Dreaming

Like most writers (probably) I have often read there is benefit in keeping a dream diary. I suppose the point is inspiration or just to get in touch with your inner images, thoughts, intuitions? And I have done dream diaries from time to time but mostly when I was much younger and much more impressionable.

In search of inspiration (as writers are wont to do) I stumbled upon this free writing course on the internet. In fact, I stumbled upon several but for some reason this one spoke to me. If you are looking for some good information on story structure as well as inspiration, I recommend you check it out.

One of the first things Steve recommends is starting a dream diary. So, I figured what the heck, let me try it. And I have been jotting in it every morning since I started it – although, I’m not sure what ideas or inspirations I might derive from it because seriously my dreams are not that interesting…

Saturday – I dreamed of a sorority where people had special powers and rooms were facades.

Sunday – I dreamed of battling confusion and fighting for a cause (unknown).

Monday – I dreamed about social security and how it was killing people.

Tuesday – I dreamed about NASA redistributing wealth and a teacher with magical powers that she was teaching writers.

Wednesday – I dreamed about marching men in black masks and a naked Bill Clinton adapting to something.

Thursday – I dreamed my room mate turned his house into a bar and grill and inn. It made me mad because it endangered my email address. And apparently the FBI was onto him.

Friday – (last night) I dreamed about dancing and a cat with magical powers and there was a room I wanted to get into but couldn’t.

In looking these over, it seems there is a central theme of magical powers, disappearing rooms and things not being what they seem. Hmmm….what kind of writing might that inspire?

How about you, what do you dream about?

WC

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Shoes – Theme Friday

ballet-shoes, theme friday, dance, fiction, dreams

They were silken, silvered wings that hung from iridescent ribbon and called Moiré’s name whenever she passed by. She would stop and watch them, helpless against their power to enchant her. Pressing her hands and face against the glass she would wish them into her life, but all the wishing in the world didn’t make them hers. They simply hovered just out of reach and teased her with each sparkle.

“You love those shoes, don’t you, dear?” Mrs. Gamble, the shop owner, asked.

Moiré nodded and mouthed the word, yes, unable to speak in their presence.

Mrs. Gamble smiled and sighed. “I remember my first pair…they were so beautiful I was afraid to put them on. I only wanted to look at them and then put them away so they wouldn’t scuff. But they do you know. They scuff and they split and eventually you have to get new ones. The first pair, though, they are special.”

Moiré looked up at Mrs. Gamble, a plump and cheerful woman, and couldn’t imagine her leaping and pirouetting across a dance floor. Even though she’d seen the pictures on the walls of the shop, seen the awards Mrs. Gamble had earned in silver frames and spied through the window sometimes when she held dance class. Moiré wished to be in Mrs. Gamble’s class too but she knew it was only a wish that would never come – just like the shoes, she could see but not touch.

“I have to go to school,” Moiré mumbled.

“All right dear, see you later,” Mrs. Gamble waved. And she would see Moiré later because after school she would come back and commune with the shop window to covet the shoes for a while before going home.

School was filled with geography, history, English and math but Moiré’s mind held only images of pink tulle and satin, bright lights and varnished planks that gave with each landing of perfectly pointed toes. Of music so grand that you could not help but dance, that you could not help but fly through rarefied air like petals catching the breeze on a summer’s day.

Teachers frowned and admonished Moiré’s endless daydreaming and advised she learn her lessons well. The day would come when the real world would expect her to earn her keep and be a good, productive citizen. Moiré agreed and tried to memorize the fifty states, the names of dead presidents and long division but the shoes were her destiny, somehow they would save her from the dreary future the grown-ups forecasted.

***
It was dark when Moiré returned home and long past the time she was expected. Mother was red and angry as she so often was. Moiré braced for the slap sure to come. “Where have you been you little mongrel?”
Moiré shrugged and went to the kitchen. “Just around. Are you hungry? I’ll make you some soup.”

“I don’t want any soup,” the mother monster growled. “Where were you? Mooning after those damn shoes? Again?”

Moiré opened the can of soup – plop into the saucepan, whoosh, the gas flame ignited. Carefully she filled the can with water and added it to the soup then stirred. “It’s cold, the soup will taste good,” she murmured. “I think we have crackers too.”

The beast calmed and Moiré served her soup and crackers and rubbed her tired feet. “I used to dance when I was your age.”

Moiré nodded, dark blue eyes fixed on the pattern in the worn rug. “Uh huh.”

