Monday, August 31, 2009

The Busy Bee

The fog is.
The fog is....

That's all I seem to be able to write. Similes and metaphors dance just beyond reach of my groggy mind, like there's a wedge stuck between my working brain and my conciousness. The words are there, moving, twirling, but I can't seem to recognize them. It's a frustrating way to wake up, especially when I set the alarm at 5:45am just to get a little fiction writing done. The gears of my brain were slow and rusted, and I watched the fog's wispy fingers wrap the tops of evergreen trees as I sat at my desk drinking coffee. I found myself staring out the window more than I looked at the blank page in front of me. The scene is there, the words or not, so I must sit and wait for them. There's no use rushing when all that comes out of my fingers is crap.

I know I have to be patient, that my body and mind will adjust to writing at such an ungodly hour. If I had my choice, I'd sit down to write at 730 or 830am, not 545am, but this is how my life is organized right now. Fiction on the ferry is tough, after work I play tennis, then eat dinner and visit with David. The early morning hours are the only time I have, so I must learn to make good use of them.

I also want to get back with blogging again, but the last two weeks have been a whirlwind of visitors. I love having visitors and welcoming them into my home, and I just accepted the fact that I wouldn't be writing during that time. Friends and family are so important to me, that everything else goes by the wayside when they are here, and that's fine.

But now I feel the seasons are changing. The air is getting cooler, the trees are rustling with impatience, ready to sleep. Fog is blurring the space between the ferry and Seattle, like tiredness blurs creativity. However, I know the paradigm will shift, until once again magic spreads itself on the blank pages in front of me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kitty Hug

Whenever I lay on the couch to watch a movie, my kitty comes to cuddle. She curls up in the ring of my arm, then rolls toward me so I can scratch her belly or chest. Her purring is so soothing, and I love holding her tight. I taught her this as a kitten, and she's loved it ever since.

Both David and I love this little kitty Lexi, so I just wanted to put a few pictures of her on my blog. She's one special girl.

Every morning when I get up, she jumps out of bed and waits for me in the hall. When I round the bend, she does this little leap (happy dance), gives an excited meow, and hops down the stairs. Shes' such a sweet welcoming presence in the morning.

What a good little friend.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


When I breathe deeply here, and let myself be, I feel the sacredness of Hah-ah-poos reverberate throughout my being. Ancient laughter and pain hang in the air here like clouds, and for an instant I can see the wild Duwamish river, raging with burning rapids and the silvery bodies of salmon. I see the Native Americans fishing from the banks, the dwellings, the dances around a glowing fire that shoots sparks into the sky. The imagery is so strong in my head here that I have to sit, and stare at the industry that now crams the river with reds and blues, colors that don't belong.

The water is tame now, it's fight has been gone for almost a century. But the hollow feelings remain in this sacred place at Pier 107, Duwamish land.

I have come here for a news story, and sit in my baking car for hours. A homeless camp now populates these banks, brightly colored tents are spread in the shade of the deciduous trees, where Indians once lived. It is somehow ironic that those in control are trying to push yet another group from this place. Not that long ago, a people who lived here for 1400 years was gathered and grouped on reservations, so white people could build power plants.
I am not sure why I feel so strongly here, but the sense of loss is overwhelming. I'm glad the Duwamish have kept this place full of trees and brambles and dirt. If I close my eyes, and breathe the rustling breeze deeply, I can imagine I'm there. I can hear the river, the eagles, and the silvery buildings of downtown Seattle disappear from view.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The words become me

I haven't dug this deep into fiction since I was 14-16 years old, and wrote my first 100 page "book." I'd lock myself into the office with the doors closed and the lights down, sometimes listening to quiet music. I'd emerge myself in the story and become the main character, a young Native American girl living in the Great Plains as the white people encroached.

Now, I'm falling into my love story that takes place in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I talk about my characters, Isabelle and Arturo, like they are real people. I live their conversations and their experiences. I find myself thinking about them all day long, and while I fall asleep. What adventuree, what misfortune will I put them through next time? How will they fall in love? What will they say to each other next? I'm having a hard time focusing on anything else.

Since the writer's conference I have written about 8,000 words, and am now close to 20,000. When a passage or scene works, I feel high. I emerge from the dark bedroom where I've locked myself, positively glowing. I feel like I've just been in San Miguel, on horseback, interacting with Arturo. On Sunday, I came out onto the deck to join David, where he was BBQ-ing dinner so I could write.

"So, if I have a crush on the man I am creating, does that mean I have a crush on myself?" I asked him, laughing.

"No, because he's probably your ideal man."

Interesting. The more I think about Arturo and traits I've given him, the more he reminds me of David. He is different though, with a different past, and passions. Different enough to be fiction.

I'm having the time of my life right now writing this book. I don't care if its published, I'm just enjoying the journey. When my 30-40 minutes of writing time runs out in the morning, I feel like I've just lost a piece of myself. I hope someday in my life I am fortunate enough to do this full time. Until then, many early mornings await.

