lathriel: (writing)
New blog post up at Ink, Blood, Magic: Enjoy the goddamn journey, 'cause it's all we'll ever have.

Just a bit o' rambling about the myth that people have tried and true writing "processes," and the more destructive myth that writing is supposed to be painful.


Hope everyone is having a lovely June so far!
lathriel: (bro dude)

Cross-posted from Ink, Blood, Magic:

"After months of waiting with bated breath (okay, bated breath was really just the last few days before I got the email), I finally received word that I have been accepted into Nova Ren Suma’s YA novel-writing workshop at Djerassi! I’m incredibly honored and grateful for the opportunity to work not only with an author that has deeply inspired me as a writer and as a person, but also to be working with 9 other talented writers! I’m looking forward to some inspiring people and conversations, and learning whatever I can from each and every person present. My brain is ready for your wisdom! And I guess to share whatever wisdom I might have (lol).

I’ve said it a million times before, but one of the reasons why I continue to work towards having a traditional publishing experience is because I want to always be working towards becoming the best writer that I can possibly be. I hope that, with the right agent and editor, I can learn and grow as a writer and a storyteller. Lessons from the traditional publishing world are one of the few unexplored frontiers for me, as someone who’s been a self-proclaimed writer since before I could spell my own name. You see, (and you’ll have to pardon the unintentional humblebrag) all my life I’ve had the unsatisfying experience of being a “really good writer for my age” when I was younger or “extremely talented.” Which means that, in every creative writing class and every writing workshop, even up to an agent-fishing-type conference just a few years ago, I’ve always been a big fish in a small-to-medium pond, and the focus was always on teaching those smaller fish. That’s awesome when two agents are fighting over you at a conference–not so great when all the full manuscript requests over the years never seem to pan out.

I’m lucky. I know I’m a good writer. I believe in that wholeheartedly, even when I also know that what I’m writing is shit (I know I can fix it. Revision is glorious). Just having that in my core belief system puts me miles ahead of a lot of creative types. But I know I have plenty left to learn, that my writing can always be even better, that there will never come a day when I am done perfecting my voice, my craft, my process, my method.

I am not a religious person, but for me, everything in life rests on a spiritual foundation. Every choice I’ve made; every relationship I keep or dissolve; the food I eat, the products I buy; the way I see everything in the entire world–it all comes down to the things that I believe in, deeply, when nothing else can be known for certain. Chosing to self publish, despite the criticism I knew it would invite, was based on those core beliefs (and a handful of editors validating my work but telling me, essentially, “as good as it is, no publisher will take a chance on something so strange.”). I love the freedom of self publishing, the possibilities it presents, and, you know 70% royalties on ebook sales doesn’t hurt either.

But I didn’t do it for money. I did it because unpublished novels that I know are good feel like deaths in the family–far worse than an abandoned manuscript that wasn’t ever going to get better. And besides, just because a novel doesn’t necessarily have a broad appeal doesn’t mean it’s not a great novel with the potential to change someone’s life.

Admittedly, that sounds really defensive. I’m not here to defend my choice to self-publish my early work in this ever-changing landscape of publishing. But consider this: have you ever loved the shit out of something no one in your life had ever heard of, that never gained in popularity (or if it did it took a very long time)? Have you ever loved a person that no one else even notices, or wanted to get to know the super shy kid in class that everyone else ignores? Have you ever found an old book at a used book store, a novel or a book of poems, or found a piece of art and fallen completely in love with it and then found out there is ZERO information on that poor author/artist who probably died in obscurity?

Okay, well, maybe you have and maybe you haven’t. These probably aren’t universal experiences. Maybe there are just some people who live a kind of universal experience themselves, and there’s nothing obscure about them. Hipsters weep for them, and chances are good that they probably wouldn’t like the books I’ve self-published. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But let’s be honest–the mark of a great piece of art, including fiction, is that it speaksto us. And the more people a work of art speaks to, the greater it is, in history and theory. And, also, let’s be more honest: the more people it speaks to, the more appealing it is to anyone who stands to profit from representing it.

How to appeal to the masses (or a large enough mass to make your art lucrative, anyway) is probably the hardest thing for any artist to learn, if indeed it is something that you can learn. Some people have it–some people, who probably already enjoy things that appeal to larger groups of people, naturally tell stories that fit into that world and appeal to those masses. For other people, like myself, we tend towards things that may be excellent, but unmarketable. Remarkable, but strange. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, since my whole life people have repeatedly told me the things I say and do are “lol so weird” and my response has always been “Really? That’s weird? Not the spoon cult I started in eighth grade, or the comics I used to draw about my sociopathic alter ego?”