“I was damned good too,” mother lamented. “But it broke my heart. It broke my heart I tell you.” A small whimper escaped the stern mouth that once was sweet and gave kisses freely. “I just don’t want you to get your heart broken, you see?”

Again, Moiré nodded but she didn’t see. Mother fell quiet and snored softly. In silent stealth, Moiré covered mother with a blanket and took the dinner dishes to the sink.

Too tired to do any more, Moiré went to her tiny room and locked the door behind her but did not bother to turn on the light. She undressed, carefully folded her clothes and placed them on the little chair by her bed, pulled on her soft blue nightgown, then crawled into bed. When she lay down her head something felt wrong. She reached under the pillow and pulled out a pair of old, worn ballet shoes – mother’s shoes. Her heart exploded into tears and smiles and little girl giggles. And she dreamed of the dance.

themefrilogo 

Christine’s shoes are walking here and Jess’s shoes are shuffling here.

Shameless Self-Promotion

woo-hoo

Those of you who know me or have been reading this blog for any length of time, know that I have dreams – some of them, pretty big. Chief among them is publication. Well, guess what? I just got published. Yup. Me. Writer Chick. And they said it couldn’t be done. Believe me, I have the rejection letters to prove it.

As many of you know, I’ve spent the better part of the last couple of years looking for an agent and a publisher and finally decided to shelf it. I hadn’t given up but I thought that if I put it aside for a while that a newer, better idea would come to me about how to approach this wiley animal known as publication. Quite unexpectedly I saw a posting on a writer’s forum I sometimes visit and out of curiosity, clicked the link.

Wow, who knew there was an online publisher with such a cool website and such obvious respect for writers? Not I.

I spent quite a bit of time at the site and decided I wanted to submit my novel, False Witness. I had nothing to lose and really everything to gain. Naturally, I had to do things to prepare it, write bios and reformat – all the fun stuff. Then of course there was also that little voice of mine that kept telling me to forget about it. I decided not to listen and clicked the submission button.

To my delight and surprise False Witness was accepted for publication and is now available. Cue horns, noisemakers, fireworks and Bethoven’s Fifth. I can not express the feeling that overtook me when I read that email, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that exact emotion, whatever it was or is – maybe I’d call writer’s joy. I think I started laughing and then crying and then I just couldn’t stop giggling. I felt like a writer damn it! And it felt good.

So, okay, what are you waiting for, click the link and check it out. If it looks good get yourself one. If not – hey at least you looked at it, right? But if you do get one, just remember this, you will be directly responsible for providing writing supplies to one happy writer.

false-witness

Bad Dreams

So, here I am at 1 AM plus sitting at my computer keyboard cuz I had a dream that scared the bageebers outta me. Luckily I was smart enough to wake up or I could be lost in the depths of a bad plot about a doctor going crazy on my ass. You know? But you have to love dreams, don’t you? For all their Alice in Wonderland, crazy plot twists and casts of characters. This one, which thankfully, I vaguely remember was about some doctor who was lecturing me about stealing from him and he was going to ‘get’ me and somehow an old boyfriend figured into the scenario too but he had something to do with critiques on flavors of candy he had invented as well as sleep remedies. And somebody must have been beating me with a stick too because my neck is killing me. Aside from the old boyfriend, I have never met any of the people in the dream, which is freaky cuz man they seem real, so maybe it’s just a novel I need to write that is calling to me from badfuckingdreamland or I shouldn’t have eaten the cheese cracker thingies Roomie offered me last night?

I do (and have often) wonder where these kind of dreams come from. I know there is much psychobabble dedicated to dreams and their ‘meanings’ which for the most part I think is a bunch of hogwash. I mean seriously, how much can you trust the ‘unconscious mind’? It’s unconscious for a reason, right? You don’t trust unconscious people, do you? So why would you put any stock in a mind that was unconscious and what it was trying to tell you? Like babies and puppy dogs, while they are amazingly cute and lovable, if they were giving you advice, would you listen? I think not.

I do, however, believe in premonitions that sometimes come in dreams, as some of those have really hit the mark for me personally. I wonder if there is a difference? There must be, otherwise they’d be as nonsensical as the other dreams, wouldn’t they?

Like my dream, I’m probably not making any sense – or maybe I really can write in my sleep – I guess I’ll let you be the judge of that – but again, what is up with these dreams anyway? Are they just from stress or a string of weird thoughts, snippets of television shows and bad cheese and crackers? I think they are. I think the body just can’t take what we deal out often in our daily lives and so it revolts at night when we aren’t paying attention by causing us to hallucinate about non-existant jobs, trips and blind dates. It is ‘its’ way of getting back at us for not taking good enough care of it. Not feeding it right, pushing it to the point of exhaustion and then forcing it eat and drink very weird stuff (as far as it is concerned anyway).

I have no real point here, I am simply jabbering in the hopes the last vestiges of the dream melts like cotton candy and I can go back to sleep. Any thoughts?

Lightning

Sometimes lightning strikes, without warning or premonition.

It streaks the sky with an energy unique and all consuming.

And it carries you away to a world you might never have known.

A wonderful world. A beautiful world that is rare and foreign but feels like home. And you can never be the same once you’ve been there and learned the secrets of lightning.

Once it becomes part of you, your spirit, your soul. And you never want to be the same.

The lightning got me and I’m never going back.

I Want – Theme Fridays

I want to feel safe in a world gone prefectly mad. I want people to recognize that we are all here together and it could be an amazing adventure if we let it. I want people to be kinder to each other, to pass on the opportunity to have the upper hand and not have to always be right.

I want music, poetry and art to be created from the heart again, without a thought given to the demographics. I want children to go to sleep on full stomachs in warm, clean beds. I want to quit being manipulated by groups with vested interests, especially the ones who tout their ‘good causes.’ I want people who play games to move to their own island and leave the rest of us alone. I want people to value themselves and others more. I want natural disasters to just be the result of weather with no political affiliations.

I want chocolate for breakfast and for men to see all women as the lovely creatures they are and to cherish them. I want women to stop wanting to be men and to give the balls back to their rightful owners.

I want technology to stop – and take a breath – so that we can. I want teenagers to find meaning in books and art and personal relationships instead of their cell phones. I want old people to be respected and revered for their wisdom and experience. I want humor to be funny without being mean.

I want leaders who lead because they have the best interest of their citizens at heart instead of just the ability to talk a good game. I want children to have parents who love them and keep them safe but also teach them the lessons of life. I want every human being on this earth to feel happiness and joy and to put that above things and power.

I want people to say what they mean and mean what they say. I want anyone who can talk out of both sides of their mouth to go work for the circus, not my government. I want to fight the good fight when I have to but I don’t ever want to have to.

I want us all to realize that we are sentient beings and that the way to change things is by changing ourselves – that the answers are not ‘out there’ but rather ‘in here.’

And Christine wants and Jess wants

Can You See it Now?

Much has been written about the power of the mind, affirmations, positive thinking, getting what you think about, etc. and it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

Can a person really think themselves into the reality that they want? I would like to think so. I mean, how much power does that then give you if you can think your own world into being? Sounds a little like a fantasy novel perhaps. The hero stumbles upon a magic lamp inhabited by a genie with the power to fulfill wishes, or discovers a secret formula or perhaps a dormant and incredibly powerful part of the brain that when awakened can do anything you want it to do. All make believe? Maybe. But then again…maybe not.

If you read about or study famous people and/or successful people there seems to be a common thread that runs through their stories. They all believed, they all had vision, they all imagined their success before it happened. They may not say it in those terms but if you really examine what they say, that is in essence what they mean.

So, is it a special talent that has enabled them to do this? Maybe – but personally, I believe that anyone has the ability to believe in themselves and in their dreams. That in a way you get what you ask for in life. You may not realize you are asking for what you get, but I think you are. You think, ‘I want a new car,’ and the next thing you know your car is totaled on the freeway. Yep, you’re definitely getting a new car. Perhaps not in the way that you thought you might get one, but the universe is there, trying to fulfill what you’ve asked for. But maybe it’s going a little screwy because you haven’t asked for it in a way that is an improvement or that leads to something better? Could be.

Maybe worry plays a part in this too. When you worry about stuff do you get more of what you worry about? I know, I do. Then I try not to worry and I still worry and perhaps even more. Note to self: don’t worry. No, that’s not right. Note to self: things will work out. Better, I think.

I’ve encountered a lot of folks who are big on visualization. They envision what they want and that’s what they think about. I have to say, that I think this might be the better way to go. If you can keep an idea of what you want in your head. You can get it.

