Life is a journey. If you are a writer--and you know who you are--this is one of the most important pieces of information to keep in the forefront of the chaos in your head. There are no guarantees. Enjoy the journey!
Good news! Now for the price of an overpriced cup of coffee at Starbucks, you can get my calorie-free science thriller, SAHARA'S SONG! Just 2.99 while supplies last. (okay, just kidding it's an e-book--unlimited supplies and no trees killed. Awesome, right?!)
And for those shnazzy people with Kindles, you can get it on Amazon for the price of a discounted overpriced cup of coffee! Just 2.39! Go Here: SAHARA'S SONG on Amazon
Go, go, go.......
(and be sure to drop me a line and let me know if you liked it!)
It was three years ago this month that I began this blog. November for me seems to be both a time for endings and a time for new beginnings. It has been an amazing learning experience, this little experiment of sending my words out into the world. Something quite unexpected came out of it for me...the impact of the words you all gave back. So, before I forget I want to say thank you for taking the time to share your opinions and hearts with me. I couldn't have come to this point in my writing without your wings.
If I had to pick the most important thing I've learned here, it's that writing is not a solitary adventure. Words and stories are what bind people together, they are how we connect. Stories are the threads between civilizations and generations. They are how we understand...our own souls, our monsters, our gods and most importantly--each other. I have learned the importance of a village, of having roots and belonging, of giving and receiving. This ending isn't about leaving because I will always return--to your writing space or a new one of my own.
But, since my decision to leave myself open to writing about something other than science, I have had nothing to say. Words have left me. The more I tried to write anything else--short stories, poetry or even this blog--the more pervasive and daunting the silence grew.
But in the absence of my own words and my own ideas, in that deafening silence, someone else's story has emerged. Her story is full of myths and legends, murder and magic. I have been listening obsessively to this story lately, trying to put together the mystery of it all and get to know the woman who is telling it. Her words are the only ones that I can hear now.
That's the catch phrase lately and it's very catchy.
I've always been a big fan of change, especially when things aren't working. You'd think that would be a no-brainer, but unfortunately...it's not.
So, this blog and my writing are going to be changing focus. I've been struggling for a while with my writing because of the incompatibility of my style (literary) and my themes (science). I've read a few things lately that have cleared up my misconception that literary science fiction would appeal to anyone but me.
First, I've been reading a bunch of the older science fiction short stories from the masters. I love the way they turn your view of reality and the world upside-down, the way they expand your mind and the possibilities of your life. It's what always draws me to science fiction. But, they are definitely all about the story, not about the writing. Don't get me wrong, I love this, I enjoy reading it--I just can't write it.
Then I read: The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success. (click on the link and you can download it for free...it's seriously a must-read) and I finally got it. Donald Maas says when you try to cross genres, one plus one does not equal two. In my case, I would not gain the audience of those that love literary and those who love science fiction--instead I would have a novel that doesn't entirely satisfy either audience. The most I could hope to gain is the small overlap of people who go to the bookstore and spend time in both the science fiction and literary sections.
When I asked myself how many other people I really think do that, I felt very alone...and heard the proverbial crickets.
People are mostly category loyal. There are exceptions, I know, but if I'm going to be serious about writing as a career, I can't bank on appealing to the exceptions. No agent or publisher is going to take on a writer who appeals to such a small group, especially not in today's market.
My plan right now is to stretch my literary wings. I've been working on some non-science literary short stories and flash fiction and am going to work my tail off trying to build up some publishing credits. I'd like to be able to add science back into the equation at some point in my writing, but until I figure out how it is the literary road I will be walking, stumbling, and running down.
So, that's me. I hope you all are writing and hanging in there!
I love Craigslist. This is the bottom corner of my bookshelf, the new home of over forty new (to me) science fiction books from the 70's & 80's. Ray Bradbury, Ursula Le Guin, Authur C. Clarke, Harlan Ellison, Theodore Sturgeon. All for ten bucks. Can life get any better? I think not, baby puppy.
Oh, speaking of books, for those of you that are Orson Scott Card fans, fyi: Ender in Exile will be released November 11th! Can you say pre-order?!
So, this is what's up on my current leg of a writer's journey. Whilst waiting for my chapters to boomerang back from the black hole of queryland, I am beginning to get the itch to start a new novel. Just an irritating little tickle that causes my mind to wonder at traffic lights and grocery store lines. I have no subject yet, though. This is the hard part for me. So, I wait...and read. Lots. Read other writers, articles, posters, cereal labels, stranger's minds. (okay, not really) My appetite for reading is bordering on obsessive.
