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August 2008

weekend shenanigans

Last weekend, Don came up with the good idea of taking the weekends off from writing. 

It was really great.  I used to only write five days a week, but then something happened and I found myself writing six and then seven days a week unless I had company, or my business affairs needed tending, or my grown children came into town.  Other than those exceptions, and obviously if we were on vacation, the writing-seven-days-a week thing had stuck. (Actually, I generally cart my computer with me on vacations as well.  Aren’t you glad you aren’t married to me?) 

Anyway, the writing was taking over my life and it was beginning to feel like a demanding child that could never be satisfied or full.  It didn’t matter how much time and energy and love I poured into it, it was never enough.  I always was coming up short. 

So, it was absolutely lovely to have a whole weekend of freedom where I didn’t have the manuscript shouting at me, or stubbornly resisting my attempts to comb her hair.  It was sheer unadulterated bliss.

This week, however, I had to miss two days of writing because of errand and business things to do with life and bills and getting my boy ready for school, so when this morning rolled around and I informed Don that I was sorry but I had to write today.  I could tell that I wasn’t playing by the taking-the-weekends-off rule, but I didn’t care if he was disappointed and hid it well.  I needed to write.

Which is the brilliant thing about taking some time off.  Is that instead of writing being a tyranny, and being forced to march my tired, sludge -like brain into my writing room, day in and day out.  I felt a guilty pleasure about sneaking myself off to write. 

I didn’t put in the full hours that I do on a writing day, but I have to say, I quite enjoyed my clandestine meeting with the page.

A bit of a ramble.  Don’t read if you are in the mood for concise.

I was very surprised to see that I hadn’t blog for 10 days!  I thought it had only been 4 or 5.  It’s weird how time in the summer sort of morphs into this big modge-podge. 

Anyway, lots has been happening.  Don’s publishing house loves his first novel so much that they have already committed to doing his next one.  It took them all of one evening to read over his proposal, sample chapters and send a deal memo off to his agent.  I tell him it’s not always this way, but I don’t know if he believes me. 

Will had a great time at the acting summer school he went to, and it sounds like he learned tons.

The Canadian Government still hasn’t sent back the enormous surplus they over-charged me last year, but hey, what do I care?  Gerry informs me that they pay a 5% interest rate.  So, as far as I’m concerned that is way better than I can earn on a AAA bond right now.  Way better.  They can keep my darn money as long as they like. 

I bought a new pair of walking shoes today.  I hadn’t planned on it.  After I finished dibbling around in my writing room, suffering through dribs and drabs and starts and stops on my manuscript, I went to the shopping center to see if I could find something fabulous for my sister’s birthday that is roaring up on me. 

I didn’t find anything for Jenny, but this shoe store that specializes in comfortable shoes for women past a certain age of which I am one, had big 50-70% sale banners up and I was done for.  It didn’t matter what the shoes looked like, particularly.  It didn’t matter that I was talking myself into believing that some large black orthopedic shoes were actually cute and sassy, and perfect for wearing to those sophisticated gatherings were one has to stand for hours, smiling and clutching a warm glass of white wine and pretending to sip now and then, so other people who are throwing back the booze with the enthusiasm of underage rugby players, won’t worry that I’m an uptight, prim, tea-totaling priss and standing in judgement, because really, I don’t care.  Do what you do, smoke, drink, just as long as you go about it safely and don’t hurt anybody.

So, I’m thinking, I can wear these new shoes to tromp around and look at sights when Don and I go on this exotic trip, but I can also, slip on a dress and wear them out at night.  All purpose.  Black goes with everything, especially if I wear black tights.

All right!  All right!  So I’m not a fashionista, who cares?  It’s dark at night, and besides, who looks at people’s feet?  These shoes are fine, they are comfortable, are polished (yes I bought the shoe conditioner “for only $9.99!”  And yes, I have several similar shoe polishes in the hall closet that probably do the exact same thing, but the shoe sales woman was insistent that this was the best and most proper shoe conditioner to have and that the others that are clogging up my shelf are all shit.)  And last but not least, these shoes are in the very versatile colour of black. 

...Well…actually, the pair that I picked up and asked to try on, were black, but when we finally found the right size, all they had was dark brown.  Which I have convinced myself they are close enough to black that nobody will know the difference.  They were such a good buy, and they will be comfortable once I have them broken in.

Hence, me sitting here, typing to you, with these gargantuan shoes sweating up my feet.  I had to take my gym socks off because I was losing the feeling in my little toes.  I probably shouldn’t have tried them on in the shoe store with those minuscule pantyhose things that were a big nuisance.  I don’t know how other people are able to stretch those things over their feet?  And my feet are only 7 1/2.  What do women with larger feet do?  I could not keep those darned things up over my heel. 

Hmm…I think this is another one of those blogs that falls under the “too much information” category.  Oh well.  That’s what you sometimes get if you come to my blog. 

Nite.  xo

a little hello

We are back in Vancouver.  Will comes home tomorrow and we are very excited, as we have missed him enormously.

My writing seems to be getting a little steam under it’s belt, and words (for the time being) are coming a little easier.  It was a good thing, cutting back on my daily chats with all of you, even though I missed it.  I got a lot done on the manuscript.  Have quite a bit more to go, but I’ve broken the back of the halfway hump and do not feel as if I am in the middle of a great dark tunnel with no end in sight. 

My sister, Suzanne and her boy will be arriving for a few nights, and I am really looking forward to long chats and walks and tea.

