Conference afterglow

I went to the 2019 Spring Conference for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators of Oklahoma this weekend. Originally I was planning to not go. I hadn’t even updated my membership, even though I was still doing some publicity work for the group. I was very blah about the whole thing, and I couldn’t seem to get anything published. Writing was at a stall. I wasn’t even going to my SCBWI Oklahoma meetings, even though I’d always enjoyed them. I went to critique group, but it was a big challenge to go.

So I had a dream, and out of that dream came the idea for the novel I am about to begin writing. I was trying to feel more enthusiastic and writers-ly, so I invited the best writer friend I’ve got, Kim, over to talk publishing and stuff. So we hung out and talked, and she invited me to stay with her during the conference (it was in Tulsa). So I went and registered.

And then she texted me that night, super apologetic, that I couldn’t stay with her after all (for a really good reason so it was all good, but I didn’t know what to do then). Rooms were really high, and the idea of driving to Tulsa sounded so gross. Plus, my family were headed into their weekend crisis time, with one child needed rides to one place and another needed to go other places, and the eldest (who can drive) at work so she couldn’t always be there. Plus I had to get stuff ready for the theater in town by Saturday and I had a whole church lesson to get ready for my children’s church class. And there was a ladies lunch after church and I needed to bring food for that and suddenly going seemed a WHOLE LOT HARDER than staying and so I decided to stay home.

BUT

I had told our regional advisor that I would work the registration table, like I always do, and so I needed to text her and bow out gracefully. She immediately asked if it was about the hotel cost and I said kinda, but there was the other stuff too, and then she invited me to share a room with her and the ARA. For nothing. Just couchsurf with them. And even though the other stuff was still looming over head I said yes.

And it was great. I rode with Kim and stayed with the leaders. I helped a lot and the couch turned into a pullout and they invited me to eat with them several times and we got a free breakfast and I spent so little money but came away with a lot. The speakers were lovely and so fun to talk to and I got that delicious sense of camaraderie and creativity that descends on one during writing events.

So now I’m gearing up to start the new novel. I’ve been jotting down ideas in a notebook and I’m getting closer to beginning. Usually I have that perfect first line before I begin, and I’m not quite there yet, but I can feel it getting closer. I don’t have the names of the characters yet but hopefully soon.

Anyway, I got busy talking to my mom and looking at social media tools, so I’m going to get done and take care of that. And then I’m going to keep doing my plotting/planning.

Down in the depths

I am down. Depressed, I guess. I’ve been here before.

The difference this time is I know how to fix it. But I can’t. Long story short (without spilling all the gruesome details) is that I feel that I am in a place where I can no longer be true to myself, and to what I believe my soul is called to do, in order to please someone else. Good joke is that the other person isn’t even happy with my efforts anyway. Which I suspected would happen.

And I know no one reads this, really, but if someone did, it would be so obvious that of course I shouldn’t compromise my own self and well-being and basically my SOUL for anyone else. But it’s not always that simple, I guess. Or maybe it is and I’m so messed up to even understand it.

Only a small handful of people know what’s going on with me, and those that do don’t really care about my truth or what is happening to me. I’m only told that I am wrong, and I must change. Do they not understand that denying my own internal truth is destroying me? I suspect they do, but they don’t care. No one cares enough to try to really understand me. Not something I can really be mad about, since it’s rather hard to explain it myself.

But. I do know that if I allowed to just be true to myself and to my understanding of God and the universe, I am happy. Blissfully, joyfully happy, optimistic, calm, and completely full of hope and peace. But no, they tell me. I’m wrong. I’m bad. I have to stop. I have to deny it all. It doesn’t matter if that sends me spiraling into a pit of confusion and darkness.

Can you imagine having all that internal peace and joy and completeness? I never could, until I discovered it and accepted it, along with everything else in my life and existence. Now imagine finding it, and then having to leave it behind. To place it on someone else’s altar, to please them, even though you are sacrificing yourself to a place where you are only focusing on the thought that at the end of this life, you will be able to be free from the denial of your own soul. Counting down the days, almost, even though there’s no way to know how many days are left.

Anyway. I’m not talking about writing, even though writing isn’t getting any better with this tied around my neck. And now I have critique group tomorrow and a writing retreat tomorrow and I don’t want to do either. I just want to do nothing in my bed and feel sorry for myself.

Sorry this was dark and weird. Like I said, I’m not great at explaining it. But I know I found my truth…and I had to turn my back on it. And it’s pretty awful. Hopefully things will be better soon. idk.

