Many of you don't know this fact, and I'm not trying to be one of those weird fans, but if any writer has had a tremendous impact on my love of words, it has been Stephen King. I have read all of his obscure works (I think), and most of his novels from the 80's and 90's. I still read him on occasion, what with two kids and full-time job, I read more short stories now.
I believe Stephen King is a good human being because some of the public positions he takes on social issues like racism and sexism are amazing. Every now and then, he will do a brilliant interview giving advice to amateur writers, like me.
One such piece of advice is to set a regular writing goal. To me that would have to be a weekly goal, and this past week, I fulfilled three. I found a reader for "Wolf Trek" who has not read any of my work before; I contacted the editor and spoke to him face-to-face (and thanked him); and I have been thinking about the dialogue between the two brothers in the story.
Some ideas on the brothers:
What really differentiates the two? After much though, I decided to give the younger one random "big" words to say because he is incredibly smart, and in real life, I love it when my son learns, and appropriately uses, a word far beyond what most people think a six-year old should comprehend, like fascism.
In the story, the older boy I think will be more timid and unsure and, somehow in the dialogue, show more heart. He could be almost like a metaphor of what the world is losing in that setting. These are my thoughts, and I hope to translate that renewed goal setting into a regular writing schedule, which is another great bit of advice from the Master. (I know this; all writers know this, but I tend to think about things and then sit down and write or as I say, word vomit.)
I am also excited because Adam could possibly come over for dinner. He is vegetarian, and I love making vegetarian food because I used to be one. I have the menu rolling around in my head, but I won't spoil the surprise for him, in case he reads this post.
His visit will also encourage my husband and I to "clean" the house, and I hope he doesn't mind the chaos that is our lovely home. Having two small kids is like having regular tornadoes in the house that destroy at any moment; they leave you traumatized.
And that is all I have because I have to get ready for work. I am helping to organize a panel of speakers for November 1st, and I have to secure one of them a pre-paid parking ticket in downtown Chicago. This is new territory for me and could very well end up being a horror story.
Here is to writing goals and the Master of Horror! My hats off to Stephen King for living the dream. The real dream, not that fake one.
Oh, and Happy Halloween! Keep your children and yourself safe!
Pictured above, from The Walking Dead, Michonne's survivor dog.
Adam Gottlieb, Poet, Musician, Performer, and Now, Future Editor at Standing Rock Camp. Photo by Brett Jelinek
Well, I was right. The person I wanted to do the editing, is too busy because he works part-time and bounces around from job to job. That of course, is unconscionable all in itself, and I wish he could get a full-time job. He definitely merits one, a good paying one, like many people who struggle.
I have asked Adam Gottlieb if he can do the editing for me. Even though he is stretched thin, he is willing to help, great human being that he is. He is an activist AND poet AND musician: Notice the photo from Standing Rock where he was playing a gig. I really look forward to working with him and establishing a feasible timeline. (I said there wasn't a hard timeline, but I would love for it to get done before Christmas, so I can copyright it and upload it to a Kindle service.)
That is the great news that I have this morning.
Now, I'm off to get my kids dressed up (in Halloween costumes) to see Great Granma. I love her to pieces, but I hope she doesn't talk about voting for Trump, or I will fake sick or actually be sick.
Here is to exploring new professional relationships and getting just a little bit closer to your dreams.
This week was crazy busy, but I did manage to make progress on the anthology. I found a fresh pair of eyes to look at "Wolf Trek"; I can't wait for that input. Also, yesterday, I texted the editor. I think he is so busy, he can't work on this project, which makes me utterly sad! That is a terrible plot twist, when everything seemed so certain.
Just in case, I have someone else in mind who would probably do the work for free, even though I will pay her. I need the editor not only to catch those pernicious typos, but to be familiar with U.S. Latin American literature. Still, I don't want to give up on my first choice because he is great at his craft, and frankly, I trust his judgement.
On another awful, awful turn of events, the Cubs lost their third game last night 0-1. I was with my family at Dave and Busters, and the joy when they made a double-play was tangible! Everybody was cheering and so happy. Short of the World Cup, this was one of the best shared experiences I have had with other fans. I am definitely watching the next game somewhere fun for the whole family (not near Wrigley Field because the vultures are charging an unconscionable amount, those fuckers).
I am glad we had to drive home before the end of the game. It was rather late, and my kids were really tired. Still, the playoffs are not over, so I am hoping for a heroic victory from our beloved Cubs!
My son, Antonio, rooting for the Cubs.
Here's to those unexpected twists and turns that make everything so interesting, and sometimes sad.
I was reflecting this morning on my Chicana breakfast, and traditions. I'm having a huevo estrellado with turkey wraps from Costco and cafe con leche. That is our life now, a fusion of Mexican, Southwest, and American cooking and culture, and it is beautiful.
To enhance that beauty, my family and I are putting up a Dia de Muertos altar to honor our departed relatives. I want to frame it, as Cesareo Moreno, Chief Curator of the National Museum of Mexican Art taught me recently, a celebration of life, where I will tell stories to my children about Granpa Connor and Tio Toño. We will put our altar up with fruits and food our dead relatives enjoyed because even though they can't taste or eat the food or drink the booze, they will enjoy it all the same. In keeping with our customs, we will also pray some short Catholic prayers. After a couple of days, we will eat the foods (well, unless they are perishable; then, we eat them right away, while we celebrate the deceased).
We are also celebrating Halloween, but I suspect my kids just want the candy. It will be my daughter's first Halloween (there she is above trying to scare her big brother), and I want to decorate the gate Chicago style and get some fake pumpkins. I am not carving this year because I won't be able to with the baby, and they inevitable draw in rats and squirrels--that is too horrific.
I will post pictures, and hopefully by then, "Wolf Trek" completed! (It is coming along very nicely, and that is the last story in the anthology that has been giving me grief, er no pun intended.)
Here's to celebrating and validating all of our traditions that make America truly great.
Below is a draft of the book cover I was tinkering with yesterday. It's not too far off from what I want, and I am glad to be using my sister's art in it.
I want a simple cover because most Latino literature anthologies look like piñata word vomit. Too many colors and way too many words. I may change the main title for mine, but we will see.
On a completely joyful note, my son is now working on his own short story, "Dead Song". He works on it daily and already has his own cover idea. That is so awesome! I can't wait to *.pdf the final version and help him design the cover. He wants a zombie hand making the devil sign and other neat visuals.
He will most likely publish his piece before I do mine.
Here's to spreading that love of words and our culture!
I Tweeted this yesterday: "When you have small kids, trying to be productive is like having an illicit love affair. All the sneaking around and hiding is tiring."
Yesterday night, we were coming home from my exercise class, and I was telling my family about the short story, "Wolf Trek" and my struggles with it.
I was re-reading "Wolf Trek" last night and reviewing the ending. I made a bunch of changes, who knows when, but alas, the ending is too much of a cliff hanger.
I wrote a chapter in this book Illusions of War back in 2008.
I contacted the editor. He is a personal friend of mine who is really outstanding at giving feedback. Plus, I think he's an awesome human being and will be objective without being an asshole.
Dr. Jesú Estrada,