Saturday, November 29, 2008


Well, that was fun.


I squeezed out the last few thousand words of PURE a bit more gracefully than I squeezed into my jeans yesterday and crossed the NaNoWriMo finish line. I actually completed 50,000 words three days ago, but since I 'adopted' ~1,000 previously written words necesssary to complete a scene I was in thrall with, I pushed myself to 52k words - just to be fair.

NaNo was a terrific experience. I got a lot of thinking and plotting done on PURE, a lot of character development. I wrote 4 of my 6 voices, one of which is told through a diary. Of the two remaining characters, one narrates through a letter and the second is, well, told in second. Voice, that is. I've written a few paragraphs but this is a tricky POV, too frustrating to write while under pressure.

How did I prep? I've been doodling on PURE since this time two years ago, so I had plenty of notes and ideas for scenes. I read VORACIOUSLY in October (LOVE STORY, INTUITION, THREE JUNES), stories told in multiple POVs and tenses to get into the style and structure I needed to emulate.

Lots of work still ahead. I aim to get a solid first draft finished by All Hallow's Eve in 2009 - so I can indulge in LOVE SONG ON THE INNER LOOP in November.

Congratulations to everyone who particpated - whether you wrote 50,000 words or 1, you most likely got further on your novel than you would have otherwise.


It's nice to hunker down with a good book or three and just... read.

Off to Atlanta for the day job. Peace, Linda

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Litany of Thanks

For the garden.
For the quiet moment this morning.
For today's cerulean sky.
For Coldplay's latest album which moves me to dance.
For my day job.
For modern medicine -
and ancient prayers and rituals.
For my new Dell netbook (now I can write everywhere).
For perseverence.
For low-fat pumpkin cheesecake recipes.
For my children, the brilliant, fun people they are.
For my husband.
For the rest of my family, far-flung.
For the Macy's Day parade.
For books.
For friends, virtual and cyber.
For passion.

For the creative impulse, which binds us all.
For the journey.

What are you thankful for today?

Peace, Linda

Saturday, November 22, 2008


This past week I spent a lot of time waiting. Waiting for airplanes to arrive and depart, waiting for luggage, waiting to sleep, waiting to wake. But mostly, I spent a lot of time waiting in a reception room with a vaulted glass atrium ceiling and a fountain surrounded by pots of tropical plants. The magazines were all old and scattered about small tables like the ochre and rusty leaves that crunch under our shoes when we cross the yard. The people sitting in this room all looked old, too. And scared.

I've never spent much time sitting in a waiting room with cancer patients. I was an intruder there, the healthy, the well one, sufficiently detached from their individual hells. After several days, I got to 'know' these patients: the biker-looking dude with his tee sleeves rolled up, speaking through a tracheotomy; the wrinkled black woman, silver hair in a tidy, dignified chignon, wobbling on the arm of a nurse; the slight woman, my age with neatly-pressed khakis and a red cardigan who seemed so self-contained most mornings but on the last day wept quietly while speaking with her doctor; the dark-haired man with intense blue eyes who came out from behind the radiation treatment doors on the second day and shook his head at his wife sitting, his back shuddering in little spasms. And of course, my father, acting friendly, informed, strong. Confident, for me maybe, or for himself. And if you looked closely at me, at my eyes, maybe you'd see fear there, too.

I think of these people, I wonder and worry and pray for them.

And so I wait... 20 days done, 12 more to go. Peace, Linda

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Live... from California


Paula Barinstein of The Writing Show interviewed me about all things writing: the genesis of BRIGHTER THAN BRIGHT, what it's like to write as a nineteen-year-old, bipolar boy, 'voice', the 'other' genre - poetry, why I write what I write about, and much, much more. Take a listen.

The interview was a fabulous experience. Paula asked fascinating questions that forced me to probe why I write, what BRIGHTER THAN BRIGHT means to me - and what I hope it offers my readers.

The Writing Show is 'on-line talk radio', offering up a near-daily dose of writers, editors, and others who in the writing and publishing biz who offer up meaty and inspirational insights. If you haven't explored this wonderful resource, do - you won't be disappointed.

