Monday, June 30, 2008


Yesterday my son turned nine; today, my daughter becomes six.

Double blessings on the cusp of the half-year.

Time seems to fly so fast these days. I remember the ultrasound that showed my son at eleven weeks, a white bipoled bean. A miracle; the reproductive specialist had deemed him a blighted ovum and told me I would miscarry. He was wrong, thank goddess.

My children are becoming the beautiful little people I'd always dreamed, with facile minds and lithe bodies. I so admire them, am so proud of the courageous way they tackle their daily challenges...

Another blessing came in the mail over the weekend. A FRIEND took the time and trouble to send me a special book, one with a unique history and a special autograph. Thank you.

Other blessings... the four nests in our backyard yielded twittering chicks (catbirds, robins, wrens); the currants and blueberries require daily picking; the Asian pears and white peaches are ripening; a bounty of fantabulous writing and non-writing friends; my summer gift to myself. Which is - read. Two weeks of four amazing books:

>>The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Buy it. Read it. Laugh, cry, then read it again. It will be the best book you'll read all summer, perhaps all year.

>>Tweak by Nic Sheffe and Beautiful Boy by his father David Sheffe. Together, these two books tell the heart-rending father and son accounts of addiction. If you've ever abused drugs or known anyone who has, you must read these books. If you are a parent, you must read these books. Powerful stuff, and blog forthcoming. BUT, first I must recover...

>>Bless the Beasts and Children, which I blogged about HERE over at Moonrat's digs.

The writing... I wrote 1200 words on PURE this weekend. It felt good to just... write. This second story has been coming out kicking and screaming, in large part because my evil friend, the self-doubting editor, has lurked over my shoulder. Brighter than Bright was written in innocence, with complete naivete; I did not know what the hell I was doing. Now, though, I know too much: showing versus telling, the perils of first person, passive voice, story arc, tension building, and the near impossibility of getting an agent and (sigh) getting published. So I am trying to place less emphasis on the writer part of the equation, and focus instead on the words and the joy of stringing them together.

The marketing... ugh. Need I say more?

Just remember: "That which you manifest is before you."

Peace, Linda

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Celebrate Reading!

Dear Moonrat, Prolific Goddess of EDITORIAL ASS, is celebrating reading this June with guest bloggers sharing books important to them. Check out your reading stacks from the past, and compare. My To-Be-Read pile has morphed this past month, with some bloggers definitely convincing me to try books I didn’t think I’d ever savor.

Today is my turn to pontificate, so check out my pick HERE. And read the rest of the series – you’ll be glad you did.

(Thank you, Moonrat, for this fabu opportunity. Now, get writing – you’ve less than 5 days to meet your July 1 deadline

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I took a few days off from the day job, the night job, everything, and fled with my family to the Shenandoah Mountains.


Skyline Drive is a mere 2.5 hours away, an easy jaunt even with two young children. All weekend long, as we sat drinking vino al fresco whllst looking down 3000 feet, hubby and I kept asking each other: why haven't we escaped before?

We hiked. We ate. We drank. We played. I didn't write. Not a word. I barely read, just 10 pages or so of INTUITION, and the Garth Stein interview in POETS & WRITERS (I heart Garth and his new book).

But I thunked. A lot. it's easy to mentally doodle when all you physically need to concentrate on is putting one foot ahead of the other.

I made some decisions. To write PURE before LOVE SONG ON THE INNER LOOP. It just excites me more. I've elucidated the structure (non-linear in time), the POV (third), the narrator (one). This morning, I wrote the one-sentence plot, motivated in part by this post and THIS by Nathan Bransford. PURE's premise has been present all along, the motivating force: academic mores run amok.

I also decided to spend much of the summer in 'pre-writing' mode. Doing the research (deriving the scientific experiment), interviewing medical students and residents, bench science pre- and post-docs for the poop on moving up the academic food-chain, and fleshing out my wacky cast of characters. Everything is... gelling. At last.

And I am reading. Oodles.

>INTUITION by Allegra Goodman (again, this time for her structure, which is unusual)

>MOO U by Jane Smiley is on ILL order from the library

>DEPRESSION AND BIPOLAR DISORDER. Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology by Stephen Stahl. Gotta get the neuroscience down and concoct a believable scientific endeavor.

