Wednesday, July 24, 2019

I am a person who sometimes writes

No wonder I have nightmares... revision notes stalk me in my sleep!

In spite of those nightmares, the revisions are going well. I think this is the case for two reasons: 1) I love this book (even though it scares me) and 2) I only write for as long as it is fun to write. Then I pack up and get on with my day. After all, if it isn't fun, what the hell am I doing this for? Money? Acclaim? LOL

In my kid - teen years, I loved writing because it was fun. The most fun thing ever, actually. My list of fun went like this:

10) Singing along to The Beatles and Radiohead in my room
9) Painting murals
8) Crafting
7) Baking
6) Playing tennis
5) Reading Anne Rice and Maeve Binchy novels
4) Making movies
3) Watching TV and movies
2) Playing volleyball
1) Writing

As I get older, I sometimes find myself slipping into a sour mood due to the financial realities and the small heartbreaks of the fiction-writing life. But it's a privilege to have the time, health and passion to write novels, and I'm trying not to take that for granted any more. I think sticking to my "only if it's fun" rule will help me stay in love with writing fiction despite the challenges that come with it. Because really, in the grand scheme of things, these challenges aren't so challenging. And there is so much more to life away from the laptop. 

Writing is what I do in my free time and my (paying) career, so it's been easy to fall into the "I am a writer" identity trap. But exploring other facets of myself is, of course, important, and I plan on doing more of that once this novel is done. But until that day comes, I'll be mindful of enjoying the time I have with this manuscript.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

On leaving our private circle

I loved and so related to this 2017 essay by Jonathan Lee (author of High Dive), "The Peculiar Power of a Zadie Smith Sentence." Here's a brief excerpt:

"Good fiction is often about connection, about feeling less alone, about imagining yourself into other people’s shoes and finding your own imaginative limits, as a writer and a reader. And in moments in history where communities come under threat, or are being be blasted apart, the written word has an even greater power to connect people: through a story, through a single sentence, through jokes, through anecdote, through the words painted on a protest sign. Words are one of the means we have to leave our private circle and discover something else: other people’s experiences, struggles, private and political histories. Words are, among other things, a form of transport. 
People often talk about books as facilitating “escapism.” But I don’t want to escape into vacuous nothingness. I have bad TV for that. I want to escape into other lives, their complexities. I turn to the writers who can do that for me."