I know everyone who is everyone has told you to write what you know. Yeah. That's great. I know kids and knitting. Whatever. I LIVE that. Boh'rrrring.
I also live cleaning house, driving said kids around town, doing bills, making breakfast lunch dinner- and doing all that again the next day. I also knit, crochet, design wedding dresses and theater costumes, as well as killer ice skating costumes. Again...whatever! Who wants to write about that when they live it?
Oh, sure. I like to blog a bit about it all. It makes for some interesting “glimpse into another person's crazy.” But really? Do I want to write BOOKS about all that crap? No. Not me. I like aliens. I like ghosts. I like the SUPERNATURAL realm and all the creepy stuff that comes with that. Yummmm. Good reading there.
So, then, here is my dilemma...and maybe yours too: write what I know or write what really floats my boat?
Hand on chin. Eyes to the sky. A second's pause. Yep. No. Sorry rules. The bathtub floaty wins.
And who is to say that I don't KNOW about the supernatural? I grew up in a house full of ghosts. No, really. I did. And—it was normal. I worked in the space and communication's industry. Innnnnteresting stories with that one.
I was also able to astral project when I was a kid. Had to break that bad boy habit. Too freaky. But you're getting the picture, right?
I'm Ruske Roma. My family is full of alien encounter stories right along side spiritual epiphanies and religious Orthodox tradition. So what would you think might be my natural story blackboard? You guessed it—all things freakish.
With a childhood full of tarot readings and spiritual awakening, I'm a disturbed individual to be sure. But what a trip! I could write thirty books and still come up with thirty more stories. My favorite theme being the ageless fight between good and evil. The infinite war between Angels and Demons. Oh, yes, my friends, there is that and there always will be.
You may disagree. You may disavow angels and demons. Rainbows and butterflies may enthrall you. And my fellow writer/reader that is okay. Read/write what you must. (Spoiler alert for the rainbow and butterfly gang: do not read my story. It will scare the bejeezus out of you and make you keep your night light on.) But, for the creepfesters who loooove love love a good supernatural, alien, demonic, spookycreepymayjusthappen story, then you will love my book The Remnant: Freewill (which I hope will be out before I get gray hair) because this story is packed full of creep and bloodthirsty mayhem.
So here's my question to all my fellow scribes...are you finding yourself in a writer's block because you have been coerced by the powers that be to write what you know? House, husband, work, talent, speciality, KNITTING....blahby blah blah. Yeah. Throw that crap out the window.
Forget what you know, what you live everyday and, instead, unbury what drives you. What things have happened to you in your life that has formed your character since birth? When you look up to the clouds what inspires you? What QUESTION dwells deep within? Dude, write that. I'll read it. I don't even care if its about rainbows and butterflies. If it matters that much to you, then I know its going to be a good read.
And I didn't just say that because I'm afraid KARMA is going to flood my house full of killer butterflies (see how twisted I am?). I really mean it.
Be true to your imagination and good luck on your story.
Feel free to comment on what makes you stare off into the distance. I'd be interested to know what that is.
I'm writing/editing a blood and guts chapter for my current novel. It's always blood and guts. I love it. Love it. Love it. But...as often happens, I even gross myself out. For example, here is the opening of one such scene: My Loving Lolly
Upon level six’s next programmed evacuation cycle, Phoenix’s heart restarted. She then awakened from her “dead sleep”, finding herself half-submerged among a teeming pool of severed limbs and decaying bodies. Flesh, oozing in pustules, pressed against her in her new dark world.
Yummy, right? And there's more. Lots more.
So, as I sit here, in the hot/cold, gloomy/sunny weather changes of good 'ole Texas, I'm realizing the reason a plethora of words are not coming to me today is that I don't have my bunny on my lap.
I need my bunthz! She is my comrade in arms, my muse, my mini-me. My little Lolly Pop.
Oh, you ask...how is it that a bunny--a cute, cuddly, sweet furry big-eared dah'ling of a scrumptiousness has acquired the status of mini-me? And how sick is that, anyway? Blood and guts and a bunny. Dude? I know, it's kind of creepy.
But it's all about my alter ego.
