The best-laid plans…

Hey, so a few weeks ago I started on an ambitious exercise program, was enjoying it, and then I had to stop because of illness- I came down with a terrible cold, had to rest, then as that cleared up I became psychologically depressed and could not get out of bed. Fun times!

Anyway, that seems to be clearing up now and weeks have gone by- so not only did I mess up my exercise routine, I’m behind where I thought I’d be for both work on finding an agent, and writing Diamond. 

I have a few unavoidable tasks that require my attention, so I must do those first; unfortunately, this plus travel plans mean I probably won’t get back to writing until mid-February.  I can consider my writing to be a Valentine’s gift to myself, and get back to it when I’m rested and have more free time (we will see about that last one).

Here’s hoping Diamond comes out as effortlessly as Infinity did.

Liz

 

2017 was a year of rest; 2018 will be a lot more active

I was quite ill for much of 2017 and I admit I needed the rest I was able to get; still, I managed to finish one novel and make good progress on a second, as well as come up with many novel ideas.

While I still plan to keep writing, I find it’s time for me to get back to work again. I’m still querying agents and I will finish my current novel-in-progress this year, or so I hope; I just will no longer have the luxury of writing any time of day I choose.

Wish me luck! I have a number of options which I am pursuing, and I am hoping to have something lined up by March.

Aside from the work I want to do to sell and write novels, I’ve come up with an outline for a TV series I am calling Microcosmos after the Cosmos series, which features information about microbial ecology and environmental microbiology- believe it or not, this links directly to a lot of current science policy issues, like climate change, GMOs, and the rise of marketing slogans used to promote “alternative” health products.

I don’t know how much time it will take to write screenplays for Microcosmos, but I hope to start the process this year as well. Hopefully some of the work I do in 2018 will make its way into the scripts.

Finding an agent, Stephen Colbert, and Kali

Hello readers!

I’ve reread Infinity and I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve queried two agents so far and will query a third once I write up a synopsis. I know that this process of evaluation by others is subjective on their part, and my work has to resonate with a total stranger in order for that person to want to move forward. So I realize it might take me quite a long time to find an agent, let alone get a contract for the sale of the manuscript. This is fine.

Like a lot of intellectuals, I have a nagging voice that keeps telling me that I’m an impostor, that I’m faking it and soon everyone will find out that I’m a fraud. I was actually surprised when watching the Late Show with Stephen Colbert that both the host, Stephen Colbert, and his guest, Liam Neeson, admitted they suffered from impostor syndrome, so I feel like I am in good company. I keep forcing myself to sit and write, or write to agents, because I feel like even if I’m an impostor, no one has found out about me yet. I’m a well-kept secret!

While I wait for feedback, I am busy with a variety of things, not the least of which is my novel-in-progress, Diamond. I have decided the Indian goddess Kali needs to be a part of Diamond and so I’m revisiting the work I’ve done so far as well as my outline, in order to get her in there. I’ve had a lot of dreams about Kali recently, and her interactions with time fascinate me.

Wish me luck in finding an agent- I feel like my work is good and luck shouldn’t factor in, but it sure wouldn’t hurt.

Liz

 

On being encouraged to write

Hello, readers!

I was noodling about online today, wondering if I should do my workout routine first or if I should try to write a chapter or two for Diamond, and came across a tweet from a published author where he suggested that he had been encouraged to write by others. I’m glad of this, because I enjoy his books, but it also opened up a bit of a painful wound for me, and I will explain.

When I was a child, I was encouraged to write as a hobby- it kept me quiet and out of trouble; my parents didn’t mind if I read and wrote ceaselessly. I wrote my first short story at eight and won awards for my writing at school; I finished my first novel during summer break in high school. I wrote endlessly, and well.

When I reached the end of high school, I wanted to get an English degree so I could pursue my dream of writing professionally.

My parents said if I did this they would kick me out of the house and I’d have to find a way to pay for my food and lodgings somewhere else (I couldn’t afford to go to school and live on campus, and I knew if i had to pay for living in a dorm I’d have to get a part time job and my grades would suffer, and I’d lose any scholarship I was able to get which I needed to pay tuition with. My parents always made it clear that if I wanted to get an education I had to pay for it myself).

So I put aside my dream and took undergraduate and graduate degrees in microbiology. It’s interesting, it pays my bills, but I have not excelled at it and the older I got, the more I found myself regretting that I didn’t just take out a student loan (I hadn’t even realized this was an option before) and gotten that English degree. I am not sorry for my experiences and knowledge gained via my life as a scientist- this actually helps my fiction, a lot. But I do regret that younger me, not plagued with bipolar symptoms, hadn’t been able to channel her energy and passion into writing. I regret that my discipline really did require disciplined study in order for me to do well enough to keep my scholarships, and I lacked the energy to write much of the time.

