Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Writerly Life: Yes, We are (All) Totally Mental

Are writers all crazy?


I mean, we (some of us) work for free.

And if we are honest with ourselves, we expect that to continue to happen for at least ten years (unless we are Stephanie Meyer).

And we all know we may never get paid a single penny, even after twenty years.

Honestly, what sane person would do that?


  • we live in imaginary worlds where dragons exist and eleven-year-olds can save the world from utter destruction;

  • we do things like spend all day deciding in what order to arrange seven words;

  • and then tomorrow we erase all seven because they were stupid.

My theory: most (all?) writers suffer from
  • ADD (what other job would zoned-out, dreamy, late, always-getting-lost people like us not get fired from?),
  • OCD (how else could we spend twelve hours a day for months working and reworking scenes and sentences if we couldn't And then act out our a compulsion to write? How many authors have you heard say they "can't not write"?),

  •  (mostly likely) SERIOUS DEPRESSION. (Well, it goes with being sensitive enough to write something emotionally powerful.)

What do you think?

It's just a hunch.

But if not, how do you explain all those people at writing conferences who have the same freaked-out OCD hand-washing ritual--involving too-many-paper-towels-and-when-you-can-turn-off-the-faucet-and-how-you- can-open-the-door--that I have? 

Yep. I believe we're ALL crazy. Musicians and artists, too.
We only do this stuff because we HAVE to. Like we have to wash our hands.


Any sane person would have quit before she'd started.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We're Back...

I am back from Korea. Thank you all for your book suggestions.

Unfortunately, I didn't read at all.

I was too drugged out on motion-sickness medicine to read on the airplane. Or the bus.

The rest of the time we spent running between subway stops and up and down flights of subway stairs. No wonder Koreans are so thin. They are ALWAYS walking. Also, they don't know how to make edible desserts (though they do make killer lettuce-wraps). I lost weight.

And... computer is back from the repair shop. It works (so far).

It's a blooming miracle. It has only taken two months. MONTHS. Not weeks. Not days.

Moral: do not drop off your machine to be fixed by a guy who works in a wire-filled dungeon in the basement of an acupuncture clinic.

Anyway, I am writing again. At last.

Vacations are nice. But getting back to work feels like putting my head back on again after airing it out for awhile.

I knew I was missing something. Just couldn't think what.

Playing High and Dry with Sourdough

Lately I've been playing with dough. It's become a sort of a compulsion. Maybe because I'm tired of driving all the way to som...