Positive Feedback, Springtime, and Being a Woman

So just the other day I found out that my grandfather read one of my stories here and told Mr. B that he liked it. While I know my grandmother reads some of my things occasionally, it surprised me to find out my grandpa did as well. Pleasantly surprising though. I mean, half or most of the time my parents don’t read what I write, for which I am partly glad. They know enough about me, they don’t need to know some of my other aspects. As it was, Mr. B wanted to know what I had written about so I was explaining some of the last pieces of flash fiction I had written, and he was making faces. Well, I had to explain that Under the Clock Tower gets interesting.  I’ll have to type it up so y’all can see.

So, no, I don’t always tell my parents what I write. Mel did mention, since she gave me the suggestion for how to continue the Clock Tower, that they (the writing group) was corrupting me. To which I replied, “Don’t worry, I’m already corrupted. You should see some of the stuff I’ve written that I share online only under an alias.” She burst out laughing, especially when I took her suggestion about the story.  Oh, being a writer means I have too much going on in my head, and half of it is not what I would call ‘nice’. It’s wicked, it’s bad, gruesome, disturbing, sexy, sexual, violent, and various other not nice things.  Hey, have you ever read of nice villains?

Well anyways, it was nice to get feedback from my grandpa. Then that same morning, a woman I know here said she loved reading my work. She reads it every morning before work while she drinks her coffee.  Wow. Thank you.  I know the ladies occasionally read my work since I post it on Facebook for friends to see, and I always get marvelous feedback from Mel, but out of the blue feedback is rather a gooey feeling.  Okay, honestly, positive feedback gives me a gooey feeling in general. Mrs. Austen always makes me smile when she posts something.

So, feedback = Nice

Then with it being springtime, there is so much inspiration going on. Oh my gosh. All the flowers and smells and birds and green things growing. It brings out a happier me. A more inspired me than winter. I have slipped out of my ‘burned out’ feeling. Thank goodness. And I have moved on to being more inspired.  I think PAD has given me a boost to write all kinds of things, not just sticking with stories and flash fiction.  I have had a lot of inspiration, even if I might groan at the prompt. Like yesterday’s haiku day. But even that turned out good.

Then the being a woman.  As Mel said after we were all gushing over the Outlander novels and Outlander the show, and Jamie, that we are women and the ‘sap’ is rising.  one thing said was  how the sex is really good in Outlander…. and the show. Really good on the show, people. Really good. And it’s really well written in the books. Not super erotic graphic, but just enough that you, or I, keep going back and rereading it. It’s that good.  I had talked to a woman the other day who had mentioned that she read the first three books and thought they were too steamy.  My inner thought was, hell yes, and thank goodness!  That’s one of the things that makes them so ridiculously good. And I don’t even feel it’s a guilty pleasure. It’s just a good read. Hey, I’m a sucker for romance novels, be it clean or a bit naughty…. or in some cases, really naughty.

Ah, springtime. Romance, love, sex and all things fertile start flowing. There must be something about it that we don’t even realize that we mimic nature.  So I have to say that yeah, spring comes along and anything girly and feminine is on my mind. And romance.  Lots of romance. And roses, and Hallmark movies.  I did my 31 days of femininity in October, but honestly, I probably should have done it now.  Lol.  I have stacks of romance books I want to read, or write. Heck, I am writing romance. I don’t share the romance with anyone because it’s terrible. Okay, it’s probably not that bad, but it has a lot of half starts. I’m still working on a story I started a month or so ago, and it’s actually turning out okay. I want to have one of my ladies read it when I’m done and get some feedback on my romance style.

So, there’s a ridiculously personal update. How is spring treating everyone else?

Kate

PAD Day 14 – Time out – Three time out poems


Stop the Presses

Halt!
Stop the presses!
stop, Stop, STOP!
Now let’s take a moment
and shut down the machines
and make sure the story’s
just so.
No, I don’t need another
useless ad
but let’s let those stories
meld and think a bit
before the ink jams
onto the paper and we
can’t erase the noise
noise NOISE!
All that useless noise
everyone making a fuss.
Did you ever stop to think
that maybe that story
isn’t as important
as all the noise makes
it out to be?
So let’s just stop a minute
and let it muddle and meld
and maybe we might actually
have something good to print.

