Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off on connections

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground. You cannot tell always by looking what is happening. More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet. Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet. Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree. Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden. Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar. –from “The Seven of Pentacles” by Marge Piercy   Marge Piercy’s poem “The Seven of Pentacles,”  quoted above, has been a touchstone for me in the midst...

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Weathering Uncertainty

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off on Weathering Uncertainty

The writing process is, by nature, imbued with uncertainty. How could it be otherwise? Every time I’m struck (either by lightning or with a leaf) by an idea, I have the tendency to want to enshrine it–to make it something that by nature it is not. The idea leaps whole and fresh out of the bottomless pool of inspiration, and then my mind starts kneading it like putty, and pretty soon that initial idea is no longer itself. Then my mind kicks in, working to reproduce that fresh-live feeling of the initial idea. Maybe because the thought, the image, the impulse, was so raw and so...

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Characters: Going Deep

Posted by on Dec 14, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Characters: Going Deep

What is the relationship between going deep in myself, and deep into characters? Going deep in myself means letting go of all the usual frames of reference in order to experience a reality that is transcendent of ego and attachment. Going deep implies liberation from usual, entrenched patterns of self. I am in a place of wonder, not a place of assumptions. In fact, the part of me that is always thinking myself into corners and bound up by reason doesn’t really exist anymore. Going deep in myself does not imply indifference, however. In that place, I am, more fully than anywhere else. In...

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Posted by on Nov 10, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on “Dreamstorming”

“It’s a funny state. It’s not as if you’re falling asleep at your computer, but neither are you brainstorming. You’re dreamstorming, inviting the images of moment-to-moment experience through your unconscious…the state of communion with your unconscious–the zone I’m trying to describe–is absolutely essential, absolutely essential to writing well in this art form.” —From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler, p. 31 I have found this idea of going right from the dream state to writing to be incredibly helpful, though at times...

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The Next Big Thing

Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in Blog | 2 comments

I’ve been tagged by Kris Waldherr, author and illustrator of Doomed Queens, The Lovers Path, as well as many other fine books, in the online game of “The Next Big Thing.” In this game, authors talk about their current work-in-progress.   What is the working title of your book? The Almost Hippie Girl   Where did the idea come from for this book? My husband Jim grew up on an Iowa farm, and according to family legend, two of his forbears were dropped on their claim by a livery driver moments before a major thunderstorm approached. This resonated strongly for me, and...

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The obstacle is the path

Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Blog | Comments Off on The obstacle is the path

This Zen saying is pinned to my bulletin board, above the outline (on index cards) for my current novel-in-progress. Five words on a thin strip of paper pinned at a cockeyed angle, waiting and ready as a reminder anytime my eyes chance to glance its way. I just did. Then I looked away, at all the many objects of varying degrees of inspiration and challenge that call for attention: a pile of papers with a post-it demand to “Sort Me or Die”; a painting of trees dancing against a purple sky that my son made when he was 8; an antique studio picture of a midwestern farm mother and her...

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