1. My Dog – The Fed Ex dude is here again. Don’t worry… I’m on it.
2. My Mother – Why aren’t you answering my phone calls? Why aren’t you responding to me!! I found an ant in the kitchen. I think it means something! Is it a sign? I think it's a sign. Why aren’t you answering me??? I Love You, Mom.
3. The Man Who Captured My Heart – What’s for dinner?
4. Random Editor At Random Magazine – You are awesome. We love you. We’ll pay you two grand a month to type the alphabet and use lots of “ly” words.
5. The Pekin Duck I Feed In The Backyard Every Morning – I didn’t get enough corn. When are you coming back? And your dog won’t shut up. I can’t lay eggs under this kind of pressure.
6. My Man’s Eighteen Year Old Son – What am I supposed to get Dad for Fathers Day?
7. My Man’s Twenty Two Year Old Daughter – What am I supposed to get Dad for Fathers Day?
8. My Neighbor – That duck is crapping all over your back porch.
9. My Other Neighbor – That duck is pooping on your back porch again.
10. The Man Who Captured My Heart – Why haven’t you answered me? What’s for dinner tonight?
11. My Sister – F******g call Mom.
I keep a small stack of books on my desk. During times when I’ve not had a writing table, the pile sat on the nightstand beside my bed. It’s important to me these books stay close. They are my writers Bible, the guides to my personal enlightenment. I need them on hand.
This small stack has become my essential, invaluable Crew. My Swifty Squad.
Some came to me via friends. One from my Mother. Another I found on my own at a used book sale. Some I’d never heard of, but all broke my heart at a time when my heart was already broken. Does that make sense?
A new breaking?
The years I squandered, searching for love, for meaning, for content were wrapped in a little burrito of good words and the wisdom of those who passed my way before.
So when people ask (because they always do when they find out you’re a writer) what books I’m reading, what books I love… I refer to this little stack of loveliness.
As A Man Thinketh by James Allen
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Letters To A Young Poet by Rilke
Chosen By A Horse by Susan Richards
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
The more I write, the more I find it necessary to study. I remember hearing a joke once about attorneys… something along the lines of “Why would you pick a job where you have to study for the rest of your life?”
I’m pretty sure writing is exactly the same, except I love to study now. LLLLUUUURRRRVVVV it. I look forward to getting on my computer and scouring my social media, looking for new writers, new motivators and publications. I can spend hours reading articles and book reviews and blogs.
The other thing I’ve noticed as I’ve moved along in this process? The more I study, the more my mind becomes an idea machine. How does that happen and where was that machine when I was first starting out? Back then, I couldn’t come up with enough ideas to fill an index card. Now, I keep running lists with paragraphs of notes, some articles half written already on my phone, on my laptop and in a notebook in my purse. Oh… and a stack of index cards on my desk.
The more I delve into the world of writing, the more I fall in love with it. The process of finding and pitching new publications exhilarates me. I keep an open file in excel where I track publications, who I pitch to and who I’ve heard back from. Every day the list gets longer and every day, I think to myself that it isn’t long enough.
Sometimes the ideas come so fast, that I have a dozen documents open on my laptop and work through each one, a little at a time. I worry my mind moves so fast that there is no way I’ll ever finish all of them. But then I read an interview with a writer I admire and she talked about how she usually has so many tabs and documents open that her computer slows down. And then I saw an interview with James Patterson on CBS Sunday Morning and they showed his office and how many open projects he’s working on and I thought… nah… that’s just how we roll.
Miles of homework that never ends.