Things I Wish I Could Tell My Readers


My book is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Order your copy of The Yellow Suitcase today, and receive it on your e-reader automatically, when the book becomes available September 10!

It took me just shy of four years to produce this book. The first year was spent writing the first draft. The second was devoted to revisions and many, many more drafts. In the third year, I tested the waters with professionals in the publishing industry. This last year was spent trying to build up the guts to put it out in public.

The good thing about writing a novel is that by the end of the book you end up a better writer than when you started. The bad thing is that by the end of the book, you end up a better writer than when you started, so when you go back to the beginning, you see how badly you wrote, and you revise, and revise, and revise, generally getting better, but never getting done. You never reach a point where you’re 100% satisfied with it, only 100% done with working on it.

Part of what is so scary about putting it out in public is trying to imagine how others will receive it. Will they think it’s stupid? Or (perhaps even worse), will they think it’s boring? Given the premise of the story, it was necessary for me to include some sexual violence (though I hope not a gratuitous amount), and part of my fears lie in what my friends will think as they read those parts. Writing and reading are such intimate acts: for the span in which I have your attention, my voice is in your head, and you are in mine. It’s scary to invite others in so deep.

An early reader once suggested to me that she thought my story would be a hard sell to publishing houses because it needed more “padding” for the reader to safely engage with the story, protected from the crises and trauma of the main character. She wanted more filters, like nostalgia and the sweeping historical drama of Memoirs of A Geisha, to make the hard parts easier to read. She had a very valid point. But I have faith that readers in 2014 are different than the readers of 1997, and I have faith that my readers are capable of more than such publishers might give them credit for. I have faith that my readers don’t need Richard Gere to save Julia Roberts from her own crassness to be able to engage with a story, and they don’t need another male author romanticizing the sale of young girls to make it a tale worth reading. I think, if anything, #YesAllWomen shows that today’s women can handle hard truths and that speaking them aloud may show us we’re not alone. And I have hope that what makes my story worth reading is not because of what happens to Ae Lin so much as who she becomes because of, or in spite of it, and how she seeks to overcome it.

Because ultimately my story was driven by a question I had, and the book was my attempt to answer it. In writing it, I learned that publishing a book isn’t the end or the final step. If I did what I really wanted to do, it’s only the beginning. I hope it is the beginning of a conversation, and I hope after reading it, my readers will want to talk to me about it and continue the conversation.

Announcing….My Big News!

Da dadaDA! [Drumroll please]

Da dadaDA! [Drumroll please]

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I was ready to finally share with you all something that has been going on behind the scenes here for…well, years. Are you ready? Here is my big news:

I wrote a book. A whole book! A novel, to be more precise. You’re going to be hearing a lot about it over the next several weeks because I’m publishing it, and it should be out in ebook format sometime in early-mid September. I’ll let you know the exact date soon, and a whole lot more detail over the coming weeks, but I just wanted to let you know:

I wrote a book, y’all. It’s written. It’s been revised {so many, many times}. It’s been professionally edited and reviewed. And next week YOU get to vote on the book cover design!

I promise that very soon I’ll be sharing tons about the story, my process, and lots of other tidbits that hopefully you’ll find fun and intriguing, but in the meantime, just so you know, it’s a story set here in Thailand, and the title is: THE YELLOW SUITCASE.

And I’m really hoping you’ll have as much fun reading it as I had writing it…and I really hope we can talk about it when you’re done!

A Coffee Chat

Dishes are done, laundry is put away, floors are swept, bathroom mirrors are swiped clean. The kitchen counters are clear. I think it might rain a little today. It would be lovely if it did.

It’s quiet as the dust settles after the storm that was our last year.

I’ve been wanting to buy plants to have in various spots around our house, but I have a talent for killing anything green. Even mint. I’ve been known to kill an herb that, in any other household, behaves like a nefarious weed (but we forgive it because it’s so tasty in Thai food and cocktails). Everything from lemongrass to baby orchids have perished under my watchful care. So I shy away from plant buying, because really, it’s tragic what I do to green things.

