It’s a New Year, a New Start and a New Promise

So, seems like my writing friends are writing again and I feel like I’m a poser because I say I’m a writer but haven’t written much in a long, long time. I can’t work on one story because it’s hitting too close home and I’m not ready to dig deep into that part of myself to write it. However, I said yesterday I am going to start writing again so I need to find a way to do that. I stayed up past midnight reading, editing and paring my first novel down. I’ll probably finish doing that, locate a few experts to answer some medical questions, and have someone new read it. My mom read it a long time ago and liked it. Moms are biased so it will be nice to get feedback again. It’s time I finish something. It’s time I start moving again– physically and mentally. It’s really no fun being Stuck in Limbo.

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Jesse

Another visit to my blog. I’m going to try to start blogging again rather than spending all the time I spend on FB. I want to get serious about writing again. Well, I want to get serious about all sorts of aspects of my life, but it’s best to start small, then build. Uh, I totally hacked that from a line Methos speaks to Kronos in “Highlander.” Though, I’d say it’s pretty cliche anyway.

Instead of rushing out the door to get to work today, I’ve finally put the words to the scene I’ve had in my head for the last few days. It has nothing to do with a new story, but it’s a good way to start getting back to writing. The scene involves characters from my first novel. It’s Jesse going back to NYC after the towers fell to see Lena. He watches her and his daughter playing in the dog park by the apartment building they shared; he wants to see her. He called her on the day the towers fell and they spoke briefly, but it was obvious she didn’t want to talk to him. Still, he came to NYC a few weeks later with the hope to reconcile.

Rottie with a ball

Anyway, in the end he doesn’t see her (I have to keep the universe in order.) because her brother Gabe is there and convinces him not to see Lena, but it will explain the comment he makes in the future that he did come back to see her. When I’m done, I’ll post the scene. Not that anyone reads this blog these days, but if I start getting active on fiction forums I belong to, it will be nice to have an archive of scenes and snippets related to my novels and WIP that may or may not make it into the stories.

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Yay… i just finished writing a whole 462 words. Albeit, these are new words to a totally new and different story. Same universe but different characters. In the story so far, I have about 4000 words. I think this story’s soundtrack has Green Day on it.

I’ve decided to attempt a semi-autobiographical story. I’m going to tell it through Angela, one of my universe characters. It’s all very rough and I’m not really focused on the story yet. I am going to try to work through a lot of what has happened to me in the last few years and see if I can manage to channel all the thoughts running through my head again into my fiction. The love interest is going to be a new character named Nick. In my Isabel stories, she’s involved with someone named Ryan, but he just doesn’t make it into her future. The background of Ryan just won’t work for how I see Nick and who he is to Angela. As I said, it’s a bit autobiographical so he needs to be a bit more like my muse, DH. I’ve never written a story with him as the muse, so I’m not sure how it’s going to come out. Where do I draw the line between what is private and what is not? What makes for a good story? What is too personal to write about? I can pretty much fictionalize my own life story without feeling violated but what about another person’s contributions to it? How do I protect my “muse” and still tell the story?

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If Andrew Were Real…

Interesting. I’ve been working on trying to get back to my writing. And I still have no story planned for my character Andrew, but he’d fit perfectly into this statistics of this year’s class of new priests.

http://www.catholicclergy.net/articles/typical-new-priest/

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Character Visuals

I know we all do it from time to time, we usually find actors or models who look like our characters. I pretty much have most of my characters identified but I was poking around IMDB and saw this guy– who could be the kid brother, Christopher, in the novel I’ve been editing and trying to pare down to a publishable length. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1546300/bio

I cannot remember the young actor I first saw who could also be him.

They were both Hispanic, fair with light eyes. The character could be any kid I see around here, but it’s nice to have some sort of a visual that jives with my idea of how he looks, his coloring, his height and build.

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HIV/AIDS In Real Life and Fiction

This article touches on what it’s like to be a woman living with HIV and having two children  suffering from the pediatric AIDS. Reading the article alone was inspiring. She’s written a novel based on the life of a child living with it. Sometimes when I sit down to write a story, I find an idea that I know something about or have lived through, often I know very little about what I’m writing about. When I started writing Lena’s story in 1997, a woman living with HIV was not terribly discussed or newsworthy.

The author of the blog post has lived through the guilt of passing it on to her children, she’s probably suffered all sorts of stigma about how she got HIV. There are idiots whole left comments that continue the stereotype that it was somehow her fault she got it, or perhaps  her ex-fiance’ was a gay man living in the closet. It seems like people want to speculate how someone got HIV and if it’s a woman it’s because of x, y and z. The stigma hasn’t changed.

