Free-For-All Friday

(What is this? My very own meme, which could take the form of other Friday memes out there — random five or ‘fessing up — or non-Friday memes, or anything! Point being to have a little fun and get a little interactive. Feel free to snitch my logo at left and do your Friday thing!)


Today for my meme I get to respond to another meme. This one is a commenter’s meme. I ask you, who thinks these up? People have good imaginations out there. I was tagged by Charlotte over at Charlotte’s Web.

(Addendum: Forgot to post this and now it’s outdated! I’m too lazy to update for Pete over at Couch Trip who left a nice comment today. Also, Caroline left a comment but doesn’t have a blog (yet?) –“hi” to you!)

The rules:

1. List the last 10 people to comment on your blog.

2. If you’re on the list, you’re tagged.

My last 10 commenters:

1. Terry at Mr. Wandering Writer

2. Sandi Kahn Shelton

3. mari at cha no ma-ri

4. Charlotte at Charlotte’s Web  (What’s the rule on this? She tagged me!)

5. oh at Oh! Books…Paper…Real Life…

6. Becca at Bookstack

7. DeAnna at Writely So

8. tracer at Twilight Spy

9. Lane at Lane Scheideman’s Photography

10. The Girl In The Cafe

Here are the questions:

1. What’s your favourite post from number 5’s blog?

oh’s a great photographer. I always like her Six-Word Saturdays with an image and a caption. This one was especially nice.

2. Has number 2 taken any pictures that moved you?

I remember one photograph that had me drooling. This was Sandi’s idyllic summer writing spot. Also, check out the cover of her latest novel, Kissing Games of the World. Talk about moving.

3. Does number 8 reply to comments on her blog?

I can’t say that tracer replies. However, I know this blogger in the flesh (not just virtually) and I know it’s not personal!

4. Which part of blogland is number 4 from?

Charlotte is from the part of blogland that speaks to any of us. She’s a writer, sure, but I don’t consider her blog just about writing. Also, because she’s a South African living in Germany, she adds a nice international flavor to my blog experience.

5. If you could give one piece of advice to number 5, what would it be?

Personally, I would love it if Lane added some text around his photos. (Everyone: another wonderful photographer.) Some of the technical or inspirational context. What was going on with him during the shoot…You know, just commentary.

6. Have you ever tried something from number 1’s blog?

Terry drops in every once in awhile, which is great. I can’t say that I’ve tried anything from his blog, but then, he doesn’t have that kind of blog. He shares his short fiction, which is far more brave than I have been so far.

7. Has number 3 blogged something that inspired you?

mari bakes the most delicious-looking cookies, and her photos look too good. Her series of VOTE cookies before the election put a smile on my face and kept me hopeful.

8. How often do you comment on number 6’s blog?

Not often enough! But only because I haven’t read most of the books that Becca has so have nothing to add to her reviews. (Get lots of reading ideas from her!)

9. Do you wait for number 10 to post excitedly?

Personally, I like it when The Girl In The Cafe posts madly or sadly. Just kidding — that’s an oddly worded question. Currenly, TGITC is working on a film so I look forward to her updates. I also like her commentary on film in general.

10. How did number 7’s blog change your life?

DeAnna Cameron’s blog? I gotta tell you, when I land a book-publishing contract, I’ll be reading every one of her posts again because her novelist interviews include TONS of tips about publicity and marketing. They’re very insightful.

One Year Later

fruitNovelist DeAnna Cameron was kind enough to remind me that I’ve hit my year anniversary as a blogger. Yow! How did that happen? And here I thought I’d peter out, or, if not that, get bored with yammering into a void.

To be honest, I started this blog to ease my introverted tooshy into the public sphere. I’m notoriously private — maybe even secretive by nature — which makes writing a challenge in many ways. This blog was my start because, you see, my manuscript was juicy-delicious indeed. Of course an editor would bite — of course.

My agent had just started shopping my novel around New York. This blog was my first foray into the world of self-promotion. Me, practising how to talk about myself. I figured by the time the novel was published, I’d also know how to tap into this great virtual sphere o’ influence.

I had it all figured out. I’d be the star of The Lisa Show, ready to comfortably tout my debut novel. I was in a positive frame of mind. Events were flowing my way. Excitement.