But I love having bright, pretty things to surround me in my house. In Thailand, at a dollar a bunch for fantastical orchids, it’s no strain on the wallet. I am, however, also lazy and don’t like to go out and buy flowers all the time or clean up the stinky mess when their stems begin to mold before the flower itself even droops.

So I’ve succumbed. I’m on a mission to acquire fake flowers to add a bit of color to my bathroom and living space.

(Don’t worry; I won’t make you look at my bathroom.)

I do like the irony of the fact that it’s after all the guests leave that I beautify my home.

And I’ve come to terms with fabric flowers. No deaths, no clean up. So I can focus on other things, like morning yoga.

 

The approach to my yoga studio.

And Marmite, cheese, & tomato sandwiches.

My dad turned me on to these. Are you a fan of Marmite? It seems it’s a subject of hot contention, especially if you’re from the U.K. or any of the Commonwealth nations.

You either love it or hate it. Or you prefer Vegemite or Promite. Which you prefer often says more about where you hail from than anything else, or so I hear. My dad’s South African, and so it’s from him, I inherited the Marmite gene. But it must be consumed with cheese and tomato.

Anyway, I have some big(ish) news!

First, an article of mine has been published on the travel & culture site, Matador Network! You can read my article on how to Be the Kind of Volunteer an NGO Wants.

Second, I’ve contributed some writing to this anthology, Voices of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Experience, recently published by ABC-CLIO. And at the low, low price of $189 (wtf?!), I expect you all to purchase at least two copies. It’s a steal.

Anyway, that’s it for me. What’s going on in your pocket of the world? Show us! Snap a photo and link up to Communal Global! Happy Tuesday everyone!

 



Untitled

An old Japanese man dressed in a wool sweater and baggy trousers sits on the porch of a small studio apartment, a gray striped tabby cat seated behind him.

Nakata: Do you want a bite of my egg sandwich?

Cat: Thank you, but I see you have a can of sardines there as well. Might I trouble you for some sardines instead?

Nakata: Yes, that is quite all right. Here you go.

He opens the can for the cat and places the can in front of him. The cat licks at the can’s contents, briefly toys with an open-eyed sardine, then leaves the rest untouched.

Nakata: Do you mind if I call you Mr. Kamatsu?

Cat: But Kamatsu is not my name. Cats have no use for names.

Nakata: Yes, yes, but it’s so much easier for me. Nakata is not very bright, you see. I had an accident when I was a little boy, and since then, I have not been able to read or write.

Cat: You can’t read or write? That’s odd for a human your age. And yet you can speak to cats.

Nakata: Since the accident. Please, can I call you Mr. Kamatsu? It would be ever so much easier.

Cat: Fine. Suit yourself. But I have no use for names.

Nakata: I haven’t seen you here before, Mr. Kamatsu. Are you new to the neighborhood?

Kamatsu: I live with my human in the Taeko district, where there are not so many female cats. Mating season is drawing nearer. I am here to explore my options.

Nakata: Mating. That is the thing you do with the weenie, right?

Kamatsu: Yes, that’s it.

Nakata: Ah, I see. Yes, there are quite a few female cats in the area. Mimi, for one, though she is a Siamese and quite picky. Not to say you are unworthy, of course, good sir. Just that she is not an easy catch.

Kamatsu: I know the type. Will you be mating too?

Nakata: No, Nakata does not mate. I live alone, on a sub-city from the government. It’s for old people, like Nakata, who are not too bright. It’s enough for me to eat egg sandwiches, or tuna, and sometimes a little eel. I like eel, don’t you?

Kamatsu:  Yes, eel is one of my favorites. You live alone? Don’t you have family?

Nakata: I am alone. Nakata has two younger brothers. They took care of me for a while after our parents died, but then Nakata became a burden. My older younger brother helped me apply for the sub-city and find a place to live. Since then Nakata is alone. It’s all right. I don’t need much.