THE WRITING... made it over the half-way hump of NaNoWriMo this morning. Yes, I am overwriting PURE; most of 27,000+ words I've penned thus far won't survive the light of a final draft. But that's okay; I'm writing around several scenes, using multiple POVs, to get the right 'mouthfeel' for the story, to figure out the 'proper' armature. PURE has so many moving parts - multiple voices and POVs and tenses, storylines that dance and weave through each other over a thirty year span. It's damn hard - which is why I love this story.

Writing at this pace is easy, even though my professional and personal life is perhaps the most intense it's ever been. NaNo is my personal release valve, my single indulgence. Other than going to HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL - 3 with my children this rainy Saturday. What a blast - think GREASE, only hipper (and when did Zac Efron grow up?)

THE READING... Just finished Anita Shreve's TESTIMONY. A must read for the story alone; a must study for her masterful rendering - multiple voices recounting a single, tragic event in a prep school that alters lives irrevocably. One character is completely written in second voice. Next up - TERMINAL NEGLECT by Michael Rushnak and I SEE YOU EVERYWHERE by Julia Glass.


My good friend Jimmy the Prince lost his father. Prayers. Our lives run in parallel...


Peace, Linda

Friday, November 07, 2008

Live, from London... The Golden Notebook

I stumbled upon THE GOLDEN NOTEBOOK PROJECT while stumbling through last week's Chronicle of Higher Education. Today, the book went live, with seven women, fine writers and thinkers all, collaborating on a 'close reading' of Lessing's classic. Their aim? To get beyond the two-dimensionality of web discourse. This is a fascinating new take on the Book Club; if succesful, I envision further applications of the Kindle and its ilk (hey, we've got iphones, why not iKindle's with text-messaging for simultaneous readers?). And since google wants to make literature public domain, then perhaps London and Apt, the sponsors of this literary experiment, will find a profitable niche. It's like google groups, but sooooo much better...

Anyway, fascinating to me on many levels (this IS one of my fave books, so I will be following over the next 5-6 weeks, perhaps even chiming in once my current obsession is finito).

THE WRITING... I'm in NaNoland. Doing very well, thank you - clocked in 17,250 words at the close of this morning, and starting a new section tonight. Gave literal and figurative birth to one of my adult characters, told from his mother's POV, which had me sobbing in my coffee yesterday. The flow comes and goes, but mostly goes...

THE READING... Could not finish SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS. I really wanted to get through this novel, I loved the premise, but... it was just too precious. You know? I'll pick it up again, maybe it's me... finally, I'm reading what every other woman read eons ago - EAT, PRAY, LOVE. Excellent story, great structure, great prose, even has me laughing out loud, but... is it me or must we all travel to a country that starts with "I" or "Provence" or swelter "under a Tuscan sun" to find ourselves? If so, I am in deep doo-doo, because I have young children and bills to pay on my mere Baltimore house (nope, I don't own a Manhattan flat AND a NY suburban home, got nothing to cash in) and, by golly, it just seems there's plenty of space here to find myself. I do my yoga and my chanting on my wee mat, get my spiritual fix at my UU church and in my garden. Guess I'm in a snippy mood - getting tired of self-indulgent memoirs, though I guess that is what a memoir is... I'll finish for the writing alone, and the hopes my cynicism, like my inner editor, will take a hike.

LISTENING TO... SPIRALLING by Keane (Perfect Symmetry). You sift through my fingers... did you want to start a war? start a family? be in love? and FLOAT by Flogging Molly. Electro-celtic.

Peace, Linda

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Celebrating All Things Rat













2008. The Year of the Rat.

The Year of the 2ND BLOGIVERSARY of EDITORIAL ASSISTANT, Moonrattie's Blog Extraordinaire.

We of the Mischief sing your praises.

Congratulations Dear Moonie for the tremendous success of your quintessential blog chock-a-block with wisdom and words and whimsy. In this rather cut-throat world of writing and publishing, you have touched and humbled me with your kindness and generosity, your ethics and philosphies, and your honesty and forthrightness. So many times I contemplate throwing in the towel on this thing called writing, but then someone - an agent or editor or author - serendipitously imparts the words and support I need to hear. You are one of these rare people, and I wonder if you know what an inspiration you are to your fellow writers.

I am sure you are a fine editor; I am positive you are a super human.

You grace this business. You grace this world.

Thank you.

Peace, Linda