Life isn’t usually a nice ascent where you get to your end goal and never get knocked down or have a set back.
But the point is to keep moving forward, to keep striving and loving and fighting for what you believe in.
For a long time, Marsie the Cat was super afraid to go outside into the big world. She was only okay with it if you put her on a leash like a dog. She liked being tethered to her humans, which is good news for birds, honestly, since cats kill so many songbirds.
But anyway, Marsie worked her way up to facing her fears. She took one step outside. Then another. Then another. She explored the world.
Marsie the Cat: Are you going to tell the humans that they should be like me and be brave?
Marsie: Humans should always emulate cats.
Marsie: Fine. Go on with the blog. Also, please don’t tell them that I’ve never killed anything. The other cats would mock my pacifist ways.
Marsie: They all heard that, huh?
Me: Pretty much.
In my own life, there are a TON of things that I’m hesitant to do because it feels too vulnerable or like it’s just… Well, like people will laugh at me, honestly. But then I think – Dude, people laugh at you all the time. Those people are just haters and at least you are giving them a moment of joy at your expense or… yeah… I don’t know there’s got to be a way to spin this positively.
Anyways, one of the weirder and more vulnerable parts of my writing process is painting. A lot of times when I get stuck, I paint something that expresses the moment of the story that I’m working on.
Sharing that makes me feel a bit jittery-vulnerable. But I’m sharing it because:
- Marsie wants me to. She thinks it’s motivating.
- This is my year of doing things that are hard for me like the podcast and being in THINGS WE HAVEN’T SAID and stuff and rebooting a blog and having an occasional newsletter.
BACK TO PROCESS
So, lots of other authors make notebook mosaics of images when they write a book. They’ll cut out pictures from magazines and glue them into a notebook or a big piece of cardboard paper and stare at these images to represent their characters.
Yeah, that would be far too logical a way for me to approach getting into the ‘essence’ and ‘imagery’ of my story.
Instead, I paint things. I do this despite the facts that:
1. I have NO IDEA how to paint.
2. I only took Art 101 in high school and it did not cover painting. It was all about drawing still life. I failed at it.
3. Did I mention the whole lack of artistic talent thing?
Oh! And also every Sunday morning I would draw cartoons when I was a kid and every Sunday morning my mom would declare, “Nobody in our family is an artist.”
And I would say, “Grammy paints.”
And she would say, “My side of the family.”
But because I am:
I do not let this lack of training or talent or my mother’s genes stop me.
Art is way harder for me to share than:
1. Stories about my skirt falling down
2. Family tragedies
3. My writing (even poems).
I’m not sure why that is. I guess it’s almost like posting current diary entries or something, but here goes:
So, this dark and dreary one (with the lens flash included for special coolness) is from the story AFTER OBSESSION that I co-wrote with Steve Wedel. I had to get into the scary part of the story. And the sense of isolation and the creepy guy.
And this smoochy-smoochy one is for ENTICE (a NEED book), and yes, the people are kind of ugly…. I told you I couldn’t paint! And yes, Zara’s hair is blonde. I ran out of black paint. A real artist would have gone out and bought more black paint, but I’m a writer so….
Excuse me. I have to go hide in shame.
And yes, the guy has the weird beginnings of a beard, but that’s because I messed up. 😉
Yep, it’s the part of the blog where I talk about my books and projects because I am a writer for a living, which means I need people to review and buy my books or at least spread the word about them.
I’m super good at public image and marketing for nonprofits but I have a much harder time with marketing myself.
So, please buy one of my books. 🙂 The links about them are all up there in the header on top of the page. There are young adult series, middle grade fantasy series, stand-alones for young adults and even picture book biographies.
I’ll be at Book Expo America in NYC on June 1 at 11:30 – 12 at the Lerner booth signing copies of the Spy Who Played Baseball. A week before that,
I’ll also be in NYC presenting to the Jewish Book Council . Come hang out with me!
The podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE is still chugging along!
Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips.
We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can.