When I finally walk away

 

scales
When I finally walk away
I will shed it all like scales,
One at a time.
As I reach the door
I’ll be light enough to fly into the
rest of my life, free at last.
Meanwhile, the scales will be gathered up
By the next unwitting victim
Who will gratefully wear them
As a protective suit of armor
Until  she realizes they’re actually an anchor
That holds her in place as she’s slowly pulled under.

 —Donna Frahmann

photo credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via photopin cc

A Good, Swift Boot

Lately I’ve been touring real estate in Self-Pity City.

While some of it’s due to struggling writer syndrome (let’s face it, rejection does not a Dance of Joy make!), most of it’s financial stuff, like so many of us are dealing with these days. I’ve been feeling depressed, anxious and just plain stuck, viewing the world through those infamous corpse-colored glasses and bemoaning the blatant unfairness of life in general and my own in particular.

Today I got an email that changed all that.
boot
One of my best buddies sent me an update about one of her friends who sustained a serious spinal cord injury a few weeks ago and was pretty much paralyzed from the neck down. She’s been making some progress but is still unable to scratch her nose when it itches, get stray hairs out of her eyes–all kinds of simple things we do without giving it a second thought.  When asked if she was angry about the accident,  her response was that the accident happened, her current circumstances are what she has to deal with now, and she needs to focus on getting better.

Wow.

Compared to this fantastic woman, what the hell have I got to complain about besides ABSOLUTELY NOTHING???????  Sometimes I wish it was anatomically possible to give myself a good, swift boot in the ass. (The target’s definitely big enough, but the legs are ‘way too short.) Today’s gratitude list is already four pages long, and I’m just getting started.

If you’re so inclined, please send prayers/white light/good thoughts for the wonderful lady I mentioned earlier.  I don’t want to invade her privacy by giving her name, but I guarantee the god-of-your-understanding will know exactly who you’re talking about.

photo credit: S. Etole via photopin cc

The Eyes Have It

eyes
“Eyeglasses #2” by Barbro Björnemalm

I don’t get out much.

Mostly by choice, let me hasten to add. I’m a homebody, perfectly content to pull up the drawbridge and read/write/cook/what-have-you.  At the end of my workdays in the World Out there, I’m like a rabbit scurrying for her burrow. Once there, I kick off my shoes, let The Girls out of  Boob Jail and chill.  Nirvana!

This weekend, though, I had an adventure:  I got new eyeglasses.

I pretty much had to.

Remains of my old glasses
Remains of my old glasses

Intellectually, I always knew that light-weight, delicate, no-frame jobs were never intended for absent-minded klutzes like me. But at the time I had to have them, I’d been wearing heavy-framed glasses ever since I could remember and the thought of  having this airy bit of nothingness perched on the bridge of my nose was…well.. simply irresistible!

Freedom!

Well, yeah, but…

I’d forget I was wearing them, which wasn’t so great when I’d go to rub my eyes and hit the lenses instead, or yank a brush through my hair and send the glasses flying across the room.

They were so delicate and light-colored that if they were misplaced, I wasn’t able to find them because I couldn’t see without my glasses.  (My husband deserves a medal for all the scouting expeditions he conducted.)

To make a long story short, this weekend we went glasses-shopping. The stars must have been in perfect alignment because not only did I find frames I really liked in less than ten minutes, but I also got seen by the eye doctor that same day.  My glasses have been ordered, and now I’m just waiting for the phone call.

So what kind of frames did I get? Dark, square-ish, kinda “geek chic.”  They’re heavier and more sturdy, but that’s okay. If I get a yen for freedom, I can always spring The Girls out of Boob Jail.

 

The Synopsis–Punishment for My Misspent Youth

I’ve been quite the busy little bee today.scissors

Up and at ’em early to get grocery shopping out of the way. Submitted a book review.  Wrote a diary for Daily Kos. Sent an email to my beloved older brother. Kinda sorted through the nuclear waste dump of my desk. Got the cats stoned on catnip. Did some Scrivener notes for an article about insane food prices/food speculation/etc. that I’ve been wanting to write for a long time.

This would all be quite laudable (well, maybe not the getting-the- cats-stoned part) except I’m supposed to be streamlining a synopsis for my novel OLD WOLVES.  To borrow a phrase from my character Martin McBride, I’d sooner have bamboo splinters shoved under all twenty of my nails.

And most of it’s my own damned fault.

I’d seen some really good articles (including The Snowflake Method for Designing a Novel ) that said one of the best things I could do for myself as a writer was to draft a synopsis before getting too far along in the creative process. I could always go back and change it, they reassured me, but at least I’d have a framework of sorts, and I’d thank them later when it came time to submit WOLVES to agents.

Excellent advice, which I didn’t take because I was totally possessed while writing WOLVES.  The words kept flowing, the characters came alive, some days it was almost like spirit-writing.  I’d created this intriguing world full of fabulously-flawed people and I didn’t want to stop for anything until WOLVES was finished.

Then came time to market the book.

Some agents wanted just a query letter.  I sweated blood over the letter for quite awhile but finally got the hang of it.

In addition to the query letter, other agents wanted sample chapters.  No problem, got ’em right here, plenty more where that came from.

But there were also agents, including some I really wanted to query, who also required–horror of horrors–a synopsis.

Synopsis: taking an 80,000+ word novel and cramming the high points of its plot line into 3, 2, or sometimes even 1 page(s) depending on the agent I’m querying, and making it enticing enough to catch the interest of someone who gets a zillion queries from hopeful authors every month.

After a pitched battle, I finally managed to get a (much too long) draft synopsis put together earlier this week. Now I have to attack it mercilessly, stripping it down to mean leanness, setting aside almost everything that makes WOLVES…well…WOLVES, at least to me.

It’s a ghastly process, easily the most difficult writing I’ve ever done in my life.

Needless to say, I’m thoroughly chastened.  My current project, MAGIC MAN, already has a synopsis.  It also has the one-sentence summary and one-paragraph description Randy Ingermanson recommends in the article I linked to above.  (Thank you, Randy!)

With that, I’m back into the fray. Wish me luck!

photo credit: mikeyp2000 via photopin cc