Saturday, May 28, 2005

More Quotes About Writing

So, I've started working through A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves, and it has some great quotes from writers about writing. I thought I'd share them with you for inspiration.

(My favorite)
"When I am writing, I am doing the thing I was meant to do." - Anne Sexton

"Writers aren't born knowing the craft; writers are born with an urge to write, a curiosity, an imagination, and, perhaps, a love of the language. The way to learn the craft is through practice, and your notebook is the place of your apprenticeship. Even writers who are expert in the craft (those who've practiced long and hard) still try out new ideas." — Judy Reeves

"If you don't tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people." - Virginia Woolf

"Don't just put in your time. That is not enough. You have to make a great effort. Be willing to put your whole life on the line when you sit down for writing practice." - Natalie Goldberg

"...always wish that you may find patience enough in yourself to endure, and simplicity enough to believe." - Rainer Maria Rilke

"Eighty percent of success is showing up." - Woody Allen

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have. As I practice my writing, I'll post some of my entries, depending on how long or how personal they might be. That way I'll also be updating this blog more regularly.

Until next time...

Friday, May 27, 2005

No Time To Waste

Yes, it's been more than two weeks since my last post. In fact, I think my buddy Matt might have left this sight off his newly reformatted blog thinking I had given up on it! Just kidding, Matt! I've been working close to 50 hours a week for the past three weeks now, and it's gotten me down and burned out.

All three of you who are reading my page have probably noticed that I've edited my page's subtitle. Yes, I am on medication. I wasn't for a few months, but circumstances are overwhelming me at the moment. So my therapist, my doctor and I are in agreement that I needed to go back on an antidepressant until things settle down. On one hand, being on medication still seems taboo - like I'm some sort of basket case - but I also realize that many people have dealt with these types of problems behind closed doors until just in the past ten years or so. Plus, if you talk to enough people about your "issues" you find that more people are on medication than you might think. Plus, letting all this stress and anxiety get to me has more than likely been a major contributor to the ulcer that has formed in my belly.

Today's title is courtesy of my supervisor at work. In an effort to motivate us, this quote was used. We were told that we should walk with a purpose, no matter what it is, and that we have no time to waste. I don't want to go on a whole work tirade - (a) because it's way too long to go on about and (b) because I know of cases where employees have gotten fired for complaining about their jobs in their blogs. However, I will say that I've decided to use this motivation more in my personal life than in my work life. I indeed have no time to waste in my writing. I have no time to waste in getting published.

I've also been reading The Writer's Market Companion. It's been quite helpful for me. I've particularly enjoyed some of the quotes and stories from authors. Such as this one from Dorothy Boone Kennedy that was particularly eye-opening: "I lacked time and energy. Then I read that a person writing two pages a day could write a book in one year. Anybody, I reasoned, no matter how tired, could write two pages a day. At the end of the year, I had the novel written and the first publisher I sent it to bought it." Kennedy is the author of Portrait of Debec from 1972, and she said this in the April 1994 issue of Writer's Digest. I realize that some of her story might not work today, such as the luck of having your book bought by the first publisher you send it to, but her point is well-taken. So, my new goal is to take it two, three, four maybe five pages at a time.

And as an aside, I just have to say that my dog is a maniac! She's part collie, part German shepherd, part chow, but she's all lunatic! I'll have to post a pic of her eventually so all three of you can see just how adorable she is.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Beautifully Written Book

I finished reading Broken as Things Are Last night around midnight. I actually started reading it Friday night, but I read all but the first ten pages or so yesterday. I simply could not put it down. Martha Witt's first novel is a beautifully written book full of wonderful insights and descriptions that put you right in the middle of the moment. The novel is told from Morgan-Lee's point of view, a 14-year-old girl with an older brother, Ginx, who has severe emotional issues. The two have a unique if somewhat dangerous connection in a family full of dysfunction. My heart aches for her and her desperation for her mother's attention and affection:
"Our mother used to love Ginx's happiness when we came back from hunting, his lovely face giddy as he watched me spin around like a helicopter till I eventually wobbled and fell to the ground in dizziness. She would sit on our terrace and laugh, and I hoped that the sunlight funneled into those moments, somehow capturing them in her mind so she would remember everything clearly, perhaps even the fact that I had been there too."

Another good scene is where Morgan-Lee is sent to talk to a child psychologist/psychiatrist about an incident between her and Ginx:
"Ginx would have refused to speak without needing to explain. Dr. Sampson's face darkened as his fingers went up in a triangle, each one leaning against its opposite, the apex lightly touching his lips. I imagined all the other kids this man had tricked into kneeling on the carpet and playing games. I knew how vulnerable other kids work, not like Ginx and me. They would have been immediately duped to the floor, spilling their secrets over Mastermind or Monopoly. There were plenty of places to hide and hatch unfettered dreams, and the doctor obviously counted on this, greedy as he was to incubate as many as possible. Ginx would have shaken his head at talking to strangers. He might have recited the alphabet or counted to ten over and over. I stared at my feet, sitting in the office feeling sorry for other children, understanding for the first time who frail other lives must be."

But here's my favorite quote:
"I stared hard at the corner of Aunt Lois's red robe and realized then that we are allotted at least two lives, that one breaks apart to usher in the next, and that we assume the second life with no fewer shrieks and cries than we began the first. Of course, there is silence afterward; of course, there is peace."

Something about her writing reminds me of Carson McCullers, who is one of my favorite authors because she also has that knack for putting you right in the middle of a scene, as if you're standing right next to the main character. So now that I'm done, I can continue working on my Chapter Two.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Runaway Bride Has Been Through Enough

Jennifer Wilbanks made a mistake. Okay, it was a big mistake. Okay, it was a huge mistake. She put her family and friends and hometown through an excruciating and terrifying few days for a purely selfish reason, and now it's been reported that she might have planned the getaway a few days in advance. I'm not trying to overlook these facts. If she were my daughter, sister or friend, I'm sure I'd have a few words with her, especially if I was supposed to be one of the bridesmaids. If I were her fiancée, I probably would break off the engagement. I'm sure she's going to face a lot of personal repercussions as a result of her actions.

BUT hasn't she been through enough without having charges pressed against her? While the courts can make her pay restitution for the police officers who spent hours searching for her, it will only add more embarrassment not only for her but her family and fiancée. Police departments don't "reimburse" people who are wrongly accused, people who lose money having to fight charges and who might lose their jobs because of being arrested. Is there really a need to clog up the judicial system with a court date where this woman has to plead guilty and accept her fine, probation and community service hours? Taxpayer money has already been used to pay the officers who searched for her. Must we use more to take her to court? Unfortunately, a poll on a local news station Web site in my city shows that more than 70 percent of the respondents believe that charges should be filed, but I suppose that's normal. We want people to "pay" for everything.

Jennifer Wilbanks will pay for what she's done, and it doesn't require an arrest warrant or a court appearance. She's home, she's safe and she should be left alone.