I don’t know if you can actually learn how to write stories that appeal to more people–and if you can, I don’t know that it would actually serve your writing. I’ve experienced myself, and heard countless tales from other authors, how writing for mass appeal can cause devastating depression and creative blocks. But I do believe that as we grow into our art, we connect more and more with that deep undercurrent of raw humanity that lies at the foundation of all creativity. I believe that if we follow our hearts and hone our craft and keep writing our words, no matter what, that the stories we write will naturally evolve into things that are bigger than our quirks and fascinations, our talent and our vision. A great story–and great art–is always much more than the sum of the artist’s parts.

Anyway. I’m finishing the second draft of The Tower and starting the outline for my next stand-alone YA novel, I’ve got an AMAZING narrator contracted for the Ghost City audiobook, and I’m really looking forward to the conference in June. So that’s where I’m at right now. :D"

Leveled up!

Jul. 7th, 2013 12:28 am
lathriel: (violin)

I'm sitting here trying to write a query letter for my most recent novel (the novel I wrote since being fired!), and something amazing just occurred to me. When I started writing this book last year, I didn't really know where it was going. It was a weird book, with weird ideas, and a plot that doesn't do what you expect your average plot to do. To be perfectly honest, when I set out to tell this story, I didn't think I had the skills to tell it. Even when I outlined the hell out of it and had my epiphanies and figured out exactly what was going on in the book, I still didn't believe I had the skills to write it.

And yet here I am, crafting the elusive one sentence summary, preparing my novel for her maiden voyage to my literary agent of choice.

Maybe I had the skills all along, and maybe I didn't. Maybe I learned the skills along the way. But I gave it everything I had--I trusted in the story, in the process, in my sheer love of storytelling. And now I've told the story that I wasn't sure I had the capacity to tell.

That just...I don't have words for it. I feel humbled. And proud. And at peace.

Also, I kind of feel like I can do anything now. Just to warn you.
lathriel: (writing)
Bear with me, this might get strange.

So I think a lot about imaginary people (because I'm a writer, and a reader) and I think a lot about story, and what aspects appeal to humans, and how, when things are taken too far, maybe people sometimes expect real life to be like stories, which isn't impossible, but unlikely. And I think sometimes about these characters that go through so much and finally achieve their huge, massive goal--and then what? What drives them forward? Do they get their happily ever after? Or does the story go on? Or rather, do they begin a different story?

Happily ever after is widely accepted as a myth these days, because we know that time and life doesn't stand still. You can't stay at the top forever. Problems arise, solutions must be sought. Stories must be lived.

I think about that a lot: what do are the characters' lives like after the story ends?

And then I hit my own milestone/climax-resolution yesterday. I finished the first draft of GHOST CITY, the first novel I've started and finished since 2010 when I posted the last chapter of The Poppet and the Lune (unless you count my massive rewrite of THE HIEROPHANT). I felt like I should have been more exuberant, more over the moon for my accomplishment. I had to check to make sure I wasn't suppressing joy in favor of doubt (as I do). I wasn't. I was excited, but no more excited than I'd been the days before. I'm excited for the book! But the story goes on, well after the first draft, as any writer knows. And I'm more excited to move forward onto the next stage of crafting this story than I am excited that I finished one stage of it.

It's a little bit like me getting fired. I'm far more excited and enthusiastic about being free and living my life as I've dreamed, than I am excited to be free of my terrible day job.

That's not to say that when I do finish a final, polished, ready-for-submission draft that I won't be exploding with joy, but that's a slightly larger milestone to meet.

Relief is more the feeling I had yesterday. I was relieved that I made it through the whole thing. I was relieved that I had it in me, another story, another novel. I was relieved that my decisions about the novel, whether they were the "right" ones or not, were good decisions. I was relieved that I could do it. I can do it. I can write novels, and more than just the ones I've already written.

I have a feeling I will feel that same relief with the first draft of every novel I will ever write.
lathriel: (Ana and Trebor)
The manuscript. I am making progress. Through a frenzy of cutting, cutting and pasting, smoothing and sorting, the good bits of the new draft are blending chunkily with the good bits of the old. It's rough--rougher than rough--but it's progress. Real, satisfying progress.

