Monday, June 18, 2007

Of Laundry and Writing

by Joan Kayse

The Writer's life. Glamour, exotic locations, exciting adventure, tantalizing interpersonal relationships.

Sorting the darks from the whites.

It's not all chocolate and champagne. Cabana boys bringing us towels while we lounge by the pool churning out pages and pages of riveting fiction. Not even close (except for the chocolate).

Many of us still have our "day jobs". We have households to run, children to raise and nurture (or in my case, drought striken plants to resusitate. A petunia with its tongue hanging out in thirst is NOT a pretty sight!) Obligations that demand our attention. But....

During meetings we're trying to decide if our hero should arrive by horse or UFO. We zone out during church when we're really trying to work out in our heads a better way for our heroine to tell the villian to take a hike. Even going to the grocery store can solve a particular plot problem as we listen to the lady behind us in line complain on her cell phone about her boyfriend.

Our minds. Always working.

Our fans would be dazzled if they watched us during the actual process. Hours of staring at the computer screen waiting for inspiration to hit. Rewriting the same sentence twenty times. Talking to our inspirational character pics taped to our desks. (I've had many a long conversation with Damon, hero from THE PATRICIAN'S FORTUNE who just happens to look like an image of a scruffy Hugh Jackman from PEOPLE. I used to do it with my Davy Jones of the Monkees poster when I was 12 LOL)

And it gets even worse when we're with other writers. I chat with my CP almost everyday. Last night she listened to me grouse about my bad weekend at the hospital. I listened to her talk about working our church picnic. Soon we were discussing our progress on our current WIP, hashing out plot issues, celebrating the completion of a manuscript. Multiply that by hundreds when we go to the RWA conference in a couple of weeks. Two thousand like souls all congregating for four days of talking writing! Nirvana.

The writing life; highs and lows, joy and frustration, success and rejection.



Anna Sugden said...

Great post Joan and so true.

I was explaining to a friend (a non-writer) the other day, how the process goes. About halfway through, when I mentioned talking to my characters, hearing them in my head and them taking over my story, I burst out laughing and said - you probably think I should be committed! Bless her, she smiled indulgently and denied ... but you could see she didn't really get it!

Thanks goodness there's a group of us like-minded lunatics!

Buffie said...

I would love to be a fly on the wall so that I could watch a writer in action; how one ponders the right word or the fabulous turn in the plot that no one sees coming. I think it would be utterly fascinating.

And I loved Davy Jones when I was little too!!! I used to watch all of the reruns and just ooh and aah over him.

Keira Soleore said...

National should be fun--exciting, nerve-wracking, fabulous learning and networking experience.

Joan said...

Anna, I know what you mean. A Physical therapy lady at work who I've not seen I know in 2 years worked on my unit the weekend. She immediately asked me if I'd ever finished my book. I told her I had several completed mss and she wanted to know how she could get one. Her eyes glazed over when I tried to explain the long, drawn out road to publication.

And yet, she said to be sure and call her when I did pub so she could be in line to buy it.

LOL, Buffie. Watching us writers talk to ourselves (or our pictures), grab our hair and groan, raise our hands in exultation when a phrase hits just right might make for some SLOW viewing.

Several years ago at the RWA Denver conference they had a skit before the GH/RITA ceremony depicting a day in the life of the writer. Oh. My. God it was FUNNY! A writer in her pajamas, hair pulled back ....staring at her keyboard. Hunting frantically for chocolate, gulping down huge mugs of coffee. Every writer from Nora down to me could relate at some level.

As to Davy Jones, I remember when they announced the show was cancelled, going into my room, putting on their record, hugging an album cover and bawling my eyes out. LOL

Kiera, I cannot wait for conference to arrive! Absorbing all that energy, meeting my fellow Banditas (hey, I just realized it is in Texas! Texas + Banditas = watch out.

Now, I'm sitting in ragged shorts, old T-shirt, hair soaked from trying to move my lawn sprinkler around while in operation and have a large Diet Coke at hand....

Time to write.

Trish Milburn said...

Funny but true, Joan. I do so love not having to wear makeup or even real clothes to work anymore. :) Let's just hope I sell soon so I don't have to pull out the dress clothes and makeup and go back to the day job. Bleh.

I love conference. Even though I know I'm going to be running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

Joan said...

Find any of us, and we'll help herd you in the right direction.

You've made a big, BIG difference to PRO this past year and I thank you for it.

Aunty Cindy said...

You are sooo right, Joan.

Our "Writer Minds" never stop!

Just this afternoon, I was wandering the aisles of the grocery store deep in thought about my WIP. I often have plot break-throughs while driving to meet my friends for lunch. And I REALLY LOVE IT when I dream about a scene I'm currently writing, or planning to write.

Of course, all this THINKING does not necessarily tranlate to streams of brilliant prose once we hit the keyboard. Trust us, Buffie, the view of most writers writing is NOT that enjoyable, even with the bouts of talking to our characters, or their pictures.

off to oogle a few piccies of her favorite hero-models