Now, fast forward one year to right this second. How am I feeling? Honestly? You really want to know? Let’s call it “dejuiced.”

My consolation is that blogging has turned out to be its own reward, never mind the business considerations. Who knew blogging would be fun? Who knew I’d “meet” cool folks and care about their journeys?

Strange, maybe even paradoxical, as this sounds, writing into the void lessens my sense of isolation. Virtual-schmirtual, I’ve found a worthwhile community to accompany me on my journey. The void isn’t a void anymore.

I’m Getting Scared About the Election

9:00 a.m. here, Friday, Halloween…I should be revising the novel, but I can’t concentrate yet. I’m about to start crying over this darned election. I can’t take the suspense of not knowing the outcome anymore! I want it to be done!


As much as I want to hope, pessimism leaches into my thoughts. Pessimism because the Republicans are better at shenanigans than the Dems. What’s going to happen in Florida this time around, eh? And the poor, why is it the poor always seem to vote for the party that doesn’t give a crap about them? Why is there so much ignorance?

Actually, “getting scared” isn’t quite right. I’ve been worried for awhile, but it’s hitting me now. But of course there’s hope, there is. The popular groundswell is amazing, isn’t it? And if my diehard Republican brother-in-law is voting for Obama, doesn’t that mean millions more like him might be doing the same?

But what about the millions of closet racists? We know they’re out there. We know they’re nice people who would NEVER say a word about race but that will never vote for a black man either.

Why can’t people think LOGICALLY for God’s sake? Uhm, when was the last time we enjoyed a surplus, great economy, and global respect…uhm, wouldn’t that be under the Democrats?

LOGIC LOGIC LOGIC…Now I’m just getting mad. So I’m going to send you off to three websites.

1. I’ve been receiving position papers from novelist Elizabeth George. She’s a smart cookie, and she’s done her research, believe me. AND, I admire that she decided to publish these papers on her official author’s website.

Please, if you’re still undecided, check her papers out. Read the last paper for an overview (hopefully it’s posted now). She includes some very interesting statistics.

2. My friend Wendy is political, smart, and funny, and I like this post — which, in fact, got me thinking about the logic-factor. Her post about game-show Palin is spot on also.

3. Then this blog, which brought a welcome smile to my face. Two 80-year-olds saying exactly what it is they believe. I want to be that feisty when I’m 80!! As these two say: If you’re still undecided, you haven’t been paying attention.

On a personal level, I fear what might become of me should things not change. I’ve already had two freelance jobs postpone themselves into the indefinite future because of the economy…I wish I had some comfort food in the house…Why the heck didn’t I buy Halloween candy this year?!?!?!?

Quick Question For You

This is not deep, not even about writing, but can someone tell me what the deal is with the comment I received on yesterday’s post?

For one thing, it states that “Porteus” wrote the post…For another, what’s with the ads? Or, is that what it is, a nifty strategy to get me, the writer, and maybe you, the reader, to click over to a page of ads? Is WordPress in cahoots with Ads by Google?

Is it called “best webBlogs reView” to get me to think I’ve won some kind of prize and thereby click over? Who are those people on the blogroll, and what do they have to do with it?

I’ve gotten a few of these, usually I spam or delete them, thought I’d ask this time around. Have you received these? They’re highly annoying.

Returning to Blogland, Hopefully

I’ve been on a summer vacation of sorts. I wrote a cranky post at the beginning of August and then mostly quit blogging. This week I’d planned to return to all my routines. Summer vacation is officially over after weekends aways, weddings, parties, family visits, and all that fun stuff. I managed some fiction work; I readied my iPod for that new workout plan I’ve yet to start; I started perusing my New Yorker pile for articles that I must save for vague writerly reasons.

And, I did think about returning to Blogland. Everyday, I thought about my blog, my blogroll friends. I thought about my first “returned” post…ho-hum…and never wrote it.

Then, this morning, I forced myself to read a few of my favorite bloggers. A simple step back into the fray. I chose Bloglily first, and her post was perfect. In her usual eloquent fashion, she captured my blog-ennui perfectly. She calls it “blogertia.” I had to laugh when I read her post, and that was enough to almost snap me out of my blogertia. (I’m here, writing this, after all.)

