Tag Archives: authors

Sock It to ME?!

There’s no good way to schedule time for writing when you work two jobs and can’t anticipate when you’ll be calm enough to compose. However, I was able to make a transition chapter work yesterday without knowing what to do beforehand. It’s easy to get anxious about not knowing where to take the story from a specific point. That’s what happened with My City By the Bay. That book should have been published in 2013. It was not and that’s the way it is, Cronkite. I still have it on my hard drive somewhere, but I’d like to at least finish this current piece before I die.

I could find myself blaming my two jobs for my inability to sit down and write, or the fact I could go from functioning one day to exhausted the next, or that my equipment is severely second-hand (i.e. keys are starting to break, AC adapter and battery failure, etc.), or my house is ill-suited for writing. While problematic, no one could argue otherwise, I have been dealt the cards of this situation and really have no other option but to play them. Every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser. Right, Rogers?

Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I plan on typing the pages I’ve written tonight and it’s probably a decent idea to revise the previous chapters to include things I’ve left out, such as the name for the currency and the like. With that indifference, I say “sock it to me.”

More from my book:

Pooling rain makes small rivers down the path on the way back, sometimes large enough to slow down the wagon with the slurping and sucking of mud. Boards ramp up the wheels in the more difficult areas for us to move forward. At times, Molvin provides counterweight around the trees as a last ditch effort to save the load. Our relief finds its way through a round grate off the path, set in the webbing of a massive root system. Pounding three times, a voice shrieks from behind the iron.

“What is low, strong and moves all night long?” the banshee demanded.

“Your mother, Analeese, now let us in!” I stop mid-belch to clear the sour mash from my throat while wincing. The cowl of my cloak caves in and pours water all over my face. I grimace.

Analeese comes sliding outside like her ass is on fire. “Damn the gods, Jeshkin, quit being an asshole!” She rolls the lids right. Passing her, I wink with my right eye and show fillings in a wide smile. She hisses. There are times she claims her mother was raped by an anaconda and embodies the strength of the constrictor. I think she does it to intimidate people. She places the circle into its original position and pulls the arm back down onto the brackets.

Copyright © 2016 Corvidae in the Fields

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Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Today will not be about me, as much as WordPress is my way of quickly, comfortably, and freely documenting my life. No, today will be about someone else. This post goes out to a writer trying to find herself in her craft from what I sense. There is a book on my freecycled desk of which I’m currently reading:

front-cover-for-blog

Copyright 2010 – 2014 Andra L Watkins

To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis

She also has her work published in Echoes in DarknessAs of right now, Andra is taking a 444-mile walk on walking the Natchez Trace and discussing her journey on her own blog. I invite those who are unfamiliar with her to visit her page here.  It includes a daily question and answer section along with photos from her trip. She is a fantastic person, and I wish her the best in her career.

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Dear John,

English: John Steinbeck

Speak of the Devil, here’s the little ball of sunshine now. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not one to poke about garage sales, as I consider my time worth more than panning for questionably valuable knick-knacks on a definitely valuable Saturday. When I received a text during the Junior High Dance about a friend having such an event, I was hesitant. He did mention there would be books available, and therefore I agreed to make an appearance. We have similar taste in literature, and I thought it would be a good way to pick up something I had not considered.

Fortuna spun her wheel upward that day, as I set my eyes upon Steinbeck: A Life in Letters. It’s a second-hand library book, and feels delicious to the touch. Hardback with a laminated cover, it’s glossiness brings me back to the 80s and the pages are incredibly soft. I inhale its pulpy bouquet like a Cabernet.  By the way, that little idiosyncrasy is bound to get me tossed out of Barnes & Noble. I’m sure of it.

Considering I have a stack of books “on deck” (so-to-speak) up to my knee, I’ll have to wait to read in toto. There’s a modern thriller a friend of mine wants me to read. Temptation got the better of me, however, and I cracked it open to a random page. I found this letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, of all people:

Los Gatos

August 13, 1940

Dear Mr. Roosevelt,

I assure you that if there were any alternative, I should not bother you with this letter. When you were kind enough to receive me I said I did not want a job. But after listening to the growing defeatism in the country, especially among business men, I find I have a job whether I want one or not.

When I spoke to you I said that the Germans were winning in the propaganda matters through boldness and the use of new techniques. This has also been largely true in their military activities. At the time I had been thinking that our weapons and tactics would have to come not only from the military minds but from the laboratories.

