Get lower and work on your core.

I quad speed skate. Can’t believe at my age I’m saying that, but life is like that. My son and husband inline speed skate.

my quads

As with anything, a certain vocabulary goes with it. My new vocabulary: quads, trucks, brownies, fast to fastest, power crosses, right foot push, under push, put the hammer down, lap and hook, derby skins, 100s, 110s, a lap race, planks, burpies, get low, EZfits, tags, in the box, a pyramid drill, and sandbagging.

Our coach likes to say, “Don’t do anything stupid.” “Keep those legs moving.” “Hustle.” and “Get lower!”

Skaters say things to each other like, “You can do anything for 30 seconds.” and “Go get her!” “Your core!”

And as I go as hard as I can around the rink, legs hurting, back hurting, sweat under my helmet and down my back, I often think–writing a novel is like this.

Well, minus the dripping sweat.

What else do you do in your life that in some weird way is like writing?

Trash can full. Wallet empty. Coincidence?

altered art

Lately I’m not making much art that I like.

The number of failed stories and art projects bother me. Some of them cost real money but ended up in the trash. I’m supposed to make a living and I try to sell some of the art but I’ll never make back the money I’ve wasted. And money is tight around here…like most everywhere.

That’s not to mention the money spent on ink, paper, and postage sending out queries and sample pages of the novels. Ink being the killer.

And the time, the lack of sleep…

It’s depressing to spend all that and have nothing but a full trash can to show for it. I can’t be alone in this.

No use in complaining though, is there?

Are straightjackets ever on sale?

I’ve had this Fairy Tale Asylum idea for almost two years. No, not the blog, though that would be the medium.

I used the idea for the stories I wrote in 2010’s story-a-day challenge. The stories I eventually wanted to fit together–the stories of inmates of an asylum and the inmates had ended up committed (so to speak) through their fairy tale experiences. Wouldn’t you be slightly mad if you’d slept through 100 years or been left for dead in a glass coffin in the woods?

I can see the asylum in my mind and I know the name of the head nurse and the caretaker. Hmm. Maybe I should be in asylum.

Anyway. The problem is, as always, as I’m sure you experience yourself, is time. The devil of time.

I’m used to a particular work schedule and have for the last few years learned my best way to work around it, knowing that at certain moments, I’d have breaks to get things done if I could manage it during the semester.

Well, that schedule is changing, and I look at it and am filled with despair. How on earth am I ever going to write enough?

ever hopeful

Not only have 8 more hours been adding to my teaching week–taking up the time I used to use for planning/grading/etc (and adding to the amount of planning/grading/etc I have to do), but now three weeks have been added to my teaching year.

Three weeks doesn’t seem like much… This new schedule ends the week I had during winter break when the kiddo was in school but I wasn’t back at work. Sure, I’ll still have two weeks off, but the kiddo will be with me (and it is the husband busiest time of year so he’ll be working longer hours). I used to love that week to myself…

And the two week break between summer and fall terms has been taken off the calendar completely. No break at all between the summer and fall terms. We’ll be teaching from May until Thanksgiving without a day off. (Maybe the 4th of July if it falls on a week day–and my son will be off too though the husband will be working.) If you teach, you know that isn’t just time in the classroom. That’s one weekend between terms to grade final exams and papers, to turn grades in for all my students, and to prepare for the new term.

I look at the upcoming year and see piles of school work, plus the endless housework, plus the needs of my family, plus my own hopes for writing and art… (let’s not mention the projects/ides I’m trying to work on right now)

I’m not in a good mood about it.

How do you find time for your goals, your creative life? What do you sacrifice for it? How do you maintain the energy you need?

And if you know of any good deals on straightjackets, let me know.

That Connection Magic

Why do we write?

Why do we write blogs?


I’ve moved my blogging efforts into the Asylum. My efforts feel crazy much of the time, so an asylum has got to be an appropriate place.

Recently, a blogging friend–a writer down under–noted my blog over at The Writerly Way. It is nice to know who is reading, really.

So, a few links are over in the sidebar. Does anyone ever look at those? I do sometimes. But why do we have these links anyway?

Sometimes because the link goes to a friend and other times because the link goes to a place I think fascinating and hope you do too. Isn’t the danger of the Internet? One link leads to another to another to another, and how much time would you need to get through them all and end up back where you started? Never mind that cyberspace constantly changes. Perhaps it would be like trying to tag every drop in the ocean.

Well, I don’t suggest you start such a task. I merely hope you might visit a few new places and see what’s there.

Green-eyed Monster Sucks Out Soul

Have you read The Night Circus? I’m in the middle of reading it–a gift from my husband, who didn’t even know the book was on my wish list.

And as I’m wont to do when something captures me, I’ve read more about it online–like this interview on CNN.

I love the novel so far, and I’ll probably love it til the end. I’m like that when I give in to a book.

(I’d like to add that I don’t understand those who claim this book is “the next Harry Potter.” Yes, it is about magicians, but it is nothing like Harry Potter. It’s like saying How to Train Your Dragon is the next Lord of the Rings. And I certainly don’t see 12 year olds lining up to meet Ms. Morgenstern no matter how charming and delightful she is. Nor is the book part of a series…oh bother. I guess they’ve got to claim something is the next Harry Potter. They’re wishing.)

Anyway. Erin Morgenstern started the novel as a NaNoWriMo novel. Sigh. You know, I’ve written 7 NaNoWriMo… Her novel is about, obviously, a circus. A year and a half ago, I participated in Story-a-Day. The stories were all meant to be fairy tales. And in the city the stories take place in, a circus sits in the heart of it. Granted, many of the cities don’t mention the circus, but it is there, in my mind, and it is open only at night. Sigh.

It isn’t anything like the circus in Morgenstern’s book. But…you know know that if the collection of stories were ever published, everyone will think, Oh, like The Night Circus!

But her book is beautiful. (And did I mention that Ms. Morgenstern is also an artist?)

My book has been eviscerated by a foaming, rabid beast.

I’d like to tell you that I wrestled the best with great strength of character and defeated it. But in truth I think I’ve thrown myself under its claws.

Too Late to Fall in Love

“I don’t want to waste my time.”

“Nobody reads short stories any more.”

“It’s not real. I like to read things that teach me something.”

Comments said to me recently about reading fiction.

Part of me reacts with dismay.

But then I wonder if my dismay is self-serving. I write. Of course I want people to read.

Can you learn to love fiction as an adult? Or if you don’t fall in love with stories as a child, is it too late?