Random quote of the day:

“The novel remains for me one of the few forms where we can record man’s complexity and the strength and decency of his longings. Where we can describe, step by step, minute by minute, our not altogether unpleasant struggle to put ourselves into a viable and devout relationship to our beloved and mistaken world.”

—John Cheever, National Book Award acceptance speech for The Writer, September 1958

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

After hitting the five week mark on the poetry project I think I’m going to stop–because I’ve started working on a story. I’m not going to discuss that because it’s early days yet and in my experience if I talk too much about a story before it’s well-launched it dissipates the energy and I don’t finish it. And by story, I probably mean novel. I can’t seem to conceptualize and stay true to anything less complex.

So the poetry project did what I hoped it would do, got me back to a regular writing practice. It’s still early days on that, too, but I’m hopeful. I also hope to put something up on this blog at least once a week. I have found that all writing, no matter what, begets more writing. The important part is to start (or restart) the regular practice of writing.

So wish me luck. But, of course, what I really need is to just keep doing it, whatever it is.

Random quote of the day:

“Like a lot of what happens in novels, inspiration is a sort of spontaneous combustion—the oily rags of the head and heart.”

—Stanley Elkin, The Paris Review, Issue 66, Summer 1976

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Never begin the book when you feel you want to begin it, but hold off a while longer.”

—Rose Tremain, “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian, 19 Feb. 2010


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.


Random quote of the day:

“When I read something saying I’ve not done anything as good as Catch-22 I’m tempted to reply, ‘Who has?’”

—Joseph Heller, quoted in The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations, ed. Peter Kemp


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

The talented and lovely mnfaure has put out a general challenge to writers as part of the 7-7-7-7 challenge, so I decided to play along. I’ll follow her lead and rather than challenging seven specific writers, I’ll just say that anyone out there who wishes to join in should feel free to.

The Challenge

Go to the 7th page of a work in progress, go 7 lines down, post the next 7 lines, then challenge 7 other writers to do the same.

My entry turns out to be part of a letter to the editor of a paranormal magazine called The Between Times—maybe not the most riveting part of the novel, but hopefully at least slightly amusing:

I wonder if you’d like to do an article about the Chupacabra that’s bothering my chickens? Well, I’d better close for now. I am a big fan of your magazine. I have been reading The Between Times ever since I discovered it on a trip to San Francisco three years ago to visit my son’s grave. That was the issue on life after death and I found it to be a great comfort. Keep up the good work, and let me know about that Chupacabra article. I’ll even write it myself if you like, though I’m no creative writer.

Sincerely yours,

Ramona Hansen Tattinger, Hansen Ranch, Dos Lunas County, California

This was seven lines in the ms., but seems to have a different shape in the post. Anyway. Happy writing!

Random quote of the day:

“At first sight a man’s life is more interesting than his works. It constitutes an obstinate, taut whole. Unit of mind dominates. There is a single inspiration through all those years. He is the novel. To be rewritten, obviously.”

—Albert Camus, The Notebooks, 1942-1951 (tr. Justin O’Brien)


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

I have only ever taken one critique of my writing personally, and that was largely because it was meant personally. The critiquer mostly wanted to put me in my place and take revenge for an honest review I did of her Very Precious Novel. I told her that her writing was lovely, the characters in her book were interesting people I liked hanging out with, but I thought she’d done some chickenshit stuff with the plotting. Although I used, yanno, polite language, phrased things as positively as I could, trying to be supportive.

In turn, she said my novel was such utter dreck that she couldn’t make it past chapter 3 and didn’t want to waste anymore of her Very Precious Time actually finishing. Except, yanno, in semi-polite language. Though not very polite. Rather dismissive, in fact. Really hard not to take that personally.

Her novel went on to be published, mine did not, but mine got some positive response from agents. The ending was too controversial and “anti-market” but send the next novel along, and etc. Life took over and I wasn’t able to do any of that.

I admit to some perverse gratification when my critiquer’s novel was reviewed in Locus. They called her on the selfsame chickenshit plotting I had. Although the reviewer used, yanno, polite language. Though not as polite as mine. And I’d be lying if I said I was anything less than perversely gratified when the novel didn’t sell well.