Perhaps you have heard of Dr. Melvyn Knisely, who has the chair of Anatomy at the University of Chicago. He is a remarkable scientist and an old friend of mine. discussing with him the problem of the growing Nazi power and possibilities for defense against it, he put forth an analysis and a psychological weapon which seem to me so simple and so effective, that I think it should be considered and very soon. I would take it to some one less busy than you if I knew one with imagination and resiliency enough to see its possibilities.

What I wish to ask you is this- Will you see Dr. Knisely and me in a week or ten days- see us privately and listen to this plan? Within half an hour you will know that we have an easily available weapon more devastating than many battleships or you will not like it at all. Afterwards-if you agree-we will discuss it with any one you may designate on the National Defense Council.

Please forgive this informality, but frankly, I don’t know anyone else in authority whom I can address informally.

May I have a yes-no reaction to this letter at your convenience?

Sincerely yours,

John Steinbeck

The rest of the story came from skeptical White House staff suggesting FDR would delegate this task to lower-level personnel. To their surprise, he agreed and saw the writer and scientist on September the 12th. The idea brought forth by Knisely was to scatter high-quality German tender over enemy lines and in copious amounts. The president was in favor of the idea, but the men in the U.S. Treasury put the kibosh on the notion. Why? It doesn’t say, but one could speculate.

This letter, in conjunction with the forward, threw me in a state of shock. This did not read like the Steinbeck I read in Of Mice and MenThe Grapes of Wrath, and The Pearl. His works read like a case of irritable bowel syndrome with flair ups occurring at a moment’s notice. They were all rough and prickly and gritty, and I pictured him wearing a grimace throughout the whole writing process. The above letter was not that at all. It was polished, genteel, and even a little reverent. On thinking about it, he was trying to be persuasive with the then President of the United States. One can’t be too cocksure and coarse with such a person, although there was that one time FDR decided to serve hot dogs to the Queen of England. Oh, Frankie, you scamp!

It does present a jarring situation for me, as I’ve now been provided with two faces of a well-known author. Steinbeck was noted to be very quiet in person, and preferred writing letters instead. He could easily write seven letters a day before starting on his regular work. It got his juices flowing. I can certainly relate to that, but it does get me to wonder. How do I want any reader to see me? Would I prefer to keep my actual personality a secret and let my books produce an idea in their heads? Would it be an exciting extra for people to know me in reality? Would it matter? Do I even have a different presence in writing versus real life?

I suppose most of this will have to be answered later, as I’m not on Steinbeck’s level. It’s still free to think about though, and an interesting set of questions at that.

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Splitting Attention and Image Reflections

I’m finally at the point in My City by the Bay where I’m going to be posting stuff that no one else has yet seen. I can see plenty of you rolling your eyes right now. You keep making faces like that young ladies and young gentlemen, and it’ll stay that way. You mark my words!

Regardless, for myself and the handful of others following along, I think that will be good news. I certainly haven’t finished, nor do I know how I’ll finish the story, but I’m sure it’ll tell me when I get there. I read an article about why writers love to write, and one reason was “…because we’re the puppet master.”

Now, I don’t know about the other writers but I do know about myself. What I’ve certainly noticed is that I often question the control I have over my own stories. Sometimes they form on the paper, and I feel like I have little say in it. I could never see myself as the “puppet master.”

I loosely consider myself a writer, and not by occupation. I don’t get paid to write; I get paid to do accounting. For established veterans in the literary world, this may seem laughable or galling. Quite frankly, there isn’t any comment they can make that an entire class of grade school kids haven’t mastered. Kids are much more cruel. Trust me.

With all this free wheelin’, gun shootin’ display of foolishness (as the logical, shrewd writer would want as much money out of their work as possible), I’m starting another long story. It may be long enough to make into a novella, as it’s a blank slate. It has political viewpoints, philosophical viewpoints, and I have to build characters from the ground up. I actually like creating characters.  As a child, I didn’t have a whole lot of friends. I ended up creating entire casts of characters in my head anyway.

Enough of Memory Lane. I’ve been ticketed flying down that road before.

This brings me to the point of the post. I’m fussing over splitting my attention between two stories or finishing one and starting another. Has anyone wrote multiple stories at once? Did they find it manageable? Were they disappointed in the outcome? I’d normally do this myself, but don’t want to waste the 3-6 months in trial and error, when I could simply get feedback from other writers right now.

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