Posts Tagged ‘On Writing’

Sneaky Work

August 15, 2017

It’s Monday.

The alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m.

I bounce out of bed, turn on the lights, run to the loo.

Brush teeth, wash face, wander naked to the kitchen, I sleep in the nude, yes, indeed the first ten minutes of my morning are bare ass, drink a glass of water, take three vitamin supplements–iron, glucosamine chondrotin, Flax seed oil, then I go make my bed.

After that I get dressed, put on my shoes, watch, and pull out the layers I plan on wearing.


It’s August in San Francisco.

Best to have at least three layers.

Cardigan, sweatshirt, scooter riding jacket.

I lay them out on the bed and then go do my morning reading and say some prayers and ask for some direction and then.


Today was oatmeal with banana and figs, cinnamon, nutmeg, raw cocoa and unsweetened coconut/almond milk; 1 hard-boiled egg and an unsweetened almond milk latte.

While said food items are busy boiling, cooking, and frothing, I pack my lunch for work and whatever homework and internship paperwork, texts, and syllabi I need for the day.

Today it was solo supervision, so definitely needed my pink glitter notebook.

Who says grad school has to be all seriousness.

Glitter makes it better.

Trust me.

I also packed my Jungian dream book, even though my brain said, what’s the point?

There’s not a spare minute to do reading today.

But, from experience, this is not true.

Times when I think I am going to have hours of reading, I don’t and days when I think, I couldn’t possibly spare thirty seconds to look at a paragraph, I suddenly have unexpected time.

Life happens.

All the time.

That’s what life does.


I find these weird, sweet, odd pockets of time and that’s when I use Stephen King’s advice.

And if you don’t think reading Stephen King is a highly psychological endeavor you’re not reading his works very well.


He wrote this awesome little book a while back, non-fiction, called “On Writing” and it gives his basic formula for what he does and his routine.


He reads.

A lot.

And not his stuff, but everyone else.

His biggest suggestion and one that I took very much to heart, especially after starting grad school, is, carry a book with you at all times.

You never know when you may get stuck in a line or your appointment gets pushed back, or you’re riding the train or the bus or the subway.

I notice most folks these days are looking at their phones.

I read my homework for school if I have down time.

And like I said, I often have a snatch of it when I least expect it.

Today it happened at supervision.

My supervisor lost his keys and had to run home to get the replacement set.

So, my session was cut a little short but, hey!

I have my Jungian Dream Work class text-book.

Whip it out!

I knocked out another couple of pages.

And very glad for it.

I got another text-book in the mail today and I have it already packed in my travel bag for tomorrow, along with the Jungian book, I doubt very much I’ll actually have time to read the two chapters for the class I still need to kick through and have time to get into the next text I have assigned myself.



You never know.

I just don’t anyway.

Another thing King recommends is that you write everyday.


I do that too.

Before I head out.

And when I get home in the evening.

Sometimes I am still not sure how that all happens.

I do the morning writing in one of my Claire Fontaine notebooks from Paris, or whatever notebook I have handy.  I of course have a preference, but I will write on anything.

Although I hate recycled notebooks, the quality of the paper is ass.

I write three pages long hand.

I write about what I’m doing, the things that happened the day before that I don’t write about in my blog



There’s a few things that I do not write about here.

That all gets covered and rehashed and processed in the morning writing.

The evening, this, my blog, I am also pretty damn consistent.

I used to be super anal about it and I couldn’t not write every day.

That’s eased up a little in recent years.

Years, I say, I have been writing this blog for so long.

Seven, eight years.

I have over 2,200 blogs posted.

And that’s after two different scrubbing sessions where I probably deleted a couple hundred blogs just to make sure I wasn’t leaving a thumbprint or, yes, I had said something unkind about someone in my life.

Typically a boss.

Occasionally a bad date.

Ooh, man I had some bad date blogs.

Which I stopped doing when a blind date stumbled on a blog I wrote, I’m thinking he probably stalked me a bit, let’s be real, and sent me a text which said, “I read your blog.”


