had to wait a week to reveal my big news because I didn’t want to upstage anyone, but here it is:
I did of course borrow this from my namesister Ellen DeGeneres, and it was, as always, brilliant!
Do you use lists to get the hang of your schedules? Have you ever felt like your “What-to-do-list” is ruling your life and ruining your days? No? Well, me neither, but I came close today.
I love my lists, and I make one for almost every day. They include everything, from exercising goals to grocery lists, and of course who to contact, when to do it etc. And my “what-to-do-list” always includes some points on writing.
My list of today was quite simple I was going to the gym in the morning, home again and start writing. Write a blogpost for one of my blogs; place some comments on other people blogs concerning the same topic. Then I was supposed to continue writing on my manuscript for the rest of the day. I needed to make some appointments as well; service for my car, collecting prizes on fixing my roof – it rained inside a couple of days ago – and I had to pay some bills. And I should clean my house a bit, at least vacuum my bedroom…
What I like about my “what-to-do-list” is the crossing out part: “what I’ve done” list.
And today started out fine, I put a cross at number 1 when I came back from the gym. Then I had a shower, ate my second breakfast, and started writing. Or, I open the file of my manuscript. And I did write the blogpost. I had to take some photos to go along with that post, and I posted some comments on other people blogging about books today. And all of a sudden three hours had gone, and I took my lunch break. Normally I take a 30-60 minutes break, sometimes its 60 minutes because I watch an episode of NCSI. I did that today. Then I realized that I had skipped Friday’s episode, so I watched that first. Then yesterday’s episode.
Then I went back to my “what –to-do-list” I was awaiting a response from a friend with a yahoo-mail account, and they apparently had some problems today with changing servers or something, because my e-mail was left un-responded. So I blame everything that happened, or did not happened from that point of on yahoo.
I did open my file with the manuscript. Then I made the mistake of looking through my what-to-do-list again. And I started to make some phone calls. I made appointments, for me, my pets, my car, my house, well almost every aspect of my life. And I did not write on my manuscript.
I had to run some errands after making all this appointments. This was not on my what-to-do-list, but Mr Vet needed me to bring some medicine for tomorrow’s cat- appointment, I needed more choices for my roof fixing team, when do we not need food?
When I came back, I checked my “what-to-do-list” again, and it was a disappointment to realize that it had only become longer, not shorter, and I had nothing to cross out. Seeing the time, I quickly moved everything concerning chores and cleaning the house away, I’ll do that tomorrow.
I open the file of my manuscript again, and wrote about 25 words. Then a neighbour came, to discuss the new cottage of a third neighbour, I did not agree with her complains so this conversation took over an hour. Before I started writing again, I got on my bank site, to pay my bills. They were few, but huge, especially since I drove to fast a couple of days ago…the cruel fine got me completely out of my good mood. And I still was waiting for yahoo to fix their e-mail problems.
So here am I. I’ve had my “what-to-do-list” for fourteen hours, and it’s not halfway done. But I’m done. I’m the master of my list, and even though it may have ruined my day, it will not take my evening as well.
I’ll make a new list for tomorrow.
I simply LOVE Zenos Frudakis Sculpture. And even more now that I’ve read his statement of his vision for this work:
I wanted to create a sculpture almost anyone, regardless of their background, could look at and instantly recognize that it is about the idea of struggling to break free. This sculpture is about the struggle for achievement of freedom through the creative process.
Although for me, this feeling sprang from a particular personal situation, I was conscious that it was a universal desire with almost everyone; that need to escape from some situation – be it an internal struggle or an adversarial circumstance, and to be free from it.
I began this work in a very traditional sculptural manner by creating a small model in clay called a macquette. The purpose of beginning in this manner is to capture the large action and major proportions of the figure within the overall design without any details to detract from the big idea. Another reason for not having details and for working on a small model only a few inches in height is that the small armature within it, holding the clay, is more easily manipulated, allowing for much greater flexibility in developing a concept. For example, an arm, a leg or a head can be pushed around without any concern for obliterating details, such as a nose or a finger.
The macquette is the original mass of clay where a concept is born and from which it grows and develops. This was important later when I enlarged the sculpture from several inches long to 20 feet long, and I retained in the larger work a sense that all the conceptual material, its forms, focus and development sprang from this rough idea. The work metamorphosized, in the way that we do.
Although there are four figures represented, the work is really one figure moving from left to right. The composition develops from left to right beginning with a kind of mummy/death like captive figure locked into its background. In the second frame, the figure, reminiscent of Michaelangelo’s Rebellious Slave, begins to stir and struggle to escape. The figure in the third frame has torn himself from the wall that held him captive and is stepping out, reaching for freedom. In the fourth frame, the figure is entirely free, victorious, arms outstretched, completely away from the wall and from the grave space he left behind. He evokes an escape from his own mortality.
In working on the large scale sculpture, I was satisfied that those who drove by getting a quick look at it would see the big picture: that it was about escape. I was also concerned that those who worked in the building and who passed the sculpture frequently would have something more to see. There was a lot of empty space between the figures on the wall, which I saw as an opportunity to develop further ideas.