I took a lot of that into consideration when I started my story. It was still seen as a gay man’s disease and that’s how I approached the story. Sometimes I feel like a fraud for writing the story because I’m HIV negative, but I’m a writer who can imagine time and place and put myself in the shoes of my characters. Isn’t that the job of writers. When I started that story I did so much research about woman with HIV, pregnant women with HIV, which was the case of my character. I read about all the protocols, treatments and breakthroughs. I had always planned to find a medical expert to help walk me through more of the technical aspects of treating the disease, but life happened and I’ve never quite finished the story. Now, when I go back to work on at story set in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, I have to remember to put aside all the future advancements and try to write in that time period. Now, it’s manageable and fewer people are dying from complications of AIDS, but it hasn’t gone away and if I was looking at my character now, in 2012, she’d be alive and well and have given birth to her second child four years previous, who would have been HIV +. But I think the stigma of having the disease and the questions of how she got it would always come.

I still feel very attached to my character and story and would like to go back and finish the novel. I think I have some good bones, but it needs a good editing, a good clean up and finally a trip to find a health expert who can help me with some of the details.

 

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Ugh!!

I did some site redesign and I ended up not liking my changes, so I switched back to the old look. In the meantime, I lost my favi-icon and have yet to update my word press. Maybe I’ll get David to do it for me. It is nice to be married to someone who can fix technological things.

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A #777 Excerpt

I have been challenged. I feel the need to heed the call. I know the fiction writer’s group I’m trying to more actives with have all been challenged by Juli so this doesn’t apply to them. However, if anyone reads this blog and feels like posting, do so and send me a link back.

Here are the rules:

1.Go to page 77 of your current MS.
2.Go to line 7.
3.Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they’re written. No cheating.
4.Tag 7 other authors

Ok, now which work to choose?
From Under the Milky Way (Working Title. I listen to music when I write and find story titles in songs.)

“I don’t see it as anything I’ve lost or have given up. Honestly, I made the choice freely, knowing I couldn’t be a good husband and a father and be a priest as well. My family would always suffer for the good of the Church,” he says. “It wouldn’t be fair.”

“For what it’s worth, I think it’s cool you’re a priest,” he says.

Andrew smiles and nods his head. “Clean up and come back with us to Isabel’s. Maybe we can stop for some ice cream or coffee,” Andrew suggests.

“Nah, you don’t want me tagging along.”’

“Why not? You’re right when you said I don’t know you very well. It’s my fault for that. What are you going to do here by yourself till Mom and Dad come home?”

Now, I’m going to read all of the other excerpts. Funny thing, I looked at my other story, which takes place in the same universe. The protagonists are different but are related and the excerpt on page 77 has a short scene also with Andrew, a year or so before he becomes a priest. And Debi knows that he resembles Jared Padalecki from “Supernatural”.  Oh, the shame.

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Characters Visualized

How often as writers do we wonder just what our characters look like? They probably are clear as day in our mind as we create them, and often as we describe them the begin to take shape in our mind’s eye. As they  come to life as we create them in the story they become even more alive to us the writer and hopefully the reader. Sometimes they look like someone we know or have seen in the media, a picture in a magazine a movie or television actor and often, we don’t really have a visual. We might know their eye color, they skin color or if they have a hooked nose or a button nose. We know if they’re fat or thin but that doesn’t mean we know what they look like. It doesn’t make them seem any less real to us the writer or the reader but wouldn’t it be nice to know what they looked like?

A curious writer, media artist and co-founder of the online literary magazine “Joyland,” came up with the idea while reading crime novels. Brian Joseph Davis has created images for literary characters after using software that police use to try to identify criminals or victims of crimes. There is an interesting story at the BBC about his work and he has created a website where he’s posted images of beloved characters. I think it’s a fascinating idea and as a writer I’m curious to see how I could see my characters come to life in such a way.

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As Soon as the Potatoes Are on I’ll Write…

That was the response I gave my husband when he said, “write, Baby, write.”

Meanwhile, he’s playing his guitar, which I love to hear and I’m writing this blog entry. Writing for me lately has been harder but I have done a lot of writing. I’ve been journaling private thoughts and feelings as I’ve gone through a health scare but I’ve tapered off on that lately as I’ve pretty much gotten through the scary stuff.

I truly miss the days when I could sit in front of the computer and just write. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words in my lifetime of writing but nothing has ever become a fully-fleshed out, fully-completed novel/manuscript. I have books on writing, hundreds of writing/writer’s links, several writing friends who are incredibly encouraging and a husband who tells me to write, but lately real life has just taken away so much of my writing time. Honestly, it’s not really even Real Life’s fault. It’s my own fault. I’ve been sidetracked, stressed and just not in the mood to write. I need to find the time to devote just to writing, then find some time to exercise. It all sounds so simple doesn’t it? Maybe one of these days I’ll work it out. But, I’m going to finish my glass of wine and do my best to write tonight.

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GenerationXer Priest

This post might have been written by my character, Andrew. I thought I’d link to it and save it here. I’ll probably blog more about it later.

Part one Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love. Why This GenXer is a Priest. Part two is here. I haven’t been writing or working on my fiction in a long time. I’ve lost touch with my characters but I’m still in love with them. I’d like to think I’ll finish their stories this year.

