Tag Archives: writing

This Evil Bitch Commie Is Full Of Ideas

my street at night

This past couple of weeks have been pretty intense. What with High School starting for Max (and he’s begun growing a shadow mustache!) and the events in Ferguson Missouri and us suddenly having higher rent to pay that is not affordable requiring me to concentrate hard on how to revamp my Etsy shop and make extra income and finding out my mom probably needs another surgery and my step mother* commenting on my blog (deleted), and of course the middle east situation continuing, and people everywhere being complete and utter assholes to each other.

I have a lot of thoughts about the situation in Ferguson. I’ve heard some really disgusting racist things being spewed and people showing just how sick inside they really are.

I was called an evil bitch commie because I confronted a man who doesn’t think black people are even human beings. I know, if someone is saying something like that they are already so far down the crazy-shoot there’s no retrieving their reason, I shouldn’t have commented. But it’s really hard to stand by and say nothing when people say such awful things.

The trick is to speak up in situations where it will actually help someone out or be useful in some way and to avoid engaging with people who are already diseased in their body and soul.

I’m going to say right now that I think if you are a police officer you are never in the right shooting an unarmed person of any race. I don’t give a shit if they’re 8 feet tall and charge you. Your job is to deal with dangerous people on a daily basis in the least harmful way possible. It doesn’t matter what a suspect’s character is, what matters is that you, as a police officer, have the tools to diffuse aggression without lethal force. If you are too scared to deal with people bigger than you and more aggressive than you – you without shooting them – you do not belong in a police uniform.

I will also say that police departments are quite possibly failing in their training if officers believe that the merest threat of harm to them warrants firing their gun.

Of those things I am absolutely clear.

I get that if someone open fires on a police officer that the officer may need to fire back to protect themselves and bystanders. But there have been plenty of instances where people fired on cops and the cops did not fire back. Happened in my own city more than once. Instances where an officer with a gun pointed at them apprehended the person pointing the weapon and took them into custody without firing so much as a single shot. That’s good policing.

So this whole Michael Brown killing was bad from the start to finish. If Michael Brown accosted Wilson physically, as is claimed, and then ran away – Wilson did not need to shoot him. He should have run after him and used his skills to take him down and cuff him.  He should have called for back up and run after him. Brown had no weapon. NO WEAPON. And once Brown was running away, Wilson was not in danger anymore. No fatal force needed.

That’s bad training at the very least but what it definitely looks like, confirmed by the entire department’s handling of the situation, is that Wilson didn’t care about the life of Michael Brown and acted in an unconscionable way.  That’s a bad shoot.

I don’t actually believe that Police officers should be allowed to use lethal force when threatened. They are threatened all the time, depending on where they work sometimes they are threatened daily. The nature of their job is dangerous, they go into the force knowing they are taking on a dangerous job and being given weapons and the power to apprehend citizens merely on suspicion means they need to be held to a higher level of integrity than the average person.

I don’t think cops should carry guns. I think they shouldn’t carry any lethal weapons at all. But living in a country in love with lethal weapons I know that that will never happen. It’s too bad.

If I believed in God at all I would have to believe that firearms are the tools of Satan.

Those are just a few random thoughts right now. Not an organized essay on what’s going on in Ferguson. So don’t treat it like one. The situation is unbelievable from beginning to end.

That entire police force needs to go on trial for their suppression of constitutional rights of the citizens protesting and those trying to report on the events. They need to be fired and replaced and trained better to deal with both apprehending unarmed (AND ARMED) suspects and protests.

That police department has behaved shamefully.

No, I don’t think the looting that’s happened is okay. But don’t let the looters  be confused with the peaceful protesters. They are not the same people and if the police force wasn’t 100% concentrating on suppressing the citizen’s right to peaceful protest and shooting them with rubber bullets and gassing them – maybe they could have actually quelled the looting and jailed looters.

It’s been a tense two weeks. Our country is like one big castle of dry rot surrounded  by lit matches. It would take so little to destroy us right now. We spend billions of dollars arming the entire world when we should be de-arming everyone and rebuilding our economy on manufacturing and inventions. We are, in my opinion, the most evil country in the world with the way we have armed both allies and enemies with every way to kill other humans under the sun since the early eighties. We have trained the armies of dictators and then trained their enemies too while they’re not paying attention.

The United States is the single largest firearms pimp of the entire world. We stand for war, killing, aggression, invading, and weaponizing.

