My Favorite Reads of Another blog lapse. I haven’t posted here since August. This is only my fifth post of 2023 and it’s the last day of the year. Maybe it seems remiss of me not to have posted since August, but I haven’t had anything noteworthy to mention. Since that last post, I’ve just been spinning my wheels, going in circles, and getting nowhere. I tried working on I Was Mistaken, like I mentioned, but it became painful to write. My shrink said a little discomfort is okay, but what I was doing was retraumatizing myself. I then went back to writing about Tara Raikatuji but couldn’t find her voice and so I completed another lap around my circle of stories by returning to Forever Candy. I struggled with the same point of view problems I’ve always had with that story, and my last attempt read back so lifelessly that it made me think of a desiccated grasshopper, if that’s a thing. This week, I pulled out a screenplay I wrote in 2008 about a cellist. It’s kind of a haunted house story. I’m kicking around having a go at novelizing it and it feels fresh because it’s not yet part of my traditional merry-go-round of stories that I tinker with then give up on. I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere though.

So that’s what I’ve been doing since August, even though I’ve written every day for the past 48 days. I’ve been forcing myself to write for a minimum of ten minutes a day to try to get something going. Though I haven’t made any progress on any of my projects, forcing myself to write like this has at least awakened whatever it is that allows me to daydream. I’m hoping this will soon lead me to finding solutions with my current stories or thinking of something entirely new.

I’m going to remember 2023 as the year I had writer’s block. I’ll also remember it as the year I read All the Lovers in the Night and Kokoro. It’s also the year I deleted Twitter, and deactivated my author Instagram and TikTok. I decided only to keep my personal accounts (@deadponies). My author accounts felt like a collection of promotional posts for my books rather than showing anything about me as a person. Hopefully, the posts about me are more interesting than my advertisements.

I really hope I get through this writer’s block soon. I can’t have another year like this. I was thinking about pretending I got an agent and a book deal so I can give myself a deadline to finish something—anything.

Goodbye 2023.

Hello 2024.

Share This Post

In my last post, way back in May, I said I chose to write and began writing Forever Candy as a novel. Today, in August, I’m letting you know I stopped. It fizzled out weeks ago. The voice I was writing in just fell flat. It didn’t feel authentic. I considered starting over in a different voice, but right now, I think I must walk away from it. Maybe someday I’ll try again.  

I finished my first UCLA Extension Creative Writing class, but I dropped the second class.

In the weeks since I stopped writing, I’ve become depressed. I feel adrift and without purpose. But I’ve been putting in a lot of effort in my sessions with my psychologist. I recently began considering writing about my childhood best friend. In the preceding post, titled Pushpins, our story is laid out in the fourth row of note cards and is something I intended to weave into another story I refer to as Candela.

Writing about my childhood best friend is something I think I can only write privately, without the intention of anyone ever seeing it. I think it’s essential in order to tell our story honestly. 

So, for the readers I do have, you may not get anything new from me for a long while.

Delete TwitterI deleted my Twitter accounts. I think Facebook will be on the chopping block next. Social media has proven to be more detrimental than beneficial for me, and after being off it for over 180 days now, the feelings of FOMO rarely surface.

I feel like disappearing. 

I told my psychologist that by my next session I would open a new Scrivener document and save it for the new writing project. That next session is tomorrow. I’ve been struggling with what to save it as for a working title. I could stick with calling it Candela, but I feel like I should start fresh. I’m leaning toward saving it as I Was Mistaken.  

Share This Post
Bulletin Board of Notecards
Three stories in notecards.

I know my last two blog posts suggested I was leaning toward writing a novel version of Filming Tara Raikatuji, but I no longer think it’s going to be my next project. I took six days off from my day job, with the intention of resting before my busy fiscal closing period. On Thursday I mapped out the three stories I’ve been kicking around in my head using note cards to identify the major beats of each story. I typically lay out six beats per story. The stories were Filming Tara Raikatuji, Forever Candy, and something I for now just refer to as Candela. The Candela story has two rows of cards because there are two parallel stories in it. I pinned them to my bulletin board but ran out of pushpins. I don’t know how that happened. I’ve had many more cards on this board before. Anyhow, I felt good after pinning the cards up because it told me I did have things I’d be able to write from beginning to end. In general, I won’t start writing until I know my beginning and ending.

