Writing Addiction

I would prefer to write than shower.  Seriously.  I know I am gross. I have been ordered to shower by my husband.  I can’t remember the last time I showered, but please know that I have mommy brain so I can’t remember what I had for lunch.  Oh, I didn’t eat lunch because I wrote.  I get so caught up in the creative process that I will take any free moment I have to myself to write, take photos, blog, create, or organize my little create-o-sphere.  I wouldn’t call my create-o-sphere too organized these days as there are so many piles of journals, papers, and junk all over my desk.

I am just going to name ten things on my desk:

1.  A bottle of calamine lotion (I used this recently to make a hand print with my son for his father’s birthday card)

2. A photo of a church door taken in Vermont in 2000

3. A pair of scissors with an orange handle

4. A Little Tikes plastic sander

5. The book:  Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published

6. A Patriots jersey — size 18 months with Brady written on the back, turned inside out,

7. A soup spoon

8. A binder with typewritten journal entries from a summer camp I worked at in 2000, and a journal made of construction paper — knot bracelets and friendship bracelets create a makeshift binding — the entry facing me says, “Dear Meg, I don’t think I know a freer spirit than you.  I admire your intellect and heart of gold.  The world needs more people like you.  Stay sweet & don’t forget about me. Love Always, Madeline.”

9. A roll of Dollar General clear tape

10. One flourescent green sticky note: blank

I am not sure how to get this mess organized. It seems I just put stuff on my desk after taking it out of my toddler’s hands. He recently ripped a photo of my grandmother from the 1920’s.  I am living in a state of chaos.

My Little Wonder Boy and Chaos Creator

I am reading Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones — on page 101 – 102, chapter titled Write Anyplace:

Take out another notebook, pick up another pen, and just write, just write.  In the middle of the world, make one positive step.  In the center of chaos, make one definitive act.  Just write.  Say yes, stay alive, be awake.  Just write.  Just write.  Just write.

Finally, there is no perfection.  If you want to write, you have to cut through and write.  There is no perfect atmosphere, notebook, pen, or desk, so train yourself to be flexible.  Try writing under different circumstances and in different places.  Try trains, buses, at kitchen tables, alone in the woods leaning against a tree, by a stream with your feet in the water, in the desert sitting on a rock, on the curb in front of your house, on a porch, a stoop, in the back seat of a car, in the library…in Texas, Kansas, or Guatemala, while sipping a Coke…

It wasn’t the physical accommodations that were perfect, but when we are in the heart of writing it doesn’t matter where we are: it is perfect.  There is a great sense of automony and security to know we can write anyplace.  If you want to write, finally you’ll find a way no matter what.”

So, here I am writing.  Trying to absorb the chaos as motivation, as muse, and something to get me going.  But really, all I want to do is tell my husband –“Why don’t you take Ben to Grampy and Grammy’s house.  I’ll get cleaned up and meet you over there.”

I love time alone.  I can be surrounded by a million things, and I will make a space of 12 inches by 12 inches and write.  But noise, and toddler tantrums, and splitting my mind in ten second fragments doesn’t work for me.  So I write on the weekends and at night, when my husband can watch our son.  I just am being flexible.  What other choice do I have?

I should really shower — seriously.  But I think I will write some more, since I have the house to myself (the dogs are outside and my boys are at my in-laws) and a fan on my desk in the room I call the Art Room, where I write.  I was once mobile, but my laptop crashed.  The Art Room is not air-conditioned, but I have a fan on my desk.  I think I could place a cat on my desk and it would blend into my desk, which  is such a mess.

What things are you doing to overcome your difficulties to make time and space in your life to write and create?

What doorway do you walk through to overcome your struggle to find space and time to write?  (door metaphor — since I really want to share the photo of the church door in Vermont — #2 in messy desk list)

What difficulties do you walk through to get to your creative space?

I’m Beautiful (or so they say)

Beauty. What is it?  How do we define it?  What will we do to obtain it?

I think beauty is something you can not hold in your hand. It is silent and ethereal.  It is the soft whisper of a child sleeping.  It is the bright red lips of a beautiful woman.  It is the elbow of your husband.  It is the dog’s bad breath.  It is familiar, it is far. It is unusual. It is aloof and kind.  It cuddles with you as you read an awesome book. It is everywhere. It is within you.

You are beautiful, brilliant, wonderful, and strong.

When I taught 4th grade in California, ten plus years ago, I encouraged my students to say this everyday aloud (“I am beautiful, brilliant, wonderful, and strong.” )  They would chant it.  It was my first year teaching and it was a magical year.  I wonder if those students remember me and if they still say that.  I hope so.  Children are powerful teachers.  I learned so much from that group of students.

