May 25, 2008

Sins Of Omission

Filed under: double life,friends,honesty,lies,trust — writebrainit @ 1:38 pm

The morning after my last post, I arrived to work and after getting situated and starting my day, I also checked my email (which is par for the course). A friend of mine had written, but this was not unusual, for the past several years (since 2004) at least – at least that is when I started saving them. I think I started saving them for a couple of reasons – one, it was like having an online journal – during this time, he had some significant stuff go on with him and I always had a plan to put it into a document that would show how far he had come; two, it was like having my own journal for the last several years; and three, I think I had some trust issues – stuff would often be thrown back at me, claiming I had said this or that or that I believed this or that as well.

I thought the email exchanges were overall some of my best – he was someone I could share my life with and get a fairly objective response and I tried to give him the same. Typically we write each other daily during the weekday, sometimes several times a day, some weeks only a couple of times during the week. Occasionally we have had weeks where we are in the middle of a ‘dispute’ and only drop each other a note once during the week to basically update the other on how busy we have been.

He is someone I consider a dear friend. There are times we don’t get along and we have completely different thoughts or interpretations of something, but we allow for the other to have their own thoughts and for the most part share them. There have been times the emails have hurt the other and while I know that I don’t believe I have ever tried to deliberately hurt him, I like to believe that his intention has never been to deliberately hurt me. But there are times I have wondered.

This Monday he greeted me with the email that it was time for him to ‘disclose’ something to me. He had basically been living two lives – the one he told me about, claiming that he maintained this because he was having a hard time letting go of his old life. Later in the week, when I challenged some of this, he claimed that he didn’t tell me because he didn’t want to be judged and that I can sometimes be a little hard on him. Now I am struggling, this isn’t a little secret, it’s a big one – having a whole different life that what you have presenting. This isn’t something like coming out which I believe is the person’s choice and understand what it is like to live with that secret and have to play a whole double life thing. This is things telling me that you had gone home for the weekend and hung out with family when really he was getting married and on his honeymoon or saying that he hadn’t done anything special for mother’s day weekend except that his mother had come to visit and really his child was born the day before mothers day? This isn’t a short time of telling lies but almost three years!

This isn’t easy to process because he claims to have not lied but to have just left out information. I was taught and believe that on the small occasion, a lie of omission is okay, but in the big picture a lie of omission is just as harmful, sometimes more as a blatant lie. Am I wrong?


May 18, 2008

Enough to Hurt

This last week was one of those that had a lot of thought-provoking incidents. Some of them made me cry. When I say cry, for me it often means eyes welling up with tears – I don’t like to have the big sobbing fits – they stuff up my head and I don’t feel very well after them. I did have one of them though – when California overturned and claimed that not allowing same-sex couples to marry was unconstitutional. I’m getting teary-eyed thinking about it right now. It’s funny, because it has been a long time since I have even been close to even the possibility of marriage and that was to a woman. I knew it was important, but I didn’t expect it to impact me in the way I did. I sobbed, I sobbed when I read some of the celebratory blogs, I sobbed when Ellen announced her engagement to Portia, I sobbed at the thought of the possibility. Maybe, someday.

I watched this movie The Air that I Breathe – gotta admit that the trailer was better than the movie was. It was nice to see some of the actors I really like together: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kevin Bacon, Brenden Fraiser and Al Pachino. The movie was not very good – too much going on in a story that – well, I think it tried to do the circular story thing which has become fairly popular with Babel and Crash. They didn’t do it. But I did hear a couple of songs that I really liked. One had a chorus that just blew me away – “At least I loved enough to hurt,” I love the thoughts a line like that brings to the surface. I am not going to go into the whole thing of whether I have or have not “loved enough to hurt,” but I do love the way it has me thinking.

Grey’s Anatomy made me cry, I love that show. It always does. I have to admit that I even got a little teary-eyed on an episode of Wife Swap when the wives re-connected with there spouses (surely some of these families have to know how fucking crazy they come across on this show?)I also got a little teary-eyed for Pam and Michael on The Office, as well as for Earl. I love those shows.

I stayed away from a couple of movies because I feared they are going to make me sob, though I am completely drawn to them. Grace Is Gone staring John Cusack and Rails and Ties staring Kevin Bacon. Look them up and you will see what I mean – I saw they previews and they both made me tear up. I also keep starting to watch Lars And The Real Girl – but I keep putting it in before I go to bed, which is just stupid as I really want to see this movie and have heard so much good about it.