Mostly, however, I take criticism like a grown woman. I ask people to read and critique my work because I want honest opinions so I can make it better. And I stay away from the perverse gratification as much as possible because I really do believe that negativity breeds negativity. It’s not healthy for me as a person or an artist to nurse grudges. They’re rather like hoarding useless junk. Too much of it in any one life and you wind up being one of those people buried alive and suffocated to death when a pile of old smelly junk falls on top of you.

No, envy and salacious glee at another person’s fail tend to choke the creative process. That needs to be as free-flowing as possible and if the artist encumbers herself with negative emotions she’ll stop moving altogether. I see it even more clearly now that I have so little time to do creative work, so little Me Time. An artist needs to be able to take those precious moments and run with them whenever they occur, wherever they lead.

And that includes being grateful for the time others spend reviewing and giving honest critiques of my work. I’m grateful for 99.9% of the reviews I’ve gotten. As you can probably tell from the opening of this post, I haven’t entirely succeeded on letting go of that one unfair one. I still grit my teeth when I see that person’s name. Fortunately, I don’t see it much anymore unless I masochistically google it. And I hardly ever do that. Hardly.

I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time for hoarding old newspapers of envy, scrap tin of grudge, and empty boxes of perverse gratification. I need to let go, lighten my load, and liberate myself completely from the junk preventing me from moving freely.

Random quote of the day:

“Even if because of your book people do get ready to reconsider something, they don’t know it. And if they do know it, they don’t admit it. And if they write me a letter saying, ‘Your novel has changed my life,’ I don’t believe them.”

—Amos Oz, interview, New York Times, December 13, 2003


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Forgive me, LJ. It has been three months since my last confession.

Time has really slipped past me. I’ll spare you some of the Christmas whinging as that is so last year…

Dec 18
1 in 200 Women Say They’ve Had a Virgin Pregnancy:   Ooookay.

Dec 18
It wasn’t something I needed, thought it a bit extravagant, but I will admit that I sure enjoy my new latte maker. Best part? It was a gift!

Dec 19
More structural rewrites are in my future. I had so hoped this one was good to go.

Dec 19
If only my name was Felicia. Then I could change my Twitter handle for the season to Felicia Navidad.

So now of course I’m earworming Feliz Navidad.

Dec 19
My new most-hated phrase: “Clear all the jelly!

Dec 19
So beautiful! Worth sitting through the annoying ad.


Dec 23
Having occupied my office chair for 4 hours I will now go to lunch. 4 hours after that I will be off for 9 blessed days.

Dec 23
Ooookay. Candy Crush has now moved beyond divertissement to obsession.

Dec 25
My cousin’s Christmas gift to me: coming to take care of Mom while I have knee surgery. God bless you, Francie.

Note from March: there’s an unhappy ending to this story.

Dec 25
I still think the Miami Heat’s logo looks like a flaming butternut squash.

Jan 1
One half of the gay couple who married on the Rose Parade float was a former hair dresser of mine. I’m thrilled for him!

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Jan 3
I hate cutting characters out of stories even when I know it’s necessary. I feel like I’m denying them there chance at the limelight.

Jan 4
You know that thing where you’re unintentionally full of shite, where bad memory and public pronouncement collide? That thing.

Jan 6
This guy! who flew his plane under the Eiffel Tower to chase and shoot down a Nazi: …

Jan 7
Mom had some issues at dialysis last night so we had an outpatient procedure this morning. Home again. Everything’s fine.

Jan 7
Michael Easton on General Hospital always reminds me of Dr. Drake Ramore.

Jan 8
Back in the ER again. This week is a clusterf*ck.

Jan 9
Mom’s CAT scan was OK so the hospital kicked her loose late yesterday afternoon so I could take her to dialysis. I was not pleased. We didn’t get home from dialysis until after 10 and Mom was hurting. I had to do two hour watches on her all night long to make sure the head wound didn’t go south. But she’s doing much better than we had any right to expect. She’s got a 4 cm cut on the back of her head and 10 wee. She fell in the street when the transport guy came to pick her up to take her to the clinic.

Jan 9
I used to live 2 blocks from here in 79 (and other inane facts)—Venice Beach, 1979: 

Jan 15
A vivid and profound dream last night. Clearly a message from Self to self, but I haven’t quite figured out all it was trying to tell me.

