Plinky #2: If I Had Unlimited Resources, I Would…

This is easy.

As a child, I always wanted to be able to shoot spiderweb out of my wrists and fly through the air, latching onto sides of buildings. Since I have twice been bit by spiders, I don’t think the chance of me developing this ability in any kind of natural way is going to happen.

So, I would create some sort of gadget that would allow me to do just that. Shoot web. Attach to buildings. Fly through the air.

That would be awesome.

The Valkyries & Who is God?

I’ve been in somewhat of a cloud for the past 24 hours because of Paulo Coelho’s “The Valkyries.” In essence, it’s about the journey to find one’s guardian angel. I think it has rooted itself in my brain because of my dreams. For weeks, I had the same dream. I asked my father last weekend to identify the lake and the dock in my dream. He knew it easily. He remembered the moment I did easily, too.

I think I have to go there.

I was thinking about this last week, and I asked my friend if he would go with me. But I wasn’t entirely sure if I would do it or if it was that important. I didn’t explain it to him. I don’t know why. I guess it seems strange, and I like to test out the waters with people before launching into huge spiritual discussions.

I like the idea Coelho presents of “breaking the pact” in order to see one’s angel. I think maybe that’s why she started to appear in my dreams. In a lot of ways, I have freed myself from not attempting to fulfill my destiny. He describes how easy it is to speak with angels when you are a child, but how that disappears as you get older. That is, until you can break the pact of un-fulfilling prophesy. I like that idea a lot.

As I slept last night, I did not have the same dream. It’s actually been awhile, but I think it’s because I don’t need the dream anymore. I know the place, and I know the why.

So, I saw my friend again tonight. I did not ask him again if he would go with me. I thought perhaps that it wasn’t right to ask someone to go with you. Coelho does on his journey, but it is his wife. She understands why he’s going and what he needs to do. There’s no way, at this point, that my friend would know those things.

So, tonight, I asked him something else: “Do you believe in God? And how?”

I knew the answer to the first question. I could feel that answer when I met him. It was the “how” that I was interested in. The how would determine if I would explain this again and if I would ask him when I decide to make the drive up north.

I’m always a little nervous when I ask this question. I suppose, though, I shouldn’t be because I always ask it when I have seen a certain amount of a person’s soul. So, I must know somewhere deep inside me what their answer will be. I think I ask because I really love the interpretations of God that I hear.

I believe in a Creator. A Creator who split his soul up into the Earth and all of us. And it’s our job to figure out how to make them one.

I like that a lot. I can’t help but smile thinking about not only the answer but the fact that it was shared.

I didn’t explain the dream after that because I think it was a statement that needed its own space. Not to be muddled up by my thoughts–at this moment. So, I said simply, “that’s probably why I like you so much.”

I think, though, that I will explain the dream. If it seems right, I think I will ask again.

writing on writing: entry four

The re-writing process has begun.

I had to force myself not to look at my draft for an entire week. I suppose the first lesson I have learned is not to print the draft the day it’s done if I don’t intend upon letting myself read it just yet. But I kind of liked proving to myself that I have self-control every time I walked by the dining room table where the package from Office Depot was sitting.

I took a walk and sat in the lobby of a building with all eighty million Los Lobos songs I have. I worked for two hours straight on it and made it through about 30 pages.

The things that I have discovered thus far:

  • I like my writing voice. I had a professor freshman year in college who told me that I was a fundamentally sound writer, but that once I found my writer’s voice, I would go places. I don’t know if I’m quite there, but I definitely was pleased with that aspect of the draft. That was actually one of my big fears. I thought there was a slight possibility that I would hate the way it “sounded.” And I don’t. Not at all.
  • The huge discrepancy that I feared was going to exist in the beginning of Chapter Three is only a minor mistake in two paragraphs that should not be very difficult to fix at all.
  • Details, details, details. This one goes two ways. One: I was a little sloppy with things like hometowns and people’s siblings. I don’t know how big of a headache that is going to be to fix, but I’m going over it with a fine-toothed comb to try to catch everything and hoping my second draft readers will find the rest. Two: I am happy with the way I created the little details in my characters. There is definite continuity in their behavior, speech, and habits. That was another huge fear of mine. I thought that I would have left details like that out, but they are definitely there in the beginning of the story.

The strategy I took, as suggested by a few writers, was to never go back and read what was written the day or the week or the month before. I feared that it was going to create a very disjointed manuscript. I didn’t think there was any way that it was going to flow, especially since I wrote the first 150 pages three pages at a time over the course of two months. I guess that’s where the voice comes in. It definitely all sounds the same. So that was a relief.

The process I’m taking is involving the draft, multi-colored post-its, and a composition notebook. I’m correct grammar and typos right on the draft and writing questions to myself there as well. The post-its are marking two things right now: issues of continuity in details and additional descriptions are scenes that I would like to add. The composition notebook is a re-write of the timeline of the story. My original was in an Excel spreadsheet, and the notebook is just to give me a third way of making sure it’s all seamless.