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On What to Write

I have been reading NANO forums, sometimes I shake my head wondering why, but I still have no idea for a story or if I’m actually going to write a story for the National Novel Writing Month. There are stories rattling around in my head and the thought of writing something new and different appeals to me right now. I’ve just been stuck in a funk and not able to write anything.

I could do something based on my vampire dream of a few months back. Yes, that is a genre that I think is getting so cliche and overdone, but I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so I think I could write a decent story that fits within the norms of the genre and doesn’t try to recreate it. I haven’t read the Twilight books. I don’t intend to.  I am watching the Vampire Diaries (I am waiting for the True Blood DVD’s I’ve been promised) but I only watch VD because it comes on before Supernatural, which is the only show I really watch these days.

I’d also rather write about Vampries than Angels or Demons any day. Some of what bugs me about Supernatural these days is the Angel component of the storyline. Of course, I have pretty set beliefs about angels and I think that’s why I won’t write about them, but they are not touchy-feely, new agey beings like we’ve seen on TV.  I guess when I write about religion in my stories or have religious elements in them, I want them  to be real. Maybe that’s why writing about other supernatural beings is more appealing, because there is more leeway in the mythology. I also am not a Christian writer per se. I use religion as a backdrop or characteristic to my stories, but I’m definitely not trying to preach or convert anyone to Catholicism in my stories. I just happen to have a few characters who are exploring their faith right now but that is not the theme of the story. In fact, the character’s religion, is one of the biggest conflicts of the story.

So with that… I’m not sure what to write about. If only I had a thought hit me like now.

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Eureka! My Google Fu Worked.

Found what <a href=”http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/corpus-christi#obs”>I was looking for</a> regarding my writing post of last night.

And it’s perfect for my story. I love it when things work out like that.

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He Won’t Shut Up

Andrew is talking away like a little kid.

So, I have an idea for a couple of scenes to write. One that I’ve mentioned in Isabel’s story, but I thought I could write it in Andrew’s story. But it will only work if Corpus Christ fell anywhere near each other in 1997 and 2002.  Odds are pretty good that it did, but now I really have to pin down the day his grandfather was killed in the car accident, the day he was ordained as a Transitional Deacon and the week the Novena fell in Santa Fe. Hmmm, I wonder if I should aim to have all the planets line up and the moon and starts be in the right house of Aries or something.

So here I go.

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Isabel’s Catholicism

Just some thoughts that came to me in the shower. Yep, I often find myself inspired in the shower. Or lying in bed either after waking up or before falling asleep at night. Some of this will reflect my own thoughts and experiences but I think I’m trying to portray her as being very naive about her religion, when she should know more.

She’s a product of 16 years of Catholic education (I only had 6 years) elementary, high school, and college. For her not to know missing Mass on Sundays is a mortal sin now seems absurd. I don’t think it’s something she would have forgotten and surely she would have been told that it was a mortal sin. If her family produced a priest, surely she should know more.  This is a character who understands and beleives in transubstantiantion and that’s why she only receives Communion twice in the story, from Andrew at his ordination and one other time, again from Andrew.

So, I’m having trouble with her lack of understanding of the faith, so then… I need to come up with a better reason why she’s lapsed. She believes, there will be no question of that, maybe it’s that she thinks she doesn’t need it. That’s where I was. I clearly wasn’t as educated in the faith though. My upbringing was far different from hers. She grew up in a very practicing home, she grew up around priests being invited to dinner and participated in the traditions and rituals of the church. I guess she just grew away from it.

I’m still thinking about this. Must come back to this later.

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Banned Books Week.

I wonder if other authors aspire to be on the list of most challenged books in their careers?  I just roll my eyes when I see the latest list of “banned books”. Many of my favorite books always make those lists. I hate to see creativity stifled. I hate to see the First Ammendment and Freedom of Speech challenged. If someone doesn’t like a book, don’t read it, review it critically but seriously? Banning a book? How wrong is that? PBS is talking about Banned Books week on NOW.

These are the 10 most challenged books of 2008.

he “10 Most Challenged Books of 2008,” according to the ALA were:

“And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

“His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence

“TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series)” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
“Scary Stories” (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence

“Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group

“Gossip Girl” (series) by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

“Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group

“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

“Flashcards of My Life” by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

Glad to see Rudofo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima still makes the list. That is one of my favorite books. It was the first book I read that was about my people– New Mexico Hispanics. I felt his characters come to life, they were people I knew growing up and I loved his use of language and visuals in the story.  The critics never get the point of the story. They always pull out the “occult and satanism” when they describe the book. The old woman, Ultima, is a healer, a curadera. She doesn’t worship Satan or practice the occult. It infuriates me to read descriptions like that.  Not that it has hurt the book any way. It’s still in print and still read and beloved by many.

As a writer, from New Mexico, of Hispanic descent, I look to Anaya  as a role model.  Now, I aspire to write a book that will be banned. I also should reread that story as I picked up a paperback copy of it. It’s my third.  I had a beautifully illustrated hard back copy that I loaned to a friend and haven’t gotten back and the one I got in high school disappeared som ewhere, anyway, I love this story. I love his writing and need to read more of his work actually. But in a way, because of his ability to get published and be known as the father of Chicano Literature, he has opened up the door for other writers, those published and those apspiring to be published to have our stories told.