Kamatsu: Such is life. You’re born, you grow old, you ache, you die. You’re alone through all of it, even when others are around you. There is no escaping a lonely death. I should know; I’m on my seventh incarnation.

Nakata: What is incarnation?

Kamatsu: It is a lifetime in a series of lifetimes.

Nakata: You are on your seventh lifetime? Nakata has only had this one. I’m sorry, but Nakata is a bit slow. If the only thing in life is to grow old, ache, and die, what is the point? Why not save yourself the ache and just die?

Kamatsu (licks his paws): That’s the million-yen question, isn’t it?

Nakata: I don’t understand.

Kamatsu: There is no point. Not inherently, anyway. Every living being passes through the same things. You can only hope that you do not ache too much before you go, and if you’re lucky, you might have a few satisfying shits in the meantime.

Nakata: What about God?

Kamatsu: Nobody knows, do they? I haven’t seen Him, have you?

Nakata: No. But we are told we should believe in Him and honor Him.

Kamatsu: Suit yourself. But I haven’t seen Him, and frankly, I find it strange to imagine some big man in the sky conducting one huge social experiment on all of creation, and for what? His own amusement? To find out who really loves him? That’s not very convincing, nor does it sound like something a highly evolved being would concern himself with. Is that what you believe?

Nakata: I don’t know what I believe. As I said, Nakata is not very bright. I live a simple life and occasionally talk to cats. That is my life.

Kamatsu: Well, if you ask me—

Sounds of violence emanate from the apartment next door. A baby cries, there is a loud thud, and then a man storms out the front door, slams the screen shut, gets into a car and peels out and away. There is silence, except for the lone cry of a child.

Nakata: Did you hear that?

Kamatsu: It would be hard not to, what a racket.

Nakata: We should go over there, don’t you think?

Kamatsu: No, we should not. That smells like trouble. Definitely trouble.

Nakata: But someone could be hurt.

Kamatsu: Even more reason to stay out of it.

Nakata does not listen. He stands up slowly, with his hand pressed against the pain in his lower back and begins to shuffle next door. Kamatsu rolls his eyes, but follows him, tail twitching, nonetheless.

Kamatsu: I’m telling you, my instincts are saying this is all wrong. You don’t want to get involved.

Nakata reaches the screen door, slowly unlatches it, and steps inside, eyes blinking to adjust in the darkness.

Nakata: Hello? Is anyone home?

Kamatsu (fur standing on end): I don’t like this. Not one bit.

Nakata steps forward and finds the apartment in disarray. Objects are strewn about the room, broken bottles and needles lie around the floor, and the only sound is coming from a baby lying swaddled in an old laundry basket. Nakata reaches down to touch the baby and finds the baby’s face is quite hot. He looks over to the side, and from this angle, he can see a woman’s body on the floor behind the couch. He shuffles over to the woman, who has serious bruises on her face and legs and needle tracks on the insides of her arms. He reaches down to touch her neck and feel for breath.

Nakata: I think this woman is dead.

Kamatsu: I told you this is a bad business. We should leave now.

Nakata: What about the baby? We cannot just leave the baby.

Kamatsu: Of course we can and should. Leave this to someone else. The baby is not your responsibility. Come on, let’s go.

Nakata (with an uncharacteristically stern frown): NO!

He picks up the screaming child and holds it close to him. Ever so gently, he tucks the baby in his arms, and carefully steps over broken glass and past molded crumbs out of the apartment and over to his place, with Kamatsu following, muttering the whole way.

Inside his apartment, he tries to feed the baby, but to no avail. He cannot get the child to eat anything or stop crying. Kamatsu watches on, simultaneously fascinated and repulsed.

Kamatsu: You know, kittens prefer to drink milk from their mothers’ teats.

Nakata: I don’t have teats and I don’t think that mother can help him now.

Kamatsu: Do you have milk?

Nakata lays the baby on his table, goes to his refrigerator, and pulls out a small carton of milk and pours it into a glass.

