My 2013 Anti-resolutions (or what I won’t be writing this year)

Inspired by a prompt at Today’s Author, I have decided to turn over a new leaf and try actually writing this year instead of procrastinating. In spite of that choice, I present 10 things I will not be writing this year:

1. I will not start a faux reality blog about former child stars raising ostriches, llamas, and platypuses in order to curry the reading audience’s favor (and votes) so as to gain a recording contract, a movie deal, and a year’s supply of Rice-a-Roni.

2. I will not try my hand at creating a new fictional genre that combines all the charms of spaghetti westerns, cyberpunk, Gregorian chant, and space opera with the fascinating rhythms of dub-step.

3. I will avoid at all cost spending my days creating odes to the toenails on my girlcat’s rear left paw, no matter how cutely she scratches me with them.

4. I won’t make it a priority to come up with 101 new ways to use pine nuts, sea salt, and coffee grounds just so that I can have the most novelly titled cook book on the internet: Pining for Arabian Seas: 101 Recipes Using Pine Nuts, Sea Salt, and Coffee Grounds.

5. I will resist the urge to create How-To manuals for watching paint dry, herding cats or watching pots boil, not matter how extensive my expertise on the subjects may be.

6. I will not write pro-Martian propaganda, write puff piece interviews of non-terrestrial beings, or answer fan mail on behalf of my alien overlords even if it means a neural whipping, a loss of space cantina privileges, or defenestration via airlock (viva la resistance!).

7. I won’t spend any time at all creating a choose your own adventure novel about the advent of stereoscopic vision in predatory animals or the founding of a new planet by spacefaring slugs, snails, and other soft bodied invertebrates.

8. I won’t even consider publishing an underground leaflet of instant soup recipes and other material subversive to our all powerful alien overlords.

9. I will not develop the technology to write poetry on banana skins without them going brown before anyone can read them just so I can publish my sonnet Banana, Banana, Whose Got the Banana? in the format for which it was originally intended.

10. I will find a way to steer clear of marking down the long awaited songbook for my extemporaneous musical, Why Don’t You Just Go to Flipping Sleep Already?, which was performed in its entirety only once before a less than enthusiastic audience during my oldest child’s infancy.


On the Arts

So lately I’ve been thinking about the Arts. You know, drawing, painting, sculpting, collage, photography, dance, music, theater, film, poetry, fiction: all those creative things that we all used to do or wished we could do when we were children, but don’t always remember to pursue as we become adults with adult responsibilities and less and less time that feels like it is ours to use as we wish.

I’ve come to realize that the times in my life when I have been the most artistic are the times in my life when I have been the most happy. And, those times in my life when I have let art and creativity fall away under the pressure of adult responsibilities have been the times when my come and go depression has come and stayed a while, sometimes a long while.

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On Approaching Change

In about two weeks, my daily life is going to change a bit. I’ve been home with my kids for the last eleven years, but last year my son went to all day kindergarten. For about three weeks, I tried to figure out what I ought to be doing with the six hours of solitude this brought me- then, my neighbor, for whom I’d done before/after school care for her older daughter, got a new job and she needed care for her four year old. My days were not solitary again, so I got a reprieve from having to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. Now, that same four year old is starting kindergarten and my reprieve is over.

I have a large number of things I should do with that time, a larger number of things I could do with that time, and also a few things I actually want to do with that time. And, it’s not as if I need to have it all worked out by the first day of school, but knowing myself like I do (better than most people, but not as well as my husband, I think) I know I should make some plans so I don’t spiral into laziness and depression as soon as the kids are out the door.

So, I start with lists (at this point, this will get boring, so I don’t mind if you stop reading- really, it’s okay- go read some of my fiction, instead).


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The thing about having a daily word count goal…

is that you have to keep pushing yourself to work at putting something down on paper/computer screen, even if you don’t feel like writing, even if you’ve had a crap-filled day, even if your head is a jumbled up mess because the kids are screaming and the dishwasher is running and you’d gotten the sunburn that wouldn’t say die last week and you have a headache and you are starting to feel really guilty for not doing the laundry and not returning people’s calls or responding to your emails or making comments on other blogger’s posts that you really should have read by now, wanted to read last week, if only your head had been in the place for it, but you’d learned a couple of years ago that you can’t seem to be a reader and a writer at the same time and therefore spending a large amount of your free time reading means you will have writer’s block or spending a large amount of your free time writing means you will have a strange sort of reader’s block in which you hate everything you read, unless you have read it before, regardless of how good or bad it really is.