Friday, August 7, 2009


I had a very hard time falling asleep last night. I lay in bed, tense, waiting for the next strange noise. Normal creaking sounds became a man inching up the stairs. The muffled slam of car doors became gangsters surrounding our house. People working outside far away became someone trying to pry open and climb through our living room window. Even my cat was tense, her ears swiveling like antennae. I woke David up.

"I keep hearing noises, and I can't sleep," I told him.

"Point out the next noise."

So I did, and he explained it. I pointed out the next one. He explained it.

"This is why I can sleep, because I know what those noises are. You are just too close to the news." Soon he began to breathe deeply again, and I tried to relax.

It's true, I am too close to the news. The recent home invasion, rape, and murder of a woman in South Seattle, just one block away from my friend's house, has affected me deeply. He used to see these women smiling and laughing on evening walks. I almost cried when I read the court documents telling how this man picked a home at random, pried open the bathroom door, tortured two women. One fought back and died, the other escaped. I keep picturing their fear and desperation, and I put myself in their situation. How would I act if a man came into my bedroom with a knife? Would I fight back? Should I learn how to shoot a .22 and keep it in my bedstand?

I never used to have thoughts like this before I was in the news. I felt safe most of the time, and why shouldn't I - I live on Bainbridge Island next door to two cops. But as I lay there in bed, headlines dashed through my brain.

"Bainbridge Island rocked by random murders."

I can see the news reporters interviewing people, reading court documents, and its all too vivid. Maybe I need a vacation, or I need to take a deep breath, and remember, these random, frightening attacks are very rare. I just feel so sorry for that woman who died, and her partner who loved her. Maybe this story is all too real for me because I interviweed the murderer's mother, only a week or so prior. Monsters do exist.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A desk for a writer

I have a beautiful, wooden desk in the living room of my house which I absolutely love, tucked into a corner with windows all around. I can sit and write at that desk, if David is gone or asleep. His office is in a loft directly above the living room, and each chair creak or click of his mouse takes me away from the story I'm creating. So, I told him I wanted a card table in another room, where I can just go hide, stare at a wall, and be within my thoughts and the minds of my characters.

Immediately, David started looking on Craiglist for a desk. He showed me pictures of antiques and rolltops, and I would always answer, "a card table is fine." I felt bad he was spending so much time searching for the perfect desk for me. Even I wasn't looking.

Then, while out searching garage sales one Saturday morning, he found a desk for only 10 bucks. The woman had bought it at an antique store on Capitol Hill back in the 1960's, so the desk must be really old. It has waterstains on its oak top, and the drawers often get stuck. I absolutely loved it just the way it was. Then David decided to fix it up.

So he dragged the desk out on the porch, bought a sanding kit, and started with the top. He sanded for an hour before I got home, and then sanded some more. I could start to see the beautiful grain of the oak (and no, that is not a bald spot, its a spot on the camera lens).

He then started on the drawers, sweating with exertion. Sanding is hard work, especially without power tools.
When he's done with the sanding, he will stain the desk so it looks brand new, and says he's doing all of this to enable my writing, because he believes in my talent and creativity.This is another reason why David just ROCKS. I couldn't feel more loved.

Monday, August 3, 2009


"Writers are strange people," said famous author Terry Brooks as spoke at a dessert reception at the SeaTac Hilton,"which means I'm standing in front of a roomfull of 500 really strange people." We all laughed and tittered in our chairs knowingly. Writers are strange people, and I've never felt so connected as I did at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference.

The conversations were anything but normal. I sat next to an author Saturday night as we listened to speaker Jospeh Finder, a master of thrillers.

"Let's try to think of ways we can torture our main character," I said to her.

"Yeah! You have to think of the worst thing that can happen to your character, do it once, do it twice, and just when you think she's recovered, do it again! We play God."

"You guys are sick," another writer said, but smiled. She knew.

Another writer at the conference walked around carrying a giant demon skull. He's Royce Buckinhgham, the author of DemonKeeper, a movie that will soon be filmed in Seattle.

We'd make up characters on the fly, talk about how to write convincing dialogue, try to invent reasons why a pole was hanging down in the middle of a classroom window. Everywhere I went - in the elevator, in the seat beside me, drinking coffee, people would say:

"What are you working on?"

It was at this conference that I got inspired to write every day. I learned how to think about the storyline of my book, the characters, and reaching my goals. Sometimes I think the only reason why some people are published is the fact that they sit down to write every day. I think I could be published.

I have 15,000 words in my book, and I'm going to try to write 700 per day. I've reached my mark both yesterday and today, and surprisingly easily. Oops. Two adverbs. I'm going to throw myself over the deck. My goal is 75 to 80,000 words, and if I reach my writing goal every day, that should take me several months to finish a book. Then it's time for the rewrites. The months and months of rewrites.

Sorry if this post doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm a little bit entranced by my fictional world. Back to San Miguel!