Kamatsu: You should probably warm it first.

Nakata nods, and places the glass in the microwave for 40 seconds. He pulls it out, tests the warmth with the tip of his pinky finger, then tries to pour some into the baby’s mouth. It spills all over the place.

Kamatsu: You need a teat.

Nakata (wiping up the mess): Nakata does not have teats.

Kamatsu: Well, you need something to drip it into his mouth more slowly or you’ll just have another mess.

Nakata tries using his fingertip, but he can only get one drop at a time and the baby is still shrieking. He then tries dipping in the end of a paper towel and dripping the milk slowly into the baby’s mouth. The baby’s crying slows to a mewling sound, but he gets frustrated, and shakes his head and fists in protest against the texture of the paper towel. Kamatsu, instead of helping, licks his balls. Nakata goes to a kitchen drawer, pulls out a small, soft rag, dips it into the milk and tries again with the baby. This time, the baby begins to suck. Soon he is sucking so quickly, Nakata must keep dipping the rag in and feeding him. Repeatedly he does this until the baby begins to slow and seem satiated. The baby lets go a bubbly fart and giggles.

Nakata: Did you see that? Did you see the baby? He just farted and laughed at himself!
Nakata is amazed.

Kamatsu: Yes. Amazing. Now…what are you going to do with him?

Nakata: What do you mean?

Kamatsu: Well, I hate to state the obvious, but you cannot keep him here.

Nakata: Why not? Nakata has milk, and now, with the rag, Nakata has teat.

Kamatsu: Babies need a lot more than that, my friend.

Nakata: We will figure it out, when the time comes.

Kamatsu: Not to put too fine a point on it, but how old are you, Nakata?

Nakata (still gazing in awe at the child): This year, Nakata is 87 years old.

Kamatsu: Right. So in all likelihood, you will die before the child reaches his tenth year.

Nakata does not respond.

Kamatsu: I don’t know how you humans are with babies, but I do know how you are with kittens. Everybody likes cute kittens. They don’t like old cats. What will happen to the child after you die? Who will take care of him? Someone might want him now he is young and cute, but who will want him when he’s older?

Nakata still does not respond.

Kamatsu: This is madness.

Nakata (looks up suddenly): It is not madness. It is the point, isn’t it? Before you said the point of life is to grow old, ache, and die. But that’s not true. I can do more! I can help this child. I can love him, even when he is all alone, just like Nakata. I can love him. … I do love him.

Kamatsu: Until you die. And then what?

Nakata: It doesn’t matter. I can love him now and every moment until I die.

Kamatsu shakes his head. Seeing Nakata totally absorbed with the child, the cat departs.

*     *     *

The following morning, Kamatsu returns to find the old man rocking the child to sleep in his arms. The cat sits beside him, observing Nakata’s tender, fatherly guard over the baby, who is at total peace.

Kamatsu: How was the baby last night?

Nakata: He was beautiful.

Kamatsu: Even with the crying and the pooping and the making a big fuss?

Nakata: Even with all those things.

Kamatsu: So you’re still in love then?

Nakata: Yes. Nakata still loves. (A long pause.) But Nakata thinks Mr. Kamatsu is right. I can love this child until I die, but if I am all he has, when I go, he will ache. And if he lives a long time, he will have a long ache. I can give him Nakata. Or I can give him more.

Kamatsu: What are you saying?

Nakata: Nakata gets a sub-city from the government. Nakata called the people who give the sub-city and told them about the baby. They are sending someone now to come pick him up. They will find a home for him.

Kamatsu: But now you will ache. That is a heavy price.

Nakata: It doesn’t matter.

They move outside and sit together on the porch, waiting for the government officials to arrive. When they come, Nakata presses a kiss onto the child’s forehead and sheds tears as he hands him over. The officials put the child in a special car seat and drive away. Nakata and Kamatsu stand at the edge of the porch, watching them leave.

