Aug 28, 2012

driving through puddles and facing fears

Apparently my city has decided that it wants to try and be a runner-up to Atlantis today, which has made for delightful driving. (note: please read previous sentence with a hint of sarcasm in your voice)

Water + Cars + Myself = not a good portfolio of experiences. I was spooked at the tender age of eighteen. It was a fateful Easter Sunday, when all the heavens broke open and decided to land on the ground all at once. I stalled my Volvo in a puddle that came up to my knees. I then ruined my Easter skirt climbing out of the car into said puddle to push it out. It never ran quite the same again.

Though I am seven years older, I still drive a (different) Volvo. This Volvo also hates the rain, but sometimes I have absolutely no choice but to drive it. Today I had to make a 30 minute trek through streets that literally have people kayaking through them, the entire time I was more than a little tense about stalling out/getting into a puddle that was too deep for my car to handle. My breath would suck in like a vacuum every time I skated through. Heart beating like a taiko drum.

But if I wanted to get home, I had to face my fear.

Fear can be a really powerful thing if you let it. I find that in art, there is always going to be fear. Especially if you're creating something that's of worth. The better the thing you're creating, the higher the fear. Over and over and over again I have to face the fear of: Will this be good enough? Will this pay off? Will this even work? For every book, every draft, every chapter, every sentence, every word.

Fear will always be there. One of my favorite and generalized quotes is, "Courage is not the absence of fear but the will to rise above it." (Or something like that). You can't really make fear go away. But you can ignore it. You can choose to act anyway. You can drive your car through that puddle. You can take your manuscript in that direction. And you probably should, because if you don't, you'll be stranded and the fear wins.

So I faced my fear and drove.

I got home.

It's also of notable mention that the house I'm currently inhabiting is backed up to an old rice field/marsh, which means that the entire back yard is now a small sea:

I've been keeping an eye out for alligators.

Aug 22, 2012

charleston city paper

So remember that fun photoshoot I was telling you about? And that interview I had last Monday? The one where I threw up in the parking lot? Yes. That one. Well fortunately my illness and the hot weather didn't put a hamper on the whole thing:

If you want to read it, you can get to the article here. It's a fairly short but very informative read. 

Aug 20, 2012

it's a hard-knock life.

I'm about sixty pages into LH2 as we speak. Which means I'm doing a lot of this:

Tough life.

Meanwhile, you know you're on the right track with a rough draft when you finish a scene, reread it, and then realize, "Oh dear God, this is a mess." It's easy to forget how messy and all over the place rough drafts are. They're pretty much the equivalent of a puppy who had not been house-trained and just drank a gallon of water and is dancing all over your imported Turkish rugs. Endearing, but a lot of work. Especially when your end goal is to make it a top-rated show dog.

Okay, off to clean some metaphorical pee from my manuscript. Or cyber-stalk Kate Middleton. Both count as work, right?

Aug 15, 2012

warning. this post could be TMI.

It's been a bit of a weird week, since my "other job" has started up again, therefore about 25 hours of my week is swallowed back into being a responsible adult. Like decorating my classroom with paper owls and learning CPR.  And taking coffee in a to go cup in the mornings.

Crazy, I know.

Anyway, a big thing going on in the writing community this week is WriteOnCon. A bunch of the other Lucky 13s and I have banded together to give advice and more tantalizingly, critiques!!! So if you're a writer, go on over and check it out. Well worth your time in my humble opinion.

This week I got one of my first tastes of the publicity side of being a published author. Which involved having a real life in person interview with a journalist and a photoshoot with a photographer who was not my husband! Crazy! Both things were fun and relatively stress free, aside from the fact that I had a stomach bug the day I had the in-person interview and was a little "out-of-it" the whole day. (This is putting it lightly, as I emptied the contents of my stomach in the parking lot afterwards. To be fair, I warned said journalist and didn't shake her hand. So she should be safe.)

TMI? I thought so.

Aug 7, 2012

my failed olympic dreams

I have not blogged for several days. My excuse? The Olympics. About three hours of my day is automatically sucked up into a complete and utter vegetative state on the couch. Watching people do impossibly cool things with their bodies while I eat M&Ms by the handful. And then being guilted about not doing productive things when TV ads about athletes' immense dedication pop up.

It's funny because watching the Olympics, I remember how many things I tried before I finally settled on writing.

Soccer: Because my first name is Ryan, the little league coaches assumed I was a boy. This is how I ended up the only four-year-old girl on a team full of not girls. According to my parents I was very protective and nurturing whenever one of my teammates got hurt. I was also terrified of the ball and ran in the other direction every time it was passed to me.

Basketball: Another not so great foray into the world of team sports. I remember very vividly getting scratched on the arm by a girl on an opposing team. And getting floor burn. I was not a fan of such senseless pains.

Horseback Riding: I actually really enjoyed riding horses. I don't remember why I quit. Probably because I couldn't buy my own horse. I have fond memories of riding bareback through cotton fields. This skill came in handy when husband and I rode off into the Mexican sunset on our honeymoon.

Random life skills pay off. Sometimes.

Gymnastics: I liked gymnastics. A lot more than I liked ballet (which I tried three times because every time I quit I convinced myself it wasn't as bad as I thought). I loved cartwheels and handstands and walking the balance beam. My claim to fame is that I actually combined two of those by doing a cartwheel on the balance beam. My undoing was the vault. The idea of running full speed at a springboard and hurtling my body at a massive solid object was enough to end that Olympic dream.

Synchronized Swimming: This was the sport I stuck with the longest. I was a speed swimmer for a while (only in summer leagues), but the only problem is that I wasn't fast. Not only was I not fast... I was usually last. But I loved the water so much that I decided to try synchronized swimming. Thus started five years of sequined bathing suits, Knox gelatin hair-buns, nose clips and lots and lots of waterproof makeup. But don't be fooled by the sport's glittery uniform. It's hard. Our coach made us tread water for minutes holding full milk jugs over our heads. We had to do laps underwater without breathing. And then laps with our legs sticking up in the air. Those were the best abs I've ever had in my life. In the end, I was not passionate enough about the sport to take it to the next level. I did, however, acquire this life skill:

The "stick your leg out of the water and impress your friends" life skill!

By the time I quit synchronized swimming, I realized that perhaps sports were not my ultimate calling in life. Neither was piano or dancing or guitar. None of them really punched me in the gut and drove me the way storytelling did. My desire to succeed was not strong enough to get over the fears and the long-days of training and putting my body through pain. It was also around this time that I was getting serious about my writing (ie. enrolling in an arts school and becoming a creative writing major). My passions pulled me in that direction, and in the end, it was okay that I quit all of these sports. Without drive, without passion, it's not very likely you'll succeed in something. It's also a lot less likely you'll do well.

Talent, without drive, is useless.

Plus I'm pretty okay with just sitting on the couch and watching other people sweat. 

Aug 2, 2012

meanwhile, on my other blog...

Today on the Lucky 13s blog I talk about why I write. Which is a completely different reason from the other why I write post that appears on this blog.

Go figure.