Saturday, October 6, 2012

Back again...

Yes, it’s been a long time since my first blog entry. I was very proud of myself for finally getting my blog started and planned to do an entry every week. Then tragedy struck. Well okay, it wasn’t a tragedy in the real sense of the word, but it was for me and so that’s how I’m defining it.

So here’s what happened: I had just finished the draft of my first book and was feeling all good about the feedback I’d received from an editor. Buoyed, I delved headstrong into the second novel I was working on, having been told that I should not have any real down time between the first and second books. Momentum was the word of the month and not even the distractions of the home buying process were going to derail my focus. Only one thing could do that and it did – I lost my manuscript. Yes, I mean the whole thing. I like to work on my netbook and because Wi-Fi access is not always a guarantee when I’m out and about, I was saving my work on a flash drive. So organized was I, that I even kept the two novels on separate drives. Lucky for me I guess, because I lost the one with the second novel on it and not the one with the completed manuscript. Still, I was devastated and searched everywhere for it; I turned over furniture, tore through my office at work, called every coffee shop I had visited over the last few days and searched my car every day for a week (like maybe I just missed it the third, fourth or fifth time I looked).

I finally gave up searching for it (for all of you readers of The Secret, please don’t judge. I really tried to summon it to me). So, I just went back to the drawing board, but every time I started to rewrite those chapters, I got frustrated and sad. Now I know what it feels like when a pet goes missing (briefly contemplated putting up lost and found posters for the flash drive, but came to my senses). I continued to work on revising my first book and getting it ready for market, but essentially starting from scratch on that second book was just too difficult.

It took me a long while before I could get motivated to write again. Thank goodness for writing workshops. I attended the Black Writers Reunion & Conference in Fort Lauderdale at the end of August and it was exactly what I needed. Seeing my old friends and meeting new ones lifted my spirits and hearing about the paths their writing careers were taking them definitely was the shoulder shake I needed. Writing is my passion and if I don’t sow, I won’t reap.

So, I’m back at it again with a renewed spirit and a willingness to let the loss go (though I must confess, after seeing the movie, The Words, I think I might react more along these lines if I found out somebody did that with my manuscript:   But no, I’ll think more positively and believe this second start will be better than the first one. I’m committed to finishing it, so stay tuned…

Oh, so what am I listening to for motivation this time around? Today it’s Peter Tosh’s version of Johnny B Goode. I remember my dad playing that one a lot when I was young. Peter Tosh’s raw, soulful rendition of this song conjures images of my main character making his way through the hillsides of Jamaica. Running..."What is he running from?” you ask. You’ll have to wait and see.
Until next time!

Monday, April 23, 2012

In the Mood to Write

How do I get in the mood to write? (You’re dying to know, and if you’re not, just play along).  Music does it for me.  I find it hard to write in complete silence, probably because music has always been a prominent feature in my life.  When I was younger, my parents always had some sweet reggae playing at home on the weekends.  Our house was always filled with the sounds of Bob Marley and the Wailers, Third World, Gregory Isaacs and many other classic reggae artists.  As I got older, my brother became the main source of noise around the house.  His heart was always in R & B and later Hip Hop, though he was forever in my father’s reggae collection and got busted several times for disturbing the settings on the stereo.  “Who turn up the bass so loud?” was always a frequent question, to which my brother would always raise his shoulders and shrug innocently in response.

After a bit of a struggle, I got used to studying with the bass thumping through the basement as my brother honed his deejaying skills.  “But I have to practice!” he would yell in response to me yelling, “I’m trying to study for my exams, do you mind?!”

Now, I find myself using music as a source of inspiration.  The novel I just completed, Somerset Grove, is partially set in Jamaica and I often relied on those reggae rhythms to transport me to the island, to help me create imagery and to shape the mood of my characters.  From the soulful sounds of Beres Hammond singing of Sweet Lies to Michael Rose singing of a Shine Eye Gal, they all influenced me and make me smile when I think of my heritage.

So what’s playing on my iPhone now?  Affairs of the Heart by Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley.  Love a good Marley tune!  It makes me realize that I’m long overdue for a trip to Jamaica.  Until  then, I’ll just keep the iTunes going so I can keep the words flowing.  

I’m interested to learn what inspires you.  If you’d like to share, please leave a comment below.