For the first time in a very long time, I've been scene-fantasizing--those self indulgent moments or minutes where you act/write out an anticipated scene in your head even though it's not strictly productive to do so. Or, I used to think it wasn't. What good could it do to know every detail of a scene from the middle of book 3 when you can't even finish revising book 1?

Apparently, it does a lot of good.

These scenes, as self indulgent and almost self-fan-fic-ish as they are, exist in my brain because they make me excited. They rekindle my passion for the characters, the story. They remind me what the point of writing this story was to begin with, or has become. It turns out this indulgence is an essential motivator, an exercise that I have unwittingly practiced since I was very young... until, that is, I began to believe it was a waste of time because it did not always yield a practical result.

But it all makes sense, really, in such an obvious way. Of course the part about storytelling that I love, the rumination and immersion in the worlds they inhabit, the fantasizing about other places and people and times, would be essential. Of course the fun, "pointless" act of imagining would be a necessary ingredient for inspiration, and creative sustenance.

I am so silly sometimes.
lathriel: (trouble)
I think this new course of homeopathic is helping tremendously. Errything's excitin'!

-I OWE SARAH AND JENN MY FIRST BORN CHILD. They've helped me so much with my current WIP I cannot even begin to articulate. Endless, endless hours of me whining have been endured. But! I really think, honestly, something amazing is about to happen with this book. I figured out some major details just now (*ahem*googledocs*ahem*) thanks to Jenn and Sarah's insight last night! Eeee! The bad guys have clear, believable motivation! And I'm reinserting the soul of the story!!! Eeeee!!!

-Also, there is a dog/puppy. He is half pomeranian/half sheltie? terrier? something? and his name is Rusty (for now). He gets along with cats and dogs and is mostly housebroken. We're going to drive 1.5 hours on Monday to meet him!!! XD

ETA: This is the ONLY picture of Rusty they have! ADORBS! ;-;

And this is his very brief profile.

-I put on my big girl panties and sold some stock this morning. I'm doing a RESET on our finances that have been messed up since I made too big of a downpayment on our new car, and getting ahead so we can start implementing a weekly budget/allowance and be much better about spending less, and being more mindful of where our money is going. Which is exciting to me! Even though I hate numbers, I love budgeting :) I use to help me track my spending, and synch all my accounts, and it makes things so much easier!

-We have paint picked out for the bathroom. Now we just need the time to get the painting done! It's going to be a pain-- we'll have to move the toilet and sink--but I'm super excited to start making it a pretty, relaxing space instead of the neutral blah it is now.

That's it for now! Hope everyone has a great weekend!


Jan. 31st, 2012 10:50 am
lathriel: (lovely)
I found this quote on accident, and it has given me the answers to my scariest questions about The Arcana series.

"Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door." - Thomas Wolfe

I'm... I'm just... This is the epiphany I knew was coming.

The magic is back.
lathriel: (writing)
The short story I wrote for Jared the first Christmas we were together is now available on Smashwords for free or pay-what-you-want :)

A Lover and its Ghosts

I'd be eternally grateful if you could spread the word to anyone you think would enjoy a short, romantic, spiritual, slightly experimental work of possible fiction :D
lathriel: (desert)
(Cross-posted at my blog, which has been re-named so as not to violate copyright: "Ink, blood, magic." Which, I just realized, becomes IBM. lol)

There is a(n exquisite) passage from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams that I had my childhood friend read at my wedding (yes, it made people cry). I find that something about it is apropriate for my current change of life, and the realizations I'm having about becoming public, and making my books "real."

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."


So, my book is not-quite-out-there now, but it is announced. It's got a presence in the real world, and a tentative launch date. It is becoming, and that is a process we all know well. I am becoming along with it- we are all, always, becoming- but I am also already real, to a degree. And my book, my baby, the fruit of my soul, is about to become real as well.

Suddenly I can imagine what it must be like for a parent to leave their first-born at school for the first time, and then college, and then life after that... I want the best for my baby. I want her to meet the people that will love her for who she is, and who will take all the love she has to give. And really, I think I need to foster that same attitude. Like a parent must learn to accept that their own child (though they have put much of themselve into her) is not a reflection of them or who they are, so an author needs to be able to do the same.

There will be many authors who disagree with me, but this is how I tell stories: when I write, I don't write to express myself or who I am; I don't write to impress; I don't write to teach, or express an opinion. I write because a story has come to me, and I feel compelled to do my best to translate that idea into text, and to shape it into something that will most closely resemble the original thought and feeling of the story. But the story is there before I write it.

