To write is to write is to write

…is to write is to write is to write


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Rosemary

Day 4: The Serial Killer
“Today, write about a loss. The twist: make this the first post in a three-post series.”

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I’ve removed this post from public view for two reasons. First, I don’t like to put my fiction on display while it’s in draft stage, and “Rosemary” was a (very) first draft. When I started writing it, several hours before posting, I didn’t know how the story would turn out. I still don’t. If I were to continue, what’s written here might not even make it into the final version.

Second, most editors won’t accept for publication anything that’s appeared on the Internet. So if I finished the story, there would be no market for it.

A professor told me years ago not to put too much energy into an exercise. Writing 101 is worthwhile, but it is an exercise. So I shall tweak the rules to fit my needs. If “Rosemary” returns, and anyone wants to read, I’ll let you know where to find her.

 

 

 

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Mama and the Ground Glass Resurface

English: This is Alpine, Texas with the six-th...

This is Alpine, Texas with the six-thousand foot plus Ranger, Twin Sisters, & Paisano Peaks in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Monday’s post, I announced my goals for Round 3 of A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80):

    • To write 300 words a day, five days a week; and
    • Not to haul myself out of bed at 5:00 a.m. to write the 300 words.

So far, the latter goal has been easier to accomplish than the former. Nonetheless, I made my 300-word minimum and then some both Tuesday and today.

I’m working on a short story that began as a ten-minute timed writing at the Writers’ League of Texas Summer Writing Retreat at Sul Ross State University in Alpine a couple of years ago. I spent the week in Karleen Koen’s class, Writing the Novel: The Basics. That was probably the most productive week I’ve ever had. Karleen told us she couldn’t teach us to write, but she could teach us to play. And she did. She’s teaching the class at this summer’s retreat later in July. She also teaches for Rice University’s Continuing Education Department in Houston. Anyone who has the opportunity to take one of her classes should do so. Lots of writing, lots of fun.

The timed writing that I hope becomes a full-fledged story begins, The day I found Mama stirring ground glass into the eggs she was about to scramble, I took the eggs away from her and called a family conference. When I started, I had no idea where it was going. Back at home, I added to it and showed it to my critique group. They said I should work it into a novel. I still didn’t know where it was going. Or where I could make it go. But it didn’t seem like novel material, at least in my hands. Last summer, I tried to turn it into a ghost story but kept running into obstacles, the chief of which was that the plot was forced and downright silly. Now, a year later, an invitation to write a different kind of story has come along. Once again I dragged out Mama and the ground glass. And this time I think I can pull it off. It’s not over till it’s over, of course, but I’m optimistic.

It takes time to get some things right.

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To see what other members of ROW80 are writing, click here.


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ROW80 1.2.12 Goals & Boiling a Frog

English: A green frog on a palm frond.

A Green Tree Frog (Not Yet Boiled) Sitting on a Palm Leaf--Image via Wikipedia

A friend says resolutions should be brief. Her resolution for 2012 is Move.

Ten years ago, when she was into metaphor, she adopted, Boil the frog slowly.

The former refers to being more physically active. The latter might be phrased, Make small, incremental changes.

I admire her artistry, but deplore her lack of clarity. They’re her resolutions, however. If they work for her, that’s all that matters.

A Round of Words in 80 Days #5 begins today. I was supposed to announce my goals January 1, but didn’t get around to it.  Whether such tardiness portends good or ill remains to be seen. I’m pretty sure I’ll accomplish more than I did during ROW80 #4, when I met about 1% of what I’d set out to do. I offer no apologies for the lapse. I remember 2011 as one long series of lapses.

A medical professional, and my hero, once told me, “You can’t tell your hypothalamus what to do.” Unfortunately, my hypothalamus has no problem at all ordering me around.

Anyway, while good old HT and I are on speaking terms, I re-enter the challenge and state my goals:

1. Write about Molly at least 5 days a week.

2. See #1.

There it is. Simple. Measurable. Doable.

