Painting [and Drawing and Sculpting and Putting Broken Things Together to See What Happens] My Way Out of A Corner

This dark, confining, safe little corner. Oh, my. I’ve been hiding here since August, and am so ready to come back into the light.

So I’m clearing the deck. Or desk, to be more specific. There’s a bunch of old writing I want to get out there/get rid of, and I’ve been letting this one floppy beast leak out onto Wattpad, one chapter at a time. There’s a lot of old poems. I’ve been stuck. And I wanna get unstuck. That means digging myself out of all the piles of fiction and poetry that have no place in my life anymore, and either publishing it –ESPECIALLY because so much of it’s terrible, that’s a brave thing I’ve been scared to do: be terrible in public– or just organizing it into files. I know that if something doesn’t “spark joy” we should toss it, but in the past I’ve done that only to find out long after the fact that something either sparked joy which I hadn’t noticed, or while in the process of sending out boxes of things that SERIOUSLY didn’t cause joy, I accidentally mixed them up with boxes of beloved books and treasures. In case you haven’t guessed, for the past 8 years I’ve moved an awful lot. As far as long-abandoned WIPs, I either want to wake them back up and finish them, or decide that they no longer serve me as a writer, and likely not anyone else as a reader. And then it’s time to start something altogether new, and get back to present projects that I haven’t quite abandoned, but am neglecting. Poor things.

But this was supposed to be a post about visual artwork, not writing.

I’ve been posting artwork anywhere from several weeks to several years ago on this page for awhile. There’s more; lots more, too much more tucked away in boxes in various closets and basements…like the old writing. I had been thinking about throwing down something new here every day, but instead am going to revisit this book which helped me so much when I was in a similar emotional state several years ago.  Granted, I adjusted her method to make it work better for me, but the basic “sit for five minutes with some watercolors and don’t think about what youre painting” was a good start. I did it faithfully for thirty days.

What is not recommended by the BDB is going back and continuing to work on the “quickies” or –I think– share them with others. [If I’m wrong, I apologize because it’s been a long, long time since I read the book, and loaned out my copy to the Wrong Person so will never see it again. But I digress.] So I felt compelled to let those watercolors sit awhile, then return to them, and with a Sharpie marker and clipboard trace everything I found in that painting. There were lotsa magical creatures. Some spooky ones. Some beautiful ones. Plants. People. Food. Symbols. Body parts. New shapes. I was creating order out of chaos. That series would become the mad circus you’ve seen on this blog which looks a lot like stained glass windows.

So I’m going to try doing the 30 days of watercolor (and/or colored pastel on black paper; I’ve been enjoying that) and see where I go. Hoping it’s out of this corner. Wish me luck.

Also, here’s that finished Wattpad 1970s-1990s magical realism Gen-X friendly book I was talking about, earlier. PLEASE read the forward, so you don’t accidentally read the book if that laundry list of problematic subjects I list offends/triggers/outrages you. It’s not for everyone. But now it’s officially out of the desk, and I won’t have to think about the years of blood, sweat, tears, and heart I put into this thing:

Hey, more Feb-March goals?

— Quit apologizing so darn much. Unless I’ve done something mean, even by accident.

— Try not to hedge, whether writing or speaking.

— Say no if/when I need to.

— Don’t take any guff from people who get angry for me not doing what they think I should when it goes against my own needs and values.

— Believe I deserve happiness and accept kindness.

— Trust in the universe that the sad story going on for so long will have a happy ending, or at least a peaceful transition into something more beautiful than my imagination can come up with.

— Ask for help when life is just too much. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness.

I’ll be back in a month unless/until something wicked cool happens between now and then. You are welcome to join me on this journey.

Sending love,

Rachel and vka


Just Like Honey

Well, good morning, friends. Bear with me, ’cause the post your reading is going to be a little off, since I’m frustrated as heck and exhausted. So not only did I write/save a WP draft of this post, but (yes, for all you folks who say, “Did you have a backup document?”) also had a Word Doc which has also vanished. Since I believe The Universe Is Talking To Us, I took the cosmic hint and am rewriting. Clearly, the original was such bad stuff that it even was not meant for a blog no one reads where I do my navel gazing. It’s so far past bedtime. We’re talking 4:00 a.m., and I’m normally in bed by 10 because that’s how I roll. But now I have to do a rewrite, so I’m not tossing and turning and mad as a hornet.

For the last several hours I’ve been up reading this stained, sticky, torn up manuscript; highlighting, and making notes in margins as though they belonged to a student. Apropos, since I wrote it high school. They were fair comments…encouraging, but honest. More honest than when I graded term papers and Intro to Comp essays. For example, I never wrote “WTF…HAHAHA” on any student’s work. Get this: the last chapter is stuck together, so I’ve no idea how this draft ended. After a long, hard think, after a lot of sorting through memories Just Like Honey ignited, I’ve come to the conclusion that I didn’t know myself so well when I was sixteen years old. Or I did know, was scared to death of myself, lost as eff, and desperately needed someone to talk to.

