Dare Mighty Things

On a visit to JPL last year, I saw this sign in a building:

 

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I’m not a scientist, not even close. I am in awe of all things inventive and new about science. I love the realm of possibility.

 

Dare Mighty Things doesn’t even make sense exactly. I mean, how do you dare a thing? Yet, that’s one of the reasons why I like the sign so much.

 

My sons and other members of my family have science brains. They can wrap their heads around abstract possibility, force, nature, numbers. I stand back and nod in awe.

Innovation leads to success,

Yet, failure is also a huge part of innovation.

Daring means things go wrong too. Mighty doesn’t happen unless we take risks

I think pretty much everything Elon Musk does is amazing, yet even with an innovative company like Space X, failure happens.

I cannot create an alternative fueled spaceship or navigate rovers on planets, but I can write.

The past few years I’ve had my own version of spectacular rockets blowing up.

Years of work on novels end in fiery ruin.

I stare at the pieces and start over,

Do it again

And again

And again.

 

Sometimes, it gets hard,

Painfully, wretchedly hard.

But what other choice do I have?

 

I have to create.

I have to write.

I cannot stop.

 

When I face that blank screen, the possibilities swarm through my brain.

DARE MIGHTY THINGS
My own version of space travel starts when my fingers hit the keyboard.

To possibility and beyond! 

 

 

 

On the Verge

I know I often say how busy I am.

I am super busy right now. To give you an idea, a full schedule with my day job is when I teach four classes. Often I teach five.

Well, this fall I’m teaching six classes for four different universities.

The life of an adjunct . . . But, that’s another topic (too ugly for today).

Yes, I am busy.

Oddly enough, despite my lack of time, I’m jolting with creative energy.

While I’m finishing up a YA novel, I had an idea on how I can completely change the voice of a middle grade story I wrote long ago.  I thought of a picture book story, and another ten minute play. I worked on some monologues for an upcoming show, drafted two articles, and and plotted out three new YA novels (I will need to choose one to start with).

I feel like I’m standing outside of myself looking in and wondering what happened. Where did all this creative energy come from? Why now when I don’t have time? Part of this is wonderful. Who wouldn’t want all of these cool writing vibes to play with? Yet, I’m frustrated as well. I would like to drop all six of my classes and run down the paths of all of these stories.

From where I stand, the scenery ahead in stunning.

Fall13

 

 

Oh, I’m  so sorry if you’re seeing advertisements on my blog. WordPress started adding them (without alerting me), and now I will have to pay extra to have them removed.

I’m not very happy with WordPress right now.

Warp Drive

Scientists are working on creating a warp drive.

“You don’t really understand this, do you?” my oldest son asks.

“Well, I understand that warp drive means you could go very, very fast in space.” See, I have watched enough Star Trek to understand.

“But, you don’t really understand.”

Okay,  I can’t really wrap my brain around quantum thrusters, but I applaud the efforts. I understand the value of this speed and ease of travel in space.

I tell my son discussing imagery in the poetry of Emily Dickinson is a little like a warp drive. He sighs loudly.

This one is easy: A deeper understanding of a poem is like a journey through space.

When I was very young I thought I could be an airplane when I grew up. I’m not kidding. Even after flying in one, I still thought it was possible.

During my sixth year, when my family and I went on several trips across the country and to Ireland, I think it finally sunk in. I couldn’t be an airplane.

Yet, as a writer, I create worlds, characters, and stories. I transport readers to unique destinations and allow them to experience exciting adventures. Well, this is my goal . . .

See, I’m an airplane!

I need to create my own warp drive.

Drafting, Messy Kitchens, and the Fragility of Life

I’m working on a new project. I’ve written a summary and created character profiles (after a furious vetting process). I think I even discovered the core of the story.

I went on long walks.

I stared into space.

I daydreamed . . .

Now, the time has come where I need to stop thinking and write my first draft.

I confess, I hate writing a first draft. Planning is all kinds of fun, revision has moments of glory, but the first draft? Well, it’s so dreadful and unknown. I’m awkward, like I’m on a first date not sure of what to do or say. I want my writing to be perfect, but what I see on the page is so far from the beauty I first saw in my mind.

You know what I’m talking about: You envision Rembrandt, but you can’t even manage a proper stick figure.

So, here’s what I do when I have to start a first draft:

I PROCRASTINATE

This needs tidying!

There’s vacuuming to do, baking, organizing drawers, bathtubs to be scrubbed, and, of course, all sorts of day job issues to obsess over and suck up my time.

This past week was particularly stressful with all sorts of real world stuff to distract me—day job dramas, the holidays . . .

This past week I also learned the horrible news of the untimely death of a beautiful and talented young woman. I still can’t quite believe I’ll never see her again.

So, this morning I got up at five and opened a new document.

I wrote.

I know it will not be perfect. I will get stuck, and I will wander away from my desk from time to time to do Absolutely Necessary Chores; however, the story has begun, the characters talk, and things happen. Eventually, I will finish.

This past week’s tragedy is a reminder of the value of each passing hour.

I know how I should be spending my time.

I will write this book.

Onward!

Swan, Swan . . .

Since the sun has been out, and I see signs of daffodils pushing up through the soil, I will go ahead and call it spring. I’m good at creating my own reality.

On a walk on Friday, my husband and I saw trumpeter swans on Cascade Lake.

Hi There!

Such a beautiful morning . . .

As the sun hit the rocks and the sides of trees, steam rose up and slowly evaporated.

  I feel very fortunate to live on such a beautiful island.

This week marks my tenth anniversary of island life.

Sometimes this little rock feels crazy and claustrophobic.

But most of the time this little world feels as vast as the universe.

Possibility

and

Community.

 

I wish you a beautiful early spring.

Christmas Eve

It’s seventy degrees with perfect blue skies. This is far removed from my usual rainy and soggy island.

Driving along Pacific Coast Highway, I spied the mist spray of a whale surfacing in the calm waters.  It’s early for gray whale migration, but I imagine that’s what I saw.

If I believed in omens, I would say this is an omen for good things to come. For I am sure in a fictional world a gray whale would be my familiar.

Or, perhaps I’ve had too much sun today.

I spent the afternoon on Leo Carrillo Beach. With craggy rocks, caves, and tide pools, this beach is probably my favorite of all.

I wish everyone happiness and good things to come for the new year.

>Stars

>I went outside a few minutes ago to latch the garden gate (I don’t want deer dining on my spring plants). I’m always a little surprised to look up and see so many stars. I forget sometimes about the stars–the billions of worlds existing elsewhere. I still remember the first time I learned that the stars in the night sky were suns and galaxies. I started thinking obsessively about other life–something alive watching me from another corner of the sky.

Possibility.

I’ve been busy editing a novel and training for a new job. My days filled with work and obligation. I stop to watch the stars and remember those child thoughts–and remember my imagination.