 

Take a Time Out Writing

Give me your pens and paper and go drink your cup of coffee
Because you need a break from writing
Your words are getting muddled and mixed
And your eyes are turning red.
You need to let it all go, and take a break instead.
Your stories won’t disappear, even though you think they might,
because your words are all there, always waiting to get out.
It’s okay to take a moment to not think.
Just inhale the rich smell of coffee and watch the steam rise.
Or maybe we should just make you a cup of tea.
Sit in the sun and stare out the window
and dream of new worlds you could write about tomorrow.
Because tomorrow is another day and you will have your words
to play back then. So don’t worry now. Just drink your drink
and dream your dreams and take a time out from writing.

 

Dating Out

I need a break, a timeout, a moments peace
from the thought of dating and boys and flawed men.
I’m disgusted with the whole sex, at least right now,
except for those ones that are sexy as hell
who live in books and know a thing or two.
They are the ones that know what they are doing,
and how they are going, and just living.
The real ones leave me guessing.
Sigh.

I could keep going on with this time out thing. Clearly I need a time out from a lot of things.The first poem came because sometimes whether it’s news or whatnot, we just need to stop. Stop from it all. And sometimes I need to stop writing. And I need to de-stress about boys. Men. Dating. Or lack of.

I could have timed out a lot of things. I feel like I need to keep going, but we’ll keep it to three.:) So nice of me.

Kate

PAD Day 10 – Emotions – Impatience Is What I Am

Impatience Is What I Am

Impatient, yes, that would explain it all
as I pull up a story, then another and another
wanting to work on all, but none as a hint
of frazzled frosts over and my pen taps restless
against a full, or almost full notebook
Or my finger flicks and taps open files
glancing over great works of amazing feats
only to be closed with another flick.
Finish something! I rail to myself.
Don’t start anything new, as my pen flirts
With a pristine white page impatient
I’m impatient with myself so unfocused
And utterly frustrated as I read amazing
Remarkable books, an author’s loving hand
tapped out to make me envious of
all my inequalities with myself.
Wondering if I’ll ever make it writing
Or if I’ll waste years of endless words
On nothing and everything and worthless

 

Too much emotion in this….. I told Doña, yesterday that I was feeling burned out, and I still feel that way. Being envious of other writers has a tendancy to make me feel this way, so I think that might be all it is.

Then there’s this…

Put The Corresponding Face With

Put the corresponding emotion with the corresponding face
Says Kate on French Kiss
And right now I want to box up these corresponding emotions with the correct moment.
Happy, sad, morose, inspired; flash through me several times a day
Till I’m exhausted and not knowing what I feel
And whether or not it fits with a moment in time
Burned out, depressed, uninspired, all have had there place in one day
Then throw in excited, happy and impatient
So mixed up in feelings I’m ten people in one
Worry when I start to talk to myself
Because it’s all downhill from there if I’m more than one…

 

A nuerotic wreck. Clearly.

KIate

 

PAD Day 9 – Hide Out

Step back into that faraway corner
right there
tucked back in poetry and plays
just look
It’s darker than the rest of rows
come see
but it’s homey and safe from eyes
that watch
So I can write all undisturbed
so quiet
and read till the clocks shut down
and stop
till she says the library’s closing
up tight
but my place is mine to claim
right there
My spot is only mine to write
for now
Until I need the books to hold
me tight
for my next writing time
just there
No one else uses this place
just see
that it’s for me and only me
to have

I like to write in the library back in the non fiction because I usually don’t get disturbed there. Not that I write there often. In fact, I probably only visit my spot a couple times a year, but I know that whenever I visit, I can have the spot all to myself because it’s very unused. So I like it. It’s kind of funny to have a spot, a hide out that rarely gets used.

But then I have other hide outs….

It’s the summer sun that pulls me out
to webbed and shrouded blueberries
where the dry mulch makes my skin
tingle and electrify up
A whisper of wind in the pines
warm resin scents the air a thick perfume
And I’m supposed to be watering
Or picking those ripe blue balls
but instead I’m scribbling here
or reading on that stump
the whisperings of a Frenchman
in my ear making me sleepy
and so very unmotivated to work
And I could hang my hammock under
the whispering pine trees
living out here always with the summer heat

I take a stack of books and my notebook out to the blueberries to pick… and never get to reading or writing, but I like having the option if I want to. And usually I’m listening to The French Whisperer, having those ASMR tingles going all over my head and practically falling asleep as I pick, or water. It’s rather dangerous, but I don’t get very interrupted out there, so it’s nice. The video below is one of my favorite ones to listen to. And I have this thing for a French accent…

I actually want to create a few more hide outs, but I have yet to find one that I can really hide out in. I need a spot in the shade, by the creek. I need to find one. I really like how Robert, over at Writer’s Digest talked about a hide out in a picture. I recommend reading it HERE

Kate

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

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

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

Playing With Words, Or What I Found In An Anne Lindbergh Book

So I have become a frequent member of the local Saturday Writing Circle at my local library. I’ve mentioned it in passing with a short piece of Flash fiction I wrote recently.  One of our writing prompts comes from the mix mash of pieces of paper with either a word or a number on it. If you choose the number, you walk around the room, which happens to have all the books the Friends of the Library sell, pull off a book, turn to the page number you chose, and use a word from that to write from. I almost always choose this method because it’s broad and there are a bunch of words you can find in one page.

