Monday, January 31, 2005

Origin

The family tree in my story is spreading, branches and roots. The back-story is the root. The stem is the main story. Each of the branches are other plot bits. Leaves are the filler, the poetry and the description. I love this so much.

Would it be too evil to have a character named Chad, die by hanging? Probably suicide over the guilt originating from deaths of two people. His role would be similar to the boy in 5th Business by Davies who throws the snowball. Chad would not be the predominant character, but just the one who starts a certain ball rolling. Literally.

I am really seeing this in plant form. Yesterday at my son’s soccer game, I brought my notes and figured out the family tree. And their names. That is just too much fun. I think the designing of the back-story is the most fun so far. I may be getting silly as you can see from the question above. But the story itself doesn’t have much silliness I don’t think and so I think I need to bring some silliness to it. No wonder some authors do such outrageous things. I know I need to kill someone off and this Chad ??? might be the one. It would tie up many loose ends and give motivation to several characters.

I am not yet courageous enough to kill off any main characters. I understand now, why certain writers don’t have the courage to do this. I really am having a hard time being mean. And I see now how amazing it is, when writers can do this guilt free.

Another thing that I was reminded of yesterday, that I seem to have not done yet, is include a description of my main character. I have been keeping him incredibly nebulous in my own mind for some reason. What if it turns out I don’t like what he looks like? I have included a description of his girlfriend/purchased wife, but not him. (So sexist here, we see the girl’s physicality and not the boys, ha!) Now I need to think about that. I don’t want to limit what I can do with him, to him, for him, by his physical appearance. Maybe I can go back later and do it. I just know he will not wear a baseball cap. My own prejudices that arise with my characters; this is such an interesting process. I hate baseball caps.

Well, I soldier on. It really feels like the story is out there and I am just gathering the bits. I understand now the quote by Michelangelo, who said “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Who are you?

Character back-story. I am having much fun with this. I want to be able to continue and then tie up themes that the major character is dealing with, in the back-story of the side characters. This one character, that causes the “turn” in the major character to happen, has been niggling me because I didn’t have a good motivation for her to do this thing she will be doing. But the other day when I fortuitously forgot my novel to read while I was working out, I daydreamed the back-story that will allow her motivation. This character means well in her attempt to do this thing, deal with what she has been given, and what has been taken away. I haven’t decided if it will be a fatal flaw yet.

I find this all very satisfying.

I have been researching farm equipment specifically hay harvesting machinery, and Business librarian collections development. None of which I know anything about. But that has never stopped me from doing anything, that is what Google is for ;-). My flinging good sense to the wind persists, as it is very gusty here.

I haven’t been writing much but I figure I will go with this new ebb and flow. While not writing I have been productive on this back-story. I also have been imagining scenery, sets and clothing. I do not wish to stereotype my characters in anyway. **cough**sue**cough**. That would be very mean to the characters. I am having a hard time being mean to them. Maybe I don’t need to be. Something else to ponder.

I am enjoying this process very much. Thanks for reading. More gifts.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Informed

My newest passion?
Is blogging my woe absolved?
Beyond the telling!

I think that will be my story’s title: Beyond the Telling. A clip:

“Trapper had little success with his neighbors. Luckily for Trapper and his private disposition, he and his neighbours were divided both by land and the density of Trapper’s small forest. The land was beautiful and lush in parts. To the north was the forest, ringed by the infamous falling fence. Trapper and his father built the fence when Trapper was 12. Now chipped and grey, the rails tipped down and were scattered silhouetting a bucolic often overgrown wasteland. The nails on the fence were rusted, and poking out, a reversal of previous effort long past. Trapper quit repairing the fence because Wings kept knocking the bars down. Shadow Wood Lane was to the east. Trapper’s gravel driveway stretched from it. The house was just south of the forest. The stream on the property began in the forest and then swung south to cut the land in half, passing under the Lane like the cross rail of yet another fence. The hay grew on the rest of the property, when it decided to grow.“

I have even made a little map of the area to keep the story straight. Virgo here.

I have been dealing with the organization of this story. So much to keep straight! Not unlike Trapper’s fence.

I also have been contemplating the narrator’s voice. Who will this be? Will it be anyone in the story? Or not at all? I haven’t decided yet, but the narrator’s voice is coming through so I need to decide. Third person really is that person after character and writer. My "other" needs deciding. Like a voyeur keeping us informed, the third is welcome and necessary to my story.

I haven’t been writing much, distractions everywhere. And so much editing. I had not realized how much “squinting” one does when writing. Each sentence, each idea, each arc, each word very much like quilting with tiny stitches. I squint doing that too. I may need to wear my glasses more often.

I really do try to see.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Whorls

One of the books I have been reading lately is called Road Trip: Conversations with writers by Shelly Clark and Marjorie Saiser. I did not realize the scope of this book when I checked it out from the library; I thought it was nationally oriented, a broader view but in fact was very Midwestern oriented. I was surprised.

