Brain Scribbles

I’ve Been Thinking…

Yes indeed, I have. And so have you. The brain is a magnificent machine, isn’t it? Always at work, never taking a break (and THANK GOD for that!) even when we lower the volume and usher in the Sandman for sleep, the gears continue to squeak and grind.

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Just What Are You Thinking

Whether you add a Question or Exclamation to the end of that sentence doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you are–thinking, that is. Despite Urban Myth or nasty accusation, there’s no one out there with an empty head. And it’s more than a little curious to consider the bizarrely disjointed, oftentimes pointless thoughts jockeying for attention at any given moment. (For Pete’s sakes–a little quiet in there please! Some of us are trying to sleep!)

It’s A Fair Amount of Nonsence Not All Rocket Science

In fact, no Rocket Science whatsoever has been used in the creation of this blog post.

Thoughts of My Own Scribbling Brain–(Subject to Change at a Moments Notice):

*Sometimes it feels good to be a little sad. Maybe it’s nature’s way of assuring love and beauty are more recognizable when they come.

*Choosing the words to make perfect sentences shouldn’t be so hard.

*Saying the right thing at the right time shouldn’t be so hard.

*Doing things the right way without leaving behind a pile of smoking debris shouldn’t be so hard.

*Ha ha! I actually live next-door to a GENUINE Rocket Scientist.

*How is a survey accurate when no one asked MY opinion or even the opinions of anyone I know? Where do these average people come from?

*Oh crap, do these Pajamas really make my butt look THAT big?

*Reaches For Mute Button*

Ah hem, so, peeling back your own scalp and bone and having a look inside your chrome dome, what’r’ya thinking? Right now, at this very moment, without over-thinking what your thinking–one, two, three–fire away! Share your thoughts please. We’re all ears [connected to heads with brains.] 😀

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Nobody Cares

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

… as much as you do.

THE BIG PARTY 

I’m not saying that no one gives a hooey about what you’re writing or have written.  Maybe you’re so blessed that the day you turned the knob and let yourself out of the writers closest your cheerleaders fell into formation, practiced and ready to spin a dozen perfect cartwheels of support over your heartfelt endeavors.  They bought your book, tooted your wordy genius to their circle of friends, posted on Facebook, tweeted from sea to shining sea.  Possibly even set your heart to singing by posting a review on Amazon and/or BN.  They told you how proud, excited, impressed, joyful they are over your accomplishment.  They begged for a sequel and your smile stretched so wide it nearly split the seams of your face from ear-to-ear.

C.O.D

You’ve worked hard.  Persevered across the fiery coals of doubt, rejection, and uncertainty regardless of  how much it never failed to sometimes hurt.  You’ve paid your dues and can at long last bask in the radiant light of an accomplished dream. It feels good.  Because it should.

BEWARE THE BURSTING BUBBLE

Whether it be weeks or months later, the thing is, it does happen.  Readers read … and then they move on. Readers have an appetite that requires constant care and feeding of good books, not just one book.  Yes, they read and thoroughly loved your book.  But now the marching band has turned the corner and your personal parade has dispersed to return to their own lives. But this writing gig is your real life and you’re still here. Alone.

FOREVER ON YOUR MIND

It’s something beyond wonderful when people care about your creations.  When they take time to share your passion and connect with your characters and stories.  And although none of that stuff is why we write, it puts an extra special spring in our step and twinkle in our eye. Until they leave. Pack up their pom poms and return to whatever they’ve temporarily set aside.  Leaving you to sweep up the confetti in a suddenly empty room.

SHHHHH, NOT SO LOUD

And here you are. No less passionate, still eyeball deep and consumed with all you’ve created. You haven’t finished talking about your characters lives, thinking, wondering, obsessing about them.  Worrying they have no friends on the playground and nobody has invited them to sit at their lunch table.

THAT BAD?

Not really. Just the facts.  No One Cares … as much as You Do. Just because you’ve written a book doesn’t mean people are going to want to read it. And even if they do, their potential love for your work will never surpass your own and you shouldn’t expect it

SINCERE APPRECIATION

Be gracious and appreciative of well wishes and enthusiastic readers.  Just keep in mind, when the final cork is popped and the lights go out, it’s still your baby. You brought it into the world and you’re responsible for future nurturing and midnight feeding.

Are you expecting too much from your readers?  How difficult, or potentially painful, do you find it to draw the shades on your party and wave goodnight to your guests?