On Friday I finished re-reading Prince Caspian in anticipation of the movie. I admit that the book make me well up a couple of times. But the movie, oh my goodness, the movie. It was beautiful. They change a couple of things from the book – I was really okay with that. The actual battle scene in the book was so short and anti-climatic, but the movie justifies it. The White Witch is back, and in the book she actual never returns (I am really not revealing spoilers since we see her in the previews). But the music and the look in these children’s eyes, is so wonderful, that you are taken back to Narnia. I welled up more than once throughout the whole movie. It was beautiful. I wished as I was watching it that I had watched The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe before I went to see it, not because I missed anything by not doing that, but because I was reminded of the wonder and joy I felt in watching that movie. It will definitely be on my movies to watch this week.

So last night, I was trying to figure out what to watch before bed and decided that I am a big baby and I didn’t want to end my weekend with another sad story – so I watched the country music awards and headed off to bed. This week is a week full of season finales, hopefully some movies, but definitely writing. I can’t believe I spent the whole weekend only typing one line – I really have nothing to show for what I did instead, except a little planting. I did get a rejection from one of the publishers I sent my manuscript to – it’s a little frustrating as it wasn’t even opened – just had a big “REJECTED” sticker on the front, although when I checked the Writer’s Market, it does say that picture books are supposed to be submitted with the full manuscript?

May 15, 2008

My Family

Filed under: family pics — writebrainit @ 1:28 am

I have been going through some family pictures lately for my niece’s 8th grade graduation video. I realize how great my family is. I am so blessed to have the relationships that I do, not only with my siblings, but with my nieces and nephews.

May 13, 2008

Weird Quirks

Filed under: groin,peeing,scary,werewolf — writebrainit @ 5:11 pm

I meet a lot of interesting people in the work I do. Some of them I really like, some of them I am glad it is a working relationship, and then there have been the occasional ones which I resent the work I do for putting me and my family in the potential line of danger. I think some of that is the imagination I have and seeing stories in everything.

This post has less to do with anyone but myself and my own warped imagination. I have this toilet room off of my kitchen on the main floor – it has two doors and a window and the room is only something like 4’x6′. I started noticing a couple of weeks ago that when I am standing in front of the toilet, doing what a man does when standing in front of the toilet, that I always place my left hand on the door – half on the frame, half on the door. I think I have done this since I moved into this house almost 5 years ago – and every time I do, I get this weird vision of something bursting through the door as I am standing there. Now do you think I am worried about the fact that something like a werewolf has just burst in and knocked me down while I am peeing? No almost every time I get this image, I have that feeling that shoots from my groin down my leg when I think of the pain I will feel as the door scrapes over the top of my foot.

I know, some thoughts are better kept ‘up here’(I point to my head), than said out loud or written.

May 12, 2008

Update – I need to GIVE MORE HUGS!

Filed under: hugs,mother's day — writebrainit @ 11:44 am

Yes I made sure to give my mother a hug on Mother’s Day. We took a nice picture as well. It was one of those days that went off fairly well without a hitch and the food which was provided by the men of the family, went over very well. We all pretty much left with bellies (and baggies) full. I will eat well for the next week, lol.

Writing – Wishes and Pockets

Filed under: SCBWI,writing — writebrainit @ 11:32 am

On Saturday, I went to a new writer’s group that is primarily for Children/Juvenile writers. I believe they are a critique group sponsored by the SCBWI group. It was interesting. It’s one of those opportunities that allow me to be thankful that I am in the primary group which I am in.

This new group had some very talented and interesting people. It is a little less structured than my primary group, and there is a tendency to get off topic. I really like the structure of the current group I belong to, though I will return to this group in the future. I did read – which I know I stated in a previous post that it would have been helpful to attend a couple of meetings to learn the dynamics of a group before reading – this group only meets once a month, so it’s a different approach and I jumped right in. However, I got raked over the coals a little. It was interesting to read the same story which was so well-received by one group and then with the group who is more along the lines of children’s writers – not as much.

First of all, after I had read, there was an awkward silence which even prompted me to go, ‘the end.’ LOL. Then someone jumped in with ‘well the thing I didn’t get at first’ and then other comments about its length and the material being stuff children would be interested in. It was a very humbling experience to say the least. A couple of questions were brought up that I had not really looked at. Many of the suggestions were very good. One woman suggested it might even be better for a parenting magazine because it does offer a suggestion for parents to handle a behavior their own children might be showing.

