Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Lacing my fingers together, I straighten my arms forward, feeling the tightness in my fingers. There's a twinge in my right thumb still, but the swelling is down and the pain reduced to a slight ache. I release my fingers and wiggle them one by one. My right hand is weak from being encased in the brace for weeks. But I'm happy to see that I can type again, although it still feels awkward and I keep making mistakes. Tricky to type without using your thumbs.

Writing is a lot like running; the more time that passes between runs, the harder it is to get back into it. My brain feels as slow as my hands. What do I want to write about? Why has it become so difficult to write one paragraph? Remember when I could write several blog posts for both blogs in one sitting? That was a long time ago. Now I feel like I'm starting from the beginning again, learning how to form complete sentences and compact ideas.

Not writing has given me plenty of time to plan new projects for Medusa's Muse, and I've received some interesting submissions, one that was down right excellent. I have also been rethinking one of my projects that has become a logistical nightmare, and I believe I've found a solution. It will still be tricky doing long distance interviews with elderly people who don't use the internet, but I'm passionate about this book, and with help from Rick, I can manage. It'll just take longer than I planned (doesn't it always?). Jane's anthology is progressing well and she's received quite a few well written pieces.  And the YA branch of Medusa's Muse has it's first manuscript in development, a novel being written by Rick and I. 


Young Adult books, the hottest market in books right now. People complain that kids aren't reading, but they're wrong. It seems the only people reading these days are kids, especially teenaged girls. I have a lot of homework to do to understand the needs of this market, though, and luckily I have two friends who write for YA to help me. What do YA readers want from a book? Besides just the requirements of the general YA market, I need to understand the needs of YA readers who also have disabilities. For that, I need to find some young adult readers to provide feedback while a book is being written. I have a pretty good idea of what kids with disabilities deal with as they enter their teens from my experience with my daughter, but she's just one kid. I could use a few more kids to let me know what they want to read. 


My own writing has been slow, but I did finally finish my first full length play and submitted it to our local theatre company for a possible staged reading. It took three years of revisions to fix the ending, but at last it feels complete. Wish me luck.

Okay, that's enough typing for now. Don't want to over-do it on the first day. Again, like running, you have to pace yourself or you'll cramp up and have a set back. I don't want to be so sore tomorrow I can't write again. 

But before I sign off, do you have any good YA book recommendations?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Book Review - Reclaim Your Dreams

Because my hand injury has blessed me with more free time (trying to stay positive, people), I was finally able to read Reclaim Your Dreams, by Jonathan Mead. It's been sitting on my virtual reading stack for a year, ever since I asked him for a review copy. Creative people who are able to follow their artistic dreams and still keep a roof over their heads inspire me; it's the impetus behind the creation of Medusa's Muse.

Reclaim Your Dreams provides a simple, step-by-step, plan for discovering what your passion really is, and how to overcome the roadblocks that prevent you from living that passion. This concise ebook is full of practical advice and exercises to help you stay focused, written with a personable and entertaining voice. But this book doesn't just tell you to lose the fear and take the leap; it asks the hard questions too, like what are you willing to give up to live your dreams? What kind of lifestyle changes are you willing to make? What are your personal values?

What sets it apart from similar books on personal development is how concise it is. Jonathan Mead writes passionately about the subject, but doesn't wander off into long-winded personal stories or diatribe. He really does show how simple, and yet how difficult, changing your life can be. When I started reading, I would occasionally roll my eyes and think, "Yeah, right. But what about...?" As if reading my mind, in the very next section he would answer my question and ease my skepticism. He validated my trepidation about the process while also showing me that the process he created really can work.

This ebook is meant to be used as a tool, not just a book you read and forget. The formatting and links  make it easy to use and find the information you need. After you've read the ebook, you can keep it with you on your smart phone and read different sections and meditations to help you stay on track. And Jonathan Mead's website, Illuminated Mind, is filled with more tools and articles supporting the exercises in Reclaim Your Dreams. Plus, the author appears to be available for any questions and concerns the reader may have. He is passionate about helping others.

E-book available from the website.

Have a favorite book that keeps you inspired? let me know in the comments section.  

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Swim in other people's words

"I've decided that you are far too exhausted to create anything right now," my Muse declares while she watches me struggle to type without the use of my right thumb.

"I'm okay. I'm getting used to this." I adjust the sling on my hand. "It just slows me down is all."

"I'm not talking about your hand, although that is the most apparent symptom of exhaustion."

"Really... I'm fine."

"Stop typing and look at me."

My hands freeze above my keyboard and I am suddenly aware of the acute throbbing in my thumb. Swiveling my chair around to face her, I pretend not to feel any pain. "What do you have to say?"

"You have that look in your eye, the same one I saw on Frida's face when she stopped sleeping because she couldn't stop painting."

"You were Frida Kahlo's muse?"

"No. I am friends with her muse and I visited from time to time. She's not the only one. Sometimes you artists push yourselves too far, as if you think you're going to run out of time to create something."

"You're the one constantly nagging me to keep writing."

She sighs. "It's true. I've pushed you too hard, I fear. I was simply trying to keep you writing despite the ridiculous amount of time you spent in graduate school."

"It wasn't ridiculous!"

"Let's not argue about that. You're missing the point." She holds out her arms to me and I stand, taking one of her hands in my good, left one. Leading me to the mirror, she says, "Look at yourself."

I see the dark circles under my eyes against my too white skin, the lank hair, the dry lips. I see the weariness in my dull eyes looking back at me in the mirror. Looking down, I see my right hand encased in a black brace, the swollen thumb isolated for protection. More than just my hand, I feel how much every muscle in my body aches from fatigue.

"What do I do?" I ask.

My muse smiles. "Rest."

"Not gonna happen. I'm a mom."

"Rest your mind. Don't worry so much about writing or revisions or deadlines. Swim in other people's words for a while and soak them up. Take in creativity, because your own energy reserves are on empty."

"But I have two pieces I have to write."

"Write them next week if you must, but don't start any new projects. You need time to refuel that vast pool of artistic energy you normally have. Anything you try to create right now will be utter crap, anyway. Plus, if you don't let your hand heal, you'll be in much worse pain and unable to write at all."

Looking back at my reflection, I murmur, "Swim in other people's writing..."

"Yes. Look at that stack of books you've been wanting to read." She nods her head toward the 30 books I have stacked in an uneven tower leaning against the end of my bed. "Read three of those before you even think about revising your play."

"But I have so little time and so many ideas..."

"Pooh! You have plenty of time. You're only 44. Why are you trying so hard to burn out before you're 50?" She leans her hands against my dresser and stares into the mirror, her eyes narrowing as she looks at me. "And lets not forget who gives you all those ideas. If you ignore my advice to rest, I won't help you with any of them."

"That's blackmail!"

"Call it what you like." She walks to the stack of books and picks up The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show. "Start with this."

I catch the book she tosses me.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

This is gonna slow me down!

Ever tried writing without a thumb? Tricky!

The worst part is I don't remember hurting it. I have a terrible feeling it's related to my ongoing problem with tendinitis in that thumb, but it's never been this bad. My thumb is swollen and throbs from my nail to my palm. I've tried resting it but it's a little hard to do with my daughter who sometimes uses my thumb as a handle to support herself with (not my idea, but it seems to be the easiest thing to grab when she's falling). 

I'm taking this as a sign that I should read more and write less. I've got a stack of books and many blogs I've been wanting to read, so it's the perfect time to do so. Got a good blog I'd enjoy?  Leave a comment and let me know.