I Stammer When I Write, but I am brilliant when I read.

I do, and I have an odd habit of saying things in a back-assed way. It is as if addressing a glove that is turned insideout I imagine turning the world inside out to accommodate it. So it is of paramount importance that I learn to edit. If I want to share that is.   (What is the deal with EM dashes really?)

Unfortunately I am doing most of my reading through audio books these days. Presently I am listening to “City on Fire” by Garth Risk Hallberg and it is AWESOME.  It is set in 1970’s New York and that was MY TIME in history, –as pathetic as that may be– I feel at home there.

Mostly I am enjoying the writing. He is a beautiful writer. Every sentence I want to swim in, dive in, gulp.  Truly. And now I feel I need to see the words so I can discern the magic of them.

Ah words, you trap me everyday.

So that’s all I have to say: I stammer when I write.  I spent a year stammering as a child and had to go to speech therapy.  What I learned was if they take you out during regular class time you will get beaten up at recess.  So I fixed it because of my sheer determination to not be different. That’s what the 1970’s were, the struggle to be normal and the results of how impossible it was to be normal.  The punk, post humanist posture, and it’s darker preppy twin, the hyper vigilant, fake it till you make it, corporate minion was the result. All of this is delineated in his book wondrously.

I don’t know what started my stammer or really what ended it but it ended.

I can learn to write better, perhaps not brilliantly but better.  I just have to find someone to threaten me with a beating if I don’t. 😦

Getting there is not the issue.

I should have expected this. Right on time I went a bit crazy with anxiety over my writing. I know about the hard work of writing (and just about any creative endeavour)and I had the crazy idea that because I have overcome so many of my “demons” I would be able to slog through the nasty bits of finishing off my novella for possible publication. I also thought I could handle having to talk to other people about it. Instead I sunk into a black despair which I commonly call “being in the grip of the black dogs”. I think I have written about this and how it compares to grief, both of which are not really the same as sadness despite the social misuse of the term “depressed”.

*sigh*

Where I have fallen down and continue to fall down is not in falling down but
in trying to hide it.

I can’t write the “great novel”.  I can only write my novel and be as true as I can possibly be. That includes letting it fail but doing the work anyway.

Sometimes when I am riding my bike home with my groceries I am passed on the road by someone all suited up with the latest apparel and newest bike and I think of the old lady I used to see in Ottawa. She carried her groceries in the front basket of an old bicycle. She made lunches for a local day care. I would see her everyday. She always dressed in a skirt and wore a hat or scarf and she rode very erect.  She is the one I remember out of all the cyclists whizzing by me in my lifetime. I have no ego invested in the daily chores that riding my bike help me complete, I don’t compare myself to athletes or pretend to be other than who I am.

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Wheeeeel, Wheeeel, Wheeeel, BUTTERFLY!

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wilficecream

About Writing

 

 

Back in the good old days of Live journal I used it as my personal diary and sometimes forgot to click on “private” in the drop down so it was sort of like a Rear Window event only I was the victim or the murderer, not sure which.  I did share a lot of my attempts at writing fiction in that ghostly world of on-line journaling.  But it was unsubstantial, like a life that only happens when you are sleeping.

I recently gave my novella to a couple of friends and then to a woman who is a professional editor. She offered to give it a read and then an estimate for the edit…  This is about as REAL as I have gotten with my fiction writing beyond a few teen magazines when I was a teen and a cook book and short story anthology that I gave my oldest son.

btw, WHAT THE F*&K ARE EM DASHES?

forgive the brain fart

Here is what they have said:

  • Friend who makes her living writing, or a portion of her living, we will call her J.  “Hi Rio, I’m just starting to read your book. I love it! I don’t want to put it down!”
  • Friend who is very much the opposite of sanguine. Lets call her D.: “Hi my birth name, I’ve read half your story and here are the notes I jotted down while I was reading. (The majority are spelling mistakes.)”
  • The Editor, hence called “the editor”: I read the working name of my novella and found it very engaging. The storytelling is strong; you have a clear tone and good flow. I really like the stories within a larger story concept. You’ve created a dystopian environment that is still recognizable, and timely!” Then she said she would do it with suggestions for story for $1000 to $1200. I paid her $100 for the read and begged off for now.

Ack.  Should I go in debt to get this book published?  I am old.  Am I just an old fool?

I would say yes. I am an old fool. This morning I received my first phone call from my grandson. He is 1 1/2 years old.  He can say “Hi Nana” and his own name, and a bunch of adorable and clever things but when he gets tired of prompting he says, “whhheeeeeel, wheeeeeel, wheeeeeel” -which sounds like a British ambulance- and then, “BUTTERFLY!”

Gaud I wish I could do that when I feel overwhelmed by the pressure to do something awesome!  Oh, hey, I did!

Ten Things to Beat the Winter Blues: Thing Seven

Remember, winter and bad stuff won’t last forever.

Just thinking about winter never ending is scary. That’s why it’s like the scariest thing in the Game of Thrones, even scarier than getting skinned alive, which, as a kid, was sort of a funny threat because of cartoons where characters could put on and take off their skins and become different characters. I always sort of suspected that the belly button was important for this ability. I am happy to say that I never tried it, but when something rotten was discovered and I was blamed, “I’m going to skin you alive!” it always made me giggle. I don’t want to delve deeper into the psychological aspects of watching too many cartoons as a child right now or why the possibility of changing my skin makes me laugh. OKAY?

I sometimes suffer from depression.  It comes on and grips me and for the duration I have to keep things small and careful, not for myself, because there is little to be done for me, even Mozart is lost to me in this consuming cacophony of negativity, but because it would make people who love me sad if they knew I was suffering, or how much.

I have lived through enough bouts of it now, that I no longer see each incidence as unique even though one of the worst aspects of depression is its overwhelming assertion that THIS IS THE MOST TERRIBLE AND UNENDING HELL.  I keep a record of bouts of depression to remind me that I have been here before.  The furniture might be slightly different but the view is the same, and that reminds me that I can and will be somewhere else, eventually.

There are plenty of people who do write and draw about it, very, very well. Sometimes reading this blog actually is just the thing.sad16alt

Planet Word

my lovely daughter all grown up!

She still likes to read!

One of the great things about raising kids in Ottawa (and even small town Ontario) is that even if you are poor you have access to books. We had a television but to get more than one channel someone had to stand on the back of the couch holding up a metal clothes hanger attached to a wire attached to the back of the set.  We read a lot.

I am happy to say that all three of my adult children read constantly.  I don’t even think going to school is as important as learning to read and then to navigate a library index.  This is something I have to thank my parents for too.  I grew up seeing people reading. My father went to the library every Saturday and always picked out several novels.  I liked picture books. Dr. Seuss was my favourite. I struggled to learn the rules and no other rule breaker could make me laugh the way he could.

I was a quiet kid but learned to love words.  And my love of words started in the community library’s children’s section.

Oh and just a quick mention:  I am watching “Fry’s Planet Word” on TVO and loving it!

I had a poetry crisis riding a bus!

I read a poem
where an advertisement should have been,
I got very excited and
I looked around
nobody else seemed to notice.
The words were what I would have said,
maybe they were mine.
I had no pen so
I sent myself a text:

dionne brand I have beenlosing roads land to.light on

I Googled “Dionne Brand” and she doesn’t look like me. I just thought, reading her poem that, as the words kissed my little grey matter, they belonged to me.

I drank a beer and watched Slaughterhouse Five and wrote this.

 I get drunk on one beer.

Vonnegut. Kurt Vonnegut. He wrote a book called Slaughterhouse Five. But I seem to remember reading that he thought of calling it “The Children’s War” because that was what they were, children, all of them, when they went off to war…

Kurt Vonnegut taught me how to be a human being without having my heart break.

I think it is possible that he is dead. He might have died long ago. I don’t keep track of these things. It’s funny because when I talk about Kurt Vonnegut I always want to say, “he told me…” rather than “I read in his book” or “he wrote in his book”. I know I never met him but I also know something else. This is what I know:

I remember a lover once said to me , “…It’s just as possible that all that hair you find on your clothes is not coming off the cat, but actually is on the way to the cat, that a cat is actually a small contained quantum irregularity.”, I laughed. It still makes me laugh. It will always make me laugh.

In the end the disappointments don’t matter. In the end we all get to be Billy Pilgrim. “Hello, Fare well, Hello, Fare Well…”