It was important to me that the sculpture have more than one theme going on at once. One of the other major ideas incorporated in the work is that the very process of creating the sculpture is clearly revealed in the work itself. The maquette is cast into the sculpture in the lower left hand corner. In the lower right corner is the cast of the sculptor’s hand holding the sculpture tool with two rolls of clay also cast in bronze. Throughout the background of the Wall, I have rolled out the clay and pressed it with my fingers so that my fingerprints are all over the sculpture. I have not hidden how I have made the piece. In fact, the whole idea of the macquette is enlarged so that all the figures in the background look like a giant macquette. And at the same time, as the figures move from left to right, I have shown how figures are developed when you are sculpting from the rough to the more finished product.
Elements of the sculpture trade beside the tools that are cast into the sculpture are calipers both for their use in measuring and their reference to Protagoras’ words “Man is the measure of all things.”
Also cast into the sculpture is an anatomical man, traditionally used as a reference by sculptors. Many of the heads and figures on the wall, some in the round and some in relief, are shown partially sculpted, revealing the process of creation.
Something else I have done with the sculpture is that I have created a one man show of my work. I have always admired Rodin’s Gates of Hell. I similarly thought I would incorporate many sculptures into the wall where it was suitable.
Like T.S. Eliot and other artists, I have put many personal elements in my work. My friend Philip, a sculptor who died of AIDS, created a work that I included in Freedom because he often expressed his wish to have it in a public space. He did not live long enough to accomplish this himself. My cat, who lived with me for 20 years, my mother, father, and my self portrait are in the work. It is obvious which face is mine because there is a ballooned phrase coming from my mouth with the word “freedom”, written backwards, making it clear that the face was sculpted in a mirror. I see the whole Wall sculpture as a kind of illusion akin to Alice’sThrough the Looking Glass.
The sculpture contains an original Duane Hanson — a bronze cast of my own hands that Duane cast for me as a gift.
Much of what I did with this sculpture has to do with taking traditional forms and combining them in non-traditional ways, forming a postmodern sensibility. For example, I dropped a wax cast of my father’s bust from two or three feet in height so that it broke into large pieces. I cast those into the wall in a fractured manner over another face, an old work I found in a vat of clay purchased from a sculptor who had long ago died.
I have hidden many things in the background for people who see the sculpture more than once to discover, such as a cast of coins – a nickel and two pennies, another nickel and two pennies, and two quarters and a penny. These represent not only the relationship between money and art, but the numerals 7-7-51, my birth date.
It is important to me that the public interact with the sculpture, not just intellectually and emotionally but physically. I have created a space in which I have written“stand here” so that people can place themselves inside the sculpture and become part of the composition.
In the end, this sculpture is a statement about the artist’s attempt to free himself from the constraints of mortality through a long lasting creative form.
If you want to read more, go to Zenos Frudakis page here.
Monday was my last day with my hand in a cast, and I was ever so happy to get rid of the bandage. I was also looking forward to get down to writing again these last five weeks have been difficult, I kind of lost my focus. Even though I had prepared myself to the fact that my hand might not be “good as new” I was fairly disappointed Monday night. I could barely move my fingers, and the acing was increasing. I was still bleeding from the two operation wounds, and I was feeling quite miserable. So I had to do something that could make my world better: I started writing again. Yes.
Well, the first night, I wrote 27 words. And I decided on my main characters names and age. Tuesday I wrote about a 100 words, and renamed my main characters. Yesterday I cut about thirty words of what I had wrote the previous day, and I went back to the original chosen names.
Today I’ve written close to 1500 words.
What happened? Well, I understood I was afraid of using my hand, and mostly unable to do so. So I needed something else to inspire my writing, and I went back to reading some of the advices that are offered us on the internet.
My new book is a children’s book. So it might seem strange that I turn to Elmore Leonard for advice, but that was my intent. To challenge myself and my writing!
There is no greater writer of crime fiction than Elmore Leonard, and no one who has more resplendent energy. Leonard has had the classic career of a market-oriented novelist, and he really knows what he is talking about.
HERE ARE HIS RULES:
1 Never open a book with weather. If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a character’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book Arctic Dreams, you can do all the weather reporting you want.
2 Avoid prologues: they can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’sSweet Thursday, but it’s OK because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks.”
3 Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But “said” is far less intrusive than “grumbled”, “gasped”, “cautioned”, “lied”. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated” and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.
4 Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs”.
5 Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.
6 Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”. This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.
7 Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apostrophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavour of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories Close Range.
8 Avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”, what do the “American and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story.
9 Don’t go into great detail describing places and things, unless you’re Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.
10 Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
I’ve found this article on http://www.guardian.co.uk
Thank you Elmore Leonard, I’m writing again 🙂
Yesterday my first book was sent to print! I’m so excited! Since the day in June I got the letter from the publishing house I’ve been in a surreal and dreamy state of mind, whenever I’ve been thinking of the book. And now, the manuscript is finished, corrected and displayed, and sent to printing.
My book is a book of poems, all stating something about life and feelings, and it has now the title “3898 ord om livet” which can translate to “3898 words of life.” My poems are about the many processes we go through living our lives.
To make the cover, I asked my very best friend to put on a nice pair of shoes and walk for me. Taking photos of her legs in the woods of Sweden was a funny experience. It was cold and windy, but I. was the perfect top model, and worked those shoes. When talking to the designer from the publisher, I asked if I could get a light green background. The result is actually so good; a great part of my dream came through when I saw the book cover.
You’ll hear more about my book when it comes from the print house, in about six weeks’ time. Until then; I’m still surfing on my happy wave on my way to reach my dream.