11/20/09

Friday!!

It's here again! Friday. And once more, I can't believe how quickly it got here and how much I still have to do. Alas, I write this with a giant cup of coffee already drained by my left elbow and 2 sleepy dogs by my side. Today, I have two auditions and a meeting and 4 more pages to crank out on the ol' novel. Add in a couple of long dog walks, a work-out and a dinner with a friend and I can assure you, I will be needing that second cup of coffee that I pleaded with my acupuncturist to let me have. She wants me to stop at one...guess I'll need a bigger mug!

This weekend I plan on taking pictures for my new blog that is being designed, organizing closets, sprucing up my office and giving the apt. a big clean for our guests who are to arrive on Wednesday. I plan on working furiously up until their arrival, and then I am going to play hooky for a few days. Oh I can't wait!

In the meantime if anyone has a blog that they love, apart from mine, hee hee, then please share it with me. I would love to take a look and get more inspiration!

11/19/09

Feeding the source...


I love art of all kinds, and I am a big believer in that art really and truly feeds the soul. It doesn't matter to me, if it is even the same kind of art that I do, as long as it is creative and thoughtful and done with passion, it will manage to inspire me in my writing. Last night I went to see my friend Beau's first group art show/happening. The event was called Medium, the perfect name, because it showcased all mediums of art. There were several DJ's spinning, a bunch of different artists showing paintings, installation art, photography and a dance group that performed amongst the crowd. It was such a breath of fresh air and the proceeds went to a dance company that does dance for social change. The crowd was enthusiastic and curious and the artists talked to everyone who admired their work, and even though I was dead on my feet tired, I found myself grooving to the music and soaking up the scene. It would have been so easy to just have stayed at home and skipped the trip downtown, but I am so glad I didn't. And today the writing seems, just a little bit easier.

11/17/09

The Pepperonies are back!


Pepperonies are what my Chinese Medicine doctor and acupuncturist calls these big blotches left from cupping my back. I love Dr. Jane Kim at Star Health clinic and think that she is amazing at what she does. Right now she is working on my shoulder and my allergies and my bum knee. I have this horrible tasting tea that I have to drink twice a day for 23 days and I am not allowed too much coffee or wine. (This was an intense negotiation where I refused to give up coffee all together!)

Tomorrow I get the icky tea mixture and then Thursday it is back for more needles. Alas, what can I do? A gal's gotta write!

11/13/09

My shoulder is numb...

I am falling apart. I spent the whole morning as a house frau, cleaning, walking the dogs, exercising and then have spent the afternoon researching blogs, as I want to revamp this little baby. I still have pages to write and homework to post, but the problem is that my shoulder is numb. Okay, worse than numb, it is killing me, and I can barely type right now. It's because I have spent too much time at the computer. I try to get up and move around, and take the dogs outside to play or go for a walk, but it seems that none of this was enough today to keep my shoulder from throbbing like a maniac. Alas, I have booked a long overdue massage for 5:00pm and hopefully that will help, and then I can get back to writing tomorrow.

11/11/09

Middles...

The middle is the hardest part of the novel for me. It is the part where I realize that I have been trying to get the story out instead of trying to tell it. I realize the magnitude of what I have taken on, the immense task of trying to craft a narrative with characters that are real and complicated and alive and breathing on the page. I want my readers to love them as much as I do and I want to give them a full life for 300 or so pages. I start to feel tired, weighted down my task, aware that I am nowhere near fully realizing what it is I have set out to do and I am pretty much fumbling in the dark as I write from page to page. I wake up tired, I work tired and I go to bed tired. The task seems daunting and the question of where will the next 150 or so pages comes from gnaws away at me. A small feeling of dread grows in me as I start to admit to myself that I need to go deeper with my characters, taking them to places that I know will hurt them, disappoint them, make their lives harder. But I have to. If everything was rosy, there would be nothing to write, and we grow and learn by what we have to overcome don't we? And besides real life is always harder and stranger than fiction isn't it. I tell myself this to make myself feel better, but it takes me longer each day to get the same amount of pages and the fact that I am actually able to come away with any new pages at all is a small herculean feat.

I have two more weeks to go and then I get a little break over Thanksgiving, when 2 dear friends come to visit. The promise of some fun and frolic motivates me to keep on going, deeper and deeper into the fog, where the middle of my novel lives.

11/9/09

This is what Writer's Block looks like...



Big writing day today. Big decisions to make, lots of mapping to do, lots of plotting...so it makes perfect sense that I would have an extra long pilates class, a bath, help Jeff with an audition and then make not one, but two soups. The first is really more of a stew of tomatoes, winter vegetables from the farmers market, white wine and dill. The other is a sweet potato leek soup that I puree and then add Kale too. Both are delicious, both require a lot of chopping and are time consuming, which is perfect because the soup ain't the only thing cooking on low today! My brain is stuck. My story is at this pivotal moment where I need to pick it all apart and then put it back together again in order to know where to go next. And I have been wondering just how far down the Rabbit Hole do I go with this story and my protagonist and the answer I know is...all the way down. But that is hard. And it is painful for my characters and therefore for me as well. Sigh. But I want it to be great and I want to be complex and full of a million ingredients, just like my soups.