Kamatsu: Do you still love now, Mr. Nakata?

Nakata: Very much.

Kamatsu (his head tilted in curiosity): Do you think the child loved you?

Nakata: Yes, I think he did.

Kamatsu: Hmm, maybe he did. He won’t remember you though.

Nakata: No, he won’t. That is probably best.

::

This piece was written for a shared with a Bigger Picture Blogs Writing Circle, where it was discussed and then edited. Full disclaimer: Nakata is a character stolen, with my gratitude and apologies, from a book I’m in the middle of reading, Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami, though otherwise this story is my own. Maybe that makes this fan fiction? In any case, it’s merely my own writing practice, not something I would publish seriously. This is just me barely dipping my toe in to explore some of the things I mentioned in my last post.

Glimmer

Sunlight filters through the bedroom window, raining down like soft God kisses, tracing a golden outline along the edge of his russet-coffee curls, slipping over the contours of a sharp-angled jaw line, spreading like lover’s fingers over tanned, broad, shoulders and sloping down to narrow waist to catch the fold of white bed sheets over a masculine hip. His breath is an almost imperceptible gesture as he drifts from sleep to wake.

Awareness dawns. Slow, like the crawl of light into shadow, he shifts to face me, vestiges of dreams still clinging to his thick eyelashes, and to his soft lips, that late afternoon playground where old kisses linger like reluctant, yet satiated children called home to dinner.

This is the treasure moment. He opens his eyes and I see heavens and night skies in the glimmer of just-waking blues. If looks were words, this would be a passage I’d underline and transcribe for safekeeping. I am caught, and it’s like the feeling you have when everything has been stripped away, like the proverbial dream where you’re standing in front of an auditorium, giving a speech, and suddenly realize you’re naked. Except this time, the audience is not laughing; they’re gazing at me in awe and wonder – and I, simultaneously vulnerable and emboldened, think I might stand a little taller. It’s that kind of feeling.

This is the moment when he kisses me and means it. Not a quick peck. Not a ritual goodbye or goodnight. It’s a welcome to the day. It’s the burgeoning of love, like each morning is the first we’ve ever spent together, and here, in this fraction of a minute, there are only two of us in the whole world and we are protected, impermeable. There are a thousand ways to fall in love, but only one way to surrender – and that is: completely.

I surrender. In that glistening, golden moment, there is only surrender.

I always want it to last. But the day and the dog beckon, and, in a flash, it’s gone. I turn to my side and prepare for my own day while he is already out of bed and putting on clothes. I feel wistful for a bleary-eyed, heavy-headed moment, missing the thread of connection already.

I rise and exchange the slippers of melancholy for my solid, sturdy work boots and trudge out of the resurrection place, out to greet the day. I stop pining after glimmers and ghosts, knowing that the moment will return.

It will be back tomorrow.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

::

This piece was written for a Bigger Picture Blogs Writing Circle, where a group of writers convene online, respond to a prompt, and share their words to receive collective praise and constructive advice. If you would like to join in, we have new dates available in October. Check out the details and sign up HERE!

 

Shared as this week’s Bigger Picture Moment

In Recession {A Bigger Picture Moment}

And no, I’m not talking about the economy.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Katie Costello lately – do you know her? She’s an independent musician (meaning no label other than her own), but she’s scoring it pretty big, getting her music featured in magazines like Marie Claire and Teen Vogue and on various TV shows like 90210, One Tree Hill, and (where I found her) Rookie Blue. Not bad, considering the now 21-year-old only started learning how to play music at the age of 13, and by 16 was playing venues in LA and on Sunset Strip.

I like several of her songs, though there’s one in particular that runs through my mind: “Stranger.” You can listen to it here. There’s a line that calls to me:

Humming Hallelujah in the dark

I find myself downshifting creatively these days. I’m at a point in my manuscript where I have to make a big decision and there are good reasons to consider each alternative, so instead of writing, I’m ruminating. My other usual go-to creativity outlet, photography, does not call to me in the interim. The cameras collect dust. Even my iPhone goes untouched. I sometimes turn to baking, but that feels, at the moment, like more energy than I can expend. I recede.