Jan 18
A belief which keeps you prisoner in a life you hate should be done away with. It is not a thing of the Spirit, it is an aberration of Man.

Jan 19
All Ma wanted to do today was watch football and all I wanted to do was read philosophy. What a ridiculous conundrum.

Jan 20
I think Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber should date. Then the gossip media mill would implode and none of us would have to listen anymore.

Jan 24
So I says to my friend, “If the Apocalypse comes, I’m going to shelter in place and let it get me.” I’m not cut out for dystopia.

Jan 24
I’ve getting so tired of manufactured crises. I’m tired of the real ones, too, but the manufactured ones are really wearing thin.

Jan 25
I’m a committed mediocritist. It’s exhausting trying not to do better, but I can’t compromise my principles.

Jan 27
It’s official: I get my bionic knee on March 20.

Note from March: As previously stated, this may not be true.

Jan 30
CCF is one of the most decent people in FSF. RT @Catrambo Charles Coleman Finlay produces some tips for rejectomancy. …

Jan 30
If you believe in the possibility of a fair trial in Italy, read The Monster of Florence by Preston & Spezi. Their legal system is a joke.

Jan 31
I think my cat is as likely to answer to “You little t*rd” as she is to Min.

Feb 2
RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman. Stunning. Heartbreaking.

Feb 7
Actually, I’m not really having knee surgery in March, I’m headed here.

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Note from March: In fact…

Feb 9
The rages come out of nowhere like they always have. Why do they still have the power to surprise me?

Feb 10
He’s so cheerful all the time he gives me the creeps. No names please.

Feb 10
RIP Maxine Kumin, one of the best. 

Feb 11
Both beautiful and sad. Help take care of Baby Iver: 

Feb 12
Daily Mail article on sitting down: “those who sat more than six hours a day were 37 per cent more likely to die” NEWSFLASH: everyone dies

If you MUST read it for yourself: 

Feb 19
People assume that because you aren’t ambitious in the same way or for the same things as they are that you have no ambition.

Feb 20
Pussy Riot is brutalized by Cossacks while trying to protest, then Livejournal goes down. Probably not a coincidence.

Feb 20
So I won’t be getting my bionic knee after all, not for awhile. My cousin can’t stay with Mom. Not her fault, just life. She got sick herself.

Feb 24
Ah, farewell Harold Ramis. One for the ages.

Feb 26
So Der Weinerschnitzel is using a tiki motif to advertise their new chili cheese dogs which have no tiki motif that I can tell. ??  I’m a big fan of tiki so I don’t mind, but…

At home sick and watching too much TV I suspect.

Feb 27
Dear Marketers: If you make me create an account to shop at your site I won’t be shopping at your site.

Feb 28
My cat answered to “Farthead” today. In other news, I’ve been home since Tuesday with an awful cold. Am sick of being sick.

Feb 28
I watch my mother destroy a vintage pattern I bought her so she could make something from her past. Things don’t matter, just what they mean to people, and she is so present and content recreating that past. And I am content.

Mar 2
In Braveheart it always sounds to me like Mel Gibson is saying, “You may take our wives but you will never take our freedom!”

Mar 2
Watching the Oscars, Mom is confused. Spike Jones and Steve McQueen are not who she remembers.

Mar 4
Dear Nekkid Girl with “Individuals” emblazoned across your nekkid picture: all nekkid girls are exactly the same.

Mar 5
They’re getting Social Security and Medicare now—New Year’s Eve party, c.1960:

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Mar 6
She has no pattern recognition left since the stroke. She was a crafter/artist. This was key to her identity. Life is a cold-hearted bitch.

Mar 6
If I start receiving ads in my car as some bright sparks are proposing I’ll drive my car through the front door of the first ad agency I see.

Mar 7
And sometimes a miracle occurs and the way becomes clear again and the universe seems a warmer place. You just never know what Life will do.

OTOH, Miley Cyrus still thinks she’s the only person ever to discover S-E-X.

Mar 11
My latest Etsy obsession: 

and a continuing one: 

Mar 11
In my Twitterfeed I saw a story about shamans bilking relatives of those on MH370 claiming they can find the plane, followed by another claiming the loss of the plane was a giant government conspiracy. These seem to be the inevitable exploitive accompaniments to all tragedies these days.

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