I think all us writers have one, an alter ego. Don't you? Think about it. Why else write?
I'm a mom. Some might even call me Earth Mother, I have so many kids. But do I want to live that AND then write about it, too? Oh, I may blog about my knuckle heads, but really, WRITE a story based on my crazy, little old lady in a shoe, life? No way. I want excitement! I want adventure. I WANT OUT!!! Ha, ha. No, really, I do.
Anyway, this need for being somewhere that I'm not, and never, probably, most certainly, will never be, is why I write sci-fi. And, actually, just sci-fi doesn't do the trick for me. It's got to be apocalyptic. It's got to be torture, and mayhem, and come with lots and lots of demons and angels in the guise of alien species. Oooooo. Now you're talking.
So, back to bunny. How does bunthz fit in?
Well, when your writing a chapter like the above aforementioned, you need a friend.
Just because I write dark, noir, quantum physic time travel fiction, doesn't mean it's always easy on my stomach. And when Lolly Pops is on my lap, staring down the blank screen right there beside me, I don't get so queasy. It's true. I might make a couple of faces at my alter ego's work, but then I just give little wee bunthz a squeeze and I feel like I've just come back to reality. There isn't REALLY flesh oozing in pustules. How gross! No, it's just words. Words on a screen. Yay.
Now I can make dinner. I mean, after going through 4,500 words of that nonsense, if I didn't have something to settle my stomach, I sure as heck ain't going to cook. I'm calling Pizza Hut. And I'm darn well gonna make sure I'm upstairs when my brood starts diving in, getting sauce and stringy cheese all over their lips. But that can be expensive. Already tried that route.
So, actually, having a bunny as my co-conspirator is cheaper. Cost effective. And she doesn't charge. Well, I do pay her in lettuce... And kisses.
How about you? Do you have an alter ego that writes your page for you? Do you have a muse? How about a bunny? Comments welcome.
Sadly, my dear Lolly unexpectedly passed away shortly after writing this post.
I will always have her in my heart and mind. She was the truest of friends and a dear companion.
Rest in peace, Loll's.
Since I still have six kids at home, I write amidst distractions on a daily basis. The above example is not an uncommon ploy by my children to break my concentration. Why must they continue? Because they're nuts. They're all nuts.
This particular NUT wanted my attention so bad, he went to great lengths to get it.
And after I realized the cork board I was staring at, suddenly had a life-sized kid standing in front of it...a life-sized kid wearing a bra with stuffed animals poking out of the cups...I blinked back to the present and grabbed my phone. Ha, ha! Facebook here I come.
And since all my other kids were waiting behind the door to see what my reaction would be to this little stunt, I reached inside my desk drawer, pulled out my loaded water gun, and chased their asses down. All of 'em.
Oh, yeah. I got them good. Chased them out the front door and down the street, bra baby and all.
After a lunch break (I did seriously need one), a thought came to me. I realized the reason why I can concentrate and write through all the distractions in my nutty house is because I have trained my mind over the years to block shit out.
Shit, as in: whining and crying, bickering and fighting, running up and down staircases, banging and pounding on the floor of the bedroom above my office, small fires in the back yard...oh, yes, small fires, rap music blaring from the intercoms located in every room (what idiot thought of that one?), scooter wars, silly string wars, the next movie we're all going to watch wars, musical compositions on the grand piano, opera singing that reverberates the windows, guitar practice (ouch), group renditions of the cup song from my elementary age kids and all their friends, and all kinds of mayhem a full house just seems to create.
I tune ALL that shit out...usually...boys in bras will make me take notice...and I type, type, type away. How am I able to block all this craziness out?
I came to the conclusion that throughout the child rearing years, I've learned how to discern which sounds need my prompt attention (high-pitched screams being one of them) and which sounds can be ignored.
But the discernment took time.
With kid one and kid two, I found myself running from diaper to drawers. From bad boo boo, which usually meant a hospital visit, to wee boo boo, which usually meant a kiss and a band-aid. I was barely able to finish a paragraph during these years.
With kid three and kid four (Irish twins seems to be my thing), I was still running from diapers to mischief but with a more graceful flare. I knew what I was doing. I no longer looked like my hair was on fire. I could catch a diaper on the fly, spin and kick a run-away toy train, and still stir the oatmeal. Whew! I was good.
