Just Because I Haven’t Written Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Care

Featured

I miss you.

Every one of you.

If you’ve ever left a comment here, or somehow let me know you’ve been reading my blog, whether reaching out to me by email, Facebook,or Twitter: I think of you when I sit here all alone and write.

Or at least try to write.

That’s what I’ve been doing for over a year now – writing a novel.  This is where I’ve been writing it…

Stowe Grove Redwoods

That’s the view from my office – from a picnic table in the middle of a redwood grove.

I’ve never been an outdoors-type writer – I prefer the comfort of a computer screen and indoor plumbing. Hot cups of tea, and an occasional nap in an armchair. But I’m writing outdoors now because the story I’m working on is an outdoor adventure – about the first Californio families who traveled over a thousand miles on mules and horseback to start their lives in a place called Nueva California. Somehow being outdoors makes me feel a little bit closer to these people who I’ve just recently met on the page.

It’s not easy to write a novel.

Not.at.all.

Fiction writing makes writing screenplays seem like finger painting in kindergarten. The average screenplay uses 15,000 to 20,000 words to say what it needs to say. I’ve written 52,000 and I’m maybe halfway done. Adult fiction can run from 75,000 to 100,000 words, so I’m guessing mine will come in long. But I’m a wicked editor and I love to use my red pen, so (unlike dieting) I have no problem slimming down my words.

In the meantime though, while I’m still in the throes of a first draft, I try not to edit or I’ll slow myself down. In fact, on those days when my persnickety internal editor is working overtime, I find it hard to write at all. I sit there in the middle of those beautiful trees and wonder why I’m even doing this. Why am I struggling with this story when it would be so much easier to not be writing at all?

That’s when I think of you.

Some of you have photos to your names or avatars, and those cross my mind. Others are only email addresses, but my imagination pictures you there beyond the .com. When I’m stuck and searching for a way to continue, for a reason why I should keep going and not give up, you come to me in my thoughts, and I think about you some day reading this story. And remembering that makes quitting this novel not an option at all.

The joy of writing comes from sharing. From connecting with another human being. That’s why I wrote screenplays. That’s why every time one of my screenplays became a film, on the big screen or small,  I was sharing, connecting with other people. The words had found their purpose. That’s why I started this blog, and why I miss coming here more often. You keep me writing. You keep me battling with that pesky editor, keep me focused when the squirrels are scrambling in the overhead branches, and the people are walking their dogs past this strange woman scribbling on legal pads and mumbling to herself. You keep me going forward. Knowing that you are here is what keeps me on this path, taking this journey and finishing this story.

That’s why I’m writing this today.

To let you know how much I miss you.

And I can’t wait to share this story with you.

REV Cover_ebook-1

An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood

To Write Or Not To Write: That Is The Question

Featured

girl  in  grunge interior

I went to the dentist yesterday.

That’s no easy feat for a recovering agoraphobic.  It was only for a cleaning, so it was relatively low on my panic scale. Thankfully, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years to get me there and keep me in the chair.

One of the things I try to focus on now when I leave the house (to get my mind off of myself and my nerves) is conversation with other people.  I don’t wait for someone to talk to me first, I start the ball rolling right away.  If I can concentrate on talking with somebody I can usually trick my mind into forgetting I’m sitting in an office and not in the safety of my own home.  So yesterday, as the technician was escorting me to the dental chair, I gave her my best smile, said hello, and asked, “How’s your new year so far?”

The young woman hesitated, and was silent for a moment.  Her pause gave me pause.  Was I asking too much?  Should I have just queried her with that obligatory, “How are you doing?” – the question that everyone always answers with, “I’m fine.  How are you?”  Maybe I was being too specific, too inquisitive by narrowing the question to the beginning of the new year.

“It’s been…interesting,” the dental hygienist finally answered.

By her tone of voice I knew not to pursue it, not to ask, “Really? What’s been going on?”  I also knew what was coming next.

“How’s your new year going?”

I gave her the same pause that she had given me.

There was a lot going on in my life, but it involved other people, not just me.  2013 had rushed in impatiently filled with big decisions and even bigger emotions.  But I realized that everything happening in my life wasn’t mine to share.  Not just in this dental office, but also on the page.

One of the freeing aspects of writing is being able to write anything you want.  Carefully disguised in fiction, names can be changed, and events somewhat altered.  It feels good to be able to purge yourself of some deep hurt, some great moment of drama, or to just reveal the hilarity at times of being human.  But when you write a blog, it’s a whole different kettle of fish.

I feel an obligation to be careful about what I write here about the people I love – the ones who are unlucky enough to have a writer living among them. I won’t write something if I feel it violates their sense of propriety or their need to remain private.  After all, they’re not celebrities who have given up a portion of their privacy in exchange for notoriety.  That’s a bargain that’s struck by anyone who chases fame.  I write about everyday people, and there are some days when I simply won’t write about them at all.  I’m sure my friends and family feel much better knowing that.

But it sure makes for a quiet blog.

(Where do you draw the line as a writer?  Do you feel a need to protect as well as create?  Or  are all bets off when it comes to your writing?  Have you ever written something only to find out later that it’s hurt someone that you love?  Or have you put down the pen, pushed away from the keyboard, and waited to write about something else on another day. What’s off limits for you as a writer?)

Old typewriter

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor…

The last thing this writer ever thinks about when she’s writing is a press release.

Some writers – the new breed of writers, are much more commercial than I’ve ever been.  The reason is simple: Every time I sit down and write I’m never sure anything is going to come out. That really doesn’t matter when you’re not getting paid, or you don’t have a deadline, but when your mortgage is depending on it, well, let’s just say I’ve spent my share of sleepless nights.

I wish I could tell you that as a professional writer I plan out every little moment, every bit of action, dialogue, or character nuance, but that’s not how it works with me. When the words flow, it’s like some hidden natural spring that I’ve traveled miles to find. There’s no other way of putting it: Writing is just a miracle.  I don’t try to understand it.  I just sit down at my desk and hope that it happens.

When it does happen, and I end up with a finished product, I feel I owe it to the fates (and especially to the story) to sing its praises.  If it’s a blog post, I tweet, I Facebook, I LinkedIn, I email, I practically stop people in the street just to announce this beautiful new birth. In the case of a book, the announcement often happens with an official press release.  I’m proud to share this press release that came out yesterday for An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood – How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House.

http://www.prlog.org/11891788-award-winning-screenwriter-debuts-memoir-on-michael-jackson-project-and-agoraphobia.html?embed

Some of you have already read the book, and I thank you for that.  If you haven’t, you can take a look up above in the menu under the title of the book where I’ve put the opening pages, the website, and the press release.  If you like it, there’s a link to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or even iTunes where it’s for sale.  I don’t much like promoting my own words.  But as I said, I don’t think they really belong to me.  I’m just pointing out the way to the story.

It’s the least I can do.