I spent the rest of the day and Friday evaluating which of the three stories I should pursue, and I landed on Forever Candy. It’s the least brave story to write because it’s the least personal, but I chose it for two reasons. The first is that I’ve been worrying about what writing I can share if I continue in this creative writing program at UCLA Extension, because it’s online, and so the instructor and students are all faceless and I don’t find myself getting to know them. I realized that it’s difficult for me to share drafts of things that are very personal with people I don’t know. The second reason is that it’s my goal to traditionally publish my next book, and I think Forever Candy is the easiest to explain and the most marketable.

Saturday, I wrote a prologue for Forever Candy. It was only five hundred words, but it was a beginning, and I’m still happy with how it came out. Yesterday, I pushed myself to shift settings and begin the first chapter. After a couple hours, I only settled on the first three sentences—32 words. But it’s a start. I’m a little intimidated to embark on this book because I’m writing in third person, which I don’t typically do. I also have a major character who’s male, something else I’m not accustomed to if I’m not that male, and especially after spending the last eight years writing Orly Bialek.

But hey, the point is, I began something I feel like I might be able to write all the way to its ending. As always happens at the beginning of any writing project, I think I’ll be able to write this story quickly, in this case, a year. If history is any indication, it’ll likely be at least two years. At least I’m writing again. Yay me.

Okayo, my Love Village favorite.
Okayo, my Love Village crush.

On a totally unrelated note, can I mention just how much I love the new show on Netflix, Love Village? It’s a more mature version of Ainori Love Wagon, which I absolutely loved and made me cry more than any other show I’ve watched. Love Village is making me gush buckets too. If I have any influence over my readers, I highly recommend.

Share This Post

I’m vacationing in Amsterdam, so I haven’t been able to write every day as I had been. But today, I finally found some time to hang out at a three story cafe and write until I felt too shaky from all the coffee I drank. I believe I finally found Candy’s voice. 

There is a similarity between this narrative and the narrative in The Scribbled Victims. Many readers of The Scribbled Victims don’t realize immediately that it is Orly narrating the book. I drop a hint at it in the very first chapter when she interrupts her storytelling to say that she wished that she looked like Yelena. Because of that, a reviewer criticized me of switching from third person to first person, even though it was first person all along. 

Anyhow, Candy will be narrating the story of a man named Burrows, but similarly it is all in her voice. It should be more clear from the get go this time. Who knows, maybe this style will become my thing. 

Share This Post

I’m back to writing every day. I think it’s important that I write every day so that I stay present in my work and also because with writing on my mind all day, I’m generally happier and feel less despair working a day job. This idea to start writing every day again came out of a recent session with my psychologist. For the past three years or so, I’ve only been writing on weekends, because I had been feeling so overworked at my day job because of some projects I was involved with. My psychologist at the time and I decided it would be best for my stress level to stop writing every day. It helped with the stress certainly, but it was ultimately a detriment to my happiness and my feeling of having a purpose. Those projects are over now. I don’t know why I didn’t think of going back to writing every day on my own, and needed a therapy session to come up with the idea, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

Needless to say, I am thrilled to be writing every day again. I feel so much more alive. True, I only set a goal to write for thirty minutes a day. But I set an easy goal as a strategy. It’s easy to find thirty minutes in a day. It’s easy to have enough motivation to sit down for only thirty minutes. But the truth is, it never ends after thirty minutes. I become so consumed with what I’m working on that it can go on for hours. And during that time and the hours following, I feel inspired and excited. 

This week I’ve been writing and rewriting a prologue for a novel version of Forever Candy. (It was originally a screenplay.) Though I’m not nearly satisfied with the writing (I don’t think I found the right voice or style for the book), I feel exhilarated just working on it.

 

Share This Post