So we went up to the landing and I insisted that we get on, citing "we are women, not mice". She was so surprised I would do it, she went along.

Little did she know I anticipated not fitting into the seat, planned to act disappointed before insisting she go on without me. Yes, I'm that devious.

She was amazed at my calm. I was amazed at my calm. I even managed to distract her while we waited for our turn.

I climbed in first, intending to pop right back up and out, only to find that I DID fit in the seat. The handles COULD lock over me, and the shoulder bumpers FIT ME LIKE A FREAKING GLOVE! Before I could share my little joke with others the car started moving.

I started screaming.

Before it even started the climb up that murderous hill, I was screaming my head off. At half way I was telling Kara what I wanted her to tell my family. The rest of the ride was a blur of curses. I averaged about 30 "sh..ts" per minute. Surprising how uncreative I was.

So, with my heart racing, intent on attacking me as soon as it caught up, I flew through the neon-blurred air. I screamed like a banshee over a battlefield. In the end I was surprised to discover not only had I not peed my pants, I had been caught on camera not peeing my pants. What looks like a smile is actually the shutter catching me mid "sh...t".

It has been a long time since I felt so alive. Alive and ready to write. If only I can get that kind of life into my characters.

So, I will take them to the brink of death (or what they believe to be the brink) and snatch them back. A psychological "goose", if you will. And what's good for the character is good for the writer. Push yourselves to the brink this week. Take a close up view of life in any way you can. Then get it on paper.

And if all efforts fail, goose someone else.


Cook, damn you.

Wow, what inspiration, huh? I did not even write a POST for January. That fact alone has inspired me to write this...

If writing represented God, and not writing represented Satan, I would have to admit that Satan had me by the tail all through January. He lured me from my writing with the siren's song of a good paying job which I love. How horrible. Everyone should be so unlucky, right? Of course, but at what cost?

I happen to write historicals, a market which is enjoying a burst in interest this year. If I put off my writing for another year, or even 6 months, what window have I slammed shut on my career? And even if I wrote in a less popular genre? When its turn comes up would I be ready with product? No.

So this seems to be quite a year of choices for me. Do I sacrifice my dream of writing to have a dream job? Do I weigh the hard won dollars of publication against the sure paycheck of an executive for a large company? Should money matter?

Don't be stupid. Of course money matters. If it didn't, would this "Satan" have been able to keep me from writing for a month? No.

So, happiness and fulfillment? Or happiness, money, and a lesser degree of fulfillment? And can I have it all?

I'd have to turn off the job at 5:00 instead of obsessing about what the new showroom will look like, or what the wonderful bottom line will be, what my paychecks will be. I'd have to remember I'm a writer every single day, to pick that creative voice out of the crowd of creative voices demanding a brilliant business move. I'd have to put one joy aside for another. Easy? I think not. Ever tried it?

Damn that Scotsman and his money. I choose to write. I won't turn away from my job, but I will mute that obsession in my head while turning up the burner under the other.

Cook, damn you. You have but stolen time. Cook.

A repentant Ainsley