White Blank Page

March is well underway as we slowly drag ourselves back into the sunlight. Even San Diego isn’t immune to the doldrums of winter. The cold that seeps through the thin, uninsulated walls seems to be receding along with the persistent morning fogs. I know this because my ancient heater doesn’t grumble to life as often as it did in the past months and I don’t have to spend ten minutes every morning standing next to my car deciding whether it would take more time to go back up to my apartment to get a paper towel to wipe the condensation from my windows or to just make do with the stack of pilfered Rubios napkins that live in my car.

(The napkins win every time)

Because I promised not to write anymore about works in progress (but I can comment on the progress of works) I’ll be brief:

I sent off my application to a writers workshop I’d been wanting to apply to for over a year now. Now I’m working on forgetting about it. No, it’s not Clarion.

Finished up some long-standing revisions on THE STORY. Sent it out to the next pro-market on my list. Collected my rejection. Sent it immediately back out. Also working on forgetting about it. Hoping this can stop being THE STORY and just become a story by the end of the summer.

That’s it for news.

Got some book reviews brewing, once I get through one of the three I’m in the middle of — one of which is Damon Knight’s Creating Short Fiction (which I finally picked up after reading this review on Tor.com).

Books about writing always feel like parallels to books on weight loss – in that they appeal to a uniquely neurotic population. The people buying and reading both kinds of books hope that somewhere in the pages is a well-hidden quick fix that’ll set them down the road to the happiness they’ve been waiting to hop on for x number of years. But the dirty little secret is that these same people know full well that they’re not going to find it, but that doesn’t stop their hearts from pounding with that familiar hopelessly hopeful anticipation.  Instead they’re likely to encounter the same core advice: it hard work and dedication are key. The difference is that at least the books on writing are generally more well written.

I don’t know why I wrote “they” in that last paragraph. It clearly should have been “we” instead.

And take, for example, this brief excerpt from the introduction from Damon’s book:

“Psychologists have found out a little bit about the personalities of writers. They are individualists, skeptics, taboo-breakers, mockers, loners; they are undependable, likely to be behind on their rent; they keep irregular hours and have strange friends. Professional writers, like criminals, really live outside society; they have no regular jobs, they come and go as they please, they live by their wits.”

Oh, you, Damon. DO GO ON. No really. Please. Tell me who I am. No really. I’m reading this because I don’t know. That shit’s like crack for the identity-challenged.


I’m off to wander out into the warm night to laugh and smile and feel naughty by staying up well past my normal bed time and to make the most out of this weekend and it’s stolen hour.

Go make something that makes you miserable and happy at the same time.

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3 Responses to White Blank Page

  1. Hi. I’m one of those neurotic people. I know that hopelessly hopeful anticipation well. Someday, I’ll figure out how to actually start writing.

    • Kelly says:

      Stephan! Ah yes. This book totally sucked me in. And Stephen King’s On Writing. Both are excellent (this one so far – it manages to put some pretty ineffable things into eff). There are writing exercises, too which would have been useful to help me learn the things it took me years to work out on my own.

      You should do the first group project that I do next month. It should be a good impetus to do something (be it writing a story or a song!)

      • One of my favorites is “A Story is a Promise” by Bill Johnson (it’s at my bedside right now). It’s so dense that I’m still not sure I understand it, after several readings. And yes, I’ll keep my eyes out for your group project!

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