Monday, October 23, 2006

Behind the Eight Ball

Of course I put myself there on the pool table when the felt was brand new. Now it’s full of rips and bald spots. And I like hunkering down behind the eight ball, putting myself in situations that take time I really don’t have and if I did, I couldn’t manage.

After I COMMITTED myself to being more responsible, timely, Johnnie-on-the-spot, to “Words in Place” way back when. Maybe I should call this “Words NOT on Paper” or “Words Missing in Action?”

And that’s not all.

Writing Life: I finally have something in print after years of slumping over a typewriter, and I still don't have my novel finished to take advantage of the hype!

Real Life: I haven’t called to get the dead oak removed. Get the chimney repaired. I haven't cleaned up my email address book. Picked up the dry cleaning or the dog poops on the driveway or returned my lemon of a vacuum cleaner to Pasadena Vacuum!

And most of the month of October is gone.

But it's hard to blog when I have a novel to revise and a short story to promote. Yep that's what I said. PROMOTE which means it is published and amazingly enough available at I'm playing with the big boys now. Here's the link Landmarked at Amazon.

Of course the only review out there I've seen doesn't mention MY story or even MY landmark, but maybe that's a good thing. I won't take it personal. It was some Valley newspaper and I don’t think it was MY valley. No press is good press? Any one of you (that’s what I said, Jane, any ONE) who reads this and is willing to submit an Amazon review, please bring me up?

Enough clichés. You see, my mind is slightly blown so bear with me. What this post is about is how I feel about this whole “getting something published” thing. Because I've been writing seriously since 1987. Strange how my first publication is 20 years after my high school reunion where people came up to me and said, "Are you still writing?" "Have you published?" I had to say “yes, I’ve dipped my pen” a few times over the previous years. But nothing came of it but two beautiful children, a terrific husband, and a nice little Victorian house. I hadn't published anything more than a couple of letters-to-the-editor in the LA Times about traffic. (I’m still writing about traffic. After all, they say “write what you know”). So back in ’87, I made a vow to get to work. I felt I had the raw skills and all I had to do was sit down at a desk and DO IT and all would be well.

Fast forward twenty years...almost. Is that possible? (Am I actually going to have a FORTY YEAR REUNION next year?) Has it taken me almost two decades to actually see my name on a published story?

Yes, I suppose it has. I guess what I saw happen was that a little talent doesn't really get you all that far, if indeed you have that talent you think you have. The real key, the real test, is fortitude, conscientiousness, stubbornness, occasional rudeness, focus, vulnerability, and determination. All that to get one twenty page short story about a twenty-something slacker/pot smoker set in type. (I know. They don't set type any more. Give me a break. I'm old.)

But I’m nothing if I’m not stubborn. I figure I’ve got a good twenty years left before my mind can’t get past my aching feet and I can still move my fingers to type, so I am committed both to this space and of course, to the forty or so novels and short stories that are floating around my head. If I believe in myself, and I accept the fact that I have to take each step one at a time, I’ll get somewhere. Life is like writing a novel. You may know what you want and you may strive for it, but that isn’t always what eventually comes to you. What comes, though, if you have worked hard, is enough. I am proud of that little twenty page short story. And it’s given me exactly what I need: confidence to write more.

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