The other thing about it is that when you do push yourself you come up with some really bad stuff that you will never let others read and you also come up with some really good stuff that you maybe didn’t know you had in you, but you can’t always tell which is which until you get pretty far into it or even to the end, so even though it seems like a piece is a worthless dead-end, you learn to see it through just to make sure that there won’t be a sudden ninety degree turn that makes the thing not just passable, but irrationally fantastic, because the last thing you ought to do is give up on what might have been the best thing you ever wrote.

There is more to learn about it, I’m sure, but that’s what I’ve learned so far.

Help a girl out?

So, as a writer, I find that having goals helps me to actually sit down and write. A long term plan (like I have for my fiction blog- a post every Friday, rain or shine) will help me push through the moments of writer’s block, even if I’m finishing the week’s post on Friday morning (or afternoon) and a good daily goal like the one required by Nanowrimo will really make me get going. With that in mind, I signed up for AugNoWriMo. I have promised myself that I will write at least 25,000 words of fiction or non-fiction prose during the month of August.

This goal requires me to write about 800 words a day (806.5-ish really), but I can count all kinds of writing, including blog posts, this one included (I have 140 words so far!). I will also be using my work on my serials, some flash fictions for some challenges and a book review or two to get to my goal.

I’ll be posting my word count total at about 10 p.m. each day. I’d like to ask anyone who is following my writing to give me a poke anytime it seems like I haven’t been writing. Hopefully, I’ll avoid being poked at all.



Standardized Blurb Format for Freely Shared Online Fiction SBFFFSOF for short ;P

Been thinking about wordpress and how the tag specific pages work to draw the reader in…

See that almost sentence above? ^ It is about the length of the excerpt that the tag specific pages give for each post. Pretty short, huh? That’s what you get to try and entice the random reader in. Made me wonder how better to use those 100 or so characters in the beginning of each post more efficiently. So I made a list…
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Spain Calling (or my blog eats itself)

So, on a scale of 1 to weird, I call this a search-engines-are-fraked-up. I’ve written before of how I am so vain that I go ahead and google search terms that come up in my blog stats, right? I’ve been amazed at how, despite the fact that I have very few hits on this blog (less than ten a day on average) and almost no comments (<– see the blatant request for someone to post a little hello), I am on the first page for certain searches- like how my review of ‘No Matter How Much You Promise to Cook or Pay the Rent You Blew It Cauze Bill Bailey Ain’t Never Coming Home Again’ by Edgardo Vega Yunque’ or how I gets hits on the bit I wrote On Being Not So Much Hispanic.

So, the search term “famous New Jerseyans Hispanics” showed up on the blog stats today. . . .

–> I am lucky number 8 on that page. <–

Again, how is it that I am on a search page about famous anyones, let alone Hispanics? And, in the coolest irony of all- the link on that page is to the post about how not Hispanic I am, but seem to be more and more mistaken for one.

Ooo- Also, the Spanish speaking Jehovah’s Witnesses came by on Saturday. First time on that, too. They wouldn’t try and teach me about God, though. They only had materials in Spanish and the little Spanish I have retained from high school might be enough to get me help, food or a toilet in a Spanish speaking country, but not enough to give me salvation (I guess).

Kind of wondering if it’s all some kind of sign. Maybe I should take up Spanish again (in copious amounts of free time).

On Books and the Antihero: Dexter, Profit and Lady MacBeth

What I’ve been reading lately-

So, I have this enormous family and am lucky enough that there really isn’t much I need or want, except books and media and such (the occasional cooking implement makes the list, too). Which means that Christmas usually brings a few bookstore gift cards or the like- so I can go on a little shopping spree.

This year I bought the first two books in Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series- such good stuff. Goes down smooth and dark and quick as lightening. I read both books (about 300 pages each) in three days. Lindsey writes like he’s just there talking to you, telling you about that thing that happened to a friend of his the other day and all, but then it whips around and he ties it all up in a neat black bow of irony and sweet death. Anyone with a liking for the antihero will enjoy.

Got me to thinking about my own liking for the antihero and attempting to trace it back to some origin- some piece that brought me around from the linear thinking of hero to the circular thinking of the big bad guys. Loved Patricia Highsmith’s “Talented Mr. Ripley” back in college. Also fell hard for John Gardner’s “Grendle” shortly after I got married. Each of these stories and their twisted perspectives made me giddy and I reread them again and again. But, I realized that my big conversion moment came with a short-lived Fox network series called “Profit”. Adrian Pasdar, who is now ironically on the show “Heros” played the antihero, a man named Profit who was a sociopath and used any and all means to get ahead in business. SO good. I recently found out it came out on DVD in 2005. Now must try and run down a copy.

Also liked MacBeth, but he isn’t so much the antihero- that would really be Lady MacBeth. She needs her own treatment. Or does it exist already? Maybe I will write it.