Monday, April 30, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
P.S. Dennis, our driver last night on the ghost tour, told us that Nicolas Cage now owns the most haunted house in New Orleans. The old Metarie house, where M. Metlaurie tortured her slaves. According to Dennis, he hangs out here more than CA, same as Brangelina, who also hang out here at their house, I guess when they're not out making movies or visiting developing countries (you go girl! One thing I like about Angelina... wish she would visit Haiti. )
Our bathroom window actually shows a decent view of those dormer windows. So when I shower and step out, I look up to see if the dormer windows are open and there's a nosey vampire peering down at me. Not yet. Could happen.
This hotel is haunted. Not our building, but the 500 building in the back where there was an old Civil War hospital. GUests have reported seeing surgeons sawing off limbs, and bloody sheets in the bathtub or when they turn down the covers for the night. Ewwwww. If I were to encounter a ghost, I'd want a pretty, debonair one.
Took the street car today down Canal all the way to City Park. Saw some sobering reminders of Katrina. The St. Charles streetcar still isn't running yet. I wish more people would come here... the french quarter is back to business as usual, but the crowds... aren't here. We ate lunch at the Coffee Pot and met a couple from Pensacola whose condo was severely damaged during Ivan. they're just getting their place back together. Our waitress, Pearl, is fighting with her homeowner's insurance company... her home got swamped by Katrina. We told her to hire a private insurance adjustor, which is what we did after Wilma dumped the tree on our house and wrecked our backyard and front yard. Pearl thanked us and went off to wait on the drunken birthday party that was ordering more $300 bottles of champagne. At least SOMEONE was spending nice, big bucks.
I hope they gave Pearl a big, fat tip. It was an odd, bonding moment, lunching there with the couple from Pensacola and Pearl waiting on us. All of us having experienced some big wreckage from Hurricanes named Ivan, Katrina and Wilma. I sure hope we never see another one again, except in bars on Bourbon Street. The kind you drink, not the kind that causes you headaches over damage to your home.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Reality is, readers have a perfect right to post their opinions. I'm all for it. But reality is, writers shouldn't read it. Not when they can't afford to let the doubt demons kick in.
Publishing is a business. I have two more books due this year. I have contracts, legally binding contracts. The historical, which is at 20,000 words, is due in four months. Usually it takes me 6 months to write an historical. Then the day job has its own stress... I'll be in Haiti in three weeks. Then Honduras. May will be a crappy writing month and one I can't afford to take off.
So reality is, I can't afford to get stalled by those nasty doubt demons. If you're a writer, you've probably experienced them at one time. Those doubts that scream out that your writing sucks, your books suck, you're the worst writer in the history of publishing, all the way back to the Gutenburg Press. (1490) It's just your own self-doubt kicking in. But wow, those self-doubts can weigh in. Usually I can shrug them off, like a cloak, and go on my merry way. But this time, pressured by time and a deadline, I'm stuck like a motorist on I-95 at the Golden Glades during rush hour.
I keep thinking of that campy movie, Village of the Damned or Children of the Damned or whatever Damned title it is...where Christopher Reeve is thinking of a brick wall and the alien children with the flax hair and the glowing orange eyes are trying to kick it down mentally, get into his head and he's straining and straining and gasping to keep up the wall...
That's me (Reeve) and the doubt demons (the alien kids). Sooner or later, they storm in, kick my imagination around and wreck the place. It takes a day or two to corral them, herd them back to their pen and kick their collective butts.
I can't afford that time. Not this year.
I recently was curious about Lisa Valdez' next book and went searching to see if it were coming out next month. Then I read her website. Wow. I truly feel for Ms. Valdez. The doubt demons didn't just kick down the brick wall, they stampeded over it, assisted by the flood of negative email/etc. she received.
On her website, she says she's retreating to her tower and not receiving email. Good for her. Should an author shut herself off from cyber space and readers like that? Yes, when she has a book due and she knows those doubt demons may storm the brick wall.
