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    My daily writing--emails, journal entries, marginalia, more emails, blog posts, and tweets--shapes me as a writer, helping and hindering the big stuff I'm trying to accomplish. Every word counts.

    My name is James Black. I'm on Facebook and Twitter. Friend and/or follow me if you like.

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Running Start at Wellspring House

The first few posts won’t be representative of my typical output because I’m starting this blog while away at a writing retreat. Some may think I’m cheating, but I’m going to spin that and say I’m really motivated.

I’m here with my friend Jane. We enjoy parallel play, i.e., sitting together to do our own writing, stopping occasionally to talk about craft, puzzling over confounding situations, and planning when/where we’ll get coffee next.

Unlike past summer writing outings when I’ve enjoyed being away and wanted to extend my stays, I’m missing home, my partner, my pups. Not that I won’t be able to produce some pages, and not that I don’t enjoy every second I can have with Jane. But it’s a good feeling to want to get back home, although I want to keep going with the writing.

Wellspring House is interesting. No air-conditioning. No cell phone service. But there’s wireless internet throughout the house. It’s nice that they understand writers’ tools have changed, even if our needs have changed little despite advances in technology. We need time and space to get away, quiet down, and sink into our work.

It’s funny how I most want to write when I’m otherwise occupied, then when I clear time for it, I hedge, worrying that I might waste time, which guarantees that I *will* waste time. My big concern has been that I’m going to have trouble focusing on the novel because I’m really feeling the urge to write essays. So as essay topics come to me, I jot them down, set them aside for now.

The novel is my project for the week. And I’m on it. Here’s an excerpt from the writing I did today:

On its own, the makeup didn’t particularly bother them. It was part of a larger pattern of behaviors and signs that disturbed them. They wanted to know what the safety pins in his ears meant. “Didn’t that hurt?! his sister asked, “or do you demons not feel pain?” Her sarcastic tone was not at all playful and spoke for their parents. The dark semi-circles of eye shadow beneath his eyes almost looked like something a football player would do to deflect glare, although the eyeliner took it a step beyond. No one managed to put into words how it made him look tough, even hardened, but feminine, but they got the message, which was so disturbing to them they were afraid to ask any other question than “What are you doing to yourself?” by which they meant, “Do you realize what are you doing to us?”

Today’s total: 1211 words

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the e-mail James! The writing retreat sounds great and I enjoyed the excerpt.

  2. […] and I work well together, or more accurately, not quite together. She does her thing, and I do […]

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