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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

summer’s iron hand
beats me with light
with heat
my mind winces
whipped dog shying
hiding in darkened corners

then, for a few hours
clouds bring respite
moisture’s brief touch
salves my skin
saves my soul

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Just because I wasn’t writing, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t writing.

I know to some it seems like I’ve been procrastinating, putting off actually breaking through my years-long writer’s block, but it hasn’t been all “Mañana, baby.”

In fact, in the past month, I did a lot of writing. No words written, but a lot of writing, nonetheless.

It began with re-reading one of my older books, and culminated (well, so far) over this past weekend when I had a revelation about my difficulty getting to Page One. (more…)

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————————

Two people, side by side, promise to love each other forever
It is a hope: that love is an ally
It is a belief: that we are stronger together
It is a dream: of a new history begun
But more than that, it is a statement:
You and I, are We.
And We can take on the World.

————————

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Typing. Deleting. More typing. More deleting. MOAR typing. Delete delete delete. Delete it all. Every last word, comma, and period.

That was yesterday.

I was working on an essay for this blog and … it wasn’t going well. I was working on a topic that had been rolling around in my head for a month. All my arguments and counterarguments were lined up. I even had a catchy title … well, I thought it was a catchy title, until I googled it and found a hundred thousand other uses of it (including one by Garrison Keillor, which I discovered in a moment that was both uplifting and depressing).

Anyway, for hours I wrote and deleted in precisely equal measure, and in the end I was left with the same blank page I’d started with.

At which point I stopped and wondered: why was I having so much trouble?

The answer was obvious: I had no passion for the topic.

Not anymore, anyway.

Oh, when the idea first struck me, I was all fired up and ready to unleash my staggering intellect upon the world. See my reasoning and despair! But now, a month later, things have changed. Not externally. The premise still stands, the argument still works, and I can find no flaw in my logic, but internally … I just don’t care about it anymore.

This is not a bad thing. (more…)

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While I’m working on something more meaty, here’s a bit of fun.

Like most people my age, I learned to type on a manual typewriter, an old Smith-Corona, to be precise. It was heavy — damned heavy — and came in its own nearly-as-heavy hard-sided case. It had a black-and-red ribbon that always got twisted, the keys continually got hooked onto one another, and after typing up an evening’s homework, my forearms ached from the physical exertion of pressing down the keys. That’s no exaggeration; it took some oomph to make those levers thwack with enough force to register through to the carbon copy.

What’s a carbon copy, you ask? Well, it’s a … nope, I don’t have time or space to explain it all. (more…)

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———
the tiny blade
twice my age
still has a bite
that shaves red cedar
from my blunted pencil
to reveal its black heart
and sharpen my wit
———

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Last week we screened Logan, the latest movie starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. (I was on vacation … don’t judge!) You all know I’m not a big fan of comic-book-inspired films, but Jackman has always surprised me with his talent — in comedies, musicals, and dramas alike — and from the trailer, this one looked interesting enough to warrant the rental. As it turned out, it was worth both the time and the money, but more than that, it reminded me of the harshest criticism I’ve ever received on one of my novels.

Back when I still had a New York literary agent, I turned in the manuscript of my new historical fantasy, Ploughman’s Son, in the hopes that we might begin shopping it around to publishers. I’d worked on it for a long time, bringing it from a weird idea to a published short story and then, following months of research into 9th century Brittany, Europe, and medieval life, I’d forged it into a fantasy novel unlike any I’d ever read.

It was historically accurate from a societal, cultural, and political perspective. It depicted the incredibly harsh and violent conditions that most people endured in what we call The Dark Ages. The pantheon and legends it explored were some that I’d never encountered in other fantasy novels. And yet it also included the basics of the genre, tropes that were familiar enough to engage fans of fantasy, but different enough to keep them interested.

My agent read it, and responded with her opinion. (more…)

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