Category Archives: Writing

Addicted to News [mini-rant]

What is it about other people’s drama that’s so enticing to read about? While I’ll always click on a cute kitty story, I find myself drawn even more to the negative news loops like a gawker at a traffic accident. Even when I already know the gist, I’ll click to see yet another POV ~ and then be disgusted with myself for wasting my own time. Stop!

Whether it’s politics or entertainment (not that there’s much diff), I am a glutton for punishment, stuffing myself at the 24-hour buffet of stupid “news.” And then I have the nerve to whine right here on my own blarg that wah wah I can’t find the time to write fiction any longer.

I told myself that quitting Facebook would free up loads of extra time, and it has, but I’ve been spending it reading about the Karjenners. Gahhh.

But seriously, Kylie is cuter sans the fillers.

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Writing Misc.

I’ve read a few books lately that have broken some “rules.” They’ve mixed first-person and third between chapters. They’ve included pieces of a “destroyed” diary in italics, so the reader would know what was going on when the first-person protag didn’t. They’ve told stories in the present tense, first-person, and then stuck in an epilogue from another character. On and on. Yet, I enjoyed these novels. Just shows to go ya!

*

I don’t have writer’s block. I’m not sure how to describe my “ailment.” I’ve written a boatload of bloggery lately, a bit of it fictional, some poetry for Twitter, etc. I still feel that all my previously outlined story and novel ideas have potential… but I can’t work on them, given my lifestyle.

One, I’m no longer capable of getting up at 5am and writing for a few hours before work. Just can’t do it. Maybe once a week, but not consistently like I did 10 years ago.

Two, I’m not capable of writing fiction for 3-4 hours at night after work. Or even two. I’m tired. I can fling off a blog poast and some texts, but my eyeballs rebel at doing solid screen work.

Three, I’m too OCD to let my cleaning and chores mount up on weekends to write. I need to get stuff done. And I enjoy seeing movies, hanging with friends, and, most of all, spending time with family when I can. I’m not going to give up that stuff to pound out chapters of a book only a dozen people at best will ever read. Not motivated.

But that’s not the same as writer’s block. If I had the time ~ if I were retired, forex ~ I’d be cranking out those stories like I did years ago when I had more energy. They are still in my head. Dunno how long they’ll stay there. That’s a different issue.

*

Conversation with my daughter…

Me: I don’t feel safe putting my documents in the cloud.

Sharon: Why not?

Me: Because I’ve already shared a photo folder with people, so they might be able to see all of them.

Sharon: You’ve sent emails to people. Can they read all your other ones?

Me: Good point.

Sharon: Now I know how Mark Zuckerberg felt in front of Congress.

No Sinning Here

Today I read that one of the seven deadly blogging sins was jabbering on too much about oneself without giving something to the reader, so before I indulge in more navel-glazery tonight I will give back. Yes indeed. Here is a lovely link to my books you can buy. Now, please don’t say I never gave anything to my blogfans!

Okay then.

The otter day I commented somewhere (can’t remember where) that I’m a chatty introvert. I meant to talk more about this because it’s interesting to me, since it’s about myself, and honestly what could be more interesting than meeee?

I enjoy my own company and am happy in solitude ~ reading, writing, organizing stuff, watching a movie, chilling with the cat, etc. I’m fine going the whole weekend without talking to another person as long as I know my kids are okay. My office is quiet too, and I like that; I don’t chat much with people usually nor do I go to lunch with anyone. I think I’m probably more of a loner than the average introvert. My friends call themselves introverts too, but they seem to need much more social time than I do.

However! Speaking of friends, and being social generally, when I’m with people, I’m on. I talk. I talk a lot. I’m an open book. I’m warm and friendly, not shy, not quiet, not reserved at all. You really can’t shut me up, basically. I’ve even done open-mic stand-up comedy!

But after a few hours or so, my energy level will sink like a phone battery with a million apps open. I’ll become noticeably drained to the point that peeps might comment on it. My head feels too heavy for my neck… it’s overloaded with all the peopleness in the room. So much sensory input. Eventually I can’t process one bit more. Must escape!

I recharge again by being alone.

Barbara Double D [dating story]

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I met a man named Ozzy. We’re calling him this because he’s originally from Australia, or so he said. You never know with guys from dating sites, since they tend to lie about everything. He lived in NorCal and was working here, in SoCal, and was (allegedly) separated from his wife. I didn’t care at the time that he wasn’t divorced yet because I wasn’t either. He was very sympathetic regarding the recent death of my mom, which drew me to him.