Concerning goals for the non-writing part of life, I haven’t made it beyond the one that’s topped every New Year’s list since I was fifteen. I’ll come up with something else before the end of the month. The process is complicated this year because I’ve gotten so many good ideas from other bloggers:

Ariana at Pearl’s Twirl introduced me to “The Anti-bucket List.” Those resolutions are no trouble at all to keep.

Totsymae helped me with both 2012 resolutions and my anti-bucket list in “Things You Should Admit to Yourself Before You Enter the New Year (or Positively Negative).”  Totsymae knows what she’s talking about.

Kate Shrewsday, in “The Milestone Mirage,” reminded me that our small acts define us, and convinced me to write down my pebbles.

Pseu1′s Blog showed me how to record small stones and introduced me to River of Stones.

So. I’m off to tell ROW80 what I’ve decided.

And then I’ll visit Molly. She’s a delightful girl. If only she didn’t depend on me to choreograph her every move.

English: Frog

Frog (Possibly Boiled)--Image via Wikipedia

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To see what other ROW80 participants are up to, click here.







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#ROW80 & Symboling

The so-called Portrait of a Sculptor, long bel...

The so-called Portrait of a Sculptor, believed to have been Del Sarto's self-portrait--Image via Wikipedia

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” ~ Robert Browning, Andrea del Sarto

My reach last week exceeded my grasp.

I followed Tuesday’s stellar 1000 Molly words (or 921, depending on who’s counting) with 0 Molly words for the rest of the week. But I was so pleased with the 1000 that the 0 hasn’t worried me.

Anyway, I’m not going to use them. I realized, after the scene had symboled* for a couple of days, that it should be seen but not heard. Instead of setting the altercation (among three jealous thespians) inside the cafe, I’ll put it on the patio, where Molly and her cohorts can watch through the picture window.

Establishing distance between the two groups of characters creates detachment. Molly, who has already been yelled at once this morning, merely observes the battle. She doesn’t get involved, as she would be required to do if the brouhaha took place in her presence. She’s free to comment on the behavior of the egomaniacs on the other side of the glass. And comment she does. A generally restrained person, Molly is having more and more trouble curbing her tongue.

So that’s what I accomplished week: 1000 words I will not use.

Does this bother me? No. I wrote; I learned. I demonstrated to myself that less can be more.

I didn’t do so well at keeping records. I brought them up to date this evening, but they’re not complete. A daily log would have shown more writing time than the one I cobbled together from memory.

Regarding goal #3: I did not join or volunteer for anything this week. I did promise David I would dismantle the bulwark of books and papers surrounding my chair. We were having friends over tonight, and he thought we would appear more welcoming if we didn’t make them climb over my library to get to the tacos. Having spent more than two years working in tort litigation, I agreed. But picking up toys doesn’t constitute joining or volunteering.

Lest it be thought I wrote 1000 words and stopped cold, I’ll add that I put out another newsletter, approximately 6600 words, most of which were not written by me. But I did wrestle them into place. That’s worth a couple of brownie points. At least by my estimation. And since I award my own points, the say-so is mine.

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*One of my freshman literature professors had a cook who claimed that soup tasted better if it was allowed to symbol for a while. The professor said she thought writing, too, was better when it was given time to symbol. I don’t remember a great deal about Beowulf, but the lesson on symboling has stayed with me for—a long time.

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#ROW80 10/3 Goals

Queen's Christmas tree at Windsor Castle 1848,...

Image via Wikipedia

Round 4 of A Round of Words in 80 Days begins today with a statement of goals. Here are mine:

  1. Write 1000 words a day (excluding blog posts and HotShots!)
  2. Keep a daily record of activities related to writing
  3. Don’t volunteer for or join anything else

Those are the official goals. If I were listing Vague, Airy, Sure- Would-Be-Nice goals, I would include Finish the draft of the novel.

If I completed the draft by the end of ROW80, I could give it to myself for Christmas.

It’s just what I’ve always wanted.

To see what other ROW80 participants are working on, click here

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Image: Osborne House Christmas Tree illustration in Godey’s Lady’s Book,” December 1850.



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AROW80 Sunday Report

Title screen for Burbank Films Australia's 198...

