It can sneak up on you

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Alexander Kanoldt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I have a plant I received as a gift almost two years ago. I’m not sure what kind it is, and apparently it thrives mostly on neglect. I’ve been keeping up my end of the bargain nicely, watering whenever I think, huh, it’s been a while since I watered.

It’s shed a few leaves here and there, and lost an entire…stalk? at the beginning. One drooped like it was going to die, but hung on and there it is still, draping downwards, lreclining as though that was the way it was meant to be.

And then about a week ago, I noticed a sprout.

In all the time I’ve had this plant encamped in its spot by the window, I’ve never seen a sprout. And then there were two.

Soft, new green and tightly furled, they’re half as tall as the established branches of the plant. I have no idea if they’re new stems, if after a long, long fallow stretch the pant is ready to grow. Or if they’re flowers I never knew this plant could have.

But I do know this. They’re proof that change can come at any time. That growth can come at any time, springing like unexpected shoots from a plant that was only waiting.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

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Writing Is Diversity

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Yesterday was a day of Getting Things Done, of running around, of errands and flu shots. Well, flu shot, I only need the one.

And everywhere I went were people of different shades, from different countries, there to help. At the Afghani restaurant with the amazing chutney I could have guzzled with a spoon; at Walgreens arranging for the shot; at Bed Bath & Beyond helping to get the biggest discount possible.

What a bland country this would be without our vibrant diversity. Imagine the food without global influence. A life without sushi?

The horror.

People are people, no matter where we’re from. And for those of us writers, if you can’t see the humanity in everyone, the odds of you creating characters who ring true is absolutely zero. The odds of having something really yummy to eat while creating those characters, even lower.

People live their lives in every corner of the Earth, and though the trappings may be different, though the scenery varies, the lives themselves are remarkably the same. We can choose to help make those lives better, or we can be obstacles.

But the thing about obstacles is they rarely go anywhere themselves.

The act of writing is one inherently of evolution. We start at zero. We end someplace much further down the road. A writer unwilling to evolve, to change, to accept the flow of others, will have very limited stories to tell.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

The Work of Writing Seven: Authenticity

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By William Paxton (http://www.taller54.com/736.htm) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

(Previous Work of Writing posts.)

The recent announcement from a Twitter favorite of mine that she was trans filled me with an unexpected sense of joy. Obviously it has absolutely nothing to do with me, and yet reading about her shopping excursions and seeing her new profile pic with lovely, tasteful makeup made me happy. Not just happy for her, but happy.

So of course I had to poke at it it. To unravel it thread by thread. These emotions are important; these emotions bond us to our readers. How do we evoke them? Why do they happen?

After a bit of reflection and a bit of coffee, the answer came to me. It was the light that comes from someone settling into her authentic self. Someone becoming, completely, the person she is meant to be, without the concern of molding to others’ expectations.

When we start crafting characters (if we craft them; sometimes I feel as though mine live in a parallel dimension) we don’t know everything about them. We might know where they are at the beginning. We might know what they want in that moment. In the words of the incredible Kurt Vonnegut:

Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

Whatever that thing is, it should lead to greater authenticity of your characters. They should be, by story’s end, more of who they are then they were to start. Without this kind of depth, characters are flat. Authenticity is the layer that adds humanity.

And it doesn’t always have to bring the reader joy to see a character become his or her authentic self; the inevitability of some types of authenticity form the basis for tragedy. You know where they’re going. You know who they really are. And this reveal of character will take them there.

Whether you’re currently writing or squirreling away for a writey day, collect these moments. Examine them for clues.When you can pinpoint the source of your emotional twings, you can do the same for your readers.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Yep. It’s Definitely Overwhelming.

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Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We’re living in a fictional world right now. Lies are truth and truth is a lie; you can have any reality you want as long as you argue vociferously and cruelly enough.

It’s an upside-down place where the poor are to subsidize the rich, where people are to be rewarded for eschewing public education and owning things like golf courses and private jets. Where healthcare for seniors with cancer was taken away by a senior with cancer.

It’s not a great place.

I joked with someone the other day that we’re living in a Dickens novel, the one he faked his death and escaped to the future to write. I dubbed it “The Rise of the Dotard.”

