pegkerr: (Not all those who wander are lost)
I was invited to dinner at [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K. and B.'s tonight. The shrimp truck had come to town, and so all sorts of seafood courses were planned. "I'm sure you'll have a great time eating food I would never touch," Rob said. And we did. I have been coming to the dinners at [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K. and B.'s for awhile, and I am always grateful to be invited. Friends take turns serving courses: there are often eight to ten courses, with appropriate wines, and can last four hours or so. I love the gatherings, but I will admit to being somewhat intimidated at times: the group that gathers is very knowledgeable about wines and food whereas I am not. I have never done a course. This time, I wanted to do one, but I had to take Fiona to karate and take Delia to a birthday party, so I knew I would not be able to stop at a grocery store at all. So I once again just ate: a cold marinated bean salad with shrimp, fiddlehead ferns and coconut dusted shrimp, and homemade chipotle pasta with crawfish tails (I think??), and korean shrimp pancakes, and salad and an incredibly delectable dish made of crab and morel mushrooms, cooked in cream. Wine with each course (I am too ignorant to tell you what they were). [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha brought out some vodka he brought back from St. Petersberg yesterday for us to try, and then we ended the meal with a bottle of Armagnac. It was bottled in 1939. Apricot torte for dessert.

I helped dry dishes between courses to earn my keep.

After dinner, [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K. suggested a walk, offering the lure of "Let's go see the Washburn water tower!" I had never seen it before. We set off, and after some confusion and a few detours out of the way (this section of town is not called "Tangletown" for nothing), we found the tower. It is certainly worth seeing. If/when I write the ice palace book, I'd like to find a way to work it in, just because it is so cool. The stone figures that ring the tower are sixteen feet high. If they had an arm outstretched, they would look like the Argonath. It was a lovely night, perfect temperature, too early for mosquitos. We sat at the foot of the water tower and talked quietly, staring up at those enormous brooding figures while the Big Dipper wheeled in the sky overhead.

Then we came back and washed more dishes. And I came home to tell you about it.

edited to add: [livejournal.com profile] lsanderson posts pictures from the dinner here.
pegkerr: (candle)
From The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon:
It was a clear, moonlit night a little after the tenth of the Eighth Month. Her majesty, who was residing in the Empress's Office, sat by the edge of the veranda while Ukon no Naishi played the flute for her. The other ladies in attendance sat together, talking and laughing; but I stayed by myself, leaning against one of the pillars between the main hall and the veranda.

'Why so silent,' said Her Majesty. 'Say something. It is sad when you do not speak.'

'I am gazing into the autumn moon,' I replied.

'Ah yes,' she remarked. 'That is just what you should have said.'
Such a simple little scene, deftly sketched in just a few paragraphs. One can see it--the moonlit garden, the ladies gathered, talking softly, the flutist, the Empress, and Sei Shonagon, looking up at the moon with a melancholic air. The ladies described--once living, breathing people--have been dead and dust now for a thousand years, and yet the words on the page immediately brings them to life for us again.

Shakespeare understood this to the core, and examined it at length in the sonnets. From the ending of Sonnet 18:


. . . Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this [the sonnet] and this gives life to thee.
.

I read a story years ago--and damn me for not remembering the title or author--which started, very simply, by describing a man, a simple laborer, who died in his sleep one night. The rest of the story is a straightforward account of how his presence is erased from the world. He had no children. His simple possessions are sold and scattered to the winds. The story tells of a gathering of friends twelve years later, eating dinner at a common inn. In the course of the conversation, one says to the other, "We went there with that fellow we worked with long ago--what was his name, John Josephson--" and the conversation goes on from there. And that the narrator tells us was the last time that John Josephson's name was ever spoken by another human being.

The years speed on, and then another forty years or so later the narrator focuses on something, a written record--I don't remember what it was, a written ledger, or a Bible in a church. There is a storm (or was it a fire?) and the book with John Josephson's name (or was it his signature?) is destroyed. The page is soaked, and the ink runs, or perhaps it is burned. There are five letters left in his name, then three. Then one. Then the last letter is gone, as is John Josephson from all human memory.

