I’m a Writer

I know I’ve mentioned it before. That I’m a writer. But sometimes I don’t feel like a writer. Yes, I write at work. I’ve published artiles. I write. But there is something extra-specially (writers get to make up words) rewarding about getting your first check. Even if it’s not for much, and it’s not for your great literary work of art, but for a blog post republished, in print and online– at The San Diego Reader:

So yeah, I’m a writer.

The real Billy Crystal

billy crystalI could have sworn I checked the spelling.
But somehow my fingers typed the ‘h’ not once,
not twice
but 87 times.
Okay, perhaps that is an exaggeration…

The editor of CommonTies.com actually joked (via email to me) that perhaps their spam filter screens for misspellings. yikes. my bad. big bad. I spelled Billy Crystal’s name wrong.

I even rank third in Google Search for “Billy Crystal” misspelled. yikes. cached in The Google for god knows how long. Hopefully with this post, I will rank just as high for the correct spelling of Billy Crystal.

And perhaps, my dream will come true… that Billy Crystal will find my blog (do celebrities google themselves like we do– you know you do, admit it– or do they have “people” to do that for them?).

I did go back and correct the blog post that referenced “Me and Billy Crystal” to the correct spelling, “Billy Crystal,” so maybe he’ll find me now. And listen. And like it. And call me up, say “Hi. This is Billy Crystal. Let’s do coffee.”

Why not me?

Need to follow up!

It’s so frustrating to think that with everything you do you have to follow up, to double check, to make sure things are happening as they are supposed to.

In the middle of the crazy Writing and Submitting fest that was my life last week, I submitted a story for the Common Ties Story Blog. First off, they actually pay and second, it is the year of Why Not Me, and third, they pay. Did I mention they pay? Not that pay is the only criteria for respect, but money is measurable, and I have a goal to make some money from my writing this year… so the fact that they publish some fine stories, you retain copyright and they pay, makes it a good opportunity in my mind.

Each week they feature a different theme (grief, cancer, missed connections, mothers, etc.) When I first discovered this website back in Janary, I had just missed the deadline to submit for the Cancer theme (isn’t that always the way?). And between then and now none of the other “themes” spoke to me, or I didn’t have anything near polished enough to submit… until, May 15 “Open Themes” (could there be any more deadlines for me in May??) So I submitted my Me and Billy Crystal essay, via email, at 8:14 am on May 15. Well within the deadline. Not even close to midnight or anything.

And I waited.

And I got to thinking, “When are those essays supposed to publish?” and “Funny I haven’t heard anything.” Not that I expect my essay to be published, but I did expect SOME response, the email equivalent of a rejection slip, perhaps… but no, nothing. So I looked online and saw that This week is open theme week. So instead of just saying, “hmm. Oh Well,” I actually emailed via the Contact Us page, and said shall I assume a rejection if I’ve not heard from you? The editor replied (pretty quickly I might add) that yes, that would be the case, and she copied and pasted the response letter text below that should answer any other questions….

So, I’m looking at this email thinking, “I didn’t get one of these response letter emails with this information. Hmmm.”

So I emailed her back and said, thanks for the info, but I didn’t get one of these emails. And she emailed back and said she didn’t have a record of receiving an email submission from me. Weird. Slurped into the SPAM box? who knows. I had a record of it being sent, so I forwarded the sent copy to her.

So, we’ll see. As I said, I’m not expecting publication… but hey, why not me?

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing

Yesterday marked a huge milestone for me. I managed to cobble together all my various and asundry essays and stories into a FIRST DRAFT. And, I managed to get it all printed (167 pages) copied– double sided and three hole punched– and mailed out to the participants for the master class at the Taos Writers Conference this July.
As I stood there at Kinkos watching the copy machine spit out pages of my manuscript I cried. I don’t know why. It’s happy tears, sad tears, woulda shoulda coulda tears, if only I had another day tears, am I ready to move into the revision stage tears…. how will my manuscript stack up next to everyone else’s tears. And now what am I gonna do tears.

