Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer vacation is over...

Because I have a new day job! Which is also why I haven't been posting or updating here (wrapping up some freelance projects, taking care of Miss Kitty after her surgery to remove a tumor - that turned out to be benign, just got the news yesterday, yay - and starting the new job).

Beginning this week, I am the communications director for the Ketner for Congress campaign. Linda Ketner is running for Congress in the 1st Congressional District of South Carolina against Republican incumbent Henry Brown. I'm really excited about the job and the campaign AND being in politics. And I'll be working my tail off between now and November to help get this woman elected. So, my dear friends, if you live in the 1st district, Vote for Ketner. If you're not, please ask your friends who do to Vote for Ketner. Visit her web site for more info on where she stands on the issues, help spread the word, donate to the campaign, or sign up to volunteer. And to my press-connected pals who want to do a story on Linda, you can reach me at klovejohnson(AT) You know I'll love you forever for doing it!

Friday, July 11, 2008

My friends are awesome...

I got this surprise in the mail today from a good friend. It's amazing how your friends, even when they live hundreds of miles away, know exactly what you need and when you need it. Like a lucky charm to remind you that someone is thinking about you even if you can't see them in person as often as you'd like.

I put it on as soon as I opened it and already feel more creative. And now I will sit back and wait to be overwhelmed by prosperity.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

It always starts with a sentence...

I haven't seriously worked on fiction in a long time. I've had good excuses - busy with the day job, the writing of the personal nonfiction, writing a nonfiction book - but I've ached to get back to it. The most I've been able to accomplish is taking old stories that never went anywhere and re-working them from time to time.

I went to bed last night around 2am, expecting to have the kind of lazy Sunday morning that I love - getting up briefly to make coffee and grab the Sunday New York Times from the porch while still in my pajamas, back into bed with coffee and paper, watching Sunday Morning on CBS and reading the NYT Magazine during commercials, maybe even dozing off until noon.

Instead, I was wide awake before 7am with sentences running through my head. They weren't mine - they belonged to a character I haven't heard from in a long time. And because I learned a long time ago if I didn't get them down on paper or in a Word document right then and there, they would be lost forever. I won't lie; I did consider rolling back over and going back to sleep. But she wouldn't let me and I had a feeling if I didn't get up and get it down she wouldn't come back, maybe ever.

So I've been writing this morning for hours. I think I've hit around 6,000 words (granted, no editing at all - just the writing and writing). Mixed in with some of the other phrases that were running through my head was something about this character disappearing. I thought it was a veiled threat from this particular muse that she wouldn't return unless I put fingers to keyboard. But later I realized that it was the character - the woman becoming invisible, the one who was afraid of disappearing.

This is the paragraph in the first few that turned the light on for me:

She felt like she was suspended — not just in time, because that had already slowed so gradually she was scarcely aware of the absence of forward movement — but weightless and insignificant. She floated just out of the perception of anyone who may have been paying attention. She disappeared, faded in and out. She was more than invisible. She was vague; she was vapor. Just being empty could have done it, she thinks wryly, no explanation needed. But explanations are needed.

I'm going to finish this one. Maybe today (maybe not because my hands are cramping now and I think I need a nap), maybe later this week. But I will finish it. Because inspiration might be like lightning - random and fleeting and never in the same place twice. And because explanations are needed.

(photo by Mallory Morrison)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Must we go through this every year?

One of my older sisters called me last night to invite me to her annual Fourth of July backyard BBQ. A little background: My two older sisters are from my mother's first marriage and their father was of American Indian and/or Italian descent. Therefore, my sisters have olive skin, dark hair, and tan easily. Ten years later, my mother married an Irishman and ended up with two extremely pale third and fourth daughters. My sister and I have the same conversation every year in early July:

My sister: So we're going to be grilling burgers and dogs.
Me: I no longer eat red meat. But how about if I bring some chicken?
Sister: Seriously?
Me: Veggie burgers?
Sister: Not on MY grill.
Me: I like mom's potato salad.
Sister: Bring your bathing suit - we just had the pool cleaned!
Me: Have you met me?
Sister: Just saying...we got new rafts!
Me: I haven't owned a bathing suit in 10 years. And I don't go in the sun. You know how you and Kristin make jokes about me looking like Wednesday Adams with red hair?
Sister: I thought we made jokes about you being flat-assed.
Me: That too.
Sister: And flat-chested. And remember before you got braces when we used to call you Bucky Beaver?
Me: Yeah, that was hysterical.
Sister: At least you finally got boobs. ANYWAY...just put on some sunblock! And bring your suit.
Me (giving up): OK.

Even though they don't care if I get skin cancer and believe that I am pale by choice and I think olive-skinned people enjoy lording their sun worshipping over those of us who are melanin-deficient, I love my family. And I will go to the cookout. I'm just going to bring a giant parasol, a long-sleeved tee, and 60SPF - but not my bathing suit that doesn't exist. And yes, at least I finally got boobs.
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