I left the meeting a little disheartened, not because I believe the story is a bad story, but because I have a feeling this might be why it has not been picked up by a publisher. Of course, I learn this the week that I have sent it out to 10 different publishers, lol. It did give me another direction to go with whom to submit it. As with any of the critiques I have gone through – I will sit on it awhile before picking it up again to review it.

May 5, 2008

I am so proud of myself

Filed under: publishers,research,story,writing — writebrainit @ 3:28 pm

Can I just say that the day is only halfway through and explain was a highly productive day I had. I woke up nice and early this morning – didn’t have to be to work until 10 a.m. since I am working late tonight. I did a little more research for another job at Careerlink, and found a few to apply for. I have to work on that tonight before I go to bed.

But the thing I am most proud of is getting my story out to some publishers. I got 5 queries/manuscripts out to a few different publishers and also sent one to an agent. For me that was a productive day. I had gone through the Writer’s Market about 1.5 months ago and identified about 20 companies who accept non-solicited stories as well as simultaneous submissions, but had not done anything with them. So now my plan is to get at least five of them out a day, until I have the list completed. I can’t get published if I am not submitting.

May 1, 2008

Things I have learned…

Filed under: Uncategorized — writebrainit @ 3:40 pm

from my year in the Nebraska Writers Workshop. I was very cautious when I first came in because it was a group that seemed fairly established and I learned had been around since the 80’s. How I never had found or even heard of them, I do not know because I had looked for writing/critique groups in the past and believed they only came from different writing classes.

Anyways I attended my first meeting and was caught. The moderator was very enthusiastic and welcoming. The night which was my first meeting was also one of the last for another member who was moving away and he was going away with a bang – he read a very controversial part of his stage play that provoked all sorts of emotion and response.

The next week I read one of my stories, it was one which had been published in Fine Lines – a literary journal here in Nebraska (although there was the whole middle portion of this story which was very jumbled – I should have probably contacted the editors about it, but never did). Anyhow, I was met with very positive responses, it was a good start.

I have not read as often as I am prodded even though I have a large variety of stuff that I am working on. It seems that every meeting I attend, I learn something new. Then I feel obligated to apply what I have learned to the story before I present it. Almost nothing bothers me more than when someone presents a portion of their work that and they new adjustments needed to be made, but have not taken the time to make them and then want to comment on that each time someone critiques it. I have frustrated a couple of people because I have presented a portion of a short story, only to never have read it to the group again.

I walk away from the meetings when one of my items has been critiqued and I put it away for several weeks. I am very right-brained when working on my stories, so sometimes I need to let it settle before I pull out the story, re-write or edit it and then I look at the critiques to see if I was able to meet any of the suggestions. It is a very good tool for me. However, often, it fixes a portion of the story that works and I have to work it into the whole story. If I focus too much on the editing and re-writing, I am left with no time to write the new stuff.

I am still trying to set up a writing schedule that allows for a portion of time to be focused on editing, a portion on researching, and a larger portion on the writing.

The main things that I have learned:

1. I could have learned a lot by attending at least 3 or 4 meetings to learn the process and what was being addressed in the reading before presenting my own story. I now look at is as more respectful – instead I looked like the guy, who wanted to come in and show off his stuff – when in reality, I know I was thinking, I better show my stuff so they can decided if my critiques are credible or not.

2. I learned to truly look at the voice and which person the story is in. This took me awhile and I really had to pay attention to people critiquing before I finally got it and it was huge ‘OHHHHHH!!!’ (I’ve learned that I have a tendency to write in the first person and have challenged myself to write in the third.)

3. I learned to watch for the passive works – simple tricks that work are doing searches for words like ‘was,’ ‘s/he,’ and other repetitive words.

4. I learned that I often need the other writer/listener to help identify when I am repeating myself.

5. I learned that while I may believe a portion of the story needs to be in there, or a tool I am using to get a point across is necessary, sometimes it isn’t.

6. I’ve learned the art of critiquing – just sitting back and listening to the praise and concerns – no one has to make the changes which are suggested.

7. I’ve learned the importance of developing routines for my writing.

8. I’ve learned some of the aspects of screen writing (even though I have never written one, I do hope to someday).

9. I’ve learned to prepare my readers in the group when it is a short story – the majority of them seem to be novelists, so when presenting a short story there is the potential of frustration that there wasn’t more to the story. (This can be a benefit, following my break from the critiquing, it allows me to consider making the story longer or shorter.)

10. I’ve learned that as ready as I believed I was to be published (well, I am), but my work wasn’t. I’ve also learned that I am getting a lot closer.

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