Posts Tagged ‘Structure’

  1. why I like midnight
  2. my favorite times to write
  3. blue moons
  4. what it is about being the oldest child
  5. fresh air
  6. what I learned from my favorite teachers
  7. the Tao of Underdog
  8. why I don’t write pulp fiction
  9. everything I know about State Fairs
  10. the last concert I attended
  11. the first concert I attended
  12. the day I learned to drive
  13. who taught me to drive and why
  14. classes I loved
  15. classes I hated
  16. the first time I thought I might like to write
  17. favorite places to write as a child
  18. where I used to hide out
  19. how to get space in a family of eight
  20. what was I like in junior high
  21. my first crush
  22. the last time I played on a seesaw
  23. bottle rockets
  24. the best intentions
  25. why loss is forever
  26. why no one wants to accept that loss is forever
  27. life after healing
  28. states I’ve lived in
  29. my favorite coastal town
  30. my favorite coast
  31. the first time I flew
  32. the last time I flew
  33. when I was in New York
  34. driving country roads
  35. why I wanted to be the Lone Ranger
  36. what happened to Dale Evans
  37. people I know of who came from Texas
  38. ways to identify your suitcase on the luggage carousel
  39. how many miles I’ve flown
  40. favorite places to visit
  41. my favorite vacation
  42. the year I turned 30
  43. old address books
  44. where to find memories
  45. where to lose memories
  46. the last time I was at the ocean
  47. everything I know about body surfing
  48. the last time I played hide and seek
  49. people who have forgotten me
  50. people who have remembered me
  51. people I’ll never forget
  52. people I wish I could forget
  53. the last time I ironed
  54. what I know about spray starch
  55. the unforgiven
  56. the last time I played chess
  57. walking in the park at night
  58. French fries and milk shakes
  59. where I go for a good hamburger
  60. the last ride to the airport
  61. old hangouts
  62. the first time I learned to ride a bike
  63. the first time I roller skated
  64. my favorite bike
  65. what I love about motorcycle riding
  66. what I remember about nursery rhymes
  67. what scares me
  68. what makes me stronger
  69. my favorite snacks
  70. frozen yogurt
  71. when I buy toothpaste I
  72. makeup counters
  73. my favorite color lipstick
  74. what I know about Crackerjacks
  75. towns I’d like to forget
  76. the last roller coaster ride
  77. last time I took the bus
  78. folding chairs
  79. picnics I remember
  80. last fly in the soup
  81. green inchworms
  82. rose bushes
  83. gardens and gates
  84. what I love about travelling
  85. what I hate about travelling
  86. last time I tasted buttermilk
  87. famous cow names
  88. famous horse names
  89. stone fences
  90. green is the color I
  91. when I get angry I
  92. Barbie and Ken
  93. slow boats and fast trains
  94. the last musical I saw
  95. fresh fruit
  96. mad dashes
  97. what I find unforgettable
  98. what I find unforgivable
  99. the nature of spring
  100. summer in the city


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I’m exhausted. Can’t seem to find my ground the last few weeks. I live a double life. I’ve been thinking about that a lot. How hard it is for artists and writers to live an alternative life. No wonder so many writers are alcoholics and addicts. I can feel the great need for relief from the pressure. A gnawing pressure, an I-need-to-get-moving, I’m-wasting-my-life pressure – so different than performing a 9 to 5 job.

There isn’t much support in our society for being an artist or writer. Many cave from the pressure of trying to do it alone. That’s why it’s so important to find community – people you trust with your work. People you can write with every day. It’s rare. It can be fostered through meeting writers at retreats. But you have to risk exposure. And intimacy at the group level. It’s the only way it happens.

It’s one of those days when I want to cave in, give up. My eyes are glued shut, my back is sore, I look like hell. If someone looked at me the wrong way, I’d probably break into tears. It’s one of those days when I don’t think I can take another step.

I have to get to my 27 hour a week day job. I’ve got deadlines to get the blog up. One of our cats, Mr. Stripeypants, has a urinary infection and we have to give him meds twice a day. I haven’t unpacked boxes from moving last December. My hair is shaggy and disheveled. And my toenails need to be cut. Did I just cross a line?

My tooth needs a crown (the deductible for which I have to save), I need new glasses (since my eyes seem to age faster than the rest of me), a pile of bills needs to be paid, and I’ve had a cough the last few days. I have no idea where it’s coming from. I’m also trying to run a new business, start teaching workshops, finish more pieces that I can submit for publication, and make plans to go Down South with my mother for two weeks in late spring to start researching my memoir.

