Sunday, May 26, 2019

Twitter polls - and the answers I dare not provide

May 26, 2019

Ah, those Twitter polls. Writers have taken to them like ducks to water. And I do confess those polls have taken the enjoyment out of Twitter. Well, that and the fact the nude photos of men don't show up in my feed any longer. It's a shame about that. Twitter shouldn't be in the censorship business. But I digress...

First poll this morning was about world building. Question: what profession(s) end life? My answer that I dare not post is - You're world building, for God's sake. Name it and claim it! 

Second poll - how many hours do you write each day? My answer that I dare not post - When the fuck did this become a competition? 

Third poll - What makes a better book? Writing in third person or first person? My answer that I dare not post - Why are we still wasting time chewing that bone? Write your story the way it speaks to you!

Okay, so you get where I'm coming from on this. Maybe. 

I don't know if the people posing the questions are "new" writers or not. They're asking the same sort of questions that were asked almost twenty years ago when I got started, and it bugs the hell out of me. It seems those of us with experience haven't been good teachers. 

Perpetuating the myth that a writer MUST produce a certain word count every day is damaging. Insisting a particular style of prose is better than another is perhaps a worse harm. The fall of so many publishers proves that out. Publishers always called for "fresh" and "unique" and then rejected it. They were afraid it wouldn't sell as well as Author Cookie-Cutter, would they know? They lacked the metaphorical balls to find out and the indie author, et al., brought them down. 

To the new writers out there who might one day read this - Write your story and write it your way. Don't waste time giving a flying fuck about what anyone else is doing. It's counter-productive. Learn the craft and embrace your voice. Not everyone will like it, but who cares? Enough people will enjoy your stories. 

But if the writing of the story isn't enough to feed your soul, then re-evaluate. A poll on Twitter won't solve that problem for you. 

KC Kendricks

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A life well lived

May 14, 2019

And the number of his days were accomplished. 

My stepfather has left this world. He made my mother very happy, and that's the highest praise I could ever give him. 

Jack had a terrible childhood. Think Charles Dickens and you wouldn't be far off. His mother died in childbirth due to the refusal of his father to believe the doctors and get her to a hospital when she went into labor. Consequently, Jack was raised by the women in a small, tight-knit community. His father paid various ladies to house and feed him, but he became everyone's dinner guest - and farm hand. He worked hard as a boy. His father drank himself to death when Jack was about seventeen and from then until he married my mother, he looked after his step-mother, a woman he came to respect.

He graduated from high school and immediately did a six-year stint in the Navy. He sailed around the world and to Antarctica twice. He didn't talk about it much because he didn't like life on a big boat.  But the Navy taught him electronics and he eventually retired from one of the communications giants. 

Mom had been widowed for ten years when she married Jack. They promised each other twenty happy years and that's about what they had. Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Jack cared for her until we knew she needed a care facility. Caring for her took an enormous toll on him. 

He went downhill after Mom left the house. He was lonely and depression set in. When he tripped over a throw rug and broke his hip, his decline was rapid. 

I got the call this past Monday morning. The lady who cleaned his house found him beside the bed. It's not what I would have wished for him but we don't get to choose for ourselves much less anyone else. Passing on in his sleep would have been my preference. I wish that peace for everyone. 

And so the arrangements are made. My mother will live out her days not knowing what happened and this is okay. Alzheimer's Disease is a horrible affliction. When I speak to her of Jack, she asks me, "who's that?" To tell her he's passed may bring an emotional upset that lingers. She would know she's upset but not remember why and so become even more upset. In the early days of her affliction, she spoke of the white fog. It must be a terrible place in which to dwell. 

Now I come to the time to settle my stepfather's affairs. I agreed to it many years ago and I'm thankful it took so long to arrive. I'm more prepared than I was back in 1993. This too will be accomplished. 

For all the trials and tribulations that came his way, Jack felt he'd had a good life. When all is said and done, we can't ask for more than that.

KC Kendricks

Friday, May 10, 2019

The exhausted writer

May 10, 2019

** updated** This book got a new title: Memphis. There WILL be a July Heat soon.

The only way to write, really write, is to rip your chest open and bleed the words. Does that sound too dramatic? Sure it does. Bleeding words is problematic. It hurts. Pain is drama. Life can sometimes be painful. It all feeds into the ability to write. 

Being too tired to bleed write, I've been reading, devouring books at a rate of about one every other day. It's escapism, plain and simple. I'm hiding from the rigors of caregiving. If fortune smiles upon us, May 24 will see a reversal in my husband's decline. Another surgery is scheduled for that morning to relieve pressure on his spinal cord. I pray the last MRI doesn't find yet another spot where bone and calcium are building up. I need this long process to be complete. 

I need to finish July Heat  Memphis. I don't simply WANT to, I NEED to. It's almost a visceral thing. My load would be lightened if I could just get that story finished. One of the problems is every time I sit back with a cup of coffee or tea to think about the plot, I come up with a new idea for a passage I could make better. I can't walk away from those ideas. They have merit. 

They have merit, but constantly tweaking the story is just as exhausting as caring for my partner during this pre-surgery time. Men are needy things. Mine used to be a lot more stoic. 

Writing is how I decompress from my life. It smoothes out the rough spots of the day.  I forget about the people I work with and their ill-advised decisions when I write. Hell, I even stop laughing at the political arena when I write and we all know there is a lot to laugh at these days. If I thought I would or could write coherent passages, I'd be working on the book now. Instead, I'm rambling. 

And that proves my point. Exhausted writers write exhausted prose, and we can't have that. 


 KC Kendricks

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