I want us to stand for innovation, peace, great education, quality manufactured goods, and civil rights equality for all citizens. That’s a United States I would be proud of. That’s a United States I will stand up for and whose flag I –

Nope. I’ll never be a flag flyer.

The answers to how to fix our economy and country are already there in front of us but few people are brave enough to let go of their old ways of dealing with conflict. Few are brave enough to put down their weapons. Weapons are the most cowardly way to deal with ANY conflict. Cowards shoot. Cowards swing axes. Cowards punch people.

Bravery is confronting adversaries without weapons. Being willing to come together and come up with nonviolent solutions. Bravery is knowing you will be hurt in the fight but refusing to fight back.

The weakest and most cowardly people of all are those that wear masks to hide their identity while harming others. If you belong to the Klu Klux Klan you are the weakest and most cowardly of all human beings. You are even beneath snipers who shoot from hidden vantage points and at some distance. You are the lowest of the low.

Hang on, I might be wrong about that.

Those who hide their hate and poison behind corporate law might not be as low as the KKK but they are more dangerous than little boys wearing silly dunce-cones and calling themselves “knights”.

I’m tired. I’m really tired of all the hate and the shooting and the aggression and the ugly and the wars and the rapes and the trampling of peaceful people.

I am redesigning my Etsy store right now to make it into Cricket’s world. I have my salve listed and soon I’ll be listing lip balms and first aid kits. I’m also working on other things. I hope to create a really fun and cool post apocalyptic themed shop. I need to concentrate on creating to keep my spirits up. To keep my hope going. Redesigning my shop has inspired me to dig back into book 2 of Cricket and Grey. I guess I needed a really long  break and to give myself permission to step away if I need to. To take the pressure off. Making things that Cricket and Julie might make is incredibly enjoyable.

I’m not taking my eye off of what’s happening in Ferguson – my heart is with Michael Brown’s family and community. My heart is with social justice, but my actions need to be rooted in creating and making and writing. Things that generate ideas which are what we need more than weapons in this world. Ideas.

So today I’m working on an apron made from a used men’s shirt and I’m excited. I think I’ll dig into Cricket and Grey for some light editing of the second chapter later on.

Peace. Especially to those people who don’t even know when they’re being assholes. Peace to everyone.



*The Israeli one, not the Scottish one.

Professional Versus Personal Success


Up at 5:30 this morning. I opened my office window and deliciously cold air hit my skin. I am wearing a sweater for the first time in months. I don’t necessarily need it but I relish the sensation of wearing one. Fools me into thinking there’s no way it’s going to be in the high eighties yet again when, in fact, it’s supposed to hit 90.

Tuesday was a marvelous day. Then yesterday I tanked into depression. It appears to be a law of my personal universe that every good day I have must be immediately followed by a bad one. I wasn’t actually depressed in a malaise-y kind of way. I was specifically depressed about my lack of professional success throughout my life. I’m 44 years old and the best career job I ever had was as a design assistant/swatcher getting paid $10 an hour 18 years ago.

I shared these feelings out loud and for once it actually made it worse.

I say I’m depressed because I’ve never succeeded professionally.

And everyone says at least I’m good at gardening.

I realized too late that you can’t put something like that out there and expect not to be patted on the head. There is literally nothing anyone can say to the real cause of my depression so the only thing anyone can do is observe what I actually have going for me which is all the stuff I know how to do well that I can’t make a living doing.

It’s nice to be depressed for an actual REASON for once. So there’s that. Us people with chronic depression spend a lot of time being low for no apparent reason or for ALL THE REASONS OF ALL TIME ALL AT ONCE.

I have only ever had two professional ambitions in life and have succeeded at neither. I wanted to be a fashion designer and a writer. It’s not that I just wanted to spend all my time doing these things, because I’ve spent a lot of my life doing these two things intensively, but I wanted to making a living doing them.

I have long since given up on fashion design. I still love designing clothes but the desire to do it professionally is gone. The last of that ambition died with the failure of Dustpan Alley to pay any bills.

Over the years every time I bring up my ambition to write for a living or cry over writing gigs I didn’t land (all of them) and book proposals denied (just the one) and manuscripts rejected by agents and blogs that never took off enough to create revenue with ads – people always say things like “But you would write anyway, wouldn’t you, even if you couldn’t make a living at it?” and I find this annoying and also curious. Try it with some other professional ambitions.

Someone wants to own their own coffee shop some day.