Here are a few exceptional quotes I tagged and was struck by:

From poet Don Welch: “But a poem, because of its narrowness, requires you to squint, draw your attention down, be ready to focus right now.”

Now his poem:

Note To a Young Writer

If you’re one of the ones
For whom the best sounds
Are like conch shells
Held to your ear,
Swirl out of yourself
The hard whorl of words.

And think of it this way,
Your journey over,
Your poem’s just begun,
Listen to what laps out of silence
And comes ashore at the edge
Of the word.

_______

Jonis Agee says in this book:

“For me it’s digging into a psychic place of aloneness”

_______

Ron Block says:

‘Sometimes people think a poem is a poem because it has metaphors in it, and you excuse the use of metaphor, but metaphor always involves a distortion of the truth. The man in fact is not a wolf; he is a man. Metaphor involves something that is ontologically untrue.”

_______

I was waiting while I read these. I was caught in this book’s web, an interview of midwestern writers, especially poets. I am not sure what I was expecting, maybe just the surprise of the personal nature of the interviews that were followed by the poems. A connection. Some of the writers I had heard of, Kooser specifically as well as William Kloefkorn. But the purpose of the books is to talk to writers about writing, teaching, young poets and place. Welch’s section talked a lot about reading down into the poem, not seeing the words, that they should be invisible. The thing beyond the words (my words not his). I think that is the part of the truth of poetry. It is what touches us. His poem then is sweet and inviting. Poetry can be a fearful intimidating thing, everyone wants acknowledgement so his poem sooths.

Agee’s quote struck me because when I am writing, I do not feel my loneliness. It becomes invisible because I hear my voice fully. I find that very comforting. I am alone when writing; hopefully, not always given my life, and the words spring forth. Hopefully. I do not feel the boundaries of me when I am writing. It is a peaceful invigorating place.

I found Block’s quote interesting. If the man describes himself as a wolf, even if he isn’t, does that alter the fact of the poem? I don’t think so. Those are two different things. I would not judge it like he seems to, but I would agree that there is falsehood. But there is truth in another depiction of something; it doesn’t necessarily make it false. They both can be true even within the falsehood. The metaphor may be false, but the man can be a wolf if he so chooses.

This brings me to The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser that I purchased last night and have been skimming all day today. He takes the view that that the poem needs to be accessible. You choose your audience by your poem. It is a judgment call and if you want to write something that is incomprehensible, go right ahead but do not expect a readership. If you want to write in Middle English, that is all well and good, but you must have to realize that your readership will be quite small. A cost benefit analysis, as he was an insurance exec in his work life. His poetry appears to be quite simple, small town, but each poem has been know have 40 major revisions. He will be giving a poetry reading here soon, and I intend to attend. He is frightened by fame, public acknowledge. He is embarrassed by it. Being the Poet Laureate must be taxing.

How all of this ties together I am not sure. I am dabbling into other writer’s lives, because I think the personal is important. I think what makes the writer makes the poem. It has to affect the end product. It would not be real if it did not.

Plus I used the word whorl in one of my poems, a line of which I am quite proud.


You were one of two
Whorls in winter

I like that word. I like whelped too. Wh’s seem to work for me. How sounds touch us. Another topic for another day.

Have a good one and thanks for reading. Comments always welcome!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Gifts

So I would like to send a gigantic hello to all of my friends that have found this new blog. Any of you who found me through lj, let me know who you are!

I hope that you will be amused sometimes, touched sometimes and interested always. (Insert drawing of ant here) As my previous entries have noted, I believe this journey to be a chosen path, some paths are chosen, some are not, and all have to be dealt with. I hope this one is satisfying.

I have a new feed on lj that may have brought some of you here. This is a very different environment than lj, less community it seems. But I had visions of keeping this blog more private in a more public way if that makes any sense. I am not sure, but given the lj feed, I doubt it. That is ok. I welcome everyone that finds me.

I haven’t done much writing lately, but I have been dreaming about my story. Infesting, entering my dreams. I have been getting visuals, seeing the rooms, the landscape of the story. It seems to be making it real. Solid. Some writers speak of seeing a movie unfolding and developing, playing in their mind. I haven’t been experiencing that. I think through the plot and then add the details. I am inspired by many of the ideas and things I read that twist the plot this way and that. I have to say that reading Steven Brust allowed me to make the fantastic jumps my story has taken but still keep a gritty feel. Reading Jasper Fforde has allowed me to be silly. I, like he, love the naming of characters. I think my characters have great names. Unusual but not weird, they are full of meaning and amusement. Similar to naming your children, I think the process indicates so much. When I named our children, I did not want to have any associations to inflict on the child. Heritage, history, family associations were discarded. The child needed to have its own name. I demanded that of myself and for the most part I was successful. When naming my characters in this story, I started with a name of a person I heard about while on a long business trip drive. His story, particularly one detail relayed to me, was the basis for my whole story. It struck me, surprised me with its potential and held on. Because of recent awareness about some personal issues I thought I could work this into the story. Is that not cliché? But I think I found a hook, a way to make it interesting. Well I hope! I didn’t realize much of the thematic nature of my story until I was well into it. Only upon the multiple rereading and edits did it surface.

