We are what we carry around in our mouths

Our puppy, Beau, is not subtle. When he’s hankering for a walk, he’ll find the nearest leash or collar and carry it around the house. If he’s looking to play, he redistributes his toys across the floor. When he wants attention, he drags out his family’s dirty clothes (preferably underwear, but socks will do in a pinch) and gnaws on them in the middle of the living room.

Right now, he’s rolling on his back, tossing an old collar in the air.

It makes me think: maybe that’s why I can’t ever seem to corral the books in my house. Could I be carrying them around in my mouth when I’m not paying attention?

:) Cheryl

A Writer’s Thanksgiving

Thanks, God, for:

Words with which to play,

kids to read them,

hearts to touch,

And hearts that touch mine back.
Thanks for an astonishing universe
full of wonder and magic–
and the opportunity to write about it,
to try to figure it out.
Thanks for inspirational poodles
and puppies
even if they chew up my pens.
Thanks for the family
who inspire everything important
I’ve ever found to say
even if, sometimes, they make it hard to write.
Thanks for blueberry pies
that stain my tongue purple
the smell of honeysuckle
the taste of crisp turkey skin
the sensory details I notice
more acutely than if I didn’t write.
Thanks for all the good things
I’m allowed to capture with pen and paper.
Thanks for the wealth of words
that only writers know.
Happy Thanksgiving! May you see all the blessings in your writing life and elsewhere.
:) Cheryl

Ellen Booraem on Cynthia Leitich-Smith’s Blog

Ellen Booraem, a Class of 2k8 author, talks about how she gets past writer’s block and encourages her writing to flow.

Here’s a sample: “I was determined that I would keep my butt on that chair until I wrote a decent novel. About a month in, though, the inevitable morning came when I sat down, looked at the screen, and went blank. The panic rose like flood waters.”
Check out her answers to Cynthia’s interview questions here.

Living Out of Balance

Thought for the day: Should a “balanced life” really be the writer’s goal?

This is, after all, commonly accepted wisdom. Seek balance in all things, yada yada yada. And yet, I gotta wonder.

Here’s the thing: I get the most writing done, the most passionate and real writing done, when I’m totally out of balance. If I tried to balance my writing life with the rest of life, I’d write three or four hours a day and spend the rest on all those important tasks that expand to fill any and all available time. But when I treat writing like a love affair, when I let it consume me…well, the laundry suffers, but the stories unfold.

I guess I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal. I guess that’s why I ask weird questions, like whether I should spend time blogging or reading blogs or reading the news or paying the bills. I guess that’s why my answers to those questions change week to week (or, sometimes, day to day!)

This isn’t a permanent lifestyle, of course. I do, eventually, have to do the laundry, walk the dogs, and even exercise. And certain priorities (read: kids, husband, and dogs, not necessarily in that order) can’t stand much neglect. Heck, even I can’t stand much neglect. If I don’t spend a minimal amount of my time taking care of myself, then I lose my ability to function in all those other important areas.

Sometimes, I think every writer can use a bit of all-or-nothing focus. It’s a great tool for making leaps-and-bounds forward progress on a particular piece–or for getting past a writing hump–or just for answering a particular writing question. Or maybe the occasional–or even frequent–bit of excess is part of balance! Who knows?

I say, if a bit of excess or imbalance helps move your forward, go for it.

:) Cheryl