So, in a way, the resulting book doesn't even belong to me.

Yeah, I did the hard work, and I crafted the words. I shaped the worlds and characters and events. I interpreted the idea. There is a lot of me that goes into everything I write, whether fiction or non. But I can't say that the story itself is mine- it belongs to us all.

This story- The Poppet and the Lune- is about to go out into the world. It's about to be loved, hated, seen as something worn out and ugly, and seen as something striking and beautiful. It's about to leave the nest, and become real. For more people than just myself and those of you who read her as a fledgling web serial.

And that's... kind of amazing. Kind of terrifying, too. But amazing.



Mar. 10th, 2011 02:21 pm
lathriel: (violin)
I can't really follow the two entries Sarah has made in the last 48 hours. Needless to say, we both know, and I think some of you must know it too by now, that we are constantly matched at a strange energetic level. Up weeks are up weeks, down weeks are down weeks. And as writers, we've discovered truths about ourselves and our crafts and our callings at times so synchronous as to almost be simultaneous.

So without fanfare I am announcing two things:

1) when I get TPaL back from the editors who are looking at it, I also am going to be self publishing.

2) and then I'm going to spruce up The Hierophant, and get that out there too.

For a slight elaboration, check out my entry on Tell Them Stories.
lathriel: (violin)
I think spring has sprung for me. I don't care if it's not for another few weeks- I feel more alive than I have all winter. I have more energy, more focus, and a higher tolerance to the lingering cold. I want to clean everything- purge the apartment as well as my self- we're starting a mild cleanse next week and I'm excited for it. I've been keeping up with my daily meditation, and it's been easy to do so! Unlike ever before, when it was always something forgotten or put on the bottom of my priority list.

I'm so excited. I feel so much more balanced than I have in such a long time, and I think tonight- yes! tonight!- I'm going to start writing again. I'm going to try something new, too- writing whatever I feel like at the time. I have a few projects to choose from, some old and some new, and I think I know which ones are calling to me the strongest- we shall see.

I've been pulling tarot cards at work the past two days, and OMG if I was looking for signs then the deck has given them: first a sign to get the ball rolling on a super secret project, then a sign that it's time to start sprouting. I've been enriching the soil all winter, and growing my roots this past week, and now I'm ready to let my head peak up above the topsoil. I have the ten of cups hanging over my monitor today, and it screams abundance. Also, new magnets that are unbearably cute, very not like me, but their enormous eyes and tiny smiles and ridiculous illustrated happiness make me happy too, so right now I feel full-to-bursting with Happy.

Also, this super secret project I'm working on... it makes me so happy to even think about it. Unfortunately there are various circumstances that prevent me from just blasting ahead full-steam, but I'm doing what I can in the meantime, which is a lot of research and brainstorming. Oh it feels good. I feel big. I don't know how else to describe it- just vast and expansive like the sky.



Feb. 23rd, 2011 12:16 pm
lathriel: (writing)
There are THINGS on my MIND that cannot be un-minded. Things that ask many questions, that do not offer answers. Things I haven't had the time or wherewithal to sit down and figure out. I get too excited, and then I get afraid, and then I get all "THIS MUST BE PERFECT." Except it's more of a low and solid and determined thing said between gritted teeth: this must be perfect.

Which, I know is... you know. What's stopping me from getting anywhere in the frist place.

I'm working on it, as best I can. My thing this week as far as "getting in alignment" and just trying to regain my usual gale-force storm of positive perspective is to be more general about what I want, and continuously be on the look-out for things that are going well, things I've accomplished, and things that make me really happy. I've been impatient with getting back on the wagon of writing, but I'm still burned out, and I know it.

I've been learning to crochet. I've been reading. I had a very relaxing weekend with Jared and Katie and Pete, and we talked a lot about things that emphasize what I'm dreaming about doing. Slowly, but surely, I'm getting my groove back. I'm sure it's no coincidence that we're eeking towards spring.

Right now, I just need to focus on being patient with myself, and finding joy for the sake of being joyful.
lathriel: (lotus children)
I know I'm supposed to be embracing stillness and whatnot, but I've been excited by the mere prospect of this coming back onto the writing desk:

I think I'm going to start working on The Lotus Children again.

