Monday, January 12, 2009

Remembering in a Vortex: The I-Hope-My-Priest-Didn't-Find-That-Page Blogpost

First things first: Congratulations to Barbara, whose name popped up in the drawing to celebrate Seven Midnights of Kisses. Email me at and we'll work out the specifics. Yeah, Barbara!

Many thanks to everyone who chimed in with comments and those who came back faithfully each day to discover the next installment. What a fun way to start 2009.

This week marks the two year anniversary of this blog. For some writers, having a blog is the thing to do. A buzz. Something agents and editors preach in the name of platform and fan base. For someone like me who labors for far too long in the desolate stretch of novels, mostly in secret, hoarding words as if their glimmer will die if shared before it is time, a blog is a balance. Dark prose to light banter. Creative isolation to an impulsive need to reach out. For those who came in the beginning, and for those I've met along the way, thank you. I am blessed to have had the chance to express myself and humbled that others should listen.

Each day this week, I'll revisit a post from the previous years. Some I chose because they continue to step forward in my memory. Some I chose because they marked something worthy along the way. All I chose because they are the perfect time machine to the writer I was in that moment, on that day.

Snapshots at a Kroger
originally posted May 12, 2007

The back pages of my manuscript are in a community box at the base of my desk, used for everything from hand-scribbled to-do lists to elaborate Crayola caricatures of our family in stick figure form. To reuse them sends my environmentally-aware Catholic-guilt side a message that the forest of trees sacrificed so that I could spin a 90,000 word yarn was not in vein. No one would doubt the critical nature of a grocery list with 30 items and only twenty minutes to spare.

Not one of these pages, no matter how torn or frayed, makes it past my internal editor. Standing at the refrigerated section of Kroger, frigid wind blasting my still-anemic Winter legs, I turn the list and reread a tiny snapshot of my story. Sometimes I adore what I find-barely able to recall that the words had come from me. Sometimes, I make myself crazy reconstructing a sentence, no matter how much it seems to have that "ring of inevitability", that it's always been that way and will until we're all reduced to ash. Most of the time, something interrupts my muse and I realize how crazy it is to revisit the same lines like a parent clinging to a child ready to begin a life of independence. Almost always, someone is there to break the spell--a gangly teenager stocking yogurt, a family member with more pressing concerns than the words that filled our character's world-and I'm grateful. It helps me see the forest past the trees between my fingertips.

And the few times my list has slipped out of my control, blown to the dust bunnies beneath the snack food aisle? Maybe one day it'll show up on, a site devoted to publishing found lists. Maybe someone, somewhere will read the snapshot of my novel and the craving to read more will be stronger than their urge to gorge on the chocolate-covered Macadamia nuts hidden in their basket.

A writer can only hope...

I remember this day in vivid detail. I still make grocery lists on the back of my drafts. I still lose them occasionally. I still wonder.


the walking man said...

I am curious though you sign, with URL, your lists lost? Your agent would recommend it.

I had to laugh at the picture of the writer doing the mundane world chore and still getting lost in the dairy section reading words written and rejected.

Salud to determination and another few years at this odd thing called blogging.

Charles Gramlich said...

I hadn't really thought of the blog posts as a kind of time machine but it's a great metaphor. Gave me some thoughts to chew on this morning.

Marilyn Brant said...

Congratulations on the 2 years, L.A. I've so enjoyed reading your posts :).

Barbara Martin said...

I can hardly believe that I made the draw, only because I don't often win anything. Whatever you have chosen as a prize should be interesting. I'll be sending you an email directly. Thanks, L.A.

With respect to your post, sometimes I reread bits of stories I wrote years ago and can still see glimmers of the hope that I had at the time of writing. Most of it will never be used except in a condensed paragraph or sentence in another work.

L.A. Mitchell said...

the walking man...actually, I don't. Maybe I should include a little PR on the bottom of my list just in case ;) Thanks for stopping by.

Charles...if there's a metaphor for time, I'll find nauseum, usually.

Marilyn...thank you :)

Barbara...congrats again. Can't wait to hear what you think when you get it.

sexy said...
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