how to write a million dollar story

At one really difficult point in my life I read Cat’s Cradle. I fell in love with Vonnegut. He had characters that were people I had met, crazy people like the ones I grew up with. So after reading Cat’s Cradle I read everything he wrote. Then I read everything that Kilgore Trout wrote. Then I read other science fiction authors and even tried to write a bit.

He was a true human being. He is not unaware of the cruel, and stupid in humans, but he is himself neither cruel nor stupid. He lets us sigh as we acknowledge the damage we have done as a species and laugh at our own folly as we stumble towards kindness. And laugh.  And laugh.

Check out the Shapes of Stories a hilarious lecture on how to write a million dollar story: http://youtu.be/oP3c1h8v2ZQ
Dr. Suess made me want to read. Vonnegut made me want to write.

Doing the Next Thing

I am in that weird place in life when I have lots of time to just observe things. I see when the wheel on the wagon is wobbling but it’s not my wagon.

Not any of it is my wagon.

I just try to appreciate every moment and applaud every success. “Yay!”

Crazy people, cruelty and all the other painful things humans can perpetuate on each other, hatred, confusion, obscuring the way forward; It is a crazy time. Maybe it is always a crazy time.

I find zazen, sitting staring at a blank wall excruciating, but preferable to action often because I don’t know what I can do in the face of so much suffering. I know I am probably getting my practice completely wrong. I imagine Bodhisattva cringing. I remember teachers telling me not to talk about my practice outside the Dokusan room…

The other day the bus was so full the driver told us to try to get on at the back door. It looked impossible and I was the last in line. All these backs towards me, every shade of skin a human can possess represented before me, me, covered in liver spots and freckles. For the doors to close, fat, thin, male, female, shy, brazen, tall, short, young, old, we had to smoosh together.

“Well, we are all good friends now!” Laughter and smiles, people looking over their shoulders at me in the crush, somehow making room for me where there was none.

That was enough.

It is never a personal Titanic on which we arrange the deck chairs.

A Small Painting And Some Thoughts About Complaining* About Stuff

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I know I am running the danger of becoming another boring senior who uses a blog to go on about her grandchildren BUT I am actually going on about painting my granddaughter!

See?

I can’t afford to buy a lot of gifts but I have oodles of art supplies so I make a card instead of buying one whenever there is an important birthday. I think a 1st birthday is significant so here it is, complete with sparkles and sequins.

I have a hard time getting started on a painting and yet once i get going I really enjoy it.

It’s always nice when things work out.

But About Complaining About Stuff:

What I want, and how things are do not always agree. But there are so many things contributing to everyone’s inability to do “their absolute best” all the time, not the least of which is how they are treated by others. Paying attention includes sometimes just calming down, and appreciating that “when all is said and done” isn’t it great that we are alive, and at the same place, at the same time?

I guess that’s why I like babies. They’re like (the best) tourists, happy to be here even if they are occasionally confused or uncomfortable, just enjoying the ride.

I mean, air conditioned buses? Whenever they show up, they are wonderful! I can ride one to a library and use the WiFi, watch a movie or show or do research, even have a nap and escape the heat, with my grandchildren!

See how I did that?

*this is not referring to actually speaking out where to not do so would mean doing harm. 

 

What the Creative Process is.

The Creative process is:
• Like an ear worm but it plays a song in your head no one else has heard.
• Like the best story you ever heard that you wish someone would write so you could read it again.
• Madness, insanity.
• Devotion, inspiration.
• Why many people live in basements, though there are other reasons too and you may never know for sure which ones are the most compelling.
• The Muse. She will kill you if you follow her and she tells you this repeatedly, and if you want to live well and happy into old age, you’ll spend your life trying to ignore her. Because following her, you will forget to eat, pay bills, have friends; you will cry alone, you will laugh alone. If you share your madness, you risk seeing her dissolve like a dream upon waking. And when she leaves (and she will leave you often) you’ll wander around looking for losers to hang out with only to drop them when she returns.
• The smallest part of writing anything.

The Riverdale Art Walk

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I saw some of my favourites and some new work too!

I was not good at taking photos this year but I caught Lori Mirabelli off guard and she said “yes”. She then said, “ummm, did I agree to that?” but you can see she is very amiable, also my very, very favourite artist this year. I want to live in one of her paintings and I want to paint everything she paints.

The quality of art is really quite astounding, but this is something that the Artist’s Network has worked to maintain and build on. While I won’t list every artist, even though I almost want to, I will say these are the ones that caught my fancy this year:

Stavros, a digital artist

Anna Whitmore, beautiful pen and ink works

Pam Mayview, abstracts

Matt Durant, contemporary art