Mar 22, 2015

prey for a spider

I like mornings. No. I actually love them, crave them. The solitude, the stillness, the hushed black sky. Not so much when I actually have to talk to or engage with anyone. My zen can turn ugly in a nanosecond when someone disrupts my quiet. The other morning, a certain someone was talking in decibels that are not tolerated at such an early hour and for a good twenty minutes about Isis. Do I care about this right now? Can't I get some let's not talk at all especially about a serious topic my brain is not ready to ingest at 5 am?

But hey. Let's talk about dreams. Especially those that actually change the course of your life. Have you had the pleasure? I've had a few. Yes, yes, I've had those cryptic dreams where something came true the next day, and those are neat and all, but... there was that one dream recently that pushed my butt in the right direction. Those are the best dreams.
Recently I came to this conclusion that my lifestyle was destroying me. Well, I exaggerate a tad, but still. I became aware of all these things I was doing to sabotage myself, my health, my contentment. And I got pissed off. At myself. I remember telling my husband my thoughts and how I needed to change my habits and stop undermining my struggle to do better. The next day, I had this dream that my friend, Cam would chuckle at the sheer textbook psychology of it. It was all about spiders.
I was at a picnic in a secluded park with several people, mostly strangers. While sitting at a table eating my lunch, I began arguing with my brother, getting really heated and angry because he put his feet up on the table, right next to my food. The people next to us were staring at me because I was yelling at him to move his feet. At some point there seemed to be a scare that someone had been bitten by a venomous spider - and then that person died. I left the picnic table to see what was going on and looked up to see hundreds of enormous spiders in the trees - like tarantula sized and ready to take over the world. Then one of them flew at me (yes, they could fly) and bit me on the neck, which meant I was going to die. I woke up. 
I'm not one for nightmares and bad dreams usually. In fact, I'm a pretty lucid dreamer in that once a dream begins to go sour, or to a place where I can't quite handle, I become aware and I change the course of the dream or wake myself up. This one was only slightly nightmarish, but mostly it revolved around the psychological details. When I looked up spiders in dreams, I ruled out the dominant female thing and some other interpretations that didn't work. What resonated for me was how they can symbolize your future, fear and entrapment. The spider's web can have subconscious association of weaving our own destiny and consequently being trapped inside it. Disagreeing with the "clingy relationship" side of it, I knew that ensnaring force was myself. The bite itself was a symbol of the peril I felt I'd put myself in.
I had already decided the night before that I needed to change. The swarming spiders and subsequent attack in my dream world only added to my determination. Since then, I made a lot of progress on those so-called unresolved issues.
And on a similar though totally different note, I've been working on the 3rd draft of my novel. This, too, fed into my spider dream. The fear of my future and feeling like I'm never going to finish this novel or that it's taking so damn long is like straight out of a dream textbook. While I know I'm far from perfect and I understand that I'll make mistakes, one thing I can't tolerate about myself is a lack of self-discipline. This is certainly an ongoing process, but taking notes from the spider, I have to be patient and continue to build my web. I also have to have the conviction that it won't be long when I look up to see my intricately built web is finished and I've reached my goal. Then, I'll just have to build another.
xo Kira

Mar 21, 2015

something this way comes

Do you remember when I mentioned that writing the first draft of a book is easy? I still hang on to that belief. But I also believe that once you're getting into the meat of your novel, the easy plummets and gets buried beneath all the structure, rules and editing that are necessary to make it compelling, convincing and at the very least, readable. 

I've recently come across yet another site on the advice of how to write a novel which really caused me to see my book in a new way. I think most people have heard of Storyfix and Larry Brooks' Story Engineering. When I was first starting out, it seemed like whenever I searched a specific question about writing on the web, something by Larry Brooks would pop up or if it weren't his article, it would be someone else referring to him. Then a few months ago, I came across another website just when I thought I was nearly finished with my second draft - the 12 pillars of novel construction on Live Write Thrive. There's tons of advice on this website in general, but what I've really found helpful are the 'inspection checklists' she posts at the end. So while I was on my way to making my deadline of December 28, I had to backtrack because this website caused me to look at my story differently. This is a good thing. 
I may have been a literature major in college, but nobody taught me how to write a novel. I read hundreds of books for my major and had to write essays about them, but writing a book is a whole other world. And while I'm not capable of giving advice on writing, I can at least advise anyone who's starting out to not do what I did: write a book before learning how to write a book. I admit, sometimes it's daunting. And scary and tragic. Especially when I read things like this article telling me that writers as a rule are dismally poor and struggle to make ends meet. Yikes.
And yet, we keep writing. Just because we love it. And we have to do it. We have all these stories in our minds - these characters that are dancing around, tormenting us, their worlds beckoning.... they have to come out somehow!! We think about those writers who are deemed mediocre at best by the critics, yet they're making millions off their best-selling novels and scoring movie deals. Some of these writers have had overnight success and we think to ourselves - why can't that be me? But really, I think most of us would be happy just being somewhere in the middle. Making up stories and getting paid handsomely for our efforts. Mm, perhaps an extra bedroom for a home office. That should do nicely.
xo Kira