If I go back, I’m hanging out in the library all the time dressed like Molly Ringwald.
I’ve been considering a Masters Degree since I graduated with a Bachelors a short time ago. School has always been an awesome motivator for me – I work well with deadlines and being surrounded by a dozen other people who are in it for the same reasons I am. My writing courses not only taught me how to confidently receive criticism, but they were extremely valuable in the editing process of my own work. I had the best professors who never made me feel talent-less or less than another student, but instead showed me ways I could best showcase my writing. Waking up each morning knowing in just a few hours I’d have a room full of people concentrating on my work was enough to keep me up an extra hour each night, tapping away furiously at the keyboard.
When I finished college, I felt a little helpless. I did the whole “now what?” thing and curled up in a tiny ball and stayed in bed for a few days. That’s about the time I started this blog – I needed something new to boost my confidence, to make me feel like I was doing something worthwhile. I didn’t launch into a 9-to-5 career like a lot of others (I’m still bartending!), but I knew I had to find something to keep my creativity chuggin’ along. Since then I’ve wavered back and forth between feeling awesome and feeling like there’s no point.
So – if I were to return to school to master a subject, I’d receive my Masters in Creative Writing. I’m confident enough to think I have something here, but it needs to be polished. I long for those classroom discussions, passing other writers hidden in pockets of the library with coffee and reading glasses. The smell of books, the whirring sounds of a roomful of computers, the tapping at the keyboards. Sometimes seeing others is what we need; it’s like attending an exercise class instead of lazily doing sit-ups in your living room while the television buzzes in the background.
Maybe I should look into taking another writing course, too.
I have applied for every job that has come my way, and still I am hearing nothing but crickets on the other side. BUT, I am trying to make the most of my afternoons off, writing and working out and lounging in the air conditioner.
Yesterday I marched into a local Barnes & Noble and demanded to speak to a manager (or…quietly and politely asked…whatever), only to be told they are not hiring, but that they would keep my resume and application on file. I am looking into a second job, until something even more wonderful comes along; Joe and I are hoping to get our own place, and we need lots of $$$ <—that stuff.
Once in a while I veer away from the path of novel writing and attempt to churn out a poem or two. I have submitted a few pieces in a contest for Writer’s Relief, and am keeping all fingers and toes crossed. The majority of my poetry follows the theme of most of my other writing: gore, murder, depression, the works. Should I die and someone comes across my flash drive, they’d probably think I had some major personal issues.
I’m not sure where the intense interest comes from. But, I find myself being able to explain the death and decomposition of a character in more elaborate detail than I am the love between two others.
This poem is a quick glimpse at the usual topic of my writing, from the point-of-view of a wife and mother murdered by her husband, and how he lied to their daughter. Feedback is appreciated. I need subscribers!
Maybe not. But I DEFINITELY look like an anime character. Sailor Moon?
I have a portfolio (resume, writing samples, the works). I have business cards ready for pick-up. I’M READY TO GET A JOB!
I have recently been promoted to bartender at work. On my last day of training, I waited on Phillies player Roy Oswalt and didn’t even know it. (On television, you only ever see them from the nose down. How should I know what the man looks like?) I heard he came in the next day, too; I bet he was only looking forward to finding me and my ability to make a mean Arnold Palmer, but alas, I was not there. As bartender I get to crack open root-beers and real beers and gluten-free beers and make dozens of margaritas (and Arnold Palmers). So far, I dig it.
On July 17th I’ll be getting “down and dirty” with some co-workers in the Merrell Mud Run in Fairmount Park. I’m excited, nervous, considering the early preparation of my will…but above all, excited. If I make it through the 6 miles of obstacles and mud pits alive, I plan on rewarding myself with the largest peanut-butter milkshake money can buy.
At the moment, I am shifting between this blog entry and an attempt at banging out a few paragraphs. So while I contemplate my next move, I’ll compile a short list of things to avoid while attempting to write a novel; or short-story, or memoir, or whatever.
Things all writers should avoid if they have any fighting chance of writing more than one paragraph of solid work a week:
1) While writing, log out of Facebook. Do not tweet (or whatever they call it). Turn your phone off. Log out of your email. Avoid everything that I am doing at this exact moment.
2) While a glass of wine or a beer is sometimes helpful, don’t get sloshed. Sure, I’ve had a lot of good ideas swirl around in my head while under the influence…but I almost always chose a shot over a keyboard.
3) Even if you’re not sure about it, write it. Get it down. Get it all out. Go back later and edit. Don’t stare at the screen or the paper waiting for something brilliant to present itself. It doesn’t work that way. I’m sure even Hemingway threw away a few drafts.
4) Don’t get distracted with trying to choose a title, when you could be spending that time writing any type of piece that will actually be worth giving a title to. (I really, really wish I could find a title.)
5) Write every single day. Even if for a few minutes at a time. Don’t let sleep, work, alcohol, family, your dog, or that favor you were supposed to do for your best friend get in the way.
Now if only I could follow my own rules a little more strictly.
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one’s longevity and the other’s daring.
– Sylvia Plath
I have never considered poetry one of my strong points, but it is a style of writing I strongly admire – especially when it comes to Sylvia and her beautiful, twisted words. I enjoy the quickness of poetry, and the opportunity to churn out a few abstract thoughts that could be interpreted in any number of ways.
Recently, a poem of mine was accepted into my college’s literary magazine. Am I ecstatic? Yes. Was I afraid of what my mother would say about the subject matter of my first published work? Absolutely.
A woman in wrinkled slacks
shoved a pamphlet into
your velvet palm
and we stared into pages
of burning flesh
as you told me of your first kiss,
four breasts embracing,
four lips parting
one on top of the other
like pillows stacked high.
