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Everything I know I Learned From Art


Having just watched No God No Master, a 2012 film about the Palmer Raids of the 1920s and, peripherally, the railroading and execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, it occurs to me that everything I know about history I have gleaned from movies, novels, and song lyrics. Before seeing

Sacco & Vanzetti (Photo: Wikipedia)

Sacco & Vanzetti
(Photo: Wikipedia)

this movie, I did not know that Emma Goldman was deported from the US, never to return. I had no idea what the Palmer Raids were, and though I knew about Sacco and Vanzetti, I was fuzzy on the details (though I knew a bit from Holly Near‘s song Two Good Arms.)

This is not the history they teach in American schools—at least, it’s not anything I was taught.

Thanks to Doris Lessing I know something about colonialism in Africa. I learned about the French Revolution from Marge City of DarknessPiercy‘s City of Darkness, City of Light. I know the history of India from dozens of novels by Indian writers, most notably A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and, to a lesser extent, the film Gandhi. Recently I’ve gotten a dose of Nigerian history from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Lest anyone think I’m swallowing works of fiction or Hollywood productions whole, I almost always look up the facts online afterwards; even before the Internet, I did my homework, especially when writing book reviews: I compared Piercy’s details in the abovementioned book to those of historians Will and Ariel Durant—Piercy, who does exhaustive research for her novels, was remarkably faithful to the facts.

When I was in my teens, my twenties, and beyond, I read so many books and saw so many movies about the holocaust and slavery that they no longer fascinated but enraged and depressed me, until I finally swore them off; besides, I could probably write up a syllabus for each. Recently I added domestic violence to the list; having worked in a battered women’s shelter some years ago, I don’t need anymore painful education in that department either.

I don’t listen to music, read literature, or watch movies in order to learn, but because it’s what I love to do. Still, it makes me furious that I wasn’t taught important historical events in school, where they just threw dates of wars and generals at us, not to mention lies about our country. It just goes to show that in the end, as Virginia Woolf noted, it’s the artists who’ll save us.


Doris and Me

The Sweetest DreamThis morning I started re-reading Doris Lessing‘s The Sweetest Dream. It’s one of her realistic novels (as opposed to her “space fiction”), published in 2002. The story revolves around a British household of extended family and friends during the Sixties. I wanted to read Lessing, and chose something I’ve only read once,  having OD’d on my favorites as many as five times.

I would’ve written this yesterday, but I was torn between doing so or continuing with a YA novella I’ve been revising. I knew what Doris would say: she’d say it’s a stupid waste of time for writers to go on and on about other writers, that I’d be better off creating my own work, or reading someone new. I faced the same conundrum today, but decided to defy my guru.

Doris Lessing was—still is—my guru. I say this in all sincerity, not as a joke or clever wisecrack. What else do you call a person whose words you hung onto for 30+ years, memorized, absorbed? Someone whose eyes you looked through when you looked at the world? Whose perspective informed your own observations and conclusions about politics, society, human behavior? Her writing wasn’t gorgeous; she didn’t go in for fancy flourishes like Virginia Woolf or Edith Wharton. Her language was plain, almost bare at times: she simply said what she had to say. What was so outstanding about Lessing’s writing was The Truth writ large. When I opened a Doris Lessing book I felt myself to be in the presence of Truth. I suppose it’s that her version of the truth is one with which I agree, though I didn’t know it until each gem made its way from her brain to mine.  As she said, you can’t tell anyone anything they don’t already know.  I felt less lonely when I read a Doris Lessing book. When I was at my 4Gated Citymost down and out, re-reading ShikastaShikasta or The Four-Gated City was a better cure than therapy or massage or any of the commonly prescribed stress-relievers.

Doris Lessing’s most famous, endlessly lauded book, The Golden Notebook, was far from my favorite. Critics and scholars dubbed it The Great Feminist Novel, much to Lessing’s distress. I certainly liked it, and discovered plenty of truth in it—but I’ve always thought that calling  TGN her best book is like saying Stevie Wonder’s best song is I Just Called to Say I Love You. Only a simpleton would judge Stevie Wonder’s huge output of complex, meaningful music by that bit of three-minute treacle. Not that TGN is treacle—Lessing could never write that badly—but many of her books are more deserving of an audience that might not have been inclined to read them after TGN. The fact that she was annoyed almost to the point of fury when it became the standard-bearer for feminism ought to be a clue to critics that they’re on the wrong track here.

