Archives: writer’s life

Filling the Well

We writers live pretty solitary lives.

The upside is that we rarely have to put on actual pants (as defined by zippers & buttons rather than elastic & drawstrings). We also get to spend a lot of time having imaginary conversations with fictional people, which is awesome, because *revisions*. I’ve heard there are people who can convey their thoughts to other humans in complete sentences in real time, but I am not one of them. I’m a word salad girl all the way, so there’s something deeply satisfying about polishing dialogue until it’s a witty, charming rat-a-tat-tat exchange that actually makes sense.

The downside to all this luxurious alone time?

It’s lonely. And (true story) you can get so good at lonely that you sometimes forget you *are* lonely, so you stay there until you get so weird that lonely is your only option.

This sounds grim, I know, but stay with me. There’s a solution.

Writer friends.

Writer friends totally get it. They know where you are because they live there, too. They speak your language. They reach into the black hole of your alone time & drag you into the sun. Mostly they do it via the internet (nobody can text/tweet/instagram/FB/whathaveyou like writers) but sometimes…occasionally…they arrive IN PERSON.

And then the world is good and perfect and light and you talk non-stop until your husbands retreat to some high-profile sporting event so they can sit silently side-by-side, grunting at the field, drinking beer & avoiding both eye contact and verbal interaction. Because they’ve had enough of us & the words. (So many words. ALL THE WORDS.)

So as I look down the barrel of Thanksgiving (good gravy, people, it’s next week!), I’m pausing for a moment to give thanks for my squad. Particularly for the incomparable Inara Scott, who got on a plane & braved actual snow (!) because she loves me.

And because I love her, I put on pants.

And because our husbands love us, they went to a football game.

    Behind the Scenes

    Picture Me and You finalThey say there are two things you never want to see being made — laws and sausage. I would respectfully request that we add books to the list.  And why?  Because we writers are shameless thieves.  We’d rather you didn’t know that, though.  We’d rather you just believed in the magic of our imaginations.

    The sad truth is, we don’t make much up.  We don’t have to.  We’re inveterate eavesdroppers, ruthless carpetbaggers.  We snatch our stories from random strangers’ cell phone conversations, from the car next to ours at a stoplight, or from the neighboring table over lunch.  We find these exquisite little details just lying there on the ground like abandoned mittens.  So of course we put them on & pretend they were ours to begin with.  The owners are long gone — who’s going to mind?

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    The WSoGR on the Devil’s Kettle Trail

    Normally, I limit myself to co-opting nothing bigger than the proverbial lost mitten but for my latest release (PICTURE ME & YOU) I stole an entire waterfall.  Well, half of one, anyway.

    Wait, I can explain.

    See, I took a vacation a while back with a few of my girlfriends (who, due to a sauna incident I won’t get into here, are now known as The Women Scouts of Grand Marais.)  We were supposed to go canoeing in the Boundary Waters but the weather turned on us & we ended up exploring the North Shore of Lake Superior from the comfort of a cabin with hot running water instead.  (It was a very good call.)

    Devil's kettle

    The real Devil’s Kettle

    Turns out, we were only a few miles from Judge C. R. Magney State Park which is rumored to have a disappearing waterfall. Who, I ask you, can resist a disappearing waterfall?  Not the Women Scouts of Grand Marais!

    One steep, slippery hike later & sure enough, there it was — an actual disappearing waterfall.  We stood at the top of a cliff & watched the Brule River split itself into two waterfalls, one of which dropped over the cliff & headed happily for Lake Superior. But the other half — and this is half of a fairly sizable river, mind you — dropped into a hole in the ground and disappeared.

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    Not something you see every day

    Seriously, it just disappeared into this pothole they call Devil’s Kettle. And nobody knows where it went.  Smart, scientific people have studied this phenomenon & have not gotten to the bottom of it.  Fully half of a big old river is just GONE.

    There is no writer alive or dead who could resist.  I didn’t even try.  I stole the name & the waterfall (along with a giant papier mache fish from one nearby town & a pie shop from another) and created a new trilogy around them.

    So there you have it.  I’m a thief. You’re welcome.

    The WSofGR

    The WSofGR at Betty’s Pies.