I’m becoming a writer who’s afraid to talk about my writing anymore. As any writer will tell you, this vocation can be a lonely one, and things like social media make it easy to feel less alone. Writers need other people, be they readers, agents, editors etc. You’ll hear various forms of advice advocating for … Continue reading The Writer Who Cried Wolf
The new movie I Feel Pretty starring Amy Schumer is about a woman who, after a head injury, wakes up the next morning with arguably, a major personality change. As someone who lives with a traumatic brain injury I find this a comical and somewhat accurate premise for a movie, based on my own experience. I could say that I … Continue reading Out of the Broom Closet
I’m giving several readings and talks this month–details below. If you’re local I’d love to see you! April 8th 6:00 – 8:00pm – URBAN ARTS PLATFORM, Parking Garage Roof at The Northern Join us on Saturday, April 8th for a night of international and local talent featuring a stunning view of downtown billings atop the Northern … Continue reading April Events with me!
After midnight, moments after setting my iPhone on the nightstand, deciding I couldn’t refresh NPR.org one more time, I heard what I thought was a gunshot. I live in a red state and my first assumption with every bang is it’s a gunshot, but then there was another, and another, four bangs with a silent … Continue reading November 9th, 2016
According to my Twitter profile, I joined the social networking platform in 2009, but it wasn’t until the last month or so that I really began to embrace Twitter. I got tired of the recycled content on my Facebook feed (I’m looking at you TIME Magazine. I can’t count the number of times I’ve logged … Continue reading The Magical Twitterverse
A while ago I wrote about my favorite programs/implements for writing efficiently, but I neglected to mention my most important tool: my laptop.
It didn’t seem worth mentioning because it’s an obvious tool. Most writers have some sort of computer or tablet for writing. My own laptop faded into mundanity because I used it for everything; it wasn’t special anymore.
Until one day, thinking my computer was moving slow (I had taken to calling it “the dinosaur”), I watched the clock in the top right hand corner of my screen while waiting for Microsoft Word to open. Four minutes passed.
I realized then that without much awareness, I had been building mini-accomplishments into my day to make those four minutes pass. Open a document/make a cup of tea. Send a file to print/take the laundry out of the dryer. Download an update/take the dog for a walk. I felt productive because I was multitasking but really, I was wasting a lot (3 minutes and 52 seconds) of time. I needed a new laptop. Continue reading “My Tools for Writing: Reprise”
I’ve reached an age where, because I don’t have any children, I’m picking up “adult hobbies.” I blame this too on the fact that I own a house now* and feel like, you know, I should probably take care of it. So, I’ve started gardening.
Last weekend I stepped into my yard to assess my hard work. The black-eyed Susans are blooming, so is the lavender, and the mint is out of control. The bee balm is bowing out of the mint’s way. The valerian root is trying to stand out amongst the weeds. The lilac bushes are holding their own, though one branch has given up. The pansies are fickle and wilt at a minute’s worth of too much sun, yet the second I flood them, they’ll perk up as if nothing was wrong. The pansies are acting like, well, pansies.
I realized there are probably a hundred metaphors or lessons on life in my garden. As I stepped close to examine leaves then stepped back to take in the whole plant or bush, I saw that the process of taking care of plants is much like the process of being a writer. Continue reading “How Being a Writer is Like Being a Gardner”
On a recent episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour the crew discussed first impressions in movies, books, films and TV. Panelist Glen Weldon gave some of his favorite opening lines in books then went on to create this comprehensive list of opening lines.
Coming to the end of the rewrite on my own novel, I find myself contemplating endings rather than beginnings, and I have another writerly confession to make: I judge a book by its last word, which I read first.
Before you lay judgement, things that I know:
A) This is a ludicrous habit.
B) The likelihood that an entire book could be encapsulated by only the last word, when considering the numerous books in existence, is outrageously and implausibly small.
And you might wonder how I can peek at the last word without spoiling the ending. My ability to flip to the last page and peek, only taking in that last word, maybe two, has been fostered by years of looking at scary movies through fingers, ready to close the gap in a nanosecond lest I see a wayward severed head. Continue reading “The Last Word”
“Nameless here for evermore.” – The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe Recently I got married, and in the moments when I wasn’t deciding where my grandmother would sit during the ceremony, or trying to remember if I ate lunch that day, a quandary of many female writers weighed on my mind–once married, should I publish using … Continue reading What’s in a Name?
Last week, several American news outlets reported that novelist Philip Roth had written his last book.
Here is an excerpt from an article posted on Salon.com:
Roth said that at 74, realizing he was running out of years, he reread all his favorite novels, and then reread all his books in reverse chronological order. “I wanted to see if I had wasted my time writing,” he said. “And I thought it was rather successful. At the end of his life, the boxer Joe Louis said: ‘I did the best I could with what I had.’ This is exactly what I would say of my work: I did the best I could with what I had.
“And after that, I decided that I was done with fiction. I do not want to read, to write more,” he said. “I have dedicated my life to the novel: I studied, I taught, I wrote and I read. With the exclusion of almost everything else. Enough is enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that I have experienced in my life.”
As an artist at the beginning of my career, Roth’s statements seem hard to believe. With more books to read than I can count, and story ideas that keep me awake at night, how could a lifetime be possibly long enough to read everything I want to read and write everything I want to write?
Roth’s statements bring to light a great debate or paradox for many artists: is being an artist a job or a calling?