January 18th, 2020

“Genius is 1 Percent Inspiration and 99 Percent Perspiration.”
– Thomas Edison

 Hello from the writing cave, where I’m back to work after my week teaching fiction writing in Newport at Salve Regina’s Newport MFA.

I returned home on Sunday, and it took a few days for me to get back into my routine. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you know that when it comes to writing, I am a creature of habit. I go to my desk every day at the same time, often with a goal of writing a certain amount (my word count varies depending on the project), eat lunch at a fixed time, and so on.

My week in Newport was full of workshops, craft talks, readings and parties, which I enjoyed immensely, but left me in need of some solitude.

The experience of sitting at my desk on Monday was one of being in a fog. I looked at the notes I had made for myself before I left, I opened a document I had been working in on my computer, and I felt ready to work, but I could do nothing but stare at the screen. I have a whiteboard, and so I tried making a list of the most important things I wanted to do that day, hoping it would push me out of the fog. It didn’t. I felt that I didn’t know how to reenter my writing life and it was extremely uncomfortable!

What did I do? I sat at my desk for the same number of hours that I normally do. I didn’t write anything, but I did think about what I wanted to write. Tuesday was the same, only I was able to jot down a rough outline of some scenes I could work on. I also began reading Madness, Rack, Honey by Mary Ruefle, which was recommended by the poet Edgar Kunz in his craft talk. It was immensely inspiring and got me moving back toward the land of productivity again:

Another inspiration this week was The Doll Hospital, an antique doll shop on Bellevue Ave in Newport. I happened into this shop on my last day in Newport and found myself surrounded by creepy creatures of all shapes and sizes.

After leaving, I felt inspired to write a novel about the lives of these dolls, something scary and Victorian. Would you read a story like that?

If you’ve read this far, you are a real friend and so I think you may not mind if I ask if you’ve added The Ancestor to your Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf.

If you haven’t, please follow this link and add it to your shelf. Every person who adds The Ancestor to their shelf is helping the book find likeminded readers! I know that anyone who is on this list has GREAT taste, and maybe we can send others in the right direction!

If you are living in my part of the world (Beacon, Newburgh, Cold Spring, Cornwall), and you’re interested in writing, I am teaching a workshop in Newburgh beginning on January 26 from 4-6PM and running 6 weeks. For more information, go to my Facebook Event. Or email me directly at: [email protected]

Thanks so very much for spending time with me! I will leave you with a photo sent from Keith, who has been part of this community for some years and is definitely on my wavelength. He visited Whitby Cathedral, which has been associated with Dracula. Read more about that here.

Thanks Keith for the photo! Please send me your pictures, book recommendations and other ideas and I will share them here.

Until next week,


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