writing again?

Leonid_Pasternak_-_The_Passion_of_creation
How do I do this again?

I haven’t updated in over a year, but I’m not going to spend this blog entry catching up on everything. Too much has happened – much of it good, some of it bad – and playing catch up isn’t appealing to me right now.

However, I’ve rediscovered my interest in writing. I’ve even got ideas about two one-act plays that I’d like to submit to Sci-Fest LA for 2016.

And I’m terrified to write the plays.

I’ve done the basic synopses. I’ve plugged in questions to address. I’ve done research on the subjects in question.

But when it’s time to actually write the damned thing…I freeze up.

Gah.

I think it might be because I’ve never written a play before.

I mean, I have tons of experience with plays. I’ve performed in a number of them over the years (including four in the past year alone). I’ve read others. I know the format. I know how to create dialog. I know how to create a character’s backstory. When I envision the characters, I can see them onstage.

But my hands just hover over the keyboard when I’m sitting in front of the computer and my brain blanks out.

So I thought, “Hey! Blog! Let’s write in that again! Maybe typing out something that’s longer than a Facebook status or Instagram caption might remind me how to do this thing called writing. I was good at it once. Maybe I can be good at it again.”

(Scene focus changes: Carol smashes keys with fists)

Yeah, I think it’s going to take awhile for all of this to come back to me.

*sigh*

writing prompt: books and blown minds

What book or movie “blew your mind” when you first read or saw it? Write about that experience.

I’ve written a little about this before, but, though I’ve been an avid reader since the moment I picked up a book to learn to read in kindergarten (Red, Stop! Green, Go! by P. D. Eastman), I had never had my mind truly and properly blown until high school (though my intense love of – nay, total obsession with – all things Sherlock Holmes was mind-blowing in and of itself).

I suppose that’s not too surprising. High school and college are the prime times in the life of an adolescent/young adult where he/she is still open enough to new experiences, malleable enough to have those experiences truly shape him/her as a person and mentally developed enough to have some understanding of the impact of those new experiences. Of course, he/she generally isn’t quite developed enough to realize that the new discovery isn’t the end all and be all of life. Hopefully that comes with time and even more new experiences. (If it doesn’t, the poor person usually remains rather intellectually stunted – like most Ayn Rand acolytes.)

When I entered my senior year in 1983, the year of 1984 loomed large, triggering all sorts of discussion about how much of the book Nineteen Eighty-Four had come true. And there was the powerful Apple ad that, though it aired only once, was hugely influential. I was an intelligent, curious young lady and thought it high time that I find out all what all the fuss was about. And so I checked the book out of the school library.

It took me all of two days to read Nineteen Eighty-Four. Upon finishing it, I sat and stared at the wall, tears streaming down my face as I cried for the final loss of free will and humanity.

I got it. I understood the fuss. And I felt something click in me on that fateful day. The conviction that we are all individuals, worthy of life and love and liberty. The deep seated belief that free will and liberty are worth fighting for. The nascent seeds that Star Trek had planted in me some years before flowered.

And my mind was blown.

writing prompt: clothing

How often did you wear it? Write about a piece of clothing that was important to you at some time in your life.

My velvet purple elephant dress.

Oh, how I loved that dress. It wasn’t all purple, mind you. It looked like a two piece outfit: velvet purple knee-length skirt with a long sleeve white knit top that had little purple elephants on it. And it came with a purple velvet choker. I felt so grown up wearing that choker.

It wasn’t just the feeling of grown-upness that made me love the outfit. My older sister had a dress and choker like mine, only it was red instead of purple and I think the print animals were ducks instead of elephants. When we went to school together, dressed in our velvet dresses, there was no doubt that we were sisters. I was six and she was ten and I looked up to her so much. Sometimes when she got upset or angry with our parents – as would happen the few times she wasn’t as angelic as my memory would like to paint her – she would talk to me about running away. It didn’t happen often, but it would scare me when it did. And I would always manage to talk her out of it (though, looking back on it now, I don’t think she was ever serious about it, even when she swore that, this time, she really meant it).

