About that “Writing Room” …

  1. I have a lovely “Writing Room” I never use.
  2. My “Writing Room” is alive with art and hope, but is especially cold since I’ve abandoned it.
  3. My “Writing Room” invites me in and asks, “Why not bring a fresh cup of coffee and sit and write awhile. We barely know each other yet you’ve touched me in every way.” I still walk away. The room is demanding and I am non-committal. When did I become a crude, deceitful bachelor? You know, the man who loves and leaves because he fears he’s not enough for an incredible woman? Yet, he never tells her she’s incredible so she thinks something is wrong with her. I thought I would be a gentleman.
  4. My characters know they are kept from the world, especially my antagonist, Clara. She knows her story has a home, yet I allow her to take up an enormous amount of priceless real estate in my head. Clara continues to call for her room, a beautiful space where she and her cast mates can jump onto a sheet of paper, in beautiful journal and come alive. I selfishly keep them close, imprisoning them because they are so engaging, intimate and sometimes, twisted. They possess questionable morals and live in highly unique circumstances. Their conversations are so lurid, I can’t wait to “listen in” on them. And, the moment a character bores me, he exists no more. Yet, I place the limitations of my mind on them. Who knows where their story will go if I let them out in their room, on their paper in their ink?
  5. I can take any conversation, especially one overheard that makes no particular sense, and create either a beautiful or sinister story from my initial perception of the ambiguous, partial dialogue. I can lose myself into a fantasyland and lock the door so no one else can enter.
  6. If I encounter an especially charismatic persona in reality, I can build their life moment by moment, truth or not, up to the very instance I see them closely or fortunately, meet them. Then, the illusion may be shattered. Yet, I still don’t release them in the “writing room” where they have space to grow and tell me their truth. No, I don’t breathe them onto paper easily. I go from a terrible bachelor to an over-protective mother.
  7. I have the ability to visualize my characters in great detail down to a particular shade of nail polish or the placement of grey hairs.
  8. My characters develop into people living in my mind waiting for the day I unpack them one by one on paper and give them eternal life in the world. Honestly, I fear I might lose them to the reality of criticism.
  9. I buy journals and notebooks and electronics and haphazardly write pieces of their stories on pages and papers, in folders and journals because there is no possible way for me to describe how real and ridiculous and wonderful these characters are in one place.
  10. When someone asks, “What is your story about?” I answer with shock. The most boring, simplistic answer dribbles out of my mouth making me even wonder if the story is worth writing down and why would anyone read it?
  11. There is no fucking way I can pitch the enormity of the story in three sentences or less to someone who doesn’t know how I’ve created and nurtured it. It’s an attempt to sell your friends to strangers.
  12. I take expensive writing classes I’m easily bored with because I’m supposed to. I think, “Didn’t Edith Wharton do this? Take a class? No, she built a summer estate in the Berkshires and wrote there, like a normal billionaire whose personal assistant picks up pages of written material off the bedroom floor to edit.”
  13. I attend a remarkable writing conference, “Writer’s Digest Annual Conference” where what I hear and learn haunts me. The information is given to absorb and I do. The creativity and experience shared is brilliant and overwhelming and I think, “Perhaps I am not a writer even though I have a “Writing Room.” I may have the best room than most people at the conference, but, they write.
  14. I think I should be an interior decorator instead? Oh, Edith Wharton did that also and still wrote a few masterpieces including one on interior design. So, I created a beautiful writing space, a room with all the ambiance and supplies needed to write. I think, “Jane Austen couldn’t imagine writing in a space as elegant and well equipped.” Well, that’s probably because she didn’t need space or elegance to write because she was fucking brilliant! Yet, I believe I do need all these ‘things’ because I really am not that talented and how dare I compare myself to Edith or Jane.
  15. My “Writing Room” holds a very feminine writing desk of distressed white paint on wood accompanied by a chair so pretty, it’s a bit uncomfortable. Perhaps the glittery, ruffled pillows don’t help my posture. The original art is by two favorite artists, a painter, Gigi Chen who has done three pieces for me; two watercolors and an acrylic and an illustrator, Melsy, whose work I collect. The candles on my desk were purchased in a “magical” store and burn for clarity and creativity because I’ve suddenly become a god-damn witch. The chandelier above holds large, clear crystals just like my desk lamp, because I need to write in a beautiful space. I have pictures of loved ones to help guide and inspire me because not only am I a damn witch, I’ve become a medium and to create, I need magical and mystical powers. Only the best writing instruments, given to me by the best art dealers, Derwent and Pentel, are placed in a large ceramic crown for when I magically write in one of my precious, slightly used journals I’ve collected. I didn’t mention one needs a crown to write? I actually have two on my desk.
  16. Piles of books surround me. Some have a place, but most don’t. Most are 1st editions signed by authors who actually sat down and wrote the story in their head. Imagine that? A few of these authors have even given me writing advice and encouraged me to pursue my dreams.
  17. I’ve never really written in the “Writing Room,” because it’s too perfect and demands too much from me. Now, I have created a “living” room with expectations just like my characters and potential readers.
  18. Today, I realize, sitting on a custom fabric bar stool at the enormous marble island in my kitchen that I hate my laptop, but it’s just a tool. I think, “Use one of your fabulous fucking pens, Cinderella!” Take it out of the fucking crown on your desk and open one of your over-priced linen journals you purchased somewhere in the world and write. Yes, Cinderella lives in the “Writing Room” too.
  19. I look ahead at the mosaic of small marble tiles over the gleaming stainless steel oven and then to my right, out the door to the property I’ve chosen to own filled with trees. An enormous spider is crafting a gorgeous web in my doorway. Did E.B.White have such creative difficulties? Was Charlotte this demanding? Or, did he look out his door and see a beautiful spider spinning her web and know her story needed to be shared with the world? I am so happy he chose to share.
  20. Am I an artist? A writer? A voice inside me screams, “Let your characters live in the real world. People need to meet them!” My characters quietly respond, “You can be a wonderful writer. Yes, we are your fragile children, but you can’t keep us in this beautiful place forever. Not everyone will love us, but we know you always will.”

