Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I'm THINKING about my writing a lot lately. I know this isn't the same as actually DOING the writing, but I'm not ignoring it either. So what I'm THINKING about lately is "voice" and "audience" and "format". I guess by "format" I mean novels, short stories, poetry, songwriting, screenplays, etc...

and right now I'm thinking about using a pen name and what that might do to my writing, both pro and con. I see some pros to it potentially. I think it might free me a bit. I use a pen name for my other blog and that blog has more followers than this one. So it might have some potential for me. I've used different names over the years for bbses (anyone remember those), on message boards, and on blogs. I know a lot of writers use them, or have used them. So I am interested in exploring that. Why do people use them? Has it been effective? What happens when you actually have to do something in person or when the two worlds collide? How to handle all of that.
 I know I'm jumping way ahead of myself on that. First I need to think of a name. I've chosen a first name, well I have a first name that I use on the other blog anyway, and I like it. Now I need to choose a last name. Pretty quickly I can think of a couple that I like. So we'll see what happens. This might be some motivation for me to actually get that pen reconnected to the paper.

I'm listening to Tim Boudreau on ReverbNation as I write this, remembering nights at "Fire and Water" so many, many years ago. I am glad that Tim and Doug are hopefully still doing music after all of these years. I have found it difficult to fit my writing into my married life. I support my husband's efforts with his writing and his creative works, but I haven't found a lot of time to pursue my own. I need to work on finding a way to do that I think. One of my coworkers who is retiring soon as stressed the need to have an outside creative outlet to keep your sanity at this job. I know she's right. I just need to do it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A quick read- Lorrie Moore's "Self-Help"

On the list of authors mentioned in the "Writers Mentor", I picked up a book by Lorrie Moore from the library. It was a quick read of short stories with titles like "How to be the other woman" and a story about a woman who has cancer and has decided on suicide, and another story about a woman who confronts her husband having an affair and stabs him. The story that I liked best was probably "What is Seized". None of these stories were happy though. There is a lot of loss mixed with the love, and some dark humor as well. The back cover calls these "nine glittering tales....". I'm not sure I would describe it that way.

Here's a link if you are interested in checking it out yourself.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Writer's Mentor" by Ian Jackman

I just finished "Writer's Mentor" over the weekend too. At first I was thinking "wow, I need to highlight a bunch of stuff here..." but by the time I was done, I mostly just had a list of books and authors that I want to find in the library for future reading. Ian Jackman has written several "how-to" books, like "Artist's Mentor" and other such thing. This isn't a great book, but not a bad book either. Just another tool for your toolbox if you are interested in reading about how to get published and what to write and different things like that.

finished Elizabeth Berg's "What we Keep" book

I finally finished the book

The story starts in present tense with a woman on an airplane talking to the passenger next to her. Then she slips into memory where most of the story takes place. Then she slips back and forth a little bit before really settling into the memory. At the end of the story the plane lands and the story wraps up.

What I liked best about this novel was the memory. I got a little annoyed with the back and forth in the beginning, but once she settled into the memory, I was deep into the book and liked it. I wasn't thrilled with how the story ended though. I would have picked a different ending for it. Still it was a good read, and I would recommend it, probably mostly for women readers. The story starts with the narrator saying she hasn't seen her mother in 35 years, and the memory answers the "why?" and then at the end she sees her mother. Easy enough.

It kind of stuck with me though. There have been times in my life, even now occasionally, when I've not been speaking to my mother, and what would it be like to go 35 years? Wow. What would it take to get me to that point? Really sticking in my head on Sunday when I drove by my mother's apartment and didn't stop or call, and then went out of my way to avoid driving by her place on my way home.

So next I would like to read another of Elizabeth Berg's books, maybe one written later than this one (this was from 1998) and see if her writing is different or the same in another story. I'm not sold that she's a great writer, but I'm curious to see some of her other stuff. :-)

Thursday, May 20, 2010


So I fooled around with the template of the blog a little, but I'm still not satisfied. I considered being an Amazon Associate, but the terms scare me a little. I guess a little ad can't hurt, although I have yet to make any money from the ads on these blogs.. but I'm not ready to be a full Associate I guess.

I think the blog needs more color and more.. unity somehow. There seems to be a gap between things near the bottom and I'm not sure how to get rid of that.

Does any of this count as writing?