What about you? How do you procrastinate? And if there are any time consuming recipes involved, please do not hesitate to send them!

11/6/09

Fall Into Feng Shui...


If you read this blog, you know I am a fan of Feng Shui. How can I not be? Anything that makes me think about my intentions and my space and what I want from both of them is good by me. We started to Feng Shui our places and our lives 6 months after we moved to L.A. because everything went into the crapper. I was in a desperate way and yet I still managed to be skeptical, which I think is a good thing, and bombarded Ariel Joe with all kinds of questions and made him explain, no, defend his practice to me. We gave it a try. It worked. Jeff and I talked about what we wanted from the big move, we got on the same page, we talked about what we wanted from our living space, we made it happen and although there were some rough transitions, things turned around and became clearer for both of us.

One of the things I decided to do was get focused about my writing, which meant moving my desk out of the kitchen across from the stove and fridge and in the corner, and into the living/dining room. I mean why have a big empty dining table, just staring at me all day long and not write on it? Well, because I was keeping that living room nice for when people came over, which was once a week, and for dinner parties, which we almost never had because the space was so small. I made sure when I wrote to face the front door, an empowering position and surrounded our space with things that were positive and made me feel good, and not sad reminders of another time and place. And when I made the move to the dining room table, which happened to be in the Creativity section of my home, the writing felt better and easier and I started to write 5 hours a day...sometimes even 8 or 10, when a few hours had been a struggle.

I know this seems like common sense, move to a bigger space, feel better, write more...and it is. But we often don't do things that are right for us or make sense and sometimes we need a gentle push to get us there. Ariel is that guy. I love Ariel, he is a football loving-wine drinking-chocolate indulging-acting-writing-road tripping regular guy, who listens and guides and doesn't preach, and he believes that what everybody gets from it is up to them. For example, I could say, oh bigger room, bigger desk, better work space, or go a step further and believe that the section of my apartment, the fact that the desk was placed in the creativity section of my Feng Shui map (Bagua) influenced my productivity. Either way I wrote like a maniac and since then have always Shwayed my workspace. We Feng Shui our entire home too, and do a yearly tune up.

I have friends who swear by Feng Shui and friends who don't believe in it all, but even those who don't believe and have tried a few thing always say..."now, you know I don't believe in this stuff...but ever since you suggested that I give it a try, my business/creativity/love life is better."

The success stories are endless, but like anything the only way to know is to try for yourself, and this fall Ariel has cut his prices by 50% to give those who are curious an opportunity to do just that.

11/5/09

Feedback....

One of the great things about feedback is that it can really reinforce how you feel about your own work.

This week I submitted my last 30 pages of my new novel for workshopping and the best comments came early and were very astute. People wanted less telling and more showing and I agreed. It is no small feat mind you as there is a ton of backstory in my new novel and getting it out has been a challenge, although one I seem to be rising to. But there were also comments like, "I don't think she would do that" "I needed more detailed description" "I wanted to know what that person was doing when this person was saying this..." etc. all very valid comments, but what I found was that it helped remind me what it was that I liked.

I like complicated characters, people who do and say things that they shouldn't, writing the essence of a character with just a hint of description about them so that my reader can use their own imagination to picture them, tough moral decisions, flaws...so many wonderful flaws. I want my reader to say, "but why would she do that if she really loved him?" "And how can she do that to a friend?" "And what kind of a woman...?" I love this because, none of us are perfect and in our real life we may not be so brave to make these choices, but in fiction our characters get to. They get to travel down roads that a lot of us can only wonder...what would my life have been like if I had been...so selfish? brave? adventurous?

Workshopping, not only helps me with my writing, but it helps me find my audience. And that is a very valuable thing indeed.

11/3/09

Wine country getaway...


We are back from our one day getaway to Wine Country and it was fabulous! I love getting outside of the city, looking at smog free skies, inhaling fresh air and throw in some beautiful vineyards and some wine tasting and I am in heaven! Jeff and I stayed at the Ballard Inn which was gorgeous. We had a fireplace in our room, and great music to listen to and there were no phones or tv's, which was just what I needed. Of course I had my crackberry blackberry which I did check compulsively as I was still kind of working while we were away. I got to thinking how different things are now than say five years ago, or ten, when you had to leave a message that said you were out of the office and couldn't be reached. Now I can always be reached and it does make relaxing, and turning off the brain much harder.

What about you...do you take a real break when you travel or are you always on call?
 
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