Messages from the Deep

"Sleeping Woman" oil painting by Tamara de Lempicka

“Sleeping Woman” oil painting by Tamara de Lempicka

A couple nights ago, as I was falling asleep, my mind suddenly shifted focus to the beginning of Perceval in Love, the third novel in the Perceval series.  I’ve written about half of the first draft.  The first chapter has bugged me since I wrote it.  My mind proceeded to rewrite the first few pages, changing the tone from defensive to open and vulnerable.  It also opened the door to the reconciliation between two characters that I had not been sure about before.  In short, of its own accord, my mind resolved the problem of these two characters.  What especially pleased me was the depth of emotion that came through from these two characters, especially for each other.  Wow.

Where did that come from?

Earlier this week, I read a post by Damyanti over at Daily (w)rite about listening to the subconscious.  I have depended on my subconscious for helping me solve problems in my writing, helping me get to know my characters, and for visualizing the world in which the characters live.  So, to answer Damyanti — yes, I do take cues from my subconscious for my fiction.  I also believe that the imagination/subconscious will communicate its desires whether we are totally aware of the source or not.

One way I encourage my subconscious is to purposefully think about a problem or issue I want to tackle the next day as I’m getting ready for bed at night.  Usually I don’t have to do more than that to get the wheels turning in my subconscious.  But if you’re the kind of person who expects an immediate answer, you’ll be frustrated.  The subconscious/imagination operates on its own time.  It will not be rushed.  The answer will eventually come.

Most of the time I’m not really that aware of my subconscious at work.  I can physically experience it at times — it’s kind of an electric buzz that runs through every cell of my body.  What I do is to trust that my imagination wants to play with me and my characters.  Trust in the process.  This can be the hardest part of writing fiction.  To sit back and go with the flow of it, to not force it at all, to listen to the voices that the imagination presents to me.  Trust my imagination to guide me on the best path for the story and characters.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve worked on fiction.  For the last year or two, I’ve been focused on e-publishing production, marketing, and nonfiction (for paying markets).  I’d hoped that this year I’d do a revision of the second novel in the Perceval series, and if that goes well, to finish the first draft of book three.  I may end up with just a handful of short stories, though.  I shall write fiction!

Thinking about writing fiction means that I am feeling much better physically, emerging from the health crisis that so preoccupied my mind for the first four months of this year.  Has my subconscious also sent me a message from the deep by re-writing the first few pages of novel three’s beginning?  Could that message be that I need to re-arrange my priorities again and make fiction a primary priority?  My imagination would rather play with fiction than deal with the concerns of life and adult responsibilities…..

Laptop Computer: a tool of the writer in 2015

Laptop Computer: a tool of the writer in 2015

#Read #Authors – #Copyright #Infringement #Notification…

ccyager:

This subject is not something I’ve thought about very much, but it’s an important one to put front and center now that I have a published novel.

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog:

copyright-culprit

I have been hearing from a LOT recently that more SCAM BOOK SITES are appearing online in ever increasing numbers…

What can YOU do about it?

If you are an author and YOUR book(s) are being offered without your permission – issue DMCA Notices (SEE BELOW FIRST)

If you are a readerPLEASE DO NOT USE THESE SITES!

It may be tempting to get books FOR FREE or at greatly reduced prices but…

They may be a click farm looking for your email

and you will be infected with a virus.

*****

AUTHORS – VERY IMPORTANT!!!

DO NOT SEND THE OFFENDING SITE A DIRECT NOTICE.

If they are on Facebook – Use Facebook’s reporting form to remove their link source from Facebook’s server.

My attorney warns me not to click on them, but to send a form letter to their server.

You can find out their server here:

View original 474 more words

If You Can Help….

emergency room

Yes, it’s come to this.  I hate asking for any kind of help, but especially for help with paying bills, anything with money involved.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to work since the end of January as I’ve struggled with Interstitial Lung Disease which makes me short of breath.  My insurance covers 90% right now, until I fulfill my out-of-pocket costs.  I have also co-pays.  There have been unexpected expenses such as renting the oxygen equipment, buying a nebulizer, new prescriptions, a shower stool, and an oximeter.  I also have my regular bills.

A Facebook friend started a crowdsource funding campaign at GoFundMe to raise money to help me pay my bills, transportation to doctor appointments, and any other medical expenses that come up.  So far, $1545 has been raised, and I’ve been using it to pay the bills that have already come in.  The goal is $5000.

If you have not yet donated to this campaign “Cinda Yager Medical Expense Fund,” and you would like to help, just click on the link and donate.  Anything you can do will be very, very much appreciated.

Thank you!

Gina's Eyes

Not Writing

Credit: Deepak Nanda/Wikipedia.org

Credit: Deepak Nanda/Wikipedia.org

Where are you?  Yes, I continue to occupy my space on this planet.  No, I have not stopped writing although it may seem that way since I haven’t written here in weeks.  I have not written anywhere in weeks.  I’ve written e-mails and signed release documents.  I’ve written notes to myself, and grocery lists.  But I have not been able to write any essays or fiction.  Why?

That reminds me of a story I heard or read — I don’t know from whom or where now since I didn’t make a note of it — about the writers Andre Dubus and Tobias Wolff.  Dubus had stopped on a freeway to help a motorist whose car had broken down, and a car hit him.  I don’t recall if it stopped or not.  But Dubus was grievously injured and had an extended recovery.  After several months, he wanted to return to his writing but found that he couldn’t.  He talked with his friend, Tobias Wolff, complaining that he couldn’t write.  Wolff replied that Dubus had suffered a terrible physical injury that needed time for healing, and he’d also suffered a terrible soul injury that also needed time for healing.  Once his soul had healed, he’d write.

Normally, I stay away from writing here about personal concerns.  However, at this time, I believe I owe my readers an explanation.  So….

About January 25, I fell ill with what I thought was the flu.  I expected a week in bed, but I began to feel better after three days.  Then on day 8, it hit me again with a vengeance, knocking me off my feet for another 3 days.  During that time, I decided that I needed to go to the doctor, but I had to wait for confirmation that I was covered by my new insurance.  I received that on Thursday, and I went to my doctor on Friday. She told me that I needed immediate treatment and admitted me to the hospital.

I could barely breathe, and I was coughing all the time.  In the hospital, the doctor diagnosed pneumonia and ordered IV antibiotics.  He also ordered some other tests that revealed my kidneys were in the process of shutting down, my blood calcium level was sky high, and my lungs looked to be scarred.  The first two issues were easily reversed with fluids.  The last was something we discussed, but he chose to focus on stopping the pneumonia infection.  He was successful with that, and I was discharged 4 days later.

The following week I was recovering well from the pneumonia, but then my condition took a turn.  About 2 weeks after my discharge, I ended up in the Emergency Room of the large University hospital, barely able to breathe.  The ER doctor thought that the pneumonia had returned and put me on oxygen and IV antibiotics.  He admitted me to the hospital and I acquired an Internal Medicine team who’d work on my case.

The IM team fairly quickly concluded the issue wasn’t pneumonia, and most likely wasn’t even an infection.  They called in Pulmonology for a consult, and my life took a truly unexpected turn.  I underwent blood tests, a CT scan, a bronchoscopy including biopsies and lavage, and then a heart ultrasound.  It was intense.  Meanwhile, my appetite came back which was a good thing — I’d lost over 10 pounds since this whole situation began. Fortunately, this hospital’s food was OK.

This time I was in the hospital 7 days but we got a general diagnosis: Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD).  There are several types of ILD based on cause, and we’re still trying to find out the cause(s).  The bottom line for me is that I have lung disease.  It may be possible to reverse some of the scarring, but I will now be susceptible to lung infections, especially flu and pneumonia.  This time when they discharged me, they sent me home with a tank of oxygen, and  an oxygen supplier arrived shortly after I did at my apartment and set me up for home oxygen.

Photo: Vasillisa/GoodFon.su

Photo: Vasillisa/GoodFon.su

I am recovering from the pneumonia and the ILD flare-up.  I am still enmeshed in the medical world more than usual and still very much in a primal survival mode.  As a result of all this, my energy is quite low and I sleep a lot; my appetite is fine and I’m craving protein, especially fish; and my concentration is terrible.  Last evening was the first time since the end of January that I wanted to read, and I was able to read without falling asleep.  I have not written in my journal for weeks, haven’t written blog posts, haven’t done any work on essays or fiction.  My body is still recovering from its terrible battle and cries for help.  I wonder how long it will take my soul to recover…..

 

What does being an Artist mean in 2015?

a_readers_advice_to_writers-460x307Writing is an art and a craft. Storytelling is a universal human characteristic. The art is often in how the story is told.  The craft is in the mechanics. Wasn’t it Stephen King who famously commented that his stories may not be literary fiction but he worked hard for them to be written and told well.  Literature, of course, falls under The Arts, along with sculpture, painting, drawing, music, dance, theater, and yes, even movies.  There is the art of cooking, the art of macrame, the art of baseball, but none of these are considered to be arts.  Writing, however, is because it’s literature (in the broadest sense), so writers are artists.

What does that mean?  There was a time in human history about 500 years ago

Photo: cnn.com

Glass-blowing artisan Photo: cnn.com

when it meant being a worker bee.  You would have been called an artisan or a craftsman.  Shakespeare, for example, was an actor and a playwright, a writer who fashions plays as a wheelwright fashions wheels.  You would have served as an apprentice under a master artisan to learn the craft and the tradition of your art.  While some masters could be highly esteemed by society and/or the aristocracy, their social station was in the middle or lower middle class, just below the merchants.  In other words, while art was prized and creativity respected, you would not have been thought of that highly.  Only master artisans could claim some measure of fame and maybe a little fortune.

Eventually, people began regarding artists as geniuses.  Why geniuses?  I suspect because they could think of and create things no one else could.  Johann Sebastian Bach, for example, was considered a master and a genius, while he thought of himself as a hard-working artisan.  This notion of genius accompanied a time when patronage was common.  All artists sought the patronage of someone in the aristocracy.  Ludwig van Beethoven, in Vienna, won the patronage of the Kinsky family at one time.  He, clever boy that he was, worked as a piano teacher to the children of the aristocracy making powerful connections in the process.  Despite this, he was never a rich man, but he was considered a genius, even in his time.

Ludwig van Beethoven        Source: Wikipedia

Ludwig van Beethoven Source: Wikipedia

In the 19th century Romantic period, the artist as genius blossomed into the artist as solitary genius who toils in an unheated garret without the money to buy his next meal.  This Romantic notion persisted also throughout the 20th century accompanied by the idea of art being a calling from a divine source.  Good grief.  That certainly raised expectations unreasonably for anyone creating in the arts. But this is the image and idea that we are most familiar with when someone says, “She’s an artist.”  A word about the solitary part of this image: for many artists, solitude is a necessity for them to create.  It no longer remains a requirement, however.

By the end of the 20th century, with technology burgeoning, a major change occurred.  In the past, artists relied on someone else to distribute their art, i.e. publishers for literature and music, galleries for painters and sculptors, etc.  For performing arts like music and dance, there is another layer of distribution, i.e. the performers who bring the music or dance to the general public.  This distribution system is not at all like that of the artisans 500 years ago who hustled for business like any of their fellow craftsmen.  And guess what?  Technology has returned artists to the artisanal way of doing things.

Laptop Computer: a tool of the writer in 2015

Laptop Computer: a tool of the writer in 2015

What does it mean to be an artist in 2015? It means living and creating during a transition period regarding distribution of our art.  For writers, it means becoming also a publisher, marketer, distributor, and publicist.  In other words, we writers are not only writer-artists, but also we are now writer-business people. Or entrepreneurs. I see this strongly in my own life.  What I hope is that writer-artists or any artists for that matter will not fall back to the artisan-craftsman one below merchant class level.  I think that within each of our creative lives we are artisans, craftsmen, geniuses, and artists worthy of patronage.

If you would like to read a rich, literary article on this subject, William Deresiewicz’s “The Death of the Artist and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur” in the January/February 2015 issue of The Atlantic, lays it all out in artistic black and white text.  I know I’ll be thinking about this article for a long time.

At some moment in my life, I heard someone say that living life is an art which makes everyone an artist…..