Tuesday, November 29, 2011

magnificent beast

There is a character in my novel who hasn't made an appearance yet but he is pivotal to everything. I've been trying to figure out how to introduce him and I've been procrastinating on how to best get him into the action. He has decided he is sick of waiting for me and therefore has stared showing up in my dreams every night. What a magnificent beast. This may sound incredibly cheesy but I see him and I get chills. He is awesome. He made his first appearance in my dreams a few nights ago. He's showed up again, peripherally, but wow.

Almost done with 50,000 words. I will get there between today and tomorrow. My week is busy with work, distractions, obligations and friends. I've gotten up early the last two days to have a couple of solid hours to myself to meditate and write before the phone starts ringing and the day gets her claws into me. I love mornings. I love that as I write this the sun hasn't come up but when I look out the East-facing window next my desk, there are clouds whose backs are gray with pink bellies as we turn toward the sun for the day. The weather has been gorgeous lately.

The interesting thing about the draft of this novel is that it is nothing like the story I will end up telling. I'm exploring my characters and the world they inhabit. But more and more the plot keeps shifting in my head to something else, the world keeps transforming and I have to make notes to myself about what makes sense. (HOLY SHIT! The Eastern sky is fuchsia with electric blue trails of clouds bisecting it. I have to stop and watch the sunrise before I can write anymore. . . I'm back, no wonder so many culture worshipped the sun, with entrances like that it is almost impossible to believe the sun isn't a divine being. ) Anyway, my story is evolving. I have to make some difficult choices about the belief system of the world I'm in and see how dark I want to go. In theory, this is an young adult novel and I have to weigh in my heart what is and isn't appropriate. I'm not writing with the intention of wondering if what I have is publishable, but I want a story that is good, without too many elements of the horrific that have been threatening to creep in.

What a strange life I have at times. I'm not complaining but at times I'm baffled. Whatever, I'll ride it and enjoy it.

I woke up with this song in my head.

Friday, November 25, 2011

the sun is my enemy

Oh me! Today is supposed to be a writing day. I've spent the last two days cooking. Wednesday night I had a dinner party with friends and I cooked all day that day and did a lot of prepping for my cooking yesterday. I wrote a little because I was so busy. Wednesday night ended rather well, if you count four very drunk people dancing to Prince as a good way to end a night. But yesterday was a hangover day. And I was cooking a lot. I wrote not a word. I ate well, had a blast with family and slept early.

I want to write today but the sun is out and it is fucking gorgeous outside. Not that it isn't usually beautiful here in San Diego but today the sun is calling me. I know Sunday is supposed to be sunny and warm too but I want sunshine todaaay!! Novel or sunshine? Sunshine may win but I'll take a notebook.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

themes, considerations

I have so many ideas for this damn novel and the trilogy it is a part of. My mind is constantly on it, thinking, wondering about what my characters are going through. I have a couple of characters I'm not sure about. I think they have the wrong intentions and may end up not as bad people, but as people who think they're right and blindly act, which is often worse than being just "bad."

I've made the choice not to read or listen to any fiction while working on the first draft of the book so that I'm not subconsciously taking ideas or plots from whatever I'm reading. But of course my lifelong reading habit is informing my work. I have so many traces of legend, fairy tale, moral story and personal history already tied up in it. I'm struggling with the mythology, the specific mythology of the world I've created. I've been listening to an audiobook on mythology and have many thoughts but am still struggling. It will happen. I think the biggest thing I've learned through this process is that I have to trust myself. I've been writing and reading my entire life. Even if I don't know where the story is going right now, I know where it ends and I have a lifetime of stories in me and imagining to help me get there.

In other news, pretty fucking healthy these days. I wouldn't say I'm a gym rat, but I love exercising. I think I may be addicted to the endorphins and even more addicted to how my legs looks in the very tiny mini skirts I've started wearing.

Monday, November 21, 2011

the writing comes in waves

I am still writing my novel. Kind of impressed. Kind of shocked. I see now how long this project is going to be. The book won't end at 50,000 words but I'm happy with what I have so far. I contradict myself all over the place as the plot keeps shifting and changing as I write. Evolution is good. Yesterday I was rereading my old chapbook Half Life of Memory and I was reminded of the language I love. I've been so interested in story and character that I've abandoned language. So it goes, there will be other drafts, I'm sure. I would never show anyone this draft. Ugh.

