The Rejection Reduction

Rejection sucks. It’s the one major thing all writers are afraid of when it comes to submitting their work, or even something as simple as sharing their work with someone else. Unfortunately, it is a fact of life. When it comes to writing, that is. I find it hard to share work, at times, with other people because of that fear of criticism and rejection. I find it much easier to submit myself to you, the readers of my blog, and various other people that might read my work.

It’s actually fairly easy to share my work with agencies and literary magazines (despite the query letter which I actually dread because that one thing is sometimes the key factor… not your work) because they are an unknown entity. They are not someone I know specifically who would criticize me in person.

That being said, I am semi-depressed/bummed this week. On Tuesday, I found out I did not win the Writer’s Digest Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge. Nor did I even get an honorable mention.  Is it a big deal? No. But it’s a poopy feeling. It made me feel down and depressed on Tuesday.  I had hope to be just mentioned. Nope.

And two weeks ago I received another rejection, albeit a very encouraging nice one, from a literary magazine that I had submitted my short story to. I was expecting that, actually, but it still stings when you get the rejections. Do I expect instant success? No, but since I have been submitting for over a year to several magazines, I had been hoping for a bite.

I had been hoping my 13 sonnets for the Poem a Day thing would have been catchy enough to be noticed. Do I think I’m amazing? Well, that’s where it gets tricky. Because yes, I do think my writing is good, but I also don’t think it’s good. It’s one of those weird things where I have a vain opinion of my own work, but I’m also aware that there are other great writers out there.

I guess I just want some recognition.

I get a nice smattering of the applause by sharing my work in my writing group, but sometimes you want to world to see that you are something.

HEY, YOU WORLD! I AM SOMETHING!

Anyways. So there I was last week reading this blip of a thing on Neurolove.me (Tumblr blog on psychology facts) about how what you are craving to eat determines the state of your mind.  It’s somewhat true. I won’t put what I’m craving, except for the sugar, because it’s too revealing, but I think it’s kind of cool, and maybe it is an insight into what you are thinking/feeling. Check it out and the article to go along with it. Just click the picture to take you to the article.

So is anyone else in a rejection slump? I’d like to reduce the rejections. Hence the title. Anyone craving something on the list and it applies to your mental state?

Kate

Under The Clock Towers – Flash Fiction

clock tower

Circus Lane, Edinburgh, United Kingdom by Omar Yassen

Shafer nursed his pint of Guinness at the worn bar under the Clock Towers that sheltered the old tavern. The pub had been there so long the wood bar was dark and greasy from years of dirty palms and spilled drinks. Dents and gouges marked the wood giving it character and a sense of presence to the smoky interior. Old men of a certain age sat huddled in groups, round tables or in the hard wooden booths. There was an air of silent comradery to the mumbled conversations that filled the pub with a hum that had neither a beginning nor an end. It was as it had always been, ever since Shafer was old enough for his first pint.

That was long ago; though not so long that he was ready to join in with one of the groups of men. That and he was still a loner. Always had been. Maybe it was his occupation that kept him from joining in. He knew too much about everyone there. He knew who had been unfaithful to which wife, or who owed so much on their bill at the pub. He dealt in information, using it like currency. Though he never used it for favors. He was, at best an honest dealer.

People came to him for information, he gave it to them, and they paid, leaving happy with the news, or at least, satisfied, albeit disturbed at times. But he couldn’t help how people took his information. He never promised to sugar-coat it. He was blunt and to the point. If people didn’t want to know the answer, they shouldn’t ask the question.
Despite what he knew, people still treated him with a modicum of respect. He supposed it was because they were afraid he might report any illegal activity to the authorities, which he could have done numerous times. But he had a reputation of discretion and he liked to keep it that way. It was bad for business if you were a snitch.

The door to the pub swung open and an icy blast of January cold blew in through the door, biting at the heels of the charming woman who stepped in hesitant and unsure. She quickly shut the door behind her as some of the patrons emitted growls of displeasure at the cold surrounding their old bones

Shafer watched her as her eyes adjusted to the gloom. She was as lovely now as when she had come to him two weeks ago. Dressed in a long, forest green wool jacket, buttoned up to the neck with brass buttons, she looked very prim and proper. And so out of place in the pub that Shafer decided to be nice and rescue her from her fortress of uneasiness. He tapped his glass creating a slight ring and her eyes flew towards the sound. He saw a smattering of relief in her eyes as she recognized him and made her way around the tables to the bar.