I had to delete it and make an amends.

I swallowed that pride, deleted the blog, called him, he answered, and apologized.

That was an uncomfortable conversation.


Better than the alternative.

It still was an awful date, but I had said some pretty not so nice things.

I learned my lesson, words can cut deep and it’s not my business to malign.

I stopped writing anything about other people and really tried from that point forward to keep the focus on myself.

I have plenty of flaws I can poke fun at, I don’t need to point out anyone else’s.


That’s the writing routine for the day.

The rest of today looked like work, cooking for the family, doing the baby’s laundry, lots of bouncing around with the baby–he’s teething horribly–playing race cars with the oldest boy and letting the little lady watch Frozen, since she wasn’t feeling well.

I was supposed to go to my internship today and see a client.


She cancelled.


After work I zoomed to the grocery store and picked up some staples and then zipped over the hill to 7th and Irving and hit up the spot, got right with God and got home.

Garbage, recycling, compost out to the curb as a favor to the landlady who is traveling, check the mail, another text-book from school!

I know, it’s exciting, right?

Reviewed my calendar, personal, work, and internship, printed off some forms–I have a new client consult at the internship tomorrow, and ate some dinner.

Checked e-mails, popped over to my “Track My Hours” my BBS (Behavioral Board of Science) approved MFT hours tracker, and added in my hour of supervision from the morning.

And um.

That’s the day.

Not exactly exciting.

But really full.

Hell I even snuck in a trip to the bank and the post office to return a package in between supervision and work, and a run to Walgreens for some more school supplies–two packs of my favorite pens and a new pink folder.



It’s a lot.


It’s a gift.

This life, my life, getting to be this person who is busy and of service, getting to learn how to be a better therapist, advocating for my self-care, taking time to do my own writing, eating well, being kind, just living.

Life is going to happen and I can choose to look at it as a grind.



I can say, look at my amazing life!

I live in San Francisco for fuck sake.

I have such a bounty of gratitude for what I have.

It awes me every day.

I am.


The luckiest girl in the world.


I am.

Reader Alert

March 5, 2013

I was recently asked to contribute to a blog, yet to be named, but I believe the domain has been secured, about being a woman of a certain age.


Now as most of you know I am not shy about my name, my age, my sex, or lack there of, not getting any at the moment, although I suspect that may change soon, or the amount of money in my bank account–not a fucking lot.

I am however, loathe to re-post things that are not to my blog “fresh”.

That being said the woman who asked me to submit also indicated she would like to link to my blog and that I should go ahead and put up the post.

I do not know that much about this whole deal, blog etiquette, etc.

However, I am going to do just that, but in good faith I feel that I still owe a true post on the day, important things happened today, here in Paris.

Thus, I am going to put up the post, “Living the Dream” after I put this up, my sort of disclaimer, you could say, so if you want to skip, well, you can.  Although, of course you are invited to read it.

The reason I am not putting this forth as its own fresh blog post is that I have covered the content of the blog already.  I have expressed my position numerous times here about the trials and tribulations, the acne and the grey hair, the tattoos and the glitter, quite adequately of being this woman, this age, and what this all means or does not mean in the scheme of things.

I will say that though the material is not new ground, it is a “new” blog.

I did not recycle something that I already wrote.  I did not cobble together something from a blog I already wrote or cut and paste it together.  I wrote it and re-wrote and edited it as a stand alone piece.

Speaking of posting something I already wrote, I have had it suggested to me that not only do I begin the process of doing follow-up e-mails about Baby Girl, it was recommend that I start posting it on my blog again.

I posted it once a couple of years ago.

It is the same and it is also different.

It is fleshed out in areas I needed to flesh out and it was cut in a lot of places that needed to have cuts made to it.  I am debating the idea of putting it back out as well as I now have a few more followers and not everyone who is currently subscribed to this blog would have  known of the book.

I am not sure how to make it the best reader friendly format.

I could put up full chapters once a week?

Perhaps that would be something.

I could do that at the end of the week, perhaps on Sundays, post up a chapter.

