Drink Your Latté Through a Straw

With all the lattés I drink I hope I escape the osteoporosis that plagues my mother.

A goal for this blog is to share my progress to being published. A significant part of this is my process.

Voice is a Process

wpid-20121019_1119341Searching for Reasons is also about practicing the art of storytelling, it is about developing my writer’s voice, a voice that will evolve during the process. This process requires equal amounts of hard work, timing, and talent, and probably lots of coffee. Every person’s process is as different as their voice. My process is organising and researching, it comforts and calms me, clears my mind of clutter so that I may write.

The Logic of Submission

In the first Deadline Fridays I listed four competitions I am interested in. Since Friday, I spent time:

  • organising my Twitter lists and following publications and authors
  • browsing hundreds of Twitter feeds
  • copying my short stories and poems to Google Drive folders
  • adding contest deadlines to a Google Calendar
  • avoiding writing.

The Pact

I have decided to enter a short story, The Pact, into the Sixfold short story contest. This competition is perfect because I take part in the voting by critiquing other stories during August when I have the time. I also think it is my strongest story to date and I am happy enough with it to pay the US$3 contest fee.

I am also going to wait before submitting any half-assed stories to other publications.  It is extremely important to read archived issues of any publication I want to submit to, many of which are not available online.

There are many other opportunities on the horizon and more prep work is needed. I also don’t get paid until Friday.

Drink Your Latté Through a Straw26-dscf6280

Last night I spoke with my 81-year-old mother in Nova Scotia. Due to severe osteoporosis her back has folded over by about 90 degrees in the last four years, like a right-angle ruler. She has strong legs but the bones in her upper skeleton are as hollow as the straw she uses to drink her Tim Hortons Iced Cap. Every day she walks to the local Tim Hortons (a Canadian coffee chain) for that iced coffee. Her doctor encourages her to drink as much milk as possible, although it is too late for the advanced state of her bones.

I have never liked (or drank) regular milk. I think the last time I drank a glass of cold milk was in 1984. I like chocolate milk, but never think to drink it. I also don’t like really strong coffee or espresso by itself. Yes, I am one of the millions who guzzle expensive lattés and cappuccinos to jump-start my day, or restart my night. It is part of a routine, a process, of waking or perking up.

At least 25 years (yikes) of  coffee means I have met and befriended some fantastic people. I have sat on street corners, benches, busses, trains, and planes watching the world go by while I sipped my jolt of caffeine topped with frothy milk.  My routine enriches my mental world and yesterday I realised it might be doing something good for my physical world (ignore the fat, focus on the calcium).

What is my point? Glad you read this far.

My process of drinking coffee combines two ingredients I don’t like individually but when combined it enriches my life. And although it is not guaranteed, over time it might keep my bones strong and my back straight.

My process to be published also combines two things I don’t like: the probability of rejection and all the work needed to become the best writer I can possibly be. My hope is that by just making it part of my routine, over time it might keep me from becoming hollow and give me the backbone to all artists need to keep going.

Excuse me, I must imbibe another latté to build my writer’s backbone. I will not run away from this life.dsc_5279-001



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