Tag Archives: Writing Support

Ashes to Ashes

dusty houseWow. Look at this shabby old blog. I haven’t been here since December last year. When I tried to get on I got kicked off for using the wrong password. It is dusty and rusty around here, let me tell you. How do you add an image? Why is this font so small?

But the hell with it. Today the spirit moved me. In part because Betsy Lerner published her 1,000th blog post today and is writing a new book. I’m a shameless fan. Would bring her bagels every morning and dust the books in her library and walk her cat for her, but not in a creepy way.

And, I have plunged into a new writing program at Grub Street in Boston called The Novel Generator. I meet weekly with fourteen other lost souls to learn craft, to agonize, to workshop pages, and at the end of a nine month gestation period, to pop out a 360 page draft of a novel.

The instructor, Lisa Borders, must have a tool bag of superpowers (or a thermos of dry martinis) to get her through this undertaking. We are like a box of eager, hungry puppies vying for affection and food. Take me, adopt, me, listen to me, read me, love me. And yet we are warm and affable and so damn sincere and cute. We want to please and do this writing thing and be good at it. We can barely contain ourselves with nerves and insecurity and happiness. Thank God I have landed there because I have been in the desert for ages. Believe me, I am choking on sand trying to write around here. Even the computer is like, girl, you think you can just come back and type up on me?

I have no idea if anyone will read this thing – if it will show up again in your email or RSS feed or on Instagram or in some X-ray. But I think it is time. Writing winds are blowing. Shit is stirring up. Just a quick warning. Some of it may land on you.

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I’ll Know My Name As It’s Called Again

I dropped this blog like a hot potato. Left it like a runaway bride. Ignored it like a Hare Krishna in Harvard Square. Tuned out like some tool on a blind date. Let it fade away like my memories of Davy Jones until I was startled when he died. Hey Hey we’re the Monkees. People say we monkey around. Davy Jones was the cutest Monkee but I always liked Mike, the strong silent type. Except I was afraid of what might have been under that hat.

I’m not writing. I know, I know. A real writer has to write or they die. They can’t imagine not writing. They can’t stop themselves. So if I’m not writing, what does that make me? A hack? Or an artist afraid of walking into the tunnel, dealing with the bloody darkness and wrestling the demons. Or am I afraid of making a fool of myself. Making mistakes. Maybe I create drama and angst to veil laziness.

But crisis is a strange thing. It can kill you or, as they say, make you stronger. Bring you closer to or farther away. And it’s insidious. Is my mother’s illness and subsequent death still a family crisis? No, But yes. It still affects me. Pulls me along its currents good and bad. And there are others. A job without meaning. A child lost to herself. A body straining from daily transgressions. Too much salt. Too much white food. Not enough sun, air, sand, storm clouds, green, sweat, release. A flat ass glued to the chair. Inertia. Wondering why a God would let his only son get nailed to the cross. Wondering if music can bring me out of this place. Wondering if I still have hope. Wondering why Monkee Mike never took that hat off.

Recently I sent this email off to a friend:

“Had to work this week so didn’t get my day off for writing. Am floating further and further away from it. It’s starting to feel like a dream, a past life, an albatross, a joke, a hooker who won’t have sex, a jar of dark clouds, a diary burned to ash. Help.”

Here’s what I got back:

“Open a new file right now. Paste in the words albatross, joke, hooker, jar, and diary. Hit enter. Type more words, in the voice of one of the main characters, for ten minutes. Save the file. Walk away from the computer. Walk back. Open another new file. Type in the words diary burned to ash. Type another paragraph. Save and close. Go have a giant glass of water. Open one more file. Type in the words A Past Life. Type a paragraph beneath it. Save and close. ”

I hope anyone who’s reading this has someone like S. to get them through these moments, days, weeks. Someone to help them find their blog again, take the risk or toughen up or open up or whatever the hell it takes. Because doing the work is hard. It’s just damn hard. I know I can be a baby and a drama queen and a space shot and a ghost and an optimist and a nay sayer and even a tool. But putting all those personas aside, because Lord knows they get in the way sometimes, the work is just hard. And anyone out there doing it regardless of which direction that current is going in, you are amazing. Even if you’re spitting out pulp or mixed metaphors or writing stories about tiny woodland animals, you are the bomb. You are the ones I envy and love and cheer on.

So join me. Get your blog on. Spin your tales. Sputter, gnash your teeth, loath yourself, laugh like a crazy person, eat candy, sing songs from Broadway Musicals, curse, blame your mother. I’m there. I’m with you. Writing.

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