Fox is a good strong word in the mouth, much like fuck, but calla lily rolls strange on the tongue.
I had forgotten how much I like people.
At a party full of some of my favorite actors, D. says, “A good city has to have a certain stank to it, y’know?”
And I love that he understands this.
Lex smells of worn out pennies, trendy perfume and that sour breath thirst for clear cool water.
What does your town smell like?
I participate in a small, closed internet forum. All of us women, writers, green and unagented, feeling our way through this industry. Some self publish, some want to go traditional. We trade links to writing blogs, query forums, and pitch contests, with tons of fluffy encouragement, uneducated advice, a dirty joke or three and absolutely no cold hard criticism.
Yeah, one of those groups.
But I’ve been introduced to some marvelous writing sites through this cheering-squad network. I entered in contests I wasn’t ready for, and even attracted the brief notice of an agent or two (which I was also not ready for), and have muddled my way into this writing game grinning a lot.
One these ladies has made it to the top. You’ve heard of her. That book that everyone is talking about (that no one admits to talking about) that’s making million dollar deals and “changing the industry” and brings new definition to a particular shade of purple.
Yeah, that book.
She’s nice. Fully understands that her stuff isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Still cheers the rest of us on. I’m envious of her success, but not jealous.
I write a very different kind of story, and a very different genre.
And I’m getting there. I’m comfortable with the progress I’m making. Got a couple of manuscripts I’m proud of, thanks to some fantastic and honest criticism (outside the forum) and great revision advice.
Always is the underlying mantra write what you want to read.
But now, as I agonize over grammar choices, and tweak paragraphs one notch tighter, make my antagonist just one detail more interesting, my setting more three dimensional, I have to wonder.
Is this what other people really want to read?
Am I being naive?
I love snow.
The whitewash of cold, that realigns the world into a clean existence, scouring out everything that is not strong, that wasn’t built from hardy material; I need that clarity.
When autumn lingers to long, I feel the decay, and self doubt creeps in like the extra pounds at Thanksgiving.
As a visual artist, I have confidence in what I do.
I can build a mask, sure of my hands and the material, form a character, give it an expression, and know it “works” from the inside out. The director may want an adjustment, the actor may need a second fitting, but I know it suits the play, and that the audience will enjoy my “vision.”
I have learned to trust my artist ego. The theaters in the area trust me too. I’m never out of work.
Transferring that confidence to my writing is taking some time. This spring and summer was a heady time of surprise accolades and notice, and a push to discover my “voice.” Fall, ever practical, forced me to take stock of this word trade, make decisions, choose how to invest, but with it came insecurity.
Now I’m looking at winter, and the hard frost and cold wind that wipes out everything but determination to survive and better yet, succeed at this crazy writing game.
And I’ve lost nine pounds.
Take that, autumn.
Janet Reid (of QueryShark fame, or infamy -I don’t know which; she scares me) hosts fun little word contests that push the brain to work in odd directions. The latest is a poem of 60 words that runs forward and back, with a prompt of candy.
Go look, some of them are quite fun.
His words, like spun peppermint,
clear the clouds,
distance no wound.
Tight sugarcanes twist
whispers on fast kisses,
chocolate sweet with evening storms.
Bitter the weather, black licorice,
Temper his licorice black,
weather the bitter storms,
evening with sweet chocolate kisses.
Fast on whispers!
Twist sugarcanes tight-wound.
clouds the clear peppermint,
spun like words,
I’m from Brooklyn; I swear like a sailor with a venereal disease, but I’m not fluent in euphemism.
I’ve earned my pink ribbon.
Cats LOVE me. Especially white ones.
I work in theater. 90% of my wardrobe is black.
Keys find me repellant, and will hide from me at the earliest opportunity.
In winter, I become a hermit.
I like to spread avocado on bread instead of butter, with a bit of celery salt.
My stepdad is a Vietnam veteran.
Black licorice is next to chocolate on my list of sweets, but maple syrup is first.
The older I get, the more I am amazed with what my mother has done with her life, and the choices she has made.
Costume design is how I earn my bread and avocados. Writing is what I do on the side, and when I can afford the time. I’m hoping I can say the opposite, five years from now.
The abandoned house at the top of the hill
-where the old woman’s dishes
sat unwashed in the sink,
her clothes draped over the ironing board,
for fifty years-
was torn down last August
with no ceremony.
When the wind moans
through the oaks she planted,
we can smell her perfume.
I’m the new girl. It’s an odd status that doesn’t last, but at least I am in good company.
William DuVall is “the new guy” for Alice in Chains, and he seems to be doing well:
We saw him with AiC in Louisville. I didn’t want to like him, but he was all kinds of awesome.
I’m no rock god, but the students like me, and the directors trust me to hold down their fort for a bit. By the time I leave they’ll know my name.
Another new guy is in an exhibit at the Newport Aquarium:
He’s pretty cute, too.