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Monday, March 30, 2009

Mon coeur est heureux

Last night I woke up from a dream I don't remember, and wrote this down:

"I've left behind the weight of my past, and while I'll never think of this place as home like the beach is home, I feel more comfortable in my skin than I ever could there."

While I'm tempted to edit it into something more flowing, I'll leave it since I have the excuse of being almost completely asleep when I wrote it. But it's so true, and the loss of that weight has done amazing things to me, and especially my urge to write. I sat down after work last night to work on a story I'd been tossing around in my head, one I'd already run by my most delightful friend Carolyn. But when I started writing, I realized it was something totally different. I put on my music, stuck my headphones one, and let my fantastic husband deal with the kids. And I wrote. And wrote. And wrote.

When 2am rolled around, I forced myself to stop and go to bed, but there was still so much there I wanted to get down. I was afraid I'd lose it if I slept on it, actually, but I needn't have worried. When I woke up, I could still see the precise smile on Alex Archer's face, feel the thrill of Jaymes first realizing she's going to take a huge step towards growing up, and hear Leigh's laughter...laughter that sounds a lot like one of my girlfriend's laughs, now that I think about it.

I miss my beach home, always having sand in the sheets no matter what, the way my hair smelled after the salt water and sunscreen dried in it, and even the sight of seagulls flying over head constantly. But I've traded it for dark, swooping hawks, beautiful, distant mountains in different shades of blues and purples everywhere I turn, and a new springtime smell...the mountain coming back to life after a long, wet winter. And all of those things inspire me in a way I'd never feel at home; too comfortable in my element perhaps, to take the details in. But here my eyes, used to flat horizons, long stretches of straight roads and scrubby, windswept trees, are constantly drawn to, and amazed by, the endless rolling green fields, towering trees, and mountains topped with clouds.

Here I am myself; here I am a writer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Snows

So I haven't written in what feels like a very long time, and I apologize for that. But things have been, well...good. Actually, things have been fantastic. Something has just been right the past few days, and I have been so inspired by so many things.

By everything actually, which is awesome and even a little overwhelming. I mean every little thing is inspiring; from what I see, to what I hear, what I live, what I dream-all of it. The overwhelming part is trying to get it all out of my head and onto paper. If I didn't have kids this wouldn't be quite so hard, but free time isn't in abundance around my house right now, so...

It's like my brain has opened up every line of communication possible, and has become a sponge to everything around me. I've found a ton of new music, which is always inspirational for obvious reasons. I've also been immersed in a new town, and like all places inhabited by humans, gossip abounds. And there are so many truths that sound closer to fiction my fingers just itch to write them down. And I've been reading the Harry Potter books again. I spent the past week on books 6 & 7, both of which make me bawl and sob, and smile and laugh. And anytime I get into a heightened state of emotion, the brain kicks into high gear, and takes off, spouting off ideas and asking's seriously awesome.

And not only do I feel all this inspiration, I feel like I can do it. Like I actually have it in me to achieve something great. Perhaps some people have this ambition inborn, but ambition and achievement have never been something I'm hardwired for.

But right now, things are great, ideas are falling like snow, and I'm making the sweetest family of snowmen ever. Even though I hate snow. And spring is finally here...maybe I should think of something warmer...oh well.

Back to writing!!

(soon to come-a huge thanks to someone for an idea that's grown into something huge...)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Refreshing Rain

It feels like it's been raining endlessly since we got to Georgia, although it hasn't really been. There were some great days full of warmth and sun and happiness; but when it rains, it rains for at least three days at a time.

After the past three days of rain and being cooped up in the house watching Aladdin repeatedly, I finally couldn't take it anymore. Instead of going out to eat with the kids Nana, who is their great-grandma, I told Ryan to just take Chloe, and I was going to stay home with Colin. We had some business to attend to.

After getting Ryan and Chloe out the door, Colin and I got bundled, put on our "mud shoes", and went out to trek through the rain for an early evening walk. It wasn't really raining, just that incessant drizzle that is somehow worse than heavy downpour. The air wasn't too cool, just perfect enough to cool our cheeks off after we ran down the hills. It was a good choice to take him out, for both of us. While Colin had a blast throwing rocks into the pond, and splashing in the puddles, I had a chance to think about writing.