[Anyone remember that story??? Title and author???]

I have been thinking about the ice palace book. Well--sort of squinting at it out of the corner of my eyes without trying to look at it directly. I have been wondering, rather gloomily, whether I should just admit facts and remove all reference to it from my user profile page. I haven't worked on it in months. It was going well, and then it wasn't going well, and then it all seemed to dry up. I do not know whether I made a mistake in talking about it in this journal--did that somehow suck all the creative juices out of it, keeping me from actually writing it? Is it just that I am so busy with the kids and my job, and the fact that I am not writing is an inevitable reflection of the busy nature of my life, or am I just making lame excuses for laziness, lack of talent? Am I not working on the book because I am depressed, or am I depressed because I am not working on the book? Screw the cause: I am very very very depressed, and I haven't been working on the book. Not for a long time.

And yet, and yet . . .

I am not entirely divorced from it, it is not entirely dead for me, because I am struggling with the same things Solveig is struggling with. I always knew that there was much going on in the book about permanence, impermanence. Solveig is horrified by Rolf's quest for immortality, but she understands it, too, because, like Jack, she wants to create something that will last. I type insurance paperwork for a living, and she designs shopping malls; like me, she sure as hell isn't getting what she needs from her day job. She gets irritable--just as I do--by those who try to convince her that since she's mothering a child, she should accept that as her gift to the future. No, Solveig says, and I say--I want to do something, make something, that will last. We both want a life's work that will matter, long term, that will stand for years to come. She ponders this as she designs an ice palace which will melt, but which she hopes will live in memory, just as I ponder my writing. I have my paper journals lined up in neat rows in my office. What will happen to them when I die? I have thought about this--Rob will have the right to read them if he survives me. The girls can read them after they have reached the age of twenty-one, and they will inherit them. In my deepest anxious craving to be remembered, to matter, somehow, I wonder if they will ever be read by anyone else, people who never have the chance to meet me. Will the words be interesting--enough to last? Will anyone give a damn?

What do I have to say for the ages? Will my life be remembered years, decades, even centuries later, like Sei Shonagon, like Shakespeare, like Jane Austen, like Tolkien, because of the words that I wrote--words about my own life, or my fictional creation? Or will I be erased inexorably by the remorseless, relentless, hand of Time?

I do not know what to do about the ice palace book. I seem paralyzed about it, and when I permit myself to think beyond the blackness of my depression--which seems just about impossible these days--I am in a rage, absolutely fucking furious at myself for being so blocked.

The fury does not help. It is not a spur to action; it just makes me feel worse, if I possibly could.

But beyond that, even, there is still something there about the book that is connected to me, to my deepest concerns, so I guess it's not dead yet--even if I can't figure out how to grasp it and shape it and make it work--or if I can't somehow force myself to do the hard slogging work to bring it into being. Whatever the cause.

God help me.

(Or maybe I should just switch to sonnets.)
pegkerr: (Default)
I just realized: I can't write the book I was planning to write now because HBP spoilers )</lj-cut.
pegkerr: (I told no lies and of the truth all I co)
This post has several roots. First, I have been feeling definite unease over the fact that, let's be honest, I just have not been working on the ice palace book. For months. I was pecking at it, and then my computer crashed last winter, and there was Christmas, and then taxes (which are STILL not done; don't blame me, blame Rob) and the end of school and karate and oh, all sorts of things. I let one thing after another crowd into my life and squeeze out the fiction writing.

I have talked in this journal about my fear that I have no more books in me, that I will never write fiction again. I wondered, for a number of years, whether I could still consider myself to be a writer.

This came up recently because I had this exchange of comments with [livejournal.com profile] epicyclical. Cassie was asking whether her readers knew what they wanted to be when they grew up, so to speak. I said that I didn't know, which at age 45, I found most depressing. Cassie answered "But you are a writer -- just what everyone seems to want to be!"

