Monday, January 7, 2008

2008 is gonna be great!

Hi. Did you miss me? I feel like I'm slinking back into my blog like my blog is an 8 a.m. class and it's 8:17 and I'm wearing no make up, have wet hair and haven't done the reading. Please pardon the lame simile, I'm a little rusty in the writing department right now. I could barely even bring myself to check on my poor little blog for the two weeks we were in Texas for Christmas. If my blog were a pet it would've died or run away by now.

But I'm back! I'm trying not to let the inertia of the two-week hiatus hold me back! I'm all about new beginnings, fresh starts, new year's resolutions. 2008 is gonna be great! Say it with me! 2008 is gonna be great! 2008 is gonna be great! Okay, I know that's totally dorky. We can stop now.

So, here is my first of many resolutions:

Finally finish my novel. I have been trying to write this blog entry for about 2 hours now and this is how far I've made it. A novel seems more than a little daunting. But I have a good start...six chapters. I have a plan for what I want to happen, characters, plot, the works. I just need the time to sit down without Emma making me color a picture or Charlie crying about his train tracks being disconnected. Kids and their needs...they can really get in the way of the novel writing. One of my favorite Anne Lamott quotes goes something like this, "Before I had a child I couldn't write if there were dirty dishes in the sink. Now, I could write if there's a corpse in the sink." Okay...I just googled Anne Lamott, corpse, sink and got the real quote. Here it is: "I used to not be able to work if there were dishes in the sink. Then I had a child and now I can work if there is a corpse in the sink. Because you’re always on borrowed time. None of your favorite writers, let alone your own personal self, sits down in the morning and just feels great about the work ahead of them. No one sits down and feels like a million dollars. People sit down and go into either fugue states or into this highly aerobicized sort of up-down thing. During the O.J. [Simpson] trial all hell broke loose ‘cause I work downstairs in this office; some people might call it a garage. And the TV is upstairs and so I’d sit down, get up, sit down, get up, sit down, get up, say my little prayer. I’d pray, Please, God, help me get out of the way so I can write what wants to be written. And then I’d sit down and I would do a little bribe and I would say, ‘If you stay here for half an hour and you write that one tiny little moment where the uncle sees the shores of Inverness, California for the first time in his life then we will get up and watch a little O.J.’”

At the risk of turning this blog into an Anne Lamott fan site, here's another quote of hers that I just stumbled across and it is exactly what I needed to hear right now..."Maybe you really don’t want to write, maybe you want to read, but if you do want to write, life is going by very quickly and if you’re not careful you’re going to be 80 years old and have spent your life wishing that you’d gotten your work done. I think it’s good to consider where you’re going to be at 80. I believe at 80 we’re not going to wish we spent more time cleaning our houses. I believe at 80 we’re not going to wish we’d stayed out of warm tropical water more often ‘cause our thighs were not firm. Really no one cares if you get your writing done, it’s of no cosmic importance that you do. All I know that if it’s in you you’re going to get sick if you don’t let it out. And it’s your memories and your dreams and your versions of things and these characters who’ve selected you to be their typist. You’re their own Rosemary Woods. If you don’t have the luxury of writing 8 to 5, give up the 10 o’clock news. The 10 o’clock news only serves to ruin the next day’s newspaper. And to tell you about fires in areas you never go to, so what’s the point? So you have an hour then, if you can budget the hour from 10 to 11, give up this one thing. It’s like God will meet you half way and be like, ‘Okay, cookie, let’s go.’”

Thank you, Anne Lamott. You always know just what to say to make me feel better. Maybe you are not a writer and have no desire to write. I think you could just as easily take the above quote, scratch out "write" and fill it in with whatever you're burning up to do. I think I'm going to print out "Okay, cookie, let's go" in really big, cute letters and put it up above my computer.

I don't have a corpse in the sink, but I do have this going on on my deck/balcony at the moment.

And I'm still writing, despite the fact that a stuffed chicken is being tortured a few feet away. With focus and determination like this I may just finish my novel after all.

I have more resolutions...really original things like "eat better" and "exercise more." What are your resolutions? What will you do instead of watching the 10 o'clock news? Please share...I will think of you when I turn off the TV, head upstairs to write and say to myself, "okay, cookie, let's go!"


mdm said...

You're six chapters and two children ahead of most people who ever thought they could write or raise children. For whatever reason: I think you can do both well.

Jennifer Lewis said...

I can't wait for your novel to come out!! Come on, Cookie! Your fans are desperate!

Anonymous said...

Resolution #1: Be more like Elizabeth.

Resolution #2: See #1.