I THINK. I don't know. I love this story to death, but I can't decide whether to write it as I've always seen it (which is admittedly a sloppy bit of space opera drama- though still epic!) or try to fix it up and make it more... I don't know. I want it to be the best it can be, but at the same time I don't want to get wrapped up in making it something that will sell or appeal to huge audiences.

The thing is, when you get me started on these books there's no stopping. I have to tell you about the characters, their plight, the dramatic irony, the delicate web of fate, the cultures they come from and detailed cultural practices, the history of their worlds... I know these characters and their worlds inside and out, and to a degree I know their story better than my own. But I have a feeling that there is something in the way I need to tell the story that I haven't quite grasped.

Anyway, I was excited when this came up the other day, and I haven't really stopped being excited since. And holding true to my decision to only write because I love to, I suppose this is the most likely next project to work on :)
lathriel: (violin)
As Samhain approached, I mentally prepared myself for the increasingly cold weather and the fewer and fewer hours of sunlight. I said to myself "Maddie, you know what happens every year. You fight winter as if it is an enemy holding you back from your goals. It's not. Winter is your teacher, if you let it be. Embrace the dreamtime, and make it work for you."

So, I didn't really know how to do that. I just told myself I would, and let it go. I assumed it meant not expected much from myself, but that's not it at all.

This morning as I was writing in my morning pages, I really began to understand. Artists and their projects need several things to truly flourish: a deep, filled well of images and ideas to draw from (not quite inspiration, but similar); a solid foundation in themselves and their mind and heart; and faith. (There are definitely more things but these are what occurred to me today). Winter is the perfect time to gather and build these things.

This winter, in addition to not stressing, I have a lot of inner work to do. I have a lot of research to do, a lot of planning, a lot of thinking, if I am going to truly self publish The Poppet and the Lune. That alone could take up plenty of time and energy, but it's all very singular, very "alone" kind of work. I might share findings I am excited about, but just like writing, I'm in it alone in the end even with the gracious support of friends. Now that we are down to one car, I pick up Jared downtown at 4:30 every day. This means I might as well spend an hour or so at the Buffalo Central Library (once I pay that late fee) researching and reading, at least once or twice a week.

In addition to major goals, I have small goals to address as well. I want to begin taking weekly piano lessons (I've been looking for a while on craigslist), which will mean at least an hour a week for lessons (including travel), and practicing every day. This is something powerful for me- even as an amateur with a "good ear" I have a strong positive response to noodling on the piano or teaching myself new songs, no matter the difficulty. The medium our family is friends with once told me that playing piano was something spirit strongly encouraged me to do, to help foster ideas for writing. It's also something I've just wanted to do forever, and am finally in a financial position where I can afford to :)

There are other small goals as well. I want to begin learning French, and get into habits of exercise, and back to doing Bikram at least once a week. I want to make our home cozier, to build some new traditions for Jared and myself, to make the holidays special for us as our own family as well as with our greater family.

Sarah and I are figuring out the details of beginning our own meditation circle starting in January, every other Wednesday night, which is a medium sized project I suppose, but one I'm very excited for and that leads me into the next thing...

The dreamtime is a time for dreaming. A time to reconnect yourself with Yourself, your higher self, the one who is really pulling all the strings. Spiritually, I feel that I have been called more and more over this past year to truly focus on my spiritual life as a Pagan, to study more pantheons, to maintain a better altar, to really listen to the messages from the divine, and to do all these things within the unique context of what they mean to me (because I'm fairly certain my take on these activities are very different from a lot of pagans). (Also, as a side note, Jared and I had an amazing conversation yesterday about male spirituality and the Norse pantheon, and I'm excited about where it's all going for him!) In my life, one of my most constant and greatest goals has been to deepen the connection I have with the divine and with spirit. It is also something I tend to put aside because there is "so much on my plate." Not this winter.

As for creative acts, I know I can't not write. But I can be playful about it (and shouldn't it always be playful?). I can focus on outlines, very very rough drafts, short stories about the silly concepts Jared and I laugh about when we walk around our neighborhood together. I will be writing, and working on projects, but it will be lightly, with an easy and joyful attitude.

I am thrilled, and I am blessed, and I am looking forward to all that I will accomplish in the coming season, even if it can't be measured in word count.

