Found Objects

I walk a lot. On these walks, I happen upon things lost or left.

I’ve found many feathers. Owls. Parrots. Crows. and once a hawk feather.

My friends remind me feathers are signs and have meanings. A black feather is protection. A white feather means an angel is watching over you.

The hawk’s feather represents clear vision.

When I found this hawk’s father, I was ecstatic. Such a wonderful and rare find! I immediately shared the news.

One person questioned how it’d come to be there on the sidewalk in the middle of the day.

I assumed a hawk lost it as he flew overhead or stopped for rest on a nearby tree. I guess he could have swooped down for a mid-day snack and the feather fluttered to the ground.

Yet – this person seemed convinced the feather it belonged to someone else. Does a child live at a nearby house? I considered it. Actually, no. Could it have belonged to a neighborhood child walking by? And she went on. Had they bought it somewhere and then dropped it? She seemed set on believing that it had been lost by a person and it belonged, not to me, but to someone else.

Did I need to explain there were hawks in the neighborhood? Did I need to say, there’s a nearby tree where I’d seen ravens and the occasional hawk? I didn’t want to explain or analyze or concern myself with such things.

I believed a hawk had molted it. And it was meant for me.

Maybe it’s like believing there’s a little magic and mystery left in the adult world.

Maybe that person had no more magic.

Of all things in life, I choose to indulge in the ever small myths and mysteries of found objects.

Friday Motivation

Motivation has been hard to come by of late.

I’ve taking out my frustration in other ways – painting, drawing, and creating new and exciting things. But I am getting back to writing – I swear!

So – some updates:

I found this great review for Harvey Levin Can’t Die.

The story was originally titled, Harvey Levin Must Die, but I couldn’t get it published! Then someone mentioned the title was less than desirable. Ahhhh!!!

So.. presto, chango, accepted and published. And, although people like to email me their kudos and tell me their reviews, I have a hard time getting people to post them. Soooo… here’s one from a gentlemen in Germany. Whoever you are – thank you! I’m glad you liked it!

Other exciting new things is ReadLipsSwag.com – some of our titles and literary inspired shirts and accessories. I find this quite exciting.

It’s on sale too… through fathers’ day. Use code DAD101 if you find anything you like.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re read any of my work – please review, review, review. It helps – even with just my motivation!!

Do you write better during the good times or the bad times?

During bad times, some writers seem to pour out a more substantial amount of work. If the pain and heartache are authentically transformed on the page, the work touches readers.

Some writers in history seemed to have sought out heartache and drama through alcohol, affairs, or other. As if their creative bent fed off their self induced suffering.

But a writer needs to produce when things go well, don’t you think?

I’ve heard of many “one-hit wonders.” Their first novel, fraught with the strain of life’s challenges, zings. But then, sitting back with their big, fat check, they are unable to produce.

My hardest times are relieved through poetry. As if words are squeezed out in some sort of rhythm that requires the concise, mystical format of a poem.

But I recall good times, great times, when my writing poured out too – the excitement of new challenges on the horizon lit up the page.

What do you think? Do you write better in good times or bad times?

Compliment Collage

We sit back, in hard times, and wonder – why do I do this?

Most of us write because we’re driven to by the tales and characters percolating over in our brains. We might go absolutely mad if we didn’t let it out somehow!

Compliments are rare in this line of work. Sometimes people will say they liked the book or give a good review, but it’s really very nice to receive an email like this:

“I also wanted to say that your story is very beautifully written and so impactful. I’m grateful to have read it.”

Isn’t that beautiful? Thank you. Thank you.

And, then today,

By the way, I really liked your story. It had an Edgar Allen Poe vibe.”

Woo hoo! Anyone who knows me understands that I am a Poe fan! I’ve written about, lectured on, and have done my own Poe – Cation

This particular story has not been released yet. “Ghost in Her Room” will be published in Dreamers this summer.

Hold on to those compliments, ladies and gentlemen! I think we need to post them, highlight them, make a giant collage and put it next to our desks for when motivation escapes us.

Summer Goals

I know we make new year’s goals, some of which we keep. This year, however, I decided to make summer goals.

Write everyday

Draw everyday

More yoga

Get out more – now that we’re out of quarantine

Start my back burner projects

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s a good start.

