N. Renee Brown

Part-time Author, Full-time Book Junkie


I’m sure many of you have heard this, but for those that have not…It’s official I am engaged! Mom and Dad have been warned and the planning has begun. The date is not set in stone, but start thinking cruise! 🙂

The Ebb and Flow of Writing

There are days that you can’t stop me writing unless you pay me, and even then it might not happen. There are days that the story is hot and I want to pin it down before I lose it in the avalanche of celebrity gossip and computer hotkeys. I know you know them, the days you lock yourself away from your family, forget to eat, and generally enjoy the heck out of yourself.

Who knew one could be so easily entertained?

Those are the days I live for, those are the times…for me its sunk in a comfy couch with Korn on the headphones and my hearing suffering for it. Some food lying out in another room to be grabbed when I MUST get up to stretch. And most importantly, dogs curled up at my feet. Salad days. Golden days. The sweet spot of creation.

Still, for every wonderful high-quality writing day…there are a million (or more) low-quality days. Times when writing a paragraph is torture or WORSE. That low point when you can’t even bear to look at your computer, much less open it. Why? Because it doesn’t feel right? Because you don’t have the ideas? Because the words are stuck your soul like cement?

Nah, I think it’s because we all need a little down time.

Without those low-points what would our Golden Days be but another day? Without the pains of wordcraft how can we enjoy the fruit of it? Without the doldrums how can we recharge our brain (and give it a little time to dump all that celebrity gossip)?

Now the problem comes with trying to battle through the bad days to get to the good ones. For me, it’s taking time to blog and taking time to write e-mail and taking time to write things at work. All of these are “easy” writing for me. Something I can do without taking too much time to think about it or edit it. If I have misplaced a comma (and yes I suffer from comma saturation, but I’m trying to wean myself off them) who cares? If I don’t have the perfect phrase does it matter? My friends may suffer, but hopefully they will forgive me.

So, what do you do to combat the writing blahs?

Find your peace and live it…even if it has too many commas!

Photo Sunday #23

How is it that I get offered an opportunity to take pictures and I either a) don’t think about it or b) don’t want to be bothered with it?

UGH! I know I love looking at these pix later in the week when I am trying to choose things to post…I know I love having gotten that shot that I didn’t think I got or capturing that special something I didn’t know was going on around me…but still I get lazy and just snap when I have the camera at hand.

You know, honestly, I’ve got a certain level of embarrassment about taking pictures. I’m afraid people are going to be looking at me thinking, “What is she DOING?” And while, yeah being a 6foot 2inch female with a lot of extra weigh on my frame gains a lot of attention, I guess I’ve never gotten comfy with it…so adding a camera onto the front of the giant is just something that makes me prickly with self-consciousness.

Why do I care? None of these people know me and it should not matter how they judge my outsides, I know what my insides are like (red and squlechy)…STILL I find myself waging the internal battle between pulling out the camera and just walking past that incredible shot along with everyone else.

Day used to yell at me for not taking my camera with me. I told her I didn’t want to have to carry the heavy thing around, but I think it was more that I didn’t want to be labeled the fat American tourist (although, isn’t that what we all are in our heart of hearts? Fat off this land and looking around with wide, wondering eyes?).

It’s sad that I am letting these shots teeter by just because I do not want to offend the sensibilities of people I don’t know nor care about! I think that is why I am a writer, hiding behind my words I can offend for completely different reasons, but at least these are reasons I’ve chosen to take as my own and am happy with them unlike so many other things.

Anyway, here is a rather reflective Photo Sunday.


#1 Clouds over my house on Saturday. During the Re-Launch Party for Unleaded, Fuel for Writers (coming to a computer near you on July 1st!) we had a storm blow up…it was like being at home only not as threatening. I’ve missed the spring/summer clouds like this, the big, vanilla ice cream towers that practically proclaim rain is on the way.

Church steeple detail.

#2 Church of my failures. I’ve been trying to capture this church for a while now…I’ve taken some pictures in the morning and at night when I’ve driven past but it always turns out with this flat grey sort of coloring. There is no life in this church when I put it into pictures, but there is a strange sort of appeal to it when I pass it in real life. I’ve tried to put into practice what little I’ve learned about photography and looked into the details for this particular shot. It is still downtrodden though. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

I guess a writer really does write…

My mind began buzzing this weekend after reading a rant about LiveJournal and the serious author. It was an interesting rant, one I can’t agree with, but one that I feel I can understand even if from a totally detatched, “I’m not like that, how could anyone be that involved” point of view. You can find the rant on Robin Hobb’s website, it’s called Vampires of the Internet.

Now, you would think my mind would be all involved in defending my journaling/blogging/facebooking/myspacing as I do have accounts and try to keep up with ALL of them, but on the contrary her rant got me to thinking about the writing I do regularly…and there was a lot of it.

I usually post in LiveJournal once or twice a week. These are things that my friends (people I know face to face and spend time with) would find interesting/amusing but that I would never post to the general public audience. Things here are too personal or silly to be worth the pagespace elsewhere. Things like memes, or funny stories, or rants, or quizzes go on my LJ…it is the place where I play rather than work. I sometimes leave comments for friends, and I try to answer comments on my journal if they need it…but I don’t spend that much time ping-ponging like that, I’d rather get on the phone or have a little IM session for that. LJ is the fluff of my writing.