“But you’d still make coffee even if you couldn’t get your own shop, wouldn’t you?”

Someone wants to be a teacher.

“But even if you can’t land a teaching job, you’d be fulfilled teaching your own kids, right?”

Someone wants to be a banker- oh, never mind.

People imply that I shouldn’t judge my success on my professional ambitions. Like it’s weird for me to consider myself unsuccessful because I haven’t ever been able to make a real living doing what I really want to do. They want to define success in non-monetary terms. It’s gentler. It’s kinder. But it also feels patronizing. The only way to gauge professional success is: ARE YOU ABLE TO PAY YOUR BILLS AND KEEP A ROOF OVER YOUR FAMILY’S HEAD DOING THE WORK YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO BE DOING?

The answer for me is NO.

Pointing out that a lot of writers can’t make a living writing is not helpful. It’s true that a lot of writers never quit their day job.

But it’s also true that there are millions of writers who DO making a living writing. Most of those are making a modest living. There are very few that go on to be successful on a large and lush scale.

But my ambition isn’t to become one of those rare top level rich and famous writers. That would obviously be fantastic. Would love it. Would cherish it. Would probably become a coke addict and haunt Vegas and stop writing and become a Hollywood bungalow burnout.

All I want is to make a modest living but one that could support my family if Philip lost his job or couldn’t work any more. I want to make it writing books. That is a professional ambition and not a personal one.

Even when I was writing short stories as a kid I was writing for imagined readers. Writing has never been a hobby for me. It has never been about self gratification. I don’t want to publish books just so I can say I’ve published a book. I want to publish books that people will read and enjoy.

Yes, I will always continue to write whether I make a living at it or not. It’s what I DO. It’s also what I AM. But I don’t write for ME. I write for readers. I am always writing for readers. Writing really dramatic EMOTIONALLY GRIPPING bad poems at 11 years old was for readers. I imagined that people would read them and be moved. I probably hoped I’d make some people weep over the really truly DEEP poems. I don’t understand writing just for my own sake. And that is what has made it a professional ambition from the start.

It may be less gentle and kind to measure my professional success by how much money I have or haven’t made pursuing my profession – but that’s how professional ambitions work.

Personal ambitions are different and I’m really great at achieving personal ambitions such as making my own wound salve, growing food, and making the best fucking tart you’ve ever tasted. I’m really good at doing many things. Except laundry. Fuck laundry!

But I have never wanted anything more than I’ve wanted to be a writer making a living writing books. I didn’t even want to be a fashion designer as much as I wanted to make a living writing books.

I’ll never stop reaching for it. I’ll never stop working at it.

But there are always going to be those occasional low days where I feel like shit because I’m middle aged and have worked so hard and am still not even close.

And that’s okay.

First Thoughts: Monday as Usual

withered blossom

Dream scraps: at one point there were four men who I was (apparently) in charge of who all squeezed themselves into large metal lunch boxes and drove a car that way – it seems they programed the car to run itself automatically. When they arrived where I was and all came out of their boxes I scolded them for doing such a dangerous thing and said that if they liked being inside small metal boxes, that was fine, but the driver must never drive like that again.

Later there were a lot of people and a weird organization and we were divided up in some mysterious way and given some weird tasks that I didn’t understand (Top Chef influence from two days ago?) but we ended up designing paper people. Later on everything was in chaos and I became convinced the whole thing was a bogus set up and started rebelling. Then at some point near the end of the dream I was trying to tape a paper map back together.

I wish I could remember the big important stuff. There was such a lot of other stuff.

So I cut my hand the night before last and couldn’t keep a band aid on it (right near my thumb – I fought an avocado and lost) so I let it go bare and then started putting my wound salve on it. I reapplied throughout the evening and by bed time the cut was closed and not stinging any more. I was also applying it to my very uncomfortable raw skin on my foot where my eczema is very bad and won’t heal. NO, my wound salve is not a cure for eczema. BUT it did get that raw area to harden up and stop hurting so damn much – seems to be half healed this morning. I know that same spot will start itching again soon and the skin will flake and I’ll end up scratching it raw again – but this salve made that area start healing over night.

I also finally came up with some simple labels for the salve tins that I’m happy with. I need Philip to make them for me in Photoshop so I can print them out. Then I can list them on Etsy.

Booked my hotel in Colorado for my writer’s retreat with a few new writing friends I’ve made on Twitter in the last few months. I’M SO EXCITED TO HAVE A LITTLE VACATION AFTER YEARS OF NO VACATION!