Confession: I haven't written anything in over a week. I KNOW!!! I know. It's been a productive week in my "real life" though, and I'm proud of how awesomely organized I'm getting the new house. But I've been kind of procrastinating about getting back to the book. Because I just wasn't feeling that buzz of anticipation when I sat down at the computer. Because I know I'll have to stop right when I really get going to get one of the kids from their nap...or each other's throats. Because I've been redecorating all three blogs. (What do you think?) Because I know that it's going to take a little work, and I'm lazy.

But the lazy walk through wet scenery revived me from my stupor, and I came back refreshed, and ready to write. The landscape made me think of confrontations, deep thoughts, and passions, both in love and hate. It made me think of true loves, true lusts, and heartaches. And that intense, searing stare one shares with another in that moment before a first kiss happens, or in the moments after one mistakenly takes place...but I'm digressing into story-land, sorry!

So I opened the file, took a deep breath, and jumped in headfirst. Imagine my (pleasant) surprise when I realized it was all there, waiting for me. What was I thinking? Work? This isn't work, this is greeting a friend at the airport when you haven't seen them in ages. This is finding a good book you thought you'd lost and re-reading it just to realize it's still just as good. This is finding a twenty in your jeans while you're waiting in line at Food Lion and wishing you could afford to get a Snickers...

My friends, foes, and lovers were all waiting for me with open arms, begging me to get on with their stories so we can all find out what happens to them.

And the familiar excitement is rushing through my veins again. I cannot wait to write.

Thank you God, for rainy days, for being alive to appreciate them.
Crappy cell phone pic of where we stop to watch the water.
It's so much prettier than this looks, but since I forgot the camera, again...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oh I Wish I Were...

No, not an Oscar Meyer Weiner. I wish I were (insert any of the following words):



enough to write the story of my actual life. Because the characters who fill my days are so much MORE than any character I could ever come up with. They're all flawed and quirky and some of them are insane and some of them are too good to be true...but they are, and that's the kicker.

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I go to work, and I see a wide variety of people from a wide variety of places. Most of them have a story to tell, and a few would make excellent chapters in a book.

As real people, they're constantly making choices, showing little facets of their personalities, revealing all those flaws and characteristics that make them into individuals. That is something that is so important to me in characters that I both read and write about. I don't want someone perfect, I want someone flawed. Human. Not ink on a page, but an actual personality in my head, readily available for reference any time their part of the story is up. Some authors miss that entirely, most do credibly well at giving us someone relate-able. And a certain few give us characters who are so perfectly believeable that we become friends, or enemies, or lovers, of any number of things with that character. We form a relationship of some sort that is strong enough to effect us in our daily lives, strong enough to make us a little sad to finish a book. We miss them for a while after that, and sometimes we rush back to them, and sometimes we wait years to open those pages again. Either way, those few characters are exactly right, and we meet as friends who haven't spoked in ages, but fall into the same patterns with little or no effort.

That is precisely what I want need for my characters. And lacking any formal training, or informal for that matter, and going on a purely instinctual level, I often have a tough time translating what I have in my head into written form on a page, without losing that integral core of what makes that character stand out in my head.

The funny thing is, I think I hold myself back more than any lack of schooling. I have a strange perfectionism that doesn't apply to all areas of my life, just some. But writing is one of them. And if I don't feel like what I've written is perfect, then I tend to get discouraged by it. I don't let it go entirely, I just take a while to psyche myself back up to re-read what I've written, and change what I can to fix it.

And half the time, when I've re-read it, I'm surprised by myself and what I've produced. I wonder to myself why I wasn't satisfied while I was writing, when I'm not only satisfied, I'm slightly mystified at my own abilities. It's a good feeling, but not a completely comfortable one, if you know what I mean. It's the same way I feel about adrenyline. Some people adore that feeling, some people avoid it at all costs. I feel slightly sick and yet still excited, two things that don't often go together. Like your first kiss. You felt scared and excited and nervous and exultant all at once...not a comfortable feeling, but not a bad one either.

But the people I see in my day-to-day life are already there. They're already written in stone, to a certain extent, and some things will never change about them. There's a lot less pressure, and a draw that feels almost like the urge to smoke a ciggarette when I really know I shouldn't. Writing about the people in my life would be easier, more entertaining, a much better story, and very guilt/fear inducing. Which is, of course, part of the draw.