Facebook/Myspace are both new toys for me. They are nice ways to connect, or re-connect with people but I’m still mastering the sharing of information there. Anyone who knows me will affirm that I am a long winded sort, and both of these sites are more soundbite than short story. It is a medium that forces me to distill what is important (even if it is silly) and just give that bit of info. I find it a nice exercise…challenging at times…but worth the time I spend on it. Facebook/Myspace is my soundbite writing.

This blog is the most important non-creative writing I do in a week…which is funny because I think of it as my creative blog. This is a place where I can focus on what I am creating and tell you all about it. It is a log book of sorts…a call to order…a journal where I am held responsible for what I am working on and what I am accomplishing. It is like having another writing group to report to, only this one is much larger (I hope) and less forgiving. I have tried to make Famine’s Table a priority (when computers are not eating my brain) and post here at least twice a week, because if I don’t it will languish. This is not my fun off the top of my head what did I do this week ha ha that’s funny check out this meme or quiz or you tube video or picture sort of place. This is the report on my second job, the weekly reckoning on my performance and some days it isn’t easy but it is always wroth doing. Famine’s Table is the performance appraisal of my writing.

Believe it or not though, that isn’t the only non-creative writing I do. I have you-tube, flickr, and library thing accounts to keep up with. I have work and personal email, work and personal IM, work writing (which some days makes me LONG for the pain of writers block on a story), notes to my partner, notes to my co-workers, cards to people celebrating things…the list could go on.

All of this together would be enough for one person, but for me it’s not, because the diamond for me…the penultimate writing…is my creative writing. I do these other things so at night I can pull out Pearl (yup, I’m still writing on Pearl) and indulge my inner demon. I do all these other things so I can delve into my imagination and run around in a world were I make thing happen or not. I do all this in order to be goddess in my own universe. It is the thing I love, the pursuit I adore (and hate too, but that is another blog post), and the thing I itch to do during the course of a day. My creative writing is what will always come first, without question or effort on my part…I can let all these other things go in order to make time for my creative writing and I’d do it in a minute if other things in life (like relationships with family and friends) impinged on my writing time.

Day and I were talking the other day and she asked me, “If someone told you that after today you’d never be able to write again…what would you say?”

I looked her dead in the eye and with an anger that surprised me said, “F**k you.”

I think that about sums it up.

Peace, love, and writing,

Writing out the emotion.

Today is a day for regrets, a time when the past mistakes are felt most sharply.  I’m not sure why, but instead of the usual touchstones of happiness and joy my mind wanders to darker memories and sadder places. 

On days like this, I always find it helpful to write.  Writing has and always will be (I hope) my emotional outlet.  It is the place where I can express these feelings of regret or sadness or joy or confusion in a useful, productive manner.  I fold my feelings into stories and leave behind a richer plot, more complex characters, and ultimately a better story.  It is never easy, but it is cathartic for me and in stressful situations that have no easy solution I more often than not am itching for a pen and paper.  This is especially true for anger.

I do not get on with anger.  My mother once said, “When I get angry, I get stupid.”  Well, like mother like daughter.  My anger can blind me, like a drunk’s blackouts, to things said and done in the heat of it.  Thus, when I get beyond snippy and frustrated to out and out MAD I tend to sit down and write rather than get into a screaming match with the object of my ire.  I scream everything I want to say and do through the pen out onto the paper.  The raw power of my emotions is, I’ll admit, rough and in need of polishing…even unleashing it through the written word I tend to be a bit hot headed and sometimes make little sense…but it is REAL.  I can feel the brutal honesty of the words as I read them, and I know these are the things I would say to someone in the heat of the moment.  So I save them to use at a time when I am calm and need to dig deep into my character for an angry exchange or some home truths.  Sometimes I create scenes as I write, inventing arguments for my characters to have.  Funnily enough, this can usually kick start me into writing more than just the argument but a whole new scene.  Thus when I am done not only do I have another “piece to the puzzle”, but I am also in a better mood than when I started. 

I know this is not always the case and that many authors out there feel they must write without emotion lest their stories become melodramatic or sappy.  Others believe the pure emotional moments are too real to share, and do not make good writing.

I understand these other schools of thought; I’ve even met a writer or two that claim they cannot write while they are angry.  Then again, I once knew a girl like me…only to the extreme.  She told her best friend, a very sweet gay man who was always the life of the party, that she could no longer live with him because he made her too happy.  She went on to say that she needed to be miserable to write and he was ruining her budding career.

Ok, ok, so that is a bit extreme, but I warned you that it was.

So the next time you get mad or sad, gleeful or silly, thoughtful or regretful, pick up your pen and see what comes out.  You might be surprised or you might not…either way you’ll know.

And if you must be miserable to write and writing is that important to you I feel for you, but understand where you are coming from if I did not have writing I’m not sure what I would do…besides get stupid a lot.