Journals

Do you keep a journal?

At one time I kept a journal that I wrote all my feelings in, dreams, strange ideas, thoughts, opened myself up and let it all flow…

…then someone I trusted read it…and got very angry with me because of the words I had written. So I deleted everything from my computer, I burned the notebook, and I made a resolution:  NEVER KEEP A JOURNAL AGAIN!

But,

over the years, the need to get some fuzzy stuff down, to jot story ideas, excerpts of fiction or poetry that feed my soul, notes on what I saw that day, or people I witnessed being people, human’s who carried a story around with them, one I could imagine if I took the time and let my mind run, run, run….so journaling has become part of my life again for the past few years. I do not use it to express inner feelings, disenchantments with every-day life or any of the like, except if it has to do with writing my novel or my short stories.

The journal has become more of an expression that keeps the momentum of writing going, no matter what my frame of mind might be. I hate my story, I love my story, it doesn’t matter, this will help me get by. For a few weeks I’ve let it slip by, not adding to the blank pages anything but my hollow stares. And my novel writing had slowed down to a decrepit pace, of like zero to none words a day with only one or two passing thoughts added. But I picked it up this weekend with new resolve. It feels heavy and real, the journal itself, which makes me feel like the words I’ve hand-written within have some weight that will make a difference somewhere…or maybe none at all. And it doesn’t matter.

Sometimes I let some personal stuff slip in, the stuff I know no one will hate me for after I’ve gone and they take this black book out and decide to look into me. Like this morning’s entry which went something like this:

July 18.2012

Could not sleep during the night, partly because of the heat (even though the air was on) and partly because I just wasn’t tired. My mind wasn’t racing, my legs felt fine (sometimes they itch or twitch) so I’m not sure what it was, but I got up around 1 am or so and came downstairs and read and wrote into my novel manuscript. I feel I may have focus now. My daughter, words of wisdom from a 16-year-old, said to me last night, “Why don’t you finish that story? Don’t give up on it, it’s really good.” (She’d read my first draft in progress a few months ago). “Even if you get another job, you could do both.”

And so I can.

Feel a bit more inspired to dig into blogs again too, especially Disenchanted Twilight, which I sometimes feel I should rename, though disenchantment is part of me, so perhaps it is fine.

~End of entry

If you keep a journal, what do you put into it? Feel free to share.

image: Disenchanted Twilight

Ghost Story

It is a whip-o-will that awakes me at 4:45 or so. This bird chants for fifteen minutes before giving up for the day. It’s like his declaration, his minute convergence from the whole of himself, or herself. How does one tell the sex of a bird. It is one thing that I wished I’d learned. In any case, this bird, I have no way of knowing is it’s the same one each day, but something in my oblivious awareness tell me that it is, has been chanting for weeks now outside my asylum window. It started one Saturday morning. This is fact, not fiction, because it was the day that the dead girl, Julia, started to visit me.

(What is a dead girl but a shadowy ghost…Or a dead man’s voice but a distant and vain affirmation…Like dream words most. ~Archibald MacLeish)

She was once so beautiful, still is in many uncharted ways, but the bump and grind of being dead is taking a toll on her. She miss-spells words, when she even tries to spell, and miss-pronounces my name which isn’t hard pronounce, and of late she is looking more and more…worn…haggard…dark. It’s hard to describe. She still wears her golden hoop earrings. She still wears the dark flowered dress with the plunging neckline, even though she was buried in a pure white sheath of satin, a virgin’s dress. Julia was far from that.

So this is what happens after you die. You haunt your last haunt, you live out your dead life in the last shit hole that you graced, the last place you breathed the air on this side. How unfortunate for Julia. She didn’t know. Had she known I think she would have waited, waited to off herself in the more opportune place, on some excursion we’re permitted to go on – the mall, the amusement park, at some museum, even at the damn Baskin Robbins. Better to haunt a bin of cookies and cream than here. Better anywhere than here.

So Julia once again sits on my bed and folds her long legs in lotus position. I see the bare bottoms of her dirty feet, chocolate colored nail polish on her toes. The flowered dress flows around her, a puddle of chiffon. The blood stains in her lap have sort of dried. At least they’re not glistening anymore. It was hard to look at her ghost at first. How she got the mirror is the immaculate mystery, and how she got it into her vagina and moved it around so well is the other. She told me she had to see the things crawling around inside her, the things they’d implanted in her. She told me she was part of some nameless government experiment, years ago, that it took a few eloquent years to grow. So she said. It was our secret. I kept her secret. Hell, I didn’t want her to think I was one of them. I loved her. I think.

Her eyes look very dark today, but the rings bring out clear blueness of them. She’s an artist. Was an artist. We were allowed to view her art online when we found out that she was slightly famous. A series of self-portraits that hedged out the art world. She titled them Re-numeration, Bone, Time Culminating, Drinking Poison, Dying in Disguise, Wisps of Wind, Edges, Fairies and Faultlines, and Julia Apparently Dead. The images were full of color, illumination, and desolation. I thought they were weird and seductive.

James always came to see her. The boyfriend. This is part of Julia’s problem now. Since she died he doesn’t come anymore. She doesn’t get it. She suffers from rejection even in death.

Have you seen him? I was napping. I may have missed him.

No, he wasn’t here, Julia. He doesn’t come anymore, remember?