I still can’t find my pocket knife and I’m bummed. I really love it. It’s actually useful. I don’t want just any replacement knife, I want that one! At least I found my Opinel. I love that too. But the blade is super stained. I wipe it down after use but it seems to take stains like mad. But it’s great for harvesting squash and greens from the garden.

Finishing the wound salve (and starting a new batch!) and testing it and finding it exceeds my expectations makes me want to get back to writing Book 2 of Cricket and Grey. I have made these to tie in with Cricket. The labels say “Winters Apothecary” on them. They are, essentially, Cricket’s products.

So I guess I continue to be lost with my writing. I got 1200 words into chapter three on Jane Doe on Thursday which was great – felt really good. But I still am not quite – I don’t know. Writer’s block is a complicated bitch. I think the main thing is to simply go where the energy is. Maybe I will become one of those authors able to work on more than one project at a time. The important thing is to sit down every single day and write a few hours. That is the discipline that ends up trumping inspiration. I’m a writer and I need to be writing every single day. It is less important which project I work on. Blog writing is writing. Novel writing is writing. Field notes is writing. The important thing is to keep the language muscles flexible and stretched.

The heat has been killing my energy this past week. It’s going to continue to be in the low nineties and high eighties pretty much forever now.

I have also been staying up late and sleeping in late. I don’t like this habit.

Canning season will be starting soon. I wish I had already gotten my O’Keeffe and Merritt stove completely cleaned and set up. That would be such a boon.

What I want is to get into a new habit of going to bed earlier and getting up early. I’d like to get up early enough to put in some time gardening which I can’t do most of the time because of the heat. Then write. Then hang out with Max or do house stuff, cook.

Oh yeah, and exercise has to happen either really early or really late.

My foot isn’t as bad but I still haven’t made an appointment with the Podiatrist which I need to do.

Time to write a post on Stitch and then get on with the already well advanced day.


Always The Heavy


I’m a little bit of a mess at the moment. Tired of the barefoot nightmares. Tired of hip/neck/foot/back pain. Tired of writer’s block. Tired of summer.

(Though the tomatoes are just coming in and that’s definitely a bright happy thing. Pickling and canning start soon. That also makes me happy.)

Maybe my writer’s block is because I’m not in direct communication with Jesus or the cosmic universe or MY FEELINGS.

I was telling my friend Sharon about my difficulty settling on a project because nothing I write is working or is worth a shit right now. Or for the last 6 months. She asked some good questions. I didn’t have good answers.

One thing that I did realize for the thousandth time is that I don’t like being everyone’s heavy*. I don’t like being your emotionally heavy and dark friend. I don’t like being a heavy and emotionally dark writer. I don’t like to read really dark stories myself. I want to live my life in a Mary Stewart novel. My fantasy life is always a suspense novel with a little romance thrown in. I don’t want to be the the heavy in every room, the heavy in every crowd, the heavy in every family. I’m always the heavy. Always.

The only man I ever loved besides Philip called me “heavy”. It was such a stinging blow because it was the truth I hated most about myself. The next person he went out with was a world adventurer and full of light.

At work meetings I’m always the one being practical and boring and can be counted on to bring everyone in the room thumping back into the center of reality and deadlines and what isn’t working. No one likes that person.

So perhaps I’m having a core crisis here. What I AM is not what I want to be.

I wrote a dystopian novel because it was such a lighter topic than the one about the raped girl who grows up and heals and then is attacked again and broken into more pieces. I wrote about a grim future for my country because it was light compared to what I really (apparently) need to be writing. But every time I tell people about the rape story I feel like I’m drawing curtains across their sunshine and plunging them into a hateful awful place.

The first time I tried to write that rape story I ruined it trying to protect my main character from the darkness and cloaked her in a cheesy romantic comedy that wasn’t even really funny, just cheesy. Because I felt so bad and also because I didn’t want to be writing this dark shit.



I want to be a light bearer.

Sharon assures me that I also bring humor into the dark with my victims friends. That I always offer a little salve of hope and my individuality and weird way I see the world is interesting and cool. That while I’m busy crushing your heart I am also making you laugh.

I don’t want to give my family anything new to put under a microscope.

I also struggle because I don’t know HOW to tell this story right.

All these writers I know are writing science fiction, Young Adult fiction, romance, and steampunk – stories with adventure and fun and cool landscapes – real entertainment.

