writerly confession in genre.

 Writerly Confession #1: I'm struggling to figure out what type of genre to write in. I think I want to write literary fiction; I like character development way more than plot. But when I grab Poets & Writers magazine from my mailbox each month and start flipping through it, I see names of people featured in articles as if I--a writer reading about other writers--should just naturally know who these obviously very important people are. And because I haven't heard their name ever, does that exclude me from the fancy writer people club? I sort of sense it does, or at the very least puts me off in a corner by myself at all the fancy writer people cocktail mixers.

Writerly confession #2: I dig romance writers. Not the romances they write--just the actual people who write them. I've never been on a romance writer's blog or website where I haven't thought: I'd totally go out to a lot of dinners and coffee dates and wine tastings with this chick.

The thought of writing beach read romance books really appeals to my bank account. It also appeals to inner 9th grade Amy who was totally addicted to Danielle Steele books, not even caring about all the run-on sentences and the over use of the word "and." I was in love with her formulaic plots with just the character names/physical features changed. Danielle Steele taught inner 9th grade Amy all the formulaic finer points and how to fix shallow romantic problems. Inner ninth grade Amy completely aspires to be the next Danielle Steele. I'm sure Danielle and inner ninth grade Amy would have great fun at lunch dates, shopping for Coach bags and other shallow things.

Writerly Confession #3: But I just don't think I could write convincingly about someone's superficial romantic issues or about someone's hot throbbing whatever and not feel I was somehow contributing to the delinquency of a society already on the fast path to a quick downward spiral. No, wait! I could, I totally could. But only if I wrote under a pseudonym. But if I wrote under a pseudonym, maybe me and my cool romance writer chicks wouldn't have friendly wine parties since they wouldn't know my true identity so they could call me up and invite me...and so then, what's the point? I'd have all this money in the bank but no co-workers to spend it on wine and pithy yucks with. AND I've furthered societal downward spirals. I think that's a literary equivalent of selling one's soul to the devil.

Writerly Confession # 4: I feel like I should be writing for children or young adults; that's where my expertise has pretty much been for the last 18 years or so. But I'm not sure I want to write for young adults. People around me say: go write the next Harry Potter series. But I'm not into Harry Potter things. In fact, I'm not into Harry Potter, Justin Bieber, Dungeons & Dragons, Comic Con, Selena Gomez, Nickelodeon shows, and whatever else motivates youngsters these days. I've moved on from those things, and when I interact with young people now, it's as an adult, not an equal and they need to do their homework and respect my authority and follow the rules because I said to, The END. I have a very real suspicion people who write for young adults don't think like this or write to kids like this, and that's why young adults love their books so much. I love kids and despite what I sound like I genuinely enjoy hanging out with them; it's just that I think 95% of their problems are ridiculous. I mean, they don't even pay taxes yet.

Writerly Confession #5: Women's Fiction. I am one. Wouldn't I know how to write to/about/for other women? But I just don't know if I could write women's fiction that wouldn't end up getting shelved with all the Romance Writer/Danielle Steele chick lit books. I just don't think my women's fiction writer skills are sharp enough quite yet.

Then there's Sci Fi, which--I like Science, and kind of consider myself to be a logical, Science-y kind of geek girl in spite of my real bend toward hippie spirituality and reluctance to let go of magical thinking. But (Writerly Confession #6): I'm just  disinterested in writing fiction about it (doesn't it feel like an oxymoron anyway? Science (fact) Fiction (not fact)?). And there's Horror, but I'm squeamish about blood and guts and I'm terrified of ghosts (though I have been known to hunt for them on occasion. It's true: I'm an odd dichotomy of a person).

Man, I'm really in a quandry here, friends. Am I over thinking this? I think I'm over thinking this. I bet I should just write and let other people tell me what genre I'm writing in.

Writerly Confession #7: Wait. Did I...I think I just found my genre! I will call it: The No Genre genre. Or the Let Other People Tell You Your Genre genre. Phew! Thanks for staying with me while I figured that out.

Writerly Confession #8: I really like typing and saying the word "genre." It feels fancy. And French. In fact, if I ever end up at any fancy writer cocktail mixers, I will pepper my talk with this word and the phrase "je ne sais quoi" a lot. (The other really swank French phrase I'm familiar with is voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir, but I think you're only allowed to break that out with Aretha Franklin or people you're very close to and it's considered highly inappropriate at fancy cocktail mixers.)



