In the last two weeks, I’ve started seven stories. Some are just a few paragraphs. Others have a few scenes. Each one starts me imagining a different world with new characters, and beyond what shows up on the page, all kinds of acrobatics spin in my mind. Will I finish all of these stories? No. I may not finish any of them, which is fine. These are explorations and dabbles, not assignments. These are about writing when I don’t know what I’m writing and trusting that time spent… Continue reading
I’ve finished the next draft of my novel—the eighth—and sent it off to my agent. I began this one in August and it was basically a complete rewrite, so this is a hard-won milestone. It’s time to catch up on my reading, tend to some Christmas prep, and daydream.
I expect I’ll do a little writing, too. It feels strange if I don’t.
When the sky darkens and the sun
goes down, I wonder if this is
the last time I’ll see daylight, if
the world will founder in the night
and take us all down with it, like
a doomed Titanic, like Pompeii
daring its friend Vesuvius.
But they are only rogue children
at the door, disguised and eager,
satisfied for the instant by
another candy bar, a spare,
clinking coin in the dragon hoard.
I was thinking about the way business partners schedule monthly meetings to check up on goals and progress, and I felt a twinge of envy, wondering if I’d be more accountable to myself if I had such a meeting. A business meeting. It isn’t practical for me at all, but I realized I do want a clearer way to see my progress.
So I started a progress bar on my website, over in the right column. It doesn’t really capture total progress because it only records progress through my latest… Continue reading
Twice lately I’ve come across a certain African proverb, first in Cory Booker’s comments during last week’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate, and a couple days later in a New Hampshire coffee shop on a tip jar. The proverb states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
I’m finding this wisdom resonates with me. Since I first heard it, this adage has already applied to running errands and marriage. I’ve decided that it also applies to writing, at least for me.
On… Continue reading
Whenever I hang out sheets to dry on the line, I think of my mom doing the same thing up north at the cabin in Minnesota where we went every summer when I was a kid. The place had a washer but no dryer, and she depended on energy from the sun to dry clothes for her family of nine. She would flap out the shorts and shirts, dishtowels and jeans, and peg them all efficiently on the white ropes that crisscrossed the back yard. Her shoes would tread paths… Continue reading