Wanting to be heard.

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I had the story brewing in my netherspheres (it’s what I call the back burners of my brain), and it was coming to me like laser tag blasts — BAM BAM ZAP ZIP (ok, pew! pew! pew!), and, naturally, i was in my car on a long drive from Ashland to the bay area on one of my breaks from school. This is the perfect time for the creative juices to flow because then they just spill all over my car and there is no way for me to really write them down. Every once in a while, I would pull over to try to type something up, but as fast as they came, so fast would they go. I tried different approaches — type faster, tell Siri (which was always a disaster, because, well, have you ever tried dictating to Siri? She’s useless. hilarious and entertaining, but completely useless.) Then I tried a voice recorder, only to find out I really had no idea how those worked. Again – the same result, every time: the second I started recording these amazing (so I thought) ideas, they would all go straight out the window. Apparently, my characters only want to be travelling at 80+ miles an hour on a freeway.

But this story is one that I’ve come back to a few times. I’ve written little bits of it – moments, really – conversations, or thoughts, fleeting, like a dream or a memory. The main girl, Emily, has had bits of her story already written down, but they’re so scattered around at this point, that I don’t even know where they are. I don’t know if they’re all the same story, but it’s something I’m willing to investigate. Something I want to discover. So here is this journey — through Meditative Writing, I will find out more about Emily and her former lover/ex-boyfriend/childhood crush (?), Adam – see? i don’t even remember if that’s his name – and we’ll unlock their secrets ….. together.

I’ve actually already shared a bit of their story on here. When she slips and almost falls off a cliff and he shows up to warn her that shit is going down. At that point, I didn’t know what that shit was, but I think I do now, finally.

It’s a beautiful process, finding out your characters’ stories as they do. For it’s my belief that their stories already exist. They’re happening – always happening – living within me, and all they need is for somebody to tell it. Their stories are aching to be told, aching to be heard. Screaming at me – following me around, trapped in my subconscious – trying to break through in dreams and fleeting thoughts.

They’re there. They’re ready. and so am I.

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Laptop: my girlfriend.

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It’s remarkable, the relationship between a human and his technology. Our phones, tablets, and laptops become like friends to us: able to console, entertain, and betray. They can frustrate us, stand us up, and even completely blow us off, and, just like any of our close friends, when betrayal strikes, trust is lost.

I’ve had my laptop since my sophomore year of college – I’ll let you guess how long ago that was; a lady never tells her age – and she has been on quite a few adventures with me. She was there for me during every lecture, through every paper I handed in (late), six seasons of Lost, seven seasons of Boy Meets World, and eight seasons of Doctor Who. She was my companion when I began my journey as a writer, ditching five paragraph essays for quirky poems and short stories and even the odd screenplay. Now, I have a Mac, so I’ve never had the constant fear of my computer crashing, getting sick, or going crazy. She was reliable and unwavering in her loyalty to me.

And then she crashed.

I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was one spreadsheet too many, but suddenly, my screen froze, I got the pinwheel of death and everything went black. She woke up after a few agonizing minutes, asking if I would like to send crash reports. No. No crash reports, I thought, solemnly. Nothing can make up for this level of betrayal. For, she didn’t crash in the middle of an episode. She didn’t crash while I was about to Complete Check Out on Amazon. She crashed when I was twenty pages in on a Meditative Writing stint I’d been on for two hours.

“What an idiot you are for not saving, if you’re writing for that long!” you may say. Well, I say that, too, but when you’re “meditative writing,” the point is, you’re not thinking about saving your work, getting up to pee, or grabbing a glass of water. You’re thinking about writing. only writing. non-stop writing. stream of consciousness. The only rules in Meditative Writing are 1. Tell the Truth and 2. Don’t Stop Writing. So, she crashed.

If you know anything about Macs, you know that this incident is not the end of the world because, most of the time, the product is saved or recoverable. Yes, it is, but though this was not the end of the world, it was absolutely the end of our relationship. I had no choice but to break up with my laptop after that. The trust was lost. gone. forever. irreparable. We tried to make it work for a few weeks, but the trust couldn’t be built back. I was saving my work every five minutes, thus interrupting my meditation, blocking me.

So I got an iPad.

My laptop is still here. She’s still in the picture, and I use her for my other work. Spreadsheets, bookkeeping, as a DVD player, but that’s it. Nothing more than a booty call.

in the works

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I have quite a few books “in the works”. It’s quite a boastful sentence, that one, but the truth is, “in the works” Just means “in my head.” To be quite frank, it just means “I’ve thought of a cool title and maybe a premise. ”

People ask me what I do for a living, and my favorite thing to tell them is “I’m am writer,” because their head is suddenly filled with fanciful pictures of me sitting in gardens or coffee shops with my laptop – or typewriter because I’m that kind of cool – at book signings, having meetings with agents. Close friends have fantasies about my books becoming the next Harry Potter or Divergent series. When, honestly, I’m sitting on a plane with my wireless keyboard hooked against my iPad, two and a half hours into the flight with absolutely nothing to write. You’d think that being stuck in a one-meter-by-two-meter prison-of-an-airplane-seat is enough to motivate a writer to buckle down and “just write already!” … apparently, that’s not the case.

I’m just forced to watch stupid television on a minuscule screen, stare out the window at turbulent clouds, and try my best to steady my rapid breath – I’m not anxious, I swear. I’m pretty sure there is low oxygen in the cabin. Ok, maybe not – don’t want to panic anybody. (are you panicking??).

Anyway, so what do I do for a living? I fantasize about gardens, coffee shops, quaint little cottages in the meadows, mountain homes overlooking a foggy bluff (I think the word I’m looking for is “chalet”), meditative retreats, and more English breakfast tea than a woman should drink. I fantasize about a healthy, smart pup as a trusty companion, a cat who knows better than to sit on my keyboard (let’s be real – I wouldn’t mind.) and an agent who calls me every few days to be sure I’m doing okay and to ask for the pages I’ve been owing her, long overdue, because…aren’t they always?

I fantasize about a life where I can get rid of my smart phone and go back to my LG flip phone – do away with the e-mails at my fingertips, the incessant need for technological organization. I won’t need to worry about four schedules or syncing my iTunes or having enough storage for the latest update. I’ll have a few important phone numbers memorized, a heavy and comfortable rotary house phone (the phone is rotary, not the house), and an iPad and Apple TV for entertainment. I’ll lock myself away for the weekend and write and write and write, take walks, drink tea, feed the dog, sleep on the daybed, wake up with the sunrise, and not check my phone. not check my emails. not check my calendar.

So, here’s to the four books that are “in the works.”

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