Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy Blogiversary!

Happy Birthday Leftbrainwrite!

Exactly one year ago, I entered the wild, woolly cyberworld of blogging. My friend and fellow writer CHRYS BUCKLEY had returned from a conference two weeks before, pumped up about blogging and somehow convinced me to join the fray.

We've come a long way, my little baby.

--64 posts
--A few HONORS along the way
--Some guest blogging for SARAH MOFFETT and MOONRAT
--Musings on mental health and substance abuse and creativity, on balancing the personal and the professional
--My travails writing, including the ups at GRUB STREET and SIX SENTENCES, as well as the downs of doubting

But most of all, I met YOU. Fellow writers, readers, editors, bloggers, publishers. Friends. And some of our cyber connections have led to face-to-face encounters of the most blessed kind.

Thank you for journeyng with me. Thank you for stopping in and sharing your thoughts and ideas and worries and joys. Enjoy the virtual chocolate and champagne. And here's to another year...

THE WRITING... I'm gonna be scarce for a couple of weeks. In part because of vacation. But mostly because I need to write. If you check out the PURE-O-METER, you'll see that steady and upward arcing word count on PURE has fizzled. I have a good excuse - I'm working on BRIGHTER THAN BRIGHT. Yeah, I know - I Promised it was done.

But I'm rewriting BTB to editorial order. Okay? Thought you'd understand.

Peace, Linda

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


A friend, a good friend and fellow writer (you may know her as Twizzle or Cibo or Kelley or thong woman), has a son with a little-known disease - cavernous angioma. Most people think of angiomas as the purply raspberry marks on skin, but actually these little clusters of vessels can occur anywhere, including in the brainstem and spinal cord.

Twizzle can tell you all about how this disease has affected her life, her family, her child - and she will - HERE.

Then, exercise your political will and write your politicians to increase funding

Read about it HERE at the Angioma Alliance. Follow the links and do your do-good for the week. I faxed in my letter - took all of about 15 minutes (shorter if you're not a compulsive writer and editor like moi!). DO IT!!!! PLEASE!!!!

Kelley thanks you, I thank you.

Another friend... Tonight I said good-bye to my friend Elizabeth. She turned 98 a month ago today, and was admitted into hospice this afternoon. When I held her hands, they were cool, so she will travel soon to the other side. I will miss her kindness, her readiness to share chocolate with my children when we visited, her generosity of spirit. When she moved from her little apartment to a nursing home, she had a yardsale and I bought many of her scarves. Tomorrow, I will wear one and hold her close...

Peace, Linda

NB: Elizabeth died in her sleep Friday night July 25 about 7 pm. She died during a short window of time in which no one was with her. People had been by her side constantly, though I am not sure she always realized it, for three days. Dying is such a private act, I can only wonder - was she waiting to be alone?

She is missed...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Flying the Coop...

Our baby robins flew the coop yesterday.

We watched the mother make her nest, pulling twigs and string and dried grasses to the Asian pear tree by our deck. Two cerulean eggs soon appeared. We watched them anxiously, scaring the mother every time we opened the screen door to peer into her household. Peeking tommies, we.

One hatched, a fluff ball; the second hatched two days later. We had worried it was a 'bad egg'. Mom fed them bugs and worms, regurgitating them into their mouths. Mornings, when I crept downstairs I could hear the family chirping "feed me! feed me!"

And today, gone.

Our own two kiddos will be gone this Saturday, a birthday party and sleepover. My husband and I have never been in the house without BOTH our children. Not in 9 years. We have so craved a few hours alone, but I suspect we will wander about aimlessly Saturday night, worrying and feeling bereft without their giggles and whining and arguments and cuddling.

On mental health... read HERE to find out what it is like for Ben, my protagonist in BRIGHTER THAN BRIGHT, to live with bipolar disorder. A wonderful piece by the NYT. Scroll down and click on the link to hear the actual stories, then return to read the comments. These stories will amaze and move.

