Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Wasp and The Slipper

All right, I know I'm tardy on posting this little tid-bit, but that'll make it that much sweeter when you read it. As I said in my last blog, I spent 4 days in the Tennessee mountains with fellow writers Karen White and Wendy Wax. We spent lots of time writing on the balcony of our fabulous cabin, drinking in this view.
While sitting in a lovely rocker, writing away on her next fabulous women's fiction novel, Karen had an ugly encounter with a Tennessee wasp -- which according to Karen is only outsized by the bugs she battled while living in South America as a child. Said Tennessee wasp somehow entered Karen's slipper (which is required writing attire for her). The result was startling for both Karen and the wasp. In her rapid reaction, Karen's slipper flew off her foot, through the slats in the balcony railing and landed some thirty feet below (that's it in the photo below, the forlorn white sole looking up at us longingly). This picture was taken with a zoom lens and it much farther away than it looks.

Now you have to understand the relationship between Karen and her fuzzy slippers -- as I said, they're integral to the writing process. She goes nowhere without them. She quickly donned her tennis shoes and headed out to retrieve her slipper -- only to discover it was a much steeper descent to where said slipper lay helpless against bears with cold feet and hawks that needed nesting materials. Also, the plantlife was in cahoots with the forest creatures, protecting what now rightfully belonged to the wilderness with stickers and nettles. She was defeated.

I believe Karen left the slipper's mate in the cabin, just in case some intrepid soul brought mountain climbing gear and could retrieve the poor abandonded footwear.

This is why I always write barefooted.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nourishing the Writing Soul

Last week I spent several days hiding out from real life with a couple of wonderful and talented writers, Karen White (The Memory of Water and The House on Tradd Street) and Wendy Wax (The Accidental Bestseller). We rented a cabin in the fabulous mountains of eastern Tennessee (the one with the silver roof). Can you imagine how being immersed in this beauty and solitude, surrounded only by like-minded creative spirits can jump start the writing soul? All I can say is, Wow! Brainstorming, writing, talking character development and story arcs, laughing, walking in nature and okay, I admit, watching movies and drinking the occasional glass of wine. Heaven.

Our days began with laptops and coffee in rockers on the porch and progressed much the same (with various food and drink) throughout the day. We were all at different stages in our current works in progress, so it made for many different topics and certainly varied number of pages produced. Karen was in the middle of a book ... thus she gets the gold star for most pages. Wendy was polishing a proposal and first chapters to submit to her publisher for approval, so she came in second in the page race. And me, well I was just pitiful in page production. I'm in the very early stages of laying out a book, so there's lots more talking and thinking than producing. It was great to have such valuable resources as Wendy's and Karen's brains to pick, so I feel like I got the best end of this deal.

And speaking of resources ... soon after our arrival we discovered that this cabin had NO Internet access. I mean really, none. Not even dinosaur dial-up. Needless to say our research came to a screaming halt. Then we discovered that our cell phones only worked if we were outside standing in the middle of the road, or on the uppermost balcony ... if we stood in the right place and held our phones just right.

Which wouldn't have been so bad if there weren't people who actually needed to get in touch with us. There were frequent trips to the balcony to retrieve voice mails and return calls that, more often than not, cut out.

As for the lack of Internet (you just have to have seen Karen and Wendy and I together to really appreciate this) we drove into town and cruised hotel parking lots with a laptop searching for signals until we discovered a wireless connection. Really, we had few other options in the middle of the night in a very small town. But it was such a huge effort, we only did it once. The rest of the time we just sat around worrying that we were missing something.

All was well --until we had the incident of the wasp and the slipper. And just to be a real stinker, I'm going to save that blog for tomorrow. Y'all come back and get the scoop!