Hi, I'm Amy and I'm a writer. Technically, I'm NOT a writer. Technically I have a day job that gives me a nice paycheck once a month, provides health insurance, and puts food on my table, clothes on my back, and a roof over my head (these last three are really important things because I get pretty nasty-tempered when my blood sugar crashes, I have a slight problem in malls and at Target, and I think I'd make a really crappy homeless person/panhandler).

But I still like to call myself a writer (lower case w), even though I've never been published. And, uh, haven't done a lot of writing over the last few years. It's that last one that's really putting a cramp in my writerly aspirations.

Never been published: I've only sent one piece out to one place and it was promptly rejected.  This didn't stop me from writing; I'm just using it as an example to illustrate how very little focus I have when it comes to writing: I've written for years and years and years, and I've sent out exactly one piece, to one place, five years ago. The End.

I've been fascinated with words since I found out about them--a story my mom likes to float around about me is that, when I was 6, I liked to read the Wall Street Journal. (I wasn't actually reading the Wall Street Journal--just picking out all the sight words I was learning. Did you know the Wall Street Journal is chock full of grade school level sight words? It's true--go read one right now and count them all. I'll wait.) And ever since that one story about the owl family that delighted my 2nd grade teacher, I took my Wall Street Journal sight word reading skills and applied them to writing stories. Second grade narratives were followed by 7th grade sci-fi attempts, which were followed by bad romances featuring really classic, romantic figures like Michael Jackson.

Back around 2001, I wrote a piece reflecting on the sudden death of my dad and shared it with some family and friends who all said: this is good! (because that's what family and friends are SUPPOSED to say, homies). But then I shared it with some strangers who said the same thing. And then I said, "Well, maybe I should write some more and share some more with more strangers." And I did. I wrote some more and shared some more with strangers (of the non-publisher variety), but lost focus and here we are today.

Not writing: I haven't written a lot over the last 2 or 3 years. I could say this is because I had a kid, and that's why. But a lot of people have kids and still find the time to write books or music or paint or ski or lose 100 pounds or whatever, so it's just kind of an excuse I like to throw around. I use it for why I no longer run/work out, too, by the way. In fact, I find kids are really convenient for excuse-making, as well as fetching things from the kitchen for you. I'm not suggesting that's why I had one, but I'm also not denying it.

Not writing. That's pretty big, isn't it? You can't really, you know, get published if you don't have anything thing, say for example, written down that's kind of, I don't know, ready to be published. Can you call yourself a writer if the only writing you ever do is in your head?

Lately, I've thought a lot about writing while not writing. Once upon a time I wrote every single day. In fact, in my head I still write every single day; it's just that nothing from there ever makes it to paper or a computer screen. But the act of actual writing, sit-butt-in-chair-and-write writing? Not so much. You'll see me waste time on Facebook and Pinterest a lot. I spend a lot of time with my butt in a chair doing that. You'll see me Googling odd and bizarre things like "hot celebrity men a girl can daydream about." I do a lot of googling about things like that while butt sitting. I think I alone am responsible for the 10,000+ hits on Gerard Butler, Clive Owen, and Jason Isaacs' unofficial fan pages.

But that's not really writing is it? And if I really want to be a Writer (capital W), I suppose I'll have to sit down and do that. My writer/ spiritual hero Anne Lamott says you're supposed to do this if you're a writer, and if Anne Lamott says to do it, writerly people: you do it!

Anyway. The whole point of this blog is writing. Writing about writing, posting snippets of stuff I've written, and occasionally doing what I do best: mourning my life in writing, for all the world to see and judge and comment on (is that not why the concept of blogging even started in the first place? I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere on technogeek.com back in the early 2000's).

If you are here because I found your blog and stalked you into visiting mine, HI! I'm glad you gave in and came here. If you are here by accident, I'm sorry? Maybe you'll find something useful (sometimes I like to write about pairing the perfect bottle of cheap wine and grilled cheese).

If you are Clive Owen, Gerard Butler, or Jason Isaacs or one of their agents, could you please leave me a note with information on where/how to apply for a personal assistant job for you? I am good at: writing blog entries that ramble off into incomprehensible tangents, putting a load of laundry in the washer and then forgetting about it for 3 days, and pairing cheap wines with grilled cheese sandwiches. In fact, I can't believe no one in Hollywood knows how to pair cheap wines with grilled cheese sandwiches, and I think that's wrong, a complete travesty. You should hire me to rectify that for you. (I'll need to bring my 4 year old along on most jobs, but she's very adept at tippy-toe walking and having melt downs in public so it'll be an awesome experience for everyone, I promise!)