Saturday, August 25, 2012

I read another good book yesterday. Couldn't put it down until the very end. Loved the story, hated the story-teller.


She is a true writer, and with each page I read, I realized again and again I will never be one.

Oh sure, I know the technical aspects of good writing... I'm an editor, for heaven's sake! I know when a comma is misplaced or needed instead of a semi-colon. I know about subjunctive mood and all the other tenses and quirks of our wonderful language.

I just can't tell a story with the rich use of those rules and words I love. I'm like Salieri, who yearned to compose great music but couldn't and who despised Mozart because he could.

After my two novels were published, I tried over and over to write another. I have several files on my computer that are first pages or parts of first chapters of stories I'd love to tell. The words just don't come and the ideas evaporate into nothingness, leaving me wishing I could have figured out how to finish my tales.

So I edit and I blog and I write first lines and first chapters. Perhaps someday, my Muse will open her eyes, stretch her long, made-for-typing fingers and just write... a real book, a real novel, something someone somewhere will want to read.

I can dream, can't I?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Who Am I?

The calendar diesn't lie, even though my brain refuses to acknowledge the truth.

Ever look in the mirror and say, "who the hell is that?" Every day, my friend, every day.

In my delusional mind, I still have wrinkle-free skin, flat abs and perky, sexy breasts. I can eat anything I like without worrying about losing my size 4 figure. I can party all night and still function flawlessly in the morning. I have nearly limitless energy.

Oh, stop it!!! That real person in the mirror, wrinkled face, thinning hair and baggy eyes, goes along with a thickened waist, afternoon naps and not just shortened parties, but few parties at all.

This is 71. Seventy was bad enough, but tomorrow the calendar flips again and another year marks new surprises for the fictional young me.

But hey, on the upside, and it is a huge upside, my health is still good, I have wonderful friends (though I have lost more than I ever imagined) and a loving family (also missing crucial members like my dear Mom, Dad and step-father), so I ask myself:

What's a few wrinkles and 71 candles?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Feeling good feels good

The Italian bug, which morphed into a stubborn American bug, has finally passed on, leaving me feeling well at last! My voice still fades or disappears now and then, but all the other nasty symptoms are gone.

So I'm back to what I didn't do for a month. Fun stuff, like housecleaning, floor scrubbing and cooking. Really fun stuff like editing manuscripts, organizing my department at Wings Press (Mainstream, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal) and getting back into the swing of reading some really good writing and some really not-so-good attempts at writing.

Some of the authors needed to have Sister Rose Albert Abbott as their 6th grade teacher. And before her, Sister Mary Raphaela, who taught me in third, fourth and fifth grade (yes, it was a tiny parochial school with limited numbers of nuns, so the class sizes often exceeded 60 - and still we all learned!). These two women were grammar fanatics. And I fell in love with the subject, too.

Sheer bliss -- standing at the blackboard in front of an entire class of bored, restless and totally disinterested kids, diagramming compound sentences that filled the board... and the one next to it. I was fascinated by the structure of sentences, eager to learn what modified what and why. Things like the past perfect tense or the subjunctive mood fed right into my voracious appetite for the rules of good writing. By the time I was in high school, I was writing on a college level and in college, knocking out papers on just about any subject I was studying was a breeze.

So imagine my frustration with today's writers, who can't keep the use of their, they're and there straight. I am appalled at the punctuation, or lack thereof, and the total disregard for tense agreement, number agreement and, oh yes, subjunctive mood. I'm sure my authors dread seeing my name as their editor. One posted on her Facebook page a while back that her edit had been "bru-tal." Only because her editor had thorough, yes, brutal instruction in what constitutes good writing technique, dear author, and you will be better for having gone through my blue-pencil wringer.

Time to wrench myself away from writing about something I love. Time to venture back into the world of the writing of others, where surprises lurk, both good and not-so-good. More to come, probably on the same topic another day.