Friday, January 14, 2005

Friday, January 14, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Stormy with heavy rain

I’ll have to check the brook shortly, so see if I need to move the car to higher ground before I leave for the city.

Day work was fine yesterday. I only have day work today and don’t have to start shows until Sunday, which is a huge relief. I also asked to be replaced on next Friday’s day call, which gives me Friday day to write and gather myself for the following weekend. I wanted to run downtown to see a friend’s art opening, but the work schedule simply didn’t allow it.

I forgot that I have two columns due tomorrow. Better get to work.

My tarot client cancelled this afternoon’s session, so I can come straight home after day work.

Valhalla received the contracts, so all should be smooth when I go to do the rest of the paperwork on Monday. I wrote the press release for my friend and I, who are both teaching; she’ll look at it, send back comments, and it will go out tomorrow.

The Lindisfarne article was rejected as “long on atmosphere, short on history”. I re-read the guidelines, a bit puzzled. As far as I can tell, this is a travel magazine with an emphasis on history, not a scholarly historical publication. The majority of the article I submitted focuses on the history of the island through its different periods, but also has information on accommodations, tide charts, etc. that you need in order to get there safely. I agreed to do a reworking of it, provided she doesn’t need it before the 27th, and we’ll see. If she doesn’t like that, then I’m obviously not the right fit for the publication and I’ll sell the article somewhere more travel-oriented. It’s part of the deal – sometimes what you submit is not what the editor wants, no matter what the guidelines say. A friend of mine recently experienced it – she submitted a manuscript that was, to the letter, fitted to the guidelines and the publisher said that’s not what they do. Huh? Whatever. Goes with the territory.

There are always the fifteen minutes of self-pity: “I suck. My writing sucks. Everything sucks. Who do I think I am, calling myself a ‘writer’?” And then you just have to get over it. Or else not be a writer. And you know what? I’m a writer, whether or not I fit that particular publication or not. The reason there are so many different publications is that there are various points of view, and we all have to see where we fit. And don’t fit. There’s no need to have an existential breakdown over it.

She wants more on the Vikings? I’ll see what I can do. I can expand the information on the Lindisfarne Gospels, too. And, again, if it doesn’t suit, there are other places to which to submit. The piece is written, so it’s simply a case of querying.

One of my goals this year is to learn how to write travel pieces well. This is part of the learning process. And I may have picked the wrong publication with which to learn, because what this editor wants doesn’t seem to fit into the travel arena, however the publication is being marketed. But I’ll give it a shot, and either I’ll be able to write to whatever her interpretation of the guidelines are or I won’t. It is her publication and she can do anything she wants.

Stopped at Coliseum Books yesterday on my way to the theatre. Picked up a book I’ve wanted for over a year: So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson. I LOVE it. I was so deeply involved in it that I nearly missed my stop on the train ride home. What an enjoyable book for bibliophiles!

I also picked up Margaret Frazier’s The Bishop’s Tale. Now I’m only missing the two from her Dame Frevisse series that are out of print. I’ll track them down eventually.

I nearly bought a biography of Martha Gellhorn and a book about Marlowe, but I’ll wait until next week or so. There is also a new mystery series about an ex-Templar knight that looks interesting. I’ll buy the first one and see if I like it.

Thought I’d lost a section of Ransagh, which nearly gave me heart failure, but found it. Managed to write six pages of it. Now that I have a better idea of the structure and what I’m trying to achieve in each section, it’s making even the first draft tighter.

Got an episode of Charlotte done before I left yesterday, and hope to get at least that much done today.

Read a friend’s short story – it’s very different than her usual work and it’s excellent.

Finished a draft of “Muse” and am still not happy with it. Hope to do a few more drafts over the weekend. The assassin story is also boiling in my brain, but not quite ready to be written yet.

Must sort through the crap on my desk so I’ll actually know what’s where.

Got an e-mail from a writer who suggested that the blog would be more “marketable” and “palatable” if I only used it to share “amusing, detached anecdotes of success.” I appreciate the feedback, but that’s not the point of the blog. The point is to explore my messy creative life with both its successes and its failures. After all, I often learn more from what doesn’t work than what does work. Besides, I don’t think I could emulate the arch, Noel Cowardesque tone if I tried.

So, Dear Readers, you’re stuck with all this chaos as I try to figure it out! Thomas Mallon points out, in A Book of One’s Own, that part of writing a diary is the immediacy of not knowing how it’s going to turn out, whereas a memoir is a look back. Of course, when it’s a well-known person, now dead, you kind of know how it comes out – the person died -- and can feel the tension build until you get there. But in the moment of this, none of us know; but we can figure it out together.

Back to tapping those keys and hoping something coherent comes out.

For a free issue of any of the above serials, just click the appropriate link and download.


At 10:08 AM, Blogger Colin said...

I like reading about the chaos! Bring it on!! :-)

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Debra Young said...

"Got an e-mail from a writer who suggested that the blog would be more “marketable” and “palatable” if I only used it to share “amusing, detached anecdotes of success.”"

How frelling presumptuous! I, for one, love reading your blog as it is. That "messy" working out of your writing life has a contemplative tone that sparks my own thoughts about my disturbed way of doing things. My blog is me talking to myself--anyone looking for entertainment had best look elsewhere.

At 12:55 PM, Blogger B. K. Birch said...

Your blog is a daily source of inspiration to me. Please don't change a thing. I'm sorry about the rejection on the article. I know how hard you worked on it. Onward and upward!


At 1:09 PM, Blogger Michelle Miles said...

That editor doesn't know what she's missing! And I love your chaos. :)

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Diana said...

Personlly, I have that inner dialogue about my own blog, about what it "should be" and what "focus" I should bring to it.

But then I resign myself to the fact that most blogs simply reflect ourselves. It's that simple and that complicated.

Keep on keepin' on! It's all here and that's just right, in my opinion.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Ann said...

I agree with the others - I am so inspired by your blog, and the things you do as a professional writer. Don't you dare change it!

At 7:14 PM, Blogger Pandora Nicollet said...

No matter what, your Linidsfarne article isn't an exercise in futility, or wasted time. Maybe you can use some of your research on another article; perhaps something you learned will be just the piece of information you need someday for one of your short stories. Or, maybe you will sell it to another publication in its original form.

I'm sure it is a wonderful article and wish you luck in finding a home for it.

Best, P.

PS. Your 'chaos' is fine with me!

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Lili said...

Blogs are supposed to be "marketable"? Seriously? Who knew?!?!?!

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Eileen said...

"The assassin story is also boiling in my brain, but not quite ready to be written yet."

This is the same process I'm going through with my short fiction. It isn't a matter of when I'm ready to write it, when it boils to the surface (I love your choice of words), it is ready.


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