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


  1. Just for clarity's sake, what constitutes too much vino?

    Like, if, we made Garth Stein's publicist cry from embarassment--would that be too much, do you think?

    I am so proud of your accomplishments this weekend. Not surprised, but extremely proud, and proud to know you.

  2. Hmmm... made his publicist cry. Getting touchy here, just hope you weren't aiming to make her yours ;^) Now, if Garth cried at the bar, that's a deal-breaker and means you need even more boxed stuff or go into seclusion for a few years.

    And thanks. Muchos. Peace, Linda

  3. I'm crying. Because at least YOU didn't say it was MY fault. Like everyone else in the world.

    I'm so proud too. Doing my partial dance for you!!!

    And there is no such thing as too much vino. What fun would life be then? ;)

    oh. and you're coming with us next time. and we're bringing the cop car. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  4. Okay, something is terribly wrong with the quiz. It pegged me as Anne of Green Gables, which I don't get.

    Oh, and scrap the dog idea. Sears doesn't take them back either.

  5. Is the book quiz rigged?
    It says I'm Siddartha.
    Oh - and I do believe in 'ferries' (ha!)
    just not 'fairies'.

    Thanks for sharing the Rules for Living the Dream.
    It appears I don't have the criteria to succeed.
    But I am competitive. That wasn't on the list.

    Twizzle and Mags together on the town? With wine?
    aye yi yi.
    ps Congrats on your double partial requests

  6. "Teach (Yes. I do this. But it has nothing to do with writing and everything to do with drugs)."

    I knew you were a beat generation teacher at heart...

  7. Okay I took that quiz and it said I was The Guns of August (which I've never heard of but apparently it won a Pulitzer) and then talked about how much I love guns and war. Though I no longer consider myself a pacifist per se, nothing could be further from the truth. And I can't fathom how they got that from my responses. I mean, wtf? I always liked this Ani DiFranco line from her song Independence Day, "I don't think war is noble, and I don't think that love is like war."

    So, wrong for me, but I could see Siddhartha for you. GREAT book. I wrote my senior paper in HS on that book.

    As for living the dream, I agree with Stephen about the dog. They are a TON of work, and even if you do give them back to their rightful owners, they haunt your dreams for months, maybe years, to come.

    As for how well I'm faring on that list, well I've got the no kids one down so far, and I'm probably a bit OCD, and partly reclusive, but need to work on all the others, like being born rich. I'm gonna get right on that shit, I tell you!


  8. Yeah, Kim and Chrys, I admit -this quiz is a bit suspect. For fun, I retook the darn thing and changed my answer to the first question, and voila! JURASSIC PARK. But it's a fun diversion...

    Yepper, Sarah, call me Ms. Kerouac. ;^) Hope the writing's going swell. Me, I'm crying... Peace, Linda