I laughed as you ripped it up,
a strange confetti that
caught in my hair
as you pressed your lips
against my neck,
just below the ear,
right above the curiosity.
Sylvia’s flare? No way. But I gave my best attempt at capturing many moments in one; roping a whole series of events into about 30 seconds; speaking of limitless love and acceptance of one’s self and others around them. To me, poetry has the ability to cross boundaries in a way that the short story or novel cannot. It is a bit more challenging, like flash fiction; taking a story that may span months or years and getting it’s point across in five or ten lines.
To all the amazing poets that have mastered this (Sylvia included): I salute you.
The order of those things should probably be a little different. Write, work…beer?…work. Something like that. Sometimes “write” and “beer” can join forces.
While I am completely aware that my parents are proud of my accomplishments thus far – proud enough to post my next handful of missions in life on Facebook – any talk of my plan terrifies me. I feel it’s going to jinx me in some way; if everyone keeps quiet, ten years from now I could be be nursing a cramping hand after signing the 100th copy of my latest novel, chai tea by my side, posted by a hardback display of my head shot in a Barnes & Noble. Oh, and I’d be wearing glasses and a scarf. The accessories of an intelligent novelist, of course.
If friends and family continue to receive a play-by-play of the career I don’t even have yet….I’m doomed. I’m hopeless. I’ll still be waiting tables and paying to put my own shitty book on the shelves. Now I realize how stupid this sounds, but I am superstitious about these things. Hmph.
For a writer with serious A.D.D., short stories have always been my preference. However, after taking a course called Writing the Novel in my last semester, I tested the waters of writing something a tad more lengthy. Seven chapters and about 40 pages later, I’m pretty damn proud of how far I’ve come. Of course since graduating and not having a professor and five of my peers breathing down my neck to get the latest chapter completed, my progress has slowed a bit. I’m hoping to take a writing workshop this summer that will keep my level of motivation high.
I have not yet come up with any sort of title, something that was always one of my favorite parts of writing a new piece. But somehow, I feel that makes me more serious about this one. Hm. It’s sort of a horror-crime-murder-mystery (horror is my strong point), taking place in 1985. I thought writing in the 80s would be a good challenge for me, and I love the clothing and music of the era, of course. Who doesn’t enjoy big hair and acid-wash jeans? Anyway….
The time is 1985. Summer. Queens. Angel Vasco lives in the usually quiet neighborhood of Southside with her sister, Sarah Vasco. Angel dances at Half Moon Nightclub, located in the noisier Northside. Angel is strong, fairly intelligent, and uses her sexuality to get what she wants. Sarah is the weaker of the two sisters: quiet, very much a push-over, goes through a string of abusive relationships that worries Angel. After Angel is raped by a man that confronts her in her dressing room after a show, she gives in to anger and revenge that gives birth to a rather bloody series of events.
Publish-worthy? I sure hope so.
There is a bit more to the story that I hope to execute well: the relationship Angel had with her late mother, the strains on the relationship between Angel and Sarah, how their father abandoned them after their mother passed away. Aside from a story about murder, it is a story about self-discovery and family.
Before the ground had settled around a small headstone that read “Mary Ann Vasco 1930 – 1965”, our father was already miles away from us, drowning in vodka and reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Over the next thirteen years, our conversations were scattered, as he sank into the dip in his armchair and I was forced to teach Sarah (and myself) how to do homework and tie shoelaces, our father only providing us with the necessities of food and shelter. We were suffocated with small mumbles and goodbyes until on my 18th birthday, he left. That’s the day my skin hardened and I shoved the card and whatever bullshit explanation he had left into the trash without ever opening it.
Now, as I stood before my broken sister, I blamed myself for shielding her during those years instead of throwing her straight into the storm. I had developed a protective shell – she lay exposed and constantly defenseless.
I let out a long breath and went back to my room, once again digging through the pile of delicates in the corner, finally pulling out a thin elastic band covered in a mesh of black lace. I pulled on a pair of Levis and a blue sweater that hung off one shoulder, Sarah silent now in the next room. I stuffed the garters into a leather u-shaped pocketbook embellished with stringy fringe and grabbed another bag filled with makeup and perfumes; I mumbled a goodbye as I made my way down the hall, grabbing a bottle of Evian before loudly making my way out the front door and down three flights of hot stairs to the street.
I knew Sarah would never tell me who gave her the bruise; she would wear sunglasses in the market and call out of work, tell people she slipped climbing out of the tub. After our father left Sarah and I were forced out of our small home in a somewhat clean suburb of New York. We moved into a smaller apartment in Queens and she crumbled.
Comments? Anything? Is this thing on?
If you’re stuck in New Jersey as I am, be careful in the heat. You know it’s bad when the weather application on your phone shows a little cactus next to Wednesday and Thursday. Ugh.
It’s been 24 days since my college graduation and I’m already tired of sleeping until noon and having no homework to complete an hour before class. What a life.
I received my Bachelor’s in Writing Arts, and have been aimlessly searching the internet for “interesting” editing jobs for the past few weeks. Just one week after leaving college I had sent my resume to about 3 places, didn’t hear anything back right away, and proceeded to hide under my covers until five in the afternoon contemplating my future; of course, I was already convinced that I didn’t have one.
And so begins my journey to finding what I lovingly refer to as a “big girl” job, all while working in a corporate restaurant, having some sort of social life, attempting my first novel, and trying not to bang my head against a wall or swan dive into one of the fryers at work.
Oh…and I thought a blog would be a good way of keeping my creative juices flowing (those juices that consist mostly of Belgian Ales and margaritas).