I was always so proud of myself for being able to convince her to stay with me. I mean, I loved all of my other siblings. But my older sister was special. I wanted to be just like her when I got older.

After she died – killed at ten by a hit and run driver a month before her eleventh birthday – I dearly wished I had had the chance to turn back time and talk her and my brother out of crossing the road that night. But I couldn’t, and I was the oldest sister now, so it was my turn to be a good role model for my younger sisters. And so I took on her likes and interests: primarily the singer Tom Jones and the life of Helen Keller, because that’s what oldest sisters were interested in. I didn’t relinquish my own fascinations with astronomy and biographies. They were just put on the back burner for awhile. At least until I realized that I could be myself and still be a good oldest sister (though that realization was, admittedly, quite long in coming).

I still wore my purple elephant dress for as long as I could.

but there is this gap…

Last month I linked to a word graphic which quoted Ira Glass. It talked about The Gap that all beginning writers are confronted with – being people of good taste in reading, they aspire to be as good as the writers they admire, but, being new, are frustrated by the lackluster writing that all beginning writers put out. And so they quit.

I’m here to tell you that it’s not just beginning writers who run into the brick wall that is The Gap. Rusty writers bust their nose on that damned wall too. Rusty writers such as myself.

For way too long I barely wrote. I lost my creative self and didn’t know how to find it again. Now that it’s coming back to me now (along with visions of lightning, billowing curtains and a motorcycle crash), I look at things I’ve begun and get frustrated by how…not that good they are. I can’t even find the throughlines of novels I’ve started in the past. Where was I going with this story? Why is this character the way she is? Is this even interesting? And so I close my word processor and go back to surfing the internet or I stretch out on my loveseat to watch TV, Edison curled up on the armrest above my head.

On Saturday I went on one of my weekly long walks with Sarriah and during the mandatory coffee break we talked about many things, as we often do. Amongst our topics was writing. She’s always managed to keep writing, no matter what, and while I’ve always known that her perseverance is largely due to her being much more disciplined with writing than I am, I still wondered how she managed to keep at it and how I could find my inspiration again.

“Carol, do you want to write?”

“Yes.”

“Then write. Don’t wait for inspiration. Just do it.”

Simple words. And yes, much more was said, about my overwhelming need to write something unique and how I’m letting that stop me from writing at all, along with so many other words. But the final point of it all is that, if I’m going to write at all, I just have to start again. And keep going once I start.

And thus is the genesis of a new section to my blog: writing prompts…

It is where I choose to place the results of my writing exercises. Some may be very good. Some may be very bad. And some may be very average. There will be fiction and personal memories and who knows what all.

I hope they provide entertainment to y’all.

for creative folks…

…or anyone who wants to accomplish something, but can’t quite get themselves to do it…

The Creative Gap by Ira Glass (Graphic by unknown):


(If anyone knows where the graphic originated, please let me know so I can credit them. I ganked this from Wil Wheaton’s Google + page.)

The Cult of Done Manifesto by Bre Pettis and Kio Stark (Graphic by Joshua Rothhaas):


(Mentioned by Wil Wheaton on his Google + page.)

I have printed both of these out and will paste them in my creative spaces, where they will serve as a reminder that I don’t have to be perfect right now. I just have to keep working at my creative endeavors and not trip myself or hold myself back in the hunt for perfection.

2011 can bite my shiny, metal ass…

It’s Day 2 of The Break-Up.

I’m at the point where spending time amongst humans is unbearable, but staying at home offers no distraction. Nothing but alternating pain and numbness. Especially since it turns out that he forgot a lot of his stuff (he had been staying with my roommate and me since the end of January, due to a foreclosure at the place that he had been renting).

I won’t go into details here. Too involved. But the upshot is that he screwed up, I found out and I kicked him out.