This last week I chose a book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and who would have thought that a wealth of words could come from page 220 (the date of the day I was writing) of the book, “North to the Orient?” This book has a story behind it as well. I chose the book partly because a few years ago my family and I were going through our books, discarding what we were not going to read. Several of the books were Anne Lindbergh books my grandmother had gotten from her mentor years ago.  I kept a few and got rid of several. Well this dark blue book, sitting on the non fiction shelf, called to me. Just because I thought it would be familiar in that I knew the author. Well, after reading the page, I decided I HAD to take it home and read it. When I got home, I told Mrs. B about it, and she asked dryly if it was one of the books we had gotten rid of. Well, I flipped to the front cover and there was the nameplate with the name of my grandmother’s mentor.  Oh how things circle around. Ironic that I am now reading a book I discarded three years ago.

But now onto page 220.  While I didn’t use all of these, what caught my eye were these words or phrases:

a small island of roofs, sea of flood, the two words were separated, the world of nightmare, the world of reality, the flash of waking, magic lamp, hair-bridge, the pull of a trigger…….

A sentence: ….magic rests on a knife-edge—a lam, a tinderbox, and “open sesame.”

Aren’t those wonderful? I continued on with my story of Reality of Dreams, which relates to The Magic Orb I wrote several years ago. C.B. Wentworth wanted me to finish that piece of flash fiction and I have sudden inspiration to finish the story. I now have a way to finish the story. I think. This is what I have been working on at my weekly writing group.

So while I won’t share all of the story yet, I am going to post bits and pieces at time. But do you play with words? Do you hunt for words in books? I have found it a really good way to find inspiration. The Reality of Dreams was inspired by words in Cannery Row, and a Tea Shop Mystery book by Laura Childs.

So, how do you get your word prompts? I’d love to know.

Kate

Final Thought on Writer’s Digest PAD Chapbook Challenge

I spent November in a world of sonnets.  I loved working on the Poem a Day challenge by Writer’s Digest.  I pushed myself more than I have with poetry before. I could not keep up with writing a sonnet a day. It took me usually two days to write one, and some prompts left me going, ‘Oh boy.’  I struggled with ideas, and I ended up with a lot of sonnets that were winter inspired or sadness inspired.  Hence my manuscript title of Midwinter & Melancholy.  I ended up with 13 really good sonnets that I just submitted last night.

Right now I’m sitting here going, oh did I do enough?  Did I write enough?  I could only send in between 10-20 sonnets.  And I picked my best ones. I had a couple other silly ones that did not get into the chapbook manuscript.  I wrote one about White Christmas, the film, and then a vampire-y one. I had two about the holiday season.  I had my silly Once Upon A Time one.  I wanted to write a Once Upon a Winter’s Night sonnet, but then forgot.  Oops.  It would have worked perfectly with what I had typed up.  Oh well. It’s too late now because the file is out of my hands and now in Mr. Brewer’s.

So now comes the waiting process.  Until March.  I hate this feeling of sending in a manuscript. I hate the waiting. I hate the feeling that I forgot something. Nerves. Paranoia.  Will I ever get over sending in manuscripts?  I sent in a short story in January to three literary magazines.  Now I have to find more to send in to. I have found two.  But I’m panicking.  I panic a lot when it comes to writing. That inferiority complex. The “I’m not good enough to get published…..”  The “Dammit! I’m good enough I’m gonna send it in…..oh God, my work is crap what was I thinking?!!!”  Feeling.

Do all writers feel like this?  Do you feel like this?  Will it ever go away?  Sigh.  Le sigh.  I guess if I want to be published, this is part of the process.  Pardon me while I go curl up in a ball and rock back and forth in terror.  No, just kidding.

So….. There you have it.  I am glad I did this poetry challenge.  I love writing sonnets now and I have kept it up.  My new prompt of the week is Whispers from the guy who’s giving me word prompts. I love these prompts.  I need something to keep me focused.  This is certainly doing it.

So. There you have my PAD followup.

Kate