For our first meeting/date, he took me to a very nice Japanese restarant, where we had a long, leisurely sushi and sake lunch. (Back then, I loved sushi and also drank alcohol.) It sure beat the boring Starbucks meets favored by the majority of men on dating sites. We kissed afterward and it was very fireworky. He also enjoyed writing and sent me a sexy story starring us and included a special pasta dish similar to spaghetti carbonara but named for me.

Ozzy and I began dating/sleeping together. He was fun and cute and had a nice place provided by his employer (I had a child at home and didn’t bring dates over). We had agreed at the start to be monogamous and deactivate our dating profiles, but for whatever reason I didn’t trust him. And I wasn’t even that cynical yet, but I simply didn’t.

So, I reurned to the same site where we met, but instead of reactivating my profile to spy on Ozzy (which he would see and then deny doing anything, except accuse me of still being active too… stalemate), I created a new, spoof profile. I named her BarbaraDD and stole a photo of a blurry blonde off the web. I made her profile very different from mine: outgoing saleswoman with implants, loves to travel, likes watching football, wants to keep things casual. I made deliberate spelling errors, though that was difficult. Barbara viewed Ozzy’s profile and said “hey how are u” ~ something I’d never do in a million years. Of course he responded because he hadn’t deactivated.

Naturally, Barbara also received 90 kajillion messages from other men, pretty much every man on the site. She ignored all of them and focused only on chatting with Ozzy. She said outrageous things, like she wanted to come to him right after she had unprotected sex with another man, and he said that would be great. Ughhh. Then he sent Barbara the sexy story, changing the names, including the recipe to Pasta Barbara.

I was so mad! Obviously Ozzy sent that stupid story to all his women.

Barbara told him the story was incredible and made her want to meet him right away, but she’d lost her phone. Could he just meet her tonight at this bar in Newport Beach at 8:00? Of course he agreed.

At 8:00, BarbaraDD deleted her account. I blocked Ozzy and never spoke to him again. Dunno if he figured it out.

Mom’s Flowered Suitcase [flash]

flight-airport-airplane-plane-34631-pixel-photo

I stood alone at the empty carousel. It had finished spinning out the bags from my flight and mine wasn’t among them. I glanced at the people around me–they were busily texting and briskly wheeling their suitcases outdoors toward ground transportation.

“What did it look like?” The friendly customer service rep was trying to help me find my lost bag as I waited in her office.

I was a little embarrassed. “It was small. And green. With um bright flowers all over it.”

She smiled. “Oh! We have it here. I’m sorry but it seems to have come apart a bit, so we kept it safe.”

“That’s the one.” There was no mistaking the unique floral case the rep brought out from the back. It had been shabby to start with, but now the handle was dangling off and one side was shredded. “It was my mother’s. I guess I’ve had a hard time letting it go.”

“I understand. I could tape it up as a temporary solution.”

As I watched, I thought of the broken vase and the lost earring and the other disappearing mementos. They would all be gone eventually, except for the ones in my heart.

~*~

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner #28 -2018 

199 Words

Regarding the Discover Option [rant]

The “Discover” new blogs button isn’t unique to the WordPress app, of course ~ we can access it from our WP browser menu as well. I’ve clicked on it a few times over the years. And every time I exit in disgust a minute later. Why? I’ll tell you why!

Those blogs featured under Discover don’t need to be discovered cuz they’re already discovered AF. They have 500-700 likes already on the poasts we’re supposed to believe are new and interesting. Hey, let’s all discover The New York Times! Whoa. Bet we never thought of reading Newsweek or CNN. Hey, how about that obscure People magazine… bet they need some readers.

Feh. I would like to discover more blogs that have small readerships (like ahem mine) in order to help them grow. Talking about fun, interesting personal blogs for the most part, not those other kind. This is a major reason why I enjoy the games and prompts ~ they help me find new blogs to follow.

Big shout-out to the bloggers who have taken the time to start and maintain the prompts: Fandango, the WOTD group, Flash Fiction, et al. I plan to participate even more in these and other prompts because (1) they’re fun, (2) it’s cool to see the creative ideas others come up with, and (3) they provide a good avenue to find new blogs.

But I won’t be clicking on WP Discover again!

