Presents of Mind

On good days the Muse brings me "presents" for my writer's mind to play with. But those days are rare.

Smiles Packed Like Suitcases

Hunger was constitutional with him, wine, cigarettes, liquor, need need need Until he went to pieces. The pieces sat up & wrote. –from John Berryman’s “Dream Songs” Hunger is relative. … Continue reading

January 6, 2014 · Leave a comment

Keyboard Monkey

There will be no short cuts. The trick is finding a systematic process to sort through all the BS, to be creative, and do the hard work of researching, interviewing, combing lists, networking, and developing self-confidence. She lost a huge chunk of her life: she might as well have been in a coma all those years. And now she still has to eat and pay rent. So many other people have stories far more desperate than hers. But the entire “work ethic” is unjust and devastating for so many like her who have had to deal with illness or injury or discrimination. It’s all up in the air. If she looks down she will surely plunge to her death.

October 14, 2012 · Leave a comment

We All Live Here in Mental Cubicles

A friend of mine is fighting for his life right now in the hospital. His sister might not be able to donate her kidney, which means he might not have a donor. And now he has a staff infection from the dialysis access to his arm. It could be fatal. He was already depressed. Now I fear he’s going to lose his will to fight. It’s times like these that what’s important surfaces. Everything else in one’s life gets put on hold. There’s that overwhelming sense of mortality that colors everything. This is where life gets simple. This is where you learn what you’re made of.

September 22, 2012 · 2 Comments

So They Say

A bunch of links to follow so you can avoid writing for a little longer.

September 19, 2012 · Leave a comment

Writing Fiction Involves Anxiety and Ambiguity

When I sit down to write, I lean into my conviction that there is no such thing as free will. I’m convinced that we are locked and loaded from the day we were born to be who we are and we do what we do because of who we are. But quantum mechanics has a different take. It states that everything is random. I don’t know anything about theoretical physics or determinism vs free will, actually. But as a writer, I have to begin somewhere. So I’ve been wrestling with the idea of randomness.

September 5, 2012 · 2 Comments

You Could Find a Bridge or You Could Write

Today I thought it might be useful to post a list of strategies for when you don’t know what you’re doing. You have no idea what happens next in your story, novel, or screenplay. You have choices. You could kill yourself, you could toss the piece of waste in with the rest of your orphans. Or you could try some of the following:

August 17, 2012 · 2 Comments

Hard Head Spills Her Coffee

Today’s post is long. I wrote it for people who are either in or considering an MFA program or who are serious about their writing and/or getting published. Either in … Continue reading

July 27, 2012 · 4 Comments

Things to Think About During Bouts of Insomnia

every mistake you’ve ever made that put you in your current situation that remark you made that turns your face 50 shades of color all the stress you’ll have when … Continue reading

July 23, 2012 · 3 Comments

Another Take on Writer’s Block

I thought I was just shy. (see 6 Things People Think You Are Instead of Shy) Today’s post isn’t directly about writing. It’s about a disorder that affects writing. It’s … Continue reading

July 12, 2012 · 6 Comments

Writing as a Recluse in a Wired World

New Republic critic Lee Siegel, author of Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob recently said, “Everybody wants to be famous now. That’s what YouTube … Continue reading

July 2, 2012 · 10 Comments

Confessions of a Novice

Here’s another post you might want to skip, especially if you’re  not into confessions. It’s an achingly beautiful day here in Portland with brilliant clouds piled up between the tree … Continue reading

June 5, 2012 · 4 Comments

Once Upon a Time I Wanted to Be a Writer

Once upon a time I wanted to be a writer. My mind was flooded with romantic images of sitting over a typewriter pounding out effortless prose. The pages piled up on the table next to me until I typed THE END, tied the manuscript with string, slid it in a box or envelope, send it off to an editor, and that’s all there was to it. After the editor accepted another of my wonderful books, I’d sit in a bookshop in my jacket with leather at its elbows, my beloved fountain pen in hand, signing copies as fans lined up around the building. My works shared the bookshop shelves with Joyce, Woolf, Hemingway, Austen. Cameras clicked, interviewers vied for my time, and readers clamored for more. Mine was a household name among the literati.

June 4, 2012 · 1 Comment

Writer Interviews Help Keep Me Sane

When I get really grouchy say things like “What’s the use? My writing sucks,” I remember there are all those wonderful interviews with writers online. They are my coping strategy besides reading literature, sleeping, and scribbling in a journal. All I have to do is read a few interviews with writers and I don’t feel quite so self-destructive (better than rotting my liver with vodka and drugs).

May 25, 2012 · 2 Comments

My Self-Talk List

April 30, 2012 · Leave a comment
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