To kick off your weekend, Italian style!
The general who would be king. Oh! But that’s been done so many times before! Coriolanus. Gladiator…
These were the thoughts ruminating through my head as Bobby walked me around our neighborhood. Thinking thinking thinking about this character, a very important one in my life, who decided to reappear in my mind this morning. I love him, I want to bring him to life. But how?
Beat yet accomplished, Bobby plopped down on the cool tile near the doorway while I prepared a deserved lunch. I checked my Twitter timeline, and @writersdigest had posted ‘The 5 Differences Between Professional and Amateur Novelists,’ which I really enjoyed reading. Each attribute got me thinking about my own journey.
I think about what I need to have in order to be able to write. I’m a typist, a fast one at that, so when I know I want to produce a lengthy scenario, I know I need the keyboard. But, I do like to freestyle write. I recall the beginning of December, I ran out of journal pages and thought I’d be fine with sticking to the keyboard and typing in my thoughts. It didn’t work! For the physical tools of the trade, I do need paper as well as QWERTY.
My takeaway from this paragraph was, ‘The less time you spend thinking about how you write, the more time you spend thinking about what you’re writing’ and it’s true. Not having a journal to work from disrupted my ability to flow. While inspiration wasn’t stymied, the comfort of getting it from spirit to paper was.
What I am most grateful for in this current mode of existence is the abundance of time I have. Retirement in the proletariat sense has allowed me room to evolve; to slow down, to tend to my ailments, to prioritize who and what matter. The opening sentence of the article includes, ‘the single greatest ally we have is time.’ Tis true.
What’s been interesting in this venture is how much everyone around me is impatient. While I’m happy to spew out a work here or there, the conversation is, when are you going to publish? What are you going to do after that book comes out? When are you going to start a book tour? Are you doing readings??
Yo. Chill out.
I even got an email saying, you have time to submit your book to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award you should do that! Thanks, really. But I’m doing this to experience joy, I’m not vying for Best Joyful Person. Does that make sense? There are literary artists damn near hyperventilating around me when I casually mention I’m publishing one of my works this year. Are you going to submit it for this award? That award? Are you doing contests? How much are you selling it for??
YO. CHILL. OUT.
The reason why I’ve stopped collaborating with groups is because the ones I’ve experienced lack focus. While the group ideology is to support a creative person and develop a creative work environment, it just seems to splinter. I’m a very focused individual, ask the two people who are brave enough to claim me as their friend. Once my mind is on a project, I design it Z to A, and that’s where the project remains. I may have mentioned in a previous blog my short-lived apprenticeship with a screenwriter. When we met to discuss the existing project, she had five – FIVE – different versions of the screenplay printed out, and we’re supposed to start revisions that week! Her sloppiness showed me while she had the ambition, she had no strategy and definitely no focus. Incredibly self-disciplined, organized, focused people are allergic to sloppy, unfocused ones.
My habits are thus: I wake up within a certain window of time every morning. I walk the length of the lake, or when Bob completes #1 and #2, whichever is first. I brew coffee as I clean up the kitchen and make my bed. Coffee is brought to wherever I plan to write, and I do two Morning Pages by hand (The Artist’s Way, people, do it, thank me later) whatever’s on my mind. After that, just depends on where my creativity takes me. Currently, I’m balancing marketing time with respite. Not trying to jump on a fresh product yet, so I’m watching movies, reading books, experiencing works other than mine. When I was in the thick of novel production, I did the same morning routine, but then I’d compose well past sunset, sometimes until dawn. Next day, same morning routine. Well stated in the article, ‘The more consistent your habits are – and this ties into having your tools nailed down – the more secure your brain will be to run free and create.’
The author says it in the article, ‘Practice makes you better.’ It does. I use this blog to practice. I use my Morning Pages to practice. I use my Twitter feed to practice. I’m a writer. I have to practice. Nothing is more saddening than coming across another person who claims to be a writer, but hasn’t touched any writing instrument since childhood. It’s in the actions, not the words, we’ve heard this axiom delivered several ways. If you’re a writer, write. And practice. And do it for you.