Regarding Writer’s Block

Jenga

Dusty commented about WB in my last poast. It’s true that I can’t seem to sit down and force myself to write the things I believe I “should” write, such as the next short story in my epic collection of long connected stories, or even finish one of Anna’s hot romances I’ve left in limbo. But that doesn’t mean I can’t write anything ~ in fact, I’ve been blogging a ton (have actually deleted several ridiculously verbose and pointlessly rambling poasts in the last several weeks before I hit publish), emailing a bunch, and tweeting a twitload. I have even poemed a bit. It’s just the fiction I’m not into any longer and thus have given it up.*

Fiction writing feels like regression. Maybe that’s a lazy copout, but it’s how I feel right now. Writing fiction was an escape from bad times in my life, and my life is no longer bad. I don’t need an escape into a fantasy world of make-believe characters I focus on instead of my own situation. Unlike poetry, which stimulates my love for language, wordplay, and brief, intense emotional exploration, writing fiction feels hollow and fake. (This doesn’t apply to fiction reading at all, which I still love. Or movies dur!)

Writing about real events, however ~ slightly enhanced for entertainment value ~ such as the “dating stories,” is still a lot of fun for me. I was going to write about my trip to the wilds of Los Angeles last Tuesday, the crazy Bentley who tailgated me (a freaking Bentley!), the trippy sidewalks, my adorable granddaughter (I’m a grandmother now, if you didn’t know), etc., but there wasn’t any outstandingly funny moment to regale y’all with, and I’m all about the regaling.

[Just had to delete some amusing nonsense about regal and regaling because the words aren’t related. Dictionaries are our friends! But eccentric comes from outside the circle of normal, which was the WOTD yesterday, and since I can’t sleep in this heat even with a Valium and it’s now tomorrow, that word is definitely appropriate.]

Now, at this point you may be wondering if this poast isn’t one of those ridic rambles that should go into the trash heap… no! First, this is an experiment to see if it’s easier to blog from my old Kindle, since it’s larger than my phone and has a more finger-friendly keyboard. Second, it allows open tabs to be visible at the top, like a puter, which is helpful for switching back and forth when looking stuff up while blogging. Third, it’s difficult to create links when blogging by phone (have not tried the WordPress app) ~ basically have to write them down on a piece of paper and type them in again like a cavewoman. But on my Kindle I can copy and paste like a normal person. However, there is one issue: my bitmojis! I only have access to media already uploaded to WP, no new bitmojis or photos on my phone, since this thing isn’t connected to my phone. Of course, I could save this as a draft and then reopen it on my phone, where all my pics are. But that is not exactly an efficient, streamlined operation, is it now?

I put the previously used Jenga blocks up top, meh. Other solutions were: (1) use a previous bitmoji that didn’t really go with this poast; (2) use an ugly stock WP photo of blocks; or (3) begin some complicated process of installing an app on my phone that will give my Kindle access to photos, but it is 3am and I don’t wannu.

There is a rumor going around I might be getting a Mac, which will render all this angsting obsolete, but in the meantime… the blog abides.

*One of my friends said he learned in a yoga class recently that stress damages the brain and is potentially one of the leading causes of dementia. So, this just proves I’m on the right track giving up stressful things like dating, Facebook, fiction writing, etc. If only I could give up driving, that would be AWESOME!

Oh, now I have to stick on all the tags that will allegedly attract zillions of readers to this poast. Bwahahaha!

My Independence Day

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I celebrated this July 4th by flinging off my self-imposed yoke of fiction writing tyranny. Hurrah! Instead of dumping tea into Boston Harbor, I spilled it all over my laptop and destroyed my keyboard, thereby depriving myself of the means to gaze at the screen wondering why a best-selling novel authored by me doesn’t materialize while I screw around reading the news. Tuesday I had a meltdown while visiting my daughters because I’m so frustrated and stressed over my lack of writing progress and success, so I suspect the tea spill was a subconscious rebellion.

Of course I could buy a new laptop, but I don’t want to. My hard drive is fine and safe, if anyone cares, and most of my stuff is backed up, but I can’t write fiction on my phone. I feel relieved. I spent the day watching movies and doing NOTHING. I’m tired of telling myself that the minute I get home from the office, after typing on a computer all day, I have to start working on a novel or else I’m failing at life. Most nights I don’t even write ~ I just sit there, tired and miserable, staring at the screen, until I crash into sleep.

Maybe my subconscious was also at work when I titled my last book of poetry All She Wrote. At the time, I meant it about a specific situation… or so I thought. In any case, I don’t intend to stop blogging or tweeting, or even writing the occasional pome, all of which are phone-friendly. I’m only talking about giving up the agony of fiction writing and the hopelessness of self-promo. These nowhere goals have been adding to my depression. (I probably shouldn’t use the word depression, but since I allow people with regular bad headaches to call them migraines, I figure I can haz a pass.)