However, I have had the past year or so mostly off and so I have been able, despite distractions and sickness, to be able to finish one novel I am proud of (Infinity), about a quarter of another novel I am similarly proud of (Diamond) and to write a few poems and short pieces in between. I might write slowly now, for many reasons, and my voice in writing has also changed. But this may not be such a bad thing.

I like to think that my initial setbacks in pursuing my dreams of becoming a professional writer were learning processes, and that my voice is now more unique, older, more mature, more interesting. I like to think that, at nearly 46, I’m not too old to follow my dreams.

I’ve made it a goal for 2018 to sell Infinity, so I have already begun the long and arduous process of sending queries to agents. Wish me luck!

Bipolar dreams

Hello, dear readers!

I’ve had the most interesting few days. Every time I travel back to my childhood home in Guelph I get bizarre dreams, and this visit home for Christmas was no exception.

I won’t unpack all of it, as these dreams were highly personal (as most dreams are). I was falling into the trap of taking them literally when a friend of mine reeled me in and suggested that I view them as dream metaphor. I did, and I am so glad I did!

To be brief, I dreamt that someone had stolen tissue from me (eggs, to be honest) and that they had stolen sperm from some guys I went to high school with, and had a celebrity raise the children which resulted from IVF. This was admittedly a distressing dream, but when I realized it was all metaphor, it became much more manageable- and even healing. The “children” represent creative projects, the fact that they are raised by a celebrity (someone active in televison with a national audience) may mean I want to make my creative projects a far larger deal than they have been so far, and the fact that I seem to want to connect with people from my high school may indicate that I need to reconnect to the creative person I was back then- I was a far more energetic, driven writer then than I am now, and maybe it’s time to tap back into the person I was in high school.

The reason I say this was healing is that I’ve avoided people from my high school for literally decades (this was kind of childish but I couldn’t help myself) and I’ve finally decided enough and looked up several folks that I remember- and to my delight, found they are doing well. One of them I apologized to for something silly that happened a long time ago. I’ve often had dreams about several of these people where I’ve wronged them and didn’t see the consequences which were awful, so it was kind of nice to see that they’ve turned out all right.

I still am probably never going to want to go to a high school reunion- I was in a great deal of pain in high school and a lot of my memories from those years are still very difficult for me. I think that just looking up a few folks and extending an olive branch to one that I truly did owe an apology to is a pretty good start to being able to heal that particular wound in my psyche.

I’ve had other dreams, too, but I’m saving those for fiction. I may use elements of some of them in my current novel-in-progress, Diamond. I hope to finish Diamond, which is a real emotional roller coaster for me, in 2018 and also find a literary agent. I’m also going to force myself to do something that terrifies me and try to write a screenplay. I am not entirely sure why this frightens me, but again, that unpacking is highly personal. Suffice it to say it will be a challenge- because not only will I write one, I will then try to sell it.

I hope you have a wonderful and bountiful year in 2018.

All the best,

Liz

Difficult scene in Diamond

Hello readers! I mentioned before that I had writer’s block. Well, I revised a chapter and wrote a few more, and the book is now at 30,400 words. Today was extremely difficult- I had to go through a section dealing with the main character’s violent rape at porn shoot (she was an unwilling victim), and this mirrors recurring dreams I have had about a similar violation.

Still, I am glad to be through that segment, and I am hoping that I can power through the rest of the book fairly soon. The rest of the book still has some trigger points for me, and it’s the holiday season, so I know it won’t be finished this year- but I am hoping to get significantly more done before the end of the year.

I’m very pleased with today’s progress. It’s really interesting to me how writing about my dreams unlocks what feel like me to be actual memories. This has been happening to me a lot since starting Diamond, back in the summer. Today’s revelation, which I will keep to myself and a few trusted friends, is quite interesting. Not everyone remains nameless forever.

Happy Holidays from the Deep State

Buckle up, buttercups- the ride’s not over yet. This card-carrying member of the Deep State (so deeply undercover I actually don’t know if I’m a member or not) suspects there’s a lot more to come soon.

I keep thinking it would be nice to have impeachment cocktail recipes ready just in case- is anyone good at inventing drinks? What might be in an Orange Russian? Tweet me your suggestions at @bent_elizabeth on Twitter, or toot them to me at @Ebent on Counter Social (www.counter.social).

