Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thanks but No Thanks...

Photo by: artur84/
You know what is a really inappropriate thing to tell a writer? How to write their book. Why is it that these 'helpful hints' only come from those who DON'T write for a living?

 Easy. No author or journalist appreciates it when someone else, who is NOT working on the project thinks they know better than the creator of that work how to get our point across. At least not without being asked first. That's what critique partners are for.

I don't go inside other people's offices and organize their desks. I don't sneak into restaurant kitchens and advise chefs on which spices I prefer to use.

Plot advice is right up there with suggestions on how to beat Writer's Block when you don't have Writer's Block...I can say, "I haven't had time to write lately." and suddenly I'm bombarded with ideas on how to get my creative juices flowing. Like I didn't know...I've got two completed novels (actually four, if you include the unpublishables) and another on the way. Golly gee whiz, I had NO IDEA that a quick nap or a walk or maybe if I work on something else might be helpful. (Head hits desk.) Can you say 'condescension'? Better yet, can you SPELL it without autocorrect? 

Many of us work on multiple projects, blogs, interviews, blurbs, marketing and more. Very few of us have days where we simply cannot write. When it DOES happen, trust me we know how to handle it.

Last week I said, "I finally figured out that last scene switch point and I know who's POV I need to be in next."  My friend said, "Good for you! Now you might want to think about where this character is going..."

"I know. I got it."
"He or she could-"
"No REALLY. I GOT IT." I'm trying not to bite his head off... "I know where she's going and what happens to her." I'm a plotter, but I don't think Pantsers appreciate the advice any more than I do.

Why do non-writers seem to think we need their help? Do they think we are such emotional misfits that we need assistance with our own craft? Okay, maybe some of us are a little weird...But we're perfectly capable of plying our trade better than anyone else. We're also capable of doing other things, such as dressing ourselves and ordering pizza. And we didn't ask you.

Whew! I know I said my next post wouldn't be negative, but I actually feel better for ranting, thank you, and I hope I haven't upset too many people, but it needed to be said! ...At least it wasn't about cats, right?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Goodnight, Sweet Sully

Sully--November 15/2010-July 31/2013

I knew this day would come sometime, but I never expected it so soon. It's the most painful thing I've ever experienced. I've had loss before, but never anyone so close--Two grandfathers, one long distance, one never known. A long time ago aunt 36 years gone, a grandmother only seen two or three times a year, and one uncle, with all appearances counted on my hands. Sully's death is killing me. My friends keep telling me, "It's not your fault." But it is...

It actually happened last Wednesday, the day before Spartacus' birthday, but I couldn't say anything, because Sully's original mommy was on vacation and didn't know yet. Besides, Spartacus should have his day too, and I tried to hide my pain.

Sully escaped the house at 11 p.m. Tuesday night. I heard "Damn it, Sully!" as my husband came through the door after parking the truck. Our Siamese was up and over the fence in a flash and gone.

We'd been out with friends that night, and were too tired. "Let him go," I said. "His stomach will bring him home. If not, then it will teach him a lesson about running out at night." Neither of us had the energy to search the neighborhood looking for him.

It was the last time we saw him alive.

At about seven the next morning, Dan left for work, but came back in after only a few minutes. "What did you forget?" I asked.

There were tears in his eyes, and he looked grief-stricken. Distraught.  In seventeen years together, I've never seen that expression on his face before, and I hope I never see it again.

"Sully's dead."
Sully's first day at our house

I raced outside and when I saw the body I started screaming. I didn't know I could scream so loudly and so raw. Now everyone in our neighborhood three blocks over knows his name.

Someone had wrapped him in clean baby blankets and left him outside our gate, placing his collar and tag respectfully on top.

I later found a message on my cell phone from a blocked number placed at 3 in the morning. A young man's voice asked if I could come outside because he had to tell me something. I missed that.

I'm not angry with the guy who ran over Sully. It was an accident, and he was clearly remorseful. At least he had the decency to bring our boy home and treat his body with respect. He tried to phone me. As far as I am concerned, his karma is clear. Thanks to him, Sully was not alone when he died.

How did he know where and what phone number? He checked the back of Sully's name-tag. It had our address and my cell phone number. My answering message gives my full name.

I need to be very careful what kind of energy I send out it seems. I thought maybe I'd like three cats and the cosmos delivered. Three months later I mused about how I almost wish I could go back to two cats because three was such a handful. I shut the idea out of my mind--I love my furbabies more than anything-- but it was too late. The powers that be heard me, and now Sully is gone.

It's ME I hate for this. I wonder, did he suffer? Would it have made a difference had I answered the phone? I should have gone out there, shaking a bag of treats until I got him safely inside. I shouldn't have left him out there. My husband and I feel awful because our last thoughts of him were 'irritation'. Dan hates how the last words he said to Sully were yelled in anger.

Did he know how much we loved him? As he died did he know how much we'll miss him? Or had he run away that night, trying to escape life with us and two other cats? DID I LOVE HIM ENOUGH?

Don't blame yourself, they say. How can I not?  I can still hear his voice outside our door. In my dreams I chase him through a maze-like house, hoping to catch him and bring him home so he won't get killed again. There's a list of close friends and family who have tried to convince me otherwise and I'm grateful. But it's going to take a LONG time before I forgive myself.

In the meantime, I'm going to pull myself together and change all my bios. I am now the keeper of TWO cats and a troll. We've picked up his ashes, in his tiny little box, and I'm going to take Kevin's advice and talk to his spirit. Then we're going to take Ashley and Kathleen's advice and plan Sully's memorial, with the baby's breath he liked to chew on, and a roll of toilet paper he'd love to shred but will be used instead to dry tears.

Hopefully, my next blog will be more positive and not about my cats. Wish me luck and I'm sorry about all the negativity lately. This just really hurts.
We love you, Handsome Boy <3