And I let that comment sit for days while I thought about it. I couldn't bring myself to even reply to it, because something inside of me felt the honest thing to say was to protest, "You don't understand. I don't think I'm a writer anymore." And I didn't want to say that because a) everyone would think I was fishing for ego-boo and b) everyone would think I was crazy.

I might have just let things sit without ever answering Cassie, but then I posted the request that lurkers introduce themselves. And I got many lovely, lovely responses, but I was struck by how many said, in effect, it's so cool to read the journal of a real working writer. And once again I'm haunted by the feeling that I'm giving people a false impression.

Folks, whatever you think a working writer is, I'm worried that I ain't it. I have not made a dime selling fiction for several years now. I have not worked on the book for months. And yes, I find it difficult to admit this, because I wanted to be working on the book (but not enough to actually do the work, apparently) and I wanted to be considered "a real writer."

Or do I? And what does that mean to me?

I have thought a lot about this in the past week. And I have come to several tentative conclusions, and I realize that still I have several outstanding questions.

I realized that I was operating on the understanding that if I wasn't working on fiction, right now, continuously (and selling it), this somehow negated my past success. It "undid" my status as a writer. I had to ask myself, did this make sense? Do I cease to consider Harper Lee a writer because she wrote "just" one book (To Kill a Mockingbird), a masterpiece at that? What about Walter M. Miller, Jr., who only had A Canticle for Lebowitz published during his lifetime? Do I not consider them to be writers anymore? What is the sell-by date by which a writer's "writerlyness" expires? A year? Two years? Five years? A decade?

No, I realized. I still think of Harper Lee and Walter M. Miller, Jr. as writers, and I always will. I have had two books published. By the same reasoning, then, I have the same right to consider myself a writer, too.

But what about the fact that I'm not writing?

Well, duh, you point out. You're writing now, Peg. You write faithfully in your LiveJournal, and your words are read eagerly by more than a person or two: the lurkers who spoke up proved that.

And that's true, too. All right, so, I'm a writer. And I'm writing now, in the journal/essay format. Journaling was the first type of writing I ever did, probably, and it has been the most consistent type of writing I have done across my lifetime.

Apparently, the problem boils down to the fact that I'm not presently a writer of fiction right now.

So how do I feel about that?

Frankly, I really don't know. I am not entirely sure why I have stopped, and whether it is permanent. Is it due to depression? Is it lack of willpower? Some character flaw? Is this just the season of life that I am in, that I am a very conscientious parent in an intense period of motherhood? Sandra Day O'Connor, for heaven sakes, took five years off her career to raise her children. Why can't I do the same?

The difficult thing for me to admit is that I am not entirely sure that I want to write fiction any more. Why else am I not writing it? And yet, how hard it is to admit this, when so many perfectly nice people read my journal "to learn what it's like to be a real writer." Will you chide me for false pretenses? Will you denounce me as an imposter?

Will you demand that I give the necklace back?

To sum up: All right, I am a writer. But I am not sure whether I am a working fiction writer. I am not sure I want to be a working fiction writer anymore.

But if not . . . then what the hell is it that I want to be???

This has been a painful and scary entry to write. I have gone back and forth over whether or not I should enable comments. I want to state as clearly as I can that I am not leaving them on because I am begging for reassurances. I am 45 years old and I know that for my own mental health, I have to base my idea of myself on what I think of myself, rather than what other people think about me. But after long thought, I decided that if my intent was to speak truth in this entry, then it made sense to give people a chance to respond.

More to follow later, but I have to get the girls to bed now.
pegkerr: (Default)
Laurie WInter did a tarot reading for me on Sunday, as she has done the past several years. (I don't know which deck it was, sorry). I have mixed feelings about tarot. I don't fear them as instruments of the devil (Tim Powers, for example, despite having written a novel all about the power of the Tarot, will not allow a deck in his house), although I am at times a little uneasy about them. I guess I treat them, as Kij has said, as something that might open a window of thought that might help you to think about your life in a different way. I have known writers who have found them to be at times helpful to use when thinking about their books.

