Dear Internal Editor: Shut Up, Shut Up, Shut Up, Shut Up

The inside of my brain is stuffed full of ideas. Thoughts, reactions, commentary, occasional witticisms. It’s piled high with boxes of topics I’d like to explore. Stacks of life I need to sort through. Hangups to shred. Anxiety to burn. … Continue reading

So…About That Novel.

You know that feeling when it’s like a parasite gets in your head and you feel like you need to do everything humanly possible to keep yourself busy? If you stop for even the shortest time, that parasite starts nibbling away at your brain, causing everything to unravel. I’m convinced it attacks reason first.

I’ve been doing a lot to keep that parasite at bay, and it’s got a lot of reasons to keep creeping up on me. Sometimes I deal with multiple parasites. In an effort to keep myself busy lately, I’ve continued to read everything from blogs to books, thrown myself headlong into learning something about the business world, committed myself to networking for professional purposes (after, of course, figuring out what I want to be), and started really learning about social media.

I’ve also taken up knitting and maintaining a Facebook page for my dogs. When things get really bad, I’ll have conversations with my fish, Richard Marx. I zone out with Netflix. I’m way too into The Real Housewives of NJ.

And sometimes, even after all of that, the parasite just keeps on keepin’ on.

The parasite is, I think, the reason I’ve become so incredibly passionate about writing lately. It’s not that I didn’t love writing before. I always have, and that’s how I’ve identified. There’s just something very different about my relationship with writing right now. It’s more extensive, going beyond just the creative.

And everything beyond the creative has kept me away from the novel for a while. Six months, to be exact.

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Publication Anxiety

Tonight, when faced with the option to stay in or go to a Steelers bar with a group of friends to watch the pre-season game, I opted to stay home. I wasn’t feeling the bar scene, and I’m not a Steelers (or Giants) fan. Ultimately, after sitting in my room for an hour, I decided to take myself on a date to Barnes & Noble.

If you’ve ever read Truman Capote’s iconic novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (or if you’ve seen the toned down, Mancini-infused film adaptation), you know that when Holly Golightly has a case of “the mean reds” (translation: unlike having the blues, it’s when you’re feeling down but you don’t really know why), she heads to Tiffany’s to window shop. She doesn’t believe anything bad could ever happen to you there. I had a case of the mean reds tonight, and Barnes & Noble is my Tiffany’s.

When I got there, I browsed around the new fiction and nonfiction. I looked at the best sellers and the summer suggestions. I picked up and put back down a number of classics. My normal BN method is to roam up and down the fiction aisles for an extended period of time before moving on to other areas of the store. That didn’t work out for me tonight. After checking out the tables of books (does anyone else feel compelled to touch them sometimes? I could never use a Nook or a Kindle because I just love the feel of a book too much), I found myself looking at the magazine racks. In particular, I was looking for literary journals. There were too many people, and the magnet in the reference section was especially strong tonight. A few minutes later, after a brief stop to see if there were any new books on the Kennedys that might interest me, I found myself standing in front of shelves of books about writing, how to generate ideas, how to write effectively, how to find work writing, etc. Towards the bottom, I saw the magnet. It was the Writer’s Market 2011 book. If it had hands, they would have been all sassy and akimbo. It would have been raising its eyebrows at me. “You’ll never do it,” it would say. “Remember?” Continue reading