Saturday, February 19, 2005

Saturday, February 19, 2005
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Copies of one of the almanacs for which I write (as Cerridwen Iris Shea) arrived yesterday. They look terrific. I’ll have to let my editor know, and also ask him when he wants the pitches for 2007 (we just wrapped up 2006). I’ve been writing for the Llewellyn annuals for about ten years now! My articles are “Recycling Personal Energy” – basically about how handle bad days without spewing all over everybody else – and “Shopping Spirits” about ethical shopping.

In this day and age of unethical behemoths, we have to know where our money’s going. Sure, we need bargains. But I’ll drive a hundred miles out of my way (and I have) to avoid shopping at one particular store because of the way they mistreat their workers (in spite of their new ad campaign), their policies of censorship, and the fact that I have no intention of spending my hard-earned money at a place whose founders would just as soon burn me at the stake. Literally.

I was happy to find out that one of the companies that wants me to write for them – a coffee company – is a fair trade company. More on that later.

Keep It Coming is running an interview I did with them a few months back:

Apologies to Colin – the interview was done well before you designed my site – since I had no idea it was being run again, I didn’t have the opportunity to update it.

It’s only up until Wed., so read it while you can! Shameless plug! :)

Emerging Women Writers is going to mention something about Simple Pleasures of the Kitchen – and I’ll give them a short story as Christiane to go along with it!

I miss Harriet, Leonard, Martine, and William from Glam Hearts!

I ran some copies of the direct mail for the serials and I hate it. It needs more tweaking. The test copy I ran on scrap paper didn’t look bad, but on the good paper – it needs more work. Oh, well, recycle those copies and start over. Urgh.

At least I’m working on it.

12 pages of Ransagh yesterday. I slipped right back into its world. So Thursday was only a temporary setback. I have a feeling, however, that this book (or, I should say, these books, since it’s pretty obvious that it will be a trilogy), will take up most of this year.

Now I have to figure out how to fit Periwinkle into the schedule. I know that will sell, so it has to get done. I just have to figure out how.

I can’t put Ransagh aside because it’s pulling me too hard.

It’s something to think about as I structure March.

Two new characters, Oliver and Alison started yapping at me last night. I’m going to jot a few notes, and then they’re just going to have to wait their turn!

The classes are going well. My students never cease to amaze me. I think we’re doing better off-campus because the work we’re doing comes from their deep desire to follow this path.

In “Writers and Journals” we finished The Hidden Writer – the chapters on Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, the chapter on May Sarton, and the chapter on Anais Nin.

Nin is someone that I feel most people outgrow. She lived her entire life as an intricate web of illusions, all under the façade of “truth”. Her diaries were as much of a fictional construct in some portions as the rest of her life. One can learn a great deal from her, I think, but then one has to go on. If you read the seven volumes of her edited diaries and then the so-called “unexpurgated” diaries and Deirdre Blair’s terrific biography (all of which I have), you see that she repeats the same patterns in her life over and over and over and never moves beyond them. Her illusion of herself was as important to herself as presenting it to the world. She wrote what she wanted to be and then tried to live it, instead of the other way around.

Some of these techniques are useful to the modern person – whether or not you’re a writer and no matter the gender. Visualize what you want and then become it. You can write your way into the life you want – that’s certainly what I’m trying to do – yet you can do it without the amount of fabrication that she created.

For instance: I publish under various names. Does that mean I’m lying to people? I don’t think so. I don’t deny who I am. No matter which name someone might meet me as, whether in person or on the page, I don’t pretend I’m someone else. That’s a bit too fractured for me. Each name has a distinct writing voice, but they are all me and I’m open about what work is mine. If I write something and I don’t want to connect it to any of my other writing, I simply don’t do any marketing for that name.

I used to do that when I wrote erotica. Not because I was embarrassed – I most certainly was not – but because there are some real whackos out there and, in some cases, it became an issue of safety.

Mostly, I write under different names because it affords me the freedom to write whatever I want wherever I want. Too often, when I worked for a publishing house, I sat in on the weekly meetings with editorial and marketing and perfectly good material was rejected because the marketing department “didn’t know how to market this.” In my opinion, then they should have been fired, and people who were creative enough to market it should be hired. But that’s not the way it works. And, unfortunately, writers have been forced to spend far too much time marketing their work –which they should NOT have to do – and it leaves them too little time to write it. And without the writing in the first place, there isn’t anything to market.

I do spend time envisioning the life I want to lead. For awhile, I tried keeping an “Alternate Diary” – in other words, I’d write about days that I wished had happened, instead of what actually happened. This book was carefully labeled.

But I didn’t get far with it. There’s not much I would change in my life, actually. I’d like more financial stability and I want my books to be published. There’s no such thing as financial stability during a career transition, and the books have to be written before they can get published, and that’s what I’m working on.

However, the time spent daydreaming about the life I want has certainly spurred me to practical considerations, pursuing job listings, etc., and also in defining the kind of house for which I’m looking. I want the house I purchase to have my ideal writing space. It’s one of the reasons it’s taking me so long to find it – I won’t settle. It took me awhile to figure out where I want to live. Now I have to find the space best suited to my life and my goals. I’ll know it when I walk into it. It will be mine from the first moment I step over the threshold.

Books waiting for my attention:
The Celts by Juliette Wood
Heroes of the Dawn
Splintered Bones
by Carolyn Haines
A Moorland Hanging by Michael Jecks
Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis
A Century of Pioneering: The Ursuline Nuns in New Orleans by Sister Jane Frances Heaney
Yeats: The Man and the Masks by Richard Ellman
The World of Christopher Marlowe by David Riggs
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

I’ve started the latter, upon recommendation. It’s a fascinating, intriguing, sprawling book. I’m not sure I enjoy it, exactly, but it’s compelling.

I’ve very excited by the Marlowe book.

However, before I can indulge myself with any reading, even in the guise of research, there are serials which need attending, articles to be finished, and a story to be written as Christiane Van de Velde.

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


At 9:43 AM, Blogger Michelle Miles said...

Check EWW. I posted the update of Member News for Feb last night. Just clikc on "Your Name In Lights". :)

At 8:24 PM, Blogger Ann said...

That is so smart about the house - I remember when I bought mine, about five years ago, I must have looked at a hundred houses first - everything from mortgage-your-life-away monstrosities to what realtors call "cute little fixer upper's" that looked like a good wind could knock them down, and everything in between.
I almost bought one that looked close to what I wanted, since I'd been looking so long but I decided to hold out, and the next house was IT. My perfect house. And I still love it.
So don't lose patience - your perfect house will come.


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