Over on Facebook I’m promoting my upcoming novel, I Blew Up Juarez. Every Tuesday until the book release, I’m gonna feature a character teaser. Last week, everyone met Capt. C.E. Grant, and this week, Phoebe Maclaggan, professional homeopath and amateur mystic.
Phoebe’s that friend you have who’s always right, always speaking in hyperbole, always trying to prove you wrong. But she’s clutch when needed, and for that, we tolerate her.
NOTE: I took the challenge sicahue presented in my Ancient Astronauts post, and continued the story using the same writing prompt.
The small girl busied with twisting long braids into each other, creating one long rope down the prefect’s back. Meanwhile, another servant girl, about twelve years of age, looped a red scarf about a long, lean torso, holding it taut as it fastened right under the breasts, as she was trained. Both girls stepped back and allowed the prefect to adjust accordingly. A light nod to each of the girls’ directions caused them to smile appreciatively as they bowed. The younger girl motioned for a headdress adorned with grouse and ptarmigan feathers. The prefect lifted a hand, “Not yet,” then stepped forward and kneeled before the slate alter in the center of the room. The girls genuflected, brought their arms to cross over their chests, and entered into a chant with their master.
The room glowed brightly from behind the three. The two girls turned and squinted towards the light. The prefect, eyes still closed, drew a knowing smile across her face. The girls, recognizing the being approaching, lowered their eyes and bowed. The receiver looked astonished.
“About time my prodigal daughter came home. You’re about to miss the ceremony, girl! Come here, give me a hug.”
Key still in hand, she didn’t know what else to do other than hug this unfamiliar person.
“Master, should we fetch her garments?”
“Only if Ga wills it.”
“Hold it. My name’s Gail.”
The prefect laughed. The two girls entered into a laugh.
“Every day’s an adventure with my daughter. So I’m to call you Gael now? Well then, instead of Mother, you can call me Candy. Sweets! Marzipan! You never cease to entertain me, Ga.”
“Oh right,” the prefect lifted her chin as she stroked Gail’s face, “Ga-el.”
Gail widened her eyes and quickly scanned the room. She had gone from a simple, solid door in the middle of a plain to a large, palatial room, lit only by arched windows cut along the rock walls. The woman calling herself Mother (Marzipan?) was dressed in a long black sheath with a red waist cinch. Behind her was an alter with a large gold statue of a wide eye. The two girls assisted her with placing a large gold plate over her chest and a large headdress.
“Daughter, aren’t you going to help me with the ceremony today? Lots of babies to bless. It was an especially cold winter, remember?”
“Uh.” Gail watched as the two girls approached her, hands folded in front of them, smiling as they awaited her response.
“Uh.” She tucked the key into the satchel hanging off her waist.
The prefect adjusted her headdress in the standing mirror once more, then returned to Gail.
“I suppose your wandering today has made you tired. I’m fine to do the ceremony on my own, but, my dear starchild, if you are to advance in the priesthood, you need to spend more time amongst your charges.” Marzipan wrapped her arms around Gail in a tight embrace. The cold gold burned her cheek.
Calling your expert, artistic eye back to the decision room, please!
On Wednesday, your wonderful selves helped sieve out the ideal from the not-so-ideal author bio candidates. Based on views alone, we’re left with these three:
The photo shoot moved south from Gulfport, and I changed outfits. The first part was the eclectic-electric (and did you catch the ode to Velma and Daphne in the ensemble?) version of Von. The second shoot, I was going for spiritual, contemplative Von. With chains, of course.
Again, throwing the raw files up, with a couple that have been slightly enhanced. So what’s it gonna be, Dear Reader? I say, narrow it down to your Top Two in the Comments section! Enjoy judging.
Location: Pass-A-Grille Historic District, St. Pete Beach, Florida
Edited manuscript? Check.
Cover artwork? Check.
Leading pages? Check.
Author Photo? Hrmm.
Do we really need to put a picture on the back of the book? Can’t people just assume I’m a crazy-haired cat lady who watched too many G.I. Joe cartoons as a kid? Well, according to my friend Carolyn, everyone looks at the author’s picture on the back of the book. Why, Carolyn, whyyy? Because as the reader goes through the words, they want to flip back and look at the kind of person who created this world.
