Saturday, October 20, 2007


The words came back to me today. What a relief. I found my story.

It’s not like I lacked for ideas. I spent the whole week wish-washing between three ideas, grinding out my minimum of 1,000 words a day. Today, I completely dried up.

The thing is, ideas are like a watched pot. They don’t boil. So I just sat and read Escape, an oh-my-God memoir about how Carolyn Jessop escaped with her seven children from her husband and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (not to be confused with "regular" Mormonism), a cult-type sect that believes in polygamy and "perfect obedience" by women to the men that they’re married to.

The woman’s courage and strength are inspiring, but it’s so hard to believe that this is happening in America. It is unreal, and as you read, it gets worse. I kept staring at the dates, thinking "2006? Shouldn’t that read 1886? Surely not just last year ..."

I embrace freedom of religion, but extreme fundamentalism scares me. But to legislate against something like that would be wrong. I suppose all we can do is legislate against abuse, and pray that will provide some protection. (It provides none in this book.)

When you read, it’s hard to understand people would continue to live that life, but then you realize they grew up in it. They were brought up that way, and the women were married before they even had legal rights. Besides, they’re taught to distrust the outside world and when it comes right down to it, they don’t know anything different.

It really breaks my heart. Here’s some places to go if it breaks your heart, too.

Well, anyway. The words came. Hopefully this story will be a gift. I’ve written novellas in a week before. I hope this is another case of that, because I want November cleared for Nano.

How’s the writing going for you? (And since I’m home, I’m getting to the comments from yesterday--great discussion and I’m sorry for the delay! I discovered that when I reply from my palm pilot, they don’t always make it to the screen, LOL.)

14 bonus scribbles:

meljean brook 10/20/2007 12:40:00 AM  

I've been really, really stuck lately -- I made myself stop, take a little time and just read. My choices were an In Death book and Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, and holy crap, that man can write. Nora can too, of course, but it's different.

And I'd read his short stories before, but never the entire collection. Powerful, powerful writing -- and emotional, and although it makes me feel inadequate as a storyteller, exactly the thing to get me out of my rut.

spyscribbler 10/20/2007 12:53:00 AM  

Maybe it's the stars. My reading has dropped off the past few weeks; that tends to really stick me, too. It's like, I can't ever write more words than I read, you know?

I loved Nora's latest, High Noon. The last few stories just felt a little different; I wasn't as excited about them. High Noon was Nora, through and through. Except better--I read the book a second time as soon as I finished it, and I've never done that with any book besides Harry Potter.

I'm going to check out Tim O'Brien tomorrow.

I hope the words start flowing faster for you, Meljean!

Danika / OpenChannel 10/20/2007 03:42:00 AM  

Well done, spy! (I just wish I had more TIME to read...) 1,000 words per day is very satisfying, isn't it?

I actually helped a friend with her memoir, which was about how she escaped from the clutches of the Jehovah's Witnesses. This was only about 5 years ago. She grew up in it and was completely brainwashed, her self-confidence shattered. It's an incredible story.

If anyone gets writer's block, I'm always posting writing exercises on my blog to address that very thing. I've been writing "weekend writing workouts" for anyone who needs a little nudge.

Angie 10/20/2007 06:33:00 AM  

I finished a story earlier today (well, technically yesterday now) and sent it off for a Halloween promotion -- Torquere's doing a blitz of short stories and a bunch of us were scrambling to get our pieces done in time. Got an acceptance a few hours later (yay!) and now the next hurdle is getting the contracts back and forth before the 31st. :)

I have a love-hate relationship with deadlines. Having a drop-dead date and people counting on me can really spur me to produce, but at the same time it's incredibly stressful. I'm happy to be done for a bit and spend the weekend reading. I have a critique I'm doing for a writer friend so I can kick back and enjoy reading a book (proto-book?) and tell myself I'm working. ;)


Susan Helene Gottfried 10/20/2007 08:48:00 AM  

Fundamentalism in ANY form scares me.

As for writing, I was on a tear yesterday. Whether or not it continues will depend on time. It's the weekend, the kids and Tour Manager are home... and so it goes.

spyscribbler 10/20/2007 09:22:00 AM  

Danika, usually that's a grinding day for me, but it does keep me writing. Writing a memoir with her must have been a rewarding experience. It saddens me.

I love your website!

spyscribbler 10/20/2007 09:23:00 AM  

Angie, congratulations! I've been seeing a lot of short stories in the last year, and I've been hoping they've been making a comeback. What do you think?

I love deadlines. Sorta.

spyscribbler 10/20/2007 09:24:00 AM  

Me, too, Susan! I stalled all day, and then around 7:30 I started spilling out words. I had to pack up and leave at 10:30, but I'd written 5,000 words and could have kept going for ever. I hope things go as well tomorrow.

Edie 10/20/2007 08:58:00 PM  

Spy, Congrats on getting the words back! I've been goofing off all day. Had a chapter meeting this morning, came back, took my dog for a walk, read, watched MARCH OF THE PENGUINS. Now I'm blog reading - and it's off to work!

I'll write at least 5 pages tonight. I'm pantsing this whole book, and except for my slow beginning, it's going pretty good for me. Probably one of the best I've written (although it's hard to tell at this point).

Kate S 10/20/2007 09:42:00 PM  

Spy, when I first read this, my immediate thoughts were: glad for you on writing again, then, this is just like Jehovah's Witnesses.

They have so much more in common with fundamentalist mormons and other such groups than most people realize. I know - I was one for over twenty years. They can "F" you up badly.

I sympathize with danika's friend. I hope she's found peace and moved on. It can be a long process to get out of a cult - even after one physically leaves.

Aimless Writer 10/20/2007 11:49:00 PM  

I did some reading on this stuff after watching Big Love. Incredible that women have to suffer through this in the year 2007. Very scary.

spyscribbler 10/21/2007 10:06:00 AM  

Oh, Edie, a goof-off day sounds awesome. (Even though you went to work and then came back and wrote, LOL!) I can hardly ever make my chapter meetings. I miss them!

spyscribbler 10/21/2007 10:39:00 AM  

Kate, I didn't know that. I remember I had a good friend in grade school who was a Jehovah's Witness. She was happy, LOL, but she was only in second grade at the time. I don't remember much about it, except I remember being horrified she didn't get birthday or Christmas presents. :-) And she wasn't allowed to come over and play because we didn't share her religion.

I don't know much about the religion, except I never did like someone coming to my front door and telling me what to believe. I give them the respect of letting them believe whatever they want, and I just want the same courtesy in return.

spyscribbler 10/21/2007 10:42:00 AM  

Big Love? Do I need to check that movie out, Aimless? It is scary, isn't it?