07.03.20

Revise !

Posted in Dreams, Kerouac, Life in general, Novel excerpts, On writing, Writers, Zone 9 Trilogy at 8:42 am by Marion

Writing is revising, and I will spend all day revising the last chapter, then going through the entire first draft of the book.

For inspiration, here are some quotes:

“Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.”
― Raymond Chandler

“Given the initial talent … writing is largely a matter of application and hard work, of writing and rewriting endlessly, until you are satisfied that you have said what you want to say as clearly and simply as possible. For me, that usually means many, many revisions.”
― Rachel Carson

“Read over your compositions and, when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.”
– Samuel Johnson

“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”
– Colette

07.02.20

The Blog Returns

Posted in Animals, Life in general, On writing, Writers, Zone 9 Trilogy at 11:21 am by Marion

Now that I sense some economic security with a job that I love, I feel comfortable enough to resume this blog. So it’s good to see you, writers, readers, and the idle curious!

This weekend we celebrate the Fourth of July. We are a nation in crisis in many ways, but combined with my own two years of anxiety, this time has forced all the nervousness and fear I’ve felt into an explosion of writing.

As such, I plan to finish the first draft of my novel, working title “Shift,” this weekend. I have three readers lined up to help me get it into good shape and then I will seek a publisher.

“Shift” is the first of what I imagine as a series. I have the first three books already taking shape in my mind, with the second one “in progress” mentally. The second trilogy is also taking shape.

How to describe these books? Without sharing too much, they take place in a dystopian not-so-future, where animals are known as “pre-foods” and imprisoned in terrifying compounds known as “stadia.”

The narrator is trying to make her way in this morally ambiguous world, where she just wants the means to keep her house and not live in her car.

05.03.20

Inspired by Adversity

Posted in COVID-19, Life in general, On writing, Writers at 5:31 pm by Marion

Fiction Daily is taking an extended break while I work on a new novel – The Zone 9 Trilogy.

In the meantime, Eugene Downs, my friend and fellow writer, has begun to write about the lives of fictional characters as it relates to our current pandemic, with the loss of life, income, and connection we are experiencing.

Gene is one of the most widely-read people I know. He is knowledgeable and insightful about all aspects of fiction, and hundreds of writers as well.

Treat yourself by visiting his LinkedIn page and watching for his posts. Here’s an excerpt and a link –

This is the first in a series of periodic postings about insights and Inspirations gleaned from my recent fiction reading.

“Here is a beautiful passage from Chapter 54 of “Martin Chuzzlewit,” by Charles Dickens. The speaker is the ironically named Mercy “Merry” Pecksniff, explaining how adversity has transformed her from a selfish, spoiled young lady into a thoughtful, caring woman:”

Read more on his LinkedIn page at this link.

03.25.19

Change is scary

Posted in Buddhism, Events, Life in general, On writing at 2:54 pm by Marion

Hello FD readers!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. OK, well, it’s been more than a month. I’ve nearly finished the short story, and been teaching English to international students. And, I completed my 12th marathon.

At the same time I’ve been trying to take chances on new activities, new choices, and new patterns. It’s incredibly difficult, but you already knew that.

While FD centers on writing, many people know I am vegan, in addition to being a writer. My veganism comes from the awakening I had five years ago, that my actions directly caused animal suffering.

Nevertheless, I still eat processed foods from time to time – and while that kind of “food” may be vegan, it’s bad for me. So I have adopted the new guideline to avoid processed foods. That means any food that has stuff added to it, after it’s been cut or mashed or whatever.

Can I tell you how fantastic it feels leaving all that processed junk behind? Well it does!

But it is terrifying for me to think, “Will I ever eat another Oreo? What about hummus? Crackers?”

The thing is, change keeps us alive; every breath is change. And if we resist change, if we push back, we are still changing – but instead of growing, maybe we change into something stagnant.

Oh, and speaking of change: Enjoy FD’s new look!

02.05.19

When focus is both needed and unwelcome

Posted in Animals, Cats, Dogs, Dreams, Life in general, On writing, Writers at 11:11 am by Marion

As a writer I’ve often talked about how creativity means letting go of our foothold here, to drift and dwell in vaguely defined places of our mind.

I am nearly finished with a new short story, and yet to execute the last 2,000 words I know I’ll need to leave this place for at least a day, if not two, in order to follow these haunted characters to their conclusion.

In the meantime, here I am, in a way also haunted, by living in this cramped physical world with its requirements and obligations.

Yet to finish it, I must contend with the real-world obligations to make sure I have Internet, power, water, and food. To make sure my animals have their walks, meals, and head pats.

At the same time I need to cut ties with all that and pursue the waking dream I call writing.

As typical in this world, I am walking the tight rope. I hope to publish a draft soon on this blog. Working title: My Secret Song.

