Alice’s Restaurant

February 28, 2007

Wanna Be and Gunna Be

Filed under: Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 1:06 pm

Force of habit, I guess, but I find myself talking about writing a lot, even if there’s no round up.  *grin*

You all know what a wanna be is, right?  The first time I heard the phrase was in reference to white people attending a pow wow.  Some of them wanted to be Indian.  My half-breed friend didn’t think much of them.  So I always thought a wanna be was not something I ever wanted to be.

The first I’d heard of a gunna be was a few years ago on eHarlequin.  A gunna be was someone who didn’t just want to be a writer.  A gunna be was someone who may not be published yet, but was clearly on the way.

From where I’m standing, the difference between a writing wanna be and a gunna be was in whether or not someone was serious about writing.  By serious, I mean the person in question is doing more than think about it and/or talk about it.  A gunna be is writing.

After all, you can’t get published if you have nothing publishable written.

There are all kinds of ways to tell if someone is serious.  I’ve been serious about it all along, but I have been known to spend more time talking about it than doing it.  I think at those times I’m more of a wanna be than a gunna be.

RWA makes the distinction through their Pro program.  In order to prove you are gunna be, you have to have not only written a “complete” manuscript, you have to have submitted it to a publisher or an agent and received a reply.

For the most part I don’t think the distinction is important.  So long I remember to keep writing, and not just talk about it.

Alice

February 27, 2007

Sleep Over

Filed under: Day to Day Life — aliceaudrey @ 9:24 am

My son has had the same best friend since second grade.  They are now in sixth grade. 

Unluckily the friend hit puberty a little early and has turned into a raging teenager.  That’s all fine and well.  He’s a sweet kid and I don’t have to put up with the lip.  It had never occurred to me it would be a problem for my son.

The kid is driving my son nuts!  He’s trying to pressure him into getting heelies and certain Playstation games, and is all over the map emotionally, and wants to spend all weekend long with my son on a regular basis.

This is where the drama comes in.  Last weekend my son asked to have the friend stay over, a common occurrence, then asked that we fabricate a reason to send him home early the next day.  In the past we’ve let them have all weekend long so now the friend wants to know why he can’t simply stay.

I told my son I would simply tell him it was time to go home and that would be that.  As the time approached I realized that wouldn’t be that.  The boys are growing up.  The way I treat my son’s friends has to adjust too.  Doesn’t it?

Maybe not.  I ended up telling the friend it was time to go, and packing him off.  He went without a question.

Alice
 

February 25, 2007

They Call Him Mr. Lucky

Filed under: From the Mail Bag — aliceaudrey @ 11:24 am

Check this out.  Some guy was driving along the highway and went off the road.  You can see the place he went off over on the right hand side of this picture.

Hitting the rail

The guy was seriously lucky.  I mean, He jumped a culvert and ended up close to the road.  His truck isn’t even all that smashed up, though it’ll need some work.  Get  a load of it.

Check out the bed of the truck

I don’t think you realize just how lucky this guy was.  Scroll down to see what I mean.

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Can you see the bottom?

Alice

February 24, 2007

Drumming

Filed under: Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 1:47 pm

I play hand drums.

Conga, ashiko, djembe, djum djum <yes I know it’s not technically a hand drum>, I’ve even tried my hand at bongos, talking drum, water drums, baudran, and Native American style flat drums.  I’m not particularly proficient at any of them, but I know 6 hand positions for conga, three or four songs, and am reasonably comfortable with 6/8 time.  I can handle most drummer’s circles without embarrassing myself.

Drumming in a circle has a certain magic.  When you are in synch with the other drummers, playing a rhythm that makes sense with what others are playing but isn’t exactly the same as anyone else, the energy level goes up.  When I’m in synch, I can literally drum all day.  When I’m in synch I can loose my sense of self, trade it in on a sense of the divine and eternal and community.  When I’m out of synch the energy drains away fast.  I can be completely worn out in 10 minutes when the rhythms won’t pull together.  Out of synch, I come away from a drummer’s circle feeling isolated and unwelcome.

So what does this have to do with writing?

Both drumming and writing have something to do with energy flow.  Both are easily isolating activities that can be used to connect one to a sense of community.  Both are activities that those who aren’t engaged in can’t really understand.

This blog brought the connection to mind.  I tell myself I should work head, particularly in the Suzie blog.  Supposedly I could get a week’s worth of blogs out of the way in a day then simply post them at the appropriate time.

It doesn’t work that way for me.  I struggle to come up with something to say when I try to work ahead.  I can get bits and fragments of ideas done, but not finished posts.  When I am responding to what someone has said on another blog, or in FanLit Forever, or in my crit group, or one of my boards the words simply flow.