I decided to write this pointless post in response to her post, simply to force myself out of my blogertia. I didn’t think I’d have anything to write, but, check this out: four paragraphs so far! By now, I should know better: Once I start writing, no matter how aimlessly, the words always come.

I’m glad to be back. Feels good. Maybe I’ll get around to a real post by Monday or Tuesday (or Wednesday or Thursday?) next week.

On Taking Breaks From Blogging

My first post in a week. What’s up with that? Have I run out of things to say? Am I bored with myself? Am I stressed and busier than usual?

No, nah, and nope.

I simply needed a break. We’ll see how long the break lasts; for all I know, I’ll kick back into gear this week…However, I’m predicting that I won’t. Mostly because these two adorable boys, my nephews, Trevor and Andrew (Christmas 2007), arrive today for their annual summer visit. I can count on getting nothing done while they’re here, which is as it should be.

Meanwhile, I wonder if anyone out there can relate to this: This blogging thing, it’s meant to be fun, right? For now, for me, it’s a hobby. But, since I’m me, and I apparently like flogging myself, I crack that whip if I don’t blog two-three times a week, if I don’t vary my posts between fluff and more serious stuff, if I don’t visit other blogs to keep up with what’s going on, if I don’t…etcetera etcetera etcetera.

In other words, I’ve allowed blogging to become another responsibility, another task on the to-do list, another endeavor that could lead to failure (whatever that means) if I don’t do it just right — and God forbid my stats plummet! Oh no! Am I losing readership? Are my fellow bloggers bored with me? Do people still like me? Will I get fired?

Ugh. Puh-leeze. Even I have to remind myself that the blogosphere isn’t reality. It’s barely reality-based. It’s all about the personas we choose to show others…I wouldn’t say anyone who only knows me through my blog actually knows me, just as I don’t actually know any of my blogger pals. (This could be a whole ‘nother post and chat…)

Enough of that. Extending the break another week is obviously a good idea. I have reality to see to, which this afternoon includes dog-washing because the boys are eager to meet Luna and best paw forward, right?

I have a writer-friend who always, every day, gives herself permission to quit writing. Somehow, it liberates her to continue writing. So, I hereby allow myself not to blog.

(That said, check back next week, ‘kay?)

Back on Monday…

Took a wee break from everything this week, including blogging. I proudly announce that the only tasks I managed to complete were list-making and paper-chaos organizing.

Thoughts are piling up behind my laziness, however, so I’ll be back on Monday with a post. Meanwhile, off to a street fair with a friend and the dog. Putzing aimlessly in the sun? Priceless.

Being my Own Best Cheerleader is Tiring Business

Rooting for myself gets tiring after awhile, you know what I mean? Thinking positive, buoying myself up, disciplining my thoughts (or trying). I read others’ blogs and am happy for their new publishing contracts, only to have that feeling become tinged with a little…envy? melancholy? self-pity? Something annoying, let’s put it that way.

I don’t know what I’m going to do if my agent comes back to me all tapped out of editors. She’s been shopping my manuscript around for awhile and has received many positive rejections (so oxymoronic, but there you go)…What will I do?

I know what I’ll do: I’ll grieve, hope that my agent will want to represent my next novel, and return to the tiring task of being my own best cheerleader once again.

It’s frustrating to have finally figured out what I’m supposed to be doing in this life of mine, yet unable to wholeheartedly DO IT. Sometimes it feels arbitrary, who lands contracts, who doesn’t. Sometimes I feel like there’s something more I should be doing, only I can’t quite figure out what, except to keep setting down sentences, one after another.

That said, I wrote six pages today, a good writing day, and a gang of us are going to see a friend’s play tonight. I’m sure I’ll drink a glass (or two?) of red wine afterwards.

Anyone got any bright ideas on what else I can do to help my cause (besides going into therapy)?

Friday ‘Fess Up + Four = Friday Five

I’m combining two Friday memes that seem to be going around (but not like a virus). First, the literate kitten’s invitation to ‘fess up to our crimes and misdemeanors against our writing efforts and then a “friday five,” in which we list five random things about our week, about anything. I like both ideas, so I’m combining them…

1.  ‘Fessing up: Ideally, my writing work-week begins on Monday. This week Monday was once again my Sunday. I don’t know why, but Monday often turns out to be the one day of the week that’s truly mine and truly free (except for the fact that I’m supposed to be writing, of course).