Jeezaloo–fingers crossed that someone really does care that my baby number two, “Asleep Without Dreaming,” is due for release in 7 days  😀

MY MIND ON A SHELF

“These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but MINDS alive on the shelves”

Gilbert Highet 1906-1978
Teacher & Scholar

I am not familiar with Gilbert Highet, but his words are immortalized on a bronze plaque outside the public library in Baltimore Maryland.  I’ve read and reread this single line  inasmuch as it speaks volumes to my writers heart, particularly when I am struggling to compose that perfect sentence or Frankenstein design the endearing or imperfect character persistently struggling to stear me into their story. Despite all there years of writing, the actual process is something I find impossible to explain let alone understand. Somehow, to say that it “just happens” comes across as something of an insincere cop-out, and yet that’s pretty much the truth as it applies to my own experience with words.

Which isn’t to say that it’s easy.

It sometimes never happens that a perfect chorus of words will tango across the page with the poise and grace of a winning contestant on Dancing with the Stars.  Yet just as often, it’s a matter of strapping on a headlamp and heading in to excavate  the treasure that’s right over there behind that mammoth pile of boulders.  And you keep at it with heart and diligence, until all at once–total darkness–the vivid path of illumination unceremoniously extinguished when the bulb burns out.

FORK IN THE ROAD PIE

Even then you can’t allow yourself to cave to temporary obstacles or turn-tail from the illusion of a bottomless crevasse. Okay, so take a moment to hoist the white flag and head to the kitchen for a medicinal slice of conciliatory pie (although you’ve been writing  not baking, so it’s likely there is no pie.), but only a moment.   You’ve learned the essential importance of holding on by now. Your creative mind hasn’t taken a powder, left the building, or fallen into something scary and bottomless.  You know that if you stay in your chair, even if only to doodle in the margins, the tiniest speck of an idea will spark and then somehow–whether consciously fueled or not–will quaver and persistently swell to rekindle the fire. And I am never anything less than awed and amazed when the dust of creativity finally settles and a finished manuscript rests in my hands.  Not that I understand how it works.  I just know it does, not easily, but it does.

THE END (NOT!)

It takes me at least a year forever  to finish the first draft of a novel– not a 700 page Stephen King size tome, but compositions half their size,  between 350-375 pages. Then comes the editing–another year of rewriting, rewriting, disgust, agony, despair…and only then does it begin to look like something connected to the vision that first caught my attentions. I marvel over writers who produce a masterpiece in the space of a few months–or incredibly, weeks. How that works I can’t imagine.  I can only assume it”s because my mind is set at 33 where others are steady at 78.

Still, I’ve come to accept bemoan my slower pace as necessary for me. I am after all an obsessive compulsive editing machine. I hack, slash, and burn until I can see the words coming to life and feel my characters breathing on the page, and for me that takes some time.  The reward for my efforts, a cross-my-fingers-confidence that my work is pruned, polished and ready to stand right up there in the shadow of the big boys.

Except when it’s not.  And editing resumes.  Because it is my mind after all–quiet, hopeful, earnest–there on the shelf.  My story. My characters. My truth. Me.

I’ve always had something of a problem with the adage that so often accompanies rejection or bad reviews.  I assume it’s intended to soften the blow: “It’s not you that being rejected or disliked torn asunder by the roots, just your writing.”  Agree? Can/do you separate your personal self from your words?

Positively Peevish

Lest anyone assume I woke-up this morning  wearing my Grouchy Pants or have overindulged on a breakfast of Cranky Flakes, allow me to clarify that I am actually quite jolly and chipper as is most often the case in the AM hours–before the real world comes along to slap me in the face and wring-the-merry from my smiley face.

Nevertheless, there are those things that gnaw and grate.  Drive-by moments that come along to poke and  irritate, despite all good intentions. That rub against the conscience–sometimes in the background, other times in the forefront–but always there somewhere, ready to jump and churn at the first not so gentle nudge.

It started this morning with a Styrofoam coffee cup on my neighbors lawn. I spied it from my kitchen window.  A startling, heinously deposited object of stark, non-bio degradable  ugliness discarded on Mr. R’s hard-earned and carefully tended square of sod heaven.  The sight of which launched me directly into Peeve #1:

Littering boobs who seem to think trash cans were designed as unnecessary ornamentation.  Honestly, but I despise litter in all of its hideous forms. No excuses or attempts at rationalization accepted. It’s disgusting.

It is in fact the aforementioned despicable crime that leads me directly into this companion peeve to #1, which is Peeve #2:

Pet owners who walk their dogs (purposely steered their pooches beyond the bounds of their own neighborhood) with the deliberate intent of “Poop and Run.”  No doubt you’ve seen them, bag-less dog walkers who pick-up speed should they spy a previously unobserved witness to their dastardly deeds.

