Saturday, August 9, 2014

On my way to a dream

NOTE: This is a repost, but it is a story that takes place in Rockport MA, which is where I'm heading, so I thought you might enjoy it! XO Suzy
CLIFF MONTGOMERY Pictures, Images and Photos

Yesterday my mother called me to relay a message from a dear, old friend. Older than me, he was the "older" man I was in love with from sixteen until... oh well, you know. It wasn't a crush that could have ever materialized. Not only was he a grown up man when I first met him, but he was also Montgomery Clift like in many ways. I had (and still have) hero worship for him.

And he was kind. Always so kind to me. We grew to know each other in a summer place, where the rocks of Massachusetts loomed against a cove. I am sure the mineral components of that water took on magical proportions. I can still see him there, standing on a high rock, making his body arc and dive into the deep, deep ocean. He shined.

And I remember that afternoon, on the stone porch of the summer house, while I played guitar (badly) and tried to be someone I wasn't as he swung in the hammock with a drink and convinced me, silently, that who I was was better than anyone I could ever lie up.

Anyway, he called me Suzannah with the "h" on the end as if he knew already it was my secret wish, to have that softness on my name.

I haven't seen him in almost twenty years, and still he asks about me.

My mother just got back from her summer stay at that house by the ocean. She still goes, every year. I don't go. I have many reasons. Some things have to stay in the past. They stay sweet and pretty that way. My grown self could muck up those memories and I won't chance that because those summers are my safest, sanest places to run to in my head when the crazies come.

She called me on the phone to extend an invitation from that old dear friend. She said he was excited to hear about my writing, and that he'd just bought home in New York and wanted me to come and stay with him for a bit... to write.

My mother described the house as he must have described it to her. Old and charming. Big windows, a lot of light. A third floor studio type space. I visualized it in my head, the sun streaming in the windows, I could hear the quiet.

She told me he said he would only bother me when it was time to eat. That he would yell up the stairs "Suzannnah! Dinner's ready." Imagine. Someone calling me down to dinner.

I let out a long sigh on the phone. "Give me his email..."I said.

"But don't you want to go?" she asked.

"I can't." I said.... and she knew it.

It isn't because of the three children. It isn't because of the full time job. It isn't because of spousitis . It is more complicated and simple than that.

I can't go because I can not (at this point in my life) immerse myself in the other option. The option I chose to veer away from when I decided on normalcy instead of bohemianism.

I can't go because I am afraid of what could have been, and of what could possibly become, if the quiet peacefulness and soft attention from a beloved and accepting person should penetrate the armor I wear so fiercely.

But the option? The tantalizing lure? Oh my. It is truly crazy making.

For now, I will email him and ask him to visit my world. Maybe in a few years, maybe then I can visit his.

(Update: I have been back. And I have seen this wonderful man. And I have shaken out most of these demons. But still... that time in my life was the beginning of ALL the magic.)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Swim to the Side: A poem for a rose

(Photo of oldest and middle witch taken at a book signing in May. That's the lovely owner in the background...)

"I'm DONE." she yelled.
And I heard myself right there.
It's one of my favorite things to say, but I've never heard it quite that way.
Oy, Vey.

And she has every right to fight
and scream and kick and wail at the unfair
cracks in this creaky life

where doors open to anger
and slam to the soft exclusionary
whispers of two lovers
navigating an unsafe ship
through a storm
that does not belong to her
(but sweeps her up inside its rip tide

and all I want to whisper-say
is this

swim to the side
swim to the side
swim to the side

Monday, August 4, 2014

7 reasons why it's okay to be Batshit Crazy

WARNING: If this makes sense to you, YOU ARE IN CRAZYPANTS LAND. If it does not make sense to you (you lucky, lucky people), I want to have what you're having. 

There are more than seven reasons. There are like, all the reasons. Reasons that aren't even numbers anymore or even infinity because there MIGHT BE SOMETHING BIGGER than that.. or if bigger means smaller than maybe it's zero. Or not. Because in a world where all the sane people number things in hierarchical order, and the rest of us feel we must live up (or NOT live up) to whatever number we deem important, (because non compliance really means you must first be in compliance or you don't understand what you are working against, right)… wait….. what?

See, I'd rather be batshit crazy.
So, number….

1. It's okay to be B..S..T crazy because really? Why not.

4. It's okay to go out of order if you are B.S Crazy. (you can also change up the way you shorten BATSHIT) Which is really,

2. … you don't have to do anything in any particular order, ever. Unless being disorderly becomes order. OR unless it sends you to