The question (which I didn't tell Laurie) "What do I need to know about getting the ice palace book going and moving toward a full, confident, successful writer's life?

The Signifier: 2 of Pentacles, showing a woman on a tightrope, holding a pentacle in each hand. "Balance or focus." Oh, yeah. I laughed when I saw that. That's what I'm all about, definitely.

Situation Surrounding You: King of Swords, reversed. Cruel and crafty, untrustworthy, crafty pig-headed. This could be a person, but no one sprang to mind for me. It felt to me instead like writers block, like the pig-headed stubbornness of my back brain to produce words when I ask it to.

Recent past: 7 of Wands, showing a man standing on a hill, with wands pointed at him from the foreground. Being prepared for whatever comes, you've picked your high ground. Forces are arrayed against you, but you operate from a position of strength.

Bridge or barrier: Ace of Swords. Shows a sword, surrounded by flowered garlands, but the sword pierces through them. Attainment of power or goals. insight/mental/mind, "cutting through the crap."

Near Future: Page of Wands. She stands holding a tall wand with a crystal at the top, emitting rays. Firecrackers at her belt. Harnessing available energy. It felt like a card showing "focussing," which was hopeful, suggesting getting in touch with whatever-it-is that makes me write well.

Root: 5 of Pentacles. Shows a ragged man in the snow, facing away from a stained glass window (the five pentacles are in the stained glass). Another hooded woman lies huddled in the snow under the window. Not taking help available, turning away, choosing to step outside, do it my way. It felt like writers block again, the feeling of being out in the cold, not making it on my own. The writing has felt impoverished in the past.

Goal: 6 of swords, reversed. Shows a man in a boat with swords in it, floating without his guidance into a cave. Trip to higher consciousness is advised. Reversed it means you have doubts about obtaining your goal. I asked her, "Doubts about achieving it or doubts about wanting to achieve it? "Excellent question," she replied.

How you see yourself: Chariot. Balance again. About not driving (the driver is holding a lyre rather than the reins). He is focused on his art, rather than the journey, driven at high speed. This felt like another balance card, and the feeling of being slightly out of control. Interestingly enough, it was the only major arcana card in the entire reading.

How others see you: 8 of swords, reversed. This is a scary looking card, with a bound blindfolded woman surrounded by cards, but since it's reversed, the meaning is respite from fear, new beginnings, freedom, release. A very hopeful meaning.

Hopes and fears: 10 of cups. Happy family, surrounded by abundance. Home, joy, familial bliss, contentment of heart, peace, respect from others.

Up until this point, I had felt that the reading was moving in a very hopeful direction. I had been blocked, but somehow I was going to get focused and move in the right direction. Then Laurie turned over the last card.

Outcome: 6 of pentacles, reversed. Shows a man holding a scale, with hands reaching out to him. Reversed, it means unstable finances, frustrated plans, jealousy can cause harm.

I stared at the card, disappointed. Rats.

Laurie suggested that since there was only one major arcana card, this might be interpreted as a very short term reading. Perhaps the last card was a caution, rather than a prediction. Jealousy, I thought, and laughed a little. I told her how I had sat next to Jane Yolen at the signing, and there had been a long line at the table for her to sign ([livejournal.com profile] serendipoz probably had at least fifty books for her) and nobody had one of mine. Yeah, I have to beware of jealousy, of comparing myself to others; it will only make my frustration/dissatisfaction about the progress of my career worse.

Comments, especially about that last card?
pegkerr: (Do I not hit near the mark?)
Tonight, the head instructor of the girls' karate school, Mr. Sidner, was testing for his fourth degree black belt, so Rob and I and the girls went to watch the exam. It was the first time we've seen a black belt exam, for all the black belts testing region-wide. The whole thing lasted about three hours. I found it fascinating (the girls were interested, for the most part, although Delia did get restless toward the end). In the defensive section, Mr. Sidner did one of defenses from a wheel chair, taking out his attacker using only his arms. Quite convincingly, too.