Christmas show

So I finished the play I was adapting this weekend. It’s a version of A Christmas Carol that’s been relocated to our small Oklahoma town. It’s going to be performed at the theater here.

I’m not as stoked as I wish I was. It’s probably because I didn’t really do all that much. I just took someone else’s work and stuck a few fun things about our area into it. I also kind of took a stab at NaNo, but I had to finish the script first, so I haven’t done much. I’m at the point that I could catch up, but I don’t know if I’m going to.

I also have critique group this week, and then a writing retreat weekend, but I’m not super excited about those things either. I’ve been working so very hard to stay excited about my writing, even though professionally there hasn’t been much activity in so very long. I’m ready for some results…like seeing my name in print. Anyway, the enthusiasm is definitely waning. I don’t know what to do about that, either.

Listen

Listen
By Regina Garvie

I am not being heard
They look at me
And they hear the words
But the meaning is lost
They don’t really listen
They don’t really understand
And they don’t care anyway
And it feels like they don’t care because
What I’m feeling doesn’t matter anyway
After all, feelings can’t be counted on
We have to have faith
Not feelings
Even though I’m not even sure how to separate the two
Perhaps it’s a secret
That you need a Y chromosome for
(And I wanted to write penis
But I’m trying to not be offensive)
They say that I’m divisive but I don’t want to be
I just want to be heard
STOP TELLING ME WHAT I THINK AND WHAT I FEEL
If you really want to know what’s going on inside of me
ASK
And listen
Because I’m saying it
I’m SCREAMING it
But no one hears
no one listens

10.23.2018

Poetry hour

So yeah, I decided I’m going to publish the poems here. I don’t think they’ll be seen by that many people. That’s not my intention anyway.

Honestly, I wanted to reread the first day one a couple of times this week, and I couldn’t, because it was only on my computer. So I figured I might as well blog them and then I can go read them when I want to. Also, makes my blog a little more lively so woohoo.

I went and saw my agent speak this weekend. She did really great. And we hung out for an hour or so and just talked and ate stuff and it was super cool. Now I have some ideas of what I need to do. Got me back on track, I think.

I still gotta write this Christmas play but then I’m going to write all the things. Including some brand new things.

Keep writing, Regina.

Writer dreaming

Writer Dreaming
By Regina Garvie

A published author
That elusive title that slips through my fingers
Like salt spilling on the floor
So alive and full of flavor
And almost mine
But not
Tonight I saw my agent speak
She read her book, she was applauded
I felt no sorrow, only gladness
At her, her success, her happiness
But now, quiet, alone, I remember
The pain this week when all my author friends
Talked and laughed
About the festival they were speaking at
The event they were all a part of
And I felt left out
Like a junior high me by myself in a crowd
Alone
Surrounded, but alone
They didn’t mean to do it
I know that
But it still was a stark reminder
Of what they are
And what I’m not
I want what they have
I want what my agent has
I want what my agent’s other clients have
My words – my worlds on paper
Hard cover. Dust jacket.
Spine cracking as I pull it open and
s-m-e-l-l
The scent of my dreams
My name on the cover
My dedication in the front
My thanks in the back
My life on every page
And my turn at last!
My friends at my signing
At my reading
At my launch party
Reading my words
And telling me that they like them.
That they like them.
Because liking my words, my dreams, my worlds
Would be everything.
But not yet.
Not yet.
And so I wait.
And I write.
And sometimes I cry
But sometimes I don’t.
Keep writing, Regina.
Keep hoping
Keep praying
Keep waiting.
Keep writing.
Keep writing.
Keep writing.

10.20.2018

His first day

His first day
By Regina Garvie

Sitting next to me in the car
Mud spattered jeans and stained tennis shoes
(How is he big enough to sit in the front?)
He’s taller than me. Bigger than me.
(How was he ever inside of me?)
Eyes sparkling as he chatters about his first day
A day at work, on the farm – at the pumpkin patch
A day catching pumpkins, feeding animals, helping children
Little children just like the one he was yesterday
Or maybe it was the day before
And suddenly he’s almost a man
With dirt under his fingernails as he scrolls through his phone
Then he jams it in his pocket and whips back to me
To tell me something else that happened this day
This first day
A day of adventure – of outdoor work and laughter and haybales
For a boy that’s almost a man
He doesn’t always want to share with his mama
And sometimes I think I don’t have enough time
But today he talks
And today I listen
And he bursts out a beautiful bray of laughter
And I laugh with him
He’s already counting out wages in his mind
These are the moments I want to remember
Moments with my son, my sweet baby ginormous son
I’m glad I went to pick him up
I’m glad I didn’t send his big sister
I’m glad I didn’t say I was too busy
I’m glad that I get to spend this time with my son
On this first day.

