I had the wonderful experience recently of participating in a podcast interview conducted by Rebecca Budd. She made the entire process effortless and enjoyable, and she learned that I have no problem talking about writing and publishing!
If you have a bit of time, stop by at Tea Toast & Trivia to listen in on our conversation. And take a moment to browse her beautiful site. Here we go:
Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia.
Thank you for listening in.
I am your host Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.
I am delighted and thrilled that my blogger friend and writer, D Wallace Peach, has joined me on Tea Toast & Trivia for a discussion about writing, connecting, and engaging within the world of writing and publishing. Diana is on my side of the world, just south of the Canadian Border. She lives in a log cabin, situated on a mountain, with her husband, two owls and a horde of bats. She has found a place of belonging, surrounded by evergreens in the lush, green wilderness of the Oregon rainforest.
I invite you to put the kettle on and add to this exciting conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia.
Thank you for joining Diana and me on Tea Toast & Trivia.
Thank you to all the creative souls who shared a conversation with their muses. What variety and loads of fun. We had dapper old men, dramatic divas, bickering muses, muse speed dating, dragons, poets, and monsters!
I’m reading a page-turner in my writing room when I hear conversations below me in the muddy track called “my driveway.” Nobody ever ventures up this mountain besides the solitary UPS driver, and this sounds like a crowd. I peek out the window.
Muses. Lots of muses. What the…?
They fall silent and, as one, swivel to stare at me. Expectant. It appears a decision has been made.
One of them breaks from the pack, and I can’t help but groan. The Mercenary Muse (once subcontracted by my Bossy Muse) starts up the rain-slick stairs.
I open the door and look up, way up. The muse is a hulk, and he smells like a battlefield after a month long campaign. He bares his teeth in a sneer as if I’m the one who needs a shower.
“Where’s my regular muse?” I ask.
“In the ocean.” He tracks muddy prints on my floor and sits on a granite throne that appears in front of my couch. “She’s trying out your next book.”
“Oh really?” I arch my eyebrow and get a little huffy. “You’d think the author would have a say in the next story. What is she, a pirate or a mermaid?”
“A sea witch.” His grin is disturbing, though not as horrifying as his skimpy little outfit. I wish he’d close his legs. Yeesh. “I’m the Ferryman,” he adds.
My eyes snap up, and I blurt out a laugh. “Oh, no, you’re not.”
“Don’t defy a muse.” He glowers through the warning. “I am the Ferryman.”
“Gah!” I lean into his face, nose to crooked nose, angry enough to risk his breath. “No chance, big guy, not unless you submit to a complete makeover. Otherwise, forget it.”
“You’re the author.” He settles back in this throne with a smug smile and picks something from his teeth.
I wrinkle my face and cross my arms like a petulant… author. A Ferryman? And a Sea Witch? Am I actually considering this? I want to throw up but change the subject instead, “So, who are those muses, and what do they want? Don’t tell me they want scenes in the next book.”
He grunts to the negative. “They want some publicity for their authors, and I told them you’d help.”
My eyes narrow. “How?”
The brute leans forward, elbows on his knees. I’m tempted to hand him a toothbrush and bottle of mouthwash. He ignores my grimace. “They’re going to have conversations with their writers, and you’re going to reblog the posts.”
I tap a finger on my lower lip, considering the idea. The last time my blog friends joined in was a blast. And wonderfully creative.
I extend my hand. “Agreed.” We grasp each other’s forearms like warriors, and I squeak as my bones grate together.
“Agreed.” He lets go and heads for the door. “And I want your plot outlined by the end of the month.”
“But… but I’m not done with my reading challenge and now…”
If looks could squash me like a bug, I’d be plastered to the wall. He stomps down the stairs and joins the other muses. His throne fades away, and I peer out the window as the crowd disperses into the rain. I better get a post ready.
Here are the rules: (prompt now closed)
Post a conversation with your muse on your blog and link back to this post or leave a link in the comments. Don’t have a muse? Just open the door and see who shows up.
No word-limit and keep it family friendly. Include an image of your muse if you’re inclined (with respect for copyrights, please). I’ll reblog all posts received before December 1st. Thanks for playing… Meet the Muse!
The holidays come to a hectic close and my favorite time of year ambles in. Here in Oregon, if you gaze out the window at the January weather, you’ll find a misty, drippy, icy, foggy-soggy mess, at least through May. That gives me five whole months of lighter obligations and a complete lack of guilt for not “enjoying the weather.” In a climate boasting only four months of sunshine, the Vitamin D police are checking every household for us slackers.