Someone asks me what I'm writing lately, and I say "Nothing really." It's true. I am writing, but I don't think any of this counts. What am I writing?
1. I'm writing this blog
2. I'm writing another blog, published under another name, anonymously mostly.
3. I'm writing on a message board, and I'm posting to Facebook. I am pretty sure that neither of these count as writing.
4. I'm researching, and gathering material for future writing projects. I am holding onto my dead grandmother's address rolodex thing because I think I might use some of the names in there for future writing projects "Jim, the van driver" or "Helen, the hairdresser" might be handy some day. I'm not sure if this counts as writing either, this gathering of materials. I'm also reading books about writing, and reading just books in general. The more you read, the better you write, or so somebody told me once.
5. Today I am writing a possible Wiki page. I am writing instructions on how to do something at work. I am just learning it myself, and thought that having documentation would be helpful for others who have to learn it too. I did a rough draft and showed it to a couple of people. It still needs work. I'm not sure if this "technical" writing counts for anything either. I think it should, but it's not the kind of writing that I'd like to be doing.
6. I'm still not sure I have found "my voice". I feel like I have a lot of voices, saying a lot of different things. I'm not sure how to make it seem cohesive. I know that if I read a lot of things by the same author I get bored. I don't want to be boring. I want to be interesting. Hmm... maybe I will just never be published because I'll never figure out this "voice" stuff, or the "audience" stuff either. Still, I write.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

up next- What we keep : a novel / Elizabeth Berg.

Has anyone read this? I kind of doubt it. It's the next book on my reading list I think, well that and I'm still getting through the "Writer's Mentor" book that I think I have mentioned previously.

"Swan Electric" by April Bernard

April Bernard is a poet. This thin little book was a quick read for me. I zipped right through it in just a few hours. Reading it was like reading someone's autobiography. There were times when I could picture the apartment in New York, or the other places that she visited or lived in. What can I say? I wouldn't buy the book, but it was worth getting from the library.

Here's some more information about her. I promise not to send you to Amazon this time!

"Escaping into the Open" by Elizabeth Berg

I read through this last night pretty quickly. Elizabeth Berg is an author who has written several novels. This book is her idea of how to be a writer. It talks about her story and what she thinks you should do to become a writer.
You can read some of that for free by visiting her website here--

Amazon lists about two dozen books that she wrote. You can find those here--

You can find "Escaping into the Open" at a local library, or on Amazon  here-

You can also read the reviews. They seem pretty positive for the most part. I personally was not as drawn in as some of the other reviewers were. However, it was the second book I'd read last night so I might have just been tired. That's why I encourage you to follow the links and decide for yourself.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

reply to Doug about grandparents

Well there is something with the Blogger thing that won't let me reply to your reply. I don't know why. If you have any insights, please let me know. I keep getting an error message when I try to put reply there.

Anyway, yes, my maternal grandma A. passed away on Labor Day in September. I tried to be there for her, but I was about two hours too late I guess. I think in the end, I was the only one in the family that hadn't really let go even though I knew she was going. My mom moved back to Massachusetts in July finally, and was the last family member to see her alive earlier that morning. She died in the care of the nursing home staff unfortunately, which I know is not what she wanted at all. I wish I could have done more for her. I had visited her frequently that week, and had been there the day before as well. But on that Monday, I just didn't time my visit well enough and I missed her. Funeral was on 9/11. Some things I will never forget. I must have written her eulogy a dozen times before I had something that I thought I could use. Then when I did it, no one heard me anyway because most of my relatives are old enough to be losing their hearing to some degree I guess.

My paternal grandmother meanwhile is still alive. She just turned 99 on St. Patrick's Day, and is the oldest resident of Shelburne, MA.

I lost both of my grandfathers when I was 20-21 years old. Only a few months apart. My paternal grandfather passed away December 26, 1991 and my maternal grandfather passed away the following July.

--And thanks for checking in by the way. Most of the time I feel like no one reads this thing except me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Worth reading if you like to write

This isn't new or anything, but I've got a copy from the library and I am wishing I owned it. Lots of good information and inspiration in "The Writer's Mentor" by Ian Jackman, editor.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

just need to post something

Ugh... I haven't written in a while, and honestly that post about my teeth was starting to bug me. So I need to write something, anything. Grandma Allen's birthday is/was tomorrow. Mother's Day is Sunday. I am going to have to see my mother, whether I want to or not, but I'll have my daughter for company. So hopefully we'll survive it. Meanwhile my husband will soon be off on a trip and will get a chance to see his dad, maybe. Good for them!