Normally he would have met her in his office, but the walls there had ears, especially with the information he had found out. Here, at least, no one cared that much about secrets. Beer had a tendency to loosen the tongue and nothing was ever taken seriously.

“Mr. Shafer,” the woman greeted, her eyes darting around the room.

“Mrs. Ballington.”

“You said you had some information for me?” She questioned as if unsure of the message he had sent her telling her so and where to meet him.

“I do. Would you like a drink?”

“No. No, thank you.” She nervously moistened her lips

Shafer sighed. He hated to do this with such a decent lady.

“Could you just tell me?” she nearly whispered.

“Yes. Your husband is having an affair. In fact, he’s having three.” He sighed again as he saw the way the words hit her and she started to crumble.

 

Wow. So I don’t normally finish a piece of fiction thinking, “wow,”, but this time I certainly did as I read this on Saturday at my writing group. D and I sat there and I just knew it was a good piece.I want to finish it, but I’m not sure how, or where I’d go with it. But with the word prompts of clock towers, forest green, and Guinness, I went from being totally uninspired an hour prior, to being super excited at the end. I’m loving this flash fiction moments that hit. They are really inspiring.

I sort of saw this as a piece that could take place at any time, though with the coat the woman wears, I think steampunk. A long green jacket that goes almost to the floor, with those brass buttons that I picture as being shiny. And I see the woman as an auburn haired lady with her hair up almost Gibson girl style.

I do hope you enjoy and I’ll see if I can make this go further.

Kate

Dreaming of Colorado

Buena Vista at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks

Buena Vista at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been dreaming about Colorado a lot lately.  At random moments, a John Denver song will pop into my head and I’m thinking about the Rockies and the way Colorado felt. I lived there for two years in my early teens, and while at the time I probably didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have, now I find myself missing it horribly.

Just recently I was watching a Tiny House, Big Living where a young couple converts a bus into a tiny home. The couple was out of Boulder, but they traveled to outside of Denver and Red Rocks. I watched the weather and the scenery wishing desperately that I could be there or go. Red Rocks has been one of those places I really want to go and see a concert played. Unfortunately, who I want to see play is either dead (John Denver) or won’t play the concert I want to see (Mumford & Sons version of “I Will Wait”. With all of those amazing lights strung across the stage.)

Recently I have started a story that takes place in Vail though I have never been there. In face, I have never been to Denver, Boulder, Red Rocks… I lived in the middle of the state, half an hour from Leadville (been there), an hour from Aspen (haven’t been there), and a few hours from Ryal Gorge and Canyon City (been there!). I wish I could have seen Aspen, but Mr. B didn’t want to see how it had changed from the 70s when he had seen it. I can understand that. But oh, Colorado aspens, can I rave?

English: Aspen trees near Aspen, Colorado

English: Aspen trees near Aspen, Colorado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But occasionally I dream of living where John Denver made his home. I love that he wrote songs about it, like Starwood in Aspen and his Christmas song, Aspenglow. Then there’s Rocky Mountain High. Seriously those songs sum up Colorado perfectly. (Ironically a John Denver song came on a the doctor’s while I sit here, but it’s Country Roads, so not technically about Colorado- and I wrote this two days ago and I’m just now typing it up. I’m not actually at the doctors right now)

Mount Princeton near Buena Vista, CO.

Mount Princeton near Buena Vista, CO. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not sure why Colorado is calling to me, except for lately not really feeling like I”m in the mountains. Strange since yesterday was one of those perfect stormy, mountain days. A day where the mountains were obliterated by clouds and we woke to snow all the way down. But since I live on the valley floor, I feel like I’m more in the country. Strange as well since I have to only walk fifteen to twenty minutes and I can be climbing up the mountains. I’m that close. But California mountains are different from Colorado mountains. I remember telling a boyfriend, who visited from Pennsylvania, that we did everything big out here, but our mountains are nothing compared to the amazing beauty of the Rockies. The sheer size of 14,000-foot peaks can’t be explained.

There is a wildness about Colorado. Still untamed. Still undiscovered, though I doubt that is the case. I just remember visiting Tincup and that had once been something, but was no more. Okay, there was sort of a town, but one place we stopped outside of Tincup was what you see in the pictures above. The way the wild had claimed everything again. The way the exploding brightness of the sun shone on the clear mountain streams, being so high up the air was crisp and clear. The air was so pure. So clean. So cold and brisk.

The mountains, lakes, and aspens were magic.