Does this mean readers shouldn't post negative reviews or say stuff on message boards and only be nice? Of course not. The great thing about the internet is more readers have a forum to express their opinions, trade information, and talk about the genre they love. But as writers, when we know we are suspectible to those doubt demons, we should avoid them. Email is different... unless you can have a friend or associate screen your email.
Many writers have thin skin. We're sensitive, which can go along with the territory of being creative. One author I did a booksigning with recently advised the audience to grow a thick skin, this was after she received a barrage of angry emails about a blog post she wrote in jest that they took seriously.
Growing a thick skin isn't easy. I've tried. Now my skin isn't as thin as an onion peel. Maybe it has the density of a kumquat. But it's still thin and I'm still sensitive. Fact is, the negative and the positive things people say about your work go with the territory. You have to learn to deal with it. I thought I did... I had, until this week.
I hope Ms. Valdez is able to recharge and produce more books out of her tower. And I hope I can once reinforce that brick wall and keep out the doubt demons. Kick their collective booties back to the recesses of my mind, and move on past this roadblock.
Maybe I need a mantra, a writer's chant like the soothing one Buddhists recite to prepare them for meditation. Hmmm.
I will not let the doubt demons rule.
I will move on and continue to write.
I am an energized, vibrant, creative writer who has a wonderful story to tell that deserves to be told.
I am in control of my creative process.
The Gators will once more kick butt in sports next year. (too much to ask for, let's just stick with the priorities)
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
DH and I went to her booksigning tonight at Murder on the Beach in Delray Beach. OMG, if you EVER have the chance to attend a talk by Heather, go. She has the best stories. Riveting, fascinating history about all the places she's traveled, including New York City, where this book was set and it's history.
Now if I only had more time to read... sigh...
Thursday, April 12, 2007
An iconoclast who was a POW during WWII, (you know, the big one?), he was against censorship, was for saving the planet (he once suggested writing on the wall of the Grand Canyon, "we probably could have saved ourselves, but we were too damned lazy to try very hard... and too damn cheap," as a message to aliens who might landed there) and soul-growing society through diffuse art to block the increasing numbing of America through TV.
We need more folk heroes like Vonnegut. Folk heroes who stand for intelligent debate, shock us with their brilliant wit and crude humor and make us think for a change. Instead, we have shock jocks whose main goal is to increase their ratings and in the process, say cruel and racist things. I seriously doubt Vonnegut would have called the Rutgers female basketball players, “nappy-headed hos.”
The whole Imus debacle makes me wonder about the so-called dumbing down of America. A few months ago, Dh and I rented Idiocracy. The flick (Ethan Cohen co-wrote it with Mike Judge) was hilarious, and disturbing. It’s about the true dumbing down of America. In the movie, (spoiler alert!!) people in present-day America are intelligent and evolved. In the future, they’re dumber than shit. Honestly. That’s the only way to describe it. The mega corporation Brawndo manufactures a sports drink that people use for everything, from flushing their toilets to irrigating their crops, which is causing a food shortage and they don’t know WHY the crops won’t grow. The Brawndo advertising slogan is recited like we used to mumble Sunday School cathechism.
The movie left me disturbed because although it’s satire, you can see flecks of it here and there in today’s society. When American Idol is the number one show, and newspapers are struggling to breathe (look at the Tribune take-over, I have friends who work for Tribune papers) and people are more concerned with what happens to Anna Nicole’s rotting corpse than anything else, will Idocracy become our future? Are we becoming more passive as a nation, nodding like those head bobble dolls at everything thrown at us?
I sometimes wonder if it’s because we’re trying to do too much, cram too much, work too much, play too much and at the end of the day, we’re so freaking tired that shows like American Idol are all we can stand. I work at an emotionally draining day job. I also write romance novels at night. There's bills to pay, family health problems, birthdays, dogs to care for, you name it and I have two more books due this year. And sometimes I’m so exhausted all I want is mindless entertainment.
I too, am in danger of becoming a bobble doll. It’s times like that when I need a good kick in the brain and remind myself make the effort to reach for something better. It’s times like that when I find myself weeping for the demise of brilliance like Vonnegut. We need more folk heroes like him.