Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Moving On . . .

I've thought long and hard about where to go lately. Not physically. I plan on staying here, in my house, with my family, for a long time (I hope). But with respect to my writing, where do I want to go?

As all you faithful readers know, I actually know the answer to that question. I want to write novels and edit other people's works. Which means I want to be a writer and an editor.

But an acquaintance of mine reminded me that I am already a writer and an editor, I just don't pay my bills that way.

I'll be honest. I'd love to someday pay at least a few bills using my writing and editing skills. My first step toward meeting that goal? A new website.

That's right. Thanks to Fred, I have a brand new site. I plan on blogging there, and he's imported all that I've had to say from this place. So while I might be moving, I won't be forgetting you. So feel free to visit me over at christinaconsolino.com. Once I have books to also share with you--whether they be self-published or via the traditional route--you'll be able to find them there as well.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 10, 2017

One Step Forward . . .

What's the old saying? One step forward, two steps back?

I feel as though with writing, that's exactly what I do. I find a place to publish something of mine, and then a slew of rejections settle in. I decide to follow the self-publishing route, and then doubt sets in. I decide to contact an editor to look at my work because I think I'm ready to move forward and not give up the writing life, and then, I fall back into thinking that Nah, I'll just stick with teaching, thank you.

But on a sunny Sunday afternoon, when the rays of the sun sluice between the blinds and the words flow quickly, tumbling from my fingers in a scurried frenzy, it's easy to think that yes, maybe someday will become reality. It's easy to convince myself that sure, many people can write a book. Yet not everyone will continue to work at writing such that they see a book all the way to the end, whatever end that may be.

In my younger days, I might have given up on this dream. But I'm older and wiser and realize that for many people, it's tenacity that gets them that book on the library bookshelf and nothing more.

Step with me, people. Step with me.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hot Pursuit

I sat in the front office, grading papers. My colleague, Ken, walked in, the usual coffee cup in hand. "You write that Great American Novel yet?"

Ken knows all about my "other" life as a writer. In fact, he's been a great champion of the cause, since he himself dabbles in photography. Over the last several years, we've been co-conspirators in a plan to bring creativity and arts to the scientific world of the Biology Department.

"Nah," I said. "I've never had plans to do that."

I stated the truth. A long time ago, when I first put pen to paper and began writing, I never even considered that one of my stories would ever become the next Great American Novel. My intention then was to write something that somebody enjoyed. At the time, my mom read what I wrote, and she liked most of what I produced. Her approval served as an incentive to keep writing. So I did.

As I progressed in my years, I still wrote, but again, not in pursuit of the Great American Novel. Instead, I wrote for a grade, or to find release from stress, or to remember something that had happened to me, or to amuse someone else. I found satisfaction in the writing process and the physical paper that sat before me.

It didn't take me long to learn that my love of grammar and correct use of punctuation, and my yearning to make a story better, served me well in the editing world. And those feelings I got from writing--the same endorphins I manufacture when running--bubbled up during the editing process, too. I knew this 22 years ago when I became a peer editor at the University of Michigan. I knew this when friends would ask me to read and comment on their writing. I knew this when I took over the blog from Timmy years ago.

The question exists, then, what am I in pursuit of now? Since having jumped back into writing and editing, my intent is very clear to me. I'm not working for a grade, or approval from my parents. I'm writing because I want to get a story into the world and I want to put a smile on someone's face. I edit for almost that same reason: because I want to help other people bring their stories into the world so that those stories can put a smile on someone's face.

But I have to be honest, I've done a lot of thinking over the last five years or so. I've waffled as to what I want to do with my stories. Do I continue in the quest for an agent, or do I go ahead and self-publish? I really have no intention of not teaching, so a life of self-publishing would certainly fit the bill very well. But while I may not have wanted to write the Great American Novel, I have wanted one teeny tiny thing: to see my little book sitting on the library and book store shelves. And that's not going to happen if I choose to self-publish.

So where does that leave me? I'm not quite sure yet. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Social Tab

Anyone who knows even a little bit about me will understand how excited I am by the announcement that my "Social tab is empty."

Now I'm looking for a way to transfer that emptiness to real life. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Into the Pensieve, X

Mom moved away from her family in 1973, so the phone served as an important life line for her. I don't remember her speaking to acquaintances much, but I do remember tripping over the long, winding cord of the phone hanging between the wall and the floor as Mom spoke to her sisters. Those calls sometimes went on for ages, and I could probably have determined how long by the number of cigarettes Mom smoked during those conversations. If I could go back in time, I'd do just that, then I'd place the conversations into categories: a 1-smoke call, 2-smokes call, 3-smokes call, etc.

Later on, after Gina had gone off to college, Mom spent time speaking on the phone with her, too. Trying to dispense advice about the college dorms or money or classes or boyfriends. All the subjects moms try to help their daughters with. I remember calling Mom from college as well. She knew how I was doing just by my voice. I thought she possessed a pretty unique ability until I became a mom myself. And now, I do the same for my kids.

After I moved to Dayton in 2003, I experienced the same feelings Mom might have felt when she first moved, and I used that phone to reach back to my friends and family. It's what kept me sane at times, being able to reveal the sad state of affairs as I chased after 18-month-old twins and longed for familiar faces. I don't know how many conversations Mom and I had, but I'm sure that many of them fell into the 4- or 5-smoke category. That's how long we stayed on the phone.

And now, my mom can't speak on the phone. When she does, she muddles her way through the conversation with a laugh or an incomplete question. I've written about this before, but the lack of phone calls specifically from my mom feels odd, and it's something I've had to get used to. Of course, I can't bemoan my place right now: it's hard to imagine what Mom's going through and how frustrating it must be. It's too bad she can't use the phone. If she could, she might be fighting some of these uncomfortable feelings with a few phone calls back home.