The Lies that Writers Tell Themselves

I’ve been saving this quote in my photo stream for several months because it struck me and I kept intending to write about it.

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It reminded me of something that was said at last year’s Writing Well Workshop that has stuck with me. Sasha Martin (Life From Scratch) wanted to debunk the lies that all writers seem to tell themselves and I wrote it down in my notes as the title to her section. The lie that plagues me the most is a variation of the following:

*Who would want to read this?

She challenged us to seize the doubts, the questions and answer them.

This has all been done before. This echoes through my head repeatedly because I’m writing a vampire novel and vampires are trendy. I feel like the popularity of the vampire ebbs and flows like so many things but in the wake of Twilight I noticed that vampire novels flooded the market. And vampire movies, and vampire tv shows, merchandise, etc. Vampires were no longer pushed to the goth edges of the socially acceptable; they were pop culture icons now. The public was bored and the critics were making fun. I don’t remember if I was actively working on my novel then but it wouldn’t resemble its current incarnation anyhow. But I had been an avid devourer of novels in the genre and I had been planning (hell, dare I say even plotting) to write my own vampire novel since middle school. As you can imagine, I often feel discouraged.

I know that you can’t control what people think but it would bother me endlessly if people assumed I was writing to the trends, trying to make money by riding on the coattails of Twilight (it’s never been about the money). God forbid someone claim that my work is unoriginal.

But now, I’ve found ways to counter those doubts. First, by the time I finish, edit, and get accepted for publication (let’s stay positive here), the vampire trend will be in the distance and the world will be primed and ready for a new take on an old myth.

And second, well, you have to tackle that word “original” or “unique” because we ALL borrow from other writers. There are even arguments that are no more original stories left! Sometimes, I don’t even realize that I am doing it. Sometimes, I do, reading widely and taking someone’s idea and twisting it until it’s my own.  But even if I wrote something steeped in goth and horror tradition, it still wouldn’t be a copy of anyone else’s. It’s my story to tell and only I can tell it this way. Yes, I am writing a vampire novel, like so many before me, but this is my contribution to the genre, to the long conversation passed through books and down through generations.

I am adding my voice to the song.

 

 

Book review: Furiously Happy

Book review: Furiously Happy


Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
by Jenny Lawson

🐾🐾🐾Three out of five Paws

I had sometimes read Lawson’s blog and as such was excited for her first book: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir. I went into the second book, assuming it was much of the same which would be ok because I love her stories. Furiously Happy is another true-story novel full of funny tales that are just this side of unbelievable. I love her honest confessions on mental health and other chronic diseases. I love that she refuses to apologizes for her weird. We still need books that normalize depression and anxiety and for this I am grateful to Lawson.

That being said, I really felt like this book was all over the place. Several times I thought it was going to end while I still had a thick chunk of pages in my right hand. I do understand that this type of book would warrant a controlled chaos kind of approach but it felt so very disjointed. It was distracting from the important message that could sometimes be buried in gimic.

Books Are Important

Books Are Important

book-1558780-640x480This week I was given a new lease on motivation for writing.

A friend shared this article on Upworthy and because it was about Harry Potter, I read it. I cried. I never cry at articles or movies or commercials. The article is about two parent’s trying to survive their premature daughter’s stay in the NICU. The father started reading Harry Potter to her and her vitals improved so they didn’t stop. The mother talks about how the book series saved them, saved her daughter, saved her family. It’s more than wizards and witches. It’s a story about good triumphing over evil and about the real magic in the world.

I know re-reading the series helped me through a difficult several months of depression.

The article filled my chest with hope and purpose. Because books are important.

The above article was a really dramatic example of this.  Books can save lives. They can soothe depression. They can motivate. They can teach. Most importantly, at the smallest level, they change people’s lives.

Just think about the novel you are working on right now. Your words will be important to someone someday. If we are honest here, they will more than likely not save an infant’s life in the NICU but you never know who needs your words. Who needs your lessons. Who needs to feel less alone. And it doesn’t matter if what they need is underneath a thick layer of gore or sex. What you are writing does matter and it will matter.

Carry on,

Check in for March

I forgot to check in on the first of April to discuss my progress on my 2017 writing goals.

reading: Finished Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson and started the blog post to review it.  Started and made significant progress with our next Book Club read: The Light Between Oceans.

poetry: Fiddled with previous two poems, one of which is still unfinished. Started a third poem which is mostly scraps for now.

short fiction: Ha.

the novel: word count 5157. That’s less than a thousand word progress which is SUPER PATHETIC.

