Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In My Dreams

Romantic Writers’ May Challenge is letters—embedding other kinds of text within prose or poetry that support the storyline. Here is mine, weighing in at around 720 words. Full critique is welcome.

Maritza seated herself on the sand and watched the early morning waves slap against the beach. She kicked off her sandals and dug her toes into the sand. Lately she had been having dreams, little surviving fragments of dreams that made no sense. Dreams were a rare occurrence and the ones she could remember were just irritating reflections of the frustrations in her waking life. When she was young, dreams were wild and colorful, full of adventure. Some dreams were warnings of things to come that helped prepare her. Some were just bizarre entertainment. Now something was starting to stir within her like a long-dead volcano come back to life again. Maritza wrapped herself in a blanket and placed a small notebook and pen on her lap.

Dearest Friend,

Except for a few religious surfers, I am on the beach this Sunday morning all by my lonesome, wrapped in a blanket until the sun deigns to burn through the gray. The cold sand clings to my toes like sugar as I watch a couple of sand pipers chase the ebb of the tide. I pour myself a steaming cup of coffee from my thermos and clasp it between my hands for its warmth and to inhale its heady aroma.


It’s been years since I’ve seen your face, but lately you’ve been knocking on the doors of my dreams and so I am writing you this letter. You probably know that I will never mail it so I expect you to read my mind as you always could. Are you looking over my shoulder?

I am not one to remember my dreams any more. What for? Most of them are nonsensical because my brain is numbed by the meaninglessness of my daily routine. Such is the life of a cubicle rat. But every now and then, when I awake and my brain tries to erase my erratic dreams, traces of your footsteps remain. Why have you been visiting me? What do you want?

I remember when you were a coworker who somehow sensed my vulnerability, that pain one carries around when death severs a complicated tie to someone you love and hate. No one else would have guessed, but you are a mind reader. Well, I could tell you had your issues too, but you were not one to share your feelings. It didn’t matter. I could see right through you. Perhaps we helped each other. I could not have healed without your wisecracking humor, your steady hand.


Over time, you became my mad obsession. I embraced that obsession because it sustained me, but I also struggled to free myself as I knew I must. Some things are not meant to be. My obsession embarrassed you as well as myself, but the moment I tried to snuff it out, you deliberately reignited it. You loved the game, but not the consequences. We amused ourselves with our game of hide and seek. We could have made serious mistakes, but we chose not to.

Eventually we both realized that we needed to move on. Somehow we had managed to help each other in our own curiously clairvoyant way and then it was done. I remember saying “I don’t want to ever see your face again” and I meant it, not in an angry way, but in a final way. Of course, you were not there when I said it, but I expected you to understand. You did. You were just waiting for me to catch on. Two people cross paths and strengthen each other in invisible ways and then move on. End of story.


So what’s up my friend? After all this time, I sense you lurking on the back roads of my mind and there is something you want to tell me. I would never expect you to pick up the phone or send me an email. I will watch for you in my dreams. 

Maritza held the letter between two fingers and let it flap in the breeze. Then she took the letter and tore it into tiny pieces. She walked to the edge of the water and tossed them into the waves. “I’m waiting for your response, old friend.”

22 comments:

  1. That is a very moving letter. It opens up all kinds of questions. You write with a lot of emotion. I look forward to reading more from you.

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  2. Thanks, Russ. Glad you liked it! Submit an entry at http://romanticfridaywriters.blogspot.com/ or read the other entries that will be showing up this month.

    Also, I'd love it if you'd give my novel Dreaming of Laughing Hawk a try. It's on Amazon in print or Kindle ebook.

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  3. Hi Linda. Turns out I don't have your email address but I've enjoyed hunting for it online and bumping into your blog(s). My email is:
    foodsmarts@gmail.com. Thanks, Cookie

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  4. Intriguing. Loved how she could sense him lurking in the back roads of her mind. This had passion and a soft feminine voice. Well done Linda.

    Thanks for participating with RFW this month.

    .....dhole

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  5. Hey Linda...love this. What a tender, mystic style. I am wondering if the letter is to a dearly departed. That's how it resonated with me.