I recently was nominated for this award: The Beautiful Blogger.  Thank you Blazing Trail.

This award comes with some rules… (oh rules — you know how I feel about those, but I will play nicely)

1. Thank the person who nominated you and Link to that person

Thank you Blazing Trail.

2. Post the award on your blog.


3. Nominate 7 (or less) blogs and link to them:

  • http://debrasblogpureandsimple.blogspot.com/ I love this lady.  She and I met at a party. We shared a love of literature, wine, and The Sun magazine.  When I was in graduate school and whining about my thesis, she said, “Put your big girl writer panties on.”  She is hilarious and always gives me a dose of honest writing advice when needed.
  • http://cbwentworth.wordpress.com/  I have come to know this writer through the blogosphere.  She is a dedicated teacher, as well as a free spirit, journaler, fiction, poetry, and nonfiction writer. She is a huge fan of Wreck This Journal.  She is highly organized and dedicated with her posts and someday I’d love to meet her.  She is a passionate teacher who goes against the grain.  Public education is lucky to have her, and so are we.
  • http://mezclados.wordpress.com/ This is a good friend of mine.  She is an Aries like me and a bit of a scatter-brain with all her creative projects.  She writes, paints, mothers, works, and appreciates art.  She also has two toddlers she adopted and a teenager she adopted.  She is amazing.  Her blog is about mixed families. Her husband is white, she is black.  Check her blog out.  Her heart is the color of a rainbow.
  • http://peacesofgreen.wordpress.com/  This is another good friend of mine.  I adore her.  We met when I lived in California.  She is one of my best friends on this planet.  She is a nature lover.  She recently moved to Oregon — to a town she had never been to.  She just felt in her heart that is where she belongs.  She followed her dream and wrote extensively about her trip cross-country, as she moved to a new town without a job.
  • http://quinncreative.wordpress.com/  Can you say creative?  Well, this woman is creativity personified. She has several books on mixed media journaling and creating.  She is lovely.
  • http://judesphotography.wordpress.com/  This is one of my cyber buddies. She is delightful.  She is a British woman living in France, who is a writer, photographer, small airplane enthusiast (I love it when she posts photos taken from her airplane) and someone I adore.
  • http://kindnessgirl.com/  This is Kindness Girl.  She is a mom and kindness activist.  Yes, she is an activist and has all kinds of projects designed to pass it forward.  Check out her latest project, The Magic Wand Project, where she leaves little magic wands around Richmond, Virginia encouraging children to do acts of kindness.  Ellen Degeneres follows her blog.  I hope someday to see her on Ellen talking about her contagious kindness campaign.  Her tagline is “Kindness changes everything.”  Indeed, that is true.
  • http://deborahbatterman.com/  This woman is so charming.  I discovered her blog and amazing writing talent through a writer facebook community.
  • http://www.thejadedlens.com/  This blog is amazing!  This woman is a photographer, kind spirit, and a good friend of mine, who I have had the pleasure of meeting through a writer facebook community.  Her photos are beautiful and the prose she writes is gorgeous.  Meeting her and developing a cyber friendship with her has restored my faith in humanity.  I am a big believer in big hearts and I do think everyone has kindness in them and beauty, but she truly shines —  genuine, honest, inspiring, and whimsical.

4. Tell you 7 things about myself that you do not already know.

1.  I tend to break the rules a lot.  I was supposed to post 7 blogs; I posted 9.
2.  I met Michael Jordan when I was 15 at the Michael Jordan Flight School.  He put his arm around my waist when he refereed a basketball game when I lost my balance at the free throw line.  When I lined up to get ready to sink my two free throws, he handed the basketball to me on my right, and I twisted and lost my balance thinking he was going to hand it to me on the left side. In the confusion and enormity of standing next to my idol (and I should mention how breathtaking beautiful he is), I lost my balance.  He caught me in his arms, with his long left arm around my waist and said, “Sorry doll.”  I sunk the two free throws to win the game, but he gave the cute Canadian girl a ride to the mess hall in his Corvette. I cried after the game, alone on the basketball court, from shock and awe.
3.  I could not talk until I was 4.  I had a severe speech disability and had to go to a special pre-school for children with disabilities (I literally rode the short bus and a mean girl on the bus used to pull my pig tails until my older sister and her friend stormed on the bus and told her to stop.  That bully never touched my pigtails again.  Now I won’t shut up.