FYI, these are the most challenged books from 1990-2000

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Try Walking in My Shoes…

Depeche Mode is definitely on the soundtrack to this story. But this post isn’t about music. It’s about trying to walk in the shoes of someone else.  In all the years I’ve been writing stories, whether seriously or just playing around, I write from a female character’s point of view, usually first person. The only time I really wrote from a male pov was when I wrote Highlander fanfic and I’d write Duncan and Methos, though I did write a lot of Richie. They were already fleshed out and established characters, so my only challenge with them was getting them right. I wanted to be true to what their creators gave us. Now, that I’ve abandoned fanfiction all together and have gone back to writing original fiction and I have a whole toybox full of characters to play with.

I write Lena and Isabel as pretty much strong, independent women, with foilbles and failings. I think I’ve fleshed them both out well. They are two very different women and I don’t think they could be exchanged for each other.  As it’s original fiction, I don’t think they are “Mary Sues” but I won’t deny that both of them have a lot of me in them. When I wrote fanfic, I had an orignal female character, who might have been a Mary Sue, though I tried to make her falliable and human, but if reading the stories I wrote, the reader didn’t get an impression that the writer favored Methos, then… I suppose I failed.

Having always written from a female point of view, I’ve found myself trying to create the perfect male protagonist.  Andrew has become a character I’ve fallen head over heels in love with. He is far from perfect. I don’t want him to be perfect, but I don’t know if I’m fleshing out a male voice. I’ve written tons and tons of scenes or snippets of scenes from his pov, again first person, so I amtrying to walk in his shoes. Of course, I know nothing about waking up in a man’s body, I know nothing about what it’s like to be a priest, but I’m trying to imagine myself in the shoes of a thirtysomething man. So, what did I do? I started writing him as a sixteen year old boy. I’m finding myself challenged telling his story. He’s been bugging me to write it for a while. I’m trying. I’m not sure I’ll get anything. It’s hard because there are things I’m holding back or questioning myself about.

I have all sorts of reactions or thoughts that I don’t know what the answer is to when I write him. I have a very definite idea of what kind of a man he is and I know what kind of a priest he is.  I know he’s kind and compassionate, well adjusted and happy in his vocation. I know he wonders about the girl he could have married, he sometimes wishes he could be a father, but then he can’t imagine not celebrating the Mass or serving God as one of his priests. He is open minded and willing to listen, but he’s also conservative and very serious. He pushes Isabel’s buttons and she his. They fight and they love each other deeply. Their relationship is complicated. I think being an only child and creating twins is a challenge, but I think I have their relationship down well.

Women, they are easy. I am one I can relate to them. Men, they’re complicated and interesting. Maybe that is why I’ve been trying to write Andrew. Maybe it’s the being in love with the character that compels me to tell his story, I don’t know.

Essentially when I sit down with a story idea, I always start off with the notion… what if this or what if that. I always imagine myself in the character’s shoes and go from there. With Lena it was, hmmm, what about a single woman, with a career, a boyfriend and what if she gets pregant and finds out she also has HIV.  Isabel was different.  A woman who was settling down and living someone else’s dreams, someone unfulfilled in her life and too afraid to start over but does. I think the feeling stuck in a moment you can’t get out of (to quote a U2 song title) is about what I most have in common with Isabel. We both have some pretty irrational fears. I don’t start things; she quits them. Then when the plot twist emerges, I put myself in her shoes and imagined how I’d react to the news she receives.

I have another new story, but I’m not writing much about that. Again, that is a very realistic story idea– with a huge what if to create the plot and story.

I guess I think too much sometimes. I wish I was actually working on a story, but everything is just laying fallow, to quote Debi, my writing friend.

I probably should blog in here a bit more, but I honestly don’t know what to blog in here.

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Another Post…

So, I lost my family tree. I have it on paper but I don’t know where my writing notebooks are. I think they’re in my other computer bag. I’ll look later.

The writing is eeking along. I’ve done a revision of the first part of “Under a Milky Way” and am working on either its sequel or part two, depending on how it comes out. It could easily be a sequel or the second half of an epicly long novel.

I’ve been focusing a lot of time on “Andrew”. I’m finding it very interesting and challenging to write from his POV. I have a draft of a story focused on him, told in his voice starting with him at 16 and probably working through to the present day. I’m not sure. I’ve often thought it might be interesting to write my story from his POV and Isabel’s.  I really don’t need to pick up another character to write about right now. I have another story in my head right now. It could be an interesting story but I’m hesitant to start writing anything new.  I’ve started it, but I don’t have much fleshed out. It will be interesting if I actually set pen to paper or fingers to keys.

Honestly, I don’t know what else to post in this blog.

