Writing as a privilege

I’m on vacation this week, with nothing more on my to-do list than get my office reorganized, get my desktop reorganized, and finish writing three stories so I can get them out into the world. 

I’ve been unable to write much though, because I am so drawn into what is happening in Ferguson, MO. I am watching Twitter constantly, reading and searching for credible sources and articles, and trying not to get sucked into meaningless fights online, fights where people don’t want to have a dialogue, they just want to retreat into their comfortable white worlds where the police are always the good guys and the blacks always bring it on themselves. 

I’ve just read that Amnesty International is sending human rights teams into the United States, that they want an investigation into the police actions in Ferguson. As I write, there are tweets from Ferguson, of tear gas and shots being fired as the protests cross into a second week. I don’t know what to do, knowing that even my helplessness is a matter of privilege, that I can be angry and frustrated in my safe home on my safe street and knowing that I do trust the police department here in my city. I’m white. I’ve never been given reason not to. 

And so I go back to writing, and watching, and raging. There is nothing else for me to do. 

ready, set…

I spent some time organizing the current WsIP and going through open submissions and realized I have four stories almost ready to go… and four potential markets for them. But they all have to be finished and polished and out in the next 25 days. 

I did want to focus on finishing stories faster during the second half of the year. Hopefully I’ll have some good news for at least one of them by the time winter rolls around. 

I am fascinated by how into the short story I am right now. This is so different than where I was two years ago. There are novel ideas on the backburner, and slow research happening, but the shorts are where my focus is. It’s such a delightful challenge to tell the story in such a compacted space. 

So, August goal: finish and send out these four stories. Word count goal for the month: 20k. 

(Good thing there’s a bottle of birthday bourbon still sitting in the living room. I think we’re going to need it before it’s all said and done.) 

 

 

 

QOTD: 03/24/2014

Because life offers a kind of writing advice you just can’t read about – it’s something only you can experience. Like dropping acid and fighting your totem animal for control over the little man that pilots you.

– Chuck Wendig

Rituals

I am finding that I have all these little rituals when I sit down to write. 

I can’t write with a messy desk. This is generally a problem because my desk is usually messy, but I’m finding that even taking 15 minutes to clear it off makes all the difference in the world. 

It took forever to find the right notebook for jotting things down in. 

I futz around with playlists to get just the right mood going… and then usually end up with Pandora playing after all. 

I love writing in a group. My writer’s group have done a couple of online write-ins and they are just grand in all the ways. 

I love writing alone, especially when the words are coming so freely that my eyes are closed, my head is cocked slightly to the side and I am just … listening. Becoming the channel.