I haven’t worked on my mystery writing in five years. I shelved my manuscript and got on with the rest of my life. But deep down, I really missed writing. It was a lost friend.
In October, I saw something about National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, and remembered how years ago Liz and I had vowed to participate but never had. And I decided to try it this year.
I set off at a blazing pace, then faltered a bit. But I wrote about 10,000 words of a new mystery manuscript and now I’m determined to finish it in 2017. That’s my goal: finish.
The story takes place in the high desert near Joshua Tree National Park. When I participated in NaNoWriMo, I tentatively titled the book “Roadrunner Ridge,” the name of a road up there. But recently I learned that the trendy area is being called Flamingo Heights and I decided to rename it after that. Far Out in Flamingo Heights?
Anyway, a friend gave me the latest copy of Sunset Magazine and I read it yesterday while getting my car serviced. There was a huge article on the high desert with an emphasis on Flamingo Heights. I think it’s a promising sign!
Liz and her beloved dog, Bubba, at their favorite walking spot at Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Mass. Here is a column about Liz: http://www.gcdailyworld.com/blogs/1634/entry/45000/
My dear friend, Liz Carver, lost her courageous battle against cancer on Oct. 18, 2011. She lives on forever in the hearts of her many friends and admirers.
Liz was an amazing writer and a true advocate for aspiring writers. I loved her voice. Sadly, most of her writing has been removed from the Internet. So here is a portion of an email from her, just as an echo of her writing self:
Hi Diane !!
Oh, I’m so glad to hear it went well. I really and truly am wishing all the very best to you, and hope that you will get a call-back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay that’s enuf explanation marks. (I meant to say explanation. It’s more fun.)
Um, but I can’t take credit for telling you to make a list of questions… I don’t think it was me who said that. Was it??
What I really want to know is: DID YOU USE A MIRROR?
And… DID YOU GIGGLE WHEN YOU SAID [name]???
Personally, I think you can handle any work challenges that come your way, unless they are in the form a big fat stupid republican liberal hater who would be your boss. Which means you might have to buy some red dresses and wear pink lip stick. And that would suck soooooo bad.
Me, I’m doing okay. I am still finding so many good things in the trash and yard sales: Yesterday my neighbor hollered in my front door from the street: Hey Liz! There’s blah, blah, blah on the street! You want it?? (They already know me around here as the Dumpster Diva. It’s hilarious.)
And then at midnight last night, while walking Bubba, I found and dragged home a huge ceramic water cooler jug *with* wooden stand and a fake fireplace log set. Now that took some balancing, I must say.
I also went to Goodwill in Davis Square and found 75 bucks worth of very cool sweaters, jeans, and trousers, and a cool suit. I’m sending pics of the suit and one of the sweaters. And one pic of Bubba, who is laying here watching me work. And one pic of Pumpkin, who spent the day with us this weekend.
Today Bubba and I walked with Bella, a golden retriever. Her mommy, one of my neighbors, asked if I could walk her this week during the day. She is a completely submissive, extremely sweet girl. She whines when she sees me, just like my Bubba does.
Liz was a great creative spirit, loving glitter, found objects and making things from scratch — like Cambridge Procrastination Soup and chocolate pudding.
Liz also loved sunflowers, Raggedy Ann, covered bridges, bookstores, beads, speckled dogs (especially her Bubba, now living with a best friend in Indiana), Christmas ornaments, blue toenail polish, turtles, owls, and British television.
I am so grateful to have been Liz’s friend and I will miss her always.
I learned from a Facebook friend about the Hipstamatic iphone ap. I’d never heard of a Hipstamatic but I have since learned it was a small plastic instamatic camera that created interesting and unexpected photos. Only 200 were ever made.
Here is a blog about the original camera:
And here is my photo of La Quinta:
Once upon a time, there was a little brindle girl-puppy named Kelly. She was born in an alley in a dusty desert town on Christmas eve and soon after was taken to an animal shelter with her mom and siblings.
One day at the shelter, three women came and bailed out the whole family — Sweet Katie and her many pups, including little Kelly. After the pups were old enough to be adopted, they all were — except for Kelly. The brindle pup was adopted out twice but returned both times because she was so nervous in her new home. So she stayed.
Kelly had many scrapes in life. Because she was part pit-bull, some of the neighbors were afraid of her. And because she was scared of dogs she didn’t know, she sometimes lunged or barked in a menacing manner. As she got older, she mellowed out a lot. Everyone who got to know her learned that she was very sweet and loyal.
Although Kelly is no longer with us, we still feel her spirit. She sends us occasional feathers to remind us of her loving and free nature.
Thank you, Kelly!
— Kelly D. Palmer
So it would be nice if I could return to my blog and announce that I’d finished my work in progress and was ready to send it out into the world. Or maybe just that I’d come close to making one of my only two New Year’s Resolutions — to write every day. But that, I must admit, would be a huge exaggeration of the truth. Actually, it would be a fabulous fib!
In fact, without meaning to, I ended up taking a two month sabbatical from writing and blogging. Two months of lost writing time! But it wasn’t all bad. I really did walk a mountain path and I enjoyed some thunderstorms, sushi and sunshine. I traveled to Chicago and took in some blues, some art and some pizza. I reconnected with some friends who I had been neglecting. And I have read a bunch of wonderful books. But I missed the writing. I missed Kelly D. Palmer and I missed Pepper Morgan.
So I’m back and looking forward to spending more time here again.
Lately I have been exploring the mental side of writing and creativity. What kind of environment helps us to be more creative? How can we work through self-limiting thoughts to achieve our writing goals?
I’ve realized that it’s about giving ourselves permission to love our work fully. To be creative, to write, we need to be free of negative thoughts from ourselves and others.
So here is a fun exercise I just made up. It may seem a little silly but try it … it is kind of liberating.
1. Look at the photo of the Statue of Liberty. Isn’t that a great symbol? — of this country, of an international friendship, of immigration and humanity. Think about all this for a minute or two.
2. Stand up and pretend to be the Statue of Liberty. Raise that right hand toward the sky.
3. Say out loud: I give myself permission to be free. I give myself permission to be creative. I give myself permission to write today.
4. Hug yourself — you’re on your way to be the creative artist you were meant to be!
Let me know if you liked this exercise. Or maybe you can suggest an alternative inspirational script!
— Kelly D. Palmer