Dream, Family, Movies, Real Life

The fear and psychedelia of “vacationing”

I’m “vacationing” from my virtual life this week. Where I live, this is the last week of vacation before the school year begins, and I’m being visited by granddaughters. By the end of this week, I’ll have seen four of my five, and spent considerable time with two of them. With those two, it’s serious craft time with one and movie time with the other.

Fortunately, nine-year-old Emily uses the glue gun herself own now, which is a relief because I can’t get within two feet of one without decorating my fingers with burns. She always packs as much color as she can into a project, so after we watched the fourteen-year-old Adrienne’s movie choice, Yellow Submarine, Emily crafted the peacock below. Adrienne went with this psychedelic mushroom.  Hmmm … yeah.

Unfortunately, among movie girl’s other choices this week have been The Mothman Prophecies and then a documentary titled The Eyes of the Mothman. I enjoy watching them, but I regret it when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I am not fond of the dark. I have an active imagination.

I can’t blame my recent series of nightmares on Adrienne though because it started before she arrived. So far, I’ve had one where the whole world has gone mad and blood-thirsty people are at my door. Another where I’m in charge of a baby who is not really a baby and I’m rushing to get it somewhere, but every direction I try to go is flooded.

I even had a dream I haven’t had in twenty years. You know, one of those high school stress dreams. This time, I sensed that I was essentially homeless, but had been staying in this house with a couple of old women I didn’t know. It was the first day of the semester, but I had no idea how to get to the school from this house. I knew I was going to be late, so I would have to report to the office when I got there, but I couldn’t remember where that was, and then I realized I didn’t have my class schedule.

Yeah, I’m stressed about finishing this WIP. Specifically, I’m stressed because I’m unsure about the final scenes I planned.  So, I have a baby, that’s not really a baby (it’s nearly a full book), and I’m pushing to get it to the end, but I’m flooded with alternate ideas. These assaults on my original plans seem like madness trying to get in my door. And I’m suddenly in a place I didn’t plan to be, trying to get to where I’m supposed to be, but I’m late, unsure how to get there, and I’ve left my schedule (outline) behind.

How’s that for a “vacation”?

Doubt, Dream, Goals, Reflections, Writing

This writer is looking forward

Looking back at my life during the past year, I can see losses and gains, but I can’t yet judge the long-term effects. Every year at this time, psychics make predictions for the coming year. I have no such gift. I can only make resolutions, affirming to myself and all, my intent for the future.

New beginnings are hopeful. This year I’m excited about opportunities to advance in my writing and publishing career. One change I hope to make that will affect not only my writing, but my life in general is obtaining—and maintaining—a balance.

In 2011, I neglected not only the usual housework, but gardening as well. I don’t think my roses will survive another year of the same kind of neglect. In general, I spent too much time in my cave. Since my 2012 plans include publishing one book and writing another, it’s imperative that I improve my time management.

This doesn’t mean I’m creating spreadsheets, but it does mean I’ll be working to conquer my habit of letting doubt (fear) derail my writing. In 2011, I probably wasted a good 30% of my writing time hand-tied by indecision. I vow not to let that happen in this next year. I will boldly write what no woman has written before.

In her recent blog post When You Allow Others to Decide Your Dreams, Michelle Davidson Argyle said:

“Nobody’s goals and rules are ever going to match up to my own on the unique path I’m on. Even if I met all those goals I see floating around online on so many blogs and Facebook statuses and Twitter feeds, I still wouldn’t be happy because I would not have met the deepest desires of my own heart …”

And this:

“I think we authors often forget what we really want. I think we often delude ourselves into thinking we want what everyone else wants, and it’s creating this insane sense of urgency in our heads. We pump out our work faster and harder and less carefully than we would otherwise. We feel pressured, more than anything else, to meet certain criteria, follow the lists and rules and advice others post, and it hurts us deeply when we can’t meet that criteria at breakneck speed. For me, at least, this urgency transformed itself into an energy-sucking, emotionally-draining need.

Until I realized that for me it was an illusion and unnecessary.”

Michelle expressed my dilemma. My lack of self-confidence leads me to compare everything I do to what other writers do, seeking a stamp of approval. At best, that works only temporarily. Sooner or later, doing what others did leads to frustration, doubt, fear because their plan, their path, their dream doesn’t “fit” me.

Let me toast to the New Year. New beginnings. New opportunities. Another chance to get it right.

In 2012, I vow to follow MY dreams. What about you?

Craft, Critique, Dream, Editing, Feedback, Fiction, Group, Movies, Novel, Query, Revision, Writing

Scene shifting

I’m still a little dizzy after seeing the movie Inception yesterday. I tried hard to keep each thread of the story straight, but ended up in a tangle. To me, dreams within dreams within dreams … was more confusing than time travel. (Or maybe I was just too distracted by how much Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks like Heath Ledger.) And what about that ending that doesn’t end—did it topple or not? Nonetheless, I felt satisfied with the experience.

I’d like to know how they crafted the Inception storyline. I can’t imagine it was written the way it played out. I would write each dream/reality sequence  chronologically and then shift and intertwine them. But what do I know? I have never, and don’t think I could, write a story like that. Not just because it’s so complicated, but also because I don’t have the kind of writer’s mind for mystery/thrillers. My latest chapter revision is difficult enough.

At my last critique group meeting, we agreed I should rearrange the order of all the scenes in my new opening chapter. On Friday, I printed out the chapter and cut the scenes apart. It looked an impossible puzzle with all the scenes spread out on the table. My first attempt at reordering was a mess; the second was better, and on the third try it fell into place … I think. Then I used a glue stick to put the scenes back together in a new order. Now I’ll have to write new connecting narrative between these scenes.

Another suggestion from my C.P.s was that I might be trying to fit too much information in one chapter, so I’ll be considering that too. All this is good. Deep down, I felt I’d started this novel wrong. Now I’m correcting that. Next up will be a query letter revision. Fun, fun, fun … not.

Your turn: What will you be working on this week?

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Dream, Fiction, Musings, My Books, Novel, Writing

In the Depths of Despair

The long, dark days of winter are hard on my mood, and the weather has been mostly gloom here. To add to that, I’ve been spending my time with a broken-hearted man, who doesn’t know yet that he will escape his present darkness.

This man is my protagonist Jalal. While I’m writing his scenes, I naturally reflect on the darkest times in my life when neither scripture nor platitude could reach me, when I despaired, and that which was, and is, and evermore shall be, could reach me only through my dreams. I had two years of the most detailed, archetypal dreams of my life. Recognizing their importance, I kept a diary, waking in the morning able to write in detail two or three lengthy dreams. To this day, I can look through that journal and the dreams replay in my mind. I learned a lot about myself during that time. Light dispels darkness.

Maybe I will give Jalal some dreams of his own to get him through.