Friday, May 23, 2008

Congratulations Sarah!!

One of the members of my writing group finished her novel on Wednesday!! Sarah has handed her manuscript to her editor for review! Way to go Sarah!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Writing and Music and Moving, Oh My!

I know, it's been too long since I've posted here. I've had a lot going on. I'm moving in 2 weeks, for which I can't wait. I'll have more time after the move, because I'll be 5 miles from work (and everything else I do) instead of 30. That adds almost an hour to every day. I've been spending most of my free time packing and getting ready for the move. I'm getting rid of a lot of stuff. I'm going from a house to an apartment less than half the size. I also realized that this will be my 7th move in 7 years. That will cure almost anyone of the pack-rat mentality. Anyway, I'm going to try to make up for my lack of posting with a longer than usual post tonight.

Last Saturday was our monthly writer's day. It was an amazing day! I was the first to show up at Tina's. She opened the door in surprise and exclaimed, "Is today the day?!" We had originally planned to meet on May 17, but changed the date to May 10. She still had the original date on her calendar though, so wasn't expecting us. Her day was clear, however, and the spontaneity was fun. It also gave her the blessing of not having to spend the entire next week cleaning her house in preparation for us. Mary brought a copy of 'In the Moment' for us to proofread. We all went through our poems and marked any necessary changes. Mary will make the changes, and then it will be available for purchase! I'm so excited! This will be my first publication. As soon as it's ready for purchase, I'll post details here and on my website. The cover is gorgeous. Mary's husband Tony is a professional photographer, and did the most beautiful picture of a tree for us. The whole thing is beautiful.

Soon after everyone arrived, we got to watch a parade! The grade school down the street from Tina was having their picnic, and the parade went past Tina's house. We stood in her front yard waving to the kids and collecting candy. We gathered a bowl full by the time the parade had passed. Just as we were about to go back inside a tree in Tina's front yard showered us with helicopters! I can't remember the name of the tree, but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about...the seed pods that spin down from the branches like a helicopter blade. It was like a snow shower, but of helicopter pods instead. It was gorgeous, worthy of a poem. Poetry isn't my strongpoint, but I just may have to give this one a try.

I only managed to write one new chapter of The Moonlight Cafe during our writing time. I know what to do for the rest of it, but the details aren't all solid yet. And with everything going on in my life, I had a hard time concentrating. I got an easy chapter done, but the next one wasn't as clear in my head, and my thoughts were scattering every which way like ping pong balls, never resting in one place long enough for me to form a coherent sentence. But at least I made some progress. And once I'm done moving, I'll have more time, and hopefully a calmer mind, to focus on finishing Moonlight.

Our next monthly meeting will be at my new apartment. I'm very excited. I haven't held our gathering since last...April, I think. It was supposed to be at my house earlier this year (February?), but everyone was sick, so it was cancelled. I love hosting our writing days, and will be excited to show off my new place in the process.

I'll continue my extra long post with a non-writing related subject, though it's still creative. Music. I got to see my favorite band this weekend - Dream Theater. Sadly, they rarely stop in St. Louis on their tours, but I love them enough to travel. I've only seen them in St. Louis once. This time around the most convenient location was Cleveland, OH. (translation: required the least amount of time taken off work.) Yes, I drove 8 hours to see a concert, and it was worth every gallon of gas. The show was amazing. I love music, especially live music. This is the third time I've seen Dream Theater, and I'm sure I'll see them many more times - as long as the keep putting out albums, I'll be there. This was the second leg of their tour for this album. I saw the first leg in Chicago last fall. This show was very different, but great. I hadn't expected the set list to change so dramatically. For me, one of the most energizing experiences is seeing a good live show (one of the most energy-draining is seeing a bad live show.) I went with someone who loves Dream Theater even more than I do, and it was an amazing experience. I've seen shows with people who are there just because, and it's great, but seeing it with someone who loves it as much, or more, than you do is an awesome experience. The energy of who you go with can add a lot to the overall experience.

In my last post I wrote about an "aha!" moment with my novel while I was out driving. I had another of those - I now call it a Big Bang moment - on the way to Cleveland yesterday. This was for a part I didn't even consciously realize needed fixing, but this idea just popped into my head, and everything became clear, and I know it will be smoother and more coherent. I can't wait to get back to work. I shall have to remember that, when I suffer writer's block, driving seems to be a catalyst for brilliant ideas.

About the only thing that has stayed the same in my life recently is my job. Almost everything else is changing. But with change comes opportunity and the chance for new experiences, and a lot of things seem to be falling into place, like 'In the Moment' nearing publication. I've had many moments of muddy thinking (that's the best way I can think to describe it) in my life, but lately I have been blessed with some clarity, aided by a lot of hard looking into myself and introspection. I've learned some tough lessons with this self-examination, but the lessons have been valuable beyond measure. I will keep these lessons in mind as I move forward.

Once I am settled into my new place I will post more regularly. I hope this tides you over until I make it on again.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Haircuts and Breakthroughs

I was feeling restless tonight. I did a bit of cleaning, watched a few episodes of Wolf's Rain (a Japanime series I had never seen, but so far has definitely grabbed my attention), and it was only 8:00. I had to do something, get out of the house, but didn't know what to do. So I hopped in my truck and just started driving. I don't think I've done that since high school. Maybe college. I got about 20 miles down the state highway, driving through a small town and saw a sign for Great Clips. I was just thinking yesterday how badly I need to get my hair trimmed, so I stopped in and did just that. Back in the truck, somewhere around mile 30, I had a breakthrough for my novel. I finally figured out what to do with the character/story line that has been giving me so much trouble. I will cut it out entirely, and I know what I'm going to replace it with. I think the novel will work much better with this new idea.

I tried to find a diner to stop, grab a bite to eat, and jot down some ideas, but the only one I found had just closed. It was now 9:00. I turned around and headed for home, and stopped at the local 24 hour diner for some coffee and toasted ravioli. I jotted down almost 2 pages of notes, then headed for home. I probably won't have much time to work on it until writing day next Saturday (had I said it was this Saturday? It's next weekend.) But I have notes and am ready to go whenever I do have time. And even just the notes feel much more real, more alive, than the chapters I have written but will now cut out.

I'm not sure what gave me the idea, if my subconscious had been working on it this whole time, but I'm more likely to believe it was my restless, somber mood, Mogwai playing on my iPod, driving through dark country highways that did it. Whatever it was, I'm glad I took that drive. Cut out some chapters, write new ones, then I just might be done with this thing.