Happy New Year or whatever.

IMG_20150102_131256I hesitate to say Happy New Year.  I know it is “what is done.” We end a year with great expectation for all that lies ahead. Our hopes and dreams unrealized in the past will now finally have the chance to breath and find a way to light the future of our existence. Bullshit.  Sorry, did I say that out loud? I did… bullshit. I call bullshit on New Year’s optimism.  What is the point of looking into the future to find a better reality when all that matters is today. Every single today. “Later” will never, ever come.

Last week I saw Interstellar. I’ll spare you the critique.  Suffice to say that what stuck with me most was the reminder of Dylan Thomas’ haunting poem…

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I am not a poetry person at all, yet these words have been haunting me. I’ve read the poem over and over. I’ve read about what was happening in the poet’s life, and his father’s, when he wrote it. Holidays and new years can cause sometimes unwelcome self reflection. [Yes, of course gratitude, too… I can’t fucking blog about gratitude though.]

It’s the damn aging.  I seem to be both Aging and Raging. My nightmare is to actually go gently into that good night… and to stop raging against the dying of the light. It happens too often.  Raging is hard. Raging is exhausting. To me, raging means risk, adventure, questioning, learning, growing, Raging means continuing. Raging does not mean rocking chairs on a porch.

IMG_20150102_140653I raged a bit yesterday. I hiked a little mountain we have here, called Sugarloaf, by myself. Getting up is hard for me. It is a trail that is a tougher than I like, but it is do-able and it makes me feel like I am raging a bit. Of course it was on the easier trail heading down the mountain, where I fell and I fell hard.  A darling group of 20 yr. olds scraped me up. They weren’t able to scrape up my pride though. They were brushing me off and cleaning my earbuds and I was duly horrified. I had another two miles to walk to get out of there.  I moved quickly. I knew I’d be okay until I got cold.  Then everything would lock up and I’d be screwed.  I was okay until I missed my turn. Damn those little painted squares on the trees are hard to follow when I am tweeting.  Anyway, I did finally get out… muddy, limping, panting, a just little bit freaked out. I got to the car and I nearly got hit by an 18 wheeler on my way home and not 30 seconds later, somehow avoided two bucks running shoulder to shoulder at my brand new car. I pulled over, hyperventilated a bit and drove home.  When I got there, I buried my sorrows in a pile of guacamole, Ghiradeli chocolate and washed it all down with a xanax.

IMG_20150103_134737Raging is hard my friends. And still I will rage on.

(P.S. – I just realized this is the second post I’ve written about a face plant. If you are interested in reading about my work event faceplant, link For Worse or for Better.)

I’ll finish with a song…. Enjoy and Happy New Year to you all!  XO 🙂

Tears and Circling

IMG_20141213_082304In all this time, I haven’t gone four weeks without a post, but I think my absence was well deserved.  It has been eight weeks since I started rewriting Circling to better match my second novel, Forever Falling, in tone and POV.  I just finished, right now, this very minute, and it was really difficult.  Here I sit, typing through tears, in Starbucks.

Tears for me are a very rare occurrence. As a person, I lean more toward stabby than teary.  A character flaw that probably comes from my ties to Slytherin and it is sure to get me through the zombie apocalypse. bUT THIS FEELING IS SO OVERWHELMING. (oDDLY i JUST WENT INTO CAPS LOCK- i LIKE IT).

Writing is fascinating.  That initial concept that leads to the pure flood of unstoppable inspiration, cropthe outpouring that is the first draft, it is nothing short of magic. It is a drug like none other, and I’ve tried a few. Then as it all develops, the fine tuning is like adding love to passion. Story develops and characters become real, setting becomes something that can be seen, felt, tasted, heard, inhaled. It is20140919_204758 pure beauty for a writer. This tree, Angel Oak, outside of Charlerton, SC, is where is all began for me.  I’ll love that tree forever.

