Thank you for noticing.

For the past month and more, my writing has been on hold. There are two reasons for the lapse. First, I’ve been short on energy. Second, I’ve been afraid I don’t have what it takes to read a novel, much less write one. Fear played off lethargy. Lethargy played off fear. I played Bejeweled.

Bejeweled is not an activity that gives the subconscious mind freedom to explore and create. It’s an activity that requires no neural activity at all.

But I’m getting back on track. There are three reasons for that. First, my internist, who appears to believe I have a brain even when it feels like it’s made of cotton, diagnosed vitamin deficiencies and an electrolyte imbalance. He prescribed supplements. I’m taking them. Synaptic transmission is once more in progress.

Second, a few hours ago I received the judge’s critique from a manuscript contest I entered last February. The score is good. Very. Much better than I’d expected. The judge pointed out the positives, the negatives, and the watch-out-fors. He said that although it is “a fun and entertaining read,” I will need to find an agent who understands the South. I will also need to pitch it “in the tone of a Fannie Flagg novel.”

Fannie Flagg! Fannie Flagg’s name appears on my critique sheet! Twice! Not that the judge was comparing our writing, of course. He was just comparing pitches.

I don’t know how to pitch in the tone of a Fannie Flagg novel. But I don’t have anything to pitch yet either. There’s time to figure it out.

(I do a pretty decent impression of Fannie Flagg doing an impression of Ladybird Johnson: “Whenever I see a candy wrapper on the ground, I pick it up and give it to Lyndon….Lyndon collects candy wrappers.” I saw her perform that on the Garry Moore Show when I was thirteen. I suppose the material is dated, but then so am I.)

Enough of that. The point is, a good critique can do wonders. It’s like B12 for the spirit.

Which brings me to the third reason I’m writing, and the most important: someone noticed I wasn’t.

The knowledge that a reader is paying attention and registering my absence means a lot, especially when the going is as tough as it has been for the past couple of months.

Thanks, Susan Woodring, for noticing.

9 thoughts on “Thank you for noticing.

  1. Interest to note that I’m not the only one who turns to computer games when the brain doesn’t want to write. I always grieve for the time lost afterwards, but I still do it.


  2. Kathy, I’m so glad you’re on a roll again! And to think, I had a small part in urging you back to your computer. Makes my day!!

    Congratulations on your positive critique–I find we often get a shot of encouragement just when we need it most. Hooray for you. Press on.


    1. You had a big part in getting me back to the computer. I saw your comment and immediately began writing, but it turned out so long and disgusting that I’m grateful a thunderstorm made me log off before I could post. Receiving the critique the next day spurred me to start again with a lower disgust factor. So–two shots of encouragement within twenty-four hours. Thanks for helping pull me back into the world. Everyone in my household is happier when I’m writing.


  3. Hey, Bejeweled can be a good break to rest the brain (says a fellow excuse-maker.). Seriously, I have missed seeing your posts but I’m always a little reluctant to push. Now I’ll know noticing isn’t the same as pushing–your words are missed when you’re not posting. I hope you get back into your writing rhythm soon.

    BTW, I like Fannie Flagg’s style. Not a bad author with whom to be identifies. She’s earthy & real–and usually lots of fun.


    1. Bejeweled is fascinating. I can play for hours and never have a rational thought. Or any thought. Just watch the little sparkly gems slide across the screen.

      Thank you for noticing, too. It’s nice to know the words are missed. Pushing is okay. I become passive-aggressive only with people to whom I’m related by blood or marriage.

      As for Ms. Flagg–I love the humor of the early books. Fried Green Tomatoes fascinates me; how anyone can deal with so many characters and so many threads AND tell the story out of chronological order without ditching the project is a mystery. Oh–mystery is why the judge mentioned FF: because my mystery isn’t apparent in the first ten pages, I’ll have to pitch it like an FF novel. It’ll probably be easier to get the mystery in there somewhere.


  4. OMG, a fellow Bejeweled addict. I was pretty sure I wasn’t the only one. I notice the cravings grow especially strong in times of sleep deprivation…

    But it’s not just Bejeweled. There is also Freecell. I’ve deliberately chosen not to ever even play Spider. Various forms of Mahhohng call my name on occasion. The San Diego crossword. Shockwave’s daily jigsaw. Jigzone.

    So many sirens in the sea.

    Enough self-disclosure from all of us. Maybe this is part of the writiing cycle. In any event, glad you are back at the keyboard Kathy, and thanks for sharing the Truth of your absence..


    1. Shame caused me to hesitate to even mention Bejeweled, but then I decided just to tell it all. And I’m glad I did, because now I know other people share my ugly (former) secret. Perhaps we can join forces: Bejeweled Anonymous. I’d forgotten Freecell and Spider. Hmmm. Well, anyway, I’m back, and I thank you for your welcome. It’s good to be among friends again.


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