Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Turn 35

So Monday morning (my birthday), I'm driving along, listening to the radio -which is rare because I'm usually hooked into the I Phone and I hate the radio- but I am listening. The Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go, comes on. Instantly, I'm thirteen.

I can picture myself then, little black Witchie Poo boots on, long black skirt, army green wife- beater with Mom's antique silver crucifix (stolen in an opportune moment) dangling between my budding breasts. My fifty black rubber Madonna bracelets are creeping up one arm and I'm pissed because I don't have money to get more. I could get a job baby-sitting but I don't particularly like kids very much -too snotty, whiny, and let's face it, annoying. My hair is in its trademark A-line bob and I AM Hell On Wheels. Oh yeah.

My dreams are well established. When I am thirty-five I will be rich (obviously), live in New York City (never the suburbs!) in one of those fabulous expansive apartments I've seen in the old movies that play on PBS each Sunday morning. I will NOT be married, NO kids (cause there is nothing worse than being a stay-at-home-mom). I have a dozen boyfriends vying for my attention. I'll be a fashion designer whose designs will grace the cover of Vogue and under no circumstance, let me be dipped in oil and burned alive, will I ever, ever, fuckin' never own a mini van, aka the worst vehicle known to man.

So as I drive across my suburban neighborhood in my mini-van to take my first born to preschool, I have a laugh. I am everything I did not want to be, and I'm happy. I love my husband, my kids are the loves of my life, and I love, love my mini-van. That's right, little slam dancer Kristen, I love it. I've just blown away a BMW 3 with it! And all the while my butt is gently warmed by the seat heaters. Ah, the luxury of it.

Is there a point to any of this? Embrace who you are, I suppose. And a slight caveat, that which you fear you bring to you. Of course, that might not always be such a bad thing, but be cautious; focusing on something always brings it to you. So focus on the good and let the fear fall away.

Now as for my dreams for 45...

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Magic. That's right, magic. Specifically, the magic that turns a story into a Story.

I'm sure other writers will testify to this, we agonize over the characters -are they realistic, likable; plot -does it make any sense? does it flow? is it exciting?; would this word work better than that one?

In the course of writing Molly and John's story, I've probably written near 500k words and I can recall every scene perfectly. We obsess! No doubt about it. Every writer I know cares deeply about their work. And yet, some stories fail, fall flat. But why? Well, as they say, if I truly knew, I'd be rich.

But as I'm sitting here, my daughter is watching Enchanted -a movie that ought to suck, mean really, a movie about a nitwit storybook princess plopped down in NYC? But it doesn't! There is something about the movie that transcends the goofy plot, over the top acting, and general unbelievability of it. There is something that comes through that makes me enjoy it. Frankly, I think the actors and crew enjoyed themselves. Joy, passion, love, these things are infectious.

But back to books. How many times have we as writers been hacking away at a story and just not feeling it? And consequently, our stories suffer. Any time I view writing my story as a job -and I'm not talking about editing because that IS a job, the scene falls flat. It is amazing to me, but when I sent out my wip for the first beta read, my readers found fault with all the 'work horse' scenes, the ones I labored over instead of letting flow and enjoying when I wrote them. Reader know. They always do. Writing is more than putting down words, it is feeling. A story isn't just about having something to say; it is a communication of feeling.

Think of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I loved that book, couldn't put it down. But in truth, half the time I was thinking, why am I reading this? Nothing is happening. But the passion that lived in those characters, the passion that Meyer's had for the world she created grabbed hold of me and refused to let go. To me, that is the magic of Twilight.

If you don't' feel that passion, magic, whatever you want to call it, when crafting your story, if you don't feel that giddy high, akin to falling in love (even if you're writing a terrorizing thriller), then I'd take a step back and think hard if what you're writing is the story you really want to write.

I'm not saying that a writer can't create a great story without feeling that passion, but I believe that without passion, that story isn't going to be Magic. Passion = magic.


I begin

Okay, so I still feel a bit like the lady with a mic in an empty this thing on? But here I go, my first post.

It occurs to me, as I sit here trying to ignore the echo, that I need not say why I started or give a life story. Those few that might read this likely know anyway. So here I am. Seriously, is this thing on?