Of course thoughts of pooping naturally lead me to considerations of eating, thus Peeve #3:

Foods with healthy sounding names that are anything but healthy.  For example Nutri-Grain, or the uber appealing Nature Valley.  A wise choice for those in pursuit of  good health?  ACK!!!!  NO! NO! Lies, all lies!  Both contain Fructose (HIGH Fructose in some cases.)  Fructose, as many of you know, is the REIGNING DEVIL of bad horrifying  ingredients. To quote Dr. Mercola of #1 Natural Health Website, “Fructose is the NUMBER ONE source of calories in the US.  An ingredient that is found in virtually all processed foods cannot be considered “moderate.” Even most infant formulas contain the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola, which helps explain how six-month old babies can be obese.”  I realize that not everyone cares to be known as the Food Nazi, as my own wiseacre family has titled moi, but Jeezaloo, how about food manufactures ease-up on the blatant trickery toward consumers who really do care to improve their diets and chose wisely. If it says NATURE or NUTRI on the label it should be a rule that, yeah,  it really is. (BTW, a good rule to keep in mind when scanning the ingredient panel–beware the “toses,” they’re all stinkers. Aka, Fructose, Maltose, Sucrotose, etc.)

Needless to say, such talk of devious deception leads me straight into  Peeve#4:

People who lecture against talking Religion and Politics and then do so themselves. You know the type. They make a grandiose point of their peacekeeping rule of excluding those potentially one thousand percent quarenteed heat producing topics from all social conversation, but then proceed to poke sharpened and poisonous barbs into aforementioned gentle and purposely civil conversation.  I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us have very strong opinions of Religion & Politics, thus there are generally no allowances for slip-in, snide references, or drop and run deliveries (see Peeve #2) of said topics.

Okay,okay, simmer down, I hear ya. Enough of the cyber whining– I get it.  Still, I know you have plenty of peeves yourself.  I can hear them knocking around in your head, so  here’s your chance to pass them along (and maybe even get a soothing touch of sympathy). Large, small, or passionately festering, the floor is now open. Let er rip  😀

Reality TV, Is it Really?

Seriously, but this IS NOT a rant about what and why we watch what we do on TV.  Certainly there are plenty of offerings that inspire brain growth — Science, History, Travel, LIFETIME MOVIES!– and that’s all good for filling up the Einstein quadrant in our brains, but honestly, (and rest assured, no one can see your hand go up in agreement) doesn’t it also feel sinfully delicious when we’re craving just a little taste of junk-food, to succumb to an episode of Jersey Shore, Gypsy Weddings, any assortment of Housewives, or the especially disturbing Tots in Tiaras (please oh please, but tell me that people don’t ACTUALLY behave like this!)?   If only because it can be so exhausting being a real person living a real life. And isn’t it strangely true that the more heinous the train wreck, the more likely we are to keep our eyeballs chained to the screen?

That’s Entertainment

Hey, it’s exhausting being a real person living a real life. Really, I get it.  It can be a truly welcome diversion after a day of being out in the world Fighting the Good Fight, to drop into the nearest comfy chair and tune into the angst of a bachelorette working her way through a dozen dishy men in order to find Mr. Old Spice on a White Horse, or another Bride driven to crazed meltdown at the bakery because the Fondant on her wedding cake is a hair-shade to dark to properly compliment the cascading butter-creme sweetheart roses.

It’s sort’ve like eating a Twinkie, so dreadful, and yet we nevertheless feel compelled to eat one now and again, (though preferably when no one is looking). And isn’t it strangely true (strange as in, the part of human nature we all recognize but are loathe to admit) that the more heinous the train wreck, the more likely we are to keep our eyeballs chained to the screen?

And Then There’s Real Life 

But, herein lies the problem, it’s when viewers get confused and start to believe that what they’re seeing out there in Crazy Land, is actually the reality of our day-to-day interactions. Case in point, recently I read a blog post by Patricia Caviglia titled Be A Good Guest, which perfectly nails what I’m getting at, which is that REAL people don’t sure as hell shouldn’t behave like the reality stars on the telly. In REAL LIFE good manners are still required, disagreements are preferably settled away from public places (although welcome and expected on TV, where table-flipping and unnatural hair extension removal are encouraged and rewarded with frequent replays), good parenting does not involve berating small children into fulfilling all of miserable parent’s lost dreams, sessions with ones therapist are still a private endeavor and not necessary dinner party conversation, and certainly our Multi Million Dollar weddings hold on even after our People Magazine covers have gone out to the recycling bin.

So, what’s the scoop? Are you finding more and more Reality Personalities creeping  into your own real space?