In other news, I have recovered from a recent bout of illness, and while it’s resulted in writer’s block, I feel like I can break through that if I get time to myself this weekend. I expect to go to a coffee shop and barrel my way through a chapter or two just because I need to get my momentum back, and I want to finish Diamond soon.

I’m pretty happy with Infinity– I do not have copies up for sale but I am sharing homemade ebooks with a select few, and of course, my mother is getting a paper printout in a binder because she is special. I hope to sell Infinity and Diamond both, but of course, Diamond is far more personal and difficult to write, and longer- so it will take me a while to finish it.

 

Thanksgiving

This past Thursday was US Thanksgiving (as opposed to Real Thanksgiving which is in mid-October, in Canada). It was a pleasant day and I’ve reflected that I have much to be thankful for.

My life has been a bit nomadic and rootless, not by choice, and I’ve had some help reflecting on that today. I would have chosen a different life if I had been able to see where my choices were leading me, but I think even with the mistakes I made I have had a pretty decent life. I am in a pretty good place now, though of course I’m not content with everything- there are some things I would like to change. But despite everything I’ve managed to make things work fairly well for myself, and I hope in the coming year I’m able to keep making things in my life increasingly better.

May you be safe, warm, happy and loved now, through the coming holiday season, and in the year to come.

So I’m Cinderella

Hey, so I am part of a Facebook group devoted to fighting for better gun control (it was founded after the Pulse nightclub shooting), and I got a little note in my notifications that Samantha Bee has had an episode devoted to gun control. The idea was that we all should contact Sam and thank her for her putting the issue in the spotlight.

So I wrote to the email identified, and I did something a little whimsical. I signed, after my name, “aka Cinderella”.

This name and I go back a little bit, back to 2007 and the LA Writer’s Strike. I was unaware of the strike- I’m a scientist- and I didn’t realize these men and women were exhausted after a day of picketing. I just wanted to go to Starbucks and get myself a coffee. I was annoyed- the patio was full of people that were slouching around and no one moved when I asked to get by so I could get a coffee. I think someone  asked me if I was a writer. I write novels for fun, so I said “yes” and they asked me if I was working. I was working as a scientist, so I said “yes”.

To compound this PR nightmare, I think I met Seth MacFarlane and was very rude to him. I also think he scared me so incredibly much that I ran away from him, and since I was wearing floppy old sandals, they started coming off my feet. I panicked and left one behind, reaching down to snatch up the other and literally run away.

I hid in a couple of stores for a while until I was calmer and made my way back- I don’t know for sure, but I think Mila Kunis found me and convinced me to go back for my sandal- and when I returned it was even more terrifying for me. I was focused only on getting my other sandal back and running away yet again.

I don’t know what happened but I managed to get away from all the scary people- funny story, I think Alex Borstein (or someone that looked like her) showed up and asked what was going on and I thought she was just a concerned passerby. I hugged her  and asked her to protect me from Seth and the others. Wow, right? Anyway, eventually I ran away and someone asked me what I was doing “now” and since of course I have no idea what that means to screenwriters I thought of my job as a scientist and I said I was working on “saving the world.” Something like that. So I wasn’t lying.

That was what, over a decade ago? I haven’t thought too much about those incidents- my primary goal for many years was simply to banish them as nightmarish thoughts- but lately they’ve returned to my conscious mind as something rather funny. I am not sure I can use this in writing- I mean, it is too cliché, me losing a sandal? Granted, it was an old, ugly, probably smelly, leather flat instead of a fancy glass slipper and I was wearing cutoffs, a tank top, and a white shirt instead of a ball gown, but the reference there is clear. I can’t write about this rather comical (in hindsight) encounter.

Anyway, yes, my brush with fame was to insult people, act completely crazy, hide ASAP, and try to stay hidden. I figure I did a good job, and so I’m not worried about putting this little story on this blog- it gets very little traffic, so I’m pretty safe.

If this does get some attention, can someone tell Seth MacFarlane I said hi? I sent him flowers for his birthday, I hope he liked them. It’s a bit annoying, I’ve been trying to apologize for years and I have no way to reach him.

Liz

PS- readers who like my fiction, I’ve finished editing Infinity, my most recent completed novel, and later today I hope to get back to working on Diamond. I have been sidetracked by science project planning (details here) and also by the fact that Diamond covers some difficult subject matter. If you recall, it’s the story of how a woman overcomes incredible odds to triumph over her stalkers, with a little supernatural help.