Archive for March, 2015

The picture you see in the post was taken by my girlfriend during our trek to see my brother who had just had a massive (read – widowmaker) heart attack.  His wife isn’t a widow, thankfully, and I got to see his shining face and hug that burly chested solid frame of his.  We also had some amazing talks about wakeup calls and the like.  That’s another post, this one is about the picture.

I am a writer, therefore, when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing.  So, of course, when my girlfriend showed me this picture, I went straight to the writerly part.  She was so excited because when you zoom in on the picture, there is apparently my visage standing among the trees.  Next to the car.  Right there…no, right…there…  Okay, so it’s really hard to see.  But once you see it, you can’t not see it.  If that makes sense.

I realized characters are often like that.  We search and search the photo we have in our head, trying to find that one character who pops out and makes the scene understandable.  Once we find them, we can’t lose them, they are easy to see.  But until then, we just keep squinting and zooming and cursing under our breath.  Because these characters are really us or rather a portion of us.  We are trying to find ourselves in the landscape of writing.  That one single character who embodies the idea of what the scene is about.  Not necessarily the whole novel, just that one scene.  That one character.

This last week, I found one of those characters.  His name is Stanley Myers.  He’s a minor player in the novel, Leather, but his role is important.  He’s the first to be sacrificed.  I don’t really like Mr. Myers.  As character’s go, he’s not a likable fellow, but he’s important for this scene.  So he is important to me and hopefully to you, reader.  

I’m in here, honest!

 I’d been searching for him for quite awhile.  I knew what he looked like.  I even pictured his hands.  Long, bony, with nails perfectly trimmed.  But I didn’t actually see him until this weekend.  Now, I can’t NOT see him.  He’s come to the forefront of my writer’s mind and I have to finish his scene.  

It won’t end well for him, unfortunately, but maybe you, reader, might enjoy his demise.

I would love to read your thoughts on characters, fictional and not, and how you search then find them.  Are they memorable?  Do you wish you could no longer see them?

See you on the other side of tomorrow in Ridge Falls… it’s already too late.

M.

I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile. Not for any reason except I say these words to myself often. I realized I hear them all the time, too, but never stopped to really think about what they mean. As a writer, that’s a horrible state to be in. Not thinking about the meaning of words. It’s akin to walking naked into a coffee shop, ordering a hot latte, then proceeding to pour it all over yourself. You realize first that you’re naked, second that you’re in a coffee shop with lots of other folks, and third, it hurts.

It hurts more than normal.

Here are the words in a sentence, then I’ll break down what they mean to me in three #Blogs

Here it is –

I would, if I could and I should, but I won’t.

Would. Could. Should.

This third word – Should

It’s taken me longer to write this final post than I anticipated.  I learned something about myself in these past few weeks. Every time I started writing this post, my inner critic took over.

It said things like, “Who are you to think you’re an expert? You’re a ranch raised, nobody Okie with delusions of knowledge.  You’re a peddler of illusion. You should go back to the ranch, little broomstick cowgirl.”

“Do you really think people care what you say? You don’t have a degree in psychology.  What makes you think you can speak on the subject of fears, phobias, and angst?”

But the best one was this, “You should be doing something productive.  You should be working at Walmart as a greeter because this writer thing is too big for you.  You should just quit.”

That’s right.  I ‘should’ on myself.  I was covered in the brown, slimy fecal word, should.  The damned stuff got in my eyes, my ears, up my nose, and in my mouth.  I’m honestly showing you how it feels to believe the shoulds.  The words I tell myself so I don’t do the work that makes me happy.

Isn’t that strange?  Work that makes me happy is the work I shy away from.

Actually, when you struggle with self esteem, I believe this is what happens.  I believe the words I’ve typed above go through many people’s mind.  But that’s not why I wrote them out.  I wrote them out, so I can see what is holding me back.

Shining the light into the darkness, so to speak.  This final post is about the word, Should.

I use it constantly.

If I look at its use in my own life, I see that I stop myself from doing the things that are sometimes painful to start.

I say, “I should be working at Walmart as a greeter, that’s a much more noble profession than writing because it brings in a steady paycheck and regular hours.”

Here is the truth –

“I shall be doing all things writerly because it makes me happy, but beyond that, it brings peace.”

Yes, I said, peace.

I write what scares me because it brings peace to my soul.  The words spill out onto the page in fearful, sweat-dripping, can’t breath descriptions of what scares me.  My vivid imagination helped me survive a myriad of downright horrific situations, and it also helped me survive boredom, teenage angst, young adulthood, and now helps me write.

However, during the time I didn’t write, my vivid imagination was covered in a thick layer of black filthy ‘shoulds’.  That time was a dark age in my life when I reacted, hurting myself and many, many others through one addiction or another.  I sometimes thought of it as an empty slot where I could “insert current addiction here.”

A friend of mine called it “Earth School”.  My grandmother called it “The School of Hard Knocks”.

Some might say it was good fodder for my writing career.

I say, maybe, but I don’t wish it on my worst enemy.  Experience is a double edged sword. The scars aren’t always easy to bear.

So this ends the three words I never thought hurt.  Would, Could, and Should. 

Now, I’ve replaced them with new words. 

I can.  I will.  I shall.  New words for a new chapter.  I think it’s gonna be a helluva ride.

All my love to you on your journey, my friends.

M.

What are 3 words you never thought hurt?  I would love to hear them.  Post them below and don’t forget to share this.