I’ve updated my web page too with items from my professional portfolio, as well as the enormous independent study I completed in graduate school. That paper resulted from semester-long research into global laws protecting farmed animals.

Have a look at www.marionblackburn.net

01.25.19

The work life-life’s work balance

Posted in Buddhism, Dreams, Life in general, On writing, Writers at 12:42 pm by Marion

I’ve written about the difficulty of writing and having any other type of activities in a day. Another aspect of writing, perhaps less known, is the mental disappearance that can happen.

When we sit down to write, we willingly break with the so-called “real” world, that is, the world that appears solid to us. The world we can touch, smell, hear, see. The world that has bills, meetings, and schedules.

To write means to cut ties with this world, and have the mind entirely free of any other thought. That’s self-evident.

What many people don’t know – including writers, that is, until we’re neck deep into a novel or story – is that writing also requires a break with another world, the world of our own mind. The world of our own sanity. The world where we are in charge, and events happen in someone predictable, or logical ways.

When we let go to submerse ourselves in writing, the break required to really create shifts our inner identity off its base, then shatters the base, and leaves us hanging.

When we are hanging in that way, adrift, maybe terrified, that we find art.

01.15.19

Disappearing Writer

Posted in Life in general, On writing, Press, Writers at 11:31 am by Marion

One aspect of writing that’s difficult to describe, is that we disappear when we write. That’s one of the toughest requirements, or should I say fallout, from writing. To do so requires a person to vacate their own life, their own mind, their own daily activities. In their place, the writer inserts stories about other people, and their struggles, goals, and nightmares.

In the meantime, the real person, the physical writer, sits at a desk. Hours pass, even days. Dishes accumulate; the floor needs to be vacuumed; the bed sits unmade. Calls go unreturned, and of course, bill pile up.

Life outside the writer’s mind continues.

But the writer agrees to exit life, to create this other thing, this other living body, this story, this novel, this essay.

It’s an uncomfortable choice, but a goal that compels me to it.

01.14.19

Niched

Posted in Kerouac, Life in general, On writing, Running, Writers at 9:06 am by Marion

I’ve started a new short story. It started as a look into a recurring nightmare which over time I realized was also my worst fear.

It seemed interesting to explore it, to examine all the thoughts tied in with that recurring dream. I also described what happened in the dream, as well as my responses to it.

Once I explored the recurring dream, people emerged, deep ideas, fears, and emotions. I found the short story has taken off.

Yet what I’ve figured out is that the story will be a chiller, a “suspense” piece, and clearly a niche work.

Why do we do that? Why do we consider Science Fiction, Horror, Detective, and other types of stories to be “genre” fiction?

Is not one of our greatest writers, Edgar Allen Poe, a “genre” writer? Have you actually read Poe? Today, his work would be shunted into a category, and never see daylight.

So my horror story is in progress. When I have a draft, I’ll put it up.

01.03.19

Walking into My Dreams

Posted in Dreams, Life in general, On writing at 10:28 am by Marion

SPOILER ALERT: This post is about a process, so I won’t write specifically about my dreams or nightmares. Not yet. The novel will comprise these images, sensations, and events.

I have a nightmare. It haunts me, in the way dreams can. How do dreams unsettle us? They put us in a world we do not choose and we must suddenly make sense of. In dreams we sense a presence of beings who impart to us general sensations. In turn, we feel vague responses.

My feelings in dreams come fast, and they are of two kinds:
POSITIVE
– an overwhelming sense of peace
– knowing I am loved
– romantic love
– subsumption in the divine

NEGATIVE
– terror
– unease
– sadness (such as dreaming one of my dogs or cats dies, family member)
– THIS ONE IS HUGE: shame

Shame forms the basis of my worst, recurring, nightmare.

TO BE CONTINUED ….

01.01.19

New Year’s Day 2019

Posted in Life in general at 8:16 am by Marion

Update: I had a sudden urge to run and got in 5.3 miles this morning after all.

The New Year rolled in, and I saw it this year. I spent the last day of the year running 11.25 miles through Charlotte. Last night, I attended my cousin’s wedding, then enjoyed a vegan dinner, dancing, and revelry.

I hoped to run this morning to start the year, but it’s just not in me this morning. I only slept a few hours, and today is the long drive home.

Tomorrow I plan to really start my New Year. I hope it is a time of personal change and growth. Among my goals are writing more, eating better, and reaching my running goal of 1,500 miles (that’s 500 miles by April, and 1,000 by August).

I’d also like to be more focused in general. Pare down material possessions, spend more time with friends, family, and my beautiful animals.

The first part of the year brings a couple of concerts – Sean Lennon in DC, then Shaky Knees Festival in May.

I’m looking forward to spending 2019 with you, FD readers.

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