Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Holidays!!!!

Happy Holidays to Everyone Who Writes to Me and/or Comments or Reads This Blog Silently!

 These are my three demons kids who begrudgingly happily posed for a quick Christmas shot. We have the official White House portrait, but this was just a quick one that I think captures them more naturally. The boys look just so enthralled with the camera.

I love this week between Christmas and New Year's. I like the quietness of everything, love the blizzard and the snowed in slowness of these days. I finally got to some writing yesterday, after all the ho ho stuff, and I made a list of what's on my desk. It reads:

Chapters 1 - 4 of a paranormal YA (early YA)

Chapter 1 of an adult novel with an outline

Chapters 1, 2 and 3 of a YA

Revision of Middle Grade about 60 %  done

Page One and Outline of a YA novel with a boy protagonist

So that's five things I'm working on. Yikes. No wonder I get lost when I sit down to work. I need more weeks like this with no work and no demands.

Do other people make lists of what they have or what they're working on? Probably not since this is not a sane way to write. I'll bet most folks go chapter by chapter with one, possibly two pieces.

Actually, my house has lots of "begun" projects that have been tinkered with and sort of abandoned. I have every intention of painting those shelves, stenciling that cool old bookshelf, organizing Christopher's baby album pictures now that he's just turned 19.

So this is my writing resolution: no new and shiny chapters until I finish all five of these. Yup, that's right. I am publicly humiliating myself so I don't begin yet another writing project. It clutters up my brain and I suffer from terminal tinkering which means I don't finish stuff at the pace I would like. I can abandon one or more of these wip's, but I can't start a new one until I see these through either to a manuscript or fodder for the compost heap.

So along with being able to identify a muscle in my body without a CT Scan (that is my physical resolution), I am going to have to identify these five beginnings into some kind of ending. I may be a little late with some holiday stuff, but with these resolutions, I'm starting early.

Do you have any writing resolutions for 2011?

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Season of Epiphany

Baby Cat Touching the Moon
This is a kind of blurry picture of BabyCat who finally, finally got onto the highest window in the house to bat at the moon with her paw. Of course, that's not really the moon. It's the reflection of a hallway light, but she got to bat at it nonetheless as we left a ladder near the window to put up lights. She was completely baffled as to why that light didn't move like her toy balls do.

I liked that the Escher print beneath also had a moon and a lot of white and black - it just struck me so with a ton of Christmas stuff still undone (and just a ladder, no lights), I went and found the camera and took some pictures of her.

Now, what on earth does BabyCat chasing reflected light have to do with epiphanies? Well, in my tired-I've graded-way-too-many-term-papers-this-week brain, a lot. BabyCat isn't really capable of revision. And since I was kind of stuck in my revision, while I was watching her, the whole idea of why two scenes weren't
working came to me: she wasn't really batting at the moon, and my character wasn't really revealing her truth either. So after watching her, I left the lights and the wrapping undone, and wrote down notes for a new direction for my character to take. In about two seconds, while watching BabyCat, it dawned on me what I needed to do.

But those two seconds took about three months to arrive at, and I think that is the nature of any epiphany. The online dictionary says an epiphany is: "a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience..."

I'm not sure BabyCat up there on that ledge is homely or commonplace, but I guess it's simple. And it's weird the way our brains fire, jumping from one image to other ones that don't seem connected at all.

On some level, you are thinking of how to solve a problem, either in writing or in some other area of your life, but you aren't really conscious of it. I have had so many areas of my life demanding my time lately, that writing has had to take a very distant backseat. I was glad though, in those few minutes of downtime while watching her up there trying to play with something that wasn't really there, that I found my way out of the bog I had landed my character in.

Now all I have to do is finish shopping, baking, cleaning, wrapping, writing out cards, grading and submitting grades and I can get back to rescue her from that bog...