Sunday, April 13, 2014

ROW80: Sunday morning update with mermaids . . .

Progress? Let's see. Yesterday I read a short, short for Get Lit! at an open mic. "The Last Mermaid," from The Mermaid Quilt,  is told by a daughter about her mother and father, a mermaid and a cowboy, and the narrator holds a turquoise.  While I enjoy sharing my stories, if the story has an emotional hook for me, it shows in my voice. Breath control, yes. But so far, that last line kills me every time.

Reading in such a setting (small, 25 in the audience) is not really about you as a writer, but you as a performer. So, I dress to perform, a little more on the flamboyant side. 

I want the reader to care about my story, so I try to create an intimate setting. Read slowly, as if I were reading poetry. Maintain eye contact. Some of the best performance poets use gestures and act out their poems. They memorize the words. Well, since my memory doesn't work that way despite considerable effort, if I am very familiar with the story by prepping the reading (practice, practice), the reading goes smoothly.

To use or not use a mic depends on the size of the space. Even if you ask the audience if they can hear, a person or two in a larger setting, sitting in the back, may have hearing issues and not want to speak up. For me, the mic creates artificiality. The darn thing gets away, slides down. You have to put your mouth close. One more thing to master when what I want is that direct connection with my audience. But it went well.

So here's my check-in for the week. Still trying to keep it simple. On looking at the overall goals for the round, I may already be behind.

WRITING: Working rather slowly on Years of Stone edits. Gained very useful feedback from new face-to-face crit group on that first chapter, from the NOVELS-L group online, and from Brian S who said my fight scenes sound like they were written by a girl (that made me laugh and think). 

Still behind on blog posts, though I'm keeping up with the AtoZ Challenge with a daily poem on the writing blog. Some are fun! For example, K was for Klondike Bar. And I wanted to post on the travel blog about Lake Titicaca on the border between Peru and Bolivia because we did spend a magical afternoon there, but when I went to look for pictures, these were lost when my computer was stolen on the road. But I can still remember how it felt to walk on those floating islands made of bound grasses, that heaved and squished with every step.

MARKETING: Sometimes a moment occurs. We can be quiet or we can speak. Such a moment came when I attended a Book Club meeting on B. A. Shapiro's The Art Forger, a really interesting read. When the talk turned to the book planned for the next month, nonfiction, described as "rather dry," it was quite apparent no one wanted to read it. So I seized the moment! First, I asked, "Do you like historical fiction?" Then, I made my pitch. The result? The group will read Standing Stones next month.

--Continue work on Years of Stone edits.
--Prep book club questions for Standing Stones
--Prep for book signing at Auntie's Bookstore on Saturday.
--Post on writing blog 6x, travel blog 1x, ROW80 2x and read 10.
--Crit 1 sub for NOVELS-L and sub another chapter, Years of Stone
--Continue updating Marketing Plan and outreach.
--Post review of The Art Forger on GoodReads.
--For WSQ: Write article (deadline May 1) on Applique Society, finish 2 quilts, order library books.
--Hold my breath for the next round of ABNA. Results in on Monday, April 14.

There's more, but this is enough! May your week go well.

Check out what other ROW80 folks are doing HERE.


  1. Kudos on standing up in front of others and doing the reading. That takes courage for sure. Ha. Nice grab on the book club. Sometimes it pays off to put yourself out there. It’s far too early to be thinking about if you’re behind or not. Just take it one bite at a time. Stay positive and keep moving forward. You’ve got this.

  2. Sounds like you're doing really well. Good luck with your goals for this week. Also, I'm a poet, too. Going to check out your poems.

  3. Awesome progress on your goals! And reading your work to others-I give you so many props for that. I would be terrified which makes no sense since it's not the speaking that would get me, it would be the reading from my work so others would hear it that would get me. lol I'm still such a chicken!

    Congrats on your book being the book club pick! Hope you have a great week. :)

  4. Good reading tips. Helps to be familiar with it so can relax and show you enjoy the words. Slowly!

  5. Oh, if I had had your thoughts on reading before I spontaneously read poems aloud in front of a couple hundred friends!

    I'm with Ryan. I don't ask myself if I'm behind. All forward progress is something. If I don't get through everything this year, I will just keep going until I do. I'm more about the journey than the destination. =)

    So sad that you lost your pictures and your computer, but so cool that you keep the memories. I have walk on islands made of mangrove roots, but not bound grasses. Nat!


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