Friday, March 29, 2013

I love oatmeal.
Like, really love it. 
I can be at the fanciest breakfast establishment and instantly peruse their menu for oatmeal, just to get a steamy hot bowl served to me with a plate full of my favorite toppings.  I love the texture, the smell and I love, love, love sprinkling a big bowl with brown sugar, nuts and my favorite dried and fresh fruits. 
Inevitably, I will profess my love of the stuff as I am eating - boring whoever I am with to tears with my bizarre ode to oatmeal.  I have an equally passionate love affair with granola (love Michele's here in the DMV) so I am clearly just an oats girl.

Anyway, like any true oatmeal connoisseur, I think instant oatmeal is disgusting.  Nonetheless, I will grab a bowl from Starbucks or D&D when I am running late for work.  It's never the same and I always (always, always, always) make it to the bottom of the bowl wondering why I ate it.  The crazy thing about instant oatmeal is that while it boasts instant results, regular oatmeal typically only takes between 3-5 minutes.  What's more instant than 3-5 minutes?

Because my mind is constantly on writing (when its not on oatmeal), I was munching on a bowl the other day (the real kind, not the yucky one) and thinking about how it's all a metaphor for writing.  How just taking a little bit more time can make things so much better.  Rushing just creates a watered down, mushy version of everything it could be... everything you could be.  But - like oatmeal, you don't want to take too much time because you'll wind up burning up the pot. 

So - crazy as my oatmeal-writing metaphors may be - chasing a dream is an exercise in patience.  Confidence, patience, and really hard work.  I am just hoping that equation will add up to some kind of success.

Lastly, this week's quote is from my dear friend, A (she is married to a writer so she really gets it).  She sent it to me on Thursday - right after I had recieved another rejection and I was drowning my sorrows in a McDonald's apple pie.  I finished eating it but this quote stopped me from getting another one.  I just have to share:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” - Martha Graham

Guys and Dolls, meet Ms. Graham.. have I mentioned how much I love art?

Love and Light,

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I love Sundays. 
I love not having to work.  Not having anywhere to be.  I love being able to just sit around with my family and collect dust.  Or take long slow walks just to feel dewy morning breeze on our skin and stare at the clouds.  Bike rides to nowhere with my eldest son.
I love Sundays.

While I wait to hear back from the agents regarding my book and try not to give in to the worry that I am just so darn good at, I am trying to remind myself on how important and priceless the journey is to my ultimate destination... wherever it might be.  Each moment, each step, each breath between words is getting me us all closer to our dreams.

What did you dream of yesterday that came true today? What do you dream for tomorrow?

Love and Light,

Thursday, March 21, 2013

11 Queries Sent
3 Rejections Received
1 Request for my Full Manuscript (!!!!)

My reaction to my first manuscript request

Love and Light,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Recently, I was reading an article about Stephen Chobsky, author of Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I haven't read the book but I saw a preview for the movie a few evenings ago when I was trying to decide on a movie to watch on a date night with the spouse.  The preview really resonated with me.  I was by no means the super-cool kid in high school.  I was popular but popular in the way that everyone voted for me for student council... not the sneak-out-the-window-go-to-an-awesome-party cool. I will always remember that feeling of being completely lost in my head and absolutely adoring the freak crew I called friends.

Anyway, the movie seemed geared towards young adults so before I ordered it, I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to get sucked into some vampire-less Twilight full of unnecessary angst and uncomfortably long pauses.  I decided to watch it (husband didn't want to so I will finally watch it later this week).  In my research process, I happened upon an article about Chobsky who discussed the process of writing Perks of Being a Wallflower as being a long time in the making.  This young boy just kept showing up in his writing, he articulated, and he finally decided to just go unleash him.

Yesterday, I met with my writing group, and one of the authors wrote this amazing short story about these two friends.  I commented that the protagonist of the story had showed up in her writing in her other work.  I wondered if she thought of running with her - it was clear (to me at least) that that particular character had a story that needed to be told and maybe it was time that she tell it.

While I anxiously (painfully) wait for my query responses to arrive for D&S (will reveal the title later but for now I will just refer to it as that), I have started my second novel.  This novel is a spin-off of D&S.  It features a character that was pretty awful in D&S but her complicated past was just screaming at me from the minute she was born on paper.  The novel is sort of a prequel as it takes place long before the things in D&S take place.  It starts with my protagonist as a chubby, innocent child who is dealing  with abandonment and disappointment.  I realize as I am writing just how long I have been waiting to write this story.  This character has been making appearances in my work since I was in high school.  I distinctly remember her first appearance in a short story I wrote in the 9th grade.  She was crying in the rain because she lost her favorite Barbie doll, the only present she could remember her absentee father every getting her.  It feels good to write.

I don't know where stories come from.  I don't know how I sit down at a desk, make up shit for hours and haven't landed myself in a mental hospital. I do know that every creative writer has been lost in that space where their mind can barely keep up with the fury of their hand.  Those moments were the story is pouring from them like water through the crack in a dam.  It's intense.  It's amazing.  It's damn-near other worldly.