As I watched the students kick and punch, I thought about something [livejournal.com profile] kijjohnson said once, that the practice of writing should become like the practice of karate: if you want to become good, you have to practice your forms every day. I want to study karate, but I will have to wait until the girls are out of daycare, and so we have a little more margin in the budget. I thought about discipline, watching those intricate forms, the jumps, the kicks, the looks of intensity on faces, young and old. My discipline in terms of my writing life has been nonexistent for the last several years. I am not sure whether motherhood is a sufficient excuse or not. In my blacker moments, I think it is not, that I am flunking being a writer. But I have been trying, to get my life back to the point where I can give the writing the discipline I need, by cutting other extraneous stuff out of my life. I'm almost there--but I sit down in front of the keyboard and . . . .nothing.

Architecture intimidates me. It intimidates the hell out of me. For my first book, I had to learn about jewelry making. I don't know why that didn't seem quite so scary. Perhaps because I was describing Renaissance jewelry making, and I didn't think there would be scads of people who knew enough about the subject to tsk tsk if I got it wrong. The second book got more intimidating: I was trying to get into the mindset of gay Manhattan subculture, and what the hell did I know about that? I worried incessantly whether or not I got it right, but . . . I dunno . . . there didn't seem to me to be anything technical about it.

Architecture, now. Mathematical and precise, with an engineering mindset which is foreign to me--is that what's paralyzing me? Or is it simply Jack the mysterious who is the problem, Jack the maddening, the elusive, who in my low moments I have started to dub Jack-the-jerk?

What is my beginning form here? What is my target to kick and punch? And should I have been acting as if I have been testing for my belt all along, and I haven't even known it? When are they going to inform me that they're kicking me out of the writer's karate school for lack of progress?

Or for self-absorbed navel-gazing instead of writing, for that matter. Yeesh.
pegkerr: (Both the sweet and the bitter)
After having a dozen odd short stories and two novels published, I almost accidentally pinpointed what my fiction is about when I sat down for the very first brainstorming session on my third novel, the ice palace novel I’m sorta kinda working on now. If you remember, I traced it back to the end essay of [livejournal.com profile] pameladean’s book Tam Lin, where she said that book was about choosing between heart of flesh and the heart of stone that the world wants to put in. As I’ve been thinking about it more ever since I wrote that entry, I’ve realized that the stories I’ve loved the most (the ones I’ve read as well as the ones I’ve written) have always been about that.

Yesterday, I pointed to an entry about an encounter at a coffeeshop, which [livejournal.com profile] magdalene1 suggested could be the birth of a new love. I haven’t read all the comments that entry generated, but Rob did, and he pointed out the parody that [livejournal.com profile] awatson did.

I couldn’t find a more elegant contrast between a heart of flesh and a heart of stone if I tried.

The very first short story I had published was a story about a young woman who works in a munitions factory goes to visit for a day her grandmother who lives in a deserted, bombed-out city. The grandmother at the end of the story gave the younger woman her two precious teacups, all that she had left of the bygone day before the war came. I realize now that right back there at the very beginning of my career, I was preoccupied with this same theme without even knowing it. Amy Thomas (author of Virtual Girl) reviewed it, and I imagine she has no idea how much her more or less approving assessment still stings a bit, even years later. She called it "schmaltzy, but moving."

That critique, of course, was in a way a put down, and I knew it. It stung because the world doesn’t value schmaltzy (Etymology: Yiddish shmalts, literally, rendered fat, from Middle High German smalz; akin to Old High German smelzan to melt -- 1 : sentimental or florid music or art 2 : SENTIMENTALITY). [livejournal.com profile] pameladean was absolutely right: the world doesn't value the heart of flesh, and always seeks to replace it with the heart of stone. Look at [livejournal.com profile] awatson’s last paragraph: I don't know the poster of the original, and I've got nothing against them. I'm glad they see the world the way they do, and honestly, I hope their version comes true. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't feel briefly warmed and uplifted by their account, but then my natural bitterness got the better of me.

