Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fly, words, fly

It's not always a good idea to go to bed early, especially not on a full mind, because I wake four or five hours later and can't get back to sleep. If I decide to check my email, I know I'll never get back to sleep until morning and I have a lot to do this weekend. Such is the case tonight.

I look forward to reading Funds for Writers (FFW) every Saturday morning and technically, since it's after midnight, it is Saturday morning, although I prefer to think of it as still Friday night, so when I woke just before one I checked my email and began to read FFW. Hope's editorial about her friend, Tom, from her writing group in the hospital for gallbladder surgery hit me right between the eyes. It isn't as though I've not written many times about each day being precious and not postponing life for some nebulous day in the shadowy future, but reading about Tom and how he held out for a traditional publisher while he put on one more coat of polish and ran his novel through one more edit made me realize I've been holding back, too, not in the same way, but I've been holding myself back.

There are several novels residing in the bits and bytes on hard drives and floppies and CDs and DVD-ROMs that need a little more polish and one more edit. While I've been writing stories for anthologies (and getting published) and reviews and articles and blog posts in the cracks and spaces between life and my day job the novels have languished because I thought I had more time. After all, I plan to live to the ripe old age of 150 (140 now that my cousin, Ellen, scared ten years out of me the other day with her cyber-joke) and I have time, except that maybe I don't have time. There may be more days and years behind me than before me and I'm wasting them.

Okay, I gave up cable television and I use my television only for watching DVDs, rationing myself to one a day, and I download what few shows I watch to cut out commercials, but I'm still wasting time by not putting more of my novels out there. It looks like I finally have one novel on its way and will fill in some blanks this weekend so the publisher and I can go to second base, but there are other novels that need just as much attention, not to polishing and editing just one more time, but to kicking them out of the nest. Having spent ten years not writing until my life and sanity depended on it and using my experience and expertise to put other people's books and stories in publishers' hands, it's time I do the same for myself.

Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for those of you who have already signed on to write a 50,000-word book this month, and I have something planned, but I may put it aside to push those novels, cozy on the hard drive and protected on data disks, out of the nest and into publishers' hands. To that end, I am going to send out one novel a week until they are all making the rounds. I have no more time. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. I no longer have a gallbladder to put me in the hospital and cut off the remainder of my life and the hope of publishing my novels, but something else could go wrong. I could still die today or tomorrow or next week. There are no guarantees. The waiting for just one more anything is at an end.

What do you have sitting on hard drives and disks and gathering dust and cobwebs in drawers, boxes and closets that you don't think is quite good enough to send out? Get them out, dust them off, take a quick look and send them out the door. You may collect a few rejections, but along the way some publisher may tell you what you need to hear, that you are a very talented writer and all you need to do is answer a few questions, fill in a few blanks and you've got a contract. You'll never know unless you push your hatchlings out of the nest. Not next year or next week or even after the next critique session with your writing group, but now. Don't agonize one more minute and don't discount what you already know. You may be too close to see that you have something worth saying that one publisher (you only need one) is going to claim for their schedule. Get your work out now.

And that goes for anyone who is wasting time not making their dreams a reality and putting off their needs and desires until some day.

First thing on my agenda after I finish writing this is filling in the blanks that the publisher asked about and getting it to her this weekend. Thank the electronic gods I don't have to wait for snail mail. I have no more time to waste. It's time to let the words fly. Thanks to Hope for reminding me that I've been sand bagging, too.

That is all. Disperse.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy All Hallows Eve

The warm fragrance of cinnamon and sugar and freshly baked goods hangs in the cool morning air, the oven cooling in the autumn chill. Crumbs of cinnamon streusel dust my lips briefly before melting on my tongue with a tingle of warm spice.

There is nothing like getting up and baking first thing in the morning, leaving the air redolent with warmth and comfort to ease the pressures of work and schedules. This morning I baked crumb cakes. I haven't had them in what seems like centuries, but is only decades. The soft moist cake topped by cinnamon, sugar, flour, butter and water were better than I remembered that leave me longing for popovers cradling fresh butter and pomegranate-raspberry preserves. I'll probably settle for a mushroom, onion and Swiss cheese omelet sprinkled liberally with dill and fresh cracked pepper. It will be a nice follow-up to the butternut squash soup that I'll make tonight. All I need is crusty fresh baked bread and a bowl of toasted pumpkin seeds sparkling with sea salt so that when I open the door to ghosts and goblins and witches tonight (with the inevitable larding of princesses and super heroes) the mingled scents of herbs and exotic spices will welcome and warm them briefly before they continue on their begging rounds.