And Dave is coming and bringing someone special and I hope that she likes me and doesn’t find me too odd.  I mean, I know I am a little bit, but hopefully she’ll look at it in a oh-well-of-course-that’s-Dave’s-mum accepting kind of way.  Not a run-for-the-hills way.  I saw a picture of her and she looks really nice.

Don’s finishing up his beloved Richard Ford novel, The Lay of the Land.  He’s loving it, and I am living vicariously through his perusal of it.  I am relegated to reading mostly short stories when I am working on a manuscript, because, with really good writers, I get worried that their themes or style will rub off and I will subconscious change course, mid-stream.  So, I’ve been reading Richard Ford, A Multitude of Sins, short story collection, as well as a little Tobias Wolff.  We went to a reading and talk of his at this wonderful bookstore in Corte Madera called Book Passages and both Don and I got so invigorated by listening to Tobias Wolff read his stories and talk about writing that we wanted to pull up stakes and go sit at his feet and learn everything we possible could from him.  Of course we’d have to get into the impossibly difficult to get into ____(I can’t remember the name of the program, I just know that hoping to get in is like spitting in the air and expecting it to down a moose.)  And then if one of us got accepted and the other didn’t…well, that wouldn’t be good for the old marriage now would it?

Anyway, he’s only got a couple of pages left, so, I think I’ll go upstairs and abscond with the last few droplets of toothpaste.  There are so many things that we have let fall by the wayside in the last few weeks in our dash to get all our words on the page. 

Sweet dreams everyone. 




the fickle nature of the writing life…or should I say, Meg

Nothing much to say.  Writing is going well.  At least it did today. 

Yesterday, I hit a huge brick wall, stared at my computer for way too long, trying to figure out where the next piece of the puzzle fit.  Then realized that the reason I couldn’t figure out what happened next is because nothing should happen next.  That I should s__t-can the whole kit-and-kaboodle.  That I was a lousy writer, would never write anything of note, and that I should just stop wasting my time.

I spent the rest of the day, trying to figure out how to spend the last third of my life, since being a writer was no longer an option.  I’d always wanted to learn how to make pottery.  I had met Chris Carter on a plane once and he had offered to show me the ropes.  I wondered if he still knew how to make pottery after all these years, but then dismissed it as one of my more preposterous ideas. 

The allure of theater raised it’s hibernating head.  I’d always wanted to do theater way back in the day, but it didn’t pay much and was a long commitment and I had small children to care for and support.  But now, with Will having only one more year of school, perhaps I could do a play.  A performance from beginning to end, no interruptions, no one yelling “cut”.  To get to dive into a character and stay there for the entire duration of the play, now that would be a luxury!  Or I always wanted to learn how to fix my own things.  I’ve done a carpentry course, but I could sign up to learn how to fix my own plumbing.  That would be cool.

Yes, last night, when I wasn’t mired in depression at how lousy and untalented a writer I was, my mind was spinning with alternative plans. 

In the middle of the night, I woke up feeling rather foolish.  Not quite sure what had happened.  So, I’d had a bad day, so what?  It didn’t mean that I would never be able to peck out another coherent sentence again.  And on the heels of that I became filled with remorse.  Poor Don.  The things he puts up with living with a woman in the full flush of menopause. 

In the morning, I had a lovely chat with my agent, Laura.  I also received a very nice email from my friend Diana, who passed on a generous compliment from a mutual editor friend.  Then I made a tasty cup of Arabian mint tea, and cloistered myself in my writing room.

AND…I had a GREAT day!  All the blocks that tormented me so, yesterday, has miraculously dissolved and I ended up writing 4 and a half pages!  Unknown wealth, for this snail paced writer.  And if tomorrow goes half as well, I shall be walking around with a rather pleased smile on my face.

(Still am feeling incredibly thrilled about Emily’s news, by the way.  That is the sort of happiness that lasts and lasts.)

The most EXCITING news ever!!!!!!

Okay, everybody.  Do you remember way back in the beginning of April when I went to visit my daughter and stayed at that weird Bed & Breakfast and wrote this:

Emily was beautiful, brilliant, luminescent.  From the first sentence she had me, totally captivated, entranced, delighted.  I knew she was good.  I had no idea how good.  Her wit, her words, her impeccable delivery.  Everything so original, fresh, so Emily.  My God, I had no idea that poetry could be so entertaining.  I don’t know how she did it.  So sly and funny and heart-breakingly sad. 

I’m sorry if what I’m going to say sounds biased, because actually, I’m not.  I can see the work of people close to me, people I love, very clearly. 

My daughter, Emily, is a f___king genius.  Not an opinion.  Fact.

Now, you might have said to yourself, Ah yes, Meg, but you are her mother.  Well, that is true.  I am her mother.  I also happen to be right!

My clever, brilliant daughter, Emily Zinnemann and her friend Elizabeth Gramm, whose poetry I have never heard but am certain is spectacular as well because Emily has told me so on several occasions, are both finalists for a major poetry fellowship!  45 poets have been chosen out of around 900 applications and five lucky poets will be awarded a $15,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship that is given by Poetry Magazine. 

I love Poetry Magazine!  I am so proud of Emily, and Elizabeth too.  Emily has asked me to keep my fingers crossed for both of them and of course I shall, but I figure, collective good thought sending is always helpful, so if all of you, my dear bloggers out there, could just for a second, cross your fingers and send good wishes their way as well, that would be great!