I would not use it as an excuse to shirk the work of doing my current blog either.

I would post it up as its own piece, then continue with the work of doing my daily writing.

I am also putting it out to the Universe that I need an “ideal reader”.

I am using Stephen King’s words.

I finished the memoir “On Writing” yesterday.

The suggestions are still sinking in.

I was a little hesitant at first when I was doing the reading, his style and my style are different and I don’t write fiction.


I do write fiction.

I have written short stories for a while now.

Not a plethora.

But enough.

Enough to know that his suggestions are entirely applicable to that writing.

I also noticed yesterday and today when I have been doing my blogging that I have used some of the tools he outlined already.  I have a great deal of the tools already in my kit that he was writing about and that made me feel pretty darn good, I brushed off a few here in the last day or two and am quite satisfied with the results.

Despite not doing the majority of my writing with a fictional slant, the suggestions apply.

I also was given permission to be a writer.

I have been giving myself permission again and again and again, for years now, and yet I still can use the outside validation.

Something about how he wrote “I give you permission to be a writer” made me tear up.

It just echoed the feeling in my chest that I am on the correct path.

The money the fame the success are all nice he said.  And I believe him.  I do not have any of those things, yet.  He also said that he would do it anyway, without the money, the success, the fame, he would do it anyway.

So will I.

I will take the suggestions and permit myself a little more fiction in my life.

I will work on the next short story and I will let myself move forward with the novel I am writing, although it scares the living hell out of me.


I just finished my memoir and I am writing a novel?

Then again I have heard it from more than one person that sometimes you don’t get your first book published, it may not ever get out there, but the lessons learned from writing it and trying to get it out there are invaluable.  And that you will get the second book published.

I believe that.

So I believe I will continue to give myself permission to be a writer, to take the time tomorrow to not only do my morning pages and my afternoon query (now follow-up e-mails to be included in the process of the day), and my evening blog, but also to pursue this new side of my writing.

As well as submitting my smaller pieces.

I need to start building a platform of published pieces besides my blog.

To this end I will be submitting a poem or short story tomorrow too.

I ask again, Universe, I need a reader.

Some one to bounce all this off as I proceed forward.  I have an idea and I do write with this person in mind at the moment, until further notice I will use that to motivate the moving of words and re-moving.

The editing.

The re-writing.

This is the “plan” who knows how it will actually go, but this is what I am proposing.

For the rest of the month I work on implementing King’s tools into my toolbox and I write new fiction, I work on the novel and I show up for it just like I did for my memoir.

Then over Easter weekend I will go out to the country, I have a gig house sitting/dog sitting for a friend, where I will be alone, quiet and to myself, I will read the two manuscripts my room-mate brought back and start the second draft process.

That’s the idea.

Query, submit, write, read.


I Can See You’re a Writer

February 28, 2013

She said, my new acquaintance, as we walked toward the Metro, Champs-Elysees Clemenceau, smiling at me.

I cocked my head and stopped mid-description, also taking personal note to come back to this particular Metro stop, there was some statuary I wanted to get a closer look at.

“You’re a storyteller, and I find myself wanting to listen, you have a way with words,” she concluded.

“Words with way, you have,” Steve Martin said.

Love me some Steve Martin.

We tumbled down the steps to the train station, I stopped right before the gates to dig through my purse to locate my wallet with my upgraded Navigo in it.

Another month in Paris.

Another month of Metro travel.

I get off on zooming through the gates, banging my wallet down on the scanner, listening to the bright beep that says, yes, you, yes, are allowed between these hallowed gates to ride the fabled Paris Metro trains, welcome.

The time saved on not having to buy tickets or stare in confusion at the signs or having to pester the train agents.

I have probably already saved a days time here in Paris just on the expediency upon which I move through the Metro.  I have even gone so far as to realize which cars I should get on to be at the right tunnel to make my connection or my exit.

