Monday, December 13, 2010

Reverb 10, the one about aspirations

December 13 – Action

When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

(Author: Scott Belsky)


I'm getting this over with now, my honey world. Tomorrow I will be busy doing instead of writing about doing.


My daughter put her pajamas on inside out before she went to bed and requested that I throw an ice cube at a tree.

I would do a snow dance, but when I started to, one my hips complained.

I really need to do some stretching.

The high school kids are begging the Universe for a snow day. I don't blame them. They are all so exhausted. Many reasons for this aside from the usual (end of term; they are naturally nocturnal creatures; they simply don't sleep) related to our specific school district and some scheduling.

It's snowing lightly and I think will snow lightly for the rest of the night.

I will not sleep well. Might as well write. I'll be waiting for the automated phone call from the school, which, if it comes, will come as early as 5:30 a.m.:

"This is Mr. Principal with LittleVille High School. LittleVille High School is on a one-hour, two-hour delay." or "The high school is closed today."

My cell phone is all charged up, and I'll sleep with it on top of my blankets. The vibration will wake me. Then I will creep upstairs and whisper the news, if there is any, into my daughter's ear. If it's good (as in, the snow dances and rituals worked (she should have put a cotton ball under her pillow. Why the fuck not?)), her head will pop up off the pillow.

"Really?" she'll say.

"Really," I'll say, and kiss her hair.

If the district does cancel school, I will have to make a decision about my work vs. time with my daughter.

I think tomorrow, the work might have to win. I haven't had the focus to write fiction this weekend. I think Reverb 10 is a distraction, but it's just one.

I am also curdling some scenes that will play better once curdled.

Still, tomorrow needs to be a "do" day.

I am a great believer in lists. I don't just mean your regular "todotoday" lists. I mean expansive lists, lists that cover every possibility, especially when one is stuck.

I don't need to write down the lists, but it's more fun if I do.

Tonight I will:

- finish this prompt
- crawl into my bed
- read something until I can't keep my eyes open
- pretend to sleep but really dream that my father and I are pushing a cart through the huge HEB on Lamar near the duplex he rented from my sister and her husband the year he was dying
- wake up at 3 a.m. from the dream laughing and crying because I will dream the moment when our bill rang up to be $300 because he bought himself a $180 box of cigars but didn't warn me
- fall back to sleep with the sound of my father's whispery laugh in my ears

Tomorrow morning I will:

- get the girl off to school if there is school
- let the girl sleep until noon if there is no school
- tackle my morning free write
- touch my toes
- brew my coffee (this actually must happen before the free write)
- crack my neck
- pull up novel files
- maybe start writing the carnival scene
- have a "conversation" with Lily to find out how she's feeling about this new novel (she is fictional but far more ... what? real than I am? colorful?)
- work. I will work tomorrow.

Really, the prompt is kind of silly for me in a way. I write. I don't have aspirations to write. I write. I have always written. I used to write term papers and short stories (very bad short stories). Then I wrote newspaper articles, then magazine articles, then I edited things, then I wrote poetry and more poetry and more poetry still.

And I have always written novels.

The doing is joy.

The doing is breath.

The doing is what matters.

Sure, I hope someday to be published. Who doesn't? (well, that one beautiful woman in the 2009 poetry workshop I took who really should be published. She's a gorgeous poet.)

I've left out so much during these Reverb prompts, things I've done this year toward my goal to finish. Decisions I've made to cut back on work that doesn't pay. I so love to volunteer. It brings me great joy, and I get to be with amazing young people. But I need to earn some money, and the dramas that rose up in the group in which I was involved exhausted me.

I am sometimes not so good with people. They seem to like me well enough, but they wear me out. I don't know why, exactly. Maybe I absorb too much of their shit or something, and it poisons my blood.

Or something.

My next step is simple. I will continue writing on the projects that are calling to me most strongly. I will write them until they are finished. Then I will revise them, send them out to a few friends, find myself an agent (there are other things I need to do to find the agent, and I will do those things).

While the works I finish are making the rounds, I'll continue working on the next in progress piece (I have a few), figure out if it is related to the one I'm writing now (it is. no question).

Another blogger wrote a post sometime last week in which she asked readers what their three words for 2011 would be. It was a prompt similar to Gwen Bell's one word prompt from Dec. 1, but I read the other writer's prompt first and found my three words instantly.

Connect
Expand
Release

All these words have to do with my work. I know exactly what they mean.

When I first read Scott Belsky's prompt, a quote flew into my mind, and I dug through my memory until I found the scene where I'd heard it:

The restaurant scene in Moonstruck just before Johnny Camarari proposes to Loretta Castorini. There is drama between an older professor and his younger date:

Perry
Patricia, please don't go!

Patricia
What do you think I am, a talking dog?

Perry
I was just making a point about the way you said...the way you stated your aspirations.

Patricia
You can kiss my aspirations, professor!

Perry
K
iss my aspirations? Oh, very clever. The height of cleverness.

(I keep expecting someone to criticize the way I "state my aspirations." Silly, self-conscious, old crone.)

(ps - I should probably note that I write these things directly into the window, mostly without thinking and occasionally without proofing.)

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