Tag Archives: writing

After a Week of

really rude people, surprises that were hurtful, and dumb stuff, it’s nice to fall in my novel and  enjoy it.

I love to write. Mostly. I don’t love writing middles. But I love ends.

I especially love to have written.


And to see my book in print.

A box of ARCs of NEVER SAID arrived on Friday.


There’s something lovely about slipping into my own made up worlds.

And into other people’s, too.


A dearest friend told me she had only one book left in her because she’s teaching.

Only one left.

No! I said. Stop teaching.

Just write.


My note today is this–YOU have something to say. There are PEOPLE who need to hear what you have to say. Stop waiting around. Stop giving excuses.


Write that mid grade.

That picture book.

Your YA.


Write instead of TV. Get up an hour earlier. Stop running three miles sooner.
Give us your book. Because someone, like me, needs it.


Someone needs YOUR book.


Filed under CLW, Life

Today is the Beginning of Summer

For me, I mean. School’s out. I just have to submit grades.

And, as with any beginning, I have my goals.

The biggest goal of all is to enjoy.


I’ve never allowed myself to just live.


And I haven’t had the best of times the last few months. I’ve let this influence me. The sadness. The heartbreak.

Before me now is five months–with WIFYR (www.wifyr.com) stuffed in the middle–of enjoying being with Carolina. Taking a trip with a few of my girls. Polishing and organizing. Visiting Rick. Catching up with people I haven’t seen in a while. And writing.

How I love writing. And hate it, too.

And how I love rewriting.

How I love sexy new projects.

I’ve got all that before me.

Plus, guess what? I even jogged today. Not very far. And real slow. R-E-A-L slow. So slowly that Carolina walked beside me and said “Mom. ” And I was like, “Run. A. Head. Pl. Ease.”

I have second hand smoker’s lungs (thanks southern family o’ mine) and so I can’t breathe easily. Is this why I’ve had the cough now for years? (This better not be serious–but the allergy pills didn’t help. The asthma stuff didn’t help. The cough medicine didn’t help.)


What’s before you?

Is it dark?

Can you find light in that darkness?

Is it joy?

Does it include children? Lovers? Books? Friends? Food? Serving? Being served?


Perhaps is should include all of that.

And a good dog.



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Filed under CLW, Depression

Still Alice

On Friday, this movie comes out.

I have watched the trailer three times. I have also cried three times.

My husband asked, are you going to see that?

Of course I’m going to see it, I said.

And he said, Why? Why would you do that to yourself?

My mom died after a long long long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Before that, she’d talk about her mother’s early onset Alzheimer’s.

Her mother was very proper and very private.

Mom would tell how grandma would show up in the front room with curlers in her hair and a housedress on when church ladies stopped by to visit.

She would have been mortified if she’d known, Mom would tell us. Absolutely mortified.

I hope that never happens to me, Mom would say.

She did everything she knew to try to prevent it:

1. She exercised every day.

2. She tried to eat healthy foods.

3. She played Rummykub as much as she could.

4. She bought us men’s speedstick because it didn’t have aluminum in it (some say aluminum contributes to memory loss).

5. She tried to do hard mental things, things she normally would have and could have ignored.

6. She played the piano.

7. She traveled.

8. She tried to learn a new language.

9. She worked in the temple.

10. She kept up on the lives of her nine children and 35 + grandchildren.

She got Alzheimer’s.

And when she realized it, she called each of us and told us that she wanted to jump off a cliff.

I bawled after that call. Bawled and bawled. I remember it like it was yesterday. The oscars were on TV. My first baby was little. My heart was broken.

So why would I go to a movie about it? Why would I want to watch something so painful?

Many of us watch movies and read books to escape. We want to get away from the hard things and get time to relax, live in another world. Eat popcorn and watch people fall in love. Or fight space battles. Or wear iron suits.

Some of us watch movies and read books because we want to know that we aren’t alone. That other people know what it feels like to suffer. To see our loved ones suffer. We want to know that we are all different but in many ways, we are all the same. We all go through hard things, we all have our hearts broken, we all have to figure out how to keep going.

Some of us watch movies and read books so that we can experience things we’ll never have to go through, so that we can understand a small part of the lives of those who do. So that we can empathize and reach out and say, I’ve never had cancer or depression or divorce or this kind of loss, but I can imagine it and I want you to know that I’m here for you.

As writers, we have lots of different motivations for the stories we decide to tell. I think it’s wonderful to write about light and funny things. To write about dreams coming true and happy happy things. I also think it’s important to write about the other side of life. About heartache and pain. About alienation and suffering. About hope and light in the midst of all this.

I came on this quote the other day and I loved it.

“The Greeks sensed that the best art does not take us away from reality into the dreamy realms of fantasy–though some may do that. On the contrary, the best art penetrates the hard shell of habit to reimmerse us in the depths of experience, ‘refining the sense of beauty to agony,’ ‘making the stone more stony,’ creating ‘anew the universe, after it has been annihilated in our minds by the recurrence of impressions blunted by reiteration.'” –from The Crucible of Doubt by Fiona and Terryl Givens.

I think it’s our responsibility to try to create the best art, art that connects us all to each other over and over again so that we will never forget, and so that we will be able to reach out and love over and over again.

What do you think?

Why do you read? Why do you write? Would you go see something that brought up hard things from your life? Or avoid it forever?


Filed under Uncategorized

Three Things Thursday

I remember when I was 11 or 12, I became “inspired” to write the greatest Christmas story EVER. I had a special pen and a special notebook and I would get down under the Christmas tree to write with only twinkly lights to see by.
I’m pretty sure it involved an orphanage, snow, and a little girl that believed in Santa no matter what anyone told her. A terminal disease may have been involved.  I’m also pretty sure I never finished it.
I can definitely say that it wasn’t the greatest Christmas story EVER. The lights didn’t cast magic over my words and make them better.
But the experience of writing…that was magical. In this world of instant gratification and results-based judgment, we sometimes forget about how important experiences are. Sometimes you’ll work for months or years on a story and it will come to nothing. That’s not a failure. You only fail if you learn nothing from it.
So take the risk. Try that story you’re afraid to waste time on. It might be stupid. It might be unoriginal.
Or it might be the greatest story EVER.
Some of us already have goals for next year.  Some of us are thinking about it.  Some of us haven’t made goals, unless they’re about NOT having goals and “setting ourselves up for defeat.”
In this week before Christmas, I’d like to suggest we all give ourselves a break.  For instance, one of my goals is to write AT LEAST 750 words a day.  Maybe I should think about NOT obsessing over the “every day” thing, just for this week.
I’d like to make writing a priority over most other things.  But here’s a list of things writing should NOT trump:
Dear friends
The real spirit of Christmas
Taking care of myself: eating, sleeping, remembering to take necessary meds
Have a Merry Christmas season with all your REAL priorities in mind!
Tomorrow is our last post for a week.
And so I wanted to tell you several things–
Thank you for being my friends.
Thank you for loving good books and writing good books.
Thank you for following Ann Dee and me and Kyra along for the last few years.
The very best blessings to you and yours.
And may this season bring you the most joy possible.
Love, love, love.

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Filed under Family