From the day in March when I learned that Tim and I were going to become grandparents … through the turmoil of keeping our townhouse “show-ready” and searching for a new home, essentially erasing any thought of relaxation throughout the summer and early fall … and then the eventual need to acknowledge that not one but both of my writers’ groups were no longer viable … well, much of this year has been one long series of writer’s distractions.
Not that there haven’t been moments of surprise and delight and pure joy along the way. My brother and his family came to spend a real old-fashioned Fourth of July with us here in Bar Harbor — the first of my four siblings to visit. At a local conference last month, I had the opportunity to meet up with a bunch of writer friends I hadn’t seen since the last conference almost a year ago. There I also made a couple of new friends who were looking for a group of kindred spirits with whom to gather regularly to discuss their work, and we have already enjoyed our first rendezvous. Even the house-hunting process delivered a happy accident: after losing out on a house we thought was perfect, we have now designed an even better version of that home to be built for us on a positively gorgeous piece of property. And the buyers of our current home have agreed to allow us to stay on as tenants through the spring, until our new place is ready.
And somehow, at last, it is November.
Our granddaughter is poised to enter this world and inject such joy into our lives that none of us will ever be able to remember what life was like before her arrival.
The fun and exciting task of selecting the finishes for a brand new home is about to begin.
With the Halloween decorations already giving way to red and green and glitter, we are staring down the barrel at Holiday Madness 2016.
Did I say this writer’s distractions were over? Oh no, not by a long shot, my friend.
So how is it that I’m actually contemplating participation in NaNoWriMo amidst this craziness?
The truth, I now know without any doubt, is that a writer’s distractions are not temporary. They are ongoing and continuous, like waves lapping over one another in their race to reach the shore.
There will always be something: babies turn to toddlers, they have birthdays, they learn to walk, then run, then dance. There’s always something to work on in a house, new or otherwise. There will be joys and sorrows and days when it feels like too much effort to make it any farther than the coffeemaker. But I’m a writer. What can I do but push fearlessly, relentlessly against the incoming tide of distractions-without-end and just write?
So, to November … and getting back to being a writer again!
I lived in New Jersey then, had lived there my entire life up to that point. New York City was the big brother my part of New Jersey looked up to, idolized. We cheered their baseball, football, and hockey teams and viewed them as our own. An hour on the train put the bright lights of Broadway and world-class restaurants, museums, and attractions at our feet. Secure in the protective shadow it cast, we enjoyed the bragging rights Manhattan’s proximity provided.
The news came over the radio as I eased my car into a parking space on that crystal blue September morning. A plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. In my mind’s eye, I pictured a private business jet. A Cessna; perhaps a Gulfstream. I wondered how many people they held. I don’t remember thinking about the building itself or what such a crash could mean to those inside. It was Manhattan, the World Trade Center, after all. Invincible.
Disturbed but not yet grasping the full impact of the situation, I entered my office building and asked the receptionist if she’d heard. She nodded and indicated that some of our co-workers were watching the news on the television in the kitchen. I joined them and watched in horror as the second full-sized commercial jetliner hit. Frozen into shocked silence, a female manager in a male-dominated home-building company, I struggled to contain my emotions, failing only when I noticed the tears streaming down the bearded face of my friend and Construction Department counterpart, a tough and stalwart veteran of an industry full of tough and stalwart men.
That moment was a portent of the changes to come in the ensuing days. Every wall between us, male/female, rich/poor, black/white, left/right, shattered on that day, at least for a short while, and we were all simply Americans.
I pray one day we will once again experience the unity, without the pain and grief, of September 12th.
I’ve given a lot of thought to themes during the process of revising my manuscript these last several months. Every well-written story has at least one, and often more than one theme. The interesting thing about theme is that it usually doesn’t reveal itself until you’ve finished the first draft. Only in the full read-through and revision process does the author begin to see what the story’s really all about. And so it was with me.
Oh sure, I had a story concept in mind when I began: Forced by finances to work on the legal team defending an abusive ex who is charged with murdering his heiress girlfriend, a freelance paralegal sets out to win the high-profile case that will put her business on the map. But is she willing to face the truth about her past in order to win the case that can ensure her future?
When I began writing, I knew how the story would start, I had devised a deliciously twisty ending, and I even knew a couple of surprises that were going to happen in the middle.
What I didn’t know until recently was what this story is about. (more…)
I’ve got a new addiction. #1LineWed on Twitter. All the cool kids are doing it.
One Line Wednesday, or #1LineWed as it’s hashtagged, trends every single week for hours and hours on end. Writers and readers alike have fallen in love with this very simple premise:
Each Wednesday, the Mystery/Romantic Suspense chapter of Romance Writers of America, also known as the Kiss of Death (KOD) chapter (Twitter handle @RWAKissOfDeath), declares a theme for the day. Writers and authors (of all genres, by the way) post one line of their book / poem / work-in-progress containing the theme word and hashtagged with #1LineWed. It’s great fun and, yes, more than just a tad addictive.
Bonus: If you’re a writer looking to build your tribe on social media, this is one terrific way to share your work with potential readers and fans, one line at a time.
In addition to my own #1LineWed posts, I make it a point to seek out the posts of others to like. (Simply type #1LineWed in the Twitter search bar.) The best of them I also retweet.
Bonus-Bonus: Many of those you like and retweet will follow you and like and retweet your posts, too. I love “meeting” and getting to know other writers this way!
Today’s theme was “Back.” Here are my posts, followed by some of my favorites by others today: (more…)
Life is funny. I’m a plug-and-play kind of gal living in a satellite TV vs. Netflix world. In our house, changing between the two is a complex process requiring multiple remotes and knowing which acronym is which (HDMI1? HDMI3?) before you can even begin to look for what you’d like to watch. Needless to say, I am rarely the one discovering interesting or obscure entertainment options.
But today we (and by “we,” I mean the hubs) found “B.B. King: The Life of Riley” on Netflix. And what a great find it was! One of the first things my husband and I realized we had in common when we met is our mutual love of American blues music. We are both long-time B.B. King fans.
But I digress. I wanted to talk about how life is funny sometimes. In the course of this two-hour gem of a documentary, I found out a couple of really interesting things I have in common with The King of the Blues himself: (more…)