During this time a big change happened. I began the art of delegation, and I implemented the "It can wait!" statement. Oh, the joys of being boss!
Kid five and kid six? Ha! By the time they came around my writing life was Easy schpeasy. Nothing seemed to bother me now. All the above mentioned mayhem just began taking a nice ride in the back seat. La la la. I started WRITING.
"Mom... Michael's on the roof again!"
"That's okay, sweetie. He'll get off soon." Type, type, type.
"Mom... Juliana just jumped on Macky(our horse)!"
"That's okay, pumpkin. Catch him when he gets tired." Type, type, type.
"Mom... We really need to go grocery shopping and the dishwasher's doing that funny thing, again."
"Kick it back in place, and there's crackers. Oh, and I think...I think there's some celery." Type, type, type.
It can all wait. Kids on rooftops, kids on horses and overflowing soap bubbles... All that can all wait until I'm ready to take care of it or somebody else does it for me.
Hey, it's not selfish. It's good time management.
The only time I might break out of my zone is when something really interesting catches my attention.
Like the time my two, five and six year old snot-wads came in the house butt-naked, covered from head to toe in mud, and began running around in circles, waving their arms around and making all kinds of scary noises.
Remember delegation? I had two neighbor kids watching them for me for a couple of hours. Just a couple of hours. Seems they had a school project to do. On aborigines. They were setting out to film their two aborigines...my kids.
No, I did not allow them to film my naked babies. Although, on second thought, You Tube. I could have been famous. Still, even without going viral, fame around the neighborhood ensued. We were, since this incident, fondly referred to as the "Naked baby house."
Ah, no matter. Nowadays I can easily do about 4,000 words a day, more if I need to. I just tune it out. Well, unless my testosterone-ridden kid comes in wearing a bra. Exception understood, right?
Life is good when you know how to work around it.
How about you? How do you handle distractions? Do you just take a break and wait for the storm to pass? Tune it out? Or do you delegate and feel the power?
I'm so ready to experience the empty nest syndrome. Oh, yes. I am. I'll tell you why....
Cleaned the house the other day from top to bottom because mama-cita's coming for a visit next week. I mean, I CLEANED. Freakin' did baseboards, and ceilings, touch-up painted the molding on the staircase, bought french milled soap for the bathrooms, threw out the grungy water-logged soaps, got underneath the kitchen sink and threw out all those flower vases you get when someone sends you flowers. You know, the ones that are colored glass and so pretty with their little ribbons wrapped around them that you can't bear to part with them...but when you use them again, they break? Threw those out. Wiped the cabinets, mopped and polished the hard word floors, polished the baby grand, cleaned off my desk. Oy, my desk! Now I can't work. I have to work in a state of organized mayhem and now it's all nice and clean and crap.
Anyway, you get the idea. I CLEANED. Now, with six kids in the house, do you think it STAYED clean? No, mam. Nope. Nada. Nein. It did not.
I wake up in the morning and it was like a blitzkrieg. For the love of peanut butter and jelly and all that is HOLY, how did the piano chair get in the kitchen? And why is the seat full of cereal? Why? How? What? Why are the french milled little soaps carved with smily faces? Who did it? CONFESS! And why is my phony fur coat hanging over bunny's condo?
Answer: "We changed it into a cave. She likes caves, mom. Not condo's."
Retort: "That's a three-story condo. Any bunny would be happy to have a condo like that. Only thing better would be an ocean view. Now take that thing off and HANG IT BACK UP!"
The orders start flying. "And who finger painted F.U. on the babies bedroom door? And the front room? There are three boxes of clothes spilling out of their little boxes in the front room. Why? Whhhhyyy?"
Explanations come forth. Oh, okay. My kid's friend brought over some used clothes. I pause my rantings. I get that. With all my kids, hand-me-downs are part of our way of life. And thrift stores. Looooove thrift stores. But not the big ones. The little ones. Those hole in the wall ones that have all kinds of interesting crap in them. Love them. Anyway, as I'm yelling at the kids to clean up the place, they decide that it's more important to fight over the clothes. And what are they fighting over? Grandpa's P.J.'s. Seriously?
But, wait.... I walk over to inspect. Ooooo, actually... I grab a pair. Couldn't help it. They were awesome. Baby blue with some kind of chinese design on them. Gorgeous. One of my kids tries to take them out of my hand. I clutch them to my chest. "Oh, no, sweet pea. Mine. You snooze, you lose."
So as the house starts to s l o w l y start to get back in order, I'm pretty happy with myself and figure it's time for my coffee.
I walk into the kitchen (now that the piano chair is back at the piano) and put on some water for my french press and hit the dishwasher button, too. Kill two birds with one.
Hmmmm. Maybe iced coffee would be better? It's Texas.
Just as I stick my glass under the ice-maker, the dishwasher starts bouncing out of its housing. It's making this crazy moaning sound. And it's going ten on the Richter scale. I run over----leaving my glass under the ice-maker----and try to turn the dishwasher off. It won't have it. it's possessed. Water is spewing out from all sides. Meanwhile, I hear clink, clink, clink, tink, tink, tink....there goes the ice. All over the bloody tile.
I can't yell fast enough. Bunny (duly frightened by all the ghostly wailing) starts to make a bee line from her "cave" and across the kitchen floor to get to her bunny box. But as she's hauling ass, she slips across the wet tile floor. And as I'm watching in horror (how the hell can this get any worse?), she starts spinning out, doing little circles on the water and ice. Little pebbles of poop start flying from her rear end. Now there's poop, wet poop, a wet bunny, who has finally come to rest and, as I make for the glass before it falls, I slip...and now there's a wet me.
F my life. Time to call Husband.
Husband comes down stairs, looks at the mess and starts going 918 (code for crazy) on the situation. I, of course, get kicked out of my kitchen while Husband runs around shouting for this ratchet and that wrench, and so on.
BUT I WANT COFFEE.
I also want out of these wet clothes. I also want out of this circus I call home. Hey, there's grandpa jammies and there's STARBUCKS. Ha ha!
I throw on my newsies, grab my new, gold metallic crocodile shopper...hey, don't judge. I was dressed pretty fancy the other day...and out the door I go. Who's gonna see me? I'm doing drive thru. Wait. Don't have any money. Run back in the house before the neighbors see me and get Husband to throw me a fiver.
So, whew! Out the door, in the car, and down the street. I'm humming the tune...I'm going to Starbucks, I'm going to Starbucks. Then, chug, chug, chug. and then pump pump pump on the gas pedal. then full stop. Oh, yes. I made it about six blocks down the street, and I run out of gas.
Wait, there's more! Don't forget, I'm dressed in grandpa's jammies. I've got a gold metallic handbag, AND I'm wearing my teenager's Nike slides. To make matters worse, I've got no make-up on, my hair is all bat shit crazy from the humidity, and I've got kiddie tattoos all over my left arm like I'm some kind of carnie freak. AND I FORGOT MY CELL. Yes, I'm thinking, I'm a Mac La More song. Ghetto all the way. In my head, I hear him sing, "Hey, it was .99 cents."
So, here I am, sweating bullets. My visual of the situation going full force into a scene that is likely to play out before I bake to death in the hot car. Goes like this:
I see myself walking the six blocks home, ghetto style and proud of it. Got my head held high and my shoulders back, and I'm whistlin' a new tune. F my life...f my life...
Past the Walgreens.
Past the Medical Center... "Hey, Tina! Your backswing is rockin' today. What? Oh, yeah. Going for a little walk."
Past ALL the kids in the neighborhood out playing in the nice, hot sun. Cuz when you have as many kids as I do and they all have bikes, you know every kid in a three-mile radius. "Hey, Mrs. W. What are you doing in pajamas?"
"I like walking in pajamas. Geez, what's your problem? Don't you have anything better to do than pick on some's style. Go play, you little snot wad."
Then when my brain is totally fried, reflecting these circumstances, here comes my kid and his friend (grandpa's grandkid) riding down the street on their bikes. Goes like this:
"Hey, mom. What are you doing?"