I love California with all of my heart. This is my state. This is where I come from. I’m a fifth generation and the Sierra Nevada mountains are my ‘home’. But there is something about colorado that just makes me want to come stay a bit and visit again. With my camera where I can take so many pictures I couldn’t possibly forget.

To visit St. Elmo where the hummingbirds take over the historical ghost town….. while across the street the chipmunks enthrall people…. that is one place I definitely want to see again.

Well, I’m dreaming of Colorado, wishing for a Rocky Mountain High…

Kate

 

Daylight Savings, Feeling Guilty, Rain, and Writing

 

I started on Saturday feeling this way. And I’ve continued through the day.

I hate Daylight Savings. I’m probably one of the millions of people that say that, but can I underscore it? There isn’t enough coffee in the world to take care of the hour change hangover. I slept in till 11 this morning and just now I thought, oh it’s still 5-ish, when it’s a quarter past 7. Sigh.

 

Not to mention I have spent the last two days feeling guilty that because of the massive rain and storms that blew in on Saturday morning, I wasn’t able to make it to the writing group, and because I had the key, we had to cancel…… though at 10 am when it would have started, the rain had abated. Sort of. Sigh. I always feel really guilty when I can’t follow through on something I said I would do or make or arrive at.  I really felt so guilty all day yesterday it was tearing me up. Not literally, but I was tweaked.

Then the rain. Oh, the rain is good. We so need it in CA, but it’s cold. And dreary. And depressing. And wet. So wet. So wet in fact that the water filter seems like it won’t even put water through because the humidity is so high. Blah rain. And I had hope to spend some of Saturday writing. Nada. Okay, well I was writing in the middle of the night as the time change happened, but technically it was Sunday. I sort of lost my mojo for the weekend. It probably has to do with the slew of doctor’s appointments this week and paperwork I have to fill out for a new doctor I’m seeing soon. Bleh, I hate filling out forms.

So, I’m blaming Spring Forward as my blah moment. I feel really blah right now.

Now go enjoy the rest of your short evening since it took you all day to get here. And ignore my blah, useless moment of complaining.

Kate

The Dreaded Typing of The Story

So I have started writing weekly in my notebooks when I write with the group of ladies on Saturdays. I love to write in my notebooks. I love the feel of a fountain pen swishing across a page as I scribble madly. They even commented on how rapidly I was writing this last week. (Side note; if you want to sound like you are accomplishing a writing project, use a fountain pen. It sounds way more studious than just a ballpoint or gel pen.)

But normally when I sit down to write, that means pulling out my laptop. I write much more descriptively on my computer than by hand. I write a form  of ‘shorthand’ when I’m writing with a notebook. Not really like the true symbols shorthand, but less descriptive. I know I can always go back when I input the data and fill in with a lot more description. Unless it’s a key point to what I’m describing, I don’t fill in. I will wait till later when I’m typing it up and Boom! there’s a whole extra paragraph or ten of things that were not there.

But recently I have not been wanting to input the stuff in the notebook to my laptop. The typing seems daunting. And the more I put it off, the more I have to type…. It’s going to be a vicious cycle soon if I don’t start typing it up. I never thought I would be the type to not want to type something up. Usually, I love that process because it means the story becomes more. More in depth, more descriptive, more rounded. I feel a story expand and be when it’s on my computer.

Which means this story that everyone is loving in my writing group will really love it when it gets typed up! If I can ever get there.

I wonder if anyone else has that problem. I would assume so since one of the ladies in my group was looking for a typist last year and seems to only write with a legal pad and pencil. And she lays out her hard copy on the floor to line up the story. She keeps the pages in a suitcase. Whoa! I’m not that bad. Yet. But still, it seems not that far off.

I’m not sure how to get over the slump of typing something up, other than I have only been doing this a little while. About a month of Saturdays. Which isn’t much. But I am going to have to get my butt in gear if I want to see what I have written and coalesce my story at some point. Right now, some things are mixed around and my timeline isn’t much.  That is, for the story I’m seriously working on. The Reality of Dreams storyline.

Flash fiction seems so much easier to type up. Maybe because it has a home here. I can type up some flash fiction in a moment and boom, I have a story. An actual novel…. well not so much.

What about you? Do you avoid typing up your story? Or do you enjoy it?

Kate

I Said Yes by Emily Maynard Johnson – A Review

_225_350_Book.1834.coverI Said Yes : My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption, and True Love By Emily Maynard  Johnson is Emily’s story of how she went from meeting the man of her dreams, losing him, having his child, being on the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, and finally finding ‘true love’.

