After twelve weeks and almost 106,000 words, I’ve finished my seventh novel’s first draft. Now for the editing, which I happen to enjoy almost as much as the writing. It went over by quite a bit because of a few interesting aspects, but I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out. Now to see how much fat I can trim without trimming the lean.
Fingers crossed, toes too.
I’ve taken a break from writing to edit, write synopses, and write “blurbs” (that’s what you read on the back of a book that makes you like it or not) for all the novels other than what an agent requested in December.
I did all that for a portfolio of sorts I’ll put together for a March workshop when I meet her. I’m hoping they’ll all create further interest, which might land me an agent this year. Cross your fingers and toes so I can make this happen.
I’ll likely start on a new novel soon, one in which I’ve completed the first chapter in December, before things started getting exciting concerning that agent.
Quote for … life?
Leaves bear the seasons as we bear life. Yet they remain true to themselves, even sharing beauty as they pass into forever, imprinting their colors into our hearts and souls.
Let not foul words or deeds, especially words not meant to harm, alter your colors.
For when we blame something or someone for our lot in life, we make excuses. It’s how we react to outside forces that define us, not outside forces.
Novels and queries and synopses, oh my!
As anyone who aspires to publish their writing knows, not only is it hard work, it’s work that’s hard on you. I continue to dream the dream, working that forty-hour grind while trying to be grateful all the while for that forty-hour grind.
I am grateful, but I’m more grateful for being able to write. Penning a story, characters, places, conflicts, and resolutions is an enjoyable thing, likely within the top two personally enjoyable attempts at a creative pastime I’ve ever attempted. And having beta readers enjoy my work is great also. Recently, a woman said her sister came into her room and asked what was wrong, because the reader was cursing. Her answer? She was angry with one of my characters. When you can illicit emotion like that with mere words, what a thrill.
At the moment I’m working on a synopsis for my fifth novel, and it’s (they all are, right?) special. With great characters, a great hook, a great conflict, and a great (I’m a romantic at heart) love story, what’s not to love?
Fellow writers, you know how it is. We hope for that break, but it only comes with hard work, not only learning the craft of writing but learning the craft of storytelling so the reader stays engaged. My mantra is this: If I write something a reader skims, I’ve failed.
Here’s to us, the hard workers, the writers.
It’s Not Often
In the canoe, in my heart, the dark of her curls blend with the gold of sunrise.
With water glassy we paddle, unison’s time, rhythm’s endearing.
Over her shoulder she smiles. Hope leaps. Love pains at future’s parting.
It’s not often colors blend such as these.
Mercurial silver of water. Hazel of eye. Red of lips.
It’s not often to welcome falling into depths like those below …
… when she must leave.
Mornings are variety
With sun edging over horizons, red then orange then yellow bursts through white or gray or nothing at all,
Mornings can happen over oceans, bays, sounds, lakes, river, streams,
And even creeks.
They can happen over emerald fields of wheat, over shadowed desert sands, over forest and valley and mountain.
Mornings are minted daily,
New with fresh, breezy breaths or sultry, humid doldrums or with glistening dew on blades of grass.
Enjoy mornings. Revel in them. Allow their touch and tease and laugh to slip inside with each warm and golden sunbeam.
For mornings are these things and so much more.
Surely you have mornings of your own.
Be a morning.
I visited you today.
Wind moaned through the oaks while leaves blew through the markers. Clouds scuttled in the sky like oversized gray-toned crabs. The grass the men planted didn’t cover the red earth and I knelt to pick up a quartz stone at the foot of your plot.
No stone for you. Soon, I’m sure.
We grew up in the 60’s. Hide and seek and homemade ice cream. What a combination as families gathered to sit on the cinder-block wall that brought together my house and your grandparents’ house. We licked spoons. Vanilla. Banana. Strawberry. Chocolate. Laughed. Listened to stories with nostalgia’s comforting ring. Then we’d run away. Find somewhere to wait while the next kid searched.
Your life was like that. You couldn’t find yourself through the black curtain of addiction.
Sorry. I left out what came before that, which is more of what made us friends.
Hide and seek gave way to placing pennies on the railroad track to be picked up and admired after being squashed flat and shiny. The hikes through the woods led to fishing at the lake that led to bicycles downtown that led to dirt bikes on narrow paths.
Didn’t you break your collarbone that one time?
I do recall my bicycle spill at your house. Who’d have thought two boards placed on a red wagon on its side would spread when the front wheel hit them at speed? Or that a bike and a boy could flip so many times before landing? Or, for the most part, that dirt tastes like dirt? How nothing—except the bike—got broken I’ll never know. You took me in so your mom could check me out. If I didn’t thank you then …
We talked about all that. We tried to stay strong. Did you see?
As we neared our late teenage years I regret how we grew apart, though I doubt it would have made a difference. You were searching. I wish you had found it somewhere else.
I stopped by your parents’ house the day before. Thought if I were going to cry I’d do it then and get it out. I couldn’t because your dear sister held onto me for maybe five minutes. Said they had been talking about our boyhood escapades. She loved you. Loves you. We all do/did. Wanted so much more for you.
I think it likely she left the miniature cross at your site.
The next day they asked me to walk in with them. Said I was family. To simply say I was touched beyond compare does not compare.
I sat with them on the front row. Listened to the minister. The sadness hung over it all.
Again, wishes for more than fifty-four years of life for you.
Once more I’m getting ahead of myself.
In line I waited. For my turn to say words that couldn’t convey the weight of grief upon hearts. That weight fell fully when I hugged your dad.
Later, outside, we stood around your casket. It was cold. The coats were many. The smiles of remembrance.
The quartz rock sits on a book where I can see it. It’s stained red. So many wanted your life clean and perfect. Life’s not like that, is it? You came and you lived and you did the best you could. You got to see your grandson. I think I got enough of a look at him to see that your red hair crowns him. Your daughter looks like you. I’d never met her.
When I see your family we hug. When that happens I’m hurt and comforted. The grief clings, the want for more, the want for your happiness.
I like to think that’s the case now. How do Heavenly drums sound? Are the sticks pure gold or ethereal wonders of rhythm? Do you get to play with your rock idols who went before you? It’s a cool consideration, anyway.
The quartz is ice warm in my hand. Within its many imperfections is fleeting clarity. Glassy and glowing when held to lamplight.
Possibly, that’s how we all are. We wished clarity for you but addiction clouded it over. Clouds. Wind. Sun and rain. We fare the best we can. We love, create, tear asunder. Do it all over again and hope.
See you soon.
So Much Sweeter
When I keep an attitude of gratitude, the day is so much sweeter.
I Certainly Hope So.
We must live within them from time to time. Clouded mist and gray skies. But then emerges blue-sky dreams filled with hope. Hope tugs our hearts and souls on ghost threads tangible as steel and delicate as ether. Strong as any weapon while fragile as love’s fading kiss. How strong are your hopes? And how weak? And do you hope at all? I certainly hope so.
And so should you.
In Fiery Splendor
As the budding rose is to the rising sun
drawing forth in fiery splendor
so are we
As the smile of a child is to the parent’s heart
bringing forth love in all its mysterious ways
so are we
As the gull is to wave tops
endlessly seeking above crests foamy and golden at sunrise
so are we
As the oak leaf is to emerald grandeur
awaiting the final downward drift with gust and gale
so are we
As we each seek our path, yearning above all else to
lock hope away in our hearts
set it free
Allow hope to bloom, to laugh, to soar
at the end
you will pass forth with joy and thanksgiving
filled to everlasting