When my friend Corky turned 60 she asked friends to come to her party dressed as a woman we admired. I put on a dowdy black-and-white polyester dress from the Salvation Army, a pair of low black heels resembling Doris’s signature shoes, pulled my hair into a bun, and wore no makeup. I read aloud from Shikasta in a British accent. I was surprised at how easily I slid into her persona. The dress-up transformed me, and I’ll never forget the way I felt that night.

Doris LessingOne of my lifelong goals was to go to London and meet Doris (I did meet her stateside; more of that later). When Kate Millett wrote about having tea with Doris Lessing, I longed to do the same. In the mid-90’s I had the good fortune to meet Fay Weldon, who called after seeing my review of her in the Bay Guardian, and took me out to dinner. She knew Doris, lived not far from her; I thought I was one step closer to London tea, now revised to “Tea With Doris and Fay.” I never made it. It’s good to have fantasies, and I ‘m not regretful. What I do regret is the way I behaved when I met Doris in San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge

I was visiting  the city for the first time, scoping it out as a potential place to live. I fell in love, as so many  do, on the second day, and my bags were mentally packed. I was hanging out in a Mission cafe reading one of the free alternative papers when that face popped out at me: that face with not a spot of makeup over wrinkles, her steely gray hair tied severely in a bun, the eyes, as always, gazing out over great landscapes of time and space. My heart skipped a beat, and I read the caption: Doris Lessing would be speaking at a luncheon in San Francisco ten days from now, the day after my flight back East.  Without a thought I left the cafe and quickly walked back to the friend’s flat at which I was staying. I phoned my son to tell him my plans had changed, that I was staying an extra week. He wasn’t home, but Gina, a housemate, took the message.  (When I did go home, Gina told me she’d gone to the library after my call, where she ran into her mother and another friend of mine, and she told them I was staying longer in SF to see Doris Lessing. Gina performed for me, imitating the women’s histrionics: “Doris Lessing? Oh my god, oh my god!! She must be so excited! Overwhelmed! My God, Doris Lessing!” Perhaps Gina exaggerated, but I don’t think  so.)

Meanwhile, back in SF, I called the number in the paper to buy a ticket for the event. They were sold out. No matter. The ticket seller put my name on a list in case anyone canceled. Every day twice a day for the next ten days I called to see if anyone had canceled; every day twice a day he told me they had not. No matter; I was going. Since I had no Lessing books with me, I went in search of one for her to sign. I wanted a hard cover version of my favorite, The Four-Gated City. I must’ve called every bookstore in San Francisco—and back then there were quite a few bookstores in San Francisco—but found only a paperback version. I inquired about some of her other titles in hard copy: zero. I began to reconsider my plans to move West: “I’m not sure,” I told people, “I want to live in a city where I can’t find a hardback copy of The Four-Gated City.” New Yorkers got it. In the end, I bought a paperback, though I had one at home.



I continued my endless calling for a ticket; considering my peskiness, the guy in the ticket booth was extremely tolerant. When I told him so, he said he’d had so many hysterical calls from women since Lessing’s visit was advertised that he was used to it. He assured me that my name was first on the waiting list.

The morning of the event I rose early to get ready. With or without a ticket I was going to the Four Seasons Hotel—lunch was in the majestic Redwood Room. If I didn’t get to attend the luncheon, I’d sit in the lobby and wait for her arrival, and wait for her departure as well. I’d ask her to sign my book, and perhaps talk to her. Now, I happen to have a miserable history of meeting and greeting celebrities; for someone who turns to jelly in the presence of her idols, I seem to meet a lot of them. The epitome of my repeated self-mortifications occurred when I bumped into Barbra Streisand at a HoJo in upstate New York. I was not going to blow it with Doris. I was older and wiser. I knew myself better, knew I’d have to be cautious with my words. I hadn’t yet figured out just what words I would use, but I was aiming for short, sweet, and sane. (You can smell the smoke already, can’t you? This is why I don’t write mysteries.)

That morning, as I dressed to hit the street, the phone rang. When I picked it up, my best friend the ticket man informed me someone had canceled and he had a ticket for me. Unsurprised I thanked him and finished dressing.