Nothing about the rape story I’m writing is entertaining – in the same way that watching the movie “Ordinary People” wasn’t entertaining.

So Sharon says maybe I’m not writing well because I’m not writing what I know I need to be writing. That I’m just afraid to be the writer I AM and am busy trying to be the writer I WISH I WAS.

She might be right.

When I wrote the first draft I was cracking open like a dry nut inside and all this awful suppressed fear and pain came out like slow hot lava. I wasn’t just trying to protect Jane from her story, I was trying to protect myself from her story too.

I ‘m always going to be the heavy in the room.

I should get over it and get on with the writing.

*Not physically heavy, I don’t mean FAT.

Fighting my own Misperceptions

car window

18 lbs down.  95 more lbs to lose.  51 days of  boring-ass sobriety down, 39 days more to go.

I’ve been watching a lot of spy shows.  All of them featuring hot women and smokin’ men.  Familiar features of such shows being royal people in hiding (plotting to regain throne/empire/prestige) and revenge for deaths of loved ones (usually fiancés or spouses) and going rogue from their agency (usually an agency turned evil agenda, obviously) and I love these shows.  I rewatched almost all of Alias for the third time.  I have rewatched most of Fringe.  Now I’m watching Nikita for the first time.

And I need to air some dirty linen: I am ashamed to say that I feel very uncomfortable looking at Maggie Q’s body because it’s so thin that I keep wondering why she’s doing that to herself when she’s such a beautiful woman.  The thing is – I know that some women truly are thin as rails and that being such doesn’t make them unhealthy and judging them for having a body that isn’t to my personal tastes is really horrible.  So I keep fighting my discomfort looking at her ribs sticking out and her chest bones being visible.  People judge me for being so fat and I know that many people make assumptions about how I got this way that are untrue and unfair.  And I’m doing this to another woman.

So I’m trying to reprogram myself as I watch her.  I avoided watching this show because I found it so hard to look at her body.  That’s a true fact.  And it’s a shameful fact.  I’m on season two now and I’m not noticing it so much now.  I love her character and the show is engaging with all the usual expected elements.  I love to see an Asian woman be the lead in a spy show and she’s really good in her role.

Meanwhile it’s been raining!  Which has been wonderful and more is finally coming so I’m getting out there on my scooter between storms today to get some produce.

My back has been hurting.  I’ve had a lot of headaches and some stomach aches lately.  So even though I’m getting lighter all the time I’m not feeling all that great in general.  I think my body is pretty shaken up and not sure what it’s doing.  Some days I lose my appetite and forget to eat*.  I’m not sure what sounds good anymore.

Nightmares have been super vivid and disconcerting as usual.  The night before last I had a barefoot meat-related nightmare.  What the fuck is that all about?  The shoe losing in my dreams is really stressful to me.  It happens all the time now and I don’t know what that’s about.

I have finally started on chapter six of book two of my Cricket and Grey.  What’s really getting in my way of writing is staying up super late and waking up super late.  It seems that even when I go to bed at a reasonable time I’m still sleeping in super late.  That’s not what I want.  I think that now that I’m over half way through my 90 days of sobriety I need to set my alarm for 5:30am and force myself to get up and write.  Writing needs to be the priority above all else that I do or it won’t happen.  That’s just a fact and if I don’t make it a priority I’ll never reach my goals.  I also need to get  busy promoting my book.  I have done no promotional work since before Christmas.  I need to get over my qualms and fears and DO IT.  Because no one is going to do it for me.

That’s my update for today.  I leave you with this question for the ages:

Why are so many fictional male spies name Michael?

*I don’t forget to eat for a whole day or anything drastic, just forget to eat at times when I normally eat and later wonder how I managed to forget to eat and then wait a little longer trying to figure out what I feel like eating.  So – not trying to eat less for weight loss – I wasn’t planning on paring down on food for at least another month.  This is more just – not hungry and I don’t believe in eating when you’re not hungry.  So whatever is going on with my tastes and appetite right now it is most likely more about having shaken up my habits so much it’s kind of at a loss.  I’m just explaining in case anyone was feeling worried.

Someday This Will Be Funny, Right?