The 2018 Writer’s Digest Annual Conference: Let’s pack, we need to leave!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 (Day 1)

Today is unusually annoying for a girl who always over packs. I have to decide what I want to wear for the next four days of my life and if I will be comfortable and appropriately dressed. The problem is, I am a first time attendee and have no idea what is comfortable and/or appropriate for this particular crowd of artists. I know, I’m over-thinking and it may sound trivial, but if I am not comfortable and happy with my appearance, I’m moody and I don’t pay attention. Yet, paying attention this weekend to as many details as possible is key to a successful conference for me. I have no time for blisters and hot flashes. I’m going to a conference hosted by one of the most prestigious writing publications, “Writer’s Digest” and I am excited and nervous!

Manhattan is currently experiencing a heatwave with heavy humidity and rain storms popping up all the time, I need to pack like the well-traveled woman I am. Except, this is Manhattan and it’s in my backyard and for me, it’s not traveling, it’s going through a tube in the Lincoln Tunnel. Summer in the city and people from around the world converge with a lack of personal hygiene, deodorant and power walking skills. Yet, I will manage to slide my way through cars, pedestrians and hot streets to reach my destination, the 2018 Writer’s Digest Conference. Yes, air-conditioning, Starbucks and WiFi make everything better!

Tomorrow, I’ll arrive, register and prepare myself for a new writing experience, a writing conference held by the prestigious publication, “Writer’s Digest.” The conference, known as #WDC18 is, for me, exciting and I hope will be a learning experience that teaches me to better hone my craft. But, since I’m a Jersey Girl, I have to revisit packing for a moment. Packing is not a superfluous process, it’s part of a good experience. I know I must pack light and keep clothes and shoes comfortable, I am not in the city on a vacation, yet somehow, I’ll fit into my schedule a visit to one of my favorite places. Rare, historical places found only in Manhattan are essential for creativity. Not only does this adventure require clothes and accessories (I don’t do the starving artist appearance at all), but a notebook, a journal and my bag of perfectly sharpened pencils and pens. I love to write in pencil, only Ticonderoga pencils and Derwent makes the best pencil sharpener. I’m the nerdy kid on the first day of school.

I’m planning to post on my blog daily about my experiences and share some insights regarding this admired writing conference. Yet, I will not sacrifice learning to stop and blog. So, please be patient if I don’t post one day. Eventually, I’ll blog everything that needs to be blogged. Since I am an aspiring novelist and this is my first time at #WDC18 or any writing conference, my objectives for attending are: learning more about the writing craft, networking with like-minded people, and having a little fun in the process.

I am not pitching my novel this year and I’m grateful since I am in the middle of it and the novel changes stories more than Rudy Giuliani these days. But, just from the conference Facebook page, the nerves and stress are sentient. Good Luck to all those attending and pitching this weekend. I certainly admire you!

