Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh the winter post-Christmas blues have hit hard, write about summer. Oh glorious heat that makes you sweat and hide in the air-conditioning.

It was uncomfortably hot like most Augusts in Chicago; we bought fresh lemonade from the overpriced vendor outside the museum, and we both commented on how concentrate wasn’t really fresh, and how this tourist spot's lemonade was a fraud. It was sugar water masked with a squeeze of juice.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas.
I hope a little bit of joy drifted into your life today, and if it did not find it's way to you, you got one god damn good story out of it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmas Eve, and I am thinking about hyphens. Oh my... The spellcheck on yesterday's post wanted to separate oversized. According to the Chicago Manual of Style, over is a compound that is closed with no hyphen. Refer to the chart on page 383, 7.85, of the 16th edition.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A constant winter gray has descended on Chicago, write about sunshine.

The sun bursted into Kevin's oversized eastern windows, I was startled to find myself waking up from such a deep sleep in a puddle of sunshine. I had been desperate for sleep; searching for it like an addict needing to find their next fix. I looked around, I have been traveling for months, each morning I had to get my bearings to remember why I was not in my own bed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Write about plastic glassware. When was the last time you drank cheap wine out of a plastic cup?

I ordered another drink and imagined that my new life will be drunken out of plastic glassware like the one in my hand. The stranger settled down, read his book and only had an occasional twitch. I fell asleep with an empty drink in my hand. I woke up to the flight attendant prying the plastic glassware from my hand.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My spell check is confused by midwestern, cap, or no cap.

8.46 Regions of the world and national regions.

midwestern and midwesterner are lowercase, and the West is capitalized.

The Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition

Monday, December 20, 2010

I have changed tense again, and I am taking a machete to weedy words. It has come alive for me again, edit, edit, edit!

I imagined trying to fall in love with this gridded cement city, how I would have to surrender to its massive buildings and leave the mountains and ocean behind me. This is a hard task to fathom knowing that ice will build on the cement sidewalks in December and not melt until March. The West may be wild but survival skills take on a completely new meaning during a midwestern winter.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Tell me a memory associated with a bicycle." 
Natalie Goldberg, Old Friend from Far Away

There is a nonprofit bike shop in Chicago, Working Bikes, which is only open to the public two days a week. Frequently in the spring, there is a line out the door for the best find, a rehabbed metal-fendered Schwinn for less than thirty dollars. I wasn’t fast enough to grab the green one, I settled on the 1970s brown cruiser.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What was your first childhood home like? Did you stay there until you left home for good?

I was born in a house too big for me, my sister was born in a trailer. I feel our destinies have been switched. I crave small places, cozy warm rooms, and she thinks of grand dining rooms with extra long formal tables.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Watering the plants suddenly feels urgently important, instead of getting to work on my novel. Digging up the past so that I can write from the heart has created a fierce case of writer's block. I am frozen in my tracks, with all of this great material at my fingertips. It's time to move forward, write a sentence about the main character.

Her first memory of the people appearing in the attic is just after the Christmas Santa kidnapped her Sue-Sue doll.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Monkey Mind
"One basic thing the mind does is generate thoughts. The problem is: it's hard to settle it down. The mind has a tendency to wander and drift off or barrage us. Even before we get a first thought—the ones that carry vitality, that are connected to the body—we are lost in critical second and third thoughts: "I can't do this writing. There's a sale on tuna. My kids need attention. I have nothing to say. I'm boring." These divisive, churning thoughts are telling you a lot, but not what they are actually saying. It's an indication of nervousness and energy. It tells you you want to writing bad, but at the same time are terrified to write."

Natalie Goldberg, Old Friend from Far Away

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Remember
Two minutes on each of these topics:
  A memory of cabbage
  Some instance of a war
  A cup you loved
  A peace march you didn't attend
Natalie Goldberg, Old Friend from Far Away

I remember my mother and I were the only ones in the family that like cabbage smothered in butter and pepper. It was a meal that was our communion, the others would not even sit with us.

I remember hearing the start of the first Gulf War on the radio on my way to traffic school. A right turn on red in a no-turn on red zone seemed so silly at that moment when I was convinced my boyfriend would be sent off to war.

I have a tea cup with a lid that I cherish so much I am afraid to use it.

I marched as a teenager in many anti-war rallies, later I took to photographing them but not really feeling a part of the movement, soon I just stop attending all together.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The subconscious is a powerful thing. I have been avoiding revisiting a section of writing in my father's memoir, woke up in a panic, as this particular event had become a scene in an episode of Criminal Minds. Write something you have been avoiding to write.

There is a long stretch of country road in between Lansing and Flint, Michigan. We have driven it too frequently during the months my mother was sick. As we approached the intersection, where an acquaintance had just gotten in a bad accident and lost her children and husband, my wife said, "I don't know why she can't just move on, she can start over, start a whole new life." My wife was depressed at the time, she was suffering from postpartum depression, was sad about my mother having cancer, and overall just miserable. I knew she didn't mean what she was saying, she really didn't wanted us all dead so she could start over, but just as I my career was making me unaffected by random stranger's murders, my wife was developing my same detachment for random violence.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"What bold restless extremes do you carry inside? Write."
Natalie Goldberg, Old Friend from Far Away

I want chickens and goats. I live in a three flat on the second floor with rats in the backyard, which I am convinced they will gnaw off the feet of all my chickens. I am in love with a country boy who hates the country. I am a city girl who hates the city. We have cheese in common but he doesn't like goat cheese.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

You will be surprised what people tell you when they are being interviewed for a book. Watch out, the Pandora's box may pop open. Be fearless, interview someone, and rewrite his or her words to fit your book. Below is a line from my interview with my father.

I don't know if we cared or not, I hate to say that we didn't care but that was not part of the process to care who it was or why it happen, other than to find out who done it and how it happen.