Saturday, December 14, 2013

what's making me feel really old today

It's not just that Patty Duke is celebrating her 67th birthday (how is this possible?) it's that she's doing PSAs for Medicare. Crazy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

@MargaretAtwood's ode in 140 to @StephenKing

If there was any doubt that Margaret Atwood writes her own twitter, it was dispelled by her performance tonite in which she improv'd a fractured Xmas carol to newcomer Stephen King. This isn't the first time she's been brilliant in short. A few years ago, Wired asked her to come up with a six word story and she cribbed a checklit novel instead: "Longed for him. Got him. Shit."


Monday, December 9, 2013

now the scariest man on twitter

Stephen King is on twitter. Yep, that Stephen King. Of course, there are plenty of writers on twitter, but most of us are trying to launch a career. Magillas in the publishing world (or their handlers) generally don't feel the need to give it away in a medium that is unfamiliar to them. Some are opposed, even vehemently, to the suggestion, that twitter, or any social space matters. After mocking Facebook, Jonathan Franzen told students at Tulane last March that "Twitter stands for everything I's like writing a novel without the letter 'P'." (Interestingly, he now has a Facebook page.)

I like that Stephen King's twitter account is, apparently, written by him. His first tweets bear all the endearing marks of a newbie:

The wish for mercy: "My first tweet. No longer a virgin. Be gentle!"

The stage fright: "On Twitter at last, and I can't think of a thing to say."

The flailing for content: "Watching THE RETURNED."

But I have utmost confidence that the author of 56 novels and the winner of a bajillion awards will soon find his twitter legs and run with the alpha tweeters. Even with just 13 tweets, he's got 175,000 followers. I commend him for venturing into a new medium, for bringing his awesome chops to the social space, for not delegating the task to a PR machine as some other bestselling authors do.

I'll follow his stream not only for what he comes up with, but for his engagement with other authors. I didn't realize Jeanette Winterson tweeted until I saw her listed in the Guardian today. She, apparently writes her own posts, too: "I have bought a light-up reindeer. Even writers need a night off." Seeing what famous people do when they're not doing what makes them famous.  I love that about twitter.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

on writing and not

When I worked staff at ad agencies, tap tap tapping late into the night, coming up with copy for face creams or shampoos or cameras or drugs with alarming side effects, I longed to be writing my own stuff, imagining the day--like James Dickey (Coke) or Don Delillo (Sears)-- I'd be able to devote time to crafting work of my own invention.

Fast forward to 2012, the year I get a (wonderful) agent (Kate Johnson) and soon after that, bid-a-boom, a two-book deal from Simon and Schuster. The first book's an ebook. This, I'm told, is the new strategy for launching debut authors: first an ebook, then a hardcover that's promoted as a "first book." (Who am I to question?)

My ebook came out last March (check it out here) and the hardcover is due out next year. It's not a series. The ebook is about advertising at the turn of the century (1999) and the hardcover is about a woman who does something heinous and gets away with it for 22 years.

Writing novels is something I've wanted to do since I was eight and devoted a school composition book to telling the undramatic tale of a family of robins who took up residence in the maple tree in our back yard.

It's the opportunity I've always wanted--someone wants my work enough to transform it into a bona fide book. The deadline is yesterday--deadlines are always helpful to creatives in getting work out. So why am I having such a hard time coming up with words tonight? Why aren't words tripping off my keyboard onto the screen? Why is my brain just as resistant to writing the next page of the novel as it was to writing a spot for antacid?

Why is writing so hard, even when it's the one thing you most want to do?

Why were these 300 words such a cinch to come up with, when the scene I'm supposed to be writing stays stuck in my head?