Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Work And I Love It!

It's the first Wednesday of the month and following the tradition that Alex Cavanaugh has began, here it is, the Insecure Writer's post:

Tonight's post was the proverbial pulling teeth.  I almost shoved the computer away and said that's it - I cave. 

But I didn't.

Sometimes writing is like that.  Every morning I set my alarm early - before the lights in other houses are on, even here far away from home,  I'm in front of my computer beginning the word count for the day.  Although word count, that's probably, no is, a misnomer.  I don't go for word count.  I learned a long time ago, that for me that's not an effective way to write.  It means extensive revisions that can spin a story out long after I write the end. 

Sometimes it's tough.  There are few people that understand what you're doing, why you are doing it or why your "little hobby" should be called anything but that, never mind work.  But you have to swim through all of that and just keep writing.  It's the only way to eventually make it in this business.

Once I dreamed success would mean the publisher of my dreams would publish my book, market me and put me on every bookstore shelf.  Now times have changed and the dream, well it's there but it's adapted.  I still want that original dream but right now success means getting published by small presses and alternative publishing.  It means promoting myself and extra hours at the computer to do that.  Yes, the publishing industry has changed but the dream is the same - writing success.  And despite all the advise out there, it really only boils down to one word for success - readers.

But to find readers I must write well and then promote what I've written.  But even time to write is difficult in a world where success and what you  do is judged by how much money comes in.  Under a certain bar and it's not considered work.  Interesting term, work.  Because if you don't have work attached to what you do, quantifying it as a gainful means of employment, then what you're doing is a hobby and no one can figure out why you can't stop everything to answer the phone or go for coffee or take grandma to her church bazaar or whatever. And sometimes those interruptions are valid for I will admit that what my work is, is flexible.  But because of that flexibility, often, long after everyone has had supper and settled down for the nightly sitcom, I'm back at the computer for a few more hours.

Sorry everyone, it is work.  I am busy.  I'm writing a story.  It's work and I love it!

Now excuse me - after a good days work, I believe it's time to enjoy what's left of a cool desert evening.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Stand Back - It's a Canuck

Been spending a few weeks south of the border, escaping at least part of the long winter I know is waiting for me.  Crossing one border usually isn't too much of a culture shock.  The States are similar to Canada in a large number of ways and in just as many, they're not.

So today I went to the UPS store to see if there was any way I could settle a mailing issue.  Note to self - you can't get mail if you don't have a mailbox.

Anyway, in the course of the discussion, one clerk looks at the other and says
"Well, that confirms it.  I knew the area code was somewhere in Canada but the accent, didn't you hear it?  Canuck."   She looks at the other clerk with satisfaction and then turns to smile at me.  I think I recoiled in horror, okay not quite but: 

A - no one has ever said I have an accent.  It's all of you I say - not me. 
And B - Canuck, no one has ever called me that either - ever. 

I was reminded that I'm a person of interest, a foreigner. I was one of those people, the ones I meet on planes, in other countries, in public transport - just everywhere.  People with stories that are different from mine.  They're fascinating and I'm their worst nightmare because I want to hear all about them. 

Now I'd become one of them.  One of the others - the one with the accent.  I mean it's easy to feel foreign when you're traveling in a country where your native tongue is not theirs and where the customs are radically different from yours.  But here the similarities run as close as the disparities.  So, no, I wanted to say - it's you, you have the funny little accent not me.  No, the look the clerk laid on me said it all - it was me.

A fraction of the price at home.

Sure I knew I was in a foreign country.  I'm reminded every day.  Retail shops alone are a good reminder.  Like the other day when I was gawking at the Canadian Whiskey disbelieving of the price.  Of course, I'm disbelieving of the price of any liquor south of the border but this one in particular.  Made in Canada, it sat here thousands of miles from its manufacture point marked at a price that can only be called extraordinarily cheap - possibly even giving it away, cheap.  And the day before that I scoured the dairy section looking for cream and only seeing artificial creamer.  At home, it's parked by the milk and it comes in a cardboard container, which I have since found it does here too but it's buried beneath a massive selection of creamers.  Anyway, maybe I should have taken those and any number of other clues that, not only was I foreign, but I just might just be the one with the accent.

So with that reality check I headed off down the road.  There we stumbled on the salsa lady, selling out of the back of her van by the side of the road.  Unemployed temporarily she said after greeting me with a cheery hello that she hurled at me long before we were in speaking distance.  After getting my salsa she offered her e-mail address in case I should like the salsa and she wasn't at her usual roadside haunt.  I did.  Will definitely be e-mailing her for more.  Fortunately, except for spelling issues - I think e-mail is relatively universal.  No accent there.  

So now it's off to the family selling tamales and fruit of all kinds at another roadside stand.  We left
with a bagful of fruit - 12 limes for a dollar!  Unheard of in Canada or at least the corner I'm from - not the limes, the price.  The tamales, well we'll be back for a roadside lunch one day soon.

It was a day of moments that would never have happened at home because, wait for it - I'd be shoveling snow and thinking of past trips and future stories.

And one last word on the accent thing - you will never, ever, hear me say that one dreaded word - eh.    Because well,  there was that classic Canadian throwback to the eighties, Bob and Doug McKenzie ... enough said.

Travel away to Borneo where murder and romance steam up the jungle - 
Fatal Intent on sale for .99 cents at most online retail book outlets.
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