[livejournal.com profile] magdalene1 saw the couple and viewed them one way: He’s tall, with brown hair and thick glasses with black frames. She’s short and curvy, with thick curly brown hair. [livejournal.com profile] awatson took the very same description and saw it with different eyes, with a jeering dismissive undertone: He's lanky, with slightly greasy brown hair and thick glasses with dated looking frames. She's short and fat, with frizzy brown hair. [livejournal.com profile] awatson is seeing them with the bitter glass that the demons hold that W.B. Yeats talks about in "The Two Trees." (See the essay at the end of that link).

Is the romantic love that [livejournal.com profile] magdalene1 thought she witnessed at that coffeeshop a myth? In the great conversation between Tolkien and Lewis that led to Lewis’s conversion to Christianity, Lewis said that the story of beautiful story of Christ dying to redeem the world was a myth, and myths were merely lies, though lies "breathed in silver."

No, they are not, Tolkien replied. They are truth.

Of course romantic love is a myth. But in that myth is a truth that can comfort you when you are alone and discover that you need not be alone because someone loves you. It can keep you warm at night, it can save your life from despair, though the world will always jeer and mock and predict that everything will end up horribly. We live in a cynical age, but I’m going to continue to resist that cynicism.

Let the world sneer. I’m going to continue trying to nurture my heart of flesh and resist the heart of stone.

Edited to add: Oh dear, oh dear. I see that I've set off somewhat of a comment kerfluffle. I've been thinking about this all day and marshalling my thoughts. I have to leave work now. Rather than replying to comments on this entry piecemeal, I'll do a new entry when I get home, and perhaps this time I'll explain myself a bit more clearly.
pegkerr: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] kijjohnson came up to the Cities today, and so instead of our usual Sunday noon call, we had a nice two or three hour visit. She brought her dog Hope along, and the girls enjoyed meeting her. We walked up to the corner coffeeshop and bought iced coffee for Kij and me and ice cream for the girls, and then walked back home. Kij and I sat on the porch and just talked, about our lives and changes we're trying to make (and changes we want to make that we can't quite figure out). We also talked about our respective books.

I talked about how I've sort of set the ice palace book aside and was finding it difficult to get back to it. I'd stopped because I went back to work full time and so lost my designated writing time. And then I started feeling uneasy about this and that about the plot, and started feeling remote from the characters, and days without writing has stretched into several weeks. "I've come to think that being a professional writer is like being a professional ballet dancer," Kij told me. "Even if you're a pro and have a lot of experience, you have to do your classes every day, because you have to keep your body in tiptop form, just so that when you do it, you can make it look effortless. It isn't like going out dancing at the club once a week, where you dance because you feel like it once in a while."

*sigh* You know what you have to do, Peg. Just like what you have to do with the exercise program that you stopped and you're finding excuses not to start up again.

You just have to buckle down to do it.

Anyway, we talked about ideas about what I can pick up to write again. Will mull over the next few days, and then . . . well, no promises. We'll see.
pegkerr: (words)
Have been thinking about the ice palace book, and why I haven't been working on it. Figured some stuff out today. I found myself thinking, with more than a twinge of impatience, that I seem to be able to come up with more reasons not to be writing than any writer I know. More )

This is awfully discouraging.

Peg

Morose

May. 15th, 2003 07:56 am
pegkerr: (Default)
I took a stab at writing the scene at the climax of the book this morning, just for the hell of it.

I'm sorry I tried. This was probably a tactical mistake. Am convinced it sucks rocks. But then, of course, it hardly matters, as I'm convinced that no one will still be reading the book by that point but will have thrown it down in disgust/total boredom, etc.

If I ever finish it.

Hmm. Seem to be suffering a crisis of confidence.

I get these periodically.

Maybe it's just my upset stomach. And the fact that I'm not eating properly.

P.
pegkerr: (Default)
210 words. I think I'm going to total up all these teeny tiny little scenes this weekend and see my total word count. Must also do reading up on architecture.