Damn you contradictions!! I feel like I am constantly pulling against myself in one way or another...which is totally unrelated, and I apologize for that. Tangets tend to run away with me.

I'm not making any definite stands on writing about the people I know, because change happens every second whether we want it to or not. And sometimes the temptation is just to much to walk away from....

But for now at least, I'll keep my non-fiction story in my head, where it makes me alternately smile and cringe, and write dialogue in my thoughts while I'm on my break at work.

I'll leave you with a quote I like, and a fond farewell for now:

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yum Yum Yum

How do you feel about completely gratuitous male sexiness?

Check it out here, but only if you're really interested. ;)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

1+1=1...& sometimes 3

Well hello again! It seems like forever since I had a minute to write here, even though it's only been a few days. But life never stops, and over the past week it seems like it's made a special point to shove some problem or another in my face just at the precise moment I think I'm finally getting to sit down and write.

So while I haven't actually written anything, I've been thinking a lot about my "litterforts". Inspiration is all around me here in Georgia, in a way that it wasn't on the beach. Not that the Outer Banks are less inspiring in general; in fact, many writers have been inspired by trips to those sandy beaches. (Nights in Rodanthe, anyone?) It's just that after being immersed in the salt air and sea grass for so many years, it becomes commonplace, everyday.

But here, everything is new, and completely different from a geographical aspect. Looking out the window, I see more trees surrounding me in a twenty foot radius than I would see on twenty miles in North Carolina. And the land is constantly moving up and down, from little hills to the majestic mountains that form the backdrop in shades of blue and green for this little storybook town. And everywhere there are little fingers of water reaching out of the ground, turning into tiny brooks and streams, running over rocks and making little waterfalls, something I could stare at all day.

One of my stories, Story #2 to be precise, has a lot of traveling in it...well, so does #1 actually, but of a totally different type. And while I think that #1 will also benefit from my move, #2 will most definitely benefit, in a way that is making my adreneline start to pump just thinking about writing about it! I'm really excited, which is fantastic, because it keeps me from freaking out about the fact that I haven't been able to actually put the pen to the paper, so to speak.

I can see it in my head; going on exploratory walks, seeing everything the world has to offer, plotlines growing into more detailed versions of what I imagine, dialogue speaking to me at random times of the day or night, begging me, "WRITE ME DOWN!", which I try to always do, before I forget.

But I'm most excited about getting back to the "gruntwork", turning the dreaming, flow-of-consciousness pictures into words, sentences, paragraphs, and hopefully pages that my story will grow from. There is no other work in the world, that I've found at least, that I enjoy both sides of the coin: the planning and the execution.

Usually, I'm a planner. I'm slightly obsessive about it actually, and I love having time to think about all sides, and details, that are involved in the planning stage. And while I also occasionally enjoy the execution part, things rarely go as planned, and then I'm forced to think on my feet, something I can actually do well, but don't like to unless forced. I hate seeing a perfect plan fall apart, even when the outcome is just as good if not better than originally planned. It's just a weird quirk I have, one of many.

But with writing, I love the planning, or the dreaming stage, as I tend to think of it, and I love the execution too. And even though the same thing happens, and the page turns out totally different in reality, I'm just as happy (usually) with the outcome. Because writing isn't like math; one plus one doesn't have to equal two. It can equal whatever the heck I want it to! One plus one can equal one, in the manner of two people falling in love and finding their soulmate. One plus one can equal three, in the manner of Stephenie Meyer's The Host, and I won't spoil that one by telling you how that works, in case you haven't read it yet. I recommend it, by the way, even for Twi-haters.

What I'm getting at is, there are no wrong answers in writing. The world is a blank page with no lines, no format, no rules. I can put whatever I want, wherever I want, whenever I want.

This makes my slightly rebellious self smile smugly. Take that, math teachers of old!! :)

Since I've taken this time this morning to write this, I've used up most of my alloted writing time, which is okay, since writing is writing, therapudic no matter where I do it. But now I'm psyched about getting into it, digging into the grey matter and seeing what comes out, so I'll leave you until next time. Which hopefully will be sooner than last time. ;)

Here is what I'm seeing right now, through the window next to the computer, and off the front porch. While it may not inspire you the way it does me, I wanted to share a little bit of my viewpoint.

The reason they're all blurry is because it's snowing it's butt off, but my camera is too old and slow to actually pick up the snow itself.