The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Intertwining Reality With Fiction

       Today I'm going to weave a little fact with a bit of fiction. Hopefully, the intertwining will be a tad entertaining...

       School is about to begin in my school district. My school is two blocks from the looting that was going on in Ferguson, and less than 1/4 mile from where a young man lost his life.
       As the investigation continues, some of the residents have taken to the streets to clean up and show the pride they still have in their neighborhood. And it is a wonderful neighborhood.
       The road to healing and repairing frayed connections is a long one...

        My current WIP is slowly growing. Around six months ago, it was "finished" in my mind--at 84,000 words--but of course it was only an incredibly rough draft that had to be chucked. Now, the conflict is a stronger thread (at least I hope it is). Conflict in a novel is a good thing, a necessary thing. Conflict with real people and real bullets...not good at all.

        This year (lucky, lucky me) I am teaching only writing (and just a little social studies). I am thrilled beyond belief. Three sections of writing every day. (I keep pinching myself, to ascertain if it's a dream or reality, so my cellulite's getting some extra attention.) This is a totally new groove for me to get into.

            As far as my WIP, I'm working on fictionalizing reality. Making it funnier. Making it more cohesive. Making it--yikes!--first person. It's sending me in new directions, and my friends have morphed into different people. It's slow slogging. But, it's evolving into (IhopeIhopeIhope) a more satisfying story.

          In my classroom, I'm stepping more and more out of my box this school year. I bought a hardhat and decoupaged it all up (with writing phrases) and will wear it often during the school year as we construct and deconstruct our writing pieces. I purchased a tool belt (that thing will really accentuate my poochy belly) and we will be adding tools to our tool belt as we grow as writers. Hopefully, the kids will get a kick out of it.

         I've grown as a writer in the last two years I've been a WWWP. There are times (not all the time) that I put myself into the shoes of my critique group members and cut out the unneeded words/parts instinctively. Sometimes enough of the persistence that flows through the other women rubs off on me. Sometimes I'm even able to come up with a decent title. (Usually, I have not a single idea when it comes to titles.)

               How about you? What fiction or nonfiction are you reading right now? What kind of fiction are you weaving into your everyday reality? Do you think a hardhat will adequately cover the horror that is my hair on bad hair days every day?

       I wonder... 



Monday, August 11, 2014

Know Yourself

      It's crucial to know know what works for stay true to yourself.
      In the spirit of self-awareness, I thought I'd share a few tidbits of self-discovery I've unearthed.

  •        It's important to know what kind of workplace you require. Recently, I've been reading about how sitting for too long is bad for you. But if you write, not writing long enough is bad for you. So, what's a writer to do?
       Take a look at my new desk. It allows me to stand up and write.

This was a birthday present this summer. It was a little under $5000 but is soooo cool and soooo worth it. *

  •         It's vital to know what you can and cannot do. Know your limitations and don't angst over them. Cathy C. Hall has her prankster sidekick, Cathy-on-a-Stick, and this mischievous imp is beautiful. Her hair is artfully styled. She has a lovely expression on her face. (It makes me want to stick a screwdriver into one of her tires. Cathy, what kind of car do you drive?)
                       I can't do that (the looking pretty on a photograph part--the screwdriver part? Easy). So, I had to figure out what I could do.

This debut of Sioux-on-a-Stick occurred in Val the Victorian Land.
           I can do crazy. I can do whackadoo. I can do self-deprecating. However, I need a new name for my alter-ego. Cathy-on-a-Stick had me served with a subpoena a few days ago. It seems she has her name copyrighted, and doesn't appreciate having her turf tromped on. I must cease and desist. Immediately. (Who knew a tiny woman stuck on a piece of wood could have such a sophisticated vocabulary?)

          So, if you have a great suggestion for my stand-in, please send them over.

  •    It's critical to know what will energize you or what will get you out of your funk. Right now, when Paramore's "Still Into You" comes on, I'm bopping along--I can't help myself. Just about anything by One Republic does it for me as well. Sometimes snuggling with my puppy (when I'm not writing ads to give him away ;) will do the trick. For others, it might be cooking up a storm, or running/exercising. And apparently for this baby, Katy Perry has the key to happiness...

          So, don't forget alternative suggestions for my picture-on-a-stick. (Are you happy now, Cathy-on-a-Stick? I didn't even get close to infringing on your rights that time.) And if you're so inclined, you can share what things you have found out about yourself that have brought you more peace...

        And as a slight digression, assume good intentions. When someone--a colleague, a friend, a family member--says something that offends you, assume they meant well ...and have a dialogue about it. An angry monologue shot towards someone does no good. You never know. The offender might have a completely different background, and are speaking out of ignorance. They might have been gently joking (and humor is sometimes difficult to convey on paper). They might have simply worded things in an awkward way and didn't mean to hurt anyone. Assume. Assume and then ask ... 

* Of course this is not my desk. I have seen one like it, and they are cool, but what a preposterous price. My "stand at" desk (I think) is going to be an old sewing cabinet, with a turntable case on top of it. I think I've measured correctly, and with my laptop on top of it, it's the perfect height. And it's free.