So, day one of the editing process is done. My goal is to make it through all of the comments and suggestions by Friday. We’ll see how that goes, but that’s the current plan. I’m giving myself some flexibility at this point because my original goal was to have the first draft done by July 13 (three months after my birthday). Since I finished well before that, I figured I can be a little more flexible with draft two.

Plinky: Because, why not?

Like I needed artificial writing prompts.

But I was very interested to see that WordPress teamed up with Plinky a couple of days ago. So, of course, I registered. I don’t know that I will use it everyday because I think of enough to ramble on about without the help of writing prompts.

You can find Plinky here and follow me if you want. Or you can read my answers here. I guess they come up with a little Plinky icon on the bottom.

My Favorite Summer Memory

My favorite summer memory is of the entire summer of 1997. I was 15 that summer, and my brothers were 13, 9 and 5. We had just survived an incredible experience together, and that was one of the first summers that went back to "normal", or as normal as it could be.

It was the summer that I fell head over heels in love with baseball. Everything about it. Watching it. Playing it. Thinking about it. Keeping score. Minor leagues.


We had all the time in the world, and it made us best friends. I think the best part, though, were the scars and the injuries because when I look back at them, they're funny. It was funny that I wanted so badly to keep up with my younger brothers.

It's funny that I still try so hard to do that.

Because there are 10 years between me and my youngest brother, that was probably the only summer where we were all old and young enough to have an experience like that.

The best part, though, is now that we're all technically adults, it's easy for us to be friends just like that again.

And, when I think about it, that's probably a huge reason why summer is my favorite time of the year.

currently reading: the choices

I think I’m going to approach this in two ways. First, I think I want to explain why I choose the books I do. I think that’s important. And second, I think I’ll write about what I thought after I read the individual books. I don’t think I’ll backtrack to other books right now because I haven’t really been updating the side of this blog with everything I’ve been reading.

I made a trip to the library a couple of days ago and came up with the new “Currently Reading” and a few other books waiting to be read, and a friend handed me another book the other day.

First, “Run to the Mountain” by Thomas Merton. I’ve been listening to Joseph Campbell’s interview with Bill Moyers on “The Power of Myth.” The series speaks of the journey of the soul, which is exactly what Merton writes about from a Catholic perspective, which, of course, is very easy for me to understand. I have been wanting to read Merton’s journals for some time, but the six-part series is a little daunting. I have found thus far, though, that it is an easy read and a nice description of the spiritual journey of a person. And because of my current “going-with-the-“signs” philosophy, I was drawn to begin the series now because of the title of the first volume. A friend told me a story a few weeks ago: “Why did you climb the mountain?” and he referred to “meeting me at the mountaintop” a few days ago. Repeated references to a mountain and stumbling across this book in the book stacks made it seem like ideal timing.

I have to say as a side note that both this friend and another have made reference to sharing spirituality with me. I have to say that is very overwhelming for me because I have made a conscious decision to cultivate friendships with both of them because of the spirituality I see in each of them. So, I have started to see how we strengthen and develop our spirituality through the presence of kindred souls. I am grateful for my co-discusser on all things of the soul and my prayer partner.

The second book “Building Better Plots” is one that I picked up because at this point I’m inclined to read anything anyone has written about writing. Some of these books have been zero help, but some have been incredible. So, I figure I will power through them and glean what I may from each.

The third thing that I’m about 10 pages into and trying not to read until I finish the other two is Paulo Coelho’s “The Valkyries” which was handed to me a couple of nights ago by the same person who recommended “The Alchemist.”

the conversation went like this

ME: I don’t know why I agreed to speak tonight.

MY MOM: You were excited about it.

ME: I must have been high.

MY MOM: Right. You definitely were no such thing.

ME: Ugh. I don’t know what to say.

MY MOM: You’re good at this.

ME: No. I am not.

MY MOM: You’re a writer.

ME: Exactly. A writer. Not a speaker.

MY MOM: You’re lying. I’ve heard you speak.

ME: Once.

MY MOM: Plenty of times. Everyone’s heard you speak. That’s why they asked you.

ME: Boo.

MY MOM: Go write your thing.

ME: Boo.

So, instead of writing it. I wrote this. Maybe I can just read this.

on my mind

I came across (and by came across, I mean was handed by someone who from this point on will be referred to as my spiritual adviser) the DVDs of Bill Moyer’s interview with Joseph Campbell: “The Power of Myth.”

Campbell says something to the effect that our brain is a secondary organ. The soul and heart are first. And when we give the brain priority, we create a schizophrenia in ourselves.

I don’t have my reflection on this yet, but just wanted to say that it’s been on my mind for the past 24 hours.