Max and Philip have been sick for over 9 days.  I don’t know about Philip, but Max has influenza.  Fluctuating fever, chills, ache, congestion quickly followed by a back-bruising cough that has resulted in small vomit.  My boys have been so sick.  I have been swallowing obscenely huge barnyard flavored multi-vitamins and drunk elderberry syrup for a week in hopes of staving off infection.  I have been teetering on the brink but am still standing.  But today I gave in and took Max to the doctor.  Even though I’m trying so hard not to spend money because we’re on the verge of dire financial strain.  A $30 co-pay isn’t awful, but it’s hardly cheap.

The doctor heard the customary wheeze of pneumonia but NOT the crackling sound of breathing.  She is on the fence about whether he has bronchitis or pneumonia.  She’s erring on the cautious side and has prescribed antibiotics and codeine cough syrup.  Another $20.  I hate having to count dollars in my head all week.

While we were seeing the doctor we discussed some other issues such as his terrible seasonal allergies that she says we have got to get under control because the inside of his nose is amazingly angry looking.  I started to tell her about the progress Max has been making with his food issues – the fact that he’s trying so many new things.  I wanted her to know how far he has come in opening up to new flavors and textures because I am still stinging from the lecture we received during the last visit about his terrible diet and the insinuation that Max is just a spoiled kid being allowed to eat whatever junk he wants.

Which gave her the irresistible opportunity to lecture us about his diet yet again.  She accused me of “enabling” Max’s picky eating.  I almost felt sick to my stomach hearing her say it.  I felt like screaming – something inside me is going to crack open in frustration – my heart can’t take too much more of this assumption that if most humans are a certain way that ALL humans are the same way.  I am proof against this.

A Few Days Later

Two days on antibiotics and Max was doing substantially better with his convulsive violent coughing reduced substantially.  This confirms that he had pneumonia, not bronchitis.  It is very unusual for bronchitis to be bacterial which means that taking antibiotics wouldn’t improve his condition and improvement would be slower.

Meanwhile – my dog is acting weird.  I think something is going on with her but I can’t take her to the vet again until next payday.  So we’ll see.

Lots going on around here.  I pickled 30 pints of jalapeno peppers.  I cleaned my office.  Faced my unface-able mail pile of bills and statements.  I finished loading up all my non-anonymous greeting cards into my Etsy shop and put my shop in the sidebar of both my blogs.  No writing this week.  I would really like to get back to some writing.  But it has become clear that while Philip got a big raise that theoretically should allow me to stay home with smart budgeting – it may not actually be true.  They take a lot more out of his checks than I thought they would and our rent is about to skyrocket.  So it seems I need to actually make strong efforts to sell my stuff on Etsy or get a part time job.  Obviously I’m hoping my shop will get more active.  Clearly I need to make more things to put in it.

On the book front – Philip is editing it right now and my friend Sharon is finishing up the painting for the cover.  Philip is going to do the formatting to make it available on the most popular e-readers and then in a print on demand format so that people can buy a hard copy if they want.  We’re aiming to have the book available for sale by the end of this month.

I am worldly enough to realize that I’ll be lucky if I make $5 in sales on my novel.  But I still believe in myself.  I believe my book is good enough to develop a fan-base and do reasonably well if enough people give it a chance and spread the word.  I’m saying that I don’t care how hard it is to make more than a few pennies as a self published author, some authors do well and I intend to be one of them.

And if I don’t end up being one of them?  I’m not going to entertain that thought at all.

Yesterday I read a great interview with Anne Rice and her son Christopher in Writer’s Digest.  My favorite thing that she says is that there’s no right or wrong way to write books or be a writer.  I also love that she said her greatest struggle is finding the voice in each novel – the point of view.  That’s one of my biggest struggles too.  Figuring out whether your story should be in first or third or a combination or third limited or third omniscient – so hard for me.

She also says that her biggest advice to writers is to write the books they want to read.  I’ve heard some people say this isn’t totally the best approach.  But I believe it is.  If you don’t want to read classic literature – why would you try to write it?  I think some people try writing books they don’t necessarily want to read because they think it’s the only way they’ll be taken seriously as a writer.  I say screw that.  I know what books I’m always looking for and can’t find – that’s what I endeavor to write.  And it isn’t classic literature.  I want to write quality suspense novels.  Not mysteries and not thrillers.  Mysteries need carefully crafted clues and structure and detectives.  I love reading mysteries but I don’t want to write them.  And thrillers are generally political, legal, or full of spies with lots of action.  I want to write suspense novels.  Suspense burns more slowly and quietly than thrillers, generally.  I like an insidious growing tension and fear.