I'm sure I've envisioned it all to be a lot easier than it really will be, but it's a start. I'm not going to make huge demands on myself. I will only demand that I not watch movies/netflix/hulu before a certain hour, and that I make my forms of entertainment as enriching as possible.

lathriel: (writing)
So, no one showed up to the first morning write-in for NaNoWriMo, and that makes me sad. The morning write-ins have always been my personal favorite. They have a sense of purpose and magic about them, truth perhaps... the revelation that writing is more important than sleeping in on a Saturday.

I was going to make a kick-your-but-into-gear kind of post on the forum, but instead I decided to cut and paste it here where I think less people will feel attacked. I'm not attacking. I just want people to live their dreams.


Now, I'm not a morning person by any means. But, let's face it-- we all lead very busy lives, and most of us complain, say, and believe, "I don't have any time to do the things I want to do." This is patently not true. We have the time, if we make it, but usually we prefer to use that time for something else, like sleeping or watching television, or other forms of "relaxation."

Now, before you get mad, listen: I am not a type A personality whatsoever, and I do my fair share of procrastination just like everyone else. Sometimes more, I think. But there are a lot of things we do under the guise of "deserved relaxation" that do little more than turn off our brains temporarily. Not even off, really-- more like lower their operative wavelengths so that the activity slows down enough to distract us from the world. That's not relaxation, that's a form of drug abuse.

In the long run, watching television/playing video games/sleeping in when you know you want to write a novel, or spend time with your family, or paint a picture, or need to write a thesis... that's only going to stress you out more. Because once you do use your time for something unrewarding and unhelpful, you will stress yourself out later because you "don't have time" to do those other more important things.

And hey, if they're more important, why didn't you make time for them first?

If we go to bed a little bit earlier, and wake up a little bit earlier, our lives can be drastically different. Morning is the time when most of us have nothing scheduled besides getting ready for work, or some kind of exercise. But those who exercise in the morning already know the secret to success: complete tasks that are a priority BEFORE all others.

I'm not asking you to put NaNoWriMo before all your other priorities. I'm not asking you to sacrifice your sleep or never watch your favorite tv show or to rearrange your whole schedule so that you can write a novel. I'm just saying that as humans, we are very creative and inventive, and we can come up with many interesting ways to justify not doing the things that would make us truly happy. We can paint ourselves as victims, we can exacerbate and exaggerate, and we can keep saying "yes" to every impulse that feels good in the moment and not in the long run.

Or we can remember our priorities, swallow a little bit of discomfort, and find true satisfaction in accomplishing our goals, every step of the (often very long) way.

Just sayin'.

This is an interesting article on procrastination that really threw the curtains back on some personal shortcomings of mine. And no, I don't feel bad. Now I just have a better idea of how to overcome them.
lathriel: (writing)
I just want to say flat out that there isn't really a question here as to what is the more "worthwhile" pursuit- to each their own is the only answer.

I had a conversation with an old friend at Scott's wedding, a writer. He's a pretty messed up guy (due to a series of uncontrollable events), and very intelligent. A very "artistic" type, with dark tendencies. He's the kind of writer who writes one book his entire life, but it's a book that literally almost kills him, and that will probably become a cult classic among the intellectuals and artists and people who are just so intelligent that they can't help but be in an constant battle with depression.

Recognizing that, I recognized something else that got me thinking: it seems to me there are two different kinds of writers- writers who write because they must, because it is a passionate love affair, because their stories sing in their bones and their characters are alive in their heads, and to give them life brings the writer joy; and writers who write because they feel they are the only ones who can say what they need to say, and even though it hurts, even though they have to suffer and bleed and drink for their words, for each page pulled from the depths of their soul, they will do it, and use it as their excuse to continue living in darkness, the darkness that feeds their mind-bending work of staggering genius.

Okay, I've obviously got a bias here, so I apologize. But bear with me, because here was the terrible thing I found myself thinking: "Those kinds of books are deep. They're intelligent, moving, the kind of books that are taught in college, but only people who are really alive get, and that people get tattoos of and that get nobel prizes. The commercial stuff I write isn't really important, is it? It's just entertaining."

I can't believe I thought that, even for a minute. The "commercial" stories I write are so rich with meaning I don't even see half of it until after I go back and read it; no, they might not be incredibly layered and complex, but that only means it can reach more people, and that doesn't mean they aren't intelligent. And you know what? The most commonly tattooed text from books come from children's books like The Velveteen Rabbit, Lord of the Rings, The Giving Tree, Peter Pan, etc.

