Thursday, May 31, 2007


"A story is a way to say something that can't be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is."

Flannery O'Connor

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Have Got a Clue

I realized yesterday as the holiday was coming to an end, that if I knew I had to get up the next morning and write I’d be depressed.

I’m a disciplined person and have been writing in a disciplined fashion for 50 years.  By disciplined I mean being at my desk by 9, writing for 3 or 4 hours 5 days a week unless I was sick.  Year after year.  That schedule has served me well.  But I think I’m tired of it.

I know that there are other writers out there who’ve been doing it longer and for more hours a day and more days a week.  I salute them.  But I’m not in a contest.

It’s not the writing I’m tired of it’s the method.  The trouble is I don’t know how else to do it.  This schedule works for me.  Can this old dog learn new tricks? 

I can’t imagine sitting down to write whenever I feel like it.  Maybe for an hour.  Ten minutes.  No.  These aren’t the rules.  The rules I made for myself.  If I made them I can break them.  Easily said.  But can a willy-nilly writing method work for me?

I’m not a night person so that wouldn’t be viable for me.  I’m best in the morning.  So what if I sat down at my computer at 10 or 11?  What would happen?  Or what if I gave some time in the afternoon a tumble?  I know there’s only one way to find out. 

This is still in the thinking stage and I’m not ready to test it yet.  Maybe next week.  Maybe not.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Thought Drops Falling In My Brain

As you can see below I’ve been relaxing and reading among other easy pursuits.  And I’ve been enjoying it.  Until yesterday.

Thoughts have been interfering. Book idea thoughts.  Opening lines.  This when I’m trying to read.  I don’t care for that.  But I can’t stop it.

There’s this girl.  There’s this girl who keeps talking to me. I’m not sure I know what she looks like.  I know how old she is.  I know where she lives.

I have to admit I did write down a few things she said.  But now she’s saying something else.  Something that makes what she said before irrelevant.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to listen or change what she said before.  I don’t have time for this.  I have the new Elmore Leonard to read.

I want her to shut up.

So far she won’t. 

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Dick Cavett's Article

Below are portions of the article no one could get to.


“You should sue your publisher.”

Those attention-getting words were uttered by a man who was invariably referred to as “the grand old man of Chicago book dealers.” That, rather than “hello,” was his greeting when my co-author and I once entered his shop.

“I ordered 50 copies of ‘Cavett,’ H.B.J. sent me nine copies, and I sold them all that morning,” he said. He was referring to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, our publisher. “It’s three weeks now that I can’t get any more copies out of your publisher. People come in for it every day. Do you have a good lawyer?”

How could this be? How could they not send the books?

How could the book not be in a popular bookstore? Any comfort from thinking maybe this was an isolated case quickly dissolved. “And the Kroch-Brentano chain of stores,” he said, emphasizing the word “chain,” “can’t get it either.”


It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it?

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Sorry about the link below.  I didn’t realize people couldn’t get to it.  I’ll try to copy some the article and put it here tomorrow.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Publishing Hell

You’re not alone.  This is well worth reading An Author's Nightmare . See for youself what you’re probably in for.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I finally finished the non-fiction piece and sent it off today. No response but I wouldn’t expect one yet.

First I sent it with the pages unnumbered. Then I said I was sorry I’d done that and here’s the right one. Accept I forgot the attachment. I made it on the third try.

So now what? I have no interest in writing. Although I noticed my mind noting some news articles. Not sure what that means.

When I think I’ll never write again I don’t feel panicky as I have in the past. It feels okay. I’m enjoying hanging around. I read a lot. I answer email, visit sites on the Internet. I talk to friends. And a Starbucks has opened in my town.

That may seem like nothing to many people, but out here it’s something. It’s set back from the street and is tastefully done inside. This is one with easy chairs. The big difference is that you can’t sit and people watch. What I mean is, there aren’t a lot of people walking by. So it’s a good place to bring a book and have a coffee. Or meet a friend.

The summer people will be here in another few weeks and things will change. I won’t leave my house on the weekends. But that’s okay with me. I have a lovely house and comfortable places to read. A hammock outside.

I don’t want to write and I’m not going to unless I want to. Yes, money matters, but my track record won’t bring me lots of money. Or even okay money. So I’ll have to really want to write something to do it again. And that could happen any time. Meanwhile I’ll wait for the brass ring in my hammock.

Friday, May 04, 2007


I don’t know how anyone writes nonfiction. Or why they’d want to. I finished the first draft of a piece for a magazine yesterday. It’s true that I don’t feel like writing anything now, but this had to be done as I had agreed.

I don’t think writing nonfiction is fun. I also don’t think writing fiction is fun, although it has its moments. It doesn’t feel like there is anything creative about nonfiction. Things are pulled from here and there and, in this case, from my memory.

It’s much more like filling in a puzzle to me. I suppose I should like puzzles considering what I usually write. But I knew the end of this puzzle and I didn’t have to invent characters. I didn’t have to invent anything and I think that’s why writing nonfiction leaves me cold.

This is a first for me. I hope the editors will be happy with my effort. I can’t help worrying that they’re going to reject it.

I have to believe that if they do reject it it’s because the piece is lousy. And then I should be grateful that it won’t be read by anyone else. Shouldn’t I? Will my ego allow me to view it this way?

I doubt it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Another Nonevent

“On the first of May, it is moving day.” It’s also the publication day of my paperback of TOO DARN HOT. Does anyone care? Certainly not my publisher. To be fair no publisher of a paperback (unless by a high profile author) ever cares about the release of a paperback.

But as I sit here at my desk, in my new chair, I wonder if this is the last time I’ll experience this nonevent. This isn’t a whiny thought. It’s perfectly possible that this might be the last time.

Of course, I don’t have a chance if I don’t write another book. And as the days go by I don’t seem to be doing that. Yes, I have that idea I mentioned awhile ago, but you can’t just have an idea. You have to apply seat of pants to chair (new or not) and hit those keys. In other words, write.

Someone asked me yesterday if I was writing. When I said no, she said well I guess you have to take a break. A break? I don’t think this is what I’m doing. I think what I’m doing is not writing. There’s a difference.

Taking a break is planned. And vacations are involved. Sleeping late. Going to bed late.

Not writing is not writing. There are parts of this state that I like. No deadlines loom. No jumping out of bed to be sure that I get to my desk by nine. No thinking. On the down side there’s brain boredom. Don’t get me wrong, I’m never bored. I’ve always said that anyone who reads can’t ever be bored and I still think that’s true. Brain boredom to me is when I’m not creating. Not writing.

I have no impulse to start. Even the research part doesn’t get a rise out of me.

I know that this book will be quite dark and the reader won’t love the protagonist. And there’ll be no redemption. At least I think that now. And if that’s true it’ll be hard to get it published. So it all seems futile.

No, that’s not it. I’m a writer and a writer writes. So what’s going on? I’ll be damned if I know.