I think I was destined to be a writer. I’m related to Agatha Christie on my father’s side. (So he says)

4.  I know the exact moment I chose to be a writer.  I was on a bus for a collegiate soccer trip my senior year.  I played Division I soccer.  On the bus, traveling through New York City, I wrote down everything I saw.  It was at that moment I knew something had exploded in me.  I have been writing ever since.
5.  I love pomegranates and it was the one food I craved when I was pregnant.
6.  I went to Catholic school for 5th and 6th grade.  I gave my teacher so much grief that I had to be moved to the back of the room.  I remember thinking, how did you figure out how to silence me?  At the end of the school year, she had two dozen on my pencil top toys in her desk, including my most prized, Odie pencil top.
7.  My father bought a car that had 5 different colored doors.  My sister and I called it the Green Machine.  I was so ashamed of the car; I insisted he drop me off blocks away from my tweenager destinations.  Now that I am older, I know it was a classic car and would be considered cool in my book.  Back then, it was just strange-looking.  What I wouldn’t give to hop in that car and go cruising with my father.

My parents were very eccentric. Both of them were artists in their own way and they were soulmates. My mother claims he visits her often in the nursing home. She has extensive conversations with him. They truly helped each other heal on this planet and I am lucky to be their daughter.

I have another blog where I ask people to sign my journal.  I have been doing this since I started writing on the bus in New York City.  Check it out and submit your original thought.  I’d love for you to be a part of The Original Journal Project.  I also have a tab at the top of this blog titled, “The Original Journal.”  You can read about this project there too.  There is a video link that has some of the journal signatures I have collected over the last ten plus years.  I have my heart set on Chronicle Books to publish this.
Thanks for being beautiful and remember, “You are beautiful, brilliant, wonderful, and strong.”
What do you think is beautiful?

On the Island: 7 Figure Book Deal for Tracey Garvis-Graves (You Go Girl)

Who has read On the Island by Tracy Garvis-Graves? It’s hard to believe this book was a free e-book on Amazon at one point. I am curious if the writing is good.  It seems like it is more than a love story of an older woman (Anne is 30 and TJ is 16 when they meet and crash on a deserted island).  It is a survival story.  The reviews of the book are glowing.  MGM has bought the movie rights.  She also received a seven-figure book deal from a major publisher (Penguin).  She recently quit her job at Wells Fargo to write full-time.

She has arrived and accomplished the ultimate writer’s dream.  I applaud her.  She rose early each morning and wrote before her two children woke.  Then she went to work at her day job at Wells Fargo in Des Moines, Iowa.  She also wrote on the weekends.

Now normally, I would be pea green with envy.  But I’m not.  I’m excited for her.  I’m excited for all writers.  We need to hear these success stories.  The thing is, she is likable and her story is even more likable. She did what she loved, while also doing what she had to do, while pursuing her dream of writing.  She did not let agent or publisher rejections get the best of her — she made her own trail.  Now, look at her.

Here’s the kicker folks — she queried fourteen agents pitching her book, On the Island.  Guess how many form rejections she got back?  Fourteen!  I bet those agents are kicking themselves now.

“Since she self-published in March, Graves has sold 340,000 copies of the book and broke into the New York Times bestseller list. Literary agent Jane Dystel negotiated the deal with executive editor Jill Schwartzman.” Quoted from Media Bistro article.

Here is an interview she did on Novel Girl’s blog.

I am certainly thinking about self-publishing, but what I am thinking about a lot these days, is I need to get writing.  I spend way too much time on social media.  I have had a realization that it doesn’t matter how moving my posts are on Twitter or Facebook.  I need to have a finished manuscript.  I am currently working on wrapping up a creative nonfiction manuscript.  This is the manuscript an agent has expressed interest in.  I queried the agent about a month ago, and she requested a full manuscript with the book proposal.

Ironically, my laptop crashed the day before.  I did not let that get in my way (funny how we can overcome anything when we care enough).  I managed to transfer all the documents off my hard drive and transfer them to my PC.  My PC was and still is, on the fritz.  I can only use it in safe mode.  So, when I had to write the book proposal, I had to power off my computer almost every half hour because it froze.

So, now I am adjusting to writing on my PC and using it in safe mode. I can not upload photos and have had to put my photography on hold.  But the thing is — I am going for it.  This manuscript is a creative nonfiction memoir and I can not hide behind my characters.  I am scared to put myself out there  for the world to judge me and my writing.  But I do know when I feel vulnerable, it is my best writing because my voice is most honest and raw.  I am considering writing it under a pen name though.

But first things first — finish the book.  It is so close to being done.  In fact, it is done — it just needs that final edit. After all, I did write the manuscript while I was in graduate school as my thesis.

I wish you luck on whatever you are pursuing creatively and passionately.  Go for it.  I’ll be cheering you on.