Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Summer Reading in Sun-Deprived Seattle

I am really ready to start writing another novel. I mean REALLY.

(Photo of edited draft of BreakupBabe by Leslie Duss).

The thing is, since our whale-tastic vacation, I've been dreaming about whales again. Almost nonstop. Big, barnacle-covered, bad boys.

They're both awesome and frightening in my dreams, so close that I'm afraid of falling in the water and getting eaten by one. You know what THIS means. It means there is an idea under there, bubbling around in my self-conscious, that is about to erupt and take over my life.

I have been reading some of our more bestselling authors lately. Jodi Picoult for one, Nicholas Sparks for another. Yes, Nicholas Sparks, OK! Just get over it! Someone gave me The Guardian and though I put it off I ran out of novels and started reading it and now I can't stop!

Though I find myself struggling, at times, with the ludicrousness of the plots (Picoult), the crudity of the writing (Sparks), these are books I'm dying to get back to at night. These writers are skilled storytellers. Sparks, in particular, proves you don't need a fancy plot to make a gripping story.

His writing appears so simple that he makes it seem EASY and you know when something seems easy it's not. Which reminds me of one of my all-time favorite writers, Alexander McCall Smith. Now here is a true master. With his No. #1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, he writes stories that are funny, sad, and uplifting with a structure and voice so seemingly simple you think "I CAN WRITE LIKE THIS!"

And of course you can't. So at first these stories are inspiring and then they are truly depressing - when you sit down to write your own simple, beautiful masterpiece only to produce garbled nothingness, but I digress.

In other news, I have too many effing blogs. I need to rein in my sprawling Web presence.

In other, other news, while we were on our whaletastic whale-watching trip, co-captain Dave channeled Jacques Cousteau to narrate this Academy-Award winning video "The Sea is a Lonely Place." The narration is hard to hear and gets drowned out (no pun intended, ha ha) completely after the first half but you can still see some whalies swimming around.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Whale-tastic Vacation

Just returned from vacation and you all know how I feel about THAT.

Bills piled up blah blah. Boring work to do blah blah. World shrinking down from big wide wave-slapped orca-studded to an 8x10 cell encasing me and my two officemates like an overstuffed sausage.

I shall cease my whining now, however, and focus on the *positive.* Like how very relaxing it was to sit on the deck of our lodge and look out at this view.

How very excited I got when we went on a whale-watching trip and I saw more orcas than I could ever have dreamed of? Jumping, swimming, slapping their tails and generally being whale-tastic. I snapped this photo of a humpback, who would obligingly flip his tail up in this photogenic manner.

We did see a few whales while on kayaks but they were so far away as almost not to count.

Whether these whales I paid to see "count" I don't know. Now that I saw them will the idea for my next novel come to me? Or does a giant whale need to come to me unbidden in my dreams? Oh who knows. Who cares.

Before I can move on to my next novel I have to finish this $#%@! article about skiing that I keep trying to grapple to the ground and that keeps jumping up and knocking ME over. I'm the writer here? Aren't I supposed to be in charge? Huh? HUH?

But back to kayaking and my trip with Sea Kayak Adventures. The food was delicious, the scenery was stunning. There were seals, sea lions, and more bald eagles than I have ever seen in my life.

I was rudely awakened every morning at 7:30 a.m. by a breakfast bell then mocked for stumbling in after everyone else but it was a small price to pay for making an escape into this corner of the world known as God's Pocket where my biggest challenge was trying to get my spray skirt on and not gorge myself on the new desserts that appeared every single day.

More later. XO,


Friday, August 3, 2007

On the Trail of the Elusive Three-Toed Byline

I forgot to mention to y'all that you should immediately go out and buy the August issue of Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, in which I have an article.

The article is not available online, although you can see a description of it on their Web site where it describes this month's issue.

My article has nothing to do with food. It's all about tracking wild animals. Which I guess COULD be about food, or WAS thousands of years ago, and still IS for some people but not for us yuppies in Seattle. For us it's all about getting in touch with nature and our long-lost hunter gatherers and its actually quite a cool experience. Read the article and you'll know all about it!

OK now I really am going on vacation.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

O Whale, Where Art Though?

I just wanted to alert you that if you don't hear from me for a while it's not because I've finally been given the big pink tour bus and carte blanche to go where I will but it's because I'm piloting a kayak in the Queen Charlotte strait looking for whales with Sea Kayak Adventures.

Yes WHALES. Do you know why? Those of you who've read my novel knows that a whale figures prominently in the book. In fact, the whale is one of the few symbols I managed to get in there.

Our erstwhile heroine, Rachel, dreams about a giant whale just as she is going through her breakup with Loseur. She realizes that this whale symbolizes her creativity and that something creative is going to come out of this breakup, though she doesn't know what it is.

That creative burgeoning is her blog, of course. Her blog, and mine, since I had the same dream. And I tell you, in my dream that whale was BIG. It scared the living daylights out of me and excited me at the same time.

But since the whale's prophesy has come true, she's nowhere to be seen. Hello? Whale? Don't I get to write another book? You can't just leave me like this! Come back? Please?

Oh I've seen a few barracuda, some Sergeant Majors, and a pufferfish or two. But nothing bigger than that in the last two years. They're cute and all but they just don't cut it as far as major inspiration goes.

Thusly I am heading north to Canadian waters. Where I will be kayaking for one week hoping to glimpse the whale again. Humpback, orca, grey whale, I don't care. Any old whale will do.

Wish me luck. I shall return August 14, God willing.