Also, I’ve finally discovered the fun of participating in the blogosphere with a blogroll, comments, and so on. YIKES! Blogging: procrastination, time sink, distraction! The fact that I know what the word “meme” means frightens me. I must take care — this week got a little out of hand.

Two new scenes written; one of them felt particularly good.

2. Self-promotion has been on my mind lately. I recommend the how-did-you-find-your-audience? series of author interviews on debuting novelist (2009) DeAnna Cameron’s blog. Worthwhile reading.

3. A strange thing happened at my mom’s house. I happened to pop in while an arborist was trimming the trees. This arborist was a delicate women who spoke with a breathy Jackie-O voice and wore her cumbersome tool belt gracefully. I swear that her gaze quickened when my mom mentioned my writing. “Oh, you’re a writer?” she said. I could see it in her eye — suddenly I was interesting. Seems she writes also (go figure). She asked me for advice about how to transition from short story to novel. I bumbled my way through an answer, which was based on my personal experience, and she actually thanked me as if what I had said came out of an “expert” place, like I knew what I was talking about or something. Frankly, I felt weird. To some folks, I might be considered an expert?

2. Started reading The Gathering by Anne Enright. OOh, baby, I can already tell this novel is going to be one of the stand-outs on my 2008 reading list. Starts out, I would like to write down what happened in my grandmother’s house the summer I was eight or nine, but I am not sure if it really did happen, and continues on fascinating me with its stark yet lush voice. Technique-wise, the way she circles around the unknown event is masterful in its non-linearity.

5. Photo of the week as shown above: One of the many reasons why I love Italy (Siena). It’s probably too much to ask that he’s got a novel tucked away in his backpack, isn’t it?

Wanna Play Tag? Passing Along a Meme

Goofball Friday. I’m initiating a game of tag. I got wind of it from writer Joelle Anthony’s blog. The players I saw on Anthony’s thread seemed pretty peppy, which might help with this kind of game. I’m not so peppy, but no matter. An experiment!

Here’s how it goes:

1. These rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 3-5 people and posts their names (links to blogs/sites), then goes to their blogs and leaves them each a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer; also, let readers know who tagged you.

What were you doing ten years ago?

9-to-5ing it as a technical writer at a high-tech company. Living in sin with my long-haired potter boyfriend and his 12-year-old son in a ramshackle 1960’s ranch house. Transitioning from writing only short stories to novels. Bursting into tears because of a mean-spirited and useless critique by a local Famous Novelist during his workshop (first stab at first novel) and then not writing for months afterwards.

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

1. Try out a new workout class.
2. Talk a friend into seeing the new Indiana Jones movie with me this weekend.
3. Return a summer top that I bought last week — a what-was-I-thinking? purchase.
4. Make sense of my index cards: arrange scene ideas in a semblance of a plot outline for the rest of the novel.
5. Drop off unneeded work clothes at a favorite neighborhood clothing boutique (for donation to Dress for Success) in exchange for a 20%-off coupon.

What are some snacks you enjoy?

A nice cheese with a nice bread (and wine)
Sandwiches (which is to say lunch late in the afternoon)
Cookies dipped in milk
Granola cereal

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

Continue writing fiction
Travel everywhere
Buy my dream house and a dog (maybe a pug) to go with it
Take my family on luxury vacation to Hawaii
Because I’m only semi-domesticated, semi-organized: Hire all kinds of help for all kinds of chores

What are three of your bad habits?

Late-night munchies
Reading until WAY too late
What are five places where you have lived?

Sao Paulo, Brazil
Quito, Ecuador
New York, New York
Mill Valley then Berkeley, California
Portland, Oregon

What are five jobs you have had?

Waitress in my father’s yummilicious restaurant
Financial analyst in multinational corporations (Ecuador, Brazil)
Book publishing editorial schlub (NYC)
Technical writer

What 3-5 people do you want to tag? (anybody else who wants to play)

Two who might participate, one who doesn’t know me but I like her blog, and one outlandish possibility (mostly because male, but he’s kinda funny so I’m curious what he’d write):

Elizabeth Engstrom
Susan Wiggs
Patry Francis
Bob Mayer