Saturday, December 27, 2008


I'm visiting family in NJ for the holidays and while I'm having fun and enjoying the comforts of hearth and home, I'm having difficulty finding time to write. I like to write every day, but when I come home to visit, I just can't seem to get it done. And it's not just the holidays. This happens every time I visit. I guess it's too much to expect that I'd find a quiet place to sit and contemplate and get some thoughts down on paper. I continue to journal, but even that feels less than satisfying. I'm looking at my time here as "Limboland." It's frustrating because before we left Ohio I was on a roll writing-wise. Getting lots of words down every day, submitting stories, etc. It felt productive and full-steam ahead. Now I feel like I've hit the proverbial brick wall. Perhaps this is just good down time. I know I'll hit the ground running when I return to my desk and computer after the New Year. It's just hard here in Limboland. I wonder how others are handling this festive time with family and friends. Is the work flowing or stagnating right now?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Who Inpsires You?

I just visited my friend, Dan's blog, and he has posted an erudite rant about bad writing. Dan wouldn't like the word 'erudite' but I don't care; it's my blog. ;o)
The focus of his tirade was Cormac McCarthy. I agree with what Dan says and suggest anyone who happens upon my blog visit his: Jeff's New Motorcycle (link at the left). Anyway, it made me think about books I've read that have inspired my own writing. I try to read what I feel is well-crafted, strong literature in order to learn from those authors and imporve my own writing. I will often open a good book--for example, The Kite Runner--before I set to writing as inspiration. Right now, I'm reading The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman, a very talented writer. As I read her words I find myself thinking, "Wow. I wish I could have come up with those words, or that sentence." I recently finished Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed, another great book. Mr. Lamb doesn't use super-huge, ten cent words to convey his feelings and thoughts. He just gets his point across and tells a great story. If any other writers are reading this I'm interested to know what authors do you read in order to learn from them? Who makes you think, "Wow. I wish I'd written that?" And P.S., Happy Holidays!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What am I doing on the Internet?

I woke up in the middle of the night and a frightening thought occurred to me: I'm blogging!
I realize this is not a concern of the more than 70 million (a number I read somewhere) bloggers out there. Some seem to revel in sharing every thought they have with the world at large. They want people to read everything they write, know every thought that pops into their minds, disclose their daily activities as well as what they've had for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Well, not I.
I have fought blogging for a very long time. In fact, I've fought having anyone I know I write anything for a very long time. I know this sounds crazy. I'm writing and submitting (and sometimes publishing)--why wouldn't I want to draw attention to this? Because for years--since I was a teen, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth--I've written privately. It began as journal entries, poems, essays, etc. Between the ages of thirteen and seventeen I wrote approximately 250 notebook pages of a story that was basically about me and my family. They say, "write what you know" and that's about all I'd known back then. I never shared it with anyone because I was afraid of revealing too much of myself--to my parents, siblings and friends. I was afraid of showing it to my parents and having them think I was crazy, or that I wished my life was different, etc. I tossed this story in the trash before I left for college because I feared my parents would find it when I was away; I didn't take it with me for fear my friends at school would discover it. It saddens me to remember discarding that story. I cried the day I threw it away, a week before I went off to Colorado State. It bothers my mom (especially) because she had no idea I loved writing so much. Now my parents and family are my biggest supporters. I wish I would have shared this side of my life with them a long time ago.
I don't like to spend too much time on regrets, but if I had my life to live over, I'd embrace my love of writing and pursue it as a career. Although, I've given this a lot of thought as well. I know things happen for a reason and for whatever that reason, the powers that be thought it wise to restrain my earlier writing. I often think had I published at a younger age--in my twenties, say--I would have offended others or embarrassed myself. There is a list of writers who popped and fizzled when they were young. I'm grateful not to be on that list. I'm proud to be a "late bloomer" because I'm more emotionally secure and mature to handle what the world throws at me. I hope I don't offend anyone, and I still may embarrass myself, but if I do it won't be as earth-shattering as it might have been years ago.
So here I am...shedding my coat of fear and blogging...sharing my thoughts with the world at large...if anyone is interested.

Friday, December 19, 2008 latest publishing credit comes from a great site--Six Sentences--run by editor, Rob McEvily. It debuted yesterday. And for anyone who happens upon this blog who is not a friend or family member, you can read my story, Second Helpings, at: What I love about Six Sentences is it makes the writer choose each word carefully in order to pack the biggest punch--something I, and (I think) many writers, need to practice daily! I've already thanked him, but I'll say it again here: Thank you, thank you, thank you Mr. McEvily, for publishing my story!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another Sheep Joins the Flock

Well, here I go, another sheep joining the flock of bloggers. I swore I’d never blog; then again, I swore I’d never get married, be a nurse, have kids or drive a minivan. I’ve done all of these. What I need to swear against is publishing a novel. If I did that I’d probably land an agent next Friday.

I’ve entitled my blog “The Writer’s Closet” because I feel I’m still in there—the closet, that is. Very few people know I write even though I’ve published essays, a short story and some flash fiction. I guess I feel the need to reach out to the global writing community and establish a Web presence in case, just in case, I attract the attention of an agent or publisher.

Just a note about me and how I plan to handle this whole blog thing. It will mainly address the business of writing, the pursuit of publication and all that goes along with it. Bits and pieces of my daily life will be shared, but they will center on writing. Perhaps sometimes I’ll mention happenings in northeast Ohio or travel, because I seem to travel a fair amount. Aside from this sentence I promise not to wax on about my beautiful children and their numerous talents and endearing qualities. I want people to check in, commiserate and share information and victories just as I plan to do--not stick their fingers down their throats and hit the “back” key as a means of escape.

I know there are many other struggling writers out there--I know some personally! I hope I get to know more along the way