Image via Wikipedia--Public domain

Write 500 words/ day on Molly: 0

Exercise 30 minutes / day: 1/4

Go to bed by 11:00 p.m.: 2/4

Detail:

1. Writing: Sunday night I received chapter 1 of a 4-part mystery that’s being written by members of the local Sisters in Crime chapter. My job was to write chapter 2. That’s what I did all week–wrote, revised, tweaked just over 1000 words’ worth of mystery.  I had a wonderful time, no “writer’s block,” no worries, no cares, just took the situation that had been set up and had fun putting my spin on it.

Isn’t that always the way. If I’d been working on my novel, I’d have spent the week moaning and groaning and suffering over what to do next. In this assignment, I was free to do whatever I wanted (with the knowledge that someone else would have to pick up where I left off, poor thing), and I did it. The mystery will be read to honor (aka roast) a member of the organization. My fun may come back to bite me: I inserted the phrase Barker Black Blenheim Boots, but I have to read my chapter aloud, and I can’t always say that phrase without tripping over my tongue. Too many B’s.

2. Exercise: On Thursday, I exercised in the pool for 11 minutes. I had spent the previous 19 minutes inching into the water. Burned at least 2000 calories just shivering.

3. Sleep: Still a mixed bag. It’s now 11:09, and I would be happy to keep on writing until dawn. A repeat of last night’s Lark Rise to Candleford is on, and at midnight MI5 will begin. It’s a repeat of a repeat. Of a repeat. But well worth keeping an eye on while I write a second post.

On the other hand, if I post and link and then retire, I’ll be in shape to work on Molly tomorrow.

It would be pleasant to have a few hundred Molly words to report on Wednesday.

To see what other AROW80 writers are doing, click here.


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AROW80 Sunday Report 1

Title screen for Burbank Films Australia's 198...

Image via Wikipedia

Progress since Wednesday:

  • Write 500 words a day on Molly: 0/0

  • Go to bed by 11:00 p.m.: 2/4

  • Exercise 30 minutes: 0/4

No excuses.

One step forward: I realized what must be done to untangle a major snarl in the plot.

If you’d like to see how others are doing, click here.

Image by Burbank Films Australia; Restoration credit: Myself, TaranWanderer (DVD Ltd. DVD release) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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AROW80 Report

Präzisionswürfel

Image via Wikipedia

Although I don’t mind reporting my progress, or lack of it, I do mind reporting it on my own blog, to be read by people who know me.

Since Monday night, I’ve written over 1300 words. They don’t apply to Molly, which was my intent, but they do apply. It’s something.

Regarding the goal about getting to bed earlier, I’m at 50%. And I was only thirty  minutes over on the night I was up late.

Regarding the goal about exercise, I’m at 0%. There’s room for improvement.

The embarrassment of recording more failure than success is likely to prompt me to do better the second half of the week. Which is no doubt the reasoning behind AROW80.


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The Pledge

Title screen for Burbank Films Australia's 198...

Image via Wikipedia

My promise to post daily in April having crashed and burned, I now set out on a new adventure: A Round of Words in 80 Days.

I’m starting late, so my round will comprise only 73 days. But, as Huckleberry Finn says, that ain’t no matter.

A Round of Words in 80 Days bills itself as “The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life.”

Funny–every time I’m positive I don’t have one, I discover I do. This time it was the notorious newsletter. I kept adding and fixing and writing and rewriting, all week long, and finding one more thing to do. It went out Saturday and is slightly shorter than Gone With the Wind.

At this rate, my literary legacy will be titled, The Collected Newsletters of Kathy Waller.

So again I take The Pledge.

The first requirement is to post measurable goals.  Here are mine:

I will

  1. write 500 words a day on Molly, 5 days a week;
  2. exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week;
  3. go to bed between 9:30 and 11:00 p.m. every night, including Friday and Saturday.

Those goals are easily measured. Listed in order of importance, they would be reversed, but this is a writing challenge, so writing stays on top.

The second requirement is to sign up by linking this post to the ROW80 list.

The third requirement is to check in on Sundays and Wednesdays.

The final requirement is to end this post and start working on #3.

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Image by Burbank Films Australia; Restoration credit: Myself, TaranWanderer (DVD Ltd. DVD release) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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