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Reading… Writing… Thoughts…

Oh so bored. Ever so bored. Someone entertain me. Maybe I’ll read. I just finished reading this book, The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters. Eh… it was ok. I picked it up because it sounded interesting and am curious to see how other Hispanic writers present their stories and their characters. I wasn’t as disappointed with it as I was with the last fluffy novel I read. I can’t even remember the title. It had a sibling pair, a rather irreverent woman and her brother the priest. Yeah, I know… I couldn’t help myself, I had to read it and see how that relationship worked out. She was older and the brother left the priesthood for a woman. He fathered a child with her. Shocking, I know. I wonder when the priest character will ever leave for a cute guy? Heh… I am kidding, though I’m sure it’s been written. I just like to see a priest character who isn’t involved in a scandal and is actually content with being a priest, well adjusted and doesn’t leave the priesthood.  Oh, who’d want to read about that?

Here’s the book. I found it here. Pack Up The Moon.

Anyway, I liked the GGS in many ways and in others, I didn’t like it. In my story universe, I’m also writing about four sisters, however, the main characters of two of my stories are actually about their daughters. In the GGS, all the characters including the brother were given the names of Hollywood Stars… like Bette Davis Gabaldon or Rita Hayworth Gabaldon. I thought that was kinda silly but then I’m a traditionalist and name characters with more traditional names, however, two of my sister characters are named from Hollywood stars– only their first names, hence I have a Rita and an Ava.

The author of the book has ties to NM and I suspect must have grown up in LA. She painted a pretty good picture of LA in the 60s or 70s. At least I’m assuming that she did. The characters visited Santa Fe, and while she got a few things down, it bugged me that she spelled chile with an I at the end. New Mexicans are very, very picky about how that word is spelled. We spell it like the country. She, too has a character that is enigmatic. She was a Navajo woman, raised virtually as a servant in a Spanish family, who upon giving birth to children were raised by the family who took her in. One was actually adopted out.  The old woman character knew about healing, said the girls all possessed specific gifts and would get them when the old woman died. She died but really gave them nothing, but the girls wondered what they were. This is where I found the story weak. The characters kept looking for their “gifts” only to discover they weren’t what they thought they were.

Anyway, in one of my stories, I have an old woman, also kind of enigmatic, who thinks she can predict futures and tells the children that they’ll all have wonderful lives, except for Lena, who is my main character. I haven’t quite figured out exactly what she tells her as a child but from that moment one, she wants nothing to do with the old Tia (aunt) and it turns out the old Tia was especially fond of Lena and was only trying to warn her or protect her. Somehow I’ll mirror their lives somehow. I’ve been working on this new twist in my story. But the old Tia was a curandera (a healer) and not a witch. It turns out the the old auntie turns out to have a rather interesting back story and now I have to work that in.

Obviously, I’m not trying to compare my works in progress with other already published works, but it is interesting to see how similar elements and themes are portrayed in modern fiction.

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Characters! The Bane of My Existence.

Ok, not really. I’m revising my novel. I’ve decided that I’m breaking it into two stories, at least for the time being. I’m trying to tighten up the first half and then the second half, I’ll work on and think of it as a stand-alone story. It seems to be that a lot of novelists write continuing stories in their universe so why can’t I?

For me, my series or universe features a family of cousins, so I don’t see why I can’t write two stories about Isabel, one about Lena, one about Andrew, one with Rachel and Josh? I have a couple of short story ideas with other characters.

It could work. Oh, if only I could finish something and have the confidence to take the next step.

And lastly, I gotta write about a priest going to Confession.  I have a scene where Andrew is basically an ass to Isabel, but he doesn’t realize it till Tomas tells him how, yet again, he’s hurt Isabel. I know priests Confess regularly to another priest, but I can’t fathom what else Andrew would confess? It may be a mystery.

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From The News

Interesting article at the BBC about Women and HIV. I must admit that I’ve stopped paying attention to the latest news and treatments regarding HIV and AIDS. It’s not like I don’t need to know this stuff, but as my first novel ends, Lena is still fine, a-symptomatic and I haven’t planned to change that.

Still, I think this is interesting in light of my novel and the fact that I intend to have her live with it a long time.

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The Priest’s Hands

I was working on a scene in one of my stories. It looks like my character Andrew will get his own story someday, but he’s with his sister Isabel as they’re contemplating their lives without each other as they’ve now graduated from college and are taking jobs in two different cities, he in DC and she in Albuquerque. It’s the first time they’ve been away from each other. She reaches out and makes a comment about his hands. I’m not sure what she’s going to say exactly but it’s sort of foreshadowing to the fact that he’s going to become a priest one day.

So, I googled ” a priest’s hands” to see if what I could find and I found this poem here and thought it was pretty and worth remembering. I’ll find the right words for her to say to him.

I must admit, I’ve noticed that all the priests I know have beautiful hands.

