Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Writer's write

What would you do if someone told you "I'm too tired to breathe" or "I don't have time to eat" or "there's so much going on in my life right now that I can't sleep"?

Now replace "breathe," "eat," and "sleep" with the word "write." Did your response change?

Writers, by the very implied verb of the noun we identify with, write. Writing is breathing, eating, sleeping—if you stop for too long, you'll pass out.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Emerging from the woods

At least for a few days. The strange thing about "finishing" a manuscript is that you don't really finish it. Certainly, you conclude, but there's always another draft—this description could be more vivid, that line could read smoother. However, I am displaying my gained wisdom by allowing this dear one to sit completed for a spell, while I finish something else.

The elation from having one thing buzzes in your brain, it whispers intently about possibilities for the second book, and it nags about the little fixes and changes that it always knows you need to work at for the just finished. The only real way to silence it is to throw a completely different project at it, and wait as it flounders, struggling to find its footing on ground that's become water.

I am not ruled by my muses, but I do not "punish" them or myself, either. If the words aren't coming, then I go do something else. There is no use withholding things I enjoy as a reward for meeting a daily word goal. Meeting the goal is its own reward.

Yet, at the urging of Vicki, I did celebrate the important step of completing the first draft. I spent Friday dreaming, and Saturday out with some friends. Sunday I undertook the important task of taking care of myself, it was time for a haircut and color, something I had neglected in my push to ran that final mile of the manuscript.

The cut and color didn't happen until yesterday, when I closed the book on the, er, book. For the past two or so years, my hair has been every color of red. It's not red anymore. Nor is it the same length and style that it had been since I started the manuscript.

Through reinventing a story, I began to understand the importance of remembering to reinvent ourselves. Sometimes to make a clean break, we need a physical gesture as well. Why else would so many of us go get a haircut after a relationship terminates? I'm not breaking up with my manuscript, don't worry, I'm calling it quits with defeatist attitude that had been impressed on me during my chicl-lit-ish learning experience that began my summer.

That it happens to coincide with the arrival of September—my birthmonth—well, that's an auspicious sign, as well.

See you in two weeks, KT.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

That Perfect Moment of Completion

It is reaching the first vista as the sun is setting, and the sky has been painted tangerine and magenta by the gold-salmon sun that still hovers above the distant horizon. It sets on where you have been, and the path to where you will be stretches up and up.

For now, there is no need to dwell on the distance that has been travel or remains left to travel. There is only the perfect moment of completion, you skin kept warm by the magnitude of your accomplishment, and the air flavored with victory.

There are no numbers. No totals. Just two of the most important words to any author: The End.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sharing the Love

As many of you know, in May I had the pleasure of spending several days touring Tokyo, Omiya, Kyoto, and Fushimi with my friends from Bath, Helen and Scott Ewart.

Now, I have the pleasure—via the awesomeness of youtube—of sharing the animation they created for Ame-Con 2007 with you.

After you watch it, make sure you visit Hel's deviantart page or livejournal to leave a comment about how much you loved it and what an amazing job they did.

After you've done that, pop on over to The Thoughts In Between to welcome Mike Robinson to blogger.

It doesn't mean you're dead when you don't update your blog, it means you're happily lost

More than once this week, I've put fingers to keys to leave some kind of writing in the cyber-sand, a fleeting impression that I WUZ HERE.

There was something poignant that I intended to say, but faced with the decision to place the words within easy reach of the waves, I faltered. Hesitated. Said "oh fuck it, I'd rather write more of that chapter."

Don't you love the way paper feels beneath your fingertips, and the sound of a ballpoint pen rolling vividly colored ink on those lower opacity lines? It's like drinking sunlight.

I have been drunk on it as of late, and the words are sometimes messy, or flawed, but so often they flow and bubble and run in complex sentences. Which overrun the banks and spill down your arm to the page, and the words tumble, and blur, and suddenly you've gone over the fall and landed with a cold, slap of a shock somewhere else.

As you pull yourself up to the shore, the current still tugging at your limbs, you stand dripping, gasping, and wondering where it is you've been taken. Some new uncharted territory? Or a place you had almost forgot existed?

Congratulations to Rachel O, who won a 500 word myspace challenge this week. I send this with flashes off a mirror, before consulting the compass whose points read Beginning, End, Here, Not Here,and stumbling deeper in the woods of rust colored trees.

Friday, August 10, 2007


The movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust opens today. Now, many fans of Mr. Gaiman were looking forward to a Good Omens movie, or a Death: The High Cost of Living movie. Me, I have always wanted a Stardust movie.

There's a battered paperback edition of Stardust on my bookshelf. It has hopped islands in Japan and criss-crossed the Pacific Ocean. It has braved the long drive between Kamloops and Los Angeles. All of this, because seeing that book tells me I'm home.

I've lost track of how many times I've read it. If it had been bound in leather, I imagine it would be one of those wonderful old volumes whose cover is soft and worn, and their gold-leaf title just beginning to fade. Paperbacks show age more readily—its corners are weathered, its cutout cover is tearing, and its spine is heavily creased. There may even be certain pages dotted with tiny yellow circles from when my friend was eating ramen while reading in Niihama.

Every time I read this book, I find something that delights me—a descriptive phrase that I wish I'd written, or a witty comment that makes me smile. Each reading reminds me how great of an influence this book has had on my own writing. I can, unquestioningly, declare that it is my favorite book.

Now, I'm finally getting that movie I wanted. A little over a month early, but still the perfect birthday gift.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Sometimes a picture makes something more real by providing a concrete visual. We use photographs to mark events—to document that they really happened, as if we can't trust our memories.

Memories can do something more than just a picture, because a memory has a scent, a taste, an emotion. Can an image really do 1000 words justice? 1000 sensual, beautiful, artistically crafted words will paint you a picture—give you a snapshot.

Sometimes you know that scent, that taste, that emotion. You can bring it to the image you see, and feel the flush of excitement and bubbling over of joy. The sense of accomplishment and the prickling at the corners of your eyes that forewarns of impending tears of happiness. How itchy your nose gets, as the world sharpens with a twist of the lens, its focus too perfect, too clear.

The Buddha says if you are on the right path all you have to do is keep walking forward. Pen to paper. Fingers to keyboard. Walk with words, one chapter at a time. Some days the wind is at your back, and the sun warms your face. Some nights the moon guides your steps, and the spheres sing to keep you company. On others the winter is cold, and the snow is deep. The rain goes on, and the road is steep, and the gravel slips and slides beneath your feet.

Just keep walking.

Your heart knows the way.