Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mo' Better

Another 700 words on "Sea Change" today. 3750 so far. One, maybe two more scenes to go, and I can call it finished in first draft. Today's scene was...umm...interesting. I see another theme emerging that reflects some of what's going on in my life right now.

This weekend, I'm going to make my first simultaneous submission. I've heald off on that so far for two reasons:

1.) It's too complicated to track.


2.) I've held to a belief in exclusivity, letting one market have a chance at a time.

I have changed my mind. Hey, I'm allowed! As long as I don't go overboard, I will be able to keep up. The software I use will let me see what is where any time I want to, and, since I don't have an excessive number of stories circulating at any one time, I should be able to deal with it. As far as exclusivity goes, who has time for that? When it takes 3-6 months for a market to reply, that means only 2-4 markets will see this story in a year. Not enough. I would like to get something published sometime before I turn 90.

So, "Carrion Comfort" goes out to four markets this weekend. They all accept simulsubs, and 2 of them even encourage them. Ask and ye shall receive. I'm debating changing the title again, too. I don't really want to, because I think Hopkins's poem is really appropriate to this story. On the other hand, I'm afraid the title is turning people off. What to do, what to do...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Good Work Day

1200 more words on "Sea Change". 600 yesterday. It's now just over 3000 words and approaching the climax. My "perfect" ending went into the shredder a couple of days ago when the story took a sharp left turn into the weird. More craziness on the way tomorrow. In my reply to Melly's comment on the snip the other day, I said that this is a story about change. More than I knew, apparently. It keeps changing course and throwing me off balance. Sometimes that's a good thing.

I'm trying an experiment with this story, a new way of working, and it's goign great so far. I am combining my Tarot fascination with my developing meditation habit to get past the fear roadblock. By drawing a card and then meditating on how that card relates to the story, I have been getting tremendous insight and clarity. It's both exhilarating and frightening. When I sit down to write, I feel like I'm plugged in to a 880-volt trunk line, like I tried to stick a vein and got a main artery instead. The words are just throwing themselves out so fast I can't keep up. They're good words, too. I think so, anyway. Keep your opinions to yourselves. ;-)

Words are magic. They are conduits for enormous power. The power of my words over me and my audience (assuming I can get the damn thing published) is both awe-inspiring and terrifying. I am bringing something into the world that has never existed before, a beast both fair and foul.

Melly also asked where this story came from. I have to admit I have no clue. This is one of the ones that just sprang into my mind late one night about three years ago. I had a vision of the final scene, the denouement, and the first sentence. It's been incubating ever since. Sometimes, I don't really want to know where these things come from. There are things hiding in the depths of my mind that should not be disturbed.

Monday, August 22, 2005

A Whack Upside the Head

Following Holly's recommendation, I tracked down and bought Your Heart's Desire and The Psychic Pathway, both by Sonia Choquette. I have finished the first and am almost through the second. Let me just second Holly's recommendation. Excellent additions to my bookshelf.

So I was thinking this morning. Should-can-will I follow Choquette's Prcinciples to my Heart's Desire? Over the past few years, I have come to trust the Tarot to help me see my way. So I held my favorite deck (Rider-Waite) for a few minutes while I meditated on this question. Then I drew a card. Ace of Pentacles. In layman's terms: What the hell are you doing sitting there playing with cards? Get your ass in gear!

On the Ace of Pentacles, a hand descends from a cloud holding a golden disc inscribed with a Pentacle. The scene includes white lillies blooming against a hedge. In the hedge is an open archway. A path leads to the opening, through which we can see distant mountains. This ain't symbolism; this is a whack upside my head. All I need to do (all!) is take one step forward, then another. When I get to the archway, I can step through. Eventually, I can get to the mountains. One step at a time. The Pentacle-inscribed coin is a talisman, an investment in me by the Universe. The Universe believes in me. I only have to believe in myself. Only.

OK. First Principle: focus, attention, intention. Determine my Heart's Desire, pay attention to it, and intend to get it. I find an eerie parallel here to The Teachings of don Juan by Carlos Castaneda, which I am re-reading for the God-only-knows-how-many-th time. "Choose a path with a heart", don Juan says. Focus on it. Pay attention to your path and the world around you. Follow it with "unbending intent".

So what is my Heart's Desire? Good question. Right now, I have several areas I need to look closely at: finances, writing, spiritual growth, etc. I see deep thought and meditation in my future.

Ultimately, the quest for my Heart's Desire is the search for an answer to one of Life's great questions: Why am I here? What is the purpose in my life. If I am to excape the bottomless angst that has plagued me since I could think, I need to answer that question. It is intimately bound up with the question that is my major concern right now: Who am I? In order to identify myself as an authentic, self-respect-worthy human being, I have to know what I am doing here and how to go about fulfilling my destiny.

I'll deal with the fear as it arises. I have to focus my intent on my purpose and always keep in mind that the Universe want me to succeed. It told me so in no uncertain terms.