The Beautiful Hands of a Priest

We need them in life’s early morning,
we need them again at its close;
We feel their warm clasp of friendship,
we seek them when tasting life’s woes.
At the altar each day we behold them,
and the hands of a king on his throne
Are not equal to them in their
greatness; their dignity stands all alone;

And when we are tempted and wander
to pathways of shame and sin,
It’s the hand of a priest that will absolve
us—-not once, but again and again;

And when we are taking life’s partner,
other hands may prepare us a feast,
But the hand that will bless and unite
us is the beautiful hand of a priest.

God bless them  and keep them all holy
For the Host which their fingers caress;
When can a poor sinner do better than
to ask Him to guide thee and bless?

When the hour of death comes upon us
may our courage and strength be increased.
By seeing raised over us in anointing the
beautiful hands of a priest!

Author Unknown

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What Am I Not Writing?

Well to answer that, I’m not writing Lena or Isabel’s stories. Mom has the second draft of Isabel’s story. I think I’ll wait till she gets through it all to try to finish it up.

I’m not working on the new Vampire story idea that’s been floating around for a while. I have characters in mind. I am even trying to flesh out names and backgrounds but nothing’s been written or typed.

This other story idea popped into my head, like I need another new idea, but I’ve been letting it float around in my head and I’m going to see if anything gels. I could be somewhat autobiographical, but as I don’t know what lies in store for me in the future, it will be more of a “what if” kinda of story. That main character will do some of the things I plan to do in the near future, I keep talking about doing anyway and wil play out this one way, which will be fictional, as I can’t predict the future.

I need to get some feedback on my current W(s)IP but I need to feel more confident about letting people read my writing.

Meanwhile I think I have an idea for a news story, but I need to find a market where I can sell it.

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Shopping For Blood

So, I was talking on the phone tonight with my friend who also has her house listed with me. It’s a case that she doesn’t  have to sell the house so she’s going to pull it off the market probably by the end of the month. That’s not what’s got me worried. We started talking about the teaching thing, she’s good and objective about that and thinks it would be a good thing for me. My parents are on board and everyone I’ve run the idea by thinks it’s a good thing for me, as have most of you. Great. I’m going to look into the state certification program but also inquire as to getting a teaching position at a small private school and work on the certification as I go. I really would like to try to get the certification first, get some education credits behind me, than jump into things without having any of that.

Then we started talking about some other stuff and she said she wanted to talk to me about my writing. She didn’t give me a hint as to what she wanted to talk to me about or tell me. Of course, that left me, a writer, feeling way more insecure than ever. I gave her a good chunk of my <i>Isabel</i> story to read. It’s a rough draft at this point and I know the first completed is going to be very long, but I’ll pare it down and tighten it up when I’m finished, if I ever get it finished. So far she hasn’t given me any feedback. I thought she forgot about it. She’s always on the go and reading my work in progress isn’t a priority, so I didn’t expect to actually get any feedback or critique from her. Now after talking to her and hearing the tone of her voice every writer’s fear is running through my head.

My mom has read it. She is a voracious reader and said she liked it. But she’s my mother and didn’t offer much by way of real feedback or critique. My aunt picked up some of it Mom had lying around the house, and my aunt is far more critical than my mom. You know how mom’s are, they like everything you make, bake or create unconditionally. My aunt  liked what she read of it. She didn’t know the context or anything, but she’s a writer, has had a book published and is very critical so that’s a good thing.

In all the years I wrote fanfic and posted it, I always got positive comments and feedback about my stories and characters and I think quite frankly my writing was atrocious most of the time. Maybe it’s gotten worse.

There are many things I worry about this story– I know it’s really going to be a niche market kind of a story– and odds of it being published are quite small, but I’m still writing it. Fundamentally, I write because I love to write. I love creating worlds for my characters and telling stories about them. I’ve done that since I was a child and probably always will. Because I’m a story teller, I also think that’s why I can’t shut my brain down most nights or why when something is troubling me, I think about it and think about it and let it gnaw at me.

Of course I’m worrying over nothing yet, but nonetheless I’m worried. Otherwise today was pretty good!

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Fiction or Real Life?

And man… I guess stereotypes exist for a reason. I’ve been kind of following a scandal in Florida about the young, handsome priest who was seen on a beach in the arms of a woman. Apparently he’s been thinking of leaving the priesthood for a year and is in love with her. Grr. I get so irked with the notion in fiction that all priests are miserable and regretting their promises of celibacy and then end up having affairs and leaving the priesthood for women. I almost threw out a book I was reading (it wasn’t The Thorn Birds) because it had that rather cliched by now plot, annoyed that the author couldn’t write a contented priest in real life.

Then… it happens in real life.

I am not going to rewrite my character to reflect things that happen in real life. Besides, there’s way too much other stuff happening in the story that there is no reason for him to be the cause of a family scandal.

Somewhat relatedly, it’s funny the music that comes up sometimes when I write my posts. Before the current music playing, “Oye Isabel” by the Iguanas was playing, which made me think of how Isabel might react if her brother suddenly said he was leaving the priesthood. Not that she likes having a brother for a priest, but she would be devastated if he left. Suddenly I got this visual of my character, Isabel, casting the evil eye at every attractive woman who looks at her brother the priest in less than chaste ways. I tell you life in my own head is much more interesting than real life. Or maybe i need to get out more and have a real life, considering my next story idea has vampires.

