Archive for July, 2013

Way To Go!

I will admit it. There is a vindictive part of me, like I’m sure we all have some amount of, that seethes with jealousy and disdain at the success of others. Being the passive aggressive Scandehoovian that I am, I of course keep my acidic comments to myself until I am with safe company. It’s a compulsive reaction from growing up in an environment that didn’t provide a whole hell of a lot of success. I don’t blame my parents. They didn’t know what attainable success looked like either. We’re all  just one more spoke in the wheel of bitter survival that’s been spinning for eons.

I know it’s wrong to covet other people’s accomplishments. Those accolades belong to them. How they came about their successes is none of my business. Yet, sometimes, deep down, I just feel irrationally cheated, like “How come they managed to pull that off and I didn’t? What am I missing that I can’t do what they do?” If I really wanted to be honest with myself, I could do a mental checklist and find all sorts of shortcomings in how I run my life that I’m either too lazy, too stubborn, or too afraid to change. But it’s so much easier to just sneer at others and say “They’re puttin’ on airs.”

If deep down in your gut, you think someone came about a perceived success through devious means, go ahead and sneer. But if success came from insight, preparedness, organization, and just plain doing the work, make a concerted effort to give that winner their just due. Resenting that other person for succeeding where you didn’t doesn’t affect their accomplishments, but it certainly undermines your credibility.

Maybe if we all spent more time appreciating what others do and glean inspiration from their achievements, rather than wallowing in our own self righteous sense of fairness, we’d all be further along as a whole. I’m going to try to remember that next time someone tells me about this awesome thing they pulled off, when the evil little shit in my head wants to just spout, “Oh yeah, how do you rate?”

Book Reading at Luck Library a Huge Success!

Thank you so very much to the Luck Public Library and Jill and Colleen. Including me there were a DOZEN PEOPLE! Holy crap! I was literally shaking my fists in the air like a mentally disturbed woman who got Yatzee in the asylum rec room. I was that happy! Fruits salad and cookies  were plentiful as promised. I read TWO excerpts from Book 4: Torso in the Torrent Copyright 2012. I talked everyone’s ears off (not literally; that would be counterproductive), and they probably bought a few books to shut me the hell up. I tend to babble when I’m happy. It’s probably why I compulsively scat nonsensical songs while I’m cooking, because the anticipation of a meal makes me happy. Anyhow, here’s evidence of my captives and my madcap grin of joy:

captives and madcap author at Luck Public Library

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA captives and madcap author at Luck Public Library

Is there anybody out there?

You’re born alone, you die alone, and in between you write alone. You can debate me on the semantics if you want to, but I think you get my point. You can be in a room full of people, or hidden away in some exclusive enclave; the process of writing is still a closed circuit looping in your brain. It’s just you and your invisible alternate universe. If neurons are flowing freely, you can hear breathing, smell sweat, sense tension, notice shifts in moods, all this as words flood your brain with descriptions that you desperately attempt to make tangible before they disappear like sand in the wind.

You can get lost in there. Entire conversations can flow around you, even at you, and you can miss what’s going on because your reality just can’t compete with your imagination. If you’re a writer that’s usually a good thing. Unfortunately, most of us have to crawl back into the light at some point and give just due to our loved ones, and perhaps anyone else we feel obligated to pay attention to.

And, as easy as it is to be completely anti-social, as many creative people often are, our alternate universes will starve without outside stimuli. You can’t make diverse characters believable if you never talk to anybody. Life experiences are the backbone to any decent work of art, and that requires leaving the keyboard once in a while and actually living.

I’m not great at meeting people. I have to work at it. I have to make myself go to events. I have to be open to the possibility that someone might not take to me, or I to them. Every introduction is a potential confrontation.

My people up here in the stubborn cold consider direct eye contact suspicious. If it weren’t for churches and bars, no one would leave the house. I’m not exaggerating when I say only strong drink or an act of God is required for us to socialize with confidence.

So I’m thrilled that I took my friend Debbie’s advice and joined her writer’s group at the local community ed. We met in an official class capacity this spring and have continued in a less official capacity this summer.  We read our work to each other (no homework, thank god) and discuss story ideas, critique each others work, or just shoot the shit. I had lunch with two of the people I met there. It was nice.

When I put myself on these tight deadlines, like for Book 4: Torso in the Torrent (due out this fall! I promise), I tend to draw inward and keep people out. I battle my demons as I flesh out the book, tie up loose ends, and polish what I can before the editors get to it.

Sleep is sometimes interrupted, errands get put off, forget house cleaning, everything else gets neglected when I’m running that loop in my brain. I just have to remember to come back once and a while and say “Hello, remember me? I didn’t forget you. Thank you for not forgetting me either.”