a journal of observations, obsessions and inspirations

musings on the artist's life

Posted in: Books, Uruguay

The everyday, unsexy book work

Working like crazy on the book, have been for a couple months. Mostly it’s wrangling all the research – the interviews in particular – into a form I can access and pull them into whatever is going to become The Book. So I’m listening to the audio files while reading against the transcripts, making corrections. Noting stories I want to extract. Reacquainting myself with the experience of the interviews themselves.[…]

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Posted in: Uruguay

Learning to love la vida tranquila

Everything is a little slower here, which is a welcome change. But it’s taking some getting used to. The picture shows a view of downtown Atlántida – the centro – in winter. It’s a tourist town that comes alive from mid-December to the end of February, and nearly all restaurants and many other businesses close down for the rest of the year. Houses in the centro are now shuttered, with[…]

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Posted in: Writing

Mixing things up

As I start getting back into the book, I’m running into options. Forks in the path. This is my favorite part of a writing project, the not-knowing-where-it’s-going. Can’t wait to see the twists and turns it will take (and take me with it) towards the final form. The way I answer the questions that come up helps determine that path, of course. Here’s one: cameras and film. When I go[…]

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Posted in: Books

Once again…

The tenor book. During the last 14 years, this project has variously been my frustration, my focus or my inspiration, and sometimes all at once. More than 100 interviews, 65,000+ miles of travel and thousands of hours in, I’ve dealt with one interruption after another – “life getting in the way” I call it. I don’t have the time; I have other responsibilities now. I’ve tried to abandon the book,[…]

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Posted in: Books

How your Blurb book can deliver perfect happiness

I’m happy with my book. Maybe that obsessively perfectionist streak of mine pays off. Or maybe it’s just the research geek in me. Yesterday one of my FAB friends reminded me that there is no problem/topic/issue that cannot be squashed flat by piling enough research on top of it. Made me laugh, because I can sooo get lost in research, following leads, digging into something—not to flatten, but to create[…]

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Posted in: Books

How to survive self-publishing

I’ll never be any traditional publisher’s dream client. I don’t fit in. I mean, I’m pretty happy to have gotten my elevator speech on the current book down to four and a half minutes, but that doesn’t make for easy marketing. So it’s a good thing I have a day job. Figuring I’d sell fewer than 100 copies (about 20, probably!) makes print-on-demand a great option. I’d worn all the hats,[…]

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Posted in: Writing

How to write a book, 15 minutes at a time

What, am I nuts? I work full time at a high-stress job. I go to school at night. I’m the sole caretaker for my 84-year old mother. And I think I’m going to write another book? Me? I don’t have time to write. That was a year and a couple months ago. This week I’m taking a look at a test book — effectively a press proof — and my[…]

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Posted in: Writing

Finding my writer’s voice

Since the fourth grade, I’d been pushed, prodded, scolded and guided to a particular style of writing. Something formal. Suitable for school. In dozens of English, history, literature courses, I learned how to write appropriately for class papers. Later on, I’d learn how to write appropriately in an office, whether I was working for attorneys, in marketing and corporations selling products. Sure, I could do it. But none of it[…]

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Posted in: Reading, Writing

Variation on a theme

Do you know “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the 1892 story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman? Reading it makes me feel I exist on a couple of intertwining levels, neither dominating. It’s both an extremely well-crafted piece of writing and a compelling story from the opening paragraphs. It makes me long to know what happens to her – not just the final result, but all along the way. Despite several early references to[…]

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Posted in: Writing

Am I now, or have I ever been?

Things are not what they seem. Depending on the day, my world can range from slightly off balance to pretty much skewed to completely upside down. Talking about a life in balance and taking care of oneself, that’s all well and good – in theory. But taking care of even one “self” is a challenge (I’m supposed to say) or pretty flippin’ impossible if you ask me, what with the[…]

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