I had considered making caramel apples to give to visitors tonight, but parents are so cautious these days (as well they should be) about treats that have not come from a store hermetically sealed in plastic and I don't have any address labels made up in case there are any problems, so I will curl up with a few of the books I received yesterday from my supervisor and drink hot homemade cocoa and eat a freshly baked crumb cake propped up in bed with a few pillows and watch the stars prick the night sky above the flame-colored trees weaving up and down the face of Pikes Peak. As the veil between the living and the dead thins toward midnight, I'll keep a few cakes and a pot of cocoa nearby to share with family and friends who wish to visit for a spell.

Blessed Samhain and Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Change I can believe in

I have decided to change my mind and vote for Obama. I saw Ron Howard's cogent and intelligent appeal to my intellect about why I should vote for Obama. Unlike the biased and highly slanted commentary by any of the conservative or Republican media, Ron Howard didn't play on my emotions but gave me sound and clear reasons for why Obama is the voice of change.

Of course, my cousin Laura writing to tell me about how petite Cynthia Nixon (Miranda of Sex and the City fame) was at the Obama rally she attended and how Obama shook hands with so many people was just one more reason for changing my mind. No appeal to my emotions but solid facts and figures.

And reading Michelle Obama's Master's thesis from Princeton on Politico was just one more articulate reason for backing the messianic icon that Obama has become.

I don't need to read anything else about his 25% cut in the military budget or the life saving equipment the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan (when the troops from Iraq are deployed in Afghanistan) will not get. I'm sold. After all, all those movie stars' homes and salaries, the money from Obama's book profits and Michelle Obama's $300K+ salary will be mine when Obama spreads around the wealth. After all, Obama said it and it must be true because he wouldn't lie about anything. I've always dreamed of a little vacation spot in Malibu.

He came clean with his birth certificate, not the one he has cherished all these years but the one the Dept. of Health in Oahu, Hawaii sent him in 2007 (you can see the date bleeding through the paper), and he has answered all the questions about his ties to terrorists, black Muslims, Rev. Jesse Jackson and his plan to bail out on the Zionists in Israel who have controlled American politics since 1953 and that rascally scamp Rev. Wright and his damn whitey and America sermons and beliefs. He has proven that Ayers was just a guy in the neighborhood and the money earned from the directors of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was payment for his hard work on their behalf. He has proven that when it comes to politics he won't play on my emotions by visiting his grandmother in Hawaii before it's too late while castigating and crucifying his opponent for taking a couple of days off to deal with the Wall Street bailout. He has cautioned his followers to persuade his opponents with sweet reason while remaining calm and respectful of the oppositions' views and beliefs, using facts and figures from his well thought out economic and international plans for the future.

Obama is the voice of change and the biggest change is the redistribution of wealth from the haves to the have nots, from the upper class to the slowly disappearing middle and lower classes. The lower classes are assured that they will never have to face the harsh and demanding workaday world while there remains so much wealth and welfare to spread round. Obama is Robin Hood reincarnated, taking from the rich and privileged who have supported and funded him and giving all their money to people like me who have been struggling to make ends meet.

After all, it's not Obama's fault that the Democrats have been forcing gas prices up in order to make the Republicans look bad. It's not his fault that McCain is not his ow man and nothing more than a puppet for Bush & Co. It's not his fault that all Republicans are money grubbing elitists who prefer to exploit the work ethic and are so successful. Obama has carried on a fair and honest political campaign without resorting to name calling and falsification of voter registration records. He has stuck to the issues and carefully detailed his plans for changing our future and our position in the international arena. After all, 40 million Muslims and the leader of Iran wouldn't back someone they didn't trust to watch out for their best interests.

Now that's a record of change I can believe in.

That is all. Disperse.