Did I mention I have a relationship and, bless her heart, she even gets what it means to live with a writer. She’s stepped up the last few weeks to help out with the day to day, doing more than her fair share, even though she’s working full time and going to school.

Stop the insanity. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. This, I don’t understand.

I used to go to a corporate job everyday. I did that for 9 years. I poured everything I had into the structure of the 3 teams I managed. At the end of the day, I’d drag my butt out to the parking lot at 6pm (sometimes 7), sit in dead heat traffic on 169 listening to motivational tapes, go home and heat up a frozen Lean Cuisine, watch TV for 3 hours, go to bed. Get up and do it all over again.

You know that Jackson Browne song, The Pretender? That was me. On weekends I’d paint or meditate or do some clay work in the art studio I had set up in my apartment dining room. Some weekends I’d rent 6 videos and watch movies non-stop until I had to go to work again on Monday. But mostly it was go to work. Come home. Get up and go to work again. That’s what I did.

Until I couldn’t stand it anymore. It might be great for some people. But I wanted something more. I wanted my life to have meaning to me. I had a deep need to create, to give something back.

Everything is integrating now. After 4 years of working hard, hard, hard, on making a living after 9 to 5, and 6 years of writing practice, I’m starting to live my dream. The money part is slow in coming. Many successful writers will tell you, don’t quit your day job. I know where they are coming from. But for me, it was the only way I ever would have worked this hard on my writing. I had to make a big statement to myself.

Yeah, it was dramatic. But I had to plunge in. I don’t recommend it. It caused me a lot of pain. But it was what I chose. To make room.

Writing needs space. A room of one’s own. Silence. And don’t forget money. The green stuff – $$$. Writing has to be funded. If you want to write, you can plan on living a double life: the one where you do your creative work and the one where you figure out how to eat and pay rent.

Many books don’t ever get published. It doesn’t matter, keep writing. Because that’s not why we write. You just have to keep going, when every bone in your body is creaking tired and the gas bill for February is $250.

Keep practicing. Finish those pieces. Schedule your writing in like you do your day job. Give it just as much energy and time. Because that’s what it takes. Writing is a lot of work. And it takes time away from other things. I don’t use those excuses not to write anymore. I make time. I do the work. I have come to accept time and work as a fact of writing.

It’s a simple equation: writing divided by time & money = more work than you’ve ever done in your life. Every day you have to get up and decide if it’s worth it to you.

You’ve got to have a lot of guts to write. Courage. And perseverance. And when you’re down, you’ve got to get back up. And keep going. And, yes, there are days I want to cave.

I feel like Rocky Balboa. Red gloves, blackened eye shadow, the whole deal. Well, I’ll leave out the sit-ups. I hated them when I was 20 and I hate them now. I heard the final Rocky sequel last year was good. And I’ve got to hand it to Sly, he did a lot of crunches for that one. You don’t often see men his age in that kind of role.

Though I’m big on routing for the underdog, I didn’t go see Rocky. I give myself these daily pep talks instead. Rah, rah, rah. Cough, cough, cough. I wonder if they’re working.

Friday, March 16th 2007 

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1. I don’t know why I write but I’ve built my whole life around it.
2. I write to keep myself alive. I can’t not write.
3. I write because I have something to say, a story to tell.
4. I write because if I don’t it feels like a million cactus pricks are sticking it to my insides.
5. I write to give something back to the world.
6. I write so I don’t say something I’ll regret.
7. I write to make my life have meaning to me.
8. I write to be in the circle of other writers, part of the legacy of other writers, in the lineage of other writers.
9. I write because I love the taste, touch, and smell of books and the lives of the writers who wrote them.
10. I write to practice writing, to feel the words dance on the page.
11. I write because I’ve been called to write my whole life – I can’t ignore it any longer.
12. I write because I love writing.
13. I write because when I dive smack dab into the middle of a piece, everything else in the world drops away.
14. I write to keep myself company.
15. I write to stick it to the Monkey.
16. I write to feel the uncomfortable edges and the vacuous spaces in-between.
17. I write because it feels holy to me.
18. I write because lost is a place and writing is the map.
19. I write because the screaming inside wants to be heard and I believe in what she’s trying to tell me.
20. I write because it helps structure my life.
21. I write because fear sneaks in at all hours of the day and night.
22. I write to keep the creative juices alive.
23. I write because there is no other high like it. There is also no other low.
24. I write because when I ramble around in the insanity of my brain – out on the page springs something sane.
25. I write to be true to myself. I write to live well. I write to be free.

Monday, January 29th, 2007 

-related to post, WRITING TOPIC – 25 REASONS I WRITE

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