Archive for Composition


1113In Writing News - I’m one week and 16,000 words into the new novel. I owe much of that word count to a handful of Twitter friends, busting out word sprints of 20 – 30 minutes throughout the day. There’s something about the joint effort, even with virtual strangers, that is motivating. Because writing is, by nature, a solitary act, we can get mired in our own muck and talk ourselves out of exciting and productive work. I’m trying to keep myself accountable this time around – to myself, my NaNoWriMo buddies and most importantly, to my novel.

I had a serious slump on Friday, writing next-to-nothing and Saturday wasn’t much better. But today, I jumped over the stuck point and was able to push through three more chapters. With the exception of the nagging feeling that I’m telling the story from the wrong POV, I’m feeling good about the progress I’ve made and how the story is unfolding. My shitty first draft (a la Annie Lamott) is well on its way.

In Reading News – I’m 2/3 of the way through Jim Beaver’s “Life’s That Way”, a memoir spanning his wife’s illness and the aftermath of her death. Because it was written as a series of e-mails to loved ones as the events were taking place, there is a rawness to the writing that is wrenching. Incredibly engaging and some seriously brilliant thoughts on grief. 

To balance out the intensity of Beaver’s book, I’m finishing up Christopher Moore’s “Lamb; The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” and starting in on Diana Rowland’s “My Life As A White Trash Zombie”.

In Other News – My oven has been repaired, I’ve acquired a cat named Fraidy and I get to see my godchildren in Monterey next weekend. How about you?


1113Friday is the first day of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a program which challenges writers to barrel through the first draft of a novel (50,000+ words) in thirty days. I’ve done it once before, back in 2009. What I wrote that November morphed and grew over the next three years, eventually transforming into “The Complicated Geography of Alice.” With the book and it’s freshly re-written proposal sitting on someone else’s desk now, I thought I’d turn my attention to a project that’s been waiting quietly in line for some time – a story I call “Dancing The Macarena With Jesus”.

The story came about because I wanted to write a happy ending. Specifically, I wanted to write a happy ending for this particular kid (with his perpetual deer-in-the-headlights expression, limbs always somehow akimbo and every teen-angst marker imaginable. I am never not going to love this kid. I am never not going to see a ghost of Ashlie in him.) I’m writing him a happy ending because I can’t give him one just as I couldn’t give her one. It’s not much, but it’s something.

I’ve spent three weeks preparing for the NaNoWriMo challenge with the help of Bullish and Bliss. I’m outlined to the hilt and seriously structured. I’m not used to working within a solid framework, but it should help me get from the beginning to the end in less than three years, so it’s a good thing.

I’ll try to keep you updated along the way, to be more present than I’ve been as of late. Also, if by chance you’re NaNo-ing too, feel free to hook up with me on the site. 


dangerous shoesI just came across this piece I wrote in 2005 which makes me desperately want to add another chapter to the manuscript. How can I have written 74,000 words and not told you about Ari? The last time I saw her was a couple of months before Ashlie (aka Alice) died. She came to Mo-town to visit and the three of us lunched together. There is much I could say, but perhaps it’s too late. In an effort to resist the urge to shove another story into an already over-crowded book, I am sharing the poem here. Let it not be said that I forget my friends. Read the rest of this entry »


I’ve been twiddling my thumbs this week, waiting for the beta-readers to finish their beta-reading so I can get back to the revisions on the book. In the meantime, a new story bloomed and I dove in head-first, hoping it would keep me from obsessively checking my e-mail, awaiting feedback. That said, here’s a sneak peak at the new project, tentatively titled “Dancing The Macarena With Jesus“. It is, of course, a super-rough draft so please keep that in mind as you go.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Read the rest of this entry »


AussieOpalIt’s not that I haven’t been writing. I just haven’t been wriing for you. Instead, it’s been weeks of contract work and revisions on the manuscript. Head down and eye on the prize. Some of the new work has been challenging, other bits are too silly for words. But my clients are great and at the moment, I can’t complain.

I took some time off yesterday however to luch with three Twitter friends. They’re my first real-life Tweeps and like nearly every one of my experiences with Bloggy Peeps, I had a lovely time. Despite my rice-burning panic and the usual dog hysteria (mostly Iggy, of course) these women were chill and instantly comfortable to be around. As a sweet reminder, Megan (imagine Miss Bliss with an Aussie accent) left me with this delicate opal pendant.

In other news, I’ll be looking for a handful of Beta-Readers this next month. Basically I need speedy readers with a critical eye to help me hone in on the bits that aren’t necessary or don’t work. I need to slash approximately 20,000 words by the end of April. If you’re interested and think you’re up for the task, let me know.

That’s it for now, but I promise to be back around soon with something more interesting to say.