SMART Goals need to be specific, so I learned in the Psychology of Motivation class I took last semester. I’ll work on specificity as well as the other things noted in the YouTube video.

I would love to hear other people’s goals!

Welcome to the world of participation trophies, self publishing, and mediocrity.

I saw a post in one of the writers’ groups. It read something like, “Editing is so expensive, is it really that important?”

Welcome to the world of participation trophies, self publishing, and mediocrity.

I have NOTHING against self publishing (or even participation trophies); however, there are many people who point to these as the problem creating people who don’t try, who don’t work for what they want, who don’t even try to shine.

Yes, there are published books, even from the big 5 publishers, with errors, and author’s cringe because authors work at their craft. They spend weeks and months reading over their WIP thousands of times. Their beta readers read it. Their editors edited it. They rewrote, and edited, edited, and edited for it to be letter perfect. At no time, do any of the authors I know, sit back and say, “eh, does the editing really matter?”

That’s where the real work takes place. That’s writing. Putting words on paper is only the very first part of the job.

The short answer is “yes, editing matters!” Do it yourself or spend the money.

There is far too much crap out there to sift through. If it is not something you feel will shine, win awards, of which you can be proud, put it in your bottom drawer. You can still tell people you’re a writer and your opus is in progress.

A fondness for 4am

4am

The world is different at night. Those early morning hours before the sun rises, it seems no one is awake, no one is moving around ready for the world.

Even if you live in a big city. Maybe you hear some far off traffic. A train somewhere in the distance. Still it seems the world is your private microcosm.

There’s not much one can do at 4am. There are no appointments to keep. No errands to run. No one to call. Polite society (and even maybe not so polite society) are, too, in their own little secular places.

It’s quiet, mostly. It’s serene. The crickets are quieting. The birds are stretching.

All there is to do is reflect, to write, to enjoy the chill in the pre-dawn air, and the peace that has not yet been disturbed.

It’s a special time for us, artists, writers, thinkers to belong. We are separate but together.

I’ll (not) see you there.

Character (and human) Motivation

Learn How to Find the Motivation Within to Succeed | Inc.com

Recently someone did something for me. I did not ask, she volunteered. I was apathetic for a few reasons: I didn’t know her very well; when someone does something for us – there are usually invisible strings that will sway our way at some point.

Many of us operate on societal, cultural, and sometimes puritan programming that is mostly unconscious. Expectations seem ingrained in our very being.

What she expected in return was for me to behave a certain way given her grace. When I did not, she claimed to be hurt and upset, frustrated, why had she bothered?

She was entitled to a “Thank you,” which she received. But she was not entitled to control or to judge. She didn’t understand this. She didn’t realize (and denied) she was making judgements based on her own expectations. If her motivation was to “help,” she had accomplished her goal. But, then, why was she upset?

As writers, I think we see things more clearly. Maybe differently. We are observers of human behaviors. If we’re good, we’re looking for motivation.

This person, like our character, didn’t understand her own unconscious motivations and was, therefore, disappointed by the outcome. It is a rare character who can see their own faults, analyze their misguided or unclear motivations before they act. It’s only with reflection, and maybe help from their besties, that our characters grow to understand themselves and their own actions, motivations, and goals.

Time for a good book burning?

What do you do with all those old notebooks? journals? piles of notes?

How long should we keep them? forever?

I guess, there’s different things here. My old notes and notebooks full of ideas are floating in various places, saved for that some day I might mine them for good ideas.

Yet, there are other types of journals and notebooks – our personal ones. Does anyone every throw those away? burn them?

One woman told me she was sorry she threw hers away. She’d like other people to see them, read them, understand they weren’t alone in their thoughts and feelings.

Certainly, that is why I write. However, that is not why I keep a journal. And those journals, over the years, have piled up. I have nightmare images of my daughters reading them after I’ve passed, wondering if they should have committed me.

There’s probably some good mining that could go on in them, but I don’t want to reread them. They are the past, dark things best left there – aren’t they? Or do I use them, dredge things up, use them to add authenticity to my writing?

There’s plenty of me in my writing, my fiction. Need I add more? Or do I destroy the evidence?