The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, July 21, 2014

Taking a Risk

          Reading Mary Horner's recent post--about taking a risk and sharing with students/the audience--made me think of writers who share themselves in their writing.

         Some of my favorite authors--Anne Lamott, Augusten Burroughs, Rick Bragg, Mary Karr--are writers who share ...everything. They're brutal. They cut themselves open and lay bare their bones--all the skeletons in their closets come clattering out.

          In May I joined a dozen or so other St. Louis writers for the Listen to Your Mother show. We got up on stage and shared our lives. Some of what we shared made people laugh, and other stories made the audience cry. Almost always I lead with my funny bone, but this time, I didn't.

          If you click on the link above, you'll be able to see me in all six minutes of my splendor. However, consider yourself forewarned. The photographer was ill on the day of the show, and so some of the videos got screwed up. In real life, people often mistake me for Halle Berry, so when you see someone who looks quite different from that, understand: the camera guy had problems...  

        Speaking of risk (again)--I'm friends with some writers who willingly share all sorts of things on paper, and yet when it comes time to share their writing with a live, breathing audience, they hesitate balk. These are writers whose talents are wickedly amazing ...and yet many people miss out on enjoying their gifts because of their reluctance to share at book signings and other events.

        Was there a time when you shared with an audience/family member/friend and the results were encouraging? Perhaps if my shy writer friends hear stories that ended up on a positive note, they might share the next time they get a chance...


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Never Too Late

        Enough cheesecake, chocolate-covered pretzels, fruit, wine and cheese and crackers to feed an army...People crammed into a bookstore like they were thirteen-year olds waiting for Justin Bieber to relieve himself in an alley...Two editors-extraordinaire and one bookstore owner (along with her "bartender" husband)...A hundred or so of readers and writers...Put all of those together and you come up with a winning combination.   

     A book launch for two collections, Not Your Mother's Book...On Family and Not Your Mother's Book...On Being a Mom was held this week, hosted by Robin Theiss at her shop, Stl Books. Dianna Graveman and Linda O'Connell, after completing months and months (and years) of editing work, were finally able to let their breath out and celebrate.

     One of the writers who was part of the celebration was Verna Simms. Verna's 93, still kickin' as an author, and just recently had a novel published. She was having such a good time at the book signing, she had to be taken out in handcuffs convinced it was getting late before she agreed to head home.

     So, if you're assuming you're too old to write a book, think of Verna. If you're figuring you don't have a chance of getting published, think of Verna. If you're sure you're past your prime, think of Verna...
      And reach out towards your goals.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Book Signing--Story Mining

      This Tuesday there is going to be a book signing in Kirkwood. Lots of local St. Louis area writers will be there. The two editors extraordinaire--Linda O'Connell and Dianna Graveman--will be there as well. There will be refreshments, chats with the writers, and pony rides...

(Okay, perhaps I'm mixing this event up with a different event. Don't count on the pony ride part.)

      There will also be readings from several authors. I will be sharing my story about my son and his tattoos.

      "Tat Boy" (I sometimes thought this would be a great nickname for him) is today being honored at a "White Coat" ceremony. He's been accepted into the Doctor of Osteopathy program in Kirksville, Missouri and will eventually be a D.O. (An incredible D.O.--Dr. Fred Duhart--delivered my babies and did the same thing for another one of the WWWPs...Small world, huh?)

      So, come to Kirkwood on Tuesday and be prepared to buy some books, toast Tat Boy today in Kirksville, and be assured: I've been able to mine many stories from my son's experiences, but the excavation process has not come to an end. I'm sure I will get much more fodder as his schooling continues...

Friday, July 4, 2014

Indie Day

      I am taking Margo Dill's suggestion, and I'm heading to an independent book store today, in order to give a twist to Independence Day.

     Also, I'm a few days late drawing a name, but Vickie Newman won a copy of Not Your Mother's Book...On Being a Mom. (Of course, Vickie's last name was like a curse whenever it was uttered on Seinfeld--Val, you know what I'm talkin' 'bout--but I certainly won't hold it against Vickie.)

     And as a final note today, Love a Golden is having their annual trivia night on August 23. It's held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in St. Charles. We have a wonderful silent auction and free beer (not a draw for me, but I'm strange). If you live in the area and are interested, check out the "events" for more details. (And if you have anything you'd like to donate to auction/raffle off, please contact me. Love a Golden is a 501 (c) (3) group, so all donations are tax deductible.)   

Friday, June 27, 2014

I've Broken It, Baby!

          10,000 words might not seem like a lot, especially when a couple of months ago, I had 84,000.
           However, it is a lot when I started again from 0.

           This morning I worked on a longer project that I've been plagued by for the past two years. I'd gotten to 7,000 something after working on it--now and then--for the past month or so. After a few solid hours, I'd broken the 10,000 word barrier, baby!

           Writing is part talent but it's an equal part (or an even greater part) persistence. There are countless people who have a gift for writing, and yet they don't persist with it. They don't sit their butt in chair (BIC) and just write.

           I'm trying to prod/encourage/cajole/beg my WWWP writing critique group members to work on their big projects. (Warning to the WWWPs: I've got an electric cattle prod and I'm not afraid to use it.) Each woman has a "biggie" they're working on. Two of them have incredible YA manuscripts in progress. One has an adult novel they're working on (not that kind of adult novel--get your mind out of the gutter). One has a memoir that's touching and rollicking.

        Be persistent with whatever you're working on. Don't give up. Think of how you eat a T-bone or a cheeseburger or a tuna steak. You don't shove it all into your mouth at once--you eat it one bite at a time.

       Be persistent, one bite or one step or one word at a time...

Friday, June 20, 2014

South of Broad? North of Broad? Am I a Broad?

         Recently I finished Pat Conroy's book South of Broad. Yes, I know--it's not his most famous novel. Yes, I know--there are movies made from his work ("The Great Santini" and "Prince of Tides") but I haven't read any of his books until now. Yes, I know--I'm behind millions of readers when it comes to Conroy.

     Reading South of Broad was life-changing. Or rather, it was novel-changing. Or to put it in an even more accurate way--it changed my direction as a writer. Now. On the project I'm struggling with.

     To find out how reading this novel changed my writing, check out my guest post for The Muffin.
     And don't forget to read something great this weekend. It might change your life (or your work)...