I don't want to be an artist that's out to change the world with my magnum opus. I just want to do what I love, and... I guess move a few people while I'm at it. Entertain them, yeah, that too. Because a good story is a form of entertainment that does change you, that leaves a mark on you, broadens your perspective, fires up your imagination.

I dunno, I'm just rambling here I guess, reminding myself that there's a reason I am drawn to the stories I am, in reading and writing. These are the stories that changed me, and inspired me. I know that writing anything can be agonizing, but it shouldn't be, not all the time. I don't believe in that kind of writing. If the story you're writing doesn't bring joy to you when you write it, at least some of the time, why are you writing it?

Okay, I'm done. Hope I haven't offended.


Aug. 13th, 2010 09:59 am
lathriel: (Default)
Gah! This is the worst time to be at this stage in a book's life because all I want to do is get revisions and query letters done but I have my wedding to think about first! XD

I found the agency that represented Peter S. Beagle, the author of The Last Unicorn which is the only book I can think of that is at all similar in style to The Poppet and the Lune. They seem to be a pretty respectable group, not just promoting commercial BS. I have really high hopes for TPaL, and I think it will be considered a respectable work of fiction some day. So, I shall query them. I've been working on the letter, and if I have it finished before the end of next week I will mail out the query before I am a Mrs. :D

I also want to write up a synopsis, cause a lot of agencies ask for those, too. My other agency in mind is BGLit, which represents Libba Bray (among others who I'm not as enthusiastic about). They seem to have a lot of success with their authors, and I like the vibe of their website. Feels like a family.

Heeee so excited! Marriage and query letters, what could be better?! XD

Also: A week from tomorrow you guys!!!!!!! :D
lathriel: (Ana and Trebor)
And after that, how about something happy to think about?

Jared and I booked our honeymoon last night! Five nights at the Cape Hatteras Bed & Breakfast on Hatteras Beach in the Outer Banks, NC! It's about a 13 hour drive there (and back), but we figure we can have fun road tripping, stopping at ridiculous roadside attractions, eating terrible rest stop food, listening to bad music, etc. My car is pretty excellent on gas (Honda Civic Hybrid ftw!), so it will probably be less than the price of one plane ticket to drive.

Jared and I both have a deep love for the sea that is hard to describe. I know I've tried here before, and probably failed. There's something intrinsic in me, and in him, that belongs to the sea so profoundly... I think it has to do with past lives, but I can't be certain. I did write about it in the book I gave him for his birthday this year, although I don't think he realizes yet that a part of me thinks the book is based on true events (our past lives together). I'm insanely proud of that book (short story, really- just under 7k). So here's a snippet, for no reason:

I dreamed of mountains then, leviathans of granite and lime, stained by the damp green of the deep sea. They stood like hulking giants on the soft wrinkles of sand, layers of seaweed dancing in the water and hanging from their stocky bodies like ragged clothes. The skeletons of seafaring ships leaned heavily against their stubby legs, frames made hazy by corrosion; great toothy beasts would glide between their shoulders, black eyes gleaming with a light that by all rights should not have been captured there.

Sometimes I would wake up curled into the sheets, clutching at your side of the bed as if I might be able to extract your sleeping ghost from the stuffing of the mattress. Had I been clinging to you? Swimming with your spirit through the icy water, letting the salt wash away the incomprehensible distance between us? Maybe we had become flesh for a moment in time, briefly incarnating some willing creatures asleep beneath the sea.

As certain as I was—when my hand curled around the air where yours should have been and I still felt you—I couldn’t help but be human, and wonder if any of it had really happened, or if you had ever been real to begin with.

Anyway. I know is sounds dismal, because the story of the past lives is really about how the two souls have never spent a lifetime together, but gradually have more and more time, implying that the next life not written in the pages will be the best (the one we're in). Cheesy? Maybe. True? I don't know. But I feel the story inside of me unlike any other story I've ever written, and so it's true to me.

And we're excited to spend our honeymoon by the ocean, in a small town, on a beach, exploring museums and riding bikes and parasailing... it will be magical :)
lathriel: (violin)
Ah yes, a quarter of a century has passed since I burst forth from my mother's womb amidst a parade of Crowley-esque auspices (17th, at 7pm, 7lbs, eehhh?). The world's heart skipped a beat that day- in terror or in love, I cannot say.