These are the movies I watched yesterday:

1. Spaceballs! So freaking funny. I can’t believe I never saw it before. Loved it. Just what I needed to cheer me up. And whatever happened to Daphne Zuniga? So pretty! She was in a sweet romcom with my honey John Cusack back in the day. What was that? Be my google.

2. Winter’s Bone. Yikes, what an intense movie. I can see the appeal of Jennifer Lawrence now. She is incredible in this utterly bleak yet fantastic film.

3. The Age of Innocence. Generally I don’t like narrated movies, but there are exceptions to every rule, and this is one. What a lovely film. Everyone was superb. Daniel Day-Lewis is such a gifted actor ~ what a shame he retired.

I plan to feast madly on movies and books from now on. Other people have created delicious art and I’m simply going to nom up theirs and shoot down any idea that I need to write a novel, should such a crazy notion ever raise its nasty serpentine head again out of the tangled jungle of my mind. Begone, slithery, sanity-stealing, ego constrictor of doom.

Freedom!

Earning the Ending

HEA

I think most of us like to feel that an ending is deserved in a book or a movie and that applies across the spectrum of genres. I’m only going to discuss romances however. The other night I watched Set It Up on Netflix after reading a glowing review from Vox. Meh. While the office humor was cute, the romance aspect was basically all snark and zero chemistry. The ending basically consisted of the protags going hey we might as well get together now since we’re both free and sarcastic. But there was no real epiphany or character arc or anything interesting wrt either one of them. What’s sort of ironic is that this is how we often behave in real life, since people don’t like to work for things (work? waaah!), which utterly sucks ~ and idk about you, but I want my fiction to be better than real life!

Compare this to one of the best romcoms of all time When Harry Met Sally. The protags change during the film and make the audience feel an anxious longing for them to work through the obstacles preventing them from being together. When Harry runs through the streets of New York City on New Year’s Eve to find Sally, we’re right there with him, feeling his desperation. Harry and Sally both grow as characters during the film (which takes place over a decade) and do more than just snark at each other to create sparks. Think about your favorite romcom ~ you’ll likely agree that the protags have to change and overcome character traits or fears in order to be with their soul mate. This doesn’t just happen via lazy banter and geographical convenience. Love should be earned and fought for, not handed out in the last scene like a party favor.

The same goes for romance novels, which are heavier on the romance and lighter on the comedy (though the best ones are witty too). I recently read two that seemed similar cuz they both were about fictional dukes in England around the same time period, but one had an earned happily ever after ending and one did not. They were both enjoyable, for different reasons, but I gave one 3 stars and the other 4, because of the earned aspect.

In How to Forget a Duke, neither protag changes significantly during the novel other than falling in love. The main issue that keeps them apart is resolved by someone else fixing it, not by either the hero or heroine figuring out a way around the issue or deciding it is not as important as their lurve. That gave me the sads. But in From Duke Till Dawn, both protags change during the novel (and more than once) and have various epiphanies about each other, themselves, and life in general. It’s a really good book and the ending is earned. I didn’t give it 5 stars because I simply can’t bear ridiculous coinkydinks, and if a duke with his massive resources can find people anywhere, why couldn’t he have found Cassandra when she disappeared the first time? Anyway…

I’m glad I stumbled across that Vox article I linked in the first para because it referenced The Daily Beast’s 2014 essay declaring that the romcom is dead, which I hadn’t heard before. Is that true? TDB makes a good argument for it ~ and I haven’t seen many (any?) decent new romcoms in the last 5 years or so. I loved The Big Sick, if that counts as one, but even if… that’s just one. Can you think of any other recent big-screen romcoms?

Oh well, there are still are romantic books to read. Remember books? 🙂

Meow Movie

I’m not obsessed with my cat. Seriously! I was just about to start writing a pome using today’s prompt words, something about my broken heart and trees in a storm or some effing thing yada, but then I saw I had a Google alert and scampered over there to check it out. They had made me a movie. But not just any movie ~ they took all the photos of Gatsby and collaged them together with music and meows and it is The Best Thing Ever.

LOOK AT THIS. IS IT NOT THE BEST MOST ADORABLE WONDERFUL MOVIE THAT EVER WAS?!?! I was so sad today and now I am floating. ❤ ❤

https://photos.app.goo.gl/bRxYf34g1rogJfbn6

(Click to follow the link and then again to biggify and play.)

Okay, maybe I’m a little obsessed with him. But he is my soulkitty. ^..^