Let me preface by saying I have only recently started watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and I have never seen Emily’s seasons. I really know nothing about her, so I’m not biased one way or the other with her in particular.  I will say I am now a Bachelor fan after starting watching in 2015 with Chris Soules.

The story chronicles Emily’s growing up years, from boarding school to dealing with health issues of Bell’s Palsy and ADD; from having social anxiety troubles and learning problems to family moves and various other things.  We meet Emily from about age ten and experience her life till she meets Ricky Hendrick. Their unique romance catches your eye right away since Emily was 16 and Ricky 22.  You feel the tragedy of Emily losing Ricky to a plane crash in 2004, then the joy of finding out she is carrying his daughter.

There are the trials and joys of raising her daughter as a single mom, then having a friend sign her up for the Bachelor.  It’s while Emily is on the show where we find out what really goes on while being on the show. Emily details what we don’t see while watching the shows. We experience the heartache and excitement of being one of the girls on the Bachelor, then being the Bachelorette, which while interesting, isn’t as glamorous as we all think.

Emily chronicles her time after the shows when she meets her husband to be, who is not a contestant, and we finish off with the start of their life together.

Ah, sounds sweet and marvelous. While I thought this book was going to be this wonderful story, similar to When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy,  which is on how looking to God  brings you to your faith and the person you are supposed to marry, sadly, this is not that book. First off, this book is mostly about being on the Bachelor and the Bachelorette.  The first part of the book does go through Emily’s life up to meeting Ricky Hendrick and having his child and raising her daughter on her own, though with her parent’s support.   However, most of the book is devoted to being on the shows.

While the premise of the book leads you to believe that it is going to be a book of how Emily has trusted God to bring her to the man she is going to marry and to live the life, most of the book focuses on other things. Yes, there is a smattering of token points on how she wasn’t looking to God to direct her, to yes, she felt a movement in her spirit. On the whole, I would say there are about 12 pages total devoted to the topic of God, which might be a bit high in my estimation. In my opinion, that is serious deception on the part of the summary. I felt that even the summary  of the story on the dust jacket leads you to believe that this book is more about redemption and faith than the Bachelor. I think in the end Emily is trying to get that ‘true love’ comes from God, but I was left a little confused what she meant. Did she mean the true love was with God or with the man she has ended up marrying? I was never quite sure.

I found the writing a little juvenile in style and I was disappointed that there wasn’t more faith and waiting on Christ and such. My first impression was that the book was written by a teenager.  In my opinion the style is too simplistic and lacking a lot of fundamental facts, mostly in regards to aspects of Emily’s life. The book focuses mostly on bad choices and the Bachelor. If I were going to give this book to anyone, it would be fans of the Bachelor and Bachelor Nation, along with any woman who thinks it might be fun to try out for the show. For those girls, the ones who want to try out for the show, the book is more of a warning of why you should not go on the Bachelor.

All that being said, it was a quick read, and fundamentally interesting, but seriously lacking in what the book seems to be promoted as.

I would  give this book a 2 out of 5 stars because I’m not impressed. While it wasn’t my style and annoyed me, it’s not a ‘bad’ book.  It’s just not quite as good as you would think.

 

Kate

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Morning in Prose – Poetry

Winter DaysI’m not awake as I wait for the coffee to perk, my dog trying to make sure I love him with head-butts nd snuffles since he is why I’m up; he knows I wanted to sleep in as we now sit crashed on a sofa, him under my old baby quilt, fast asleep and cozy while I’m bleary-eyed waiting for the only thing that makes the mornings tolerable, while outside the sun shines warm, trying to beat back the cold north wind of a blustery March day, trying to be spring as winter hangs on with sharp, clutching nails, though the violets seem oblivious to the cold as their warm, sweet scent floats up, mocking the cold.

Now the mountains are shrouded in mist and cold, a wild needle-like wind bites and sinks into the skin, and I feel like I’m back in January while the calendar says spring is moments away, or years, or just days…. Only the weather seems to know what the mornings shall bring…..

 

Just a bit of prose, I think.