This time last year I was wandering about London town, eating Chinese food and purchasing the last of my souvenirs. Amazing where you can find yourself in a year! I might not be in the UK, but I think I'm in an even better place right now: graduated from college, working, writing, madly in love with my soul mate, and planning our wedding (!!!). Really, planning our lives too. And it's funny: I've dreamed and imagined for as long as I can remember about getting published and making it big. And if that had happened before this past September, I would have never met Jared. Or at least, my chances would have been a lot slimmer.

Meanwhile, here I am actually kind of "settling down" (AH!) in a way, and thinking about the future, and.... yeah, publishing is in it... but it's not all that's there. I feel like, with Jared around now (and FOREVER mwahaha), the rest of my life story has fleshed itself out a little bit. Like, before the love interest was introduced, my outline was flat, two-dimensional, lacking real depth or development of character. Now it's real. And there's so much more I want to do this year and in the coming years. I want to learn French while Jared learns German, so we can travel to Europe with respect and not expect everyone to speak English. I want to buy land and a house, and build an animal rescue. I want to make bad horror movies that are well-written. I want to paint the interior of our house ridiculously bright colors. I want to learn to swing dance pretty damn well.

I think we might, even, possibly, someday, want to have a kid or two.


Anyway, I do want to get published still. But mostly, and more than that, I just want to write, regardless of who is reading it. And that's the truth.

Ok, well, I am still at work so I'd better get back to that. Happy birthday to me! I am enjoying being older and wiser than I was yesterday :D
lathriel: (dancedancedance)
And on the note of people worshipping stress, I had a realization Monday night: maybe if we all just acknowledged each other's efforts more often, from a positive perspective instead of sympathy, we wouldn't feel the need to dramatize our stress. If someone was constantly telling you how awesome you are for the things you do, or simply saying that they acknowledge and respect what you're doing, maybe you'd feel good about it, not stressed. Maybe you'd take the time to acknowledge others. Maybe we should all try to do this, just to see what happens?

That is not to say YOU specifically, or anyone, doesn't already take some time to tell people "I see what you're doin' thar, tis good." Let's just ramp it up a notch, eh? Validate people before they have the chance to start grumbling.

Anyway, onto my own "stress." Further along the experimentation lines, I'd like to talk about lists. How do you feel about lists? I think they're awesome, the best way of organizing ever, and to empty my brain of tasks so that I can focus one at a time. But some people find them oppressive- "oh shit I forgot about that, and that, and that..." But I think for my purposes I'm going to make a list now. In lieu of in-person external validation, I am going to write it out and validate myself.

So, here has been life since September:

1.) Meet my soul mate.
2.) Get engaged.
3.) Finish the semester.
4.) Graduate from college, and end the 6 year era of me being only pseudo-independent.
5.) Begin planning a wedding. The reception venue and the dress were the MOST stressful to find.
5.a.) Begin being a bridesmaid and substitute maid of honor for my friend whose MoH lives in Cali.
6.) Job hunt forever, doubt my value as a human, my ability as a writer, my capacity for independence, etc.
7.) Start new job working for the family business.
7.a) Start said business from scratch.
8.) Find a new apartment for Jared and I.
9.) Still planning that wedding!
10.) Move into the new apartment.
11.) Plan bridal shower for friend.
12.) Take over paying for all my own stuff, for the first time ever (I've had rent, phone, and some groceries covered during college... spoiled, I know, but I still have to face the adjustment)
13.) Take on a freelance editing assignment.
14.) Hello, wedding planning. What's that, everyone now has an opinion but I still have to do all the work?

And that's leaving out a lot of equally stressful small details.

Ahhh but you know what, despite the stress, it's really freaking awesome! *pats self on back* Besides, if I wasn't under gratuitous amounts of stress I wouldn't have had this opportunity for spiritual growth. And, by the way, I'm really enjoying experimenting with ideas about "stress." So yay for me! Soon this will all be over, and I'll be bored, haha. No, a writer is never bored. But you know what I mean.

Speaking of writing, The Hierophant is reinventing itself, tightening its universe and characters, making itself more fun and, well, rock 'n' roll. ;D Also, I'm definitely over the halfway point in The Poppet and the Lune, and I'm excited to begin the home stretch. Ooooh the ending is going to be so awesome! And I think once things settle down around here, I'm going to begin working on some sketches for illustrations. Yes! And maybe, one day, I will actually get around to that animation...

Well, happy Beltane Eve everyone! Have a wonderful May Day weekend!


lathriel: (Default)
Maddie Lion

April 2017

9 101112131415


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 06:18 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios