Archive for June, 2013

Ongoing Saga of the Lost Writing Career

by on Monday, June 24th, 2013

Happy Birthday Karissa Knight! You are one year old today!

It has been difficult to keep up. Though I’ve heard nothing from the other two agents I’ve submitted my work to, I’ve been so  busy with teaching this month that I’ve had very little time to sit and write. I’ve taken 6 new students while a few are still fazing out, quitting lessons, so my workload has been enormous. Not to mention the fact that no one is on vacation yet.  I did complete my latest draft of Elements, and I feel it is the very best yet. Still, I haven’t been able to find anyone to read it. I think my friend, another aspiring writer and I will begin partnering up. Meaning, I’ll read her’s and she’ll read mine, beginning later this summer, if she has time. She still has one child at home, in high school…she’s standing at the doorway to freedom.

So I’ve begun working on Elements of Submission. With the limited amount of time I have in the mornings now, I’ve found it difficult to sit down for any length of time and be creative. Hense the lack of entries in this journal as well. The book will start out with a bang though, that’s something I’ve figured out from my first year of writing. The other thing I’ve figured out is, of the 40 pages I wrote of Submission last winter, 80% was crap. I believe I’ve come a long way in improving my technique and style, for the better, hopefully. Proceeding slowly. Cautiously.

The next step will be submitting to 4 more agents. Finding the time for researching who and contacting them will be another issue…for July. It’s been a year. Book two is coming.

Bujinkan, June

by on Monday, June 24th, 2013

Crazy crazy month, I haven’t been able to keep up with my training posts. So, the month in review went like this:

I attended a teaching exchange, and all day event and trained with 4 different instructors, their views and methods were really valuable. The first offered the idea that in today’s world, we don’t need this big kamea, take a smaller stance…awesome for me, but my teachers later said don’t’ do it. Erik said the big kamea is there for a reason, to help you find center and balance.  He stressed the point that we need to practice it that way so that when something comes up in the real world, your muscles remember how to balance. He made a good point, I’ll keep doing it this way.

The second instructor I don’t remember anymore, there were grappling moves, but it was hard to work, the room was very crowded. The third had us practice attacks from our knees. One of the instructors attending was in the war and his legs were amputated at the knee, I missed his instruction because he came later in the day, but it was still amazing to see him do Budo. I appreciated training with Kevin because he didn’t treat me like a girl, he pinned me to the floor like he meant it.

The third trainer worked on sword technique. I was able to borrow one and it was so cool. The trainer explained things quickly and moved through the exercises pretty fast, there wasn’t much time to absorb the techniques. On my way home, I called Mike and told him I wanted a bokken. Guess what I got for Mother’s day? A Cold Steel bokken! I’m sure I’m the only Mom in the state of WI that got a sword for mom’s day! It made me happy! So I’ve begun to get into the sword training part of Budo. I’ve been practicing handling the sword along with everything else.

My Sanshin has improved tremendously with practice, and this weekend, I even knew the 8 kihon. I trained with Erik and he was pointing out minor details in my form, like the direction of my toes, or the shape of the fist. I felt like it was much easier for a change. Things are clicking.

So, I’m sorry about the short list of my training progress, It’s been a very busy month. I’ll be updating more soon though, I’ve been attending class twice a week now that it’s summer, and there’s a big training weekend coming up after the 4th of July. Back again soon!

Pride and Prejudice

by on Monday, June 24th, 2013

Yes, I’ve finally realized, it’s true. I am as bad as they are. So, I had a conversation with my mom today that went sort of like this: “So, you’re going to be a novelist?”

“Yea, I guess so.”

“It runs in the genes, you know.”

“You mean Nana?”

“Nana and Judy.”

“That doesn’t really count.”

“Of course it does. They’ve been published.”

“Well, self published.”

“That counts. Self publishing counts. Nana is on Kindle now with her memoir.”

“Really.” My opinion is biased after the conference this weekend. Though I know for some it’s the only way to go, only a few will get picked up by a Publishing company. My grandmother has paid more to get her books printed than she will ever make on them.

“She has a publishing house, it’s a small Indiana company, but it still counts.”

“Hmm.” I guess so. My opinion is jaded and critical…just like theirs would be of me. Here it is, full circle. Nana has 5 maybe 6 or 7 books published,  she keeps stacks of them in her garage for the unlikely book signing event that she attends because the poor person in charge can’t bring them self to say no to her. Well, my grandmother won’t take no for an answer. If she wants to bring her books to a venue and sell them, I wouldn’t be able to say no to her either. So I find it hard to categorize her as a writer because I know she hasn’t and won’t make a dime on it. Does she care? No, for her I know it was the process. Just like it is for me. I gives me something (which only I feel is important) to do with my time.

So what have I done. Have I internalized their criticism so much that I’m turning it around on them? The fact is that I’ve internalized the entire dialogue! I can’t even tell them about my book because I fear the shit storm. I’m so afraid of the reaction on the subject matter alone that I can’t tell any of them about it. But not even my mom could keep a secret, if I told her about it, would she be able to keep her mouth shut? No. Then it would be out there. Tracey has written what? A novel about what? Why would she do that? I know the expression of revulsion that would appear on their faces too. I can see it.

All right, then we get into the heart of the matter, which is that I honestly can’t even tell my best friend what the book is about. Am I so ashamed? Do I fear the reaction that much?  Do I fear her disapproval? Yes, yes and yes.

What am I doing then. My pride is so huge that I’m afraid of the backlash. Yet, today I ‘m supposedly sending it to another agent…one who has already professed his doubts. Fear. Pride. And now I am overcome and  have lost momentum. It is self defeating, this dialogue with myself, it is discouraging and damaging. I am stuck.

I have to go on though. I have my doubts whether any agent will pick it up, and yet I fear what will happen if they do. Because then I might have to tell my mom about it. Am I so self sabotaging that I’m going to give up in the hour before the big win?  I’d like to think not.  I’m afraid. But I have to keep going forward with this. I have started something which has created momentum. Momentum which I cannot stop. So, now what?