#WDC18 has an extremely friendly, private and welcoming Facebook page. Attendees are encouraged to ask questions and meet other attendees before the actual meet up while authors and speakers are happy to introduce themselves and invite you to attend their sessions or book signings. I am truly excited and happy to attend this conference and will probably over pack, but hopefully, I can bring you the most comprehensive information about the conference that any first time attendee should know and would want to know!

So far, that’s all I have. I’ll check in tomorrow with pics.

I’m adding important information here if you want to attend, there’s still time to register!

http://writersdigestconference.com

Women readers over 40, live and read passionately.

It is a very quiet Saturday morning in my home. My home is never quiet, so I am slightly concerned, but not concerned enough to wake anyone and trigger the daily noise. Usually, I hear boisterous, sometimes irritating conversations being held by family or there is a constant, artificial noise from a television which I despise. On a normal Saturday, I hear the bell on the washing machine telling me the wash cycle has completed rinsing the delicate garments or I suddenly catch the ice maker in the freezer making cubes. Outside, the crickets are buzzing and the air is slowly moving through the trees. Somehow, these sounds always feel right.

At night, I ask Alexa to play an artist I find relaxing or one I find loud and fast as I am washing dinner dishes and listening to the extremely loud frogs that live in my backyard. In all this normalcy, I hear my home living, but I don’t listen to it. One exceptional sound I’ve come to listen intently to and find peace in is the ringing chimes of the beautiful grandfather clock in the large, empty formal living room. It takes me instantly to the story I am writing. The clock is ornate and large and the sound beautiful, commanding and church-like. In those moments of chiming, I realize my characters all take their place on stage and begin to live. Clara and Alex, Victoria and Max, Claude and Lena reside in a dramatic, rich world that’s somehow regal and yet, slightly dangerous. I know my home is never really quiet and I am not sure I’d want it that way.

In the midst of the beautiful quiet interrupted by clock chimes and characters, I sit with a cup of coffee and decide to write a blog about the purpose of this blog. Why? I owe it to my characters. They require a particular reader. Does this reader exist? I hope so, but question why they would read my insights? Maybe they will relate to my life and my characters? Yet, is ChristinaRealNJ explicit enough to grab the attention of the extravagant, particular reader I am searching for?

I started this blog with the intent to find an audience for my first novel. No, I am not done writing the novel and yes, it’s developing. Sometimes I know the beginning, middle and end. Sometimes I live in this imaginary world and have such a wonderful time, I forget to put it on paper. Yet, my search for an audience remains unfulfilled. I ponder, Where are women over forty who wonder if souls are predestined for one another? Where are the women dragging themselves through perimenopasue and menopause who still enjoy sex, love to flirt and manage to look wonderful? Where are girls drooling over a Gucci handbag and marble kitchen tiles all in one day? Where are the women who are educated through universities and/or life? Where are the career women and housewives or both? I’m looking for the goddesses with a very tight circle of friends who don’t trust easily. Where are the woman who have all the “stuff” women over forty are supposed to have, but really want to run away from home even for a few hours to read a great book with a great cup of coffee in peace? Where are the women who want to hop a plane for a different life in complete terror not knowing what to expect? Are you there? I need all of you. Don’t just hear me roar, listen.

For these reasons and these remarkable women and a few, extraordinary men, I write. I blog to discover who you are because I have an amazing story to tell you.

Jersey Girls Read and Write! Really, we do.

I am definitely not a natural blogger. Posting compelling, quality content on a daily basis is not natural or realistic for me. Perhaps, once a week I can gather thoughts on my WIP. Today, I’m sharing what I’m thinking and I know so far.

Women from New Jersey are amazing and mostly inexplicable. I know because New Jersey is my home state and it’s snarky attitude is in my blood. We’re skeptical and can be very difficult if you don’t mean what you say. My protagonist, Clara, is definitely a Jersey Girl, but she has a few more sharp edges under her cashmere sweaters and an appetite for adventure she suppresses. Watching her develop and leave the security of her life to live beyond her rules is awakening.

Educated, but smart; beautiful, but insecure and finally, tough, but fragile like fine crystal that will cut and scar you, Clara is an intelligent character with many layers for the reader who can keep up with her.

She is naturally analytical, cautious and skeptical about every person she meets and therefore spends a great deal of time in bookstores and museums.

Yet, “accidentally falling in love,” with a man “who has everything wrong with him,” she must decide on an unconventional relationship with an unconventional man and his peculiar life.

As Clara says, “You never know who you’ll meet in a bookstore.”