Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Knot in the Neck

I have been writing all day but not on my writing. I have been writing sales materials! Queries, Proposals, Bios, Synopses, and Samples.

All over America--to judge from the blogs and web pages--writers hunch at their keyboards, shoulders knotted, while talent presses them forward.

That is what is knotting up the neck: talent. And if you don't do the work it will tear you apart.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Animal Nature

I tend myself like
some animal trainer, a large-animal vet who knows
Some times the old lioness must be let
Roam; if ruled
Too tight will break and
Breaking no one wants no, no.
I watch out, then, within lovely free-range kitchen-cage,
While me with elderly paces, shuffles, to
Cookbooks on a shelf for a cauliflower
Curry; myself does roam
Nearly wild!

Or I control myself like
some kind of nanny, a small-person nurse who puts
Arms around tantrums, gives plenty of
Naps and lots of fresh air; but some
Times myself exhausts I, and I punish
Her-me with unkind
while self toddles loose escapes at large
Pulling papers off shelves, emptying drawers, making a
Mess a wreckage wake-- I’m just too
Tired to stop me.

Let’s face it wildness is the larger part and
when I build a tiny wall, myself
will climb and pull it down.
Sometimes I’m in charge of a whole zoo in me, an
Ill-managed day care and oh,
Isaiah, prophesy to those
Beasts and give that inner
Brat the lead.

PCA 2002


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why I Love to Watch TV

1) It's entertaining. I like to see actors at work and look at the sets. Sick, old, and shut-in formerly just sat looking out the window. Now we/they can be soothed.

2) It's easy, except when you lose a remote in the couch.

3) It's non-productive. There's no feeling of, "Since I'm so good at this I should really take a class" or, "If I just do this for 15 minutes a day I'll be _____" (fill in some goal). Plus, you never feel guilty when you don't do enough. No, "Omigod, I'm falling behind!"

4) It's a terrific baby sitter. I know I know, but it is.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Not a Day Goes By

Not a day goes by when I don't think about just quitting to write. The only thing that stops me is that I have tried quitting and it doesn't work. Reader, if you are satisfied with the amount of writing you are doing and/or publishing then: Stop! Stay!

It's a miserable existence, really. On the table beside my desk, there are different compartments of things: the Writer's Market big anthology, files on agents and bios and queries and proposals for a manuscript, another file on queries for a little article, a notebook for that cursed "Meditations" blog that in a fit of grandiosity I decided to begin. The last is the only pile having to do with actual composition.

It is awfully hard work and I don't know what I'm doing. And it wastes a lot of time. But I realized I have made progress. Where previously I felt like the writer who didn't write (see previous blog), I am now a writer who doesn't publish. (Much anyway)

I'm sure whatever was going on I'd complain. Thank you for reading this.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Graveyard Notes

He's still getting mail. After two and a half years Denny has received today an important "confidentiality assured" brown envelope under a "security seal." It came addressed to "Denison A. Andrews" because years ago Denny sent in warranty cards with different middle initials just to see who was selling his name. By now I've forgotten of course. Is it Sears, with the refrigerator? An air conditioner company? It's almost practically humorous this persistence of the junk mailing list vendors.

Yes, there is a twisted humor here. Bally Fitness exhorts Denny to renew his workout efforts. That's a funny one isn't it. Triple A sends their concerns for his safety on the road. And AARP keeps reminding him his membership is expired (Ha-ha. "expired," get it?) Denny also receives the occasional reminder from his dentist and his opthamologist. The first postcard was spooky because Denny had filled it out himself, with a note: "Hi, Lovey! I'm still here!"

In politics they used to joke about the graveyard vote; this I would call the graveyard note! The last temporal vestiges of his name flaking off.

After I move (which I do every few years to escape my catalogues), Denny's name will endure where it belongs--for the remainder of this archaeological age at any rate--on a small plaque on a niche in our church columbarium. The little plaque, installed when Denny's ashes were interred when he had been dead only six months, already has a rust spot on it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's Hillary!

New Hampshire has just given us a political story to love: Hillary Clinton's victory came as a stunning upset contrary to all polls, leaving the commentators stammering. Nobody's quite sure what happened; but tonight I'm feeling unexpectedly excited that the first woman President of the United States may be elected during my lifetime.

Don't ask me why the excitement is unexpected. All I know is I tepidly supported Hillary before New Hampshire, but her response to her defeat in Iowa won my total support. There's the old political criterion, "Can the candidate take a punch?" Well HIllary did and responded and now we know the following:

--We're not going back to the 90s. Today was a new day with new things happening and she was there happening right along with them. The nagging sense of Bill Redux has lifted off, for me at least.

--It would be an absolute thrill to see Hillary taking the oath of office.

I look forward to all the commenting and analyzing (first stammers credited "waitress moms" for sticking by Hillary). But for tonight, I haven't felt this good about an election since Bill Clinton won in '92. Fifteen and a half years was a long time to wait.

(Well, yes, I did enjoy the Democrats winning back Congress in '06--(and Nancy Pelosi being 2nd in line to succeed).

Friday, January 04, 2008

Concerns after Iowa

I'm concerned about the excitement for Obama.
The excitement for Gene McCarthy was followed by the election of Richard Nixon.
The excitement for Howard Dean was followed by the coronation of George W. Bush.

I'm concerned Obama is all talk. That he's turning into a good fundraiser and good organizer, that he made a deal with the Richardson forces, alleviate that concern, but still. Why does he have to run now? He's being compared to JFK which also concerns me. JFK gave good press conferences but he wasn't really a good president was he? Can you imagine what the Republicans will do to Obama in the general election?

Not only is Obama inexperienced I fear he's also naive. As John Edwards said this a.m., "My supporters know you don't achieve change by talking to people." So I guess I'll take another look at Edwards. But what has Edwards done besides being a multimillionaire tort lawyer? He has a good wife, though. My concern about Edwards is he did nothing for the ticket as Vice Presidential nominee and really what has he done, really, period?

As for Senator Clinton, she probably will get the nomination. She already has 169 delegates. She really is qualified to be president. Her biggest problem is Bill. I share the concerns that we would be in for those queasy little (and big) surprises the Clinton White House was always giving us. Well, she made the decision not to distance herself from Bill, and I respect that. She just doesn't inspire, that's all. She believes you get change by rolling up your sleeves and working for it, and that's so much harder than listening to pretty speeches.

Plus, the Clinton Lincoln Bedroom gets us almost as upset as the Bush administration's trashing the economy, the environment, and our world reputation. How come we can't remember the great Clinton economy, even in spite of Newt Gingrich et al. How come we can't remember getting the Kosovo thing settled without loss of American life? I'm concerned that the media love to bash the Clintons so much that they'll hand the country over to John McCain

My favorite candidate, Joe Biden, has dropped out of the race. Guess I'll support whichever one he decides to.