Saturday, July 30, 2011


I'm in a pattern. But I like patterns. Wake up at 5:30 am, feed the dog, the cat, make some coffee, carry coffee to computer, sit down, read internet crap, try to write, read more internet crap, write some more, keep writing, get up, get some water, pet cat, dog, write, write, take a shower, make breakfast, kids get up, clean, be a mom, make cookies, take kids outside, clean, clean, make dinner, watch tv, read books to kids or myself, get ready for bed, sleep.

Every day it's the same. When school starts it will all change and that's good. But for now, I am starting to feel like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, "All work and no play makes Amy a dull girl . . ." Don't worry. I don't have an axe around here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to get rid of Heat

I'm interrupting this program to alert you to a recent problem. Heat. She came to lunch and stayed for dinner. She wrapped herself around the back porch with long arms, and then began stepping all over my flowers and my bean plants, the grass, the apple trees. She takes the breath right out of bees, and fleas, and she's, I'm afraid, never going to leave. I don't know what to do. I'm running out of ice. I've worn this same bikini, one-hundred-and-twice. Maybe I'll buy her a ticket. Yes, that's a good idea. A ticket. To Spain. Or France. Where she can run and dance. Like a ballerina, pirouette away, away, away, away. You were never meant to stay.

You know, they recommend putting sheets in the freezer for an hour before bedtime. Better yet, just sleep in the freezer. Or stand there all night, using a bag of frozen peas for a pillow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


One of the settings in my book is a set of caves that Emma and Will must negotiate in the dark to escape being turned into ghosts forever. I didn't start off with a real, determined location, but after falling upon an article describing the beautiful caves in the O'Bannon State Park, I became so excited with the idea of using such a location in my book. I never mention cave specifics, but did write about an indoor mountainous structure located in the Wyandotte Caves called Monument Mountain. Of course my next thought was to have my characters end up in this wildly fantastic hidden apex of the middle earth. I'd love to go see it some day.

Unfortunately, and this does sound funny when I say it, but a bat fungus has closed many caves to visitors in the last few years, so it may be a long time before I get to see my fictional character's real-life location.

It's so hot today that I would take a cave over a house. But the bats . . . well, yeah, I'd have to say no to bats.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Trust your brain

The other night ABC had a special about humans with super powers, like strength, brain power, endurance, etc. There was a very interesting segment on the little girl who came in second on America's Got Talent last year, Jackie Evancho. You've probably heard of her, she has an album out and has done a few shows over the course of the last few months. Anyway, in the segment, Jackie said she had no formal training. Her desire to sing was kicked off by the movie The Phantom of the Opera, which she emulated afterwards by memorizing and practicing all the songs. Then came her stint on AGT. They asked an ENT if she had special vocal chords or lungs that were stronger than most people. What was creating this huge, beautiful voice? Her brain, the doctor said. Her vocal chords and lungs are NO DIFFERENT than any other human out there. Her brain, and its willingness to learn the art of singing, breath control, perfect pitch—coordinating all of this together—was the key to her ability.

I think that's astounding. It really made me think about the way we approach our talents. Sometimes we are too afraid to tackle something when it might seem impossible to learn. We don't have enough training, we began too late, we're too old, too this, too that. But none of it matters. If you push past the fear and allow your brain to work hard, it will provide everything you need to succeed.

It's all there inside you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Love It

I'm reflecting on last summer when I was at a crossroads with my book. The manuscript was clean and good, but it hadn't reached its shine yet. You don't really know this as a writer, especially if you've spent countless hours working on the poor thing. There comes a point when you just can't see.

But through it all I can tell you one thing: I loved my book. When it was bad, when it got better, when it was rejected, and when it was accepted. I didn't love the process, but I loved my book. That love is what drove me to read countless articles on the act of writing and publishing so that I might get what I had to a finish line, because the essence of the book was a wonderful thing and I knew it.

I love the act of writing. I'm a musician and I love to write and play and listen to music (boy do I ever love listening to music!), but writing—and fiction mostly—gives me peace. I hate having an idle mind. I can't. So, while I'm not doing music, writing is that existential existence where words like fire ants rush and claw through my synaptic gaps. I get a thrill with words. They play, they trick, they lead and flow. This week in particular I'm half crazy with music and words, words and music. That doesn't mean anything good is coming from my fingertips, but it keeps me energized.

The point is: love what you do, and love the product you create. You don't have to love the road you're walking on, but the reason your feet are moving down that road. Or learn to fly. Or swim.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Early morning

I haven't blogged in a long time. But there hasn't been much to miss, believe me. When I received my first editing notes, I pretty much went through a shock phase where I became very determined to get the job done. Then I spent a week completely avoiding getting the job done. Then a stomach virus went through the house, then it was forth of July. I kept saying to myself, "You have to finish those edits." But, I have to do laundry and cook and do dishes and—"No, sit your butt down and finish." Okay . . .

Up at 5:30, edit for a few hours. The kids get up and it's time to be a mom (or something close), clean, shower, take kids to pool, cook, maybe get in some edits or writing, sleep. Up at 5:30 again. Edit. Repeat, repeat. As long as I had those two or three hours each day, I could get the job done. And I did get them done. And I sent them off. Next thing you know I'm digging into some short story or whatnot, and I just can't stop writing now.

I kept thinking, gee, I really need to get back on the blog. But I don't have much to say about my life anymore. What's there to say? I'm a little depressed and I have been for a while. I like to devote myself to writing and art and music; that's where life is good. I'm extremely grateful that my book will be published because now my life makes more sense.

Most of all, thank you for being the wonderful people you are. I may not comment like I should, but I'll try to get back to that. Happy Sunday to you.

Do you believe?

Fifty-Five years ago on November 22, 1963, president John Fitzgerald Kennedy rode alongside his wife Jackie in a motorcade through the crowd...