The Redwood Room was almost full by the time I got there. Afraid I wouldn’t get a decent seat, I looked around frantically and saw Doris at one of the big round tables up front. I needn’t have panicked: as with my ticket, a chair was waiting for me at the table next to hers. When I sat down in it I looked over at Doris; she turned towards me and our eyes immediately connected.  I am not lying. Nor was I hallucinating. It was as if we knew each other.

The luncheon was sponsored by some suburban book club and, to my shock, most of the women at my table had never read a Doris Lessing book! Imagine if I hadn’t gotten in, if I, who loved and appreciated her work, couldn’t attend, while women whodoris_lessing were apparently just eating lunch and idly passing time surrounded her. I was appalled. Still, I was civil to them, and even enjoyed chatting through a lovely meal I’ve now forgotten except for dessert—a kiwi-berry tart with whipped cream. As I scarfed it down, Doris took the podium. By now I’ve forgotten what she talked about—it was almost 30 years ago, and I’ve seen her twice more since. After her talk and a Q&A (during which I forced myself to remain seated and silent), a line formed and people took their books to be signed. I was fifth on line. I stood there repeating inwardly over and over, “Say nothing, Marcy, do not open your mouth.” As Doris signed my book I stood beside her and suddenly, entirely unbidden, these words fell out of my mouth: “This is the happiest day of my life.”

I cringed. I cringe to this day. You are no doubt cringing. Doris, however, did not cringe. She simply lifted her head, gave me a look of utter disgust and said “Oh, don’t exaggerate!” As I slunk away, tears in my eyes, I paused to turn around and saw Doris looking after me with something that seemed like regret. Knowing what I know from her writing, I like to think she regretted that we were in a situation where it was difficult to have an honest exchange. Maybe she saw the intention behind my idiotic words and regretted I hadn’t found a better way to communicate. Neither had she: we were victims of circumstance. At least, I like to think that is what she thought. For all I know she was just relieved I hadn’t tried to stab her, since I was clearly insane.

NOBEL-LITERATURE-LESSING-FILESI did move to SF. It turned out that Lessing had good friends here, and, as I said, I saw her twice more. By the third time I was writing regularly for local publications, and a tiny bit more poised, so I asked her for an interview. She said “Not this time—too busy,” with no indication she recognized me (so I fervently hoped).

I knew she was getting on. I worried about it, knowing her death would mean no more words from her. I forgot that with 55 books I will have Doris Lessing to re-read for the rest of my life—after all, I’m no spring chicken myself.  When a friend emailed me with news of her death two hours after the fact, I was only surprised for a second. Then I began reading all the obits, tweets and accolades, glad she was being thoroughly acknowledged. (I wonder if that would have happened without the Nobel.)

A Proper MarriageIronically, it took me three starts many years ago before I took to Doris Lessing. It was in the early Seventies that a friend recommended A Proper Marriage, the second book in her Children of Violence bildungsroman. I couldn’t get into it. Some time later I tried again; still, no dice. The third time, however, it took; who knows why? I’m just grateful I kept trying, something I probably wouldn’t do today: once I was on Lessing’s wavelength I stayed there. It’s not a bad place to be. Thank you, Doris, for all the hours of joy and camaraderie and comfort you’ve given me. You helped get me through this life. And I’m not exaggerating.

“Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty, and vice versa. 
Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.” – Doris Lessing, from the 1971 introduction to The Golden Notebook


RIP Doris Lessing

The world’s greatest living writer died today at the age of 94. I am bereft knowing there’ll be no more words from Doris Lessing.

On winning the Nobel Prize, the Swedish Academy described Lessing as an “epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. (from BBC)

At least I still have all those books of hers to re-read. Still.
I knew this day was coming. Still.
It is a sad day for literature.

State of the Art: Writing and Publishing in the 21st Century

Woman on the Edge of TimeOne of my favorite books in the groundswell of feminist writing that emerged from the 1970’s Women’s Movement was Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time. Residents in the Utopia of the story spent a good deal of their time and lives making art via paint, pottery, poetry, etc. I carried that vision with me into the future, and created my own literary art in between raising children and making a living with my typing fingers. I used to think it would be lovely if everyone was able to make a movie if they so desired; I myself wanted to turn one of Doris Lessing’s space fiction novels into a film. I didn’t want a career in The Industry, didn’t even want to make more than one movie; I just wanted to create this one little project for my own amusement. I raged against the injustice of a culture in which only an elite group of people had access to the means of art production.

