Bird by Bird – Ann Lamott – Book Review

Unlike most required reading assignments given by professors, I really enjoyed reading Bird by Bird – by Ann Lamott. The author was really straight up and quirky. She made me laugh out loud. It was a fun book that was educational and entertaining. That’s kind of rare.

Lamott gives advice to writers concerning writer’s block, publishing, and accepting the fact that if your work sucks, it’s okay. She suggests that first drafts are just that. No need to beat yourself up over anything.

Lamott talks about the aspect of publishing and how everyone wants to be published. But then once you’re published, that 15 seconds of fame fades quickly. Often, there is nothing monetary to show for all of the hard work. (I already know this, because after publishing my book, it seems to be a huge pain in the ass to market it without a ton of money to do so and without an agent. I’ve done a few book signings and sold a total of 4 books doing that. But that’s not as bad as other people. I was happy with my results, as I am a pretty realistic person when it comes to sales.)

I highly suggest this book to any aspiring writer!

Lose vs Loose is making me Loosely Lose my Mind, Losers

I am a stickler for correct English. (And while I say that, I will no doubt have some mistake in this blog entry that will make me eat my words.)

Lately, I’ve been receiving emails and reading blogs and comments that have been driving me mad. People are confusing the two words lose and loose. So here it is, explained simply:

Lose is the opposite of win. It means deprivation or failure. It is a verb. It is an action. It is pronounced “looz”.

Example:
Loud noises make me lose my mind.
It’s not how you play the game, it’s if you win or lose.

Try to remember that when you LOSE something, you have nothing – as in ZERO.
So it’s: LOSE = ZERO (one “o”)

When you are talking about a LOSER – a noun – it is still with one “o”. It it pronounced “looz-er”. A LOSER is generally a person considered to be a ZERO.

Example:
When I was single, I dated my share of losers.

Loose is the opposite of tight. It means detached or not tightly fit. It is an adjective. It is pronounced the way it’s spelled, with the “s” sound instead of “z”.

Example:
Try to stay away from people with loose screws.
My old jeans were too loose after I lost weight.

LOOSER is still pronounced with an “s” sound. It is still an adjective, but it means “more detached” than before.

Example:
My jeans are looser now than they were last year.
In order for the wheel to turn, the screws must be looser.

A good way to remember these tricks is with little sayings, like LOOSE as a GOOSE. Or LOOSE BOOBS.

Try reading this:

A loose woman is sitting on the shoulders of an unshaven loser at a concert. She reaches under her loose half-shirt, loses her bra and throws it on stage. When she lifts her shirt for the band, her loose boobs are exposed. Now all of the losers in loose pants have gathered to watch for another free show, figuring they have nothing to lose. In a drunken stupor, the loser she is with trips over his loose shoelace and loses his balance. They both tumble to the floor, losing their beers and the last of whatever loose dignity they have left.

Fibromyalgia Strikes Again – a Pattern of Stressful Events

I’ve been under a considerable amount of stress this summer. Nothing bad, just a lot of life changes that are extremely stressful to the body. I’ve done my best to eat well and try to keep my mind stable, but it’s nearly impossible when major things have to be dealt with for weeks on end without rest. Now that rest has happened, so has fibromyalgia. I hadn’t recalled the last time I felt this way until I went back to my blog entries and saw it was about a year ago. But this time is even worse and has been going on for more than a few weeks, especially the last week when the fibro “fog” has moved in.

Trying to understand this condition is baffling, but there is a pattern I have noticed. Whenever I have a major stressful event (good or bad, stress is still stress) and finally rest, my body decides to have a mind of its own. It seems that everything is “normal” during the time of stress, but when it’s time to rest, that’s when the symptoms come out. I believe there are other triggers, such as chemicals, that provoke these symptoms. I was recently in a home for a period of time that had automatic spray air fresheners. These types go off on a motion sensor, which means you can be sprayed right in the face – which is what eventually happened. The first day the sprays didn’t bother me, but by the third day my throat and eyes were irritated, and I noticed a loss of smell and taste. Then I began to hate the odors, even got nauseated by them. Since consumers aren’t told exactly what is in these sprays, I can only imagine I’ve been inhaling something poisonous the last few weeks that has left me in this situation.

It’s extremely frustrating to not be able to enjoy vacations or time off because the body isn’t cooperating. Right  now I feel like my blood is on fire. My joints and muscles ache. I’ve been drinking plenty of water, but I’m not in a situation to where I can juice my fruits or veggies, so cleansing has been on my wish list. I’m not running a fever, but I feel like I am. I feel like I’m coming down with something, but with fibromyalgia it can be difficult to tell one way or the other. The thing with fibro is that it lasts for days with the same flu-like symptoms, whereas a cold or flu would come, show its ugly face and leave. I don’t remember feeling this badly in a very long time.

 

How I Got My Writing Groove Back with Flash Fiction Short Stories

Since I have dedicated most of my writing to nonfiction over the last several years, going back to fiction has been a bit of a challenge for me. I love fiction! After all, I’ve been writing it since I was a young child. I even won a school contest in sixth grade, and I’ve been reading fiction forever. So why did I stop writing and reading it for the past five or six years? I really can’t answer that except maybe I wasn’t challenged.

I am glad to say that my interest in fiction is back, thanks to NPR. NPR ran an article about two years ago on Robert Smartwood’s Hint Fiction – fiction which is written in 25 words or less. Now I am transfixed on very short, short fiction and entering contests.

I entered my very first flash fiction contest from Smokelong Quarterly in which each submission had to be exactly 30 words – no more, no less. I was rejected, but it was another step in my groove. Almost two years later I realize that these could be the beginning of some of my screenwriting ideas.

These were my submissions:

A Haunting Moment
Your cornflower blue eyes told me that the prospect was irreversible. And as you left the area under the exit sign, the doctor emerged from the operating room, looking down.

Four Walls
Been dreamin’ alot lately. Doesn’t make sense – cowbells, clocks, neon lights, numbers. Reach for the pills, swallow down with whiskey. These walls are getting lonely. My pistol stares at me.

Vinnie
Whose hair is that all over his bathroom floor, I wondered. It is dark, not red like mine. This will give me the perfect excuse to take that trip after all.