Lightness of a Beginning

What a year! Finished the novel–took me five years. It’s out there, looking for a home away from its fussy creator. Whether it gets published or not, it’s finished and I’m happy with what I accomplished. Writing it has definitely taught me a lot. Ideas for the next novel swim in my head. It’s just a matter of spotting the one that moves slower than the rest, the one fat with questions and worthy to be dissected for the next couple of years or so. Writing life aside, older sister got married last month. We were so busy with the … Continue reading Lightness of a Beginning

Completion

  Hand-sewn dining chair slipcovers—two sets of four pieces. Beef borsch (traditional recipe). Cleaned the gunk off the window ridges. Banana-chocolate chip bread, cottage cheese cake, and other baked experiments. Framed V’s oil painting and found a place for it alongside other photos and wall decorations. These are things I finished in the course of finishing a novel. They distract but they don’t derail. If anything, they are necessary (imagine looking past your laptop and noticing mud lacing your windowpanes). They are chores and passing whims; I am not built for devoting life to domestic perfection. Believe me when I … Continue reading Completion

Writing Weary…Again

Still revising the same story I mentioned last March. A piece drafted two years ago. Short stories are sly and merciless like that, quick to consume but take forever to create. Come on, tell me something new, I beg the lines as I do yet another reread. Our relationship is akin to that of a frustrated mother and her difficult child (I guess the adjectives could be flipped). I believe so much in this story, it’s something that is meant to be told; I won’t let it languish in the drawer of aborted drafts. There was a time when I … Continue reading Writing Weary…Again

Writer / Wanderer

…to me, a written piece is already “performing” once I’ve put it on paper. It’s already working for an audience (reader), even if it’s safely tucked away in my notebook (or saved in a drive). Drafts on paper make me pay more attention to the technical aspects of a written piece. Grammar, punctuation, and paragraph breaks are all important causes. But for me things that have more to do with the story’s soul—characters and setting, tone and theme, conflicts and resolutions—are more easily resolved when I’m not yet burdened by a hard copy. Continue reading Writer / Wanderer

Summer of Gratitude

The past few months reminded me of the many things I’m thankful for. Family and friends who are supportive of my goals. Writing, after all, can make one feel isolated, too much into one’s head. When I get asked how my writing’s going, or when I talk to fellow writers about the rewards and challenges of the craft, I actually feel my soul digest a filling ball of nourishment.  Then there is employment. The threat of unemployment beckoned late spring, dangled on my head half the summer, during which I was busy finishing AMfC.  Only God knows how V tolerated my moods. Managed to snag … Continue reading Summer of Gratitude

Writing Weary

Posting an excerpt may be a form of writerly laziness, but I fess up to being lazy these days anyway and for that reason, I’ve been careful not to publicize this blog. For now, this is just a quiet place for thoughts and noteworthy things I encounter as a writer. And what follows is a good example. I was reading this fall’s edition of The New Quarterly which featured the winning entry for the 2014 Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award (in which my short story was a wounded soldier). Pamela Mulloy, member of the adjudicating panel, talked about the process of choosing a winning … Continue reading Writing Weary