The Rose Goes In The Front, Big Guy.

I love the movie Bull Durham.  And until this morning I didn’t realize how much a writer can learn from that film.

“If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you ARE! And you should know that!”

“I told him to respect the streak!”

Annie convinces Nuke to breath out his eyelids like a lizard from the Galapagos Islands, and to wear a garter belt (“the rose goes in front, big guy”).  It’s all a part of being just distracted enough not to over-think what he’s doing when he pitches. It’s about having better control when you forget you have control.

So many times, I self-edit, and psyche myself out by over-thinking it.

Did I forget what I did in the last “good streak”?

Respect the streak, writers!

“Nuke’s nervous because his old man’s here and his eyelids are jammed.”

Once he started over-thinking, his confidence goes with it. I’ve done that. I’m still doing it, in fact.

Whatever it takes to be “off-center” just enough to let the skill show is what it’s all about. (For some, apparently that has to do with lizards and undergarments.)  😉 As a writer, it has to do with turning off the self-editor and practicing and challenging our word-smithing skills, trusting the words and the character’s voice. Trusting the image that will emerge and letting it!

Usually I write best when I don’t set expectations for myself. Half-asleep sometimes works for me, but really it’s about a “zone”. When I don’t try to write a certain way and let the words come, they do. And I usually write best when I do a bit of free-form writing before I get to the work in progress. I had forgotten how much writing poetry gave me permission to write whatever worked in my fiction, no matter how absurd it seemed at the time. when I write a bit of poetry I think my synapses in my brain fire differently or something.

When I let it go, I write toward a true image that I want to keep in the book. When I don’t let it all go, I try to force an image and I have to work really hard in the editing process to fix it.

In beginning and through most of writing Yet It Will Come I had never given myself so much permission to be unhinged and to just let the words flow. Then the intensity dwindled until the bits that had any spark at all had forced-spark.  And I become Nuke when Crash says to him, “You couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat.”

I know the exact moment when I forgot what went into my streak .  It’s the point that Yet It Will Come becomes a bit tedious.  The spontaneity that is very much Charlie’s voice disappears. His voice instead of intense and untamed, becomes heavy and task-driven.

I’m trying to fix it, but see a lot of rewriting in my future with this book.

So while I’ve neglected my poetic side for quite some time, while I focused on fiction, I saw today it might be what’s missing in my fiction; I gave up a necessary thing. It appears I need a bit of poetic exercise so I can find Charlie again.

Now if I could find a live chicken to take the curse of Jose’s bat, we’d be all set. 😉


The Final

So it’s done! I decided to go horizontal, and put 4 8x10s from the photo shoot a couple weeks ago in it. I love it! 🙂


Experiment: Complete!


and it goes in the WIN column I think.

What a Pane – Part 2

It’s not entirely finished, but it’s getting there.

If you remember. I started with this.

This weekend I started the refinishing process. First, taking off the layers and layers (and yes, more layers) of paint.  Mauve (blech!), white, black, and old stain. It’s not a pretty process, especially around each of those small pains oops…I mean panes.

Here’s the first view of most of the paint off.

I didn’t get all of it. I had to go back.

The next step was digging out all of the old putty around each pane on the back side of the window.

That’s here:

That was Saturday afternoon. I thought I could fit in the re-caulking Saturday afternoon too.  I was wrong. I had a tiny caulking gun incident. Okay. Really, I clipped the end of the the tube, inserted the tube into the caulking gun, twisted the pressing disk up and up and up and up and I couldn’t get anything to come out. About the time I realized I hadn’t pierced inside the tube, I also realized that I had busted through the bottom side of the tube and had an oozing caulking gun. I had to get the disk back out and nearly caulked my hands to the gun. Once done, I cleaned up myself and the gun, threw away the mangled caulk tube, and decided to call it a night.

First thing on Sunday I did it the proper way.

I know it doesn’t look  neat and tidy here, but you have to wait for it to get partially dry before it cleans up easily. I waited and it cleaned up nicely.

I removed the hardware from the back of the window. I threw the hinges away but kept the latch and will put it on the front of the window because it looks really cool. 🙂

I also had a loose corner joint, so put some brackets on. Here:

Okay, back to work on the front. See all that nasty stuff I couldn’t get out of the grooves with paint stripper? see all the stuff on the glass panes.  (“urgh”)

So I went at it with a box cutter blade – digging into the corners, sanding, cursing, and a bit better here.

I sanded the back, and stained it.

And finally (after much more sanding, scraping and digging, got the first stain on the front:

The glass panes still need a good cleaning. and I’m considering, since I had some layers of black I just couldn’t get removed, to paint the edging between each pane black. So all the inside wood work would be black and the outside will be the stained wood. I need to add the latch to the front and hanging hook and wire to the back.

Nearly done, I have to decide its orientation.  I can either hang it vertically with this photo in it:

Or I can hang it horizontally. Four 8×10 pictures will fit in it’s middle pane side by side.

One more blog post on this project before it’s done!

Waiting for a Wet-Nap and the Art of Patience

You know, a wet-nap.

After barbecued ribs at lunch one day, one of my coworkers, commented, quite satisfied with his lunch, and having just wiped his hands with one a’these, that “everything good ends in a wet-nap”. Of course the implications made for good office banter for quite a long time.

At another job, also quite a long time ago, I mentioned this little tidbit, “Everything good ends in a wet-nap.”

My boss, Dave, made a bit of a joke about it. When someone had a good work week, high productivity, made a deal, etc, they got the wet-nap until someone more deserving came along. The wet-nap passed around the office, and became an indication of a job well done.

Some of my writer friends still like to joke about this, though the meaning has been twisted once again. (Won’t go there). 🙂

So now today, October 6th, I find myself impatient. Patience has never been one of my strengths. As I await word from agents on Taking Lessons from Ernest, and in particular an agent who gave today as a likely “hear-by” date, I struggled to focus enough to come up with a blog post. That wonderful old boss of mine suggested wet-naps as my blog topic for the day.

It couldn’t be more fitting. If I get good news from those agents, I will most certainly need a wet-nap, because everything good ends in one.

I’m biting my nails and obsessively checking email. I’m trying to focus on work and I’m waiting for a wet-nap.

There is no art to patience.  You either are or you are not. There are no tricks (though I imagine it is something that can be learned, it is not a pleasant lesson).

Eye on the goal, heart pounding, leg bouncing, nail biting, and waiting for something out of my control.  You all can wait with me. Ready? ……….. wait.

I’ll let you know when I get the wet-nap. 🙂