    Thanks for your excellent entry. Mine's not quite finished.

    Still haven't finished. It takes me ages to finish ebooks yet I fly through print.

    Denise

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  6. Thanks for dropping by. I look at this piece as a letter to someone who is alive and who in the past has helped the woman through a rough spot in life. Now he is trying to make contact with her on a psychic plane. For whatever reason, this is how they choose to communicate with each other.

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  7. So sweet. I have done that millions of times written letters never sent. I hope he makes contact and tells her the secret he's kept hidden.

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  8. Saturday May 11th, 2013

    Dear Linda,

    This letter is so beautifully written, as a story or as a real-life letter. I hope these two get to meet face to face again.

    I agree with Denise, the tone of the letter sounds like the recipient is no longer among the living. I hope their telepathy-system works, but to make certain, I would have just mailed the letter! (I'm sorry. I know. I'm so down-to-earth and practical!)

    But maybe this person is not in a position to receive letters. Maybe he is married and she does not want to disturb his marriage.

    For the past year or more, I have been writing a letter in my mind (not on paper or with word-processor) to a person who was once very close to me, but who does not seem capable of listening to me anymore. I try to put the whole problem out of my mind in order to work on other things, but this letter keeps popping up in my head: 'You could write this... or that...' I say to myself, and I try to guess what his reaction would be. I will probably have to sit down and write this letter on paper and then file it away, just to get some peace of mind. Or write it down in case I get the courage to send it.

    So I know, first hand, how problematic some letter-writing can be. And you have capture these feelings so well in your story! Lots of lovely, poetic images too.

    Well done!

    Best wishes,
    Anna

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  9. P.S.
    I am so curious about Dreaming of Laughing Hawk. It's on my wishlist for books. Glad it's in print, because I don't own a kindle.
    Anna
    oxox

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  10. Hi Anna,
    I couldn't imagine being able to do a challenge based on a letter, but I guess it happened despite my apprehensions. Glad you liked it. I hope you are able to pick up a copy of Dreaming of Laughing Hawk. I would love to have your review.

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  11. I like the truth that seems the center of your story - sometimes in life, we cross paths with someone who is right, even necessary at the moment, and then both need to move in different directions for whatever reason. And yet, part of them remains within. Lovely letter!

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  12. Something tender and mystic about Maritza, someone who loves deeply and knows when to let go. I hope she meets this person again and gets to solve whatever problem he is seeking her help for. Enjoyed the very detailed beach images and the story.

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  13. nice flash! gets me wondering and thinking.

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  14. Sunday, May 19th, 2013
    Dear Linda,
    Thank you for suggesting that I change the ending of my post for 'Letter'. The new version is up. Take a look whenever you have the time. Here's a permalink:

    Anna's REW challenge 'Letters'

    Best wishes,
    Anna

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  15. Your characters are rather intriguing. I wonder if they will ever be able to get in touch again successfully. I love the idea of the pyschic connection between them.

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  16. How lovely! And I think you're a whizz with names, I really like Maritza :)

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  17. I'm glad you all have enjoyed the letter and its little touch of the mystical.

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  18. This left me with a tug in my heart. I think most people have written such a letter as you wrote, whether to themselves or to someone quite unreachable. Whoever the other one is, the story is the same. It's a letter of reaching out. So utterly beautiful!

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  19. Hi, Linda,

    This was an extremely well written entry. You description of Maritza on the sand were lovely. I felt I was watching the sand piper too. LOVE THEM!

    Such a sad, yet hopeful tone to her voice. As the other have said, she is so feminine, and I mean this as the beauty in the strength of a woman, not her frailty. Beautifully written letter...

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your generous critique, Michael. I was hoping readers would see Maritza as a strong, intuitive character.

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  20. This asks so many questions and the reader fears, correctly, they will not be answered. Writing is cathartic even if no-one ever reads it and this is surely what Maritza feels.

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  21. I loved your description and the whimsical style of this piece. It conveys so much emotion and tells us so much about Maritza in very few words.

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