Friday, June 19, 2015

All My Children

(Doing my thing at 2 p.m. EST, with my TV family on General Hospital,
the Quartermaines)
Last summer, I started doing this thing. Unconsciously at first, but as the weeks wore on, it became second nature, like breathing. During my one hour of TV time in the afternoon, my soap opera break for General Hospital, I started standing up instead of sitting.  My friend Irene does this at the weekly meetings of our Berlin Writers' Group (BWG is the Cadillac of writers' groups; I'm always learning something and leaving there inspired). Irene stands because of comfort issues. I figured I sit enough throughout my days, so why not do something other than plunk my butt on the sofa when I take sixty in the living room.  But then something else started developing, and I'm so happy it has.  During that hour and other fun, mostly mindless breaks for TV (I'm talking about you, Guy's Grocery Games and the occasional Red Sox outing), what I've done is spend that time attending to the needs of my other family: my writing.

My flash fictions, short stories, novellas, novelettes, novels, teleplays, and screenplays are my babies. I never had the desire or instinct to want human children (feline, absolutely!), so my babies, my legacy, are my stories.  And like any healthy familial relationship, it requires maintenance.  So, during these little weekly sips of family time with my writing, I spread out my list of as-yet unwritten tales, make sure that new ideas find their way onto note cards, and review the stories that require my immediate and near-future attention.

(A novella that wants to be a novel, a novel presently in the works, and
some insanely gorgeous new designer file folders)
Right now, there are over a hundred and fifty babies in my card catalog of unwritten story ideas -- call me the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe of Writing (emphasis on 'old' following my recent 50th birthday bash, a subject for an upcoming blog story). Like any good parent, I don't discriminate between them. When an idea hits, I jot it down. Are some of my babies better, prettier, smarter than others? Probably, but I've been writing for a long time, and trying to write all of my ideas to completion since I was a teen, after I read an article in an old Writer's Digest about a Science Fiction legend who had abandoned two out of every three of his story ideas, and left the stalled drafts moldering around his office.  To this day, all of my efforts are neatly filed away in designer folders (not manila; how bland and colorless!), even my stalled drafts.  Some of the completed never leave home for publication. Many others have brought home contracts, awards, and have helped to put food on the table and pay the mortgage over the years.  Still others, the ones requiring a little extra attention, howl at me in the night, telling me they require more of my time.  I'm trying to be the best 'parent' possible for all my children, focusing on their needs, and feel fairly confident that I'm doing a fine job, with a long way yet to go.

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