Writers gotta write

I don’t normally post on Tuesdays, but I’m making an exception this week.

Since this blog has my name on it, I feel it should contain posts that represent the true me. Most days, I stick with writing. But like the rest of you, there is more to me than on single facet. I am a mother, wife, artist, friend, sister, and even an Aunt. I love this world.

Most days I love this world.

Lately I’m not sure how I feel about this world.

It’s like there is this spinning Doctor Who-esk vortex churning up the sky–and our lives. But instead of sucking Daleks out of London, it’s spewing anger and hate into our universe.

As writers, we are meant to observe. Even if we’re sitting down to write fantasy, science fiction, or whatever your favorite genre based fiction is. We MUST observe.

The world around us is an endless source of story ideas, characters, setting, plot lines, and the very fabric we use to color our stories. It is the endless well that nourished our spirit. And now, our world is filled with so much “inspiration” it’s hard to look at or think of anything else.

But we must.

No, I’m not suggesting we turn away. We are the writers, the note-keepers, the narrators. It is our job to document life–even if it’s cleverly placed on a planet in another galaxy all together.

What I am saying is we need to absorb, process, and work. We need to write new blog posts, poems, short stories, novels–whatever we can that will help, encourage, fill in the many voids out there.

I want to write this special Tuesday Post to say, “Good Job!” and “Keep it up!” to every writer I know. To every writer who reads this.

To every artist who will be using their medium to show the world what it needs to see/hear/read.

Life is beauty. Beauty is art. Therefore, art is life and it’s beautiful. Sadly, we’ll be needing to dust off the beauty so we can all see it.

Have a beautiful Tuesday, readers. And go out and share your words, art, happiness with the world. It can use a lot of happy.

xxoo-A

No more excuses

Ah! My first post of the New Year. Took me long enough…

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So, 2016 didn’t much live up to the expectations of the gen pop–but you already knew this. You’ve watched the news, seen the memes, followed the feeds, read the blogs–you, my friend, are in the ‘know!’

And I respect that about you.

2016 has become the punchline–no, the *excuse* of a decade. It is the reason we are sad. It is used as the basis for what is lacking in your life, or this world. 2016 is the quote, it is the comparison, it is rational for every last thing we’ve lost control of or never had control of in the first place.

Well, it’s no longer 2016. Thus, it no longer applies.

Now, I could go into a rant (one that is political in nature) and confabulate with you on what is waiting over the next ridge–but I will not. I could grab a sandwich board and slap some paint on that baby, before draping it over my bony shoulders with a message painted in my scratch writing–but I won’t.

All of this nonsense are distractions. What is the point of this lollygagging when there is so much to do?

I shouldn’t have waited so long to come here and post, but the holidays are a big deal in my life–so I’m here now. I’m here to say, no excuses in 2017. It may not be the best year. It may be worse than the *dreaded* 2016. But it may also be the best year you’ve ever known. This is how I’m looking at it: I know what I want, I’ve known since I was seven–and I’ll keep working to make it happen.

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Time to be Daniel and Crane Kick 2017 in the face.

The only wise words I have for those reading this is, “there is no such thing as an over night success.” Remember that when you’re a slave to your craft–to your words. Hard word and dedication are the key to success. The only true failure in life is quitting (unless you’re a smoker, than it’s the opposite.)

Happy New Year, friends! And happy writing–xxoo-A

Love to Oakland

I want to take a second to throw some love to everyone in Oakland. If you haven’t heard about The Ghost Ship, and what happened on Saturday night/Sunday morning–there was a massive fire at a place called The Ghost Ship.

An artist commune, the building was an old warehouse used by artists to work and celebrate art. I’ve read a number of articles over the past few days–most concentrate on all the building violations. This morning I read a piece for the Village Voice that way by far my favorite. (Click on Village Voice to read the article.)

Before I go into the thick of it–here is a photo of the interior of The Ghost Ship:

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I’m post the image because I want people to really look at what it was–an not sit around making assumptions about what it *must* have been.

I consider myself an artists. As you know, I write. I’ve had poems published, I’m working really hard to have a novel put into publication–but I also paint, am an avid fan of photography, and I still write music from time to time. These parts of me–parts of my artists–I don’t broadcast. My life has limited spare time–most of which I pour into words.

That said, I’ve been to many places like The Ghost Ship. I’ve sat on their floors, hung out with their artist, conspired and contributed. There is nothing more subjective than art–which makes it a difficult path to walk. One day everyone may love you, and the next they want nothing to do with you. I’ve spent a better part of this year being rejected over and over–so much so I now flinch when my email rings. This is a fact.

Will I stop? No. Because this is who I am. Please stop asking artists to quit because it’s hard. They know it’s hard. We know it’s hard–but it’s who we are. It’s important.

Once we stop grieving, because we need time to do that–people lost their lives. This is a tragedy. But we need to make changes. Just like The Village Voice states–the only way to prevent another instance like The Ghost Ship in Oakland is to support local art.

This new administration will not be friendly to the arts. Like I said, art is a very subjective world–I have a hard time believing a group of people who are actively trying to remove things like Social Security under the guise of *Saving Money* (we–the public–pay for that by the way–the government doesn’t. So whose money are they trying to save…?) I very much doubt they will reach out to the art community to give them the money the need in order to be artists.

Art isn’t free. It takes time, money, effort–talent. It’s a hard road. So when you meet an artist–don’t ask them to give you their work for free. Don’t say things like, “My kid could do that,” or “I could have done that.” Because you didn’t–they did it–and most likely, you couldn’t in the first place. Pay them for their work. Encourage your community to help and support art.

I’m sending much love and respect to every single last one of you in Oakland.

Friday in Review–Toby’s Room

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“Toby’s Room” by: Pat Barker

TOBY’S ROOM isn’t my normal read. Yes, I like a good historic fiction from time to time, but in my experience a good story is hard to find.

I picked up TOBY’S ROOM for an online course I was taking on World War I heroism and art. There was a list, and this was the first one my library had a digital copy of–so it won out over all the rest. This may not sound like the most compelling reason to read a novel, but it turned out to be luck of fate.

I very much like the sadness that encompassed Toby’s Room.

Toby’s Room is the story of the civilians during WWI. More specifically, artists. Before this war–the war to ‘end’ all wars–the world was a much different place. Imperialism was just coming to an end, and how we–the public–viewed war was filled with chivalry and grand gestures. World War I put men in trenches and was anything but whimsical and heroic.

The story was twisted, much as life often is. There are a lot of gray areas in the real world. Moments that complicate life, making it anything but cut and dry. That is what I enjoyed the most about this tormented tale.

There are so many moments you should look away. Too many broken people who deserve your charity rather than your gawking–but gawking I did. From the first chapter to the last.

No, this is not an every persons book. If you don’t like history, or war, or gray patches–you may want to pass. But I feel the complexity of the character and Ms Barker’s ability to force you to feel compassion, even for those who don’t deserve it, will leave you turning pages.

Happy reading! xxoo-A