In other news, we’re taking my mom to Outback for dinner. Her choice. I’m not a big fan of it but it’s probably an easy enough place to get into if we go early. The cell phone hasn’t rung at all today. I guess that’s a good thing, though it would be nice if someone would call to want to see property. I still need to make a living.

And as I end this post, “The Other Side” by David Gray is playing.

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Musings Ripped from the Headlines

Oh man… Fr. Cutié… is quite a cutie. I’m not making fun of his alleged scandal, it’s actually quite sad, but with a name like that and a look like that… wow… thud… duh…

Apparently he’s a popular priest in Florida and has been seen in photographs in compromising positions. I really hope it’s not true and that they’ve just been photoshopped with malicious intent. Though, cynical and jaded as I am, they’re probably real and that’s sad.

Of course, as I’m reading this story I get to thinking. You know me and thinking, it’s always a dangerous thing. Perhaps he looks a bit like Andrew? And if Andrew is that attractive, then surely someone has made a pass at him a time or two. No wonder Isabel calls herself the keeper of his chastity. 😉

I will have to write his story somewhere down the road because I like that character so much. I still contend he’ll keep his promises of celibacy and chastity. He truly loves being a priest and is actually pretty normal otherwise. In fact, I’ve been working on a scene just after he learns the truth about his real father. He really doesn’t take the news well. With all my characters, I try hard to walk in their shoes, sometimes I think I can do it. He’s been a challenge but that’s what being a writer is all about, taking characters and making them real.

However, in the case of Fr. Cutie or any other priest who breaks his promises, he is human and promises can be broken. It happens all the time. One thing I’d love to know just how many young priests struggle with their promises.

I’ve thought about this as I’ve developed Andrew in my story. He’s a man, he’s straight, which means the church deems him to be desirable for the priesthood, but so many are also gay and have gone so deeply in the closet right now that they fear being outted because they fear being kicked out,  which makes me really sad. It might have been interesting to write him that way but why give him even more angst? having  Isabel for a sister is enough. He really wanted a family but sacrificed it for his vocation. He also promised to be obedient to the bishop and his successors. It makes me wonder which promise priests struggle with more? Obedience and/or Celibacy. I see Andrew struggling more with obedience than celibacy. He knows what he sacrificed and why he did so. It’s not easy and I think as he watches his sister with her family and children, he’ll wonder about what he gave up.

Had he joined a religious order, he would have made vows instead, which would have been chastity, obedience and poverty. The Jesuits make a vow of allegiance to the pope in addition to the other three.

Anyway, just thinking aloud, again.

I’m going to post more reflections on my Non-Sparkly Vampire Story. Guh, the Twillight Vampires sparkle.

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Will Not Sparkle

All right I already posted about my werido dream to my LJ but i thought maybe I could turn it into a story. So, after I woke up I started thinking about it and wondering just what kind of a story I could write. I pretty finished it awake.

Continue reading

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Life in My Head…

After much fun and witty discussion and banter back and forth with an online friend and I‘ve decided that Andrew, my priest character, will have good taste in TV after all. I think he’s going to be an avid Dr. Who watcher, but there will be the one time his sister caught him watching Desperate Housewives and she will never let him live it down. I need to make him a well-rounded character you know. He already talks back at the TV watching those religious documentaries on the History channel.

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Alternate Universes

Had a weird dream last night. It involved my characters and so that’s the reason I’m posting it here.

I’ll analyze it later.

I had another weird dream. As I was telling Connie a while ago, I think maybe I shouldn’t take Zantac. Could I be having Zantac-induced weird dreams. Anyway, I’m posting this here because it involved my characters and I’ve spammed my LJ enough to day with silly stuff.

This is what I dreamed:

So last night, I had another strange dream. This was about Isabel. Only this time she was jumping around through alternate universes and finally found herself back in a universe that was pretty much the same as her own reality. As She got familiar with her surroundings she started to notice that things were different. Her children’s names were same, but her name in this world was different. She knew both sets of parents, and had grown up with her real father and step father, she had the same husband and children ,the pets were the same but the solid black dog had white spots. She could not find Andrew anywhere which made her panic. She walked around the yard looking for him. She was desperate and scared not to find him. Finally he came to her and told her why that he didn’t exist in this world. He died when they were 10 of an asthma attack. She didn’t have asthma in this universe, he did. This devastated her she was not happy to he in a world without her twin. He explained that this was the only way this could be because she’d been jumping through universes for a long time and now this was how she could have her life back. He told her in time that she would forget her old life and remember just this world, which made her sad became now this world turned out was really sad. Though, her maternal grandparents were still living, Fr. Patrick had been defrocked for some awful reason.