"What does it look like? I ran out of gas."
"Oh, dude. That sucks!" Ha ha ha. Laugh laugh laugh.
"Yeah, well, what really sucks is you're going back home for the gas can. Here, put your fishing poles in the back. You can ride faster."
After busting their guts seeing I was in grandpa's P.J.'s they finally settled down and went to save the day.
And after I started the car, I sang a different tune. Went like this... "I'm wearing grandpa's clothes, I look incredible. I've got five dollars in my pocket. I..I'm a goin. Goin' to Starbucks. Got two fishing poles, in my back seat." Yeah, who's laughing now, suckers?!
My life is a circus dream on codeine. I can't wait for the empty nest. Can't wait to write in peace. Can't wait to have a clean house that stays clean. Sorry kids, you gotta go. Nah! I'm just joking. What would I do without them? Life would be soooo boring.
Can any of you relate to having one of these crazy days? Do you flirt with the idea of having an empty nest?
I don't know, but I seem to be the procrastination queen. ESPECIALLY when it comes down to the wire on a scene or chapter. Ooooooo...then I really dig in my heels and come up with all kinds of ways to remove myself from slamming at the keys. But, seriously, I'm wondering if procrastination is just another form of the process.
All part of the process.
All that mush collecting in our brains has got to be sorted out and filed away somehow. MAYBE, just maybe, procrastination is just a random sort of filing system. Like throwing the just laundered socks into a big pile on the couch, and then grabbing a handful of them (same color, of course--I'm not that cruel) and putting them in each kids' pile whether they belong to that kid, or not. Here ya go, kids. Come and get 'em. All clean. they don't know, right?
I mean, maybe, after I write about 2,000 words I deserve a break. It could be that my little pea brain is telling me to take a break so it can sort socks----all the different socks, aka....words/structure/plot...for me, unawares. Could be.
Bunny needs a bath.
Although it could also be that my cupboards really do need to be emptied and cleaned from stem to stern...I mean, it's only been a month since I last had a go of it. Or bunny needs another bath? Oh, yummy bunny. And there's the kids art wall that needs a wee feng shui. The keyboard cap tool is such a blast to use. All those little keys getting a good cleansing. Yes, the QUEEN.
SO WHAT if it's taken me six years to finish....(ooops , six chapters left to finish) my book? Hey, it took J.R.R. Tolkien twelve years to finish LORD OF THE RINGS and Frank Herbert seven to finish DUNE. Slackers. Or, maybe they were procrastinators like me? Hmmmmm. I bet you they procrastinated, too. I can see it.
I can so visualize one of them spending the whole night experimenting on making the purrrfect pina colada. Or labeling their index cards with glow markers. Well, maybe not. I don't think they had those back then. But I bet you they took a walk to the park. Or stopped in a pub for a pint or two to get out of the rain. Or smoked a pipe whilst reclining back in their favorite armchair. Or just threw paper darts at the cat. We all have to "chill out" somehow.
Upon further introspection I realized I do certain things for certain reasons. For instance, if I'm stuck on a scene, I run. If I just wrote a thousand brilliant words, my fingers start to sweat, so I clean. if I don't think my plot is going to work out like I thought it was going to, I design. If I'm at a place where I'm getting confused, I listen to my daughter compose--there's something about the math in music that makes me go ah, ha!
"Chilling out" = procrastination?
Typically, I've been called a procrastinator by non-writing buddies. I just don't think they get it. I really do think taking time out has a lot more to do with reorganizing, restructuring, allowing the muse to slap its silly head and say, "well, why didn't I think of that?" So, yeah. Call me the QUEEN of procrastination if you must, but don't expect me to turn around...I'm sorting out socks.
Do you procrastinate? If so, do you think it's just your process?
Unbelievable. Had to change my first name back to my real first name, just had to. I know there is a Cynthia Wright out there that is already a widely read published author. Oh, well, sorry, Miss. Cindy. Had to do it.
Had to change my writer's site, too. Now the real rub would be if I had to change it again for a publisher...already published romance author vs. me, sci-fi author. I would really flip my lid. Can't anything be simple? Ha! I should know the answer to that.
Anyone with similar name issues?