I have MamaMickTerry to
blame thank for this leg of the Blog Tour landing temporarily in little ole’ Pigspittle, Ohio. As you’ll find in my “About this blog” page, Pigspittle is a small town in the middle of Ohio. We don’t have a Target but we do have WalMart. Your shopping choices are rather limited. There is a restaurant called Jake’s…it advertises itself as “a place for steak,” not a great place, mind you. But now that you’ve landed here, I’ll try to be a good host and share my writing process, which is what this blog tour is about.
Before I do, however, let me say a few words about the tour guide who invited me to join this trip. I first discovered MamaMick’s (aka Michelle) lively blog through the good folks who run the Yeah Write Moonshine grid (what the heck is that? click here). Her essay about flyover country, replete with funny asides and pictures, drew me in and I’ve been a fan ever since. I love Michelle’s breezy writing, and her eye for tender moments that reminds me why we’re here.
She is all about family and baseball and gardening and friends. I think we’ve known each other for three months (via the Internet) and I feel like we’ve been friends for years. If you’re looking for a blog that celebrates the simple things in life, and features a variety of voices (and music!) — because Michelle is the kind of person who welcomes friends to guest-blog on her site — please check out her main blog, as well as her other blogs, Ps and Qs (photography and fave poems) and Hidden Hummingbird Diaries, if you can find it (a site for exploring writing that she shares with two friends).
Thank you, Michelle, for your generous bloggy friendship.
So, what’s it all about, Alfie?
I’m supposed to answer four questions about writing and introduce you, dear reader, to other bloggers whose work I enjoy. Are you ready? OK.
- What am I working on? Writing. Just writing. I’ve been participating as often as I can in Yeah Write’s writing challenges, particularly the flash fiction (Speakeasy) and micro-fiction (Gargleblaster) weekly challenges. This summer, the editors offered a series of workshops, which I dove into. I love the writing, the prompts, the community, the editors. I also started seeking out other challenges, being obsessed, and discovered Thain in Vain‘s 2014 Flash Fiction Challenge, in which bloggers are given a prompt and invited to submit a weekly fiction piece under 500 words. I haven’t been as consistent as I would like, but I’m trying. (More about the wonderful Thain below.)
- How does my work differ from others in my genre? I don’t know if I even have a genre! Literary fiction sounds a bit too pretentious and I don’t think I’m worthy of it anyway. Some of my writing is magic-realism but most of it is just straight-up fiction and I honestly can’t say how it differs from other authors. Maybe I’m still too close to it all to define or differentiate it.
- Why do I write/create what I do? Because life is short. Up until I worked as a managing editor for literary magazine, I wrote regularly (and badly). Working for the litmag was great but destroyed my writing self-esteem. I am just now recovering from that experience and slowly building up my confidence. On days when I don’t write, I feel disconnected. I have this sense of urgency now. It isn’t about wanting to be published. It’s about some deeper need to create and become a better writer.
- How does my writing/creative process work? I don’t have to write in a particular place at a certain time. I’ve tried not to become too attached to specific rituals because they become excuses not to write when the stars aren’t aligned just right. I enjoy working with prompts to get me started. I also like to go hiking and imagine different characters or certain phrases that will jolt me with new energy. Gardening, especially the methodical, meditative weeding process, is also good for thinking about where a story should go next. I am a slow writer. I write and re-write and re-write and edit and re-write. It can take me an hour to finish a paragraph, or sometimes a half-hour to finish two pages. I never know. I don’t use outlines and I hardly ever know how a story is going to end until I get there. So, yeah, my process is as undisciplined and reckless as I am.
And now I’m pleased to introduce two bloggers whose work I enjoy reading. They are now officially included in this meandering blog tour and I’m excited to learn about their writing process. I hope you’ll check out these blogs.
Michael at Hypothetically Writing. Every time Yeah Write opens up the Speakeasy grid for flash fiction work, I look for one of Michael’s brilliantly funny, scifi serial segments. “Hadley’s Story” is the serial I’ve read the most. The quirky cast of characters includes detective/protagonist Hadley Baxendale, dangerous Bunnies, a woman named Rain who is the incarnation of death, and so many more. Somehow–I don’t know how–Michael writes these stories, using the same prompts we are all assigned through the Speakeasy, and manages to keep the serial continuity going. As I commented once, it’s like reading the transcript from an old timey radio program but better. Better because, well, it’s so damn funny.
Thain at Thain in Vain. In my desperate, voracious search for more writing challenge sites, I found myself at Thain in Vain. Thain invites writers to join her in a 52-week challenge based on (sometimes wacky) prompts and then links up the submissions on her site. It’s a generous and thankless job, especially when folks forget to include their links, links don’t work, sites don’t exist, yada, yada, yada. On top of managing this writing challenge, Thain also participates — from the hilarious, dialogue-only take on the prompt “do you notice anything different about me?” to a courtroom trial among woodland creatures. Her writing is inventive, surprising, and a joy to read.
That’s all from Pigspittle! Enjoy the tour as it picks up with Michael and Thain. Thanks for reading.
What a great read! I love these insightful posts into why people blog 🙂
Thanks so much, Shailaja! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
You are so good to me. Thank you for the kind call-out…I’m truly honored and blessed to call you a friend (we’ve only known each other three months?!?!)
I absolutely LOVED reading and learning more about you. I’m also eager to hop over to Michael and Thain’s sites. I’ve read and enjoyed Thain for a couple of months now and definitely need to check out Michael.
I was fascinated by several parts of your tour:
1) I want to eat at Jake’s. Mmmm….steak!
2) You are too humble about your own work. I know! I know! You are not a person to brag, but you could be! You have stories inside you just waiting to burst forth. I agree that you don’t have a categorized genre. Each piece I’ve read of yours is completely unique and beautiful without a need to be tethered to a compartmentalized label.
3) I’m intrigued that working at a lit magazine wrecked your writing self-esteem. Am dying to hear more about that. Hint! Hint!
4) I was shocked to read that you are a “slow” writer. You seem absolutely prolific and I often wonder how you have time to do all that you do and still push out the literature.
This is just the tip of the iceberg isn’t it, dear Meg. There’s way more to you than you let on and I have so much fun looking for the remnants and pieces and clues in your fiction. Let your light shine, pretty girl….you’ve been my lighthouse more than once.
I know, right? It’s only been since May. I just remembered the first bit of fiction I read of yours — the one in the garden. That might have been the first thing I read. Thanks so much for inviting me to do this. I appreciate your encouraging words. The litmag thing…well, that’s a long story. Suffice to say that academia can make a non-academic think that what she has to offer requires a few years of at least graduate school before putting down on paper. Overall, it was a great experience and taught me a lot about the business. More to come, my friend. xoxoxo
How unfortunate that the litmag destroyed your confidence as a writer and made you feel unworthy. I wish you could see yourself through my eyes… daring, confident, well-spoken- I love your writing however one defines it.
I think I was commenting on your blog while you were commenting on mine! You are too sweet, Susie. I am really trying to overcome my self-esteem demons. It is easy to blame others but the truth is, I’m the only one who can control it. You know? I’m so glad you’re writing — makes the journey so much more pleasant when you know someone else out there! I love that we’ve reconnected in our middle age years and that we share so many beliefs, many rooted in our childhoods. Thanks for your encouragement and kindness, my friend. xoxo
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