Like echoing or reinforcing someone else’s beat, writing my blog as I go draws me in and sustains me.

On the other hand, Suzie is a perpetual rough draft.  I can’t get the kind of distance from my own words that makes it easier to edit because I’m frequently coming up with the last of those words minutes before I post.  Some weeks I’m not even sure what I will write about when Friday arrives.  It’s performance art in a field where one of the greatest benefits is the time to fix your mistakes before anyone knows about them.

So when I come up with a lame Suzie, please forgive me.  I never know how it’s going to come out until it’s out.

Alice

February 22, 2007

Challenge 3, Chapter 2 TONIGHT!!

Filed under: FanLit — aliceaudrey @ 1:16 pm

Yep, the round closes at 11 pm Mountain Standard Time tonight.  I figured out what the schedule glitch was.  We added two days to make up for the emergency poll, but I forgot to fix the calander. 

I have two entries in progress with high hopes of getting them both in.  Suzie only needs a quick polish, and will be posted late, late tonight or fairly early tomorrow.  And I’m going to be “Least In Sight” for a few hours here.

Alice

48 Questions

Filed under: From the Mail Bag — aliceaudrey @ 9:49 am

1. What time did you get up this morning?  6:58, 7:08, and 7:28am  Snooze alarm.

2. Diamonds or Pearls?  Pearls

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?  Eragon

4. What is your favorite TV show?   I don’t watch TV

5. What did you have for breakfast?  A bowl of cereal

6. What is your middle name?  I have to have a middle name?

7. What is your favorite cuisine?  Whatever I can get my hands on.

8. What foods do you dislike?  I know there is some, but I can’t think of it off hand.

9. Your favorite Potato chip?  I have no idea.  I steal them off of Mr. Al’s plate.

10. What is your favorite CD at the moment?  Peter Gabriel’s Up.

11. What kind of car do you drive? Subaru Legacy

12. Favorite sandwich?  Ruben

13. What characteristics do you despise? In what?

14. What are your favorite clothes?  Comfortable.  Anything from Jeans to velvet skirts depending on what I plan to do in them.

15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where WOULDN’T you go?  No such place.

16. Favorite brand of clothing?  Brand?  I make my own.

17. Where would you want to retire?  I have no intention of ever retiring.  If I’m so far out of it that I can’t write, then I’m too far out of it to know where I am.

18. Favorite time of day?  Now.  Later’s good too.  Actually, that’s not true.  I really like golden sunsets in August, but I’ll settle for whenever “now” comes around.

19. Where were you born?  Texas

20. What is your favorite sport to watch?  Gymnastics

21. Who do you think will not send this back?  I’m not sending it, I’m posting it.  I’m posting it because I’m tired of answering it over and over again.  Now I can simply give the people who insist I fill it out a URL and be done with it.

22. Person you expect to send it back first?  See 21

23. Pepsi or Coke?  La Croixe, if anything.

24. Beavers or Ducks?  Moose?  If this is a sports thing you’re talking to the wrong gal.

25. Are you a morning person or night owl?  Night owl.  

26. Pedicure or Manicure?  Neither.

27. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?  I do, regularly, right on this blog.  Never could keep anything to myself.

28. What did you want to be when you were little?  A writer.

29. What is your best childhood memory?  Let’s not go there.

30. Piercing? Ears.  I’ve considered nose, but it’s too prone to infection.

31. Ever been to Africa?   I wish!

32. Ever been toilet papering?  Yep.  It wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be.

34. Favorite restaurant?   China Buffet  Inexpensive, fast, easy, kid-friendly, and tasty  Can’t ask for more than that.

35. Favorite flower?  If I think about it pansy  I don’t generally think about flowers.

36. Favorite ice cream?  Butter rum.

37. Favorite fast food restaurant?  China Buffet?  Please, no greasy frys.  That kind of food makes me queasy.

38. How many times did you fail you drivers test?  I don’t remember, thankfully.

39. From whom did you get your last e-mail? Anastasia, my mother, the grammar how-to loop, Ask An Author Pro, the ladies who were formerly on AOL but got run off by systems problems, and various FanLit Forever notices.

40. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Fabric store. Except my supply went into “Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy ie ABLE”  lone ago.

41. Bedtime?  When the toothpicks holding my eyelids up break.

42. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? My mother, but I seriously doubt she’ll answer.

43. Last person you went to dinner with?  Mr. Al.

44. What are you listening to right now?  Silence.  But now that you mention it I’ll go turn the radio on.

45. How many tattoos do you have?  None.  Not gunna either.  And I’m not going to make any excuses for it either, so quit suggesting it.

46. How many people are you sending this to?  I have no idea.

47. Favorite magazine?   Romance Writer’s Review.

48. What time did you finish this e-mail? 8:41am
 
 

Alice

February 21, 2007

No More Wednesday Roundup For Writers.