I believe works of literature, works of art, these beautiful bequests, are gifts. They may not be intentional, or purposeful in that way, but they are gifts nevertheless. From one heart to another. How gifts change us and rebuild us anew. This I think is the main theme of my story. The offerings life gives, our responses and how we deal. Sometimes the gifts we get begin as trials and pain. How we transform that into beauty and plucking from it, the seeds of a new life. The apple tree is a great metaphorical story btw. And how literature can do this for us. Literature results from the imaginings of someone who either had to deal or could imagine it. What if all of this was given to us all at once? My story’s short description. How would it change an ordinary person?

How it has changed me!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Title

I named this blog A Page of Woe Absolved for several reasons. That phrase is from one of my better poems. It challenges me with the unwritten page and to write unwoefully. Is that a word? I don't live woefully so I hope my writing is not only full of woe. Thursday's child, or is it Wednesday's? I don't know. So I googled:

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go.
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
Is fair and wise and good and gay.


Ha, I was born on a Thursday. This blog may just be proof of that!

I think absolved is important because I need to allow myself to write, despite the fears and the inadequacies and the potential disappointment. I may fail. I might never attain anything other than seeing my inner voice out on a page. I don't know if anyone else needs or wants to hear that voice. But I am getting too old to worry about that. I do not dare call myself a writer. I would not dare to assume. Ha, I have read such glorious things in my life, the beauty of little letters strung together, gold that change the world.

I am a firm believer in the need not to label yourself anything. You are different from one moment of experience to another anyway, so you would immediately be wrong!! Why do that to yourself!! Life is hard enough not to have to fight yourself. Plus, I hate being wrong.

And a muse.

I haven't decided if I have a muse or want a muse. I think everything I read is inspiring in one way or another, that is enough. I don't want it to be something other. Just me. The flow. I was reading this morning a book about the flow. Being in the flow. I have always been able to attain that, in many aspects of my life. The flow has rarely been cut off. It just has been expressed in many different ways over time. There is much satisfaction in that. Now, I think my focus has changed. Again the flow has altered what and how I see. Now the words seem to find expression. They didn't for some time, but now they do. For that I am thankful.

I can pinpoint how, but I won't. Too private. But I know and I love that it is. It has given meaning and focus to many things. Almost all of them earth shaking.

Boy, I am meandering today. The prairie winds that push and grab despite the snowy grey day.

Pocket Muse (I don't think mine would fit in my pocket)

Proust is always satisfying but sometimes the little books, the point form stylings offer as well. I went to the library yesterday to trawl, and found "The Pocket Muse: Ideas & Inspirations for Writing" by Monica Wood. What a delightful little book (I refuse to use the word tome) that lists several ideas on each page for characterization, plot, methods in which you can twist something to add to your story. Very well done. Seeming simplistic, and a very short read, (I read the whole thing while on the elliptical machine and the bike machine while working out) it gives a kick in the pants to your creative energies. You probably wouldn't use her specific ideas, although some of them are excellent, but it is one of those books, that invites and allows you to see past and beyond the narrow view of your own imagination. Opens windows and allows a cleansing breeze if you will. A very cute read that I suspect those with writer's block would love very much. She quotes published authors who tell of their own struggles to write. Good use of B/W photography as well. I am glad I checked it out.

The spell check on this blog sucks btw. The word elliptical wasn't even in it. Or Proust for that matter. There is no forgiving that! Hmm.

Also, I am playing around with templates and have chosen this one for now. More apposite I think.

Friday, January 07, 2005

The Plan

I have started writing again. In the last year, I have proceeded to write several poems, a couple of fanfics, and start what I am calling my "story". I have yet to call it a novel, and probably won't. Not sure why about that yet. Expectations are everything.

What this blog is going to be, is my writing about my writing.

I would like to be a published writer one day. Maybe. So I am going to begin that effort. My story is now at about 11,000 words. That in and of itself is a miracle for me and it is still coming. The story is still happening for me. I realized the seriousness of my effort when I hit the 5000 mark. Whew. I am not a word counter, but racking up those numbers is inspiring to me. I won't be printing the story here, just telling you about the ups and downs of this effort. I also intend to maybe send some poetry for publication.

I read enough blogs and live journals to know the difficulty of this effort of publication. That is fine. One trudges ahead.

I don't know where this will take me, maybe no where but it is an effort I am willing to make. One year ago, Jan 12, I got a live journal and it changed my life, this year, I got this blog, and maybe it will too. Again expectations.

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Testing

Hello:

More to come later!