For quite a few creative sorts, our pursuits get back-burnered by other more pressing responsibilities – jobs, violin lessons, soccer practice, staining the deck, grocery shopping, sorting socks…it’s amazing that anything in the world ever gets painted, composed, sculpted, or tapped out on the keyboard.
We, who aren’t independently wealthy or already famous, squeeze precious moments for inspiration from the cracks of our crowded lives. We hide in our cubbyholes, our converted attics, our bedrooms and garages. (Oh, I’ve written in the bathroom too). We rise before dawn with a steamy cup of coffee, kiss our lovers goodnight and stay up with the stars. A weekend alone isn’t a time for melancholy wishes; it’s a little taste of heaven with a neglected muse.
Creative time is sacred time, hours marked with inky conviction on the calendar that can’t be erased. As artists, we need to cultivate a belief in the importance of what we do, even when other duties jostle for our attention. We need to believe in the intrinsic value of our art, even when no paycheck arrives in the mail. We need to honor our creative calling and spirit of inspiration, even when the doubters tell us how nice it is we have a hobby to fill our free time!
In Oregon, the winter weather comes bearing the creative gift of unassigned hours. No matter where you live, dedicate a few empty squares of your calendar to nourish your creative soul and save the dates as you would for your child’s wedding. Be resolved.
Above is my first zentangle, a drawing I produced while my husband zoned out on Sunday football (borrrring). My effort was inspired by the lovely artist and blogger, Sarah, over at Art Expedition. Her posts are a delight, and I encourage you to visit her… and try a zentangle.
The poem is a tanka, inspired by Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday poetry challenge. We had to use synonyms of Mystery (dream) and Attract (charmed). Colleen’s poetry challenges are huge fun, and she makes it easy to try new forms. Head over for a peek and perhaps give one a try.
I’m delighted to be over at Julie’s today with a short and somewhat silly post about “Jumping Genres”… what possessed me, after years of writing for adults, to write a book for children. I hope it brings a smile. 😀
Please welcome my good blogging friend, D. Wallace Peach. Besides having a wonderful blog where she shares poetry, short prose from writing prompts, and peeks into visits with her grandson, she’s a prolific fantasy/sci-fi author. Since she writes for the adult market, I wondered why she chose to write a children’s book, so I invited her to stop by and shed some light on the subject. Take it away, Diana!
Julie asked me what possessed a writer of adult fantasy and sci-fi books to suddenly write and illustrate a children’s book.
The answer isn’t quite straight-forward, but it’s not that complicated either. I never set out with a children’s book in mind, but sometimes the ingredients come together and it’s a matter of timing more than intent.
Happy Mothers Day! What better way to celebrate than to share a heartwarming story by Allie Potts who routinely captures bits of wisdom from her children. Comments are closed here, so click through to Allie’s wonderful blog and smile.
Let’s go to the place where the sidewalk ends
By Allie Potts
LT sat on the tire swing in our backyard, alone. His brother had gone to play with a friend leaving LT to amuse himself while his father and I completed our chores. His legs were curled up as they wouldn’t touch the ground even if extended. As a result, the swing was nearly motionless except for a gentle sway with the breeze. I watched as his mouth move and wondered what the conversation he was having with himself might be about. He looked content, but it was a lonely image.
The last of my cleaning could wait. “Do you want to go to the park?” I called out, thinking there might be other kids he could play with. LT beamed, eagerly accepting my offer and soon we were walking down the street to our local playground. LT chattered about things like clouds, giants and other friendly monsters, smiling at everybody we passed along the way. Never once did I have to tell him to hurry up, or stay with me, or explain why he shouldn’t be carried. Who was this child?
That seems to be how I do things … twice. I try something with zero planning and no idea what the heck I’m doing. It’s pure adrenaline and inspiration, and usually, I have a lot of fun despite my first-time failures.
I wrote a book that way. Zipped through it, scribbling like a lunatic, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. In 30 days I wrote 189,000 words. I loved every single moment of it. Then I learned a thing or two (or 50) about writing and had to rewrite the whole book from start to finish. It took me two years.
It’s how I roll, apparently. I was raised believing I could accomplish anything if I put my mind to it and applied a hefty dose of elbow grease. A good impetus for trying new things, even though my first efforts are often disasters.
Imagine the worst sheetrock job of the century, the crumbling stone wall, the warped floor, the divorce, the singing waitress job (yup, I did that).