10.12.2018

Saturday night

This was a crazy week. I’m happy that I’m still getting on here to blog before it’s all done, though. It was crazy because I had so much to do before coming to Lawrence, Kansas to see my agent. She did a reading and book signing tonight and will be speaking at a Jewish writing symposium tomorrow. I also got to hang out with her and eat snacks today, one-on-one, which is always a treat. We talked about a lot of things, and I got some new ideas for my writing. I’m going to make sure to write everything down today so I don’t forget any of it. Talking to her motivates me. I know I can keep doing this. And eventually, we’ll get there, together.

I’m still trying to figure out how to find balance with the things I do voluntarily for others, and the things that are important to me and my writing. There has to be an answer.

I’m still not sure if I want to post my poetry on here or not. I do…but then maybe I don’t? I don’t know why I’m so wishy-washy about that. It’s not like my zero followers will care one way or the other, lol.

I’m not going to write any more here today. Hopefully I will post again soon. Keep moving forward.

That elusive balance

I still can’t seem to find the balance I want to have in my life. And things keep coming forward that demand my attention, and take me farther from the writing I want to be doing.

However, I think that I could probably continue to do most of the things I currently do and still have time to write. I’m just not managing my time well.

So this week I decided I would write first, before anything else, and give it the first part of my day before I began doing all the other things. I decided this on Wednesday, while I was at the local theater helping out by running kids’ movies all day. Thursday was supposed to be the first day, but then I had to go to the pumpkin patch my friend Todd owns, to talk about some help I’m going for him (answering the phone and scheduling reservations) through their fall busy season. So I picked up the phone and stuff (which is in need of some reorganization) and came home. But then I worked on that reorganization (which still isn’t finished) and then I did some stuff for the theater and then it was time for physical therapy. And then I read some of one of my agent-sibling’s books and then I kind of cleaned my room a little and then I went to bed. So that didn’t work out as planned.

Today has gone better. I started with my Bible and then I had to drive my son to the pumpkin patch (he’s working there, starting today), and then I ignored the siren’s song of everything else that wants me to look at it (theater, SCBWI Oklahoma, dance, pumpkin patch, church stuff, bills) and I sat down to write this blog post. So this isn’t writing a novel or anything, but it’s something. It’s something. I have to keep reminding myself that.

I’ve tacked a piece of paper on the wall next to my desk, to remind me of what my writing priorities need to be. These include (sort of in order, sort of not):

  • A Tuttle Christmas Carol (the knock-off play I’m writing for the theater)
  • My novel on sexual assault
  • My novel about the identical twins
  • The picture book biography I’m researching
  • A story for an Oklahoma comic book
  • Plotting and planning for my middle grade novel
  • At least one blog post a week (woo hoo)
  • At least one poem a week

So, one thing (almost) done for the week. I’m going to try the poem next. A few of my agent-siblings write poetry, and since I’ve always enjoyed it and considered myself rather good at it, I want to get back on that. Maybe I’ll do a book of them or something. I’d probably have to self publish it, but it would be an interesting exercise. Or maybe I’ll just post them on this blog. Two birds with one stone, maybe? Har-de-har-har.

New things

I’m working on a play right now. It’s a rewrite of “A Christmas Carol,” but set in my hometown. The local theater will be performing it at Christmas time. Auditions are Oct. 6-7, so I really need to have most, if not all, of it done by then.

I also have an idea for a picture book biography that I’m excited about. It really isn’t my normal thing, but I like this idea and am intrigued by this person, so I think it will be fun to do. And I am good friends with an amazing picture book biography author, Gwendolyn Hooks, so I am sure that she can help me out if I run into trouble.

Once that is done, it’s back to the two YA contemporaries I haven’t completed. Maybe I’ll be able to work on those and the biography at the same time. But I don’t think I can with the play because I’m on such a tight deadline.

I’m going to a revision retreat this weekend, with SCBWI Oklahoma. I don’t have anything currently that I want to revise but I’m excited about learning new ideas for the future.

I am also doing a writing retreat in early November with some friends. I’m looking forward to this, big-time. Last year I got a lot of words on my YA contemporary on sexual assault. Maybe I’ll get it wrapped up this year. Or maybe I’ll focus on the other one. Or maybe I’ll be completely done with both and I’ll focus on something new, lol!

Just realized that it’s kind of nice that we’re going in November. I could maybe tie my work in with NaNo to keep the momentum going.

But! The next thing I am going to write is a message to my agent, because her debut novel is coming out next week. I’m proud of her. <3