This is where all my lovely new, dusty books come in.
I will be submersing myself in books and science news until I emerge with a new topic worth blowing up into a novel. This is my plan. Hope it works.
Instead of imagining what my third eye would see, I thought this would be a good exercise for one of the main characters in my novel. She's a fourteen year old human-chimp chimera, who has been ostrasized, quarantined, treated like a lab rat and sterilized. Her third eye has shown her, and me, something important about what it means to be human.
Her name is Olivia:
They have done something to me. Something to keep me from having babies ever. The nurses think I’m asleep because I’m squeezing my eyes closed. I can hear their whispers because they have turned to me, turned their words on me. They have to whisper louder because of the masks. My head hurts. Their words are bright and hot on my skin. Is this the same lady who smiles at me when my eyes are open and watching her?
“An abomination. How did we get stuck in here with her?”
I can see the nurse scrubbing her hands roughly. I know what she’s doing. She is being mean. She is mad at me, trying to rub off the places her gloves touched me. No, I can see the colors of her soul. Reds and blacks. She is simply afraid. This makes my heart feel heavy.
“She did not ask to be born,” the other one sighs.
“Pah! She wasn’t born, some freak of a scientist thought he was God. I’d love to be there when he meets the real God.”
I wasn’t born? But I was. I saw pictures. I was born of my mother just like you. I want to tell her this, but I see her hatred of me carries her like a whirl of black smoke into the future. She will not listen.
“She’s still a child.”
The second nurse’s words define her and I see her shape clearly; she is not wearing her mask. She stands fearless beside me and yet my eyes are still closed. Am I dreaming?
“I’m sorry, little one. We aren’t the kindest of species are we?”
I hear her words but I know she has not spoken them out loud. “Maybe you shouldn’t want so bad to join our club, now that you know what we really are. Cruel to those who don’t fit our particular ideas of normal; we fear what we don’t understand, we create boundaries of acceptance based on whatever we are. Anything outside what we are can’t be meant to live, right? Doesn’t deserve to live. Anything different than us must be shunned, controlled, exterminated.”
“A child?” I see her as a shadow in the room now, the mean nurse. I'm scared. I know I will not be able to look at her ever again, not while my eyes are open.“A beast’s child, maybe.”
“Look at her, how frail she is, the needle marks, the patches of skin missing, the stitches in her torn abdomen. We are the beasts. We are the animals.” I see the pictures forming in the kind nurse’s head. Pictures of me healthy, sitting in school, then at a desk with glasses and a coffee cup. She is picturing me normal. Like her. Then my arms morph as I pick up the cup, they are covered in dark hair and as I bring the cup to my lips, I hoot and pull my lips back to reveal large canine teeth. The image disappears as she sighs again.
“Different does not mean a threat.”
These words march around inside her now; she repeats them to herself to keep the images away. I can see her concentration. I can feel something important has happened, something I would feel better if I could understand. Something that would bring me hope. Something that would make me want to live as a human.
The word “choice” circles my head with wings of silver. The wings burst into flame and as the ashes fall, the room grows dark. I can’t see them anymore.
Have you ever noticed how being in a new situation, a new environment, makes you sit up and pay attention? Makes you so much more aware of the daily magic? I've been so enamored by my surroundings that I spend my free time taking pictures again. I found this little lady in our backyard lake, flitting about with her purple, white and yellow cousins. Her posture made me think of you all.
So, I give her to you.
You, who spend your time giving time. Spend your energy feeding those who count on you for survival. Fill your days with nurturing the little ones, feeding the mouths, wiping the tears, polishing the souls you've been given ward of.
And still making time for your own dreams. Making time to move down your own path, one step at a time.
Some things about me. I’m addicted to words. I’m more about quality than quantity. I am a gypsy at heart. I want a Wu Li tattoo but can’t even commit to a bumper sticker. I believe in both evolution and the power of love. My children are the only things I am sure about in this world. My favorite wine at the moment is Tilia Merlot. When I’m upset I hit the bookstore or the shower. I am an earth sign, but I feel most at home near the ocean. I have a white golden retriever who owns my heart. I can’t commit to a belief system because that means I’ll stop searching. I’ll freely admit I always have more questions than answers. I love physics and hate math. Florida is my adopted home state. I believe in the power of yoga, meditation and our own thoughts. I love storms but have a tornado phobia. My life dream is to travel and live in hotels. I am afraid to fly. I am a walking contradiction. Welcome to my humble space.