Archive for March, 2008
Bet you thought I’ve been laying around pouting and watching soap operas, didn’t you? Well okay, so I have. But I’m over it, and moving again. Back in April when I’m settled into my jewelery box sized home and free of the day job.
If it’s March, then it’s my blogaversery. Two years ago when I started this blog I lived in a big house with one kid at home, two grandkids in residence, one husband, a dog, three cats, too many koi and goldfish to count, a full time day job, a part time newspaper gig and a recently completed first novel. There were also the committees – Arts Council, Tree Commission, Pottery Festival, Artists Guild and my writers group. Since then I’ve left my husband then reconciled, moved to an apartment, watched my newspaper go out of business, passed on the Tree Commission and Artists Guild, amped up the writers group, scaled down the pottery festival and worked the day job down to three days a week soon to be gone forever. The grandkids are back with their mother and the pets have all taken up residence with people in big houses. There have been births, deaths, graduations, illnesses and Pap has made several trips to the hospital. No wonder I’m crazy.
Pap’s laser surgery went very well. Today he had an ultrasound on his veins and the surgeon is thrilled. Thank you all for your kind and encouraging words. Sometimes all that practicing really pays off.
Tomorrow Princess moves in with her Charming. I’m losing my buddy. Intellectually, I know all this crying is ridiculous, it isn’t like she’s dieing or moving out of state. Emotionally, it feels like too much change to bear.
The phrase “practicing medicine” has always bugged me. In my world we “practice” only until we’re qualified to “perform”. We practiced hitting tennis balls into the garage door so we could ace an opponent in a match. Practiced to a ticking metronome so we could play at a concert. I wonder which people will benefit from the “practice” Pap’s doctors have had on him?
Today he goes in for more leg surgery. Its outpatient this time, because through their practice the doctors have figured out they can do the same thing with a laser that they, just three years ago, did with a scalpel. Too late for Pap, he’s already been marked up like Frankenstein. In theory, this procedure will improve the circulation in his leg so that he doesn’t lose his foot. It’s only a theory though, that was what the last two leg surgeries were supposed to do. The heart by-pass was supposed to not just save him, but give him a new lease on life. It gave him depression, phantom pains in his ribs and $160 a month in medications. It gave him fear…fear of death, fear of throwing things, fear of sun, running, throwing a grandgirl into the air. It gave him a half life.
I wonder, sometimes, if it were not for the family’s expectation that he was obligated to let his Doctors “practice” fixing him, if Pap would have just said no to all these procedures and passed on whenever his heart gave up.
Two years ago when I got serious about finishing more than the first chapter of the first book I started many years ago…I changed my writing habits. I started, you see, as a horrendous self-editor. Hours, days, months and years wasted because I couldn’t go on until every word of that first chapter was perfect. An impossible, self-defeating, burdensome goal. In the meantime, while I fussed and worried over whether to use “she leaped” or “she loped”, the characters from that first book were bugging the hell out of me. I dreamed about the story, when I could sleep. I swear a few of those characters tapped on my eyeballs from the inside in an effort to get out. I tried writing short stories to make myself finish something…no luck, 1,500 words out of 2,000 and I was starting back at the beginning, because it just wasn’t perfect. I was, quite literally, sick to death of talking about writing a book instead of doing it.
I started thinking about writing assignments in college, I always finished those and on time. While I was usually unhappy with something, I had a deadline. I finished all the stories I started when I wrote for the newspaper. I had a deadline. I finished the Evil Doctor’s book, first draft and edited, in four months. I had a deadline. So I set myself a deadline, 30-days (I write for children remember, average word count 35,000-55,000). I did finish the first draft of that book and the book that came after it. In there somewhere I started this blog, as an additional way to make myself just write without agonizing over every sentence. In case you haven’t noticed…I rarely edit what I post up here. I write like a maniac about whatever I’m going to and hit publish. If I find a wart later… it bugs me to death, but I make it stay there.
Julianne is literally hitting the page like a wild fire, but these are ugly, ugly words and sentences. This girl wants her story told, however, so the writing is easy. I sit at the keyboard and she yells in my ear until I’m too tired to listen any more and wander off to bed. The editing will be hard and tedious.
So, how do you write?