Jack still feels less accessible.
pegkerr: (Default)
Only 175 words. Rob kept interrupting me because he was using my computer to get a letter out.

And I could only force myself to exercise a half hour this morning. I'm definitely not firing on all cylinders yet. It's cold and damp and rainy, and I really don't want to go to my day job at all today. Just want to go back to bed and sleep.

*Sigh.* Perhaps coffee will help.

Peg
pegkerr: (Default)
There's going to be an ice palace at the St. Paul Winter Carnival this year! Oh boy! Golden research opportunity!

*Happy dances off stage left to deliver kiss to new laptop*

Cheers,
Peg
pegkerr: (Default)
The author in the schools gig went well. I visited 5 classrooms, talked for 50 minutes in each, and my throat is killing me, but the students were impressive. Much more lively and interested, and with much more intelligent and imaginative responses than the students whose classroom I visited last year.

After I'd finished that, I got together with Inga, my architect expert. )

Cheers,
Peg
pegkerr: (Default)
Today, as [livejournal.com profile] pameladean says, I glared at my novel awhile, specifically chapter 2, where I am trying to figure out the transition from the (pretty good) opening scene at home between Solveig and Ingrid, to Solveig meeting Jack for the first time at work. Finally, gave up and switched to writing one of Solveig's journal entries, which is more words on the page, but am not sure it will be included in the book.

Have been thinking: what is it about the fact that Solveig is an architect that shapes the ending (the final climax, etc.) about the ending of the book? How is the fact that Solveig is an architect significant magically? More )

Cheers,
Peg
pegkerr: (Default)
Last night, instead of writing a scene, I wrote down in my brainstorming file all my fears about the book, the things I'm afraid I'll do wrong, or that I won't be able to figure out, the ways I'm afraid it'll be a cliche. I did this in hopes that by exposing them to sunlight, I would make them shrivel up, have less power over me, so that I could get back to writing. Anyway, it helped to write them down, just so that I could set them aside.

Wrote 327 words in this morning's session.

Onward and upward.

Peg
pegkerr: (Default)
354 words. Wrote a scene at [livejournal.com profile] kijjohnson's suggestion, about Ingrid waking up from a nightmare and Solveig comforting her.

Had a great talk with [livejournal.com profile] kijjohnson last night and would like to write about it at length. Think I will, but not now. Need to get to work.

Peg
pegkerr: (words)
I used to devote a block of time every night, 8:30 to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday to writing, when I was working on my last two books. But then I was badly blocked after finishing Swans, and gradually, in the years since then, that writing time was given up to other things as stuff was added to our schedule and time got squeezed out. Monday night is family night and also the night Rob and I do our weekly money meeting. The girls are staying up later now. I’m getting up earlier now to exercise, so I’ve been going to bed earlier, too. And I’ve gotten on the Internet since writing my last two books, too, and the delights of LiveJournal, etc., have also eaten into my time.

But I’ve added the sliver of writing time in the morning, and now I’ve decided to re-devote at least Thursday nights to writing (after the girls are in bed). No LiveJournal, or at least not until after 10:00. This is a step in the right direction, and I hope to gradually add more. I’m starting to feel like a real writer again. It may sound funny to hear that someone who had written two books and seen them published might doubt that she’s a real writer, but that’s what the block did to me. It is such a relief to feel that things are moving in the right direction again, and that I’m regularly sitting down to write and sometimes, sometimes words even come out of that mysterious place where my imagination resides. Some of them are even pretty good.

I was listening today to Loreena McKennitt’s rendition of "The Lady of Shalott" on her album "Live in Paris and Toronto," and it occurred to me today for the first time that here is another story about heart of flesh/heart of stone. When the Lady looked at Lancelot—allowed herself to love, in other words—the "mirror crack’d from side to side." I think of A.S. Byatt’s essay on ice=glass=stone. Becoming human means daring to love. Unfortunately, her daring only brings her death. (How depressing!)

What this means for the book )

Hmm. (Goes off to think some more.)

Peg

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May 2017

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