Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What Lent Has Taught Me

"Therese Martin as a Carmelite Nun" @

Lent has not taught me that I'm weak or full of sin. It's taught me how to be here not way over "there."

When I was a kid, Lent was a time when I gave up candy, TV and meat on Fridays, which was cool because mom would sometimes drive to McDonalds for fillet o'fish meals! But somewhere in my 20's I would realize I'd forgotten Lent when Easter sprang out of nowhere. In my 30's I resurrected (oh, bad word choice!) ... where was I? In my 30's I practiced Lent differently. Instead of denying myself the physical and edible pleasures of life, I practiced presence.

Instead of seeing a piece of chocolate and screaming no while making the sign of the cross at it, I decided to catch myself caught up in thoughts or emotions. On the rare occasions that I did, I took that time to breathe, to hear the plane just flew over my house or what my son was saying; to smell the newly blossoming jasmine that grows by our front door or the trash that we'd forgotten to throw out the night before. Without judging the trash or the jasmine (which by the way, really needs a hair cut) or myself for not listening to my son, the 40 days and 40 nights of Lent are a good time to be here.

As a writer, I'll be abstaining from self criticism and doubt, which are the demonic sisters of self-centeredness. During Lent I won't be meeting page counts or finished manuscripts; I'll be here with the work and letting it develop and grow. When those shrewish voices start hollering in my head, I hope for the presence of mind to breathe and let the voices go quiet on their own and return to the writing.

Monday, February 01, 2010

A post everyone should read...

The link to Deborah Schneider's courageous and inspiring story, "Long Time No See" landed on my Facebook feed this morning. It's a gift I'd like to share with all of you!

Monday, January 25, 2010

And then what happens?

"Sleepless Night by Natalie Kilany @

According to my to-do list, I’m supposed to fix up the outline for Act III. After all the books (published and otherwise) I’ve written, Act III is still the toughest for me to untangle. There are three reasons why: (a) I don't want to let go of that world (Orange County Noir, Hot Tamara, In Between Men), (b) I'm so tired of those characters' problems that I want them to leave me alone (Names I Call My Sister & Friday Night Chicas) and (c) I have a newborn in my house (Switchcraft). But Act III for The Guy Upstairs has plagued me with sleeplessness for the past week and taunted me with questions that I can't yet answer.

So what did I do? I did what any sensibly superstitious woman does and consulted my horoscope which said, “Yet the opportunity before you now is one that deserves to be seized. An imminent alignment from Saturn to Pluto implies you're thinking more than you need to about an idea that just ought to be trusted.”

Today I’m going straight into chapter one and if I keep my nose out of Facebook and Twitter, I’ll get to Act III in about four weeks. Hopefully I'll know what's supposed to happen when I get there.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Actors' Vow

Sorry for not posting lately. Busy busy with feature stories that need to be written and a new book that won't leave me alone. But my friend, Gina Ravera posted this on Facebook and while us writers don't take to the stage or screen, we reveal ourselves through words.

The Actors' Vow
From Elia Kazan

I will take my rightful place on the stage
And I will be myself.
I am not a cosmic orphan, I have no reason to be timid.
I will respond as I feel; awkwardly, vulgarly,
But respond.
I will have my throat open.
I will have my heart open.
I will be vulnerable.
I may have anything or everything
The world has to offer,
But the thing I need most,
And want most, is to be myself.
I will admit rejection, admit pain, admit shame,
Admit outrage, admit anything and
Everything that happens to me.
The best and most human parts of me are
Those I have inhabited and hidden from
The world.
I will work on it.
I will raise my voice.
I will be heard.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Birthday Gifts

Sometimes birthday gifts come in bags stuffed with colorful tissue paper or wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow. Others drop out of the sky and end up being the perfect thing you never knew you wanted. This was my surprise:

"Sometimes hanging in there is all it takes to succeed in life as well as in writing. Failure is part of the process, but it doesn't have to be the final destination. "

- Bestselling Author Sabrina Jeffries in a Feb 07 interview in TheMotivatedWriter. com