Showing posts from March, 2016

The Opposite of Energy

L ast week I was talking about energy , and the interactions that help me feel more usefully energetic. This week, I still have the cold or whatever, and I still carry tissues, and I have practically no energy. (I did, however, open our last box of tissues and when I said to my husband, "We're down to our last Kleeneck," I laughed for a long time, far beyond all reason.) So this will be a few random thoughts from someone whose sole energetic activity seems to be carrying piles of used tissues to the trash can. 1. Write Everything, or Set Down My "Pen" Forever? I'm (still) (always) catching up on issues of The New Yorker and I happened on a lovely George Saunders short story (a redundant phrase) from February of this year. On one hand, I am ungracefully chuffed that it took him four years to write it. What a regular guy he can be. On the other hand, man, that voice! That sensibility! That--wait, where did he take this?--plot! For more information abou


I'm doing that thing where I might have a cold and I might have just allergies, but either way, I've got a box of tissues with me at all times. I'm not really REALLY sick--even if it's a cold, I'm not, like, seriously sick. But I AM much more aware of energy. Energy, as in, what activities give me energy. Whose company I leave feeling energized--I may be tired, but I have a sense of possibility, of good things happening. And, on the flip side, what activities and whose company leaves me feeling hopeless, annoyed, or frustrated. And I'm writing it down. Because the seasons are changing (hi there, Spring!), and someday our snow will melt. I'll spend more time outdoors on projects (noodling around as well as chores) that I can't do in the winter. I'll need to be even more aware of what (and who) helps me grow, and where I can contribute with the most integrity and effectiveness. Now, please excuse me while I ignore the dishes and the errands in

Word Made Flesh

One of my friends, a really excellent writer, is in the throes of a fun time. Her first novel was accepted by an agent and she's been in talks with editors and publishers. In the middle of all of the excitement and stress and "yikes" feelings, she said, "It's so odd, kind of neat but mostly odd, that other people now have opinions about my characters." I knew what she meant! I haven't (yet) written a novel accepted for publication, but a few of my short stories have appeared in journals. Every time one is accepted, I get a little thrill on behalf of the main character: "Oh, s/he's got a friend! I'm so happy for her!" In fact, almost every time I start a story, I label it with the name of the main character until the story title emerges. It's all about that character and telling her (or his) story to the best of my ability. Letting go of that person can be wrenching. Here's (I think) another facet of that phenomenon. For th

Stories about Stories

So many stories, so little time. And then the stories about the stories. Here are a few podcasts that have kept me company on the treadmill for many hours this winter. (And, given that ice follows snow in this region and walking remains treacherous in our neighbourhood, for more hours to come.) They're all, in some way or another, meta-podcasts. Stories--and also stories about stories. And I think they're great, in different ways. The one I've listened to the longest: Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters, by John August and Craig Mazin. I'm actually not a screenwriter but these guys are so incredibly generous with their time and their knowledge, and I learn something new about story, writing, professional behavior, research, accepting feedback, and tough love (not to mention two "one cool thing"s) every week. You can subscribe! You can buy all the episodes ever! And maybe you should! The newest-to

Facing Facts

You know those giant, daunting projects that you know you should be working on but they kind of freak you out to even think about, so you're not? I'm finally within spitting distance of finishing a logistical project that has been hanging over my head for far too many years. No, not the novel that's still mid-revision. A family thing. After several months (*cough* years?) of just moving it from one month to another's MUST DO THIS list, this morning I spent some time figuring out exactly what information I'd need. And then in an hour, I found the information. (And, bonus! I've semi-organized the piles I had to get through to find it.) And then I did some calculations. And finally I think I have the information I need to finish this thing. (Something we are NOT THINKING ABOUT is completing this project means several others are now possible and should be dealt with. But we're NOT THINKING ABOUT THAT TODAY!! We're instead reveling in the near-finishing