I don’t know about you but I think I’m a visual person. Visual tools help me. If I am trying to learn something, I like to watch other people do it and learn that way. Reading about things certainly helps as well, but for me, nothing work better than actually seeing the thing in motion. Ideally, a combination of instruction and visual mechanics of the thing works best and the fastest for me. For example, when I wrote my novel, I spent time going through magazines to find pictures of the main characters (of people who looked like the characters I’d imagined), pictures of the locations, the houses or buildings they inhabited, the cars they drove, anything and everything that would give them substance – and I pasted these cut outs onto a board, which I named a story board, which I guess isn’t really a story board per se – except that it told the story in pictures for me. It was the visual cue to the story and it helped really solidfy that reality that brought about the end product of the novel.

I’ve also been trying to think into existence my own business as you all know. And though I’ve felt some panic and worry, there is an underlying thought that continues which is, ‘I know I can do this.’ I have a sense of calm because somehow, someway, I know it will happen.

Curiously, things have been arriving in my life lately. A friend sent me a dvd which really validated these thoughts and beliefs, another friend asked me to write an article for their website as a means to help her but to also help me become known as a writer, someone offered me a job that will help me learn many of the things that I need to learn, a few people have offered to help me sort out my website, another friend offered me a couple of writing jobs. All these things tell me that the more I can see this happening for me, the more likely it will happen.

So, I’ve resolved to start seeing a different future for myself. To start seeing what I want in life, what I have in life, rather than what I don’t want. I have to laugh at myself because when I think about it, people have been telling me that for a while now. And I’ve brushed it off, ignored it, thought that it might work for them but it won’t for me. Now, I’ve started to listen to those people and those clues. I have nothing to lose and perhaps everything to gain.

So, can you see it now? I hope so.

WC

Going For It

Hey Everybody,

I know I haven’t been around much lately, so I thought I’d give you a quick update of what I’ve been doing lately.
I have a bunch of agents to query this week – I may still try to post but I have 35 agents to hit and I want to get this done this week.
 
So…if you don’t see much of me, that’s where I am and what I’m doing.
 
Something has happened to me lately- maybe I’ve realized  how much I want this (to get published) or something. I don’t know. But last weekend, I spent 5 hours poring over lists of agents and came up with 35 to submit to. I know it’s a longshot, as is everything you really want in life but I’ll never know if I don’t try. And I really want to try. That’s probably the biggest change. Maybe in the past I’ve been satisfied with just writing. I do love to write and I do it all the time and it is satisfying. But now, it seems I also want to be read – widely. Is it an ego thing? I don’t know. I suppose it could be – but maybe it’s really just a natural progression. Maybe I’ve finally decided that maybe I have something to say and that maybe others would like to know about that. Or maybe that I’ve decided I’m good enough to give it a shot. It’s like the beautiful butterfly that weaves in and out of the garden though, if you just watch it – it will entertain you for hours – but if you try to catch it, it eludes you. I suppose that isn’t the best analogy but hopefully you get the idea.
 
While all my friends have been supportive and encouraging when it comes to writing – and frankly, that counts for a whole hell of a lot. I’ve had two friends in particular who have really helped push me over my apathy or whatever the heck it was who I want to say, thank you, to.

Thanks Jess, for the deadline, reading the novel, all the really great things you’ve said and all the good honest feedback. I don’t think I would have gotten the ball rolling if you hadn’t just jumped in and helped me push myself.

Thanks Andrea, for wanting to help. For calling me out of the blue and offering your marketing savvy and taskmastery to me. For believing in me and telling me you think I’m the ‘real deal’.

It’s amazing people – just having someone to tell me what to do (read guidance) has seemed to make all the difference. In less than a month I’ve completed the synopsis, the query, cleaned up the manuscript and found 35 agents, plus about 20 contests I want to enter. This week, I query agents. Next week, I tweak stories, the week after that, I enter contests – and so it goes.

Suddenly, I am a mean, lean writing/marketing machine and it feels frickin great. I’m loading up my computer with mega RAM, getting a laptop (used and cheap) as well. I haven’t made this kind of progress in years or maybe ever. The postage, paper and ink is probably gonna break me but I don’t care. It’s what I want.
 
And you want to know something really funny? One of the things that is really motivating me is that I want to start a new project – a new novel. And I guess I don’t feel that I can until I get this thing moving. Does that make sense? I had all but given up on it – weird huh?

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing and I’m really glad and thankful that I’m doing it. It will probably mean that the blogging won’t be as compulsive as it’s been, I may not post as much or visit as much. But I’ll still be around. You’ll still see me. And I’ll keep everyone updated on any and all progress – if you want me to.