Then he told her he had to go. He, dressed in his clericals, offered her his blessing one last time. He said she’d only remember this moment for just a little while longer. She couldn’t accept that. She touched him and then he was gone. She immediately wanted to go to church. The others laughed saying no one in the family had been to church since her brother’s funeral when he was 10. She was upset, horrified to learn she hadn’t been married in a church and that her children weren’t baptized. She set off for the church and that was it. I woke up.

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Been Thinking Again…

Amazing huh? Actually, I’ve been thinking about my writing in relation to the niche or genre in which I’d like to eventually market it. I pretty much think I write for a women’s oriented audience, it may be chick lit but I think it’s more like contemporary lit. I’m not sure I’m bold enough to call it literary fiction, for me that genre seems a whole lot more pretentious than I write, but reading the NANO lit-fic forums, I feel like my stories fit into that genre.  I am not writing romance, though I include that in my stories. It’s part of life, right?  My fiction always contains elements of angst, tension, and struggle. There is always something big that happens. It’s drama and my characters must work their way through it all.  The drama/struggle/challenge, not sure what to call it,  is immediate from the moment Lena’s story begins. In Isabel’s story, it takes awhile to appear, but there is quite a bit to shake up her life, even with her ambivalence about her brother’s ordination to the priesthood, it’s there.

Now… I’ve mused about if I’m writing Catholic Fiction or if I’m just a Catholic Writer writing about Catholic characters. I certainly don’t think any of my stories would fit in the Catholic/Christian fiction genre. Actually, I know they wouldn’t. The nature of my stories don’t fit into that niche at all.  Quite honestly, it’s not a genre of fiction that I have any interest in reading anyway. I have a not so objective opinion about how I feel about that genre. I have a stereotype in my head about the genre. I suspect the plots are solidly written, religious in nature, but don’t have much by way of tension or drama. I’ve been told publishers don’t like to see any cursing, swearing or sex of any kind in the stories.  Surely, it would just be wrong for the characters to have pre-martial sex– maybe they kiss sweetly, but not deeply, passionately on the mouth.  It’s electrifying just to hold hands. They can’t go further than that.  They always  go to Church on Sundays, perhaps there is a preachy message about salvation and redemption. Perhaps in some ways, these books serve to evangelize the unsaved, maybe they serve to entertain the already believing flock or perhaps they exist to counter balance all the other work that is out there, that doesn’t necessarily fit this mold.  The stories that are daring, that don’t mince words, that may be dark yet still teach the same lessons in redemption and salvation, but aren’t white washed.

Honestly, I’m not trying to be snarky but I do worry that my fiction might be way too Catholic. That I might be preaching the faith too much in my work and am by some unintended way, making my fiction inaccessible to a mainstream audience.

I believe that my stories have lessons in salvation and redemption as well. It may not necessarily be in a religious sense, but in a personal sense anyway.

However, discussions I’ve witnessed on forums and communities have also led me to the notion that my work would not fit in either. I’m not writing to shock or create scandal. My characters are just who they are, some created from facets of my own personality, some are people I’d never want to be and others are idealized versions of who I might like to be. We, writers, all do that. In original fic, the dreaded Mary Sue, isn’t as dreadful or the kiss of death as it is in fandom writing. I willingly admit that my characters are part of me and come from my own experiences. I cannot say that I am writing wish-fulfillment stories through my main characters. Quite frankly, I don’t think I’d really want to have their lives entirely.

My characters, I hope are fallible and human. They don’t strive to be perfect, in fact, their flaws make them human. I try to capture a moment as I see it happen in their lives.

So while I worry about the Catholicism creeping in and turning off main stream readers, I wonder what Catholic readers would think?

Oddly enough, I suspect that my characters would be judged harshly in the Internet Catholic Realm. I still find my mouth agape when I read stuff posted by other Catholics on the Internet regarding real people, so as my characters reflect reality, I suspect that the term “Cafeteria Catholic,” or the accusation of being “not a real and true Catholic” would be tossed at out many of them.  My characters are sinners, just like everyone. And they seem to catch flack in my fictional universe. There’s Lena’s brother who abandons the church to go to a gay friendly Episcopal church in DC.  The aunt who apostates, the priest who truly believes in his vocation, is strong in his faith and wishes his twin sister understood him. The younger brother who is lost, the cousin who had an abortion, the grandmother who lost her faith completely, the seeking boyfriend who finds his faith.

It seems like in my universe my characters are either looking for faith or something, or are abandoning it one way or another. I hadn’t thought much of faith in my fiction until one day I sat down and reread and revised some of Lena’s story. When I started writing it, I was lapsed from mine, but elements of Catholicism crept into the story through Lena’s culture and upbringing.  It amazed me just how much it all influenced her and though she doesn’t want to believe (I don’t think she disbelieves, but she doesn’t need or want God in her life) she can’t deny how it has shaped her life. We Catholics joke about Catholic guilt all the time, but it’s very real. We just all deal with it differently. Some obsess, some blow it of and some confess it all the time to a priest. I’m sure there are other ways too.

Anyway, I’m starting to ramble and am not sure if any of this makes any sense. I’ll come back later and see.

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