Happy New Year. (Literarily, that is)

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June 1st.
This is my own personal fresh start, the day of the year where, away from the traditional optimism of Dec 31st, I feel the need to refresh, refocus, and take stock of my writing situation.

For the last few years I have found myself, around this time, taking stock of the year before, and planning for the summer and the year ahead.  Coincidentally, this is also when the writing conferences and my yearly summer pilgrimage to the US are looming, a good time to break from the routine of the day and to step into the writing life fully, at least for a few months. It helps– both the idea that this is a refresh aligned with my own natural writing rhythm which seems to wane every spring, and the promise of a summer where most journals are closed to submissions which means no frantic watching of the deadlines as they fly by and none of my stories feel ready to be sent out.

This year, I look  ahead to Kenyon and Tin house conferences, the Squire residency, and most importantly, the writer friends I cannot wait to meet.  The workload is planned. The enthusiasm built. The countdown is on.

 

 

That almost sneeze. And other annoying maybes.

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I am a sucker for satisfaction.  I am not good with halves, almosts, maybes, and let’s sees.  Even if it’s a “no” as in the case of the bi-monthly dose of story rejections I get, there is a certain pleasure in the definitiveness, the finality.  At least, there is a conclusion.  That being said, I supposed I should also admit that it is very difficult for me to deal with stories that linger for too long without an ending in sight.  What kind of a sadistic son-of-a-b**** story of mine would do that to me, knowing full well that all it does is throw me into a kerfluffle–I want to drag it, by its bleeding hair, towards a finish line and I want to murder it and everyone in it.

Perhaps that is also why my novel, despite coyly hanging around, fluttering eyelashes, heaving bosom, an tarty makeup and all, gets the attention of a 12-year old boy with attention deficit from me. I just don’t know what to do with big, unfinished, things.  But while we are on the subject, here is a list of other almosts that drives me insane.  Sorry, irks me, I meant.

  • The almost-sneeze.  Yes, you know it.   You have been there.  This one will make me go to all ends to make myself sneeze just so I can have resolution.
  • Almost throwing up.
  • The half-finished sentence in the middle of a conversation.  “Oh, I meant to tell you, that day….yes I would like a cheeseburger thanks. So how is that story working out? What? What was I saying? I don’t know.  Can’t remember.  Oh well.”  Chances are, if you do this to me, I will hound you for days until you either remember what you were going to say, or come up with a satisfactory alternative.
  • The music that turns off just as the riff is getting going, or just as the chorus is about to come on.
  • Also, songs that sound like they are going to pick up, but just stay in that initial “tease” phase and instead of a satisfactory progression, descend into flatness.
  • The idea that is so brilliant that it will never come around again, and you only manage to think the first few words of it before it disappears into the universe.
  • Reading through stories that you have to say ‘No” to just because it’s almost there, but….
  • Writing those stories. And knowing it.
  • Almost saying hello to a fascinating stranger, but chickening out.
  • Almost having the talk you meant to have with a friend, and then backing off because of the look on their face, the stone in the pit of your stomach, or your general lack of courage.
  • Almost biting into that delicious looking piece of brownie, mango, or chicken wing, before it slips out of your hands and crashes on the floor.

 

There, that’s almost a complete list.  Dammit.

 

Improv. Life. Writing.

I think life is sending me some sort of a message today.  Along with a burst of creative energy, all sorts of feel-good, zen, vague-enough-to-sound-wise sayings have been popping up from everywhere.  This one, however, relates life to one of my fav things, Improv, and deserves a share:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/12/kelly-leonard-commencement-lake-forest_n_5309486.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

I, for one, have always believed in the powers of Improv.  

 

Related articles on the web:

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William Blake and bikini waxes. (An Ode to London)

wickedmuse:

Traipsing down memory lane. And ran into this. Memory on memory.

Originally posted on A Wicked Muse:

Ah London.  Dear, forgotten London.  The London of my teen years, or more accurately, the London circa 1800 that I imagined when I was 15, where Wordsworth, Byron, Austen, Shelley, Keats, Coleridge and Blake sat in darkened corners and bled words and ideas to form a mystical and idealistic sensibility that was destined to inform my thinking for the rest of my life.  You get it.   I studied the Romantics, and it was life changing.   It was uplifting, mid blowing, inspiring. It is true that I was an impressionable fifteen year old given to flights of fancy and a love for any era but my own, and yes I will also admit that us Pakistanis seem to hold British Literature in an esteem that goes slightly beyond normal (oh i studied Vudsvurth in school darling)…I mean which one of us could not recite, with swaying grace and enunciation for emphasis…

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