Humming Hallelujah in the dark

I am reading a lot of Rebecca Goldstein and a little of Gary Gutting, and am reminded simultaneously of Jeffrey Eugenides, my first quarter in grad school, and a midnight conversation between a bunch of high-schoolers in D.C. talking about big issues in a way I’d never heard my group of friends back home talk before, and that feeling of huge excitement like you’re just under the swaying lightbulb of epiphany, and how impatient it made me to get to college for the promise of being surrounded by others who wanted to think big thoughts too.

Humming Hallelujah in the dark

I listen to music I’ve never heard before and read authors I’ve never read and think, Stranger, you know me too much. 

Humming Hallelujah in the dark.

Instead of my comfy couch, I move upstairs to my bed. I change my clothes and find a new coffee shop. I wear my favorite shirt with a different skirt. I reorganize my feed reader and switch to tea.

and I think…

Sometimes I just need to see the world through different beats.

Sometimes I need to feel a different light on my face.

Sometimes I need to hear myself in a different voice

…to understand what it is I’m really trying to say.

Each Thursday, we come together to celebrate living life with intention by capturing a glimmer of the bigger picture through a simple moment. Have you found yourself in such a moment lately? Share it with us! 

Live. Capture. Share. Encourage.
This week we’re linking up at Hyacynth’s!

A Coffee Chat

I’ve noticed a trend lately. Every Tuesday, I come to this space and invite you to sit with me and chat about the bigs and littles. The big things happening around us as well as the little things collecting on our hearts. I talk for a little bit, click on publish, and go about my day. Then on Wednesday, I think about all the things I would really say if I were really having a coffee chat with you. But then it’s Wednesday already so I go about my business and tuck all those unsaid thoughts back up in a corner somewhere and never look at them again.

I think it’s because I only bring the bigs to Tuesday and the littles get shoved off until they demand attention on Wednesday, but sometimes it’s the littles that mean more than the bigs, you know?

So I’m going to try to rectify this habit and bring my Wednesday thoughts to our Tuesday chats. Bear with me if I wax long-winded.

You all have heard me talk about how many visitors we’ve had come to visit this year. I love opening our home up to friends and family and giving them a comfortable base from which to explore our new city and country, and I love sharing with them our favorite restaurants or cafes, shops, and sights. Playing host, tour guide, and chauffeur to loved ones, however, is anathema to routine. And the truth is, as much as I love spontaneity and childlike wonder, I need routine. I find it’s crucial to maintaining the discipline I need to keep writing and improving my writing. Discipline is what keeps me going when words run out, when people treat me like writing isn’t a “real” job, when I get constructive feedback as well as criticism, and when I get no feedback at all. I tell myself discipline is the difference between getting published and not.

After coming back from Bangkok, I feel like, with a few wrinkles in the fabric here and there, I’m finally coming back to routine. I’ve been working on the final edits to my manuscript as per my editor’s suggestions, scrapping the dead weight and kneading half-baked ideas into bigger and better ones, interrogating each comma, “and,” “but,” and “therefore” along the way. In two weeks, I’ve done more solid, productive work than I have in the last two months, and am a little more than halfway done.

My editor gave me a list of literary agents to send my manuscript to when I’m done, and that’s another fire under my butt, a vote of confidence, and a teeny tiny pinky toe in the door.

Meanwhile, my work with The SOLD Project continues. We just had a volunteer come through for a month, bringing some fresh ideas to the table, and I’m looking forward to using them as inspiration to invigorate what I’m doing with the kids. See, teaching the kids there has been a challenge for me personally because 1) my teaching experience is with American university students and motivating them is far different from (and, dare I say, easier than) motivating at-risk Thai children, and 2) I’m a quiet person, which makes me much better suited to building relationships with children one-on-one, and less ideal for playing around with a large group of kids all at once. I feel the relationships I’m building with the kids is meaningful, but it does take time, and at-risk kids come and go, too.

