Thursday, November 30, 2006

Terrible Week

Of course it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.  I wrote half a page on Monday.  Half a page on Tues.  Then I gave up.

I know this will sound like an excuse, and it is, of course, but there was another death in my life. I’m not going to write about it here as I have some others because this person was not a writer. 

Her death colored my whole week.  I am left as the keeper of the secret.

Tomorrow I’m going to the movies as I do on many Fridays.  Monday I’ll try again to make some headway on this novel.  TRY.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Year Later

It was at this time last year that my editor at Ballantine called me and told me he was leaving. I wrote that here and it created a tempest in a teapot.  Still, it seemed awful at the time.  I, without knowing it because he didn’t tell me it was a secret, revealed his plans and in so doing betrayed him.

I also discovered that my blog was read by many people who were in the publishing world.  I had no idea.  I was naive about the blogosphere at that point.  And suddenly people were saying awful things about me and leaving provocative comments on my blog.  I didn’t know then that one could block Anonymous people.  I even made Nitwit of the day (or was it week?) on Miss Snark’s blog where people I didn’t know threw barbs at me.

Anyway, I’m still here and having expressed my concerns with who would be my editor and if he/she would be twelve years old, it didn’t do anything to my career as some had predicted.

I don’t regret it, except for hurting my editor.  I hope he knows I never meant to hurt him. Most likely he never thinks of me or that time.

Tomorrow I’ll go back to working on my book.  I’m not looking forward to it.  It scares me a little.  In fact, I don’t want to do it at all. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


"I think I ought to be shot for writing such nonsense, but it's questionably good escapist literature and I think I should rather like it if I were sitting in an air-raid shelter, or recovering from flu."

Georgette Heyer

Monday, November 20, 2006

Back In Business

I’m not sure what business I mean here.  I guess the business of seeing.  Operation successful, patient lived to see another day.

Thanks to everyone who wished me luck.

This week I have more doctor appointments and then there’s Thanksgiving, so settling down to continue to write my book isn’t an option.  But it is an option next Monday.  I hate to give myself a starting date in case I don’t make it.  Still, Monday the 27th is what I’m shooting for.

Meanwhile, I won’t be reading Thomas Pynchon’s new book.  I wouldn’t be reading anyone’s book that is 1,088 pages long.  I’m from the school of less is more.  What could any novelist have to say that needs over 1000 pages to say it in?  I sniff narcissism.

I also don’t want to spend my time decoding whatever is in those 1000 pages.  I want to read books that tell me a story in robust prose.  I don’t mean that everything has to be linear but I do like a beginning, middle and end.  Most of all I like to understand what I’m reading. And I admit that I don’t understand Pynchon.  Yes, I tried once.  I was young and naive and I thought I had to read everything that was touted as literary.  Some I enjoyed.  Pynchon I did not.  I have no idea what V is about.  I tried more than once.  I had the time then.

Call me a philistine, I don’t care.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


"I'd rather be a failure at something I enjoy than be a success at something I hate."

George Burns

The Eyes Have It and Other Things

I don’t write things here that are personal unless it has to do with writing.  But I think the fact that I’m having eye surgery on Tuesday qualifies.  This past week it has been impossible to write except for Monday as I’ve had one appointment after another.  I’ve never been able to write when I’m constanly interrupted.

The week before I did get two chapters done. And I liked them.  I still don’t know how I’m going to get where I want to go but maybe it’ll come to me after the surgery.  I have no idea how soon I’ll be able to see the computer screen again but I’m sure it won’t be more than a week or two.  Maybe not even that.  When I asked my doctor he said he didn’t know.  Very reassuring, as they always are.

Am I nervous about this?  Yes.  But I’m told it’s not a big deal.  Still, my niece, who is a nurse, says any surgery is a big deal.  I tend to believe her.  You never know.  Fortunately I won’t be under a general anesthetic so that cuts the risk way down.  But it’s my eye.  The doctor, to CHA I’m sure, told me that I could go blind, but that it happens in very, very rare cases.  Oh, good.

Meanwhile it’s been brought to my attention that Lee Goldberg sees my posts about writing as me being in agony.  I know I sometimes go over the top in writing about my troubles with writing so I guess I’d better make it clear.  I love writing probably as much as Lee does.  There’s nothing else I’d rather do except be able to sing like Barbra Streisand.  I’m not sure I find it fun…except on those rare occasions when it all clicks. And I certainly find it more fun than taking tolls on the thruway.  Any thruway.  Writing is more fun than working at a fast food place.  Or waiting on tables.  Or taking movie tickets.  Or being a stockbroker, or being in real estate.  Writing is more fun than being an electrician, or a plumber.  Or being in politics.  This is how it is for me.

But it’s hard.  I’m not a writer who hates it because it’s lonely.  I don’t find it lonely.  I like being alone.  In fact, having worked in the theatre and on a few movies that never got made, I know I’d rather be a novelist than a playwright or screenwriter.  I don’t like to collaborate.  But as Lee says, ( and I’m paraphrasing) I’ve been fairly successful and it’s never enough.

Some of you are at the very beginning of your careers, some in the middle.  I’m guessing Lee’s in the middle.  I’m coming down the homestretch.  Not that I’ll ever retire. But where once I wrote ten pages a day I now write maybe five.  And at the beginning and the middle I always had an idea I’d rather be working on than the one I was doing.  That doesn’t seem to be true anymore.  It’s harder to get ideas.  Harder to sit in my chair for three or four hours a day.  Still, I always made my deadlines right up to the last one I had.   Now I don’t have one.  After publishing 19 books I’m writing my 20th on spec.

Mark Terry on Lee’s blog says in a comment about all this “Sure. It's easy. Just like brain surgery. “  I love that.  Diana says “I suffer these insecurities about my writing every single day. At least she has been published!”  But that’s just the point.  It doesn’t matter that I’ve been published.  Of course it matters, I mean I’d rather have these troubles as a published writer than one who never has been published.  But the feelings don’t change.  And the idea that I or any other published writer should be through with these feelings doesn’t fly.  I’m sure when Diana gets published she’ll still suffer insecurities.  And Keith Snyder says, “Creative hell beats boredom. I've never been bored writing a book.”  Neither have I.  I don’t think anyone would find an allusion to boredom while writing, anywhere in my blog.  There are lots of other interesting responses to Lee’s post.  Take a look.

Now that I approach a possible time period when I can’t write I, of course, want to do it more than ever.  In a rational state I know I’ll get back to writing this 20th novel (20 was always my goal) and deep down I’ll love doing it, but I’ll still have problems and insecurities.  And I  know that’s okay.  That’s the way it goes for me.

I’ll be seeing you.