Sunday, October 26, 2014


It's so easy to be grateful on the first day, when the doctor says "it's not your hip, the fractures are not displaced and you don't need surgery." Wow, gratitude just oozes out of me.  I am introduced to the wonders of a walker, I can get around my apt., a piece of cake.  But after a few days of painful movements, every trip across the room needing planning as if you're going a trip or you're a mother taking a baby for a ride where you pack every conceivable item you might need along the way; you get a little cranky.  That's when you have to recite the mantra: I'm grateful that it isn't my hip, that the fractures aren't displaced, that I don't need surgery.  My cats have witnessed my lack of patience (sometimes it's a good thing to be living alone where no one else hears your blow-ups).  So many people deal with so much worse than what I'm dealing with. Only 7 more weeks to go (I've lived through the first week intact).  Of course, the fact that I was stupid in trying to do something in workout that I knew I couldn't do properly or that my trainer encouraged me to push myself- just makes me mad.  So mad is okay, but ungrateful is not.  I can finish the books I'm supposed to review, I can think about the writing that never seems to get done, I can work on my inner self, which seems to need a lot of work and come out a better person, right?

I'm grateful that it isn't my hip, that the fractures aren't displaced, that I do not need surgery. Okay, once again with spirit.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Why do all those eureka moments only come at three am in the morning?

I had written narratives of the characters, description of the location, background of their history- everything but a story.  For months this had gone on, while I fretted that nothing new was occurring to me, that it all seemed so dry and stale. Been there, done that.  Until one late night that turned into sleepless agony and it all became very clear.  I was not going to write a sequel to SOWN IN TEARS, not continue the saga of Leah, her children, her brothers, her former loves. I had not figured out a story-line because I had nothing left to say about them, at least for now. But miraculously  I had a totally new idea (still no definite story) and it was a bit more contemporary than early 1900's. It's still a little fuzzy in my head, but very promising.  No I'm not telling yet (what does it matter, I never believe that anyone is reading these blogs, if you are give me a sign) because talking about it helped to dry the old idea into dust.  This time I'm keeping it quiet, mums the word. If creative inspiration doesn't happen, it could be just a temporary writer's block, or it could mean that you should move on.  It's hard to do when you don't have anything to replace the idea with, but if the dry spell goes on too long, you begin to lose confidence and interest in writing.  It starts to be a chore, not a passion.  With any luck, you'll have your own eureka moment, even if it does come in the middle of the night. The fact that it occurs in the midst of insomnia doesn't make it any less valid.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I'm finding it difficult to remove myself from daily events and isolate myself into writing.  It's been hard enough trying to define the story of the next book although I have the characters, the location and the time, it's just not coalescing.  And so I'm much more vulnerable to the effects of everyday horror.  Daily there's a mass shooting, the Republicans constantly roil the waters with repugnant challenges, climate change deniers continue to prevent our taking appropriate measures and the country rises up against a soldier and his family before we definitely know the facts.  My mood swings from anger to sadness to complete dismay at the state of our country's reaction to anything, anymore, anytime. And I don't even watch Fox News.

I'd like to take refuge in a world of my own making, where I get to control the issues, the conflicts, the desires of my characters, but I can't. I want to say something profound about the state of our world.  I watch episodes of "Cosmos," and I wonder how our universe has survived and will it continue with the human species alive and well.  I've always lamented that left to me we would still be in the cave because I wouldn't get the significance of watching a rock roll down the hill and turn it into the wheel or what do do with that hot stuff that started burning after a storm and could there be use for it, like cooking. Or rotten fruit, what to do with that? Somebody says drinking it will make you loopy. Patterns of stars up above would just be pretty to me, not informative as to how to move around the planet or what the seasons will be. Recognizing patterns in the midst of chaos is not my forte.

And how could TV bring back marathons of Law & Order, just when I thought I was weened away? It's like comfort food, I know it will all be solved or at least resolved in an hour and I won't have to worry about real life encroaching upon me until I switch it off.

Friday, March 28, 2014

"Pantsing"?? I don't like the term, but I seem to adhere to it

A recent article I read in Writers Unblocked talked about "pantsing" which they described as writing spontaneously and hoping that a story will emerge.  They made it sound crazy, as if this was the hope of some irrational writer.  I guess that's me.  I've never been one to outline a story or book.  I start with the characters, the location, the year and yes, I hope for the best.  With Sown in Tears, I  was inspired by a story my father told about my grandmother, although the book was not about her life, just the turbulent times she lived in Russia, 1905. The full story did emerge as I wrote and thought about the possible events in my protagonist's life.  If I were a mystery writer,things would be different, I'm sure.  Then you need to know how the story ends before you begin. But for me, as in real life, stories have a way of not adhering to an outline and you must be ready to change with the turn of events.  It does take longer and it's more frustrating, but it's my approach and so far, I'm stuck with it.  Pantsing, indeed. Flying Out of Brooklyn, my first book occurred the same way. I had two characters, the year 1943, Brooklyn and World War 2 plus the emotional state of my heroine, Judith. For the reader, it makes no difference how you approach it, it's the final story they care about, but for us writers it's a gamble I willing to take.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Happy New Year's Everybody!

Janet Fitch always said when I was in her workshop, that you must write an hour a day, no matter what.  If you didn't exercise the muscle it would atrophy.  2014 has tested that theory to the extreme for me.  It's been so hard to even sit at the computer and stare at the blank page, so I didn't bother sitting there.  I would use my phone to access emails and then I wouldn't feel guilty about doing nothing.  But that's no way to achieve anything.  Sometimes you just have to fake it until you make it.  That's my new mantra.  Start a sentence and you'll make a paragraph.  Keep going and soon there will be a page, maybe more.  I don't feel alive if I'm not writing, creating some new world, inhabited by flawed, challenged people. Stop looking for answers, just get to work.  It's successful in any situation, not just writing.  No more complaining, it's the beginning of my new year.  Forget January and February.  They were just test months.  The real year is just starting.  HAPPY NEW YEAR'S  EVERYBODY!