It’s the beginning of the winter writing season, and Sensei Dana is en la casa. Specifically, her arse is planted in the big chair, and her legs will soon have semi-permanent laptop-shaped impressions upon them. We do not know food. We do not know sleep. We do not know social events. We are writing.
Summer Sessions are over, people. Follow me into the Dojo.
There’s this sea of new faces, which look completely at sea, so we’ll begin this winter’s Dojo sessions with a bit of an explanation as to what this Dojo thing’s all about and what the winter writing season is.
Considering the arse-kicking I got when I said I wasn’t a geologist, I’m not even going to attempt to explain that I’m not a writer. That would be total bullshit, anyway, and I would never make such a claim. But honesty compels me to say: I’m not a formally-published writer. Yet. You won’t find my books on Amazon or in the few remaining brick-and-mortar stores. Yet. I’m working on that. It’s what the winter writing season’s all about.
So, not yet formally published. But if you believe that makes the advice contained herein suspect, remember this: I learned from the giants of the literary world. I’ve spent 20+ years learning this good business of wordsmithing. I may shuffle my feet and blush and demur when people tell me I’m a really real geologist despite the lack of degree, but I will look you in the eye and say, “Fuck, yes!” when people accuse me of being a writer. I might even, on occasion, admit to being a decent one.
I learned from giants. I get advice and input from wise and wonderful people. I know where commas go, and how to spin a phrase on its axis, and how to make people laugh, cry or scream, because of them. Least I can do is pass it on.
We mostly talk fiction here in the Dojo, but I’ve got some ideas for a bit o’ the old non-fiction, now that I’m becoming familiar with it, and perhaps a post or two on the art o’ blogging. I’ve got quite a few topics to be going on with, but I love having readers pitch ideas. Whatever you’d like me to cover, you just let me know. I know my limitations, and can’t always oblige – sorry, Nicole, but I am not the person people should talk to about organization! – but I’m usually able to give it the old college try. So tell me, what do you need help with? What frustrates you? Where are you stuck? What do you want to learn more about?
You folks who don’t write – yes, you, I see you trying to sneak out the door! Get back in here. You read. You love good writing. And you’re likely curious about how we wordsmiths make the magic happen. Ask me those questions you’ve always wanted to ask writers but haven’t asked. Just don’t ask where we writers get our ideas. We shall scream such a scream.
But if you really must ask that question, I’ll answer it. Under protest. And you may not like the answer.
Right. That’s the Dojo: all about writing, regularly every Tuesday. Get your black belt, my darlings!
And now to explain this winter writing season business. When I was young and eager and had no nerve damage, I used to write fiction year-round. That was before I moved up to the Seattle area and discovered that a nocturnal writer in the Pacific Northwest is pretty much SOL. That’s because Sol hangs about from round four in the ay-em to ten in the pee-em, and we get a concentrated dose of sunny weather the likes of which we will not see for the rest of the year, and we have all of this scrumptious geology just begging for field trips. So in the summers, Muse willing, fiction gets put on hold. And then, the first weekend in October, I wave goodbye to Sol until May, and allow my Muse to use and abuse me.
There will be weeks at a time when you won’t see much of me aside from the daily ETEV post. I may not always be around to respond to comments, although I always read and appreciate each and every one. I may forget to email you if you email me. You might invite me out for fun and interesting things, and I will look at you from eyes welling with tears and hook a thumb at the Muse. That’s her, over there, the one with the thigh-high leather boots and the wicked whip. She is a dominatrix. And she does not let me out of my bonds very often.
All I have ever wanted to be in life is a writer. Right now, I’m still putting together the body of work that will allow me to achieve that dream. Right now, I’m unable to get my patented Spider Jersalem tattoo and invite my employers to kiss it because I am quitting to become a full-time author. Until that glorious day, winters shall be fraught.
This also means that I may not be able to respond to requests for critiques of your own work. Sorry in advance. I’d love to help you individually, but my own work must come first, or I’ll never be able to get my ass inked.
For those who want a glimpse of my fiction, I have got an invite-only writing blog. Let me know if you wish to become one of my Wise Readers.
And limber up. The Dojo starts in earnest next Tuesday.