Thursday, April 30, 2009

Making sense

So Julie wants to work on something that will give her life sense, and following Julia Child'sbook seems to lend order to her life.

Also, Julie and her husband will eat better.

She finds the book on her mother's shelf, and it calls her name, so to speak.

So it is a helping of her life, a tincture of cooking, and a heap about her life.

Are there things I'm not writing about, things I'm thinking about but not writing about? What might those be?

Of course...when I write about them...not sure we'll eat better :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thunker, Writer's Contract, and Length of a Paragraph

A paragraph is a strand of hair: it can wisp over your eyes at times, but is easy to lift away. It gets your attention. Keeps you going to the next paragraph. Not too long, not too short.

A long dull paragraph is a thunker: that's the sound the book makes when it falls out of my hands at night because I have drifted away.

Blogs, tweets, newspaper column paragraphs: is this the length of my attention span? I have a pretty short hair do, then.

Take Julie and Julie, for instance. What starts out as a romp through a cookbook suddenly--in the first paragraphs--becomes a long diversion into harvesting a woman's eggs for $7,500. At that point the book becomes a thunker. The strand of hair strayed into my eyes a bit too long. Not sure if I want to go back.

Within the first few paragarphs the writer makes a contract with a reader: come with me. We'll learn something new. Together we'll do something.

Not sure we're doing something with Julie and Julia. Am I doing something with Lost Letters of Jane Austen?

Monday, April 13, 2009


Sometimes we can be on a bridge travelling to a new land and not know it.

So it seems to me: I am crossing a short wooden path bridge to a small island (that may be connected to more lands and probably is). I didn't know I was on this bridge, maybe because I was busy looking back, who knows?

Now that I look, the land behind is large and filled with turmoil, mounds of clay, towering buildings with shattered glass...much of the glass shattered by me. The water below is calm, and the island before me has pink hibiscus and green foliage. Too bad I don't know my trees, or I'd tell you what they are.

Now I see I am crossing to some new order. Let it be wisdom.

The girl scouts have a phrase for transitioning into the new order: bridging, and there used to be a ceremony symbolizing this crossing. Maybe there still is.

But you know, the actual crossing doesn't happen like that. Maybe tonight on the way home I'll think about this, everytime I travel on a bridge.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Daily Writing Habit Miscellany

Persona. I wonder if I'm developing a different persona on this blog than from my other blog - a more lighthearted one. One who is perhaps more light-hearted and quicker on her feet. Maybe this persona will be useful in my novel. Lately I've been mulling over the persona of "intellectual," a role I may play at but not really want.

Switching zones. Practice, practice, practice. Need less time to go from work a day world to creative world. From spread sheets and access and what nots to the magic carpet. SWZ - is that like the DMZ? I need a space in between - do I need barbed wire?

Grammar stuff. Not too good in the grammar department. When writing quickly, posting, and then reading, I see all kinds of goofiness - verb tense, awkward structures, a shorthand that works for me, and probably no one else. Need to write and talk more. Remember: perfection is the enemy of good. Before, I may have been a good writer, but cautious. I was not a great writer. Can I be?

Won't be posting over the weekend, but will keep up habit (must, must) and arrive Monday renewed.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

On the trail of Julie & Julia; or, Beth and Jane

Yesterday I travel to our county library to look for Julie & Julia. I read a few on-line reviews, and they aren’t too pleasing. However, I want to follow the trail of my energy (In Which I Follow My Attempts to Write a Novel through Daily Writing Habit; or, Hold My Feet to the Fire), so I flip through the pages.

When I see the description of her flipping through a few parcels of meat, I decide to take it out and at least try to skim it.

We are traveling to Florida in a few days and I want some books to renew my pleasure in reading. I haven’t been reading much except for newspaper columns. My attention span has a few leaks. A thumb in the dike isn’t enough to control the seepage of my little gray cells.

In addition to Julie & Julia, I take out Legends of the Fall (Jim Harrison), The Seal Wife (Kathryn Harrison), The Writing Life (Annie Dillard), and Something something (Dick Francis). Fiction and non-fiction, mystery, popular, literature. Dabble drabble toil and trouble, choices in the cauldron to renew my lust for literature.

When walking in between the shelves of books, or looking at them from afar, I feel energized and enchanted. So many ideas, mysteries, magic, stories to unfold! Knowledge! I’m a child finding an Easter basket.

My new husband, whom I shall call Hemingway (a story for another day), once visited the library with me when we were dating, when I lived in town and it was a close entertaining walk for us.

What I notice is that you are very comfortable there, he said.

So yesterday I take out books and get a new library card – married, changed my name, changed my address – but I still get to go wherever I want, whenever I want, when I am on the flying carpet of a good book.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mad World

Last night, as what seems like the rest of TV watching America must know, Adam Lambert sang "Mad World" on American Idol.

The song is filled with humor and sadness, like being at the circus but not enjoying it.

I first heard "Mad World" when my best friend Theresa recorded it on a CD for me as a birthday gift, along with other poems and songs on the CD. She gave me a portfolio book with her handwritten lyrics and pictures cut out of books and magazines. This, she wrote, was one of her favorite songs. It was the version from the movie Donnie Darko.
So I'm thinking of my best friend and how long it's been since we've seen each other and the tune of "Mad World" is going through my head, I think it's kind of funny, I think it's kind of sad

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Julie & Julia; or, Beth & Jane

Well, I have these ideas today: start a new blog called "daily writing habit," and so I do it.

And then I have the idea that my blog "daily writing habit" could follow my attempts to write a novel, like Julie & Julia - Julie trying to cook like Julia Child, a book I haven't read and may never do - but the idea makes me laugh and gives me energy.

Oh, and I do try a few recipes.