Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Stinky Cheese Is Part of the Process

So here's the thing. You tell people you are devoting yourself to your writing career. And next thing you know, you can't write a thing. (Shhh. Don't tell my editor.)

You create many other things instead. Ranting Facebook posts about the NFL. Questionable tweets about real estate transactions you're not involved with. You bake pumpkin bread even though it's not actually in season yet and Martha Stewart would have your head. You bake cakes and have friends over for celebrations long overdue.

Meanwhile, your book sits in your computer like an aging cheese.

It's getting to be one of the stinky ones. Let's call it Clarkburger.

When you sit at your desk, finally, with that giant stack of printed editorial comments, which is resting on the legal pad that contains pages and pages of can't bring yourself to open the stinky cheese package. You brace yourself. You sit back a little in your chair and you stop inhaling so fervently. Aging cheese smells bad to you. You may click on your desktop to peek inside. You may look at pages 1-25. Those seem safe. But they're not, oh, no. They are dangerous. They have been rewritten to the point where they barely even exist anymore. They are more like Swiss cheese. Many holes.

Then you realize you have "Track Changes" on and that's ridiculous at this point in the manuscript, so you adjust your settings.

You need to adjust ALL your settings. There's this one button, F51, that appears only on writers' computers. It stands for Area 51. It's where weird things happen and fears get set aside and scenes disappear only to be replaced by new scenes and nobody knows what's going on except maybe your characters. So it's time to hit F51 and listen to them.

Besides, you are allergic to the soft cheeses.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What I Didn't Do

Summer has somewhat officially ended and instead of listing what I did over the summer, I thought I'd point out what I didn't. There are no photos, because, well. I didn't do these things.

I didn't go to the ocean. Not to make a bad pun, but that is unfathomable. I grew up spending big chunks of summer in Rhode Island, at my grandparents' house. Pretty much my favorite place, ever. Boo.

I didn't go to the MN State Fair. That feeling is mostly relief, but just thinking about it makes me hungry and I'll likely never get this post done if I go down that on-a-stick spiral.

I didn't go camping. Not once. I have mixed feelings about this. I like the road trips and the gear. I don't like washing dishes in the dark. I also don't like lying awake at 3 AM, wondering if it's a snake, a raccoon or a blueberry-deprived bear that is rustling outside the tent.

I didn't make any kind of jam or jelly, or pick my own strawberries or raspberries. I see my future laid out before me in Smucker's jars. With a name like Smucker's...that tagline never made sense to me.

I didn't get a sunburn, not once that I can think of. Hurray for having a full-time office job through 8/15! It does have its perks. I suppose.

Okay, maybe one picture. I also didn't get bitten by this humongous spider that spent 5 days with us at our cabin. Is it a fishing spider?

It laid about 2,000 eggs in this bush and guarded them all week, so next year should be really fun.

Why didn't I kill it? I guess because it was the summer of things I didn't do.

Happy September!