Mon. May 12, 2014: Reading, Writing, Contest Entries

Monday, May 12, 2014
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend. Friday was a good day at the library, albeit a busy one. Got a bunch of reports done, some new books on the shelves, prepped for today’s board meeting, dealt with all the little issues that come up to help patrons.

After the day was over, I headed to a different library, where a colleague and I culled entries for the third contest I’m working on — making sure the payments and entries matched, and then making sure that they followed the submission guidelines. Not able to follow directions? Gone! This is the real world, people. If you’re so arrogant you think you’re too good for “guidelines”, guess what? You’re wrong.

Came home, cooked dinner, went back to work on contest entries for the second contest.

Up early Saturday morning. Did some work on the TRACKING MEDUSA edits and the next two Big Script Episodes. Two trips to the dump with recycling and yard waste.

By 10 AM, I was headed to Osterville LIbrary to hear Patry Francis speak about her new book THE ORPHANS OF RACE POINT (which I ordered for our library –and it’s on the shelf). We’ve been communicating on social media since THE LIAR’S DIARY came out, but this is the first chance we got to meet, and it was fun. My boss was also there, and we had a nice chat.

Came back, worked all day, mostly on contest entries.

Sunday was Mother’s Day, so we had a nice day, doing whatever Mom wanted. I also finished the contest entries, finished the write-ups, and sent them off.

Did a lot of work sitting outside on the deck — it was so lovely out.

I did some reading for myself, too: Donna Leon’s latest release, BY ITS COVER (which is set against a library, which makes me happy). She’s trying something very post-modern with her last few books, and, much as I hate to say it, it’s not working for me. She’s stopping just before the climax. We KNOW who did it, and what happens next, but it actually happens offstage and there’s no breath of resolution or how that particular case changed Brunetti. I’m struggling with it. I respect her choices, I understand closing the blind on a life still in progress, but I’m getting frustrated with these abrupt endings.

Also reading Ann Patchett’s book of essays, THIS IS THE STORY OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE. Love it. She spent some time at P-town’s Fine Arts Work Center. She talks about people who say they want to write and don’t, and says, “I believe, more than anything, that this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers.” (p.30). She’s very generous, and, based, on my own experience, I heartily disagree. What I have seen, in workshop after workshop after workshop over the years, is that people don’t write out of a combination of laziness and lack of commitment. They like the idea of being a “writer”, but they don’t actually want to sit down, put in the work, or learn the craft, and I have no patience for that.

Patchett also talks about people who come up and tell you they have a great story that YOU (the writer) must write, and how she struggles to be polite to them. I’m done with being polite to these insulting asshats. If I’m feeling generous, my response is, “Here’s my agent’s number. If there’s a first contract offer and a check for ten thousand dollars on her desk by 10 AM tomorrow morning, we can START negotiations. Anything less than that, forget it.” When I’m not feeling generous, I say, “No, I don’t HAVE to write YOUR story. I’m busy working on my own.”

I’m done with these people who think writing is easy and they’d do it “if they had time”. It’s about more than time. It’s about work ethic and talent and commitment and craft. It is a specialized skill, in the way that brain surgery and plumbing are highly specialized skills, and the better we are at it, the easier it looks.

Disagreeing with her in these particular essays doesn’t make me love the book any less, and I certainly appreciate her generosity of spirit.

Today’s focus is all on the TRACKING MEDUSA edits, the next two episodes of the script, and revising the first two.

The inspector is coming for his yearly making-sure-we-renters-are-following the rules. Put in fresh batteries for the smoke detectors, even though I changed them all on the Equinox.

I have some new story ideas spinning, on which I jotted some notes, and there’s a Mermaid Ball meeting this evening in Buzzards Bay.

Back to work!

Devon

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2 Comments

  1. I don’t know if it’s because my life is so in-interesting or not, or the fact that I was raised with manners, but I would never presume to walk up to a writer and tell them I have a story they need to write.

    • Your life is very interesting AND you have manners! 😉


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