On creativity... this dude's got it right...
"You practice an art to make your soul grow, not to make money or to become famous. And this would include singing in the shower or dancing to the radio or also drawing a caricature of your best friend, or whatever—all this makes your soul grow. And you meet a person who's done that, whether successfully or not, and you sense a larger soul." Vonnegut

Peace, Linda

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Creativity... touchstone of the soul

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” Joseph Chilton Pearce

Saturday was our annual Open Garden, where my husband struts his passion - his beautiful daylilies, all 200 or so varieties, plus the ones he's hybridized (imagine - flower nookie!). I have my little patch of earth as well, mostly herbs and vegetables - the practical stuff.

A gorgeous summer day, one full of good discussion, fantastic food (pesto and shrimp pizza, strawberry-rhubarb pie, lots of salads, and local cantaloupe), and capped off with a plant swap.

Sunday I strutted my stuff, wandering into my husband's usual territory - I gave a summer service at our Unitarian Universalist church (hubbers is the minister). I love the lay-laid summer services, so casual with chairs arranged in an ellipse, folks in shorts and sandals, and lots of discussion afterwards. My sermon was titled "Creativity, the touchstone of our soul, but why do we fear it so?"

A subject too near to my heart.

I've been pondering this issue of creativity, this wondrous river and its tangled tributaries and diversions. Such waters I've tasted - what a blessing to be human, to be able to parse words and sentences into prose.

Marketing my work has forced me to acknowledge the difference between the process and the product of writing. I've come to realize that no matter what the publishing outcome of BRIGHTER THAN BRIGHT, the most salient part of that book was the journey made to realize the story, both the inner journey made in imagining the lives of my characters and their world, and the outer journey made in the realization of my creative self.

And so it will be for every other poem or story or novel that falls from my fingers to grace once empty pages.

Creativity is a divine gift. My job as a human is to honor that gift. And one way for me to continue creating is to embrace a corollary to Pearce's truth: “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being perfect.”

Very wabi sabi. Very well... perfect.

WHAT I'M READING: INTUITION by Allegra Goodman. She uses a roving third-person POV which I find disconcerting at times, sinking the reader into different heads within a single scene. She achieves this almost seamlessly, but not so well as Updike. But Updike is God, or as close as writer mortals come.

For a true poetic treat, read these five by Adam Fieled in the latest issue of OTOLITHS. Rarely do I read, then reread, a poem and sigh each time. These are poems I wish I'd written, especially When you bit... and Sheet Covered.

THE WRITING: Writing and pre-writing on PURE clipping along at a steady pace. Struggling with a kernal of a poem call THE GOD PARTICLE and contemplating a few flashes which are, well, flashes in my pan.

It's been tough writing, tough sorting through all this... stuff. It's like running at breakneck speed for a great distance, then suddenly stumbling. I've been falling into my writing, the process of it, and I guess it's something one must do to get to the other side.

Keep creating. Always. peace, Linda

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Some call it serendipity.

In one week... one query rejection, three poetry submission rejections, one weird crit from a contest, and three politically charged days at my ivory garret where the techtonic plates of change rended so rapidly I was stranded in tears by Wednesday afternoon...

I was paralyzed. The writing suffered, my head and heart constipated from all this anxious stuff. For the first time in over two years, writing wasn't fun.

All this left me questioning... Why do I work? Why do I write? Why do I even bother to TRY to CREATE? It was like the WWF in my head - EVIL EDITOR faces off with CRAZY CREATOR. The whole leftbrain/rightbrain struggle. In other words, an existential crisis of sorts, further fueled by exhaustion, grant proposal deadlines, and hormones.

But then, all this nasty karma suddenly counterweighted by a poet friend who reminded me of the subjectivity of reading. Then, a sudden request to present a sermon next Sunday on Creativity. Ughh... as if I don't have enough to do. Quick research on the topic made me aware of several resources to explore. Then, a friend, unaware of both the upcoming sermon and my predicament of the soul, gifted me with one of those resources - THE ARTIST'S WAY - in which the first chapter miraculously states:


"Block" undone. 6700 words written this weekend. Sermon sketched out. Blog posted. Idea for poem scraped on paper. I will venture again into the wild, woolly world of marketing... soon. First, need to continue stoking that confidence, you know, the manifesting stuff.

Name your fear; it becomes your ally.


Peace, Linda