It’s time I took a shower and got something useful done.  I think, in fact, it’s time for me to reread the first chapter of the second CandG book and start working on the second.

Market Street

ghilly brogues

Take up your drums with your suit.

Don’t let Market Street go to sleep on you.

Quick-step your Ghillie-brogues past the gum, the spit, the piss, and the pimps.

Take it up a ride, take it up a step, take it down the city –

The young reek of opium and smoke where they posture

Stiff white collars smudged with lipstick and musk

jasmine trailing off skin in accidental innocence

Walk it off like shameless poets in the split night

Walk it off Market street, bricks and cracks, a static goal

electric energy polarizing steps

like percussion waking a dead heart forward

move – move – move, past Powell into the bowels of hell

leave your eyes open and your weapons drawn

This is your siren streaking across the asphalt

into the deafness of your heart

Open, that you might hear your own musk settle on a green branch

that you might hear closure with every night bird’s song



A Brand New Chapter Begins

entering sf

Two days ago I was desperately sewing dinner napkins for my Etsy shop and starting to panic about paying bills.  Today I am a Lady of Leisure.  Philip’s current workplace made him a counter offer to get him to stay with them and they actually offered him what he asked for.  Which means that I can become a full time writer.


The relief I feel is incredible.  The stress I have been feeling for ages, that has felt bottomless and crushing, is lifted.

Life is so weird.  I’m not closing up my sweatshop operations because we still owe thousands to the IRS and it’s not like Philip is making so much that we’re on easy street.  In fact, he’s basically just made up for what I earned at my last job.  Which allowed us to be paying bills and go out to dinner once a week and buy shoes when needed.  Which is really all I ask for.  Also – our rent is going to go up significantly if what we’re trying to work out with the house situation really works out.  So in order to ever get ahead we need to pay off the IRS.

My plan is to do a bunch of sewing in the next couple of months, use up some of my stores of fabric, make cool stuff and hopefully sell it.  Once I reach my goal of paying off the IRS I will stop sewing.  But I will still do cards with my anonymous card service and I will make booklets and a few other things like that.  While doing this I will set aside time to work on the next Cricket and Grey but it will be part time until I stop sewing for the store.  Then I will set myself full time writing hours.

This is my dream.


Jesus!  I’m actually going to be able to devote myself to writing novels.

Seeing as how the universe has just handed me my dream – I guess I better take it off of probation.

As a side note – I think it’s funny how I always talk about “the universe” as though it is a being with feelings and opinions just like people talk about God.  But I don’t actually believe the universe is a being of any kind.  Honest, I don’t.  I truly don’t believe in higher powers.  But it does make it easier to deal with life’s vicissitudes if you can blame your whiplash on someone or something.  It makes it easier to talk about and definitely more fun.

Wouldn’t it be funny to write a novel about modern woman suddenly stuck in a historical romance novel?  It would be similar to Lost in Austen in concept but instead of getting trapped in a well written classic novel it would be a cheesy bodice ripper novel where men are menacing and mysterious and say stupid stuff and make sexy poses all the time.

Well, it’s time to get this day going and do some sewing and stay out of the heat and start my life as a full time writer.


Job Hunting and Moonshine Go Together Like Bubbles and Blood

gardenia from our garden

Last week I applied for four jobs.  I have heard nothing from any of them yet.  I’m told I have to be patient but the last time I heard that was two weeks ago when I applied to three jobs and I still haven’t heard back from those companies either.  It means they aren’t interested.  It means I’m bombing out.

So what do you do when faced with a looming deadline for getting work?

You buy some 153 proof moonshine, that’s what you do.

Then you guzzle it until it peels off the inside of your stomach and intestines and apply for 40 more jobs wearing the stench of despira-

OR you make liqueur out of the grain alcohol and the amazing home grown plums your friend brings you.  You wait a respectable two months before straining and sipping.  I usually work with 100 proof so I’m going to have to dilute this liqueur with something.  My first thought was to just water it the hell down.  But – water – ?  Doesn’t sound right.  So then I figured maybe I could water it down with some added juice?  maybe something flavorless like white grape juice?  I will commence experiments and write about it on Stitch for the scientifically minded booze-hounds.

So.  There doesn’t seem to be anything to apply to today so I think it’s time to clean up my office and get some sewing done because I have the pyjama pant project to work on and I have pants to make myself so I don’t look homeless when going for job interviews.  Surely someone at some point is going to see what an awesome prospect I am as an employee and want to talk to me in person, right?