Well, I have lived to see the day that this one aspect of Utopia has actually come true. If I took the time to learn the iMovie program on my Macintosh, I could go ahead now and make my movie. I could even share it with others, via YouTube. More significant to my life and well-being, however, is that this democratic accessibility also exists for the creation of literature, or more specifically, book publishing.

I may have wanted to create one little movie, but I had far grander goals for my life’s work. I’ve always known what I wanted to do: to publish a novel that would be respected and well-critiqued by the literati, yet mainstream and popular, so the money earned would launch me into a writer’s life. I would live quietly somewhere—at various times I imagined myself in a Manhattan apartment, at other times in a modest oceanfront house—and I’d spend every day of my life in front of my IBM Selectric, on which my handwritten first draft would be typed and retyped through dozens of revisions—that’s how I used to do rewrites back in the Good Old Days.Selectric

I believed with all my heart what writers and teachers and books about writing told me: that if I kept at it, if I did it enough so I got better and better,  one day IT would happen. I was coming from a literary tradition filled with anecdotes of rejection: writers like Ernest Hemingway and Henry Miller were said to keep a pile of dusty unpublished novels in their desk drawer. Marge Piercy’s first book, Small Change, was her sixth.

I plugged on.


career-pathI wrote in between babies and one child’s brain surgeries, through divorce and household moves, a munchkin holding each hand. I wrote in between secretarial jobs, poverty, and food stamps; past used-car breakdowns, furnace failures and snowstorms; I kept on writing in between one crisis after another. I was forced to stop occasionally, for two months, six, four. I lost a job, got another; at times I cleaned houses; I nursed my post-surgical son, sent him back to school, and pounded out another bunch of words. Altogether I wrote six novels. I sent each one out to agents and editors. The only one that’s been published is the last: an ebook on Smashwords that to date has sold eight copies. Hell, I don’t buy ebooks, so how can I expect anyone to buy mine? Still, I did kind of expect my friends to buy it. One of them did.

When I found out about Smashwords I was elated. The revolution is here! Hello, hooray, I’m ready, I crowed. Finally! Writers had seized the means of production! No more were the gatekeepers of literature young girls fresh out of college holding titles like Assistant Editor for glorified sectetarial jobs. No longer would a few behemoth corporations dictate what the public read. By now, as everyone knows, Smashwords isn’t the only game in town; these days, if you want to publish a book, the options are numerous. Free at last,  free at last, great godamighty, we’re free at last!!!

Uh huh. Be careful what you wish for.

I find it difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong, but I’m disheartened and depressed by the state of the art. I have gradually lost my once-burning desire to publish. The electronic format isn’t entirely to blame: I’ve learned to love my Kindle. And yet, being published electronically doesn’t feel quite real to me. It isn’t self-publication that bothers me: besides publishing a novel on Smashwords, I had an ebook collection of short stories published by Renaissance Books. I’ve never been good at self-promotion, and I find I’m even more reluctant to promote a series of bytes on a screen. There’s just something about it that doesn’t feel quite right. Future generations, should they read this, will be baffled. I’m fairly certain, though, that I am not the only member of my generation who’s less than enamored with the state of the art.

This sense of unreality, however, is nothing compared to the core issue: the glut of available ebooks.

glut [gluht] verb, glut·ted, glut·ting, noun
verb (used with object)

1. to feed or fill to satiety; sate: to glut the appetite.
2. to feed or fill to excess; cloy.
3. to flood (the market) with a particular item or service so that the supply greatly exceeds the demand.

A glut of books is (are?) being published. A glut of books are being promoted along with mine. A glut of books all clamor for attention.

Writer4Once upon a time when I told people I was a writer they sighed longingly and mentioned The Book buried in their hearts that they didn’t have time to write. These days, knowing their book will be read by someone, they’re somehow finding the time, not only to write but to post news of their book on zillions of websites. In the novel The Best Seller by Olivia Goldsmith (of First Wives Club fame), a character based on Jacqueline Susanne throws a tantrum every time another professional—doctor, lawyer, carpenter—hits the best-seller list with a book. She doesn’t suddenly decide to perform brain surgery; why must every professional horn in on her territory? Those people who used to sigh longingly have stopped sighing. They’ve gone to work, content—or dare I say arrogant?—in the certainty that their book will reach the reading public.