For the solidification of power to do more things like create a wealthy ruling class to whom the rest of us must pay our tribute, this group whose morality is long past questionable has taken to making child molestation no biggie. It’s a mild shrug, they’re probably lying anyway, they claim, implying it doesn’t matter if they aren’t. It doesn’t matter if the man twice removed from the bench, the second time permanently, was banned from malls and the YMCA and had a personal babysitter at football games.

And by now you’re likely wondering why my blog, which tends to focus on light observations and mood and, of course, the process of writing, is, today, about these things.

Because the world now is about these things.

And if we want to stay creative, if we want to do creative work, it’s a harder fight than ever. It’s easy to get lost in this this mirrored maze of false reality. So lost that it drains us like an greedy app drains a phone. 75%, 50%, 25% done.

It’s OK to retreat from it all sometimes. Don’t give up the fight, Never give up the fight, it’s too important. But it’s OK to retreat from it all, or creativity will whither.

And who are we without that creativity?

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Shifting

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Oldřich Hlavsa [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, we resume our regular blogging schedule. Probably. It’s possible I’ll be a little off the blogging wagon until the A-to-Z challenge rolls around and puts me back on my game.

We’ll see.

Winter is coming, and not in the way of the TV show and books I’ve never seen/read respectively, but in the Chicago way, meaning soon I’ll be wading through gray icy slush when I need to go to Walgreens. Ah Chicago in the winter.

But a Chicago winter is not without its charms, especially when you don’t have to be out in the weather. The snow quiets the traffic, sets a fluffy blanket of clean white over everything.

For about 15 minutes, and then it’s enter that gray icy slush. Good thing I have my boots from last year.

I like living in a place with seasons, one brutal, three with distinct personalities. I can feel my creativity shift with the weather. And you know I’m one to romanticize the act of writing, curling up while the wind howls with my computer and a cup of something hot.

Doesn’t that just make you want to get going with whatever you’re working on?

I thought so. Get to it.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

NaNoWriMo WINNER!

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Well, I did it. I hit the 50,000 mark on my manuscript and won #NaNoWriMo. Actually I did it first accidentally when trying to see where I was in the official word count. I forgot that I’d started with about 12,000 words and pasted the whole manuscript in.

Instant winner.

Luckily now you can edit your count by day, so I went back, undid it, and wrote a total of about 5,000 words yesterday. The draft isn’t finished yet, but it’s picking up speed. This one hasn’t been smooth for me, the book or the NaNo, and I didn’t decide to do it until the night before, but now I’m glad that I did.

It was a good reminder that even when things don’t come easily, even when each little step forward is difficult, they’re still forward steps.

As for the dishwasher, in case you’re wondering, it’s safely ensconced in its little corner, ready for its first meal of dishes. I’m still figuring out the best way to load it, like so many new things it has more options than what came before.

Meanwhile, I’m giving myself a little break from the writing today, now that the pressure is off. Good luck to everyone still cranking away, and congratulations on the effort itself.

And to my fellow finishers:

Check out my recap of the hit new show “All My Traitors.”

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

 

My Dishwasher Wasn’t Done with Me

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© Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar, via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, with my blogging limited in the throes of NaNoWriMo, I talked about my dishwasher, and specifically how much I hate emptying the dishwasher.

Well, apparently I hurt its feelings. Terminally.

Shortly thereafter, I was running it through empty for a periodic clean when I walked into the kitchen to discover foam oozing out of the bottom panel. Now I may not be a technical genius, but I’ve seen enough of the world to know that liquid oozing out of a part of a machine that is supposed to be water-tight isn’t exactly a good thing.

I tried to get to whatever obstruction there was that wouldn’t let the water drain, but that dishwasher would probably fetch a pretty penny on the antiques roadshow, and it was not easily disassembled. New dishwasher it was. Especially given it happened during Black Friday week, the traditional time of year when dishwashers are begging for new homes.

So today is the day, and I eagerly awaited the quick switch-out. I mean, I already have one, right?

Um. Yeah.

So as I type there are two men stretching their ingenuity to the absolute limit trying to make it happen. Very kindly.

Hopefully very shortly I will have a functioning dishwasher, and if you’ve ever wondered why the installers are late with your appliance, well, it’s me.

And what of NaNoWriMo? Well, I’m not done yet. There have been other distractions along the way, worse distractions, and while I’m not behind, at the rate I was going, I should be done by now. Oh well.

Hopefully I will see you all at the finish line. With plenty of clean dishes in hand. Which would make it difficult to type.

Check out my recap of the hit new show “All My Traitors.”

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.