So I wrote a book.

I remember reading every chapter to my high school girlfriends and then slowly my not-girlfriends from outside cliques who kind of joined us in whatever little corner of the hallway, library, top of a picnic table, wherever we were having story time. Boys were not allowed at these gatherings. Since it grabbed so many of us, something must have resonated with Bridget and Aaron to all of us. What if there was some kind of Troubled Hurting Guy who was so totally wicked mature and super hot. One who could make us feel wonderful, horrible, and beautiful? Here was a story to fill the void of our own unfulfilled fantasies. After all, we lost our collective virginity to the wrong people at the wrong time, and it was mostly a bummer. Sometimes problematic. Sometimes traumatic.

Because, let’s face it. I don’t know how things are with those crazy kids nowadays, but no guy when I grew up had heard of Astroglide, and –far as I can recall– any joy resulting from sexual intimacy was not because our boyfriends or random goons we hooked up with at parties had mad skillz, it was that we girls tried to make it somehow work for us. Otherwise, what was the big deal? Aaron was a wizard in bed. See, he was…well. I’ll stop. Think that was about to be a spoiler, and I haven’t pitched this thing to anyone yet.

In a previous blog, I mentioned how back in the 80s, for “sex ed,” there was lots of info about wet dreams and erections for the fellas. It was like adolescence was this awesome thing that would feel great, and well…just take care of it. What girls were taught about were periods, pregnancy, and birth control. Any physical, explorational happiness adolescent women experienced was something we figured out privately, then shared with each other, and tried to make it work. No biology teacher ever mentioned that girls could masturbate, how to get more relaxed, and quickly. So we had a hormonally brilliant, curious hive mind thing going on.

There were, of course, the Phoebe Cates from Fast Times at Ridgemont High type chicks who were a couple years older, all-knowing, already had A List, and tried to convince everyone they had some kind of cool thing we were missing out on. And yeah, there were a few who brought cucumbers to school to show us how to give a blow job. But, you know it and I know it. Nah. Those boys weren’t cucumbers. We didn’t have any kind of guidebook. Going back to seventh grade? Judy Blume’s Forever had some things wrong. Like It’s Cool To Have Sex Without A Condom. Or first time a girl has sex with a near-virginal guy, has a vaginal orgasm. I mean, come ON. So to speak.

Well, Fifty Shades of Grey confirms the virgin/vadg-gasm, so…anyway.

Okay, there was a copy of  The Story of O circulating, and also Anne Rice/Rampling was becoming a Thing.  Wait…yeah, I had some bodice-rippers (no apologies, fellow erotica writers) bought from used book stores with babysitting money. But none of this was real life any of us teens could relate to, though we tried. None of the sex slaves and ravished maidens were characters we could relate to. Sex was such a mysterious thing, even after you’d “gone all the way.” The fear, excitement, disappointment, confusion, hope, emptiness, and longing. We had to discuss amongst one another, trying to put it together. And hope, at some point, we wouldn’t have to keep explaining to some pimply-faced boy with dyed-black hair, “No, the left. No, the right. Jeez, never mind.” Then give up, because they all were somehow obsessed with “fingering.” Oh, and what to do with the boobs.

Hold on! Just remembered that I had a copy of The Sensuous Man which I started circulating for the boyfriends to pass around. You know, to give them a clue.

Back to the story.

No wonder I decided that writing erotica would be fun. Oh! I should’ve mentioned: the new novel is not erotica. That’s right! It’s NA or YA, depending on how much of The Sexy is in the final draft. Currently, most of the luvvin’ takes place offscreen. And there’s not an awful lot of profanity or hot ‘n dirty talk. Bridget Waters and Aaron D’Amour are no Lily Dewitt and Dorian Holder.

The story was originally called No Strings Attached. It was a gazillion [that’s ’80s teenagerspeak for 200 on a Brother Word Processor] pages long. Since everyone fell in love with the sordid tale of Bridget and Aaron, I decided to call it Bridget and Aaron. Because  girls kept saying, “Read more Bridget and Aaron. Write more Bridget and Aaron,” and I’ve always been a people-pleaser. But after rereading it two decades later, and seeing how prominently 1980s pop-culture fit into the story, I’m going song title-y. Come on, having the Boy You Liked give you a mix tape was the best thing, it would make your week.

Not sure HOW many things were described as being “honey,” but Aaron’s flowing locks, endless cups of coffee, and even kisses were bee-friendly. So Joy Division gave me a the title.

For now. But it might change.

So will this post. Like, tomorrow, because I don’t feel like going back and editing right now. Also, there’s a spoiler alert, which is so not a spoiler. Just don’t want to go into Aaron’s Big Seekrit right now. It’s just too darn PAINFUL. He is, after all, a New Adult Novel hero. Pretty sure this one can’t be YA, but we’ll leave that to whomever decides what genres are, these days. Oh, did I mention I need an agent so I don’t get into a FOURTH snafu with a publisher? Because I so do need one.

I’m so tired.

It’s so late.

Honey-Sweet Kisses,