The Magic Figs

I absolutely adore figs. I don’t think I’d ever eaten one until I was an adult, and it was the most delightful revelation, all that sweetness and texture and flavor–oh!  They don’t travel particularly well, so the only times to eat them are the short seasons in late spring and early fall when they are

Notes from the Airport Food Court

It’s a gloomy morning in Texas, the air thick and cool, heavy with the thunderstorms that will line my trip home today. A handful of Italian men with good shoes and sport coats, one even with a ponytail and a ragged bit of black whiskers on his cheeks, hang by the coffee stand, chattering among

Curing the Crankies

I am a grouch this morning. There’s no other word for it. I didn’t sleep well because my knee was hurting and I have this restless leg thing happening after the surgery that’s quite annoying, and I don’t FEEL like doing my work, but there’s a lot piling up and it needs to be tackled.

Go Ahead, Be Terrible

One of the hardest things about starting a new book is the awfulness of it. I’m there now, at the beginning, no longer thinking about the book or making notes or even writing long backstory and character pieces—which is actually one of the most fun parts of writing. If it was only that part, I would be the happiest writer in the world. Instead, I’m actually starting to write the thing, in scenes, with characters talking and moving and all that. This is the point of ruination. I’ve talked about this before—every book is perfect before I must try to bring it into the world. They live in some other place, in the Land of Books Waiting to Be Written, and some are mine to write and some are yours and some are still waiting for their person to get busy and bring it over into the Land of Books That Can Be Read. As I try to bring my book over the wall into this world, I ruin it, almost from the first word. It horrifies readers and writers alike when I say this, though I’ve never figured out quite why. I’m a devoted writer and have been devoted to the craft my whole life, but I am only mortal. How could I possibly write a perfect book? I don’t like the ruination, and I am always striving to do a better job of bringing the books over the wall, but if I am not at peace with the fact that they are all going to be flawed and ruined the minute I bring them over, I will never get them written in any form at all, and that would be far, far worse. The fear of failure, of doing something badly, is one of the great enemies of the creative person. Of anyone really. It keeps writers from writing and artists from painting, but it also keeps many of us away from exploring new things, making new friends, expanding our lives. My tai chi teacher says over and over, in his soft thoughtful voice, “You can’t be good at something you don’t know.” But don’t we often want to do just that? To be masters at everything on the very first day?

Writers Don’t Get Lonely

As part of rehab for my brand-new bionic knee, a physical therapist comes to my house five days a week and puts me through my paces. As I’m standing on my toes and cycling on a portable little bike, we chat. He’s a guy of a certain age, with an intriguing history as a Shakespearean

A Writer Not Afoot

I’m in recovery from a knee surgery last week, so not really coherent enough to write a long post. I’m in that strange convalescent phase that means I drift along like a bottle on the sea, admiring that swath of sunset or the way the light catches on my cat’s whiskers but nothing much more.

Listening to the Prompts

All creative people devise ways to communicate with the mysterious place where ideas come from. A scientific person might call it the right side of the brain. A more mystical one (that would be me) probably calls it the universe or Spirit. Whatever the name, we all learn over time to trust the whispering prompts

On the road

I promised blogs every week, but must say the Internet access was not great in many of our stops the past ten days. Here are a couple of photos to keep you company for a few days. We are on our way home and I’ll post later this week about foggy weather, venison stew, windows

At last! More blogs.

I had a letter this morning from a reader of this blog, wondering if it had been discontinued. In fact, the exact opposite is true–I’ve given up blogging elsewhere (except for Writer Unboxed once a month) to bring my focus back here. My web mistress is busy behind the scenes doing a facelift and I’ve