(Yes, there’s more to it. There’s always more to it – relationship issues and events leading to his screw-up and my fury. But it all ends with me being in pain and him being out on the streets.)

Of course, that causes even more whirling emotions and thoughts: Where did he sleep last night? Did crash on a friend’s sofa? Gawd, I hope he didn’t sleep in his car. And while a large part of me knows it would be best to not ask him back, even if it’s just to sleep on the couch, there is still a bit of me that wants to make sure he’s safe and sound and warm. Because I can be furious with him and still love him.

So I sit at home, wallowing, knowing I shouldn’t do so but finding it difficult to motivate myself out of bed to even eat, let alone get stuff done around the apartment that really needs to be done. Or to leave the apartment, where I run the risk of people seeing me break into tears.

Yeah, this is the part that really sucks.

We’ve exchanged emails so that we can get some practical items hammered out. Definitely needed, but I recognize it in part as an attempt to keep in touch with him. Yesterday he was cordial and apologetic. Today: very terse. And yes, that hurts.

But, hey, everything hurts today. It’s part of the process.

So I’m writing here, trying to help out the process. Tired of sending my friends and family texts and emails. Not up to talking on the phone. Tired of stupid little Facebook statuses and tweets on Twitter. Needing to fill this annoying, way-too-big hole somehow.

(As an aside, how the hell did we manage to get through breakups before the advent of cell phones and the internet? These wondrous machines have turned into a lifeline for me.)

At least I have the new apartment to look forward to. Someplace that’s all mine, with little residue from past relationships. (He saw the place with me and has helped me moved things, so there is some residual imprint of him.) I look forward to the time alone, but also fear it.

I know things will get better. I’ve been through this dance before, know the steps all too well.

Doesn’t mean the steps don’t bite, though.

graditudinal december – entry #1

Yeah, the blog’s been moribund for quite some time. Not much of a surprise. I could go into all the reasons why I think I’ve been away, but I’ve probably mentioned them the last few times I’ve taken an hiatus. What it boils down to? Just not been in a creative mood is all. Hell, with the exception of an odd day here and there, I’ve not really been in much of a mood to write anywhere. Even in friends’ blogs.

Not that things have been bad, mind you. It’s just that my brain hasn’t wanted to string words together and I haven’t been forcing it to.

But the ever fabulous Jeri has decided to post a new gratitude each day during December and the superb Janiece has followed Jeri’s lead, so I thought I’d give it a shot too. Hey, I’m all about the middle-aged peer pressure, baby!

(Plus I really do think it’s a good idea, even if I’m not quite as displeased with the holiday season as Jeri and Janiece are.)

I’m grateful for my relative good health.

I’ve been experiencing a number of health issues lately (lower back pain, abdominal pain, headaches) and have undergone test and exams to determine the root of these issues.

(BTW, whoever came up with the prep for colonoscopies? Evil. Simply evil. But the person who thought up the sedation for the colonoscopy procedure? You oughta be sainted. Lalalala!)

It turns out that, aside from a completely unsurprising hiatal hernia (oh, Prilosec, how I love your ability to suppress the chronic heartburn I’ve been experiencing since my teen years), my current health issues are fairly minor and easily treatable (though I must say farewell to my beloved ibuprofen – it makes my abdomen very unhappy). I’m working with my doctors and taking positive steps to make me all better.

True, I’m not SuperHealthyWoman. But all things considered, I’m not doing too badly. For that, I am grateful.

story time…

Another piece of Santa Monica College homework is up under Writing. This exercise was to create a story that would create three images in the reader’s mind. Its current pedestrian title is three images – I’ll have to come up with something better.

Enjoy!

new story…

I’ve got a new story up under the Homework section of Writing. It’s not newly written, as it was done first as a story for my long lost writing group and later revised for a writing class at Santa Monica College. But it’s cute and I like it, even if it isn’t perfect.

I hope you enjoy “tasteful socks”.