Oh, yeah….Why?

Well, you know…You’re sort of dead.

She stares at me. She seems to be forgetting what I tell her. I fear I’ve said the wrong thing. Am I too blunt?  The truth, you know? It’s confusing to some of us.

We have a lot of work to do. I’m so behind. I have to have my collection ready by…

I sit down next to Julia. For a ghost, a wisp of a girl’s shadow, she smells pretty good. Like peonies from my grandmother’s garden, an earthy smell, pink, green, and mossy. The colors of her dress. There’s a lead smell there too. The blood. I try not to look at the dried puddle in her lap, at the stains on her fingers.

It could be paint, not blood.

____________

A Brief Hunger Games Movie Review

Well, The Hunger Games movie received two enthusiastic thumbs up after my daughter viewed it last evening…though it of course took some detours from the book. Some of the great lines in the book didn’t make it…such as “Stay alive” spoken by Haymitch, and the cute tongue in cheek comment from Peeta, “You here to finish me off, sweetheart?” But all in all, the movie was well acted, the visual effects stunning, and will not disappoint fans of the book.

Final report: The book was better, but all this beauty makes up for it. (reference the actors above)

Now, are you Team Peeta or Team Gale?

More Disenchanted Literary Terms

IVORY TOWER –

To be in an ivory tower is to be remote from the world, out of touch with reality, and probably devitalized. (Devitalized? okayyyy….) This term is often a connotation to writers or artists. A fall from your ivory tower? I feel doomed. Click here for help.

INVOCATION –

A bit lighter here: An invocation is an appeal or request for help to a higher authority or to God.

NOM DE PLUME –

A nom de plume is French for “Pen-Name”. This is a fictitious name used by a writer. NOM DE GUERRE is the French term for an author’s pen name. Another useful word: pseudonym.

Making Time

This week has been a writing frenzy for me…or a change. I’m so happy. Of course, blogging time has been non-existent. Still trying to get a schedule together to include that.  I am presently working on a second draft of a young adult paranormal novel, which is being co-written with my daughter.  I’ve been so overwhelmed with her responses, which, of course, keep me motivated. She has the rest of it outlined and noted, and we’ve worked on visualizing the way things happen, the way the characters look, act, the rhythms of speech, etc.  Having her input has a tremendous joy, though we are not at all times in perfect agreement on the text. She also plans to do some Manga-type drawings for the story, which I hopefully be able to share here.

The bottom line? Writing productivity has been up. Like William Hazlitt says: The more a man writes, the more he can write.

It is brilliantly strange and enchanting when one makes writing a habit (in some way) that it becomes…dare I say the word, easier.  Not that it’s easy…don’t yell at me. I know it’s not an easy task all the time…okay, most of the time, but there is something to getting a certain number of pages done, or a certain amount of hours at the desk jotting or tapping away that feeds the writer’s soul, makes the images flow easier, and also brings about those surges in writing genius that we delude ourselves into thinking that we really have. All in all, it makes us keep going, and that my friends and fellow writers is the reason we are here.

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. ~Agatha Christie

And once we are sunk in deep into our story, old, new, or in the re-write stage, I wonder is some of you find yourselves zoning off at any given moment in your life, like when doing dishes, or taking a walk, or a shower, driving in the car, or before you fall asleep, with your story in your head, a scene you’re working on visualized while doing something else?

I love this little story on productivity from For Writers Only by Sophie Burnham:

Emile Zola sat ten hours a day at his desk. Much of this
time was spent staring out the window in a brooding effort

to call up a certain scene. It was work. Zola claimed that
at times the struggle with a certain passage was so intense
it caused an erection.
But sitting ten hours is hard on the back. Another writer
walks. “Three miles a page,” he says.

Give me your opinions on how you keep the writer’s pace at a productive level. You can leave out the erection records if you want.

World Book Night

A Night of giving the joy of reading!

World Book Night is a new event designed to share the joy of reading with as many new underserved readers as possible.  What a way to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday!

50,000 volunteer book givers have been chosen in communities around the country (and the U.K. and Ireland) and will give free books to those who may not have access to books or are infrequent readers.

Registration for this year’s event is closed, but info on next year’s event is available on the website.

I am so thrilled with the 30 books chosen for this year’s give-away. I’ve read over half of them. Thrilled to see The Hunger Games there. For the complete list click here.

Writing Prompt

Often an image tells a story, contains a story, lives and breathes with story. I am ever enchanted with finding a gem that can be used as a great writing prompt. This one is no exception. See what you come up with, a flash piece, a sentence or two, a piece of dialogue.
I welcome responses to this piece. If you are inspired, leave a link to your writing in comments. I’ll post my own short in a few days.
Image Credit: Yanidel Street Photography

Deceptive Words

A great writer needs a great vocabulary. Do we ever really stop learning new words? Do we want to?

Here’s a few deceptive words to consider to add duplicity to the guile in your writing.

artifice – a skillful, sly or artful trick

cozen – to fraud, trick, cheat, or deceive

dissimulate – to hide one’s feelings, or to lie.

demagoguery – speech of a leader that appeals to people’s emotions, and therefore gains power.

imposture – to assume a false identity

panderer – caters to lower tastes of others and exploits weaknesses.

duplicity – deliberate deception in behavior or speech.

guile – insidiousness, treacherousness, cunning.