Seeing that she’s living the life I want, completely able to sustain her lifestyle off her art, I should listen to the gal. So off I go, and enlist my filmmaker friend to play Annie Leibovitz to my Whoopi Goldberg.
I already don’t like to wear makeup, I don’t like to wear fitted clothes, and I don’t like to be outside when it’s cold, so you BETTER like these attempts I made, cuz I’m doing it for you, Dear Reader, I’m doing it…FOR YOUUUU!
We’ve yet to select the final shot, so feel free to recommend which one we should clean and send to copy in the Comments section!
LOCATION: City of Gulfport, Florida
Before you get all pro photog on me, yes, the lighting was super bright, yes, I need to widen my eyes more, and yes, there’s too many shadows. That’s why Photoshop was invented!
Over on Facebook I’m promoting my upcoming novel, I Blew Up Juarez. Every Tuesday until the book release, I’m gonna feature a character teaser. Last week, everyone met Johnny Saucedo, and this week, Capt. C.E. Grant of the Army Criminal Investigation Command.
He’s the one I mentioned as my favorite kid. I gotta say, his is a world I enjoyed hanging out in. Painfully familiar, thankfully separated from, and praise Sonmi I’m not dating his type anymore! Psycho, with a capital O.
Grant’s a very dapper, debonair guy, and I used a lot of visuals to keep his image fresh. Imagine a segment of my wall covered in magazine cutouts and screenshots from the Internet. Pitfalls of the job. Swoon!
I gotta hand it to the beast, Bobby Tiberius can take some injuries.
We went on our evening constitutional, minding our own, wrapping around the north end back towards The Treehouse. There’s a segment of the property that’s all large, lush flora, what Florida looked like before the conquistadors had their way with it. As we walked through our mini tropical forest, we came upon two tween girls. The taller one gasped, “You scared us!” I laughed and gasped back, “You scared me,” as children do genuinely frighten me. Then I look down and see Bob’s back leg lifted in the usual release of bodily fluids akimbo, but found it weird he wasn’t lowering it. The girls approached with the expected awww that everyone gives my cute little dog. I lowered to look for the spur that was bothering him, and noticed…it was moving.
The fuzzy thing was a honeybee. An angry, going-to-work-on-my-puppy’s-toe honeybee. I swear, living in this neighborhood is a constant episode of When Animals Attack. Moment of truth, gotta spare my dog his pain. My two witnesses are giving their best “Oh no!”’s as I look for a soft leaf. Bob, amazingly, is wagging his tail towards the girls, telling them telepathically, don’t worry, ladies, I’m gonna be okay. I’ll let you scratch my belly after the big one is done doing her job.
I pulled the disoriented honeybee from his foot, said my apologies, and placed it under my foot, pressing the bee against the ground as I searched for his stinger. Fuzzy, black foot under leafy cover and overcast sky was not helping. I released the foot, and Bobby hobbled towards the girls. While they comforted him with hugs, I watched for anaphylactic shock. Nope. Still 100-mile-an-hour wag, affectionate, but favoring the foot.
“Now girls, I want you to walk around the trees, I don’t know if that bee is still alive, I don’t want you stepping on it,” I instructed. They listened, and I watched them walk across to the sidewalk before departing.
Bobby hobbled the rest of the way, and he stretched across his yard pillow as I assembled the recovery kit: tweezers, hot water, cloth, Witch Hazel, clippers, diphenhydramine HCl, dog treats. I found the fat barb after gently cleaning his rear left paw. Nasty thing!
“In this, what we tell ourselves is a free country, which means you should have freedom of thought, I don’t care what you think. I just don’t,” deGrasse Tyson replied. “Go think whatever you want. Go ahead. Think that there’s one God, two Gods, ten Gods, or no Gods. That is what it means to live in a free country.”
You guys absolutely RAWK.
I put up my announcement, you show your support in kind. Faith in humanity restored, thanks to you!
The lemonade stand is up! When you log into Facebook today, type in I Blew Up Juarez in the Search box, and LIKE LIKE LIKE my Book Page!