Thursday, August 20, 2009


Yesterday afternoon, I was laying on the bed thinking I should either nap, meditate (which is really, for me, just guided napping,) or start writing. Since I could barely keep my eyes open I went for meditation/napping. I settled in on the bed, plugged in to my mp3 player, but I paused because I heard the sound of a train rattling in the far, far distance. I thought: "Huh, a train," because, a train passes quite close to our house and we can often heard it rumbling through the neighborhood. Two seconds later the tornado sirens went off. Mason and I scurried off to the basement, but as it was only just pitter-pattering rain, I still didn't make the connection. And, honestly, because it's Wednesday, if I didn't have a weather radio that automatically tells me if this is a drill or a real advisory, I probably wouldn't even have hurried us off to the basement. (Even though it wasn't the first Wednesday of the month, my little radio goes off weekly on Wednesdays.)

I'm glad I did.

The tornado that touched down was quite a distance from us. Across the river and in the Portland Avenue and Downtown areas of Minneapolis. But, you know, that's much closer than I really ever needed to be. My sympathies go out to everyone directly affected.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Killing the Muse*

Jim Butcher recently joined Twitter. Encouraged by many of the people I already "follow," I checked out his tweets. His very first one was strangely profound. He wrote something to the effect of "Author kills Muse. Film at 11." Subsequent posts made it clear that his reason for "killing" his Muse is that he's behind on his deadline and he can no longer afford to wait for inspiration to strike. He's just got to knuckle down and write.

Like I said, I found that surprisingly insightful.

I always thought that someone in the stratosphere like Jim Butcher had the luxury of waiting on his Muse, you know? I know that the rest of us down here scrabbling in the dirt have to write whenever we can squeeze in time at the computer. But, I guess I thought that once you kind of "made it" you could just sip martinis poolside and wait for that shining Goddess in white to appear and smack you upside the head and say, "Time to write! I've got a great idea for you, pal!"

It's kind of nice to know that's not true. I guess I remember reading in Stephen King's book about writing that he thinks it's a good idea, if possible, to sit down at the computer at the same time every day so the Muse knows where and when to show up -- even if She doesn't deign to come every time, his point is that if you make it a regular habit, eventually She'll get the invitation and appear. But I also sort of thought that "Stevie" (as he calls himself throughout the book) was kind of just saying that for us lowly not-yet-as-great-as-he sorts.

Maybe not. Maybe everyone struggles with writing when they don't want to.




*X-posted from the Wyrdsmiths blog.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer in Full Swing

I've been lax about posting here because summer at Chez Hallaway is in full swing. In fact, I think my family is still recovering from an exhausting (yet relaxing) weekend up at our friends' cabin in Siren, Wisconsin. It was exhausting because the weather cooperated and so we spent oodles of time in the water -- swimming, floating, playing beach tag, building sand castles, kayaking, and generally exhausting the grown-ups.

Yesterday, we were all so cranky at being back in the real world. It sucked.

Today is better. In fact, I got started a bit on the third re-boot of the young adult novel. My editor said, having read the new and improved bit I sent her, that I probably should just writing the thing in first person. Right now I can hear my partner and Naomi, the Wyrdsmith that complained the loudest that the whole thing should be in first person, laughing at me. I resisted first person because... well, because I really wanted the challenge of writing in third. Something new to me. Something to stretch me a bit. Alas, a highly commercial venture is not really the place one should attempt to stretch one's self. :-) Maybe I'll work in third person in some short stories.

But the good news is that I finally wore Mason out up at the lake. He's been very inwardly focused for the last couple days since we've come back, and I think that he finally got enough excercise and sunshine for a little while. I was actually able, like I said, to get some writing done. During the DAY. Awesome, no?