I put in this patio a couple years ago without any preparation – no sand, no wire, no plastic, no concrete, no level. I just set everything on top of the dirt. Each rock was a different size and I dug individual holes so they would all be even. It was spectacular.
My friends out here in the rainforest asked me how I prepped the foundation. “Oh, I just lay everything on the dirt,” I said cluelessly. They exchanged wide-eyed glances and bit their lips but had the grace not to explode my happy-bubble.
Did I mention the rainforest? The place where green things grow 2 feet a day… all year round. Within a month, the weeds between the stones were waist high. The squirrel-sized moles had tunneled beneath the whole thing, pushing stones aside and heaping up knee-high piles of dirt. For two years my beautiful “patio” was a jungle of thistle, ferns, burdock, blackberries, and grass. Yeesh.
So, it was time to do it over again… completely. When my eyeballs dried up from editing, I went outside and pulled up rocks and bricks and pavers and piled them in the woods. I weeded from one end to the other and relaid every single stone … the right way.
The point? Don’t be afraid to try new things if you feel inspired. A little planning and preparation is probably a good idea. But even if you jump in with both feet, like I do, know that failure is a great teacher and nothing to be shy about. The end result is often worth it, and you might surprise yourself!
I just spent 5 days editing without changing out of my pajamas. It seemed a good time to share an old guest post I had the honor of contributing to Seumas Gallacher’s wonderful blog. Thus…Writing in Pajamas.
To me, flannel pajamas are symbolic. Whenever I get the chance, I wear them all day, and in case you were wondering, I’m pj-clad as I type this post.
In my mother’s generation, all-day pajamas indicated a mortifying degree of sloth. Pinch-lipped gossips would roll their eyes toward heaven, conjuring images of beer before breakfast, dust bunnies, and soap operas. If a woman wore pajamas all day, she certainly didn’t chair the holiday bazaar or volunteer at the library. Her kids lacked appropriate moral supervision and, no doubt, roamed the neighborhood like hooligans. Never mind her neglected spouse nibbling TV dinners after a long day at the plant.
My guess is some people still think that way, and now and then, they’re probably not wrong. Yet, I never ascribed to that characterization. My pajamas epitomize the wonderful and rare days when I can slide from bed straight into writing mode. I rouse myself to pour more coffee and toss a log in the woodstove, but that’s about it. No volunteering, no grocery shopping, no babysitting, the house to myself…It’s a bit of creative heaven.
If I’m still in my woolly slippers and snowman pajamas when the clock strikes two, I’m at my peak, fulfilling a mission, playing God. Worlds are being created and razed, characters loved and destroyed. Pathos, humor, desperation, joy, and death tap like magic from my fingertips. Who has time to get dressed with a universe in the throes of chaos?
Sometimes I go a touch far, I’ll admit. I want to hold onto that “this day is mine, mine, mine” feeling. I cling to the illusion that I haven’t surrendered my creative immersion to other tasks. There are days when my pajama-wearing mulishness raises eyebrows.
None of you, hopefully, is shocked by my occasional dash in slippers and assorted-fruit flannels to retrieve something from the car or the shed. You all do that, right? And, you’ve gone to the mailbox and…um, walked the dog? Those are things normal people do in pajamas, don’t they?
Of course, I don’t stop there. Yesterday, I split wood in my slippers and snowflake pj’s, an almost farcical feat for which there are no pictures, thank the stars. Still in my pajamas, I’ve visited my neighbor to pick up my weekly goat’s milk supply, and on occasion, I’ve stopped in at the post office to mail books. I frequently wear my slippers to meetings. (If they want me to volunteer, they can deal with my choice of footwear, right?) And if I feel the need to dress up all fancy, I change the bottom half into jeans and yank a sweatshirt over the green turtles adorning the top.
I live in the northwest Oregon mountains outside a dinky town where everyone knows everyone else. I get away with this peculiar behavior because I’m a fantasy author. I’m permitted to be a bit eccentric. If they don’t remember me for my books, they’ll remember me as a lunatic. I’m fine either way.
To be honest, the real reason for my overindulgence in sleepwear is that once my little forays into the normal world are accomplished, I can return to my chair, my coffee, and my laptop without missing a beat. Wearing my pajamas is the bridge that keeps me connected to the fantastical side of my imagination. I relegate the outside world to a space between two parentheses, so the stories inside my head can continue unabated. That’s where I prefer to spend my time, and pajamas give me permission to dream.