- I have a lovely “Writing Room” I never use.
- My “Writing Room” is alive with art and hope, but is especially cold since I’ve abandoned it.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
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.
It’s officially summer in New Jersey and Jersey Girls North and South are dazzling with their copper tans touched with shimmer, fresh hi-lights and the perfect, glittery matching manis/pedis slipped into a pair of Tori Burch sandals. Traditionally, our mothers and grandmothers teach us the art of being fabulous in a rather plain world. To be clear, Jersey Girls are never plain, we shimmer! Also keep in mind that the age range of a Jersey Girl is from birth until death, don’t let the word “girl’ confuse you.
With all this fabulous-ness going on, articles and blogs have already been written, tweets have been posted and Facebook is flooded with pics of Jersey Girls sharing their tans #Summer2018. What I am not thrilled with is the SIMPLE definition of the Jersey Girl. Of course, we are berated due to the over-use of tanning salons, the over-use of neon nail polish and the over-booked and over-priced Jersey Shore motels whose balconies we grace at night, while tipsy and in heels we can’t walk in. Yes, the Jersey Shore has motels, islands have resorts and cities have hotels. Most of our motels date back to the 1950’s and they haven’t changed a thing, literally!
Don’t get me wrong, I love New Jersey and I am a Jersey Girl. But, I have never been SIMPLE and I insist on sitting on a more refined pile of Jersey beach sand with blush nail lacquer and my long locks in a bun with a book in my hand and I sure as hell don’t stay in motels. I’m not old, I just know better. So, here I am, writing was must be told … the truth! Why? How can I possibly introduce you to the protagonist in my first novel, who is a Jersey Girl, if you are assuming the worst? It’s my pleasure and responsibility to guide you to a different, more sophisticated variety of Jersey Girl. Here are the five signs of a “Grown-Up” Jersey Girl:
5) A girl who has mastered the art of having a glowing, tan between her subtle use of a tanning salon and the actual sun. She also realizes this is only acceptable between the months of May through September. After that period, you’re fake and ridiculous.
4) A girl who frequents the nail salon, but whose nails are clean, short and free of neon nail polish and nail art. Unless you’re Adele, no points either!
3) A girl who realizes shore homes are investment properties with fringe benefits possibly five months of the year and not a lifestyle or part of reality television.
2) A girl who is not afraid to have an actual man sit beside her without a gold chain slathered in tanning oil.
1) THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! VACATIONS NO LONGER EQUAL THE JERSEY SHORE, BUT, INCLUDE THE REST OF THE WORLD! The Jersey shore is where you go while waiting for the “real vacation” to happen.
Yes, I have managed to piss off a handful of Jersey Girls with this particular blog, but I’m not worried. These particularly pissed off Jersey Girls are pissed off because they just realized they relate to the stereotype and now need to step up their game to play in my protagonist’s world.
PS … I know I promised an intro to my protagonist in this post, but she’s a little moody tonight since she hasn’t had her mani/pedi this week!