Filed under: Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 9:16 am

The whole reason I started doing my little how to write mini lecture series was to accommodate May’s Wednesday Roundup in which she did links to about a dozen writers who all offered their suggestions on how to write.

May no longer does that.

Which means I can happily step down from my little soap box and stop doing these how-to write blogs.  Seriously, considering that I am not a published author, I feel a bit silly offering advice.

This means my menu is going to suffer a shake up.  I’m still planning on doing Suzie on Friday, but maybe I’ll move the recipes to Sunday  I’m thinking of a Talk To Me Tuesday, if I can figure out how to do polls and things on a blog, but maybe not.  I’ll let you know when I figure out what to do with the void.

Alice

February 20, 2007

How much SHOULD you let other writers influence you?

Filed under: Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 8:58 am

Clearly you don’t want to give up your own idea of a story in order to accommodate another writer’s idea.  If you’re willing to do that then you might as well go around doing all the stories that non-writers perpetually offer to writers. “You know what you should write?  You should write about my grandfather <or other relative, friend, favorite pet, or self> who <insert long boring monolog>.” 
But it really helps to get some feedback, and sometimes that feedback can take a story in a different direction than I had originally thought, ways that I like.

So where do you draw the line?

Alice

February 18, 2007

Validation. Who are you writing for?

Filed under: Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 1:07 am

Yesterday Sara made a commented on her blog about how silly the need for complements from other writers.  I adamantly disagree.

I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt say it again.  Writing for yourself is like playing tennis with a wall.  There’s a kind of satisfaction on a primal level that comes from the feel of the ball hitting the racket, the success of having caused the ball to leave your control then return to it as it bounces off the wall, and a kind of Zen-like trance from the repeated action that lends itself to peace and insight.  But it’s not the same as playing tennis with another person.  Writing, particularly when you get in the flow, is excellent therapy in and of itself.  The process of spinning dreams into yarns enthralls me.  But writing with no audience in mind but yourself isn’t the same as writing with the intention of being read by others.

I came to this conclusion after many, many years spent writing in isolation.  It took me a couple of decades – yes, decades – to get my writing to anything remotely resembling reasonable, let alone good.  Every time I shared what I did I got slammed.  I bounced in and out of a number of writing groups, sometimes staying a few months and sometimes for years, but never sharing everything I did.  Most of the over 3 million words I’ve written have never been seen by anyone but myself.  Probably about 1 million of those words never will be, thank God.

Writing so much with no outside feedback helped me firm my voice.  Maybe.  Frankly my voice is very different in each of the stories I have written, and tends to reflect the material in question as much if not more than something about myself.  So I’m not sure you can really say my voice is firm even now.  But I am very confident about my vision for any given story.  I think that comes from having done so much in isolation.

But writing without feedback has not been good for me in other ways.  I have often found myself becoming hidebound over things that didn’t deserve my staunch support – be it unappealing characters, poor word choices, or muddy themes.  Feed back –  which at this stage I can only get from other writers as I’ve long since burned through all my non-writing friends and family –  has made an enormous difference in my learning curve in the last two or three years.  The more brutally honest, the better.  But only so long as I know it is possible to wow the critiquer.  If I think I have no hope of impressing her or him, I only get depressed.

Allowing myself to be influenced by my critique group has improved not only the work in question, but everything I write.  I feel that in the last few months I hit a new plateau in quality.  High, not low. *grin*  I go back to my old work and my older work and I can see improvement.  I like what I’m producing now better than what I did before.  I can credit the writers who critiqued me both in FanLit Forever and in From The Heart Romance Writers.

So I say heck yeah I will be influenced.  I won’t change my story to match what someone else would like to read just because my story is like their idea of it, but if I can make my story more interesting, more meaningful, or more fun by fishing for the “hey wow” response from other writers then why shouldn’t I enjoy the complements?  Better to accept honest praise with a shit eating grin than to make my PTA buddies read yet another attempt at Romantic Suspense or Historical Romance or to shove yet another manuscript under the bed, or in my case the filing cabinet with no handle.

For me it isn’t silly at all.  It’s a basic necessity.

Alice

February 17, 2007

To My Son

Filed under: Day to Day Life — aliceaudrey @ 3:06 pm

My son likes to lick.  Nothing I do makes him stop.  So when he licked my hand, I  rubbed it all over his face.  He laughed and turned his head this way and that.  We were having a pretty good time with it.  I told him to lick my hand again because it was drying off, and he started blowing at it to dry it faster.  He was so cute going “puff, puff, puff” on my hand.  So I threatened to blog about him.  He doesn’t think I’ll really do it.  Hah!

Alice

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