I also think that last month was when I started my instagram for this blog. I had decided to lock my personal and I didn’t want to cut off my potential audience who could find me through tags. So I’m @_thewordywolf over there. I’m hoping it will drive traffic and link me with a community.

Everything Hurts and I’m Dying

It’s three AM and I’m awake. Let me clarify, I’m still awake. I’ve got a headache and my eyes are tired but my pulse is elevated, I’m drowning in my own sweat and I can’t friggin sleep.

I know what’s wrong. It’s the steroid shot they put in butt at about 4 PM yesterday. Probably combined with the oral steroids I swallowed some hours after. The muscle relaxer and the codeine-enhanced cough medicine are no match. I’m wide awake.

What the heck is wrong with you?

Well, I’m glad you asked, friend. After feeling a general sort of malaise for two days, I woke up yesterday morning with a chest cold. Again. I hopped in the shower to ease some aches and congestion and then about five minutes after I got out, something went horribly wrong with my back. Suddenly I couldn’t bend over, or move in certain ways, or take a deep breath without severe stabbing pain and muscle spasm in my left shoulder. The spasm literally stopped me in my tracks and pulled me back from whatever activity I had tried.

My husband was in Kansas City for work (a four hour drive). My kid is 17 months old. My family is at least a two hour drive. My dogs were insulted or mad and acted like complete assholes.

It really was kind of the worst day I had had in a long time.

I haven’t really gotten an explanation for what is wrong. My ribs were out of place probably from coughing although my coughing had been minimal. My doctor honestly seemed a little perplexed as he watched me try to “take a deep breath” and as I jumped and gasped when he touched a small area near my shoulder blade. The nearest I can come up with is that I threw out my back which usually happens to a different area. It’s weird. It’s unexplained and it’s horribly painful.

Which has kind of been my life for the past seventeen months.

I’ve been in pain since she was born. It’s been a long journey of trying this and that, bloodwork, and chiropractic care, and massage therapy, and specialists, and nerve conduction tests. We have arrived at what I am calling “probable fibromyalgia” but guess what, that diagnosis could change within the next two months since I finally got in to a rheumatologist.

I’ve debated sharing this because I often feel like my blog doesn’t have much of a “niche” however, I was inspired by a fellow writer who came back into the world to announce that she had been struggling with chronic illness, Bisky. It feels important to talk about pain disorders because it feels as if pain has become less understood than depression. When I was blogging before, it was often in the constant fight against the stigmas of mental illness and suddenly we are saturated with science and anecdotal accounts in the media. Celebrities have come forward, books have been written and now the layman understands that someone who is depressed is not just sad. We still have a ways to go with the less popular illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar but it’s been a huge leap forward. We need this for chronic pain. So here I am, adding my voice into the din.

This Time Of Day


I love this time of day. It’s the hottest part of the afternoon, before the kids get home from school and turn the curl-de-sac into noise. There is the chug-chug of trains in the distance and the soft in and exhale of breath.

The dogs are puddles of fur on the couch and they look like angels. The baby probably shouldn’t be napping this late–she will be up all night–but I don’t care. I carry her to my bed and stare at her eyelashes. Everything is tinged pink because the sunlight filters through red curtains. The air conditioning kicks on–a gentle stir of wind–and I pull my bare feet up under the covers.

I’m tired too and my body aches but I take the time just to watch her. To rest my lips against her forehead and breathe the smell of baby lotion. Her little heart thuds against my chest as my thoughts turn to verse. The rhyme drums through my head:

You are the reason the stars wink at night.
You are why birds have wings
and why horses once had flight.

2017 Goals Month 2 Check In

February went by really fast for me. I hope your Valentine’s Day was great, or if that isn’t your thing, I hope you have plenty of love in your life.

If you have just tuned in, my resolutions for this year were just to read and write more and in order to keep myself accountable and visualize my progress, I’m doing these check-ins.

So reading: Actually I’m pretty much sucking at reading this year so far. I didn’t finish the book club novel. To be fair, I found it a little boring. And my concentration suffers from pain flairs which I haven’t talked about here yet. I’m setting An Ember In The Ashes aside and hoping that our next read is more my speed.

Writing I have split up into two categories poetry/short fiction and my novel.

I still have not managed any short fiction. But I did edit and improve a previous written poem that I had published on my last blog. It’s a new piece now. I have also been working on one of the poems I had started last month but I still am not satisfied with calling it finished.

My novel. I don’t think I wrote my current word count for last month so I’ll start today. I’d like to see how I’m doing on average.

current word count: 4,575

That’s still pretty pathetic considering how long urban fantasy usually is.

Ugh.