In fact, this last month has been so hectic and insane I feel like I’m coming down from a big high. I managed to get two scholarship applications (May 1st deadline and May 15th deadline) done (for the Taos workshop) and submitted my audio audition for the public radio talent quest (May 14th deadline) and finally the whole draft of my manuscript submitted for workshop, deadline May 18th.

So now what? Well, I still have my local read and critique group. I have two chapters that I sort of just put placeholders in for the “whole draft” so I can write those…. and I’m working on some more audio stuff. And I have 8 books to read between now and July 7…. the manuscripts from my fellow workshop attendees AND the two books Greg Martin has assigned: Pharaoh’s Army by Tobias Wolf and Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick.

and maybe I’ll just go back to sleep….

too much to do. too overwhelmed.

Why does everything happen at once??

I’m so overwhelmed right now, I must take a blog break…

So, I’ve got the Taos Writers Conference coming up. I’m signed up for a master class with Greg Martin (am I crazy? don’t answer that) I SHOULD have a “whole draft” of my memoir, “Reconstructing My Mother.” What I have is a messy 170 some pages. If I force a square memoir into a round peg does that make it whole?
Deadline Friday, May 18.

If that weren’t enough I’ve decided this is the year of WHY NOT ME? What that means is that I have to do the things I think about doing… like apply for two merit based scholarships for the Taos Writer Conference… because, why not me? I mean if I don’t apply, I certainly will not get a scholarship, right? The first scholarship, sponsored by A Room Of Her Own Foundation, due May 1. Done. The second, the Leo Love Merit Scholarship, due May 15. Sending tomorrow.


The Public Radio Talent Quest
And then there’s the Public Radio Talent Quest. I had to enter that! And maybe I flubbed it, didn’t tell enough about myself… didn’t describe the piece well enough on my entry, Creativity is, but I did it. All in the name of Why Not Me? Well I have a 10 in 1300 chance of making to the next round. Maybe a little better because honestly I think my entry was better than some. If you feel compelled, please do go vote for me (note, you’ll have to register, but my entry is only 2 minutes long.). One of the 10 spots will be determined by votes.

So now I’m down to the thing that I should have been focusing on all along, putting together my “whole draft.” And instead, I blog! Is this some form of self-sabotage? am I afraid to write? to succeed? or am I just crazy? don’t answer that.

PS: shit. I inadvertently posted this post onto the Taos Writers Conference blog that I have been invited to participate on. thank god I caught it in time and deleted it. Totally inappropriate to self-promote over there! whew.

PS #2. I also want to submit a story for the Common Ties Story blog. Deadline on open themes May 15.

What about that radio show?

Of course I should be working on my book… but I have 6 more days to generate 60 pages. Cake, right? hah!!

Anyway, Regarding my Audio Audition over at the Public Radio Talent Quest…. Creativity is… you may recall my mini doculogue movie from a while ago of the same title I used some of that audio and re-worked it, laid down a background music track — me on guitar, Julie on harmonica– and framed it with some commentary:

When you think of creativity, of people you consider creative, if you’re like most people you think of artists: writers, painters, sculptors, poets, dancers,
… musicians

maybe you even think of crafters, you know, those people in your life that can take a piece of string and a paperclip and with McGyver like skill turn it into something useful like a doorstop, or a potholder.

Now I can hear you shaking your head even before I make this next statement, but…
I believe EVERYBODY is creative.

Yeah.
Really.

Everybody.

Even you.

You probably just don’t recognize what you do as creative.

That’s where I come in.

Come along with me as I get to know artists, writers, musicians,

and business owners, scientists, teachers, engineers, carpenters, moms, bankers, pet sitters

Creative people from all walks of life

So it is done. It is what it is. I’m happy with my submission. Maybe it will turn to naught but another clip for my blog… or the start of my new radio show or podcast, or whatever. Just a reminder… you can listen to Creativity Is and vote. You have until June to vote (I’ll remind you again, don’t worry)