Welcome to my world. On the other pages of this site you will find everything you want to know about my writing.

On this page, you will find me.

This blog is not writing-centric, but rather, where I express whatever, whenever. Sometimes there will be writing announcements, but most of the time just me. Enjoy!

Dance With Me

tango-lesson“Please, just for me, forget the steps…
Hold me, feel the music,
and give me your soul.
Then I can give you mine.”
~Sally Blake, author of Happy Tango

The modern tango is a dance which borrows from a multitude of cultures, combines traditions from dozens of countries, has many musical influences, and is a pure amalgamation of the physical movement of an emotional soul.

It has both smooth effortless-appearing moves, and sharp twists and turns to break up the monotony. The steps ebb and flow with the music, while the fervor and passion ride the chords like a wave. It is perfect. The perfect dance. The perfect expression. The perfect balance. It requires flexibility, trust, faith, grace and guidance.

It is love in the form of motion.

I took dance as a kid, and by kid I mean from about 8-17 (when I promptly destroyed my Achilles tendon and had to leave dance behind). But I didn’t have partner classes. I was in group tap dancing—large ensembles of stumbling children alongside the more graceful toe-clicking students (I was both, in order). And I was in ballet, specifically pointe, aka up on my toes rather than in soft flats (explains those calves of mine, doesn’t it!). But ballet class was just me and the scariest tiny little woman I’ve ever known—who slapped my calves with a stick and was constantly saying “higher”, “head up”, “stretch your neck/spine”. But I was alone in ballet. No other students. No partner, ever. Thus, I’ve had classical training in the art of dance, but absolutely none of that taught me how to dance with another soul.

So I do not know how to tango. I can barely do the box-step with someone without laughter. Oh, but it’s on my bucket list. Near the top, actually. Complete with the shoes, the dress, and the rose in my teeth. But I need a partner. Someone willing to get their toes stepped on. Someone patient enough to teach me how to follow rather than lead. Someone I can trust not to drop me. Someone whose moves both echo and complement my own. Someone who understands the intimacy of the dance—the grace and forgiveness required. And someone who, if they don’t know all the steps just yet, is eager to take on the adventure as a partner, a team.

Doesn’t sound like a tall order, but it is. Everyone enjoys watching the tango in movies or at wedding receptions, many will jokingly perform the basic and/or most well known positions and moves, but I’ve yet to find one that actually wants to complete the dance. And so I am stuck in the familiar, dancing alone. And when that music starts, I stand back and watch the couples lucky enough to have the partner and know the moves, as they grace the dance floor with beauty and emotion. A wallflower in the music hall.

Until we get to the page. Then I can dance.

They say writing is a solitary thing, but that’s not entirely true. While we writers live in our own heads (sometimes to the detriment of our relationships) and dance with our own creations (characters we often know better than even our closest friends), we do invite the reader to the dance floor. The act of writing is solitary, but the twists and turns, the grace and beauty, is truly a dance of its own with our readers.

I may not have found a partner willing to learn how to tango on the dance floor, but if I do my job correctly as a writer, I will tango with the reader until the last sentence. And as the last notes fade into the corner of the dance hall, and the words creep off the page and into their heads, they should be left out of breath, feeling a bit seduced, with a sense of satisfaction… And a rose in their teeth.

 

 

 

Guckles

gucklesMy love of pickles is not a secret (deal with it Nate). I have always loved them. Forever. Period. And as I giggled at my little Raynebow munching on one the other day, my mind went off into a whirlwind of thoughts regarding the little green treasures that excuse cucumbers for their existence.

I have been known to get just a pickle when the work crew orders from the local sandwich shop, and the delivery guy knows exactly who that for and smiles at my child-like joy. When I was a teen, my brother called them guckles (he was a toddler at the time). Not sure why. He could say “p” but in this instance, he preferred his own word for the happy dill treat. And going back even further, when I was six, my mother bribed me with pickles.

Yes, bribed.

And that’s where the whirlwind stopped.

My mother used to stop on the way home from work at some mysterious place and bring home ginormous pickles, individually wrapped just for me by a group of fairies living near the dill tree in the woods. Hmm… I was six. I believed this. She would then show me said pickle and put it in the fridge and tell me I could have it if I would just be a doll and rub her back (and/or feet) for a few minutes. I was the youngest masseuse to ever work without a license! And I had a lot of fairy-wrapped giant pickles Monday through Friday that year.

