Category Archives: Writers Write
In this moment, the promise of a new year is as tall as the thunderhead in the photo. Dense and electric and textured. All I have to do is reach out and grab it. The question is: why is seizing the day so hard?
Much is made of New Year’s resolutions. There are those who are into the anti-resolution, those who will only state their intentions, those who set goals, and even more who spend January 1 recovering from the final goodbye to the year before.
This week, I replaced all the photos on my inspiration wall with 8 x 10s of my favorite moments from 2014—vacation photos, vignettes of my starry-eyed teens, and a single shot of Bacon and I leaning against the sign marking the boundary to our personal paradise. They’re supposed to remind me of why I write. They’re my audience, but they also tie me to my comfort zone. I’m comfortable with my memories, even the miserable ones. Although it’s not on the wall, the cold night in the mud at the top of the mountain makes me wistful. After all, I lived to laugh about it.
It takes real strength to shove the clouds aside and focus on what’s ahead. Shaping the unknown into a new memory is the challenge of the new year. You’re invited to follow along. I’m sure to fall in the mud, but I’ll do my best to share a laugh about it.
I ate at a favorite restaurant yesterday, Josephine’s. I love this place so much I used it as a setting in a novel.
Charlie’s Chili was an icehouse. Annie didn’t know what that meant before she became a Texan. The fact that the century old building once housed Finkle’s meat market said everything about its current incarnation.
It faced the end of a freeway exit ramp. That was why the owner left the tree. A live oak once grew up through the ceiling. Now, only the trunk remained, blocking the view from the door and forming a barricade to the patrons beyond. To the left was the bar. Booths lined the opposite wall, and tables filled the space between. The kitchen with its pass-through window anchored the back, and beside it, the hall to the restroom. Texas tunes played on the jukebox–Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, and the Dixie Chicks, before and after their George W. Bush comments.
The food was local. The beer was cold. The crowd crammed in like planks in the hardwood floor, warped and wavy with the shifting times.
Breaking a rule here. A while back, I decided NOT to write about writing. After all, I’m out to recruit readers not writers to my little slice of the internet. Crisply Spoken is supposed to be about developing my voice.
Problem #1: I got stuck. And when I have a problem, I’m miserable until I find an answer.
Problem #2: I found too many answers. The internet is loaded with advice. Most of it—not that great.
I read so many blogs about how to fix my slow drift into the soft haze of apathy, I started looking for a correlation. Wow. That sentence sure sums it all up into a tidy stack. The insight wasn’t tidy. It was NOT a Eureka moment. It was more like constipation. Like the hives. Like lactose intolerance. Definitely unbecoming. Absolutely passive aggressive.
In my search for the answer to writer’s block, the same title appeared again and again. Every creative with half a clue mentioned the same book. Since I don’t want to appear clueless, I’m sharing it with you.
I won’t summarize. If you have a real problem, you need to read the whole book. It’s short. 190 pages. I will say this. Now, I don’t worry if I’m good. I don’t worry if anyone will read my work. I don’t worry about finding an agent or making a sale. I worry about showing up. That’s the goal. Every day, I sit down at my laptop and type. It turns out, showing up works for me. If you’re struggling, I hope it works for you. Read the book, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.