I love writing.

Even if I never get published and I end up a little old lady with piles of unpublished work under my bed.  I know I will never stop.

Love and Light,

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I sent out my first query letter this week.
For those of you not familiar with the business of writing, a query letter or an agent query, is most often, a one-page letter to a literary agency seeking representation.  In it, you discuss your novel, your qualifications and why you think XYZ literary agency would be good fit to represent your work.  Once an agent is secured, they attempt to sell your manuscript to a publisher.

It sort of sounds simple right?  In my case, I spent the last few years writing my novel, 250+ pages, 70K+ words,  a one page letter? Easy breezy, right?

Um... wrong! Ohhhhhhhhhh myyy gooooodddnneeesssss.....

It is SO hard to write a query letter... at least in my case... I've tried to explain the difficulty to my husband and it boils down to  this:  I am intimately involved with every word, hiccup, cough and "Bless you" of this novel... when I talk about it, I get that deranged writer's look in my eyes and talk about my characters like I know them.  Unfortunately, that doesn't always translate into trying to sell them.  Think about it - how good would you be at... say... selling your mom?

Mom for sale... 5'9, beautiful, funny, enjoys a lemon biscotti, Tetley's British blend tea with evaporated milk, the word "apropos" and men with accents that look like Daniel Craig.  Loves watching horror movies with a snarl and unrealistic expectations and tends to self-isolate but will never ignore a call from her grandkids.

I'd buy it, but would you? How could you really make an informed decision without seeing her or knowing her.. or trying a mug of her "cream tea" (British blend + evaporated milk)? 

Well, the inspiration to write the letter hit me like a tidal wave earlier this week.  Suddenly, I knew... good or bad... exactly what I wanted to say about my alters (*ahem, characters) and how I wanted to say it.  Unfortunately, my littlest tiny human fell ill with the flu (despite getting the flu shot).   He has been cradled under my arm since last week.  I've been worried, to say the least, but managed to finish up the letter amidst nebulizer treatments, insomnia and doing the crazy-stalker-mommy-stare at him while he slept (on my bed, between me and the spouse).  I hit send on my first query letter while spraying Lysol in a trash can, yelling at my five year old to stop playing with his penis and get in the tub and encouraging my littlest to take another sip of his Naked green machine (because he wasn't eating and the doctor recommended high caloric drinks).

He is better... which was my biggest prayer this week.

...and magically, the letter was sent.

Now I wait and (research more agents... and second guess... and obsesses and work on my second novel and...) wait...

Que sera sera, right? Whatever will be, will be.

Keep ya posted.

Love and Light,

Saturday, March 2, 2013

73,070 words.
253 pages.
16 24 chapters (I shortened my chapters).
... and ladies and gentleman, I have a title!!!!

There is no avoiding it.  It is time to move on to my query letter.

Stay tuned for next week's post!

Until then... let's dance again!

Love and Light,

Friday, March 1, 2013

I was going to write this post about query letters but I saw this great movie last night so I want to write about that instead.  I know I should write a post about query letters and I promise I will... just as soon as I get over my disabling fear of them.

So... the movie. 

My hubby and I had plans to see Justice Sotomayor at a book signing/lecture in Baltimore last night but our youngest got sick :-(.  So, we stayed in instead.  With a bottle of red wine and a bowl full of popcorn ('cause that's how we do), we settled down to watch Celeste & Jesse Forever  a movie starring Rashida Jones and Andy Samburg (of D*ck in a Box fame).  Here is the trailer:
So truth be told, I have always been a little obsessed with Rashida Jones.  Not only is she gorgeous, but her performances in movies are so subtle and natural, you can almost trick yourself into thinking she isn't acting... like you know her and you just happen to be a fly on the wall in her life for a moment.  Plus, I think it's awesome that she is Quincy Jones's daughter... sometimes unbelievable artistic talent is inherited.

Anyway, the movie, written by Jones and Will McCormick (who plays a role in the movie), is about a divorcing couple, Celeste (played by Jones) and Jesse (played by Samburg), who struggle to maintain their friendship while moving on.  Without giving anything away, I loved this movie because I so thoroughly identified with the characters.  It was such a character-driven plot; the conflict solely rested within the struggles of the protagonist.  Namely, Celeste, whose type A, "always right" personality prevents her from valuing her relationship with Jesse.  I also loved this movie because it was a story about my generation: 30-somethings who speak the way I speak, make the kind of jokes I find funny, and listen to the kind of music I like (I already bought the soundtrack).

In short, it is precisely the kind of story I want to tell. 

So, I guess I should amend my previous post about complete isolation from the big black box.  Make no mistakes, isolation is goooood for the creative soul.  Some days, if I could plug my laptop into the non-slimy wall of a bugless, cave with just a lantern and a desk, I totally would but art... whether its a good book, a vivid painting, two ravens getting their flirt on or a well-written movie... is inspiring.

That's just fact.

So, rent the movie! I wasn't paid to say that so you should trust me!

Love and Light,
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