And looking back now, as an adult, the woman was brilliant! It wasn’t even about the pickles. It had nothing to do with getting tiny masseuse to work on her kinks. Nope. It was her walking in the door and being able to plot on the couch and just be still and quiet and let the day melt off her for 20 minutes. It was mommy time, not pickle time. Brilliant. Kudos to the woman I often refer to, with love, as crazy (what? she is!).

So here’s a fun wayback-machine question for you… thinking back now as an adult, did your parents ever trick you into something for “you” that was really for them? How brilliantly evil were they?

 

Taming the Muse

museThere is nothing to writing.
All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
~Ernest Hemingway

Sir Hemingway had it right. We bleed. But the bleeding for me is usually in the details, rather than the sweeping generalizations or themes of my fiction. I never encountered monsters when I wrote Live Specimens, but some of the conversations or observations appearing in those pages were mine. I’ve never been kidnapped and tossed in the dark like poor Jenny in Six Days, but some of those thoughts she had were mine, some of those memories were mixed with a little blood from my own. And of course, I still have all my body parts (mostly), but White Picket Prisons has lots of blood in it—silly little details like my feet on the dash of the car when I’m the passenger, and some bigger, more painful details. We bleed. It’s what we do. That’s the easy part.

The hard part comes long before the blood, from one of two things: writers block or the whirlwind—where we wonder what exactly we should bleed. I’ve never been a believer in writer’s block. I’ve never suffered from a lack of imagination. And the way my Pollyanna 12-year-old self looks at it, every time I see something and that little voice says “what if…?” that’s the muse. That happens constantly to creatives. As long as you’ve got that, you’re not blocked. You may be stumped or stuck on what you’re working on, but switch gears to something else, explore that what if, and once you oil the hinges you’ll be fine and can come back.

Me? I have the other problem. My muse is a psychotic bitch from which there is no rest. She follows me to the bathroom, showers with me, stares at me in the rearview while I’m driving, and even crawls in bed with me and cuddles while I slip down into sleep. Unrelenting whore. I love her. (I hate her—it’s complicated). Often I find myself with too much input. A whirlwind of thoughts and ideas and never all of them on the same piece of fiction. Did I mention she’s bipolar, refuses to take meds, and loves to interrupt? Ugh.

She is currently trying to make me bipolar. An apocalypse novella, a monster novel, a freaking vampire novel (?!!), and supernatural thriller novella with a deadline that she only flirts with when I’m actually focused elsewhere. My brain is like a pinball table and she’s the ball, bouncing all over hell. I hit that way with the flipper and she bounces of a bumper and goes the other way. There’s really no controlling her. I’d have better luck trying to control the weather (which, for the record would be a warm 84 degrees all the time with a nice light breeze and perfect blue sky with fluffy clouds that looked like things floating along lazily). See? See that? She did that! Rambled off into fluffy freaking clouds…

I have, however, figured out how to calm her down a notch. Not like I’m taking away sugar completely, but no more red M&Ms for her. See, when I’m working on anything novella length or longer, I have two files: the Word doc for the actual prose, and a TextEdit file for notes, outline, details, etc. Whatever it is I actually want to be writing is open in word. The other tendrils of her ADHD-laced thoughts have their notes open. This way, when she interrupts, I simply pop over and write it down. Or, as the case may be (as I look up and realized I have a tab open with a spider theme and another about vampires), I do a quick search for something, jot it down, and go back to what I was doing. Then she knows I’m paying attention and focuses again. If I don’t, she’ll drag me on an adventure that usually ends somewhere stupid.

So to all those other creative-type people out there whose little voice sees something innocent and says, “Yeah, but what if…?” remember, as long as the questions are there the block isn’t. As far as the whirlwind, even a tornado can be tamed if you distract the wind. In the end, blood is blood and you’re still going to use it once you get those words flowing. You’ll drip a little here, smear a little there, and occasionally dump an entire bucket on the page and call it therapy. But before you bleed, you need the muse to hand over the razor blade.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shopping for a new PS2. Because yes, I play guitar hero while working out scenes in my head and the stupid PS2 died on me in the middle of a crucial scene and now Miss Flighty is throwing vampires in with spiders and little southern girls in with Lovecraft, and it’s a hot mess in here. She needs one razor blade, just one, and I need a my Metallica guitar hero, damn it.

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Photos attached to my blogs are the property of their owners -- some mine, some found online. If your image is here and you want it down, let me know. If you don't mind, thank you for the borrow =)