>Several highly clinical Ivory Tower treatises on transgenic mouse models for bipolar disorder, mitochondrial abnormalities, and glutamate deficiencies.

>I also made a decision to spend ALL my new book dollars on small press offerings, so I'm already into GONE AND BACK AGAIN (by Jonathon Scott Fuqua, fellow Baltimorean and YA author, though this is his first adult novel) and EVERYONE'S PRETTY (Lydia Millet), put out by SOFT SKULL PRESS

Stuff got unstuck in the mountains. Maybe I should go away more often... Keep writing. Peace, Linda

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rules for Writers, The Fine Art of Racing, and What Have You...

Lots of schlepping this blistering week between Baltimore and DC for two professional meetings: AcademyHealth, the national health services research assocaiton, and the Washington Independent Writers, the largest writing organization in the US. We changed our name - American Independent writers - to reflect our size and our geographically diverse membership.

FABULOUS session by thriller author JOHN GILSTRAP (Nathan's Run; Six Minutes to Freedom) and lit/fantasy author KEITH DONOHUE (The Stolen Child) on Working to Write, Working AND Writing? That is, the difficult decision to chuck the day job to write full-time, a temptation most of us harbor. Donohue closed with this:


1/ Be born rich (Ha!)
2/ Marry money (Double ha!)
3/ Be a poet, be a recluse, or be a priest (I'm married to a minister, so my life's busier than ever)
4/ Teach (Yes. I do this. But it has nothing to do with writing and everything to do with drugs)
5/ Develop an elegant variation of OCD (Does hypomania count? With an extra dash of anxiety thrown in for good measure?)
6/ Create up problems for protagonist and story (Actually, it's the other way around - they make problems for me)
7/ Write every day (THIS I do. But it's only because I become an insufferable bitty otherwise)
8/ Get a dog (We had one, but she peed all over the place and had agorophobia, so we decided to get a bonsai plant instead)
9/ Don't have kids (Does Sears take 'em back after 90 days?)
10/ Use time wisely (Goddess knows I try...)

And here, just for fun... what book are you?

You're Siddhartha!

by Hermann Hesse

You simply don't know what to believe, but you're willing to try
anything once. Western values, Eastern values, hedonism and minimalism, you've spent
some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in.
This makes you an individualist of the highest order, but also really lonely. It's
time to chill out under a tree. And realize that at least you believe in

Take the very cool Book Quiz
at Blue Pyramid.

and find out...

Hmmm... then check out the shenanigans of friends and fellow writers TWIZZLE and MAGS on their quest to meet GARTH STEIN in Cambridge. More than politely listening to Garth merely read about that fabulous dog Enzo, their adventure involves Fire Trucks, Bar Stools in Lynn, and Mucho Vino. Perhaps too mucho vino... with Garth partially in tow.

Happy writing, happy reading... Peace, Linda

Friday, June 06, 2008


The world stops. A whorl of white surrounds us, feathers suspend in air, kicked up to the shocking blue. A whistle shrills--


(2 years, 5 months, 4 days
447 pages
121,713 words
Countless sleepless nights)


Somewhere, distant firecrackers explode, bells peal from a church steeple. A new year. My heart falls into step with hers, slower now. Less tentative. I fall again towards the constant white, and a small, unformed thought – no, a feeling - drifts up from somewhere deep, a place still faraway but no longer secret and hidden, and coalesces.

This feels good. This feels right.


Uh, I'm done. Really. I promise.

Thank you, everyone... you know who you are... I could not have done this without you.

Peace, Linda


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hon, have a dime?

Still writing hard... those last 20 pages of BRIGHTER THAN BRIGHT are wupping me. Big time. But I found some inconsistencies that required rearranging of scenes and the attendant rewriting. Sigh... missed my self-imposed deadline, but I'm almost there. Really. I can taste being done, that sweet flavor flirting with my tastebuds, my heart and soul. My head. But I'd rather do it right now than right later...

Meanwhile, another poem makes the Poetic Asides hit parade... Hon, have a dime?. The prompt was 'snooping' on a convo. This was lunch at the Lexington Market. Scroll down and enjoy.

Peace, Linda