The book should be a nice salve against the holidays. Gloom! Get thee away! I'll go shopping today for what I will cook for Thursday. Cecil will join the Huertas. It will be a small affair compared to last year. And then I will come back to my book and write.

This week has one of my favorite nights of the year, Wednesday night at the Whistle Stop is wonderful. Everyone who has come to town for Thanksgiving shows up there and there is a huge reunion of sorts.

I've been spending time with writer friends who are completely invigorating. And hilarious, brilliant and wild. I've needed this for such a long time. Creative, intelligent people without any pretension or bullshit. We eat. We drink. We go on adventures. No judgement or drama. Pretty fucking awesome. I feel like a kid again at time, that wild abandon taking me over and propelling me forward but I enjoy it more as an adult because I'm over deconstructing my joy in my mind. Joy is rare enough in life without having to break it down and interrogate it.

This weekend I met up with some friends and a woman said "Oh look, I'm wearing the Lizz Huerta look, tight pants and knee-high boots!" And I've converted quite a few people to drinking "my drink." Tequila reposado, usually Corralejo, with three olives. Perfect amount of salt to it. Try it. You may love it.

I want to be as ass-kicking as P.J. Harvey in this video. She has the dream swagger.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

the mind, undressed, redressed

I've been experimenting with my own form of Mind Hacking; using tricks to make my brain work harder for me. I'm pretty damn impressed with the results. I know the subconscious is powerful, dangerously so and for years I've worked on unraveling old, unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors. Meditation helps, as do affirmations and the like. Setting intentions for myself. I've had a lot of conversations lately about the power of our minds. Setting small goals then rewarding myself.

As I've been working on the novel I've decided to try a different approach. The novel takes place in a fantasy world very loosely based on a time period in world history, a civilization I'm slightly fascinated with. I don't want the book to be about the civilization but the architecture, art and the spiritual practices of some of the characters are indeed informed by it. Before I go to bed at night I've been watching documentaries on said civilization. I've actually watched a couple more than once. I do that so those images and ideas are the last things I see before I go to sleep. I know my brain is processing the ideas and life and then they transform and show up in my writing in the morning! They actually show up in my dreams too.

Since they've been showing up in my dreams I've decided to try something different as well. I'm a big fan of Glenn Harrold's hyponosis recordings. I've been listening to them for years. They work. Don't judge me. I downloaded a hypnosis on Lucid Dreaming and have been listening to it as I fall asleep. Holy. Fucking. Shit. Hear ye, oh skeptics, this shit works. I am kind of in shock. I listen before I go to sleep, with the intention of figuring out plot points and such for the novel. My mind is blown. Ideas and plots just show up,literally. In this particular hypnosis (I think of more as a guided meditation), there is a part wherein the listener is guided to a garden. In that garden my characters are waiting for me, telling me what's happening to them, their histories and what they're feeling. I know it sounds like I've turned into a hocus-pocus, dolphin-worshipping, crystal gazing, wide-eyed talker but those of you who know me know I'm not. I'm still an ass-kicker. With awesome dreams.

This song is on my novel-writing playlist.

Monday, November 14, 2011

writing, living, the rest

Deep in the novel. At a point where I have to make a choice and he choice hasn't come to me yet so I've been dancing around it. So it goes, it will come.

Lovely weekend. Yesterday Cecil and I hiked into the Laguna Mountains to see the Tree Ring play. Pictures posted.

Friday, November 11, 2011

eleven eleven

A little raw this morning. I watched the football game last night with friends at a bar down the street from where I live and I had three beers and a shot of bourbon and ouuuuch. I haven't been drinking anything but wine and beer lately. And I didn't eat last night so all around bad news. I'm a little bummed at myself, I wanted to get up and write today but the hammers in my head won't let me.

Listening to 11:11 by Rufus Wainwright on repeat this morning, his voice and this song open me up a little where I've been closing up. Today I imagine grief as a body of water, most of me has come out of it but my feet are still wet. I don't notice most of the times but then I do and yeah, fucking grief.

Having a song on repeat reminds me of something I witnessed and was a part of a couple of months ago. Love and I were at the end of things, tensions were high and we were both emotionally exhausted. We went to get a slice of pizza at a local spot, next door to a flower shop. The flower shop is one I've bought flowers from for years, run by really nice Mexican guys. Love and I were sitting outside eating pizza and I noticed whoever was working at the flower shop had the same song no repeat, Paloma Negra, an absolutely heartbreaking song about the singer trying to get over a broken heart. I tried to explain the lyrics to Love but couldn't translate them correctly, they were hitting a little too close to home and I couldn't even eat my pizza. When we got up to leave I dipped my head into the flower shop to say hello to whoever was working and I saw the man inside was crying his eyes out in silence. He saw me and was embarrassed, I was embarrassed that I had walked in on such an emotionally raw moment for him. We stammered through fake pleasantries and then I rejoined Love and we went home, our own grief making our attempts at conversation awkward and obtuse. I thought about that poor man crying in the flower shop all night. How no matter how we are wounded in love and life we always go back for more.

Oh hangover philosophy, thou art a bastard. I have high hopes for writing this weekend. My novel is dragging at some points but the point is that I am on point in writing. I like my main character a lot, she has so much to learn, most of all to trust herself. I'm teaching her that as I am learning it for myself.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

the watchers

I've been working on my novel every day. I love this. I wake up between 4am and 5am, make a cup of coffee and sit at the computer. I've realized this is the only time of day I'm not disturbed by the phone ringing or by the details of my day pressing in on me. I love watching the sky outside the window go from dark blue to the pale white of morning. And, I love my book. CRAZY! This is a story that has been inside of me for a while, I haven't even been aware of how much I was carrying until I began to set it on to to the page. I have so much learning to do, just like my character. I have so much creating to do but I'm doing it and doing it well. I come to the blank page very morning with confidence. I look to the right of my desk where there are hundreds of books on the bookshelves and think to myself If they could do it so can I.

Over and around my desk I have a collection of dolls and masks. Not creepy dolls that you buy on home shopping networks, but hand-sewn dolls I bought in Mexico about ten years ago. There are several masks from different places in my travels and a few other pieces of art that speak to me This morning as I was struggling with words I looked up and it was almost as if all these dolls and masks were watching me, and I was noticing for the first time. Kind of creepy, but also inspiring. Everything above my desk was made by creative hands, painters, artists, carvers, those who had a gift they wanted to share and I have their gifts over me as I work on mine. I especially love an Aboriginal painting my -boyfriend brought me from Australia. It is of a creation myth, something the artist learned in Dreaming, about the creation of women. And HELLO! Writing about that just helped me figure out a plot point I've been chewing on. Man, I am fucking brilliant sometimes.

My life is quiet these days, routine and lovely. I wake up early, write then go to work. In the afternoons I exercise, make dinner and in the evening I sit around in quiet contemplation, with a glass of red wine and dark chocolate. I go to bed early, thinking about my novel and the characters, the myths they are a part of. I dream deeply, no insomnia or tension in me and when the alarm goes off I'm ready to write.

Last night in my dreams I revisited my recent past and saw had I continued on the same trajectory nothing would have changed and the unclaimed, un-named pain in me would still be manifesting itself through insomnia, eczema, TMJ; all the ways my body was telling me I was suffering needlessly. And yet, nostalgia is a beast and there is one little beast in particular I miss. But, onwards and upwards, and strangely enough, joyfully.

I've started teaching creative writing to teenagers with a couple of friends. Wow. I want to cry after each class because the students are so amazing. They're smart, sharp, funny and they slay me with what they write. Last night I had them write love letters to themselves. Then, if they wanted to, they could read them aloud. Some of the things the kids wrote floored me, I had to admonish myself not to cry, remind myself that I'm not some cheesy teacher in a made-for-tv movie who is saving their lives. But, wow. We're teaching in a homeless shelter downtown, all of the students live there. They are so fucking cool, these kids. So smart. When I leave I'm high from their energy and my face hurts from smiling. As tired as I am after work I can't wait to get to them and see what they have to share.

Loving Andrea Echeverri's new album, Dos. I've always loved her and silly as this may sound, I feel like I've been growing up along with her. In my earlier years of listening to her music, both she and the music and I had sharp edges, were a little aggressive but fun. Now we've all mellowed out and are more in a state of peace with ourselves.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

writing it out

Today is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month. I signed up and this morning I woke up at 5am and wrote 1,817 words. Not a bad start! I'm working on the fantasy novel. I have a shit-ton outlined but this morning I just let it go and let my mind take me where it wanted to go. My opening scene is different from what I thought it would be but I'm just going to let it happen. Im going to try to write more when I get home from work, get a jump-start on the word count.

Halloween weekend was good. I went to a party Saturday night and had a lovely time. I had a few great conversations, not just drunk banter/small talk. Good conversations are refreshing and necessary for me, for any sort of friendship.