Thursday, September 26, 2013

Are We Done Yet?

My old Guam neighborhood
Picture sample for upcoming chapbook

When riding in the car with your parents, do you remember asking, "Are we there yet?" The answer was vague, "Just around the bend." Vague, because as a little girl, I couldn't tell how long the bend was, no frame of reference for maps, and miles, and hours.

In memoir, just around the bend can take you back years, and although you have a map, you will need a magnifying glass, and the miles don't tell you about stops along the way, and the hours don't tell you who you're going to meet, or how long you need to stay and talk, so there is no one to ask except for yourself, "Are We Done Yet?"

 I feel exactly like that little girl in the back seat now about to publish Water Over Time, my chapbook about growing up in Guam, "Are we done yet?"

"Close," is the answer. Decisions are being made, and I finished the About the Author page, which jolted me out of my creativity mode, and set me back into a reality mode. Reality being, I'm making a list and getting things done. 

I've decided to self-publish, and to use CreateSpace, and to get some help. A fellow writing group member, Amber Lea Starfire, has been a valuable resource. She writes a brilliant blog at Writing Through Life. She has used CreateSpace services in the past with great success and has offered advice and encouragement.

Some people can zip over to CreateSpace, upload their file, tap the submit button, and everything they enter turns golden, but I'm an anxious sort of person and I worry a lot about styles, and formats, and the end product.

Patsy Ann Taylor, another writing group pal, wrote on the acknowledgements page of her book, Click, "Writing is an activity usually endured alone. But from opening sentence to coda an author, if she is lucky, has support along the way."

Sooo maybe there is someone, other than myself, I can ask, "Are we done yet?"

In the meantime, I am reading one of the stories from my collection at SISTERS Consignment Couture in Sonoma along with two other authors, arranged by Laura McHale Holland. I invite you to come by if you're able.


Friday, Oct. 4, 2013

7 to 8:30 p.m.

Authors will share original writing about

sisters born or sisters found.

Open mic will follow for further readings on the theme. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Crying Babies

photo by Stefan Gara

If you read my last blog, there's been a slight change. I'm in the editing stage of my book. Perhaps you didn't notice, but I sure did. After all, a mother can recognize her own baby's cry, and boy, was my baby crying. How could I not see this before? One very awkward sentence. It wasn’t me. Baby must have written that one herself and she can’t write yet, but I fixed it, and now it reads fine.

Second guessing seems to be the norm. Lying awake last night─that's right, babies keep you up at night─I wondered if my sarcastic tone might put off a whole race of people, but after another look again this very early a.m., I think not. I'm mostly happy with the content of stories and poems. I need to edit and think about design.

Only one more page to write, About the Author. I know nothing about myself. After all these years, what can I say that is new and endearing?

After that, the publishing process begins, but I would also like to add a few pictures. I'm very vain and I was quite beautiful as a young girl. It will be hard not to use many. Seriously, I have to decide how many pictures are appropriate, and will they work in black and white or should I use color? I have at least two in mind.
And what about contests? Should I enter? Try to get a few books published for free and win prize money? Sounds good, but it’s a long process. What, what, what, is the best route? My workshop buddies share advice, but ultimately the decision is mine. I will probably have Copy Corner in Napa print my chapbooks again. They did a great job with Undertow, in 2011. 

Want to hear the best news of all? I showed a friend photos of the trip I took to Guam in 2010, and asked her opinion about one of the pictures for the cover of my book. She’s an artist so I thought she would have a good eye, and she said, “I can paint that for you.”

Wow! Her name is Elaine Lewis and she works out of her home in Lake County. She does a show at a gallery in Lakeport once a year, and she’s won many prizes at the local fair.

So lots of little things to think about for baby, but first I have to get her to stop crying. Anyone want to weigh in here?