And too, I wanted to thank all you guys – for coming and reading and commenting and encouraging me into thinking that there are people out there who want to read what I write. That there is some value there. It has meant the world to me. You’ve no idea how much all of you have made a difference in my life in that way. I love you all.

Annie

Happy Father’s Day, Pop

It’s Father’s Day and it’s been a while since I’ve really celebrated it because my Pop passed away several years ago. An earlier post I did, will tell you about my dad. My first true hero. To say I loved him with all my heart puts it mildly. He meant the world to me. And he still does. I suppose in a way I try to ignore Father’s Day, so I don’t have to miss him even more than I already do. His funny little giggle, and crusty voice, his clear blue eyes and big belly – his everything.

But I don’t want to get all sad and lonely in this post. I want to tell you about him. Just a little. It’s just a small little story but one that I love.

Long after I’d grown up and moved out to California, with my own place and my own life – I used to talk to him on the phone. Probably once a month or so. Not about anything in particular. We just talked about whatever was going on or on our minds. We ‘got’ each other very well, and there always was a real easiness between us. So, this one night we were gabbing on the  phone and he hit all the usual dad bases, who was I dating? were they good to me? how was the job? what kind of car was I driving? when was I leaving the land of terrible earthquakes? stuff like that.

Then the topic rolled around to him. “So, what’s new with you?” I asked. A pause. Eh? Dad never paused when you asked him something. “What?”

“Aw…never mind,” he said. I could swear I almost heard him blushing.

Too curious to let it pass, I said, “What? What is it?”

“Oh, you’ll just make fun of me,” he stalled.

“I will not,” I insisted. “What is it?” I was starting to get a little worried – no one was more of an open book than my Pop and he was a straight from the hip kind of guy, so I knew something was up. “Oh for cripes sake, would you just tell me?”

“Okay,” he said, none too pleased. “Well, I started taking night classes at the local high school.” Pop had never finished high school, something he always regretted.

“Well, that’s great, Dad. What are you taking? Photography? Writing?”

“No, I’m getting my diploma.”

“In what?” I asked, apparently to dense to get what he meant.

“My high school diploma. I went back to school and got my diploma,” he said as though relieved to confess his deep dark secret.

I was so happy for him. I knew what it meant to him and I could tell he was happy about it too. “That’s great! That’s really great, Pop. When are  you going to finish?”

He laughed. “I already did. Mickey (my little sister) and I are having a joint graduation party next week.”

Now, this may seem a bit small to some of you – and I’ll admit that in the greater scheme it probably is. But I swelled with pride when he told me. That at age 60, he would go back to school and right something he thought he’d done wrong 40 years before, really knocked me out. He didn’t do it for any reason, or anyone, just himself. Just because it was important to him – a goal he’d never reached but wanted to. And then to have his graduation party with the youngest of his five children was like the cherry on the ice cream sundae.

And that was my dad. The guy who just followed his heart and never stopped trying to grow or learn throughout his life. I don’t think I was ever prouder of him than I was in that moment.

So, Pop…wherever you are, whether up in Heaven looking down on me, or reincarnated as an American Bald Eagle soaring through the sky – you still are and always will my hero. Happy Father’s Day, Pop.

Love,

Annie

Simple

Simple…isn’t it a great word? It sort of bounces off the tongue and flits across the room, landing like a raindrop in a pond. Plop.

But life is anything but simple, isn’t it? Or is it? You’re born. You live. You die. End of story. The only two certainties: death and taxes. Right? Pocada pocada and away we go…

I’ve been thinking about how simple life was when I was a child. I woke in the morning, had a bite to eat. Got dressed, washed my face and hands and off to school. Where I learned a little bit and then came home. Had some cookies and watched cartoons – fought with my brothers and sister. Dinner. Bath. A little tv and then to bed. Simple.

I never thought about the bills or the price of gas. World affairs or politics. Celebrities or assholes (well maybe the bully down the street). My job or rotating the tires. Nope, not even one brain cell was devoted to that.

My brain power was devoted to pressing questions like: Why don’t cats like to wear doll’s clothes? How can I get that way up there booger out of my nose?  Do bees make their kids go to bed early? Yep, all the really pressing issues of the day. Well….at least my day.

And I dreamed…about the future. About being a ballerina, a teacher, a singer, a painter (now how did I end up a writer?) and even a fireman (firelady?). I imagined the pretty dresses I would wear and what I would name my babies. About becoming that mysterious and fascinating character: an adult.

Funny how when the dream becomes the reality it just ain’t that simple any more. Is it? Go figure.

WC