Hello friends, old and new. I have not been around for years, or maybe months but I am so happy to be back. And what a day to be back!! Tonight Carol and I are speaking at the Day-Riverside branch of the Salt Lake City Library at 7 pm. We hope some of you can come and make faces at us or throw tomatoes or peanuts or giant king-sized candy bars or even plane tickets to Hawaii. Please throw plane tickets at us. Please.
Also, Carol and I are nearing the end of a major revision on the book we’ve been working on. Yay!!! I hope so much this book makes its way into the world. It’s been a little bit of a difficult delivery–more difficult than we were expecting but I hope that means it will be worth it.
And finally, I hope you are having a wonderful writing day. I have not been doing a lot of writing myself (except for revision–lovely revision!), but I have been thinking about writing and daydreaming and eating ice cream and mopping the floor and telling kids to stop leaving honey nut Cheerios all over the house and swimming and chasing people and putting clothes in the washing machine and then letting them rot there for several hours and a whole bunch of other things. Which is actually kind of like writing in the long run.
Three things I love about writing partners:
- Writing can be so lonely. One day recently I finished a book. I could not believe I finished it because when I was in the middle of it, I thought it could never ever happen. It was a mess. It was all over the place and the end looked like distant place on the horizon with dragons and hot fire and weeks of unmade dinners and laundry in between. I worked and worked and worked every day. I worked even when I thought what I was writing was so dang stupid and it was, I’m pretty sure it was. I erased stuff, rewrote stuff and then erased that and then forced myself to keep going all the way to the end. I think it’s a miracle. If I can make it to THE END, it’s a miracle and I think every single writer in the whole world needs to rejoice when they get to write THE END of a novel. So here’s this: What if that THE END came with someone else there. Someone else contributing not only writing but ideas and inspiration and encouragement and misery and everything else that goes into writing and writing and writing. THE END with someone else usually comes faster than when you’re alone.
- You get breaks. You write something and you send it off. Then it’s their turn and you get to go on a walk or pull weeds or go on a hike and use your brain for other things or other books or maybe even the same book but still, you can take a break. And breathe.
- Friends are good. Connections are good. Creating is good and creating in a collaboration is good. Very good and hard and takes work. There are times that there are misunderstandings and maybe the book is going the wrong way and you work differently and that’s hard but who cares because you are both pushing each other.
I think it’s good to write books alone. I think it’s good to write books with others. I think it’s good to try things that are difficult and make us work and that also can be easy and let us relax.
I say gather friends. Nurture relationships. Be good to each other. Send congratulations and kindnesses. Eat food and laugh.
I think I might be fired. But I realized it’s my day to blog and it’s been so long. I wanted to say three things:
- I read some of Carol’s new book and I can’t stop thinking about it. From the first page she knows how to grab a reader and totally immerse them. There is no one who writes people, real people, like Carol. Not only that, she won an award at the University in town for her teaching. She’s a treasure (tray-shore) and I’m not joking about that. I feel very grateful to know her and learn from her and talk to her and discuss current events and laugh with her.
- Stories tie us together. More than anything else. I believe this. All of us. From every place. From every age.
- Writing every day is the only way to finish a novel. I know some people claim to write a novel in a week or maybe even a weekend but to have a crafted, well written, revised beautiful novel, you have to work at it. And work at it. And work at it.
Those are my three things. xoxo
Today I do not want to write. I want someone to bring me a gigantic pink cookie. I want to float on a boat to the Caribbean. I want to sleep until my body doesn’t need sleep anymore. I want to wash my hair in chocolate. And I want my book to be done.
Yesterday my dad got married for the second time. I wasn’t there for the first one. It was short and sweet and now they’re driving the country, going where ever they’d like to go on this beautiful Valentines Day. I’m so happy for them and also so floating like a balloon in the sky for them. It’s tough to grow up even when we’re already grown.
Do you want to write today? Will you write romance? Will you write passionate kisses? Will you write about second chances at love? I asked my husband if he was getting me a Valentine and he said, “I did. I fixed the washing machine.” And you know, it was love because the pump in that thing was full of many things: sludge, legos, paper clips, sludge, hair, body parts, sludge, cars, plastic dinosaurs, sludge and probably black mold that will kill him slowly. We probably saved 500 dollars and a doctor bill for a dead washing machine repair man. That is love. It’s better than pink cookies and boats in the sun and sleep and chocolately hair.
What if today was the last day of your life you’d ever get the chance to write about love, what would you write?
Today I went to yoga.
I went early at 5:30 and my friend convinced me to try to do acro-yoga which means I tried to do a handstand on someone else’s hands.
I was terrified.
I’ve decided to do terrifying things as much as possible.
Lots of things terrify me.
Doing handstands on people’s hands. Doing handstands on the floor. Telling people I can’t do something when they ask. Letting my house be a complete mess so that I can write. Having people pop in when my house is a complete mess so I can write. Writing in a way I haven’t before whether it be a different POV, a different setting, a different rhythm, a different genre. Sledding. Eating mushrooms. Thinking about death in a real way. Admitting I’m scared/lonely/overwhelmed/angry/anxious. Talking to someone who intimidates me. Talking to someone who I don’t know. Saying yes to something hard. Trying to do the splits. And on and on and on.
What terrifies you?
What terrifying thing will you do today?
I did try to do the handstand and I fell over and over and over again. Then my friend said, why don’t you try it this other way, and try not to think about it too much.
and then I did.
Happy New Year!
- Hopefully things will get back to normal around here.
- I just ate many of these things because Sister’s BIL works for Nabisco and she brought us a garbage sack full so I feel like I should do my duty and contribute to the family more this new year.
- I have a new book to work on, a book with Carol to revise, a memoir project I’ve been posting, and really bad hair.
- My goals for this year is to have no zero days (google it–beware of language). My dear friend Shar told me about this and maybe we’ve discussed it on here before. It was a post that someone put on Reddit that went viral. The basic concept is that you never go a day without doing SOMETHING towards your goal. You want to get in shape? Do at least one jumping jack or one sit up or one really painful lunge if the day gets away from you. You want to write a book? Write a sentence if that’s all you can do. Want to be a yoga master? Wear yoga pants all day. You get the idea–Make sure no day goes by with you doing ZERO towards reaching your goals. This is something I can get behind.
- Last night I read this article and cried and cried. I think writing has so much power to connect us whether it’s through middle grade novels, picture books, memoirs, articles, notes to each other, or essays like this one. I’ve never lost a child but people close to me have. My own mother lost a child and sometimes it was hard to understand her grief. Now my sister has lost one and others I know and this small piece of writing has opened up my heart just a little bit more.
That’s all for today. Much love in the slush and gray of January.
I call it the “be kind to myself”approach. It’s a little bit like this or this when things don’t go my way.
Here are my rules:
- Try to write every day.
- Try to write more than I think I can.
- Try not to start a new book when things get hard.
- Try to stay focused rather than rummaging through the cupboards or cleaning out my closets.
- Being okay with messes both in my book and in my life.
So far so good!