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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Post Bas Bleu Reading

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Hi. It's about 9:30 p.m. and I just finished teaching my ESL class, which always leaves me a little wound up (in a good way). I'm drinking chamomile tea and eating oatmeal cookies to calm down
before I go to sleep. A number of good things have happened lately:

- I've gotten on a good writing schedule now that our part-time nanny has started hangin with Baby in the mornings.

- My mom was in town last week, which helped me have more writing time, too, and get caught up with my backlog of emails and phone calls. I reduced my to-do list by a few pages.

-My husband has finally finished a work project that was requiring him to work insanely long hours.

-I had a great time at the Bas Bleu Theater reading I did last night with Bill Tremblay. I love Bas Bleu theater. The set onstage for the current play is a dank prison cell, which was the backdrop to my reading-- very moody and atmospheric... I saw some good friends there and met some fascinating new people, including a French man who graciously put up with my rusty French.

Here's a pic of me and my friend/neighbor Chris on the left and my friend/neighbor/Nia (dance) teacher Erika on the right. The other pic is me and my mom-- it was her birthday yesterday.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My Writing Life with Baby So Far

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Hi! I'm in my trailer with the heater pumping, keeping me toasty despite the chilliness outside. I'm so glad I have this trailer! It's a peaceful place where I can come with my dog Luli and forget everything else and just write. Back in August, in Loveland, when I was on a mini (mini) tour of this trailer, deciding whether or not to get it, the previous owner said off-handedly, "My wife says this trailer has a really good vibe."

And that was the deciding factor. (I've learned that my major decisions are usually made irrationally). This trailer DOES have a good vibe. I felt it then, on my mini-tour, and it was validating that his wife thought so, too. (It's old-- I love imagining all the adventures it's been on over the past half-century...)

So, every day for a few hours while either a babysitter or my husband is watching Baby (who I will tell you about in a moment), I come in here with my steaming teapot, light the heater, and settle in to write and drink lots of tea. First, I usually just sit a few moments and let myself sink into the oceanic sounds of the heater's breath, and then I write a little in my journal.

I've been choosing a few lines of Rumi poetry every day to muse about in my journal, which helps to center me and get me focused on the story at hand. (In the manuscript I'm working on, the main character's mom is a flighty hippie-chick who is always quoting Rumi...) I have a rough draft of the manuscript at this point, but I'm trying to deepen the characters and explore the subtleties of their relationships. I've been taking a character every day and writing heaps of details about her, about the facets of her life and mind and heart, exploring her memories and dreams. I think it's a good way to ease myself back into this manuscript after a month of practically no writing. Which brings me to... BABY!

(I'll call him Baby since my mother-in-law pointed out that maybe I shouldn't use his name on a public blog (on accounta all you crazy stalker types out there-- you know who you are...) And I noticed that other writers tend to not mention their kids' names on their blogs, so I figured I'd follow suit.)

So... Baby! He's almost ten months old now, and he's been with us for six action-packed weeks. The funniest thing he does is give long, slow zerberts (aka raspberries) to the leather sofa, which sound like extremely loud farts. Seeing how funny I find that, he tries to entertain me by zerberting other unexpected objects, like the wood floor. I can't figure out if some kind of five-second rule applies there. I don't want to be a hyper, overprotective mom (for those of you who've read Red Glass, I have a good dose of Sophie's germ-phobia in me, and I've sworn not to impose it upon my child...). But is he crossing a gross-ness line with the floor zerberts? That's something they don't specifically deal with in the What To Expect baby books. Hmmm... I'll ask my mom when she comes to help out next week.

The most inspiring thing about Baby, as relates to my writing (because after all, this is a Writer's blog, not a Gushing-New-Mom's blog) is how fascinated he is by the patterns he's begun to discover in this world. He takes delight in swinging the bathroom door open and closed, open and closed, mouth parted in rapt wonder. Or playing peek-a-boo. It's enthralling to him that when you pull a cloth over your face, and lift it up, your face is STILL THERE! It's worthy of smiling and laughing and clapping his hands in wild abandon.

In my writing, I want to approach life with this freshness, this joy over the simplest things. One of the best things about reading a good book, I think, is that it reminds you that the world is an endlessly fascinating place. It strips the jaded parts of you away, and makes you feel like everything is new and mesmerizing.

I'll end this post with some nice news about my books. Red Glass is one of 7 finalists in the Cybils Award! This is a Bloggers award in its second year. The more I learn about this award, the cooler I realize it is. It's a really big honor. And speaking of bloggers, there have been some lovely reviews of Red Glass by bloggers, which I've posted on my website. (Just click the link, then click Reviews, then scroll down to the Online Review section).

I have an hour of time left in this trailer before my baby-sitter leaves, so I'd better delve back into some book-writing now.

Thanks for reading, and have a joyful, adventurous new year!

P.S. These pics are from our trip to Guatemala to pick up Baby-- they were taken in the town of Antigua. There's a Bird of Paradise flower, which looks amazingly like a bird's silhouette, doesn't it? There's a white church with cacti growing out of the corner, which my husband and I thought was cool. There's a clay face pot with what I guess is a replica of ancient Mayan pots? There's a red house with plants either growing from the roof or perhaps sticking out from a hidden courtyard.