Showing posts from August, 2020

Celebrations: Middles, Beginnings, Ends

Thirteen years ago today, Roy and I had a wedding and ate Nanaimo bars. It was a great wedding. The Nanaimo bars, too. We're happy. I enjoy celebrating our anniversary.  Birthdays are an obvious time for celebration. Book birthdays, for example. It's fun to celebrate beginnings--the beginning of a life or a life together.  Endings are harder to celebrate , exactly. If the thing ending was lovely and positive, it's hard to be happy to have had something when you're still mourning its loss. If the thing ending was not so lovely or positive, the temptation is to pause for a momentary "whew" and keep moving.  At least in my experience.  So how can we celebrate more things in the middle? Which is sort of what an anniversary is. Thirteen years, with thirteen-hundred more. Also a birthday celebration--you were born, see how far you've come!   Another middle: it's the eleventy-millionth day of asking myself about this character in my novel, "What is Marti

Pushing and Relaxing

I'm working on a novel. Like, really, for reals.  Know how I know? I'm throwing things away and enjoying that process.   Also: when I sit with fingers on the keyboard, I'm excited and a little nervous. I know what will happen, what actually HAS to happen, but I don't know how it happens until my fingers start moving.  I've been working on this novel for a long time, through many drafts. I've also carried it with me at times when I couldn't work on it because logistics, because energy, because anxiety, because perfectionism, because reasons. It's all very Ecclesiastes: times for this, times for that; fallow and fecund; lean and large. Metaphor-for-less and metaphor-for-more. I'm trying to remember that the fallow times have helped make the fecund times possible, and be grateful for them. Through the years, through the times and family and country and culture I grew up in, I've learned (perhaps too well) to keep pushing myself, to keep trying. To p

Recommended: Nonfiction (and Agates)

I don't have any personal pictures of agates. I'm not sure I've ever found one, though I live on north shore of Lake Superior, where they are legion. So here's a link, if you want to see what they look like:  lake superior agate . I do have lots of pictures of driftglass, however. A recent collection: I bring up agates because the article I'm recommending, Karen Babine's "A Taxonomy of Nonfiction; Or the Pleasures of Precision," from LitHub , begins with agate-hunting on the Lake Superior shoreline. And here is what she writes about:  I’m fascinated by the idea of a taxonomy in nonfiction, of order, an ever-expanding vocabulary to articulate what the page is doing. I’m not in pursuit of definition so much as I am seeking articulation. In the article, Babine discusses various ways to differentiate works of nonfiction, in a hierarchy. Not that she posits that she's created "an answer," just simply a way of thinking about nonfiction. (Anothe

Surprisingly Helpful: #1000wordsofsummer

I like linear, predictable processes.  I'm not generally the kind of person who proclaims, "I'm the kind of person who" (because honestly, beware), but if I were, I'd say, "I'm the kind of person who likes linear, predictable processes, with a side of outlines and spreadsheets." And yet. I have come to see that my writing process doesn't necessarily work that way. I once scoffed at those who said, "you don't know what you think about something until you write it," but now I enjoy scoffing at my own preconceived notions. Because I often don't know what I mean until I write it, and sometimes not until I've revised that writing several times.  Not edited. Revised. Like re-envisioning.  I really don't have enough experience to comment knowledgeably about The Writing Process (although I still try), but here's a couple of things I've learned: a. mine usually isn't as linear as I'd like and b. I'm never sure