I have got three paragraphs of Cricket and Grey Spring written.  Then I got sidetracked by researching third degree burns.  I’m going to have to make plot changes since I injured my MC more than I intended to.  I mean – they say to make bad stuff happen to your characters but I might have gone a little too far.  Philip reminds me that I can change the severity of the wounds in the first book.  I suppose he’s technically correct but I feel it would be cheating at this point – I’ve already published it on my blog.  Even though that isn’t a traditional method of publishing – my book is still out there and I think it lives on its own now.  I set it free and can’t take it back.

It’s a fine day out there.  Not too hot.  A breeze is blowing.  It’s already 1pm and I’ve gotten very little done.  I guess it’s time to do something productive.

3rd street aleworks

Those Old Stacks of Notes

3rd street aleworks

Three great things happened this week:

1.  Max ate a tomato sandwich.  Whole wheat bread with the crust cut off, 1 slice of tomato, yellow mustard on one slice of bread and ketchup on the other.  He ate every last crumb of it.

2.  I finished sewing 5 shirts which you can read about on Stitch if you’re interested.  So I’m feeling productive.

3.  I cleaned the downstairs of my house.  Epic.  My kitchen floor was growing scared of itself, it was so dirty.

I don’t really want to be up right now.  I’ve been awake since just before 5am.  I finally gave up at 5:45.  Here it is, 7am, and I have to commit to staying awake because I am drinking coffee and until Philip wakes up it will not be comfortable to get back into bed with all the breathing going on in there.  I thought I’d write but I don’t have a starting point yet for the new book as I’m still working on the outline.

I just now thought about the stacks of notes and bits I wrote for two different ideas for novels I had almost 15 years ago.  Some people have great ideas that just need time to mature before they can become fully formed.  This is not the case with those earlier efforts of mine.  I worked so hard at them but I couldn’t bring any of my ideas to life because I was stuck in a strange warped place of literal truth.  I knew that fiction is all about making shit up – telling stories and using your imagination to build different versions of the world we live in as seen through the eyes of people who don’t really exist.  At the time I was coming to terms with some of my own truths – with my family and my past and the fact that I really CAN excel at doing math.  I had my saber held against the chin of my worst demon and with my chest full of fire and my head full of TRUTH I knew the living words would follow.

Naturally I was wrong.

I kept trying to tell MY truth because I thought that’s what writers do.  Well, they do, but not in a literal way.  If I was going to tell my truth then I was beholden to the facts surrounding my truth as well.  Basically I was trying to write fiction but kept veering off into autobiographical territory and it didn’t work because I couldn’t tell my story and then make stuff up that wasn’t true.

I made up a girl named Vera who worked in an underwear factory.  I loved the idea of her.  She most definitely didn’t resemble me at all so it was weird how I kept trying to make her life have the same issues as mine.  It turns out I can’t write good fiction by starting with a conclusion and trying to stuff it into the shape of a story.  It turns out that the story has to live for its own sake.  It has to matter outside of myself.  It turns out I have to start with a question and endeavor to answer it.

I could see where I kept getting hung up but I didn’t know how to work past it.  I remember the reams of paper I wasted trying to work through it, trying to force life onto the page and it was just like trying to light a cigarette with a packet of soggy matches.

I remember giving up.  I remember telling myself that I can’t write fiction, that I’m a poet not a novelist.*

In a nod to the character Vera, who never came to life, I made Jane Bauer (from that first novel I started writing “Jane Doe”) work in an underwear factory.  I’m realizing now, as I write this post, that this is not right for Jane, it doesn’t work.  To change this I’ll have to adjust some of what I’ve already got written but that’s what novel writing is like.  It’s not rigid work, it’s fluid.  You can write out the most detailed outline and you’ll still discover that something you planned for your story doesn’t work and if you try to flog a story with details that don’t work – it will stagnate.  If not for you, then for the reader.  I am becoming better at recognizing when something I’m trying in a story isn’t working.

In those earlier efforts at novel writing I was full of ideas, ideals, and huge life lessons and THINGS I NEEDED TO SAY but I didn’t really have a story to tell yet.

I wonder what I’m going to think about my first novels once I’ve written many?

*One can be both, obviously, but when you’re super busy tying yourself to the whipping post you don’t consider such things, all you want is to get on with lashing yourself and crushing your own dreams before someone else has the chance to.