Vote!

This is not a political blog and it’s not about to become one. But I will say this: If you are an American citizen caught up in this election storm, please consider voting for Barack Obama this November 4. Why?

I am not a registered member of a political party, not even the Democratic Party—I think my views are far too left even for that. But I will be voting for Obama with great excitement, and great responsibility for the future, this November.

Women far more articulate than I have laid out reasons worth reading, women such as Michelle Fabio, Stephanie Kuehnert, and Gloria Steinem. I wanted to be voting for a woman in this election, but vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is not that woman—please visit Women Against Sarah Palin for nonpartisan views of why she cannot be supported.

Election ads cannot be trusted, on both sides—so seek out some truth on FactCheck.org.

If you are not registered to vote please register as soon as possible—the cut-off dates are fast approaching. This is an election worth voting in. This election cannot be ignored.

I’m sorry to break out of my usual mold, but the fear of losing my rights and seeing this country go even more off the deep end than it is now under the current administration is too much to ignore. It’s a wonder I’m able to write my novel at all. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming about a struggling fiction writer who selfishly thinks only of herself and how hard it is to be a writer with a day job wah-wah-wah, woe is me, you know, the usual.

p.s. Vote!

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Headache

I was felled by a headache—not only did I miss work, but I couldn’t write, which, in my mind, is far, far worse. I think I’m overwhelmed. I think I’m having trouble facing life. If it were just me and the novel, I think I’d be fine. But who has a non-busy life leisurely walking down the sidewalk just you and your novel? I have to go to work now. I’m really tired.

p.s. No Twitter until the first draft is complete.

City of Noise

I’m listening to silence right now. Or the closest I can get to silence. I’m at my weekend writing spot with my earbuds popped out. I hear police sirens, now coming closer, now someone shuffles papers at a desk nearby, a honk, another honk, the air-conditioner’s hum, a cough, my own fingers on my own keyboard typing out this sentence, my own yawn.

So much has been going on all around, and it’s not all where I’m sitting. This election—I can’t stop reading about the election. Anxiety combined with insecurity over other people’s fabulous lives topped off with an abounding wave of static growing larger in my head made me turn off the Twitter updates that flash every three minutes on the bottom of my screen. I might have to delete my account.

Yesterday, I couldn’t get a thing done. People were everywhere. It was one of the days in the city where everything and everyone’s clamoring for attention and you’re just jostled up in it. People bumping you in the street. People asking for things. Long lines at the counter. Big crowds at the tables. Then when you think you have a moment to yourself the building’s fire alarm goes off and the firemen come and the elevators stopped working and you decide (even though you are told it is a false alarm and they will figure out how to get the alarm to stop screaming) to evacuate on your own, walking down twelve flights of stairs and out into the pouring rain, where it’s quieter.

I can’t blame the noisy city, or the noisy world, because the noise that’s most at fault is what’s found in my own head. I second-guess my novel. I tell myself I cannot do this, I cannot do that. Then I argue the point. I bat ideas at myself, bat them down. I picture one thing, picture another. My head is edited by MTV.

So I try the under-the-desk method. As I said I’m in my writing spot, where other writers will walk by and see me, but the carpet is plush and the shade under the desk inviting. I lie down there on my back. I put a scarf over my eyes, close them underneath the scarf, try to block out the sense that there is anything else but my novel and me.

I think about my character. I know what she looks like. I put her in the room she’s supposed to be in and I go so now what? I know what will happen, I just don’t have the words.

I tell myself to think of the words. Think.

My mind bubbles up with: my narrator staring at me blankly; she has a paper cut; how this morning I did not want a paper cup but they gave me one anyway; a tank from the magazine article I just read; a moose; wouldn’t it be funny if the plural of moose was meese?; trees; mountains; Woodstock; my brother; what’s for lunch?; someone is walking by, are they looking at me?; how many keys are on my key ring; Anne Hathaway; Rita Hayworth; a blank page; time travel; a page with fuzzy words; a severed foot from the DVD I was watching last night; a frog from who knows where; how do you spell gnocchi; my bones ache; a yellow taxi; a pigeon; the flicker of static on the back of my eyes that looks like stars.

No, I tell myself, no. The point of lying under the desk with a scarf over your eyes is to not think nonsense. To cleanse your mind and see what pops up.

Nothing pops up but the stars on the backs of my eyelids. And pigeons. And lunch.

Come to me, novel. I’m down here, on the floor under the desk.

Still waiting.

Back to Old Habits

It’s Tuesday, September 2, no longer summertime. With a deep and overwhelming desire to get as much writing done before work as is humanly possible (for me, a slow-moving human), I have vacated my new favorite café and returned to the coffee chain near the good subway stop. It feels like I’m going backwards a little. I’m not sure how I feel about being here yet. Your environment can really affect your writing.

Now that I am back at the old place, I found:

  • The gang of young trannies is nowhere to be seen, so of course I wonder about them. Hope they’re okay.
  • No one is sleeping at any of the good tables by the outlets, a complaint that helped run me out of here before.
  • Everyone behind the counter is noticeably nicer than at the other café. They remembered my name. And my drink. And it was ready for me right away.
  • Though it’s not as good. The other café has better mochas—no comparison. This is so sweet. I forgot how sweet it is.
  • I had my coffee and was set up at a table within three minutes. At the other café I have to wait while they slowly make the drink (but I tell you: worth it).
  • But, in here, I am not supporting a locally owned business or drinking local organic milk or… well, let’s just say the other place is much cooler.
  • Better music there too.
  • (But this place is actually slightly cheaper.)

What does it matter whose chocolate foamy drink is better? I sit right now a three-minute walk (tops) from the express subway stop. On a good day, work is fifteen minutes away, door to door. Time is what I’m after. For now, I’m making small, concentrated choices to gain more time. Soon enough, the decisions will have to be much larger.

Back to the chapter I’m writing. Hope your writing spots treat you well.

p.s. I can still go to my new favorite café on weekends 🙂