Inevitably with such a huge backlist, a lot of trash finds its way into the mix. Bad grammar, incorrect punctuation, and misspellings abound. Completing and publishing a novel used to be perceived as a major personal accomplishment. Imagine, after a multitude of rejections, what Marge Piercy must have felt like when Small Change appeared in bookstore windows. Yes, we had bookstores back then—in fact, it was in Borders that I got the first hint of the coming onslaught. When big box chain stores began popping up in every strip mall and big city, stores that actually placed chairs  near the shelves for leisurely reading, I expected to feel like I was in the Garden of Eden, but the first time I went into Borders I had a panic attack. I felt like rushing home immediately to read, afraid I’d never catch up. On the heels of panic came a plunge into hopelessness: The world does not need anymore words, least of all mine. It was all too much for me; there were simply too many books.

merry go round

I suppose it’s the baby boomer boom—too many of us reached the age of creative invention at the same moment in time. I’ve lost all sense that being published is a great accomplishment. I no longer care very much if a book I write gets published. At this point it would hardly matter, practically speaking:  It’s not like I have that many years left to live out my dream. I still love to write, and I’ve been fortunate to have published quite a bit other than novels—in newspapers, magazines, anthologies, poetry journals, and on my blog—so I’m not half-crazed with frustration and a burning need to share my work.  The only area in which I haven’t filled that need just happens to be my deepest passion:  I bought the Great American Myth that The Great American Novel is the brass ring you grab as the merry-go-round turns.But if everyone has a brass ring, it’s not as meaningful. If publishing a book is the latest hot trend, count me out.

When Writing Doesn’t Happen

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It’s been more than a month since I blogged—possibly the longest silence on record since I started Dirty Laundry in October 2006. And it’s not as if I’ve been writing something else, like a novel, or ghosting a book for someone else, or even copyediting. Nope. I haven’t been writing, period. Of course, there’s a reason; as my dearly departed friend Richard used to say, “There are always reasons, never excuses.” Richard was hard on everyone, including himself, and was consequently depressed most of his life.

Actually there’s only one reason I haven’t been writing: my son Daryl was hit by a car (his second such adventure), broke his ankle, necessitating surgery, and, since he can’t walk and take care of himself, he’s been in a rehab/nursing facility since the beginning of January. I call the place the Garden Spot of Alameda. Daryl’s an adult of 47, so readers might wonder why the circumstances of his life would affect mine. The short answer—and that’s the only one I’m going into today—is that I’m used to taking care of Daryl, as he was born with a chronic medical condition (hydrocephalus)  that led to seizures, learning disabilities,  and other physical and mental challenges. His first car accident, in 2004, inflicted further brain damage, or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). The upshot of all this is that Daryl needs a lot of support, primarily emotional.

Daryl, Immediate Post Accident

Daryl, Immediate Post Accident

When he first checked into the Garden Spot I felt so bad I visited daily, but at this point he’s used to it, so I’m only going two or three times a week. If there’s a reason beyond time that I haven’t been writing, it’s the traumatic crash course I’ve been getting on American (all?) nursing homes. Though the facility serves two populations, not just the elderly, the aged predominate. And, since everyone in this place is, I believe, governmentally subsidized, the residents tend to be, um, financially challenged (Don’t you just love my euphemisms?). The motives of the owners and managers ….well, I’m not going to go into the specifics until Daryl is home safe and sound. In the meantime, I’ll speak in generalities.

Nursing homes are notoriously hellish. After my father died, my mother began telling me not to put her into a nursing home, ever. Being a 30something brat who, like all brats, was ignorant of aging issues, I poked fun at her. Now I wish I hadn’t. This is an important, urgent issue that all families should talk about. Attention must be paid! I’m now telling my kids all the time, “Don’t you ever put me into a nursing home!” And, of course, they make fun of me.

I would not last one night in this place. To begin with, I’m claustrophobic—and they put 3 beds into not-so-big rooms. Also, I consider myself, like 25% of the population, a Highly Sensitive Person, a designation that in recent years has gained recognition. I’m certain I’d be having panic attacks in the Garden of Alameda—especially if, like Daryl, I was at the mercy of people I didn’t know, some of whom aren’t entirely wonderful, and I couldn’t get out of bed by myself. Because he has a broken ankle on the right and a fractured toe on the left, Daryl needs someone to help him get into a wheelchair. He uses plastic urination bottles and has a portable toilet next to his bed.  As stated, I don’t want to get too specific–but staff has to empty these receptacles. Would readers care to speculate how quickly they perform this task? Can you imagine the odors that fill the room when these containers aren’t dumped in a timely manner? And that’s just one of the discomforts that can drive a Highly Sensitive Person batty. Not one day. I couldn’t do one single day.