Thereby avoiding the gaggle of Japanese tourists with their clatter of heavy paper bags, glossed and embossed with logos of high-end French finery, the occasional Gap or H&M plastic bag wrapped loosely in their grips, as they stand blocking the flow of foot traffic in front of the exit signs on the platform.

“Do you have a Navigo?”  She asked.

“Yup,” I replied, “upgraded for March and ready to go, just have to dig it out.”

“Zones 1 & 2?” She queried further.

I nodded my head.

“Excellent, on the weekends you can go beyond the periphery without charge, you are going to come out to my place in the country, I live in Fontainebleau.” She said as I finally located my wallet and swung it onto the scanner, which lit up with green arrows and a trill of payment, the gates open and I slid by.

Just like that, a weekend in the country.

This is what happens when you start talking books with someone.

This is what happens when I speak my truth, I get invited to country homes in France?

What the hell?

I am going to start speaking my truth all over the place.

I have writers honesty on my mind.

I have begun reading Stephen Kings “On Writing.”

No, that’s not correct, I am three-quarters finished with it.  I started reading it last night on the Metro.  I got in about thirty or forty pages.  Today I kicked through another hundred twenty pages.

I will be done with it tomorrow.

I am happy to report that I am already doing a lot, almost everything, that he is suggesting.

This is what I suspected when it was recommended to me by two people I hold in regard.

I did a number of google searches and the excerpts from the book as well as the continued literary acclaim had me convinced that I needed to read it.

I am a Stephen King fan.

I proudly admit that right here, right now.

I have been a King fan since the first book of his I picked up.


I was too young to read it and you could not have stopped me from reading it anyhow.

I was too young to read a lot of things that I managed to get my hands on.

Dead Ringers, anyone?

Nothing about twin brother sadist gynecologists says fit for a ten-year old.

Ok, maybe I was eleven.

I know I was not twelve, the summer of my thirteenth year, I got my period.

I had read Dead Ringers the summer before.

I also read some Erica Jong too, before my mom caught onto the fact that her eldest daughter was pilfering books off her nightstand.

I read everything Stephen King had written that was in the library at DeForest High School.

I found the Bachman books, I found myself later identifying with the main character from the Long Walk in the book and reference it in my own book, Baby Girl.

My favorite high school history teacher, who was not abashed to admit he had actually voted for Nixon, would give me the tsk-tsk shake of his head whenever he saw that I was reading another King book.

“Ms. Martines, Mister King again?”  He would drift down the aisles looking at the presidents and posters of people of importance lining the classroom, “isn’t it time you read something else?”

I tried to hoodwink him when I found Talisman, a King/Peter Straub collaboration.

He was not fooled.

One day I trembled with anticipation waiting for my teacher to walk by.

I had finished all the Stephen King in the library and was now reading “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

“What trash are you reading today, Ms. Martines,” he asked lifting the title page off the desk with his wood pointer.

I have never seen eyebrows rise so high.

“Well,” he said, drawing out the word, “I must say I am pleasantly surprised, keep up the good work.”  He smiled at me and I roasted in his warm approval.

I still went off and read everything Stephen King I could find when given the chance, and in the horror genre add to that list all the Peter Straub and Dean Koontz I could get my hands on.  Koontz was an easy catch on, he was right next to King in the stacks.

I once said if I were to go to get a doctorate in English Literature or a Masters, I would do my final thesis on his oeuvre.

Hands down, no question.

If anyone has influenced my writing more, I probably could not tell you.

I read a lot.

A lot.

All part of being a writer.

I got my approval today, I have been allowing in more and more of it in my quest to become a better writer.  Reading is part of being a great writer.

Let me rephrase, a good writer.

I don’t know that I will be a great writer.

But I do know I will be a good writer.

I do it already for the sheer pleasure of it.  I moved across the world to sit at a folding table covered in green cloth with a bamboo stick mat on it with my computer and notebooks and pens to do it.

I sit on a folding chair in Paris.

I finally gave myself permission and you are not taking it away from me.

I am going to be a good writer.

I am.

I have a tool chest full of tools and I am practising every day.

Every day.

%d bloggers like this: