"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, December 17, 2010

It Is What It Is

"Enlightenment begins with acceptance, without judgment of "what is". This is known as moving into Isness. It is in the Isness where freedom will be found." -- Neil Donald Walsch
This was posted on Facebook. I love it. All its "isness". And I love that word!  Isnessssssss  It just rolls right off the tongue.
What I really like about this little reminder is the idea of acceptance with out judgement. As a writer I think that is really important. Especially for us "upcoming" writers who are still working their way through platform development and, well,...getting published.
It can be tough sometimes to remember that becoming a successful author is a lot of hard work and time consuming. When you work alone and don't always get good feedback if you get any at all, the urge to get really distracted or just quite all together can be very tempting.
We judge ourselves too quickly and sometimes need a little kick in the pants to get us up and going again. It's nice to remember that you can accept the way things are without having to attach harsh criticisms. We do this for a reason and keep on doing it. That has to mean something. Hell, it means something to us and that is all that should matter.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Heart Mom

Photo by Mary Duvall (AKA Mom)
Once and great while I get the urge to put together a poem or two. They are what they are. I like them because they are my own little stories. Short captions of what matters to me and that is really the point isn't it?

 Well,... I heart my mom. We have be through one hell of a  ride together. But there it is. Down the rocky road paved with good intentions and I wouldn't want anyone else to help see me through.

I live, because she has lived.
I breath, because she has given me breath.
I laugh, because she has shown me joy.
I sing, because she has built for me a stage.
I fall, because her cradle is a safe place to land.
I climb, because she has laid a ladder before me.
I go forth, because she knows when to push me.
I run, because she knows when to let go of me.
I fly, because her spirit has filled me.
I love, because she has loved me.
I am, because she is.
I live, because she has lived.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Power of a Good Picture Book

Photo by Maisie Duncan
I haven't posted a picture in a while. As I was looking for just the right one, I stumbled upon this one I took with an old point and shoot in Afghanistan. I love this picture. The girls were all given books depicting photos of women in their own culture who had taken steps forward and attained positions of power.

A large majority of the Afghan population is illiterate, especially the girls. So to have this book with photos of strong women, showing it was not only okay but vital to push the bounds of expectations was incredible. To be part of the experience and to watch these girls glimpse into what could possibly be their future was truly humbling. What a difference a book makes.

It is a nice reminder that what we do can have tremendous benefits not only to our checkbooks but in the minds of others. A wonderful thing to keep in mind when I sit down at my desk.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just...Damn it.

One day up and another day down. Yesterday I couldn't think about anything other than writing. Today, I want to crawl in a hole and think of anything but.

Oh what a world, what a world.

People used to tell me the only way to get better at something was to surround yourself with those better than you. Those people obviously never wanted to be writers....want. Hmm.

I don't want to be a writer. I AM a writer. Got a paying gig and everything. So how come I always catch myself saying "want" like "I want to be a ballerina when I grow up." 

Maybe,because I still write in my p.j.'s.

I read some really great stuff today.  Damn it. I'm happy for the guy. I get excited for people when they get there. Just...damn it. Mean while, I'm drowning in a hoarder's nightmare of one-liners and snappy ideas that go nowhere and every time I try to grab hold of something concrete it crumbles under my weight.

 Too much weight. Not a big head. Just too many shoes in my bags, I guess.

Gotta say, I love when you can write incessantly about not being able to write. Mind you, I'm doing this strictly to avoid finishing the one act play I've been sitting on for who knows how long. I've got pages of dialogue written on paper. Just can't seem to get it on this dag nabbit contraption with out abusing my delete button. Pretty soon I think its going to start punching me back.

If you're reading this (and you know who you are) I am having a serious meltdown over this thing.
          (will retract after sufficient time has been allotted)

I think this is the part when I am supposed to light up a cigarette. Oh God, what I wouldn't give.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why You Shouldn't Write

Take a walk around your local bookstore. The amount of books stacked within those four walls can be intimidating.

Think about the new books (hardback, paperback, audio, ebook) being cranked out each day.

Sometimes I think, "Look at all the new books out! There has got to be room in there for me somewhere!"

And what about poetry, screenwriting, play writing, comic book, graphic novels, journalism! The possibilities seem endless.

Then that mili-second passes and I am reminded of just how many people are out there trying to get published and never do. How many manuscripts got sent out just to get those dozen new releases on that book shelf that week? That's not just daunting it can be down right debilitating.

And what about everything else we risk. This is an incredibly time consuming and often a very lonely task. Let's face it. Until we get to the point where we can walk into that bookstore and it's to sign books and not just buy them, most of us are working at other gigs or going to school or raising a family or doing all three! Where's the time? On the commute, during nap time, between classes, after dinner, at night while everyone else is asleep and you were wishing you were as well.

While everyone else is snuggling on the couch eating popcorn and watching the latest new release, you're listening with one ear while stabbing away on the laptop. How many times does it seem like we have to check out of the rest of our lives to do this. And for what?  Rejection letters? .01 cents a word? Huge waves of guilt when you hear your kids playing dolls and one of them says to her plastic baby, "Not right now honey, mommy's busy."  Oh, kill me why don't you?

Forget all that for a moment. This is really hard people! I don't sit down to my computer and whip out prose that would rival the best Hemingway had to offer. It doesn't happen that way. Sure, maybe, every once and a while I get a charge of inspiration where the words just burst out. Maybe. But most of the time, not so much.

No. Most of the time I work and work at it and end up with something that falls insultingly short of where I intended for it to go. But that's the way it works.  Write. Then write it again. And again......And okay once more.

So why? Why do we put ourselves through this? Why risk pouring your heart and soul into work that may never live past our own imaginations. Why put the world away to create a fictional one?

 Because, the fear of looking back and knowing that, yeah, maybe I could have would be far worse than any rejection I received. Because I won't let fear rule me. Because when I don't, I miss it. Because, despite everything I risk or fear or ultimately win, I can't not do it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Coldest Day in August

Today I heard all of the songs that made me think of you
I cried and luaphed and thought of the past
It is bitter and sweet and lumps in my throat

Sometimes I feel you there
Watching, wishing
I wonder if you wish for the same things I do
More time, a chance to do things over

Time passes unwaivering
The empty space you used to fill follows me
It haunts the room

I miss you and love you

Wish I had told you more
So, once more for the road then

While you travel what unknown lies among the stars
Though your journey takes you from this place
I will keep you always
In love and in memory

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Time Flys When You're Waiting to Have Fun

I am amazed at how long it has been since my last post. And unfortunately, I am sad to say I return, not because I have been called to, but because I have been told to. Thankfully so. So many times I find that this life-- one built on the pursuit of art and craft and literary indulgence-- is one that so often falls short of intentions. Perhaps that is my fault. I am sure it is. But here we are just the same and I would like to think that the reason I have brought myself back to this blog is not a matter of importance. I would like to believe the simple fact that I have sat down and written something is the key point.

I am scared. Doing this frightens me beyond justifiably reason, but it also excites me to my core. How wonderful! How incredibly awesome it is to take a leap and truly have no idea, no control over where you land. Sure I have a plan, a general direction I would like to go, but who the hell knows if any of that will come to be? Maybe everything I ever wished as I blew out my rainbow birthday candles comes true. Maybe any skill I have as a writer is an imagining of my overzealous and often wandering mind. Maybe...

I have let go of forcing it. I release it to fate or the heavens or God or whatever you want to call it. Its all the same anyway.

It feels good to be back here again. I like this: creating, designing, talking to myself or some infinite void or maybe even someone out there who stumbled upon this by accident. Either way it is good...really good. It seems that taking some time away has given me a chance to see this from a different angle, for all the things I want it to be. I have some new ideas. I may even adventure out and redesign the whole thing. Who knows? The only thing that is certain is that I won't wait so long before coming back here again.