Kate

Purple Mountain’s Majesty – Flash Fiction

Here is a piece I wrote just this weekend during my local writing circle. I have been making up my own writing prompts using scrapbook paper  and a prompt, a color, and a number on the little slip of paper. For those wondering about great colors… Try Crayola colors on Wikipedia. I love the titles, always have, Midnight Blue being an absolute favorite, along with Mint Green and Chartreuse.   Or try paint chips. A wealth of color names and ideas come from paint chips. Well, the writing prompts went over great, and one of the ones I chose had Crayola’s purple crayon, Purple Mountain’s Majesty, on it. So here’s the inspired piece of flash fiction.

Via Robby Hare blog

She sat at her morning spot, the nook on the east side of the house. Not really a nook so much as a seat under the window with a wide enough ledge to set her coffee cup. It was her time of  uninterrupted moments. Her time without a husband calling for something to be ironed or where were his cuff links. It was before the mountain sunrise. It was almost before the stars had set. The time between time.

She sat reading Amar Singh’s Diary about Imperial India. She had picked the book up on a whim at a library book sale. Maybe the color had intrigued her. Or maybe it was because it was about India. She always wanted to go to India but had never really put the idea into motion. So she read about it.

While she read, she idly flipped one of her son’s crayons over and over in her left hand. Somehow, her nook had been confiscated recently to be an art studio. There were crayons in cups on the window sill and abstract drawings taped to the wall. Jeremy was a mini Picasso. Or just a very ordinary five-year-old boy.

She glanced at the crayon in her hand. Purple Mountain’s Majesty was the color. How fitting to be holding a color that matched what she could see and what was her favorite view. A shadowed purple, not as clear as Lavender or lilac, but so pleasing. The color was waxy and warm in her hands. She set the crayon down just as the first diamond ray of the sun peaked over the jagged mountains.

Yes, the view was most definitely Purple Mountain’s Majesty.

 

Enjoy.

Kate

Explaining Art

Or in this case, not explaining art.

The introduction to the 35th-anniversary edition of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand starts as follows,

Ayn Rand held that art is a “re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgements.” By its nature, therefore, a novel (like a statue or a symphony) does not require or tolerate an explanatory preface; it is a self-contained universe, aloof from commentary, beckoning the reader to enter, perceive, respond. ~ Leonard Peikoff

Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet I explain my writing.

First off, let me just say that Ayn Rand’s style of writing, while daunting with how much of it there is, is amazing. She writes like no other I’ve read. Magical and pulling you in.

I have found as I write, especially as I blog, I feel the need to explain myself. I preface my writing. I explain why I wrote something the way I did, or what motivated me to do so. I tell what I was thinking about, feeling like I will never have the reader really understand me unless I explain it away. I’m the type of person to explain a joke in more depth than just telling the joke. I’m the one who has to get down to the nitty-gritty of a dress instead of just saying, “a blue dress”. I have to go into way too much detail.

I guess I always feel like I won’t be understood, which is crazy, because if I write with just enough detail, won’t the reader be able to understand?  Do I need to reader to understand exactly how I am picturing what I write? I’m sure I don’t imagine Hogwarts to look like how J.K. Rowling  pictured it, but does she care? Can you care?

Honestly, it gets to be a little exhausting to get all the details out there about how you envision something. No, my characters will never be imagined how I describe them because each person thinks about things differently.

And each situation that I write will be experienced a different way by each reader. I can’t control how you think. Nor do I really want to. Sure, if I’m describing someone as looking like Brad Pitt, well then, you can imagine Brad Pitt. But all my other various situations, you can’t.

I didn’t really think that much about my prefacing everything I write until more recently when I realized at my writing group that I had to explain everything I was writing. Do I really need to? I think it comes from not feeling confident with what I have written. I always worry that maybe it isn’t good enough, so I had best explain it. I even did it this last week when I was at the writing circle because I wasn’t feeling very confident with the scene I had written. Not because it wasn’t good, but because there was no actual context for what I had written. I had had a scene in my head from a dream, it worked with an idea I had for a novel I have been writing for years, so I wrote it. But it takes place far into the novel. And it has no other scenes or ideas surrounding it. It just is.

See, even there I am explaining myself. Why? Do you really need to know all of what I am thinking? But yet I feel the need to explain why I wrote something.

Does Van Gogh’s Starry Night’ need explaining? Does it need a ‘preface’? Do we need an explanation on why Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’ are so perfect? No. Do we even need a reason why The Great Gatsby is one of America’s most wonderful novels?( I say that after reading Jesse’s post on the novel. I suggest you read it if you love Gatsby as much as we do.) But do any of these great works of life need a preface?

No.

So, maybe I ought to stop explaining.

Kate