In January, I felt I finally hit on the sweet spot with them, giving them projects that were engaging for their level and helped build their confidence, which is what I felt they most desperately needed. I kept on that track with them (and then I was gone for a month in Europe), and then our volunteer stepped every thing up a couple of levels and was doing fantastic work with the kids, where they were really opening up, producing great work, and having a ton of fun along the way.

I’m taking this as a sign that the kids are ready for work that taps even deeper into their creativity, and that they may not be so afraid or shy as they once were. If I’m being really honest, I’m hoping that I’ve provided a foundation for the kids to build on and that they are growing in confidence and opening up again where impoverished, abusive backgrounds have inhibited or even beaten back growth – and hoping that this isn’t a sign that I’ve just been a crappy teacher with whom the kids have been unable to relate or become engaged. I’m hoping I’d be sensitive enough to notice and flexible enough to adapt if the latter were truth.

In the meantime, I’m cherishing small successes: where the kids met an idea with reluctance and, after a few attempts together, soon took off and did something all on their own; where a shy, quiet child showed brilliance and later sought me out for a much needed hug; and where I had a sit-down with a child to find out what was going on in their hearts, and despite a language barrier, we met with understanding. These moments may be small, but I think they matter, even if years down the road they aren’t remembered. I like to think they aren’t wholly forgotten either.

Anyway, that’s some of my bigs and littles for the week. I’m still getting over the tail end of the cold I had last week, but I have some good energy in spurts. The good thing about being sick was I had some forced quiet time which gave me space to listen to more music again and draw in my journal (which I haven’t done in years), so I’m looking forward to more music and drawing and writing this week. We’ll see if Miss Muse decides to grace me with her presence.

What are your bigs and littles for this week? Will share them with me? Tell me one big thing going on and one little thing too!

Also linking up with:

Q: How Do You Write a Novel?

A: Like a snowflake.

Intrigued? This week at Bigger Picture Blogs, I’m sharing my writing process with you, start to finish, how I go about penning a 300-some-odd-word beast of a story. If you’re looking for new ways to get story ideas out from your head and down onto paper, you might like to check it out!

Here’s the post!

Happy Friday, and happy writing!

Where the Wild Pines Grow {A Bigger Picture Moment}

They come up twisted and gnarled, with boles of many-fingered fibers roping in braids revolving around center and asserting themselves upward in splayed strokes, and embed flinders in the hands that dare caress. Needle leaves of unfolded desperation shoot out and sunward, leaving the shade and shelter of temperate grace behind. A mighty groan emits from the bowels of the earth as burst forth these mighty trees. They are not the tall, stately pines of their forefathers. They are not Christmas indulgences, and they are not elegant, Alpine ladies. They are the wild ones born of agitation and temper. They are distress aching in a white wash of barren fields, watered by the pinpricks of Chinese torture, and unearthed by quakes and tremors, with boughs that shudder in still air.

This is where they grow. Out of a smile on the surface of irritation, in the fertile soil atop the ashes of bitten-back words and hard feelings, in the graveyard where patience goes to slowly die.

Encased in the crystalline structures of better intentions.

I sit at the base of the behemoths and, in that space of quiet and time, I abrade the barbed edges with the fine grain sandpaper of my pen. I whisper into the silence, the words a gesture on my lips.

Grace is there, with me, in the shadows.

This piece was written in response to a prompt by the same title from Judy Reeves’ A Writer’s Book of Days, a metaphor to capture a simple moment and bigger picture better told this way, because sometimes the details aren’t nearly as important as the impression.

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” ~ Allen Ginsberg

Each Thursday, we come together to celebrate living life with intention by capturing a glimmer of the bigger picture through a simple moment. Have you found yourself in such a moment lately? Share it with us! 

Live. Capture. Share. Encourage.
This week we’re linking up at Alita’s!
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