The CountFor the first month Daryl had a roommate who was, IMO, certifiably insane. The night he was transferred from the hospital to the Garden I was hanging his clothes while the nurses got him into bed, when R., the roommate, came over and began whispering to me about all the trouble Daryl was going to have getting the nurses to help him use the facilities. He was a real yenta, this guy, and I immediately took myself away, vowing to avoid him from now on. During the next few days, though, he  helped Daryl a lot, getting him water, or nudging a nurse if he needed one. He saved his newspaper crossword puzzles for me, went out of his way to be “helpful”. He also told funny stories—so I changed my mind, figuring my first impression of R. had been wrong. Eventually, however,  I discovered that my first impression was in fact one hundred percent spot on. R. was constantly in our business. He eavesdropped on us and unashamedly brought up the things he’d heard; when I was on the phone with Daryl he’d shout out conversational tidbits to me; he called me “Mom” and followed me out to the lobby whenever I left to give me his reports on Daryl’s behavior. He was driving Daryl completely crazy. The last straw came when I was trimming Daryl’s beard, and kept telling him not to talk so I wouldn’t slip with the scissors. R. walked up to the other side of the bed and hit, yes, HIT Daryl on the arm, hard, and yelled “Stop talking!” Daryl got pissed off, picked up a half full cup of coffee and threw it at the wall, and told ME to leave (Daryl takes out all his frustrations on me because I’m “safe”.)  R. had the chutzpah to follow me out to the lobby, saying “See? That’s what he does!” After that I wouldn’t let him whisper his reports to me, or inject himself into our conversations, or shout through the phone at me. He got weepy, almost crying as he begged me to engage with him, but I wouldn’t. Yes, he ‘s a lonely guy—60 years old, and he never had a single visitor—but is that my problem? Fortunately, the social worker found a permanent residence for R.—I never found out WTF he was doing there to begin with—and he left. Daryl’s attitude and behavior since R. is gone has been a hundred percent improved. No more yelling or throwing things or telling me to go home. In fact he’s the perfect patient, despite wanting desperately to go home. Which might happen next week.

red typewriterI was planning to write a lot more here, to catch up on the movies I’ve been seeing, podcasts listened to, friends old and new—as well as some of the more amusing residents of the Garden. Unfortunately, I’m already drained. This is what happens when a writer doesn’t write every day, or almost. Doris Lessing says she finds herself becoming “unbalanced” when she doesn’t write for a few days. This applies to me as well. Bad enough being unbalanced, but I bet Lessing doesn’t let her craziness show; but me, I’m talking to myself a mile a minute! Sure, most of us talk to ourselves once in awhile–but I’m a regular Chatty Cathy these days, and I’m doing it out in public. Without the outlet of the paper, or screen, words just come spilling out of my mouth. I don’t even realize I’m doing it until someone looks at me oddly on the street, and I get embarrassed. Or I’m in the supermarket, when suddenly someone swings their head towards me, thinking I’m talking to them. Unbalanced indeed! Finally, when I do try to write, I seem to undergo a certain level of fear. It’s like I get when approaching a new story, or  unfamiliar territory. It’s as if I have to wade through the shallow end of the pool before I can get to the depths. Like starting over.

DeskChaosSo here’s what I hope to do: I’m going to write a little bit every day, and post it if I think it will interest anyone. I know it will interest other writers—we all love hearing about each other’s process, especially how to work our way out of Writer’s Block.  I‘ve frequently claimed I never, or rarely, have Writer’s Block—but what else is this? It’s just that the way I’ve heard it described, Writer’s Block usually comes out of nowhere and hangs around with no rhyme or reason. My blocks, if that’s what they are, have a root cause: lack of writing, usually of necessity. When my children were little I grabbed every scrap of time I could for writing, and I learned to be ready to roll the minute time became available. For a mother, Writer’s Block is just one more unaffordable luxury. Now I can afford it. But surely there are better ways to spend my time.