But still there is more and more detail. Then the details need examination and that examination needs fine tuning, too. It becomes a cycle, I have felt this sense of Circling if you will. It became difficult these last eight weeks. Vices became more important. That low level of depression and frustration had taken hold, making everything more difficult. Now I think I can let it go. The relief is enormous.

I’m looking for a copy edit, NOT a content edit. If you have a recommendation, please use the contact page and send me an email. I want to have Circling and Forever Falling both edited and available to the public by mid-February.

I am shocked but the support of family, friends, coworkers and complete strangers on Twitter. I don’t know how anyone would ever get through this alone. Everyone reading this, know that I am so thankful for you. I am also so grateful for music.  Music is my healthiest addiction. I know absolutely that these headphone have saved my life.  Hours and hours of listening, to calm me, inspire me, soothe me, keep me awake, put me to sleep. My god I love music.  The photo above is the Black Keys in Baltimore a few weeks ago. I haven’t seen Mumford & Sons yet, but they sort of wrote Circling with me. I’ll leave you with a song that makes and breaks my heart, all at once.


A Lass Insane


Today’s post is more of a purge than usual. I appreciate this forum to bounce around thoughts – sometimes senseless – but this go ’round I am purging for my own good. For my sanity. For my survival as a writer. (Now I’m just being melodramatic.) Truth be told, I need to make a bold decision that has been eating at me for nearly two weeks and I’ve been uncharacteristically waffling.

A few days before I went to NYC to do some setting research for book 3, I got my Circling edit back from a brand new copy editor.  Since I have ten years of editorial experience I was comfortable working with a new editor. Truthfully she was available and reasonably priced and I thought what the hell.

Without getting detailed I’ll say that it did not work out as I had hoped. I assumed incorrectly that she would under edit, in her inexperience. The edit was overdone to the extreme.  My character’s bad manners were turned into better manners. Colloquialisms were edited out.  Mean intentions were edited out. All past tense was revised to past perfect. I could go on, but I’ll leave it there.

Truthfully some things about Circling were bothering me.  I decided to edit the 3rd person omniscient into 3rd person limited.  My characters will speak stronger when they speak for themselves, without relying on a narrator. This became more apparent by the edit. I also need to more tightly align the tone of Circling and Forever Falling.  When I wrote that second book, I had a decent amount of experience under my belt and I think I nailed a few points more effectively.

So for the last two weeks I have been tearing my hair out over this.  As a former editor, the idea that I am a writer, who thinks she is above an edit, makes me want to punch myself in the face! At this point I have spent probably thirty hours working through the corrections and I am not 1/3 done.  I am “rejecting” probably 85% of the corrections. I wanted to believe that the 15% of corrections I am “accepting” is worth the time spent. Truthfully, I can hardly stand to open the file.  It is making me angry and frustrated and completely sucking the joy out of this process.  Many writers abhor editing, but I do not.  I love editing!  I think that editing is like the final coat of paint.  It is when you can finally see the true color of your work.

So this morning I finally made the decision.  I am shit canning this version. I’ll go back and do my own rewrite and then, when I am satisfied with the story once again, I will ask you, writers, for some experienced recommendations.  I’ll want Circling and Forever Falling edited together, I think. Lessons have been learned on this.  I am culpable in that I gave inadequate instruction and made assumptions about the process.

Bottom line is I miss the joy of all this.  Since I started writing on February 7th, my life has completely changed.  My brain rewired. My emotional connectivity with the world altered. I feel things more than I used to.  In some ways that is good.  In some ways it is bad.  For this situation, it is bad.  I can’t sleep. I’ve lost seven pounds (ok, not all bad). I’m way too generous with the pharmaceuticals. I simply can’t turn it off. I have to let it go or I’ll be insane.


I had dinner at Busboys and Poets last night.  I was browsing the books and found my face right here… Rand, Randall, Ratner, Rice.  This is where I’ll be alphabetized one day.  I am in interesting company!  I’m glad to get all that out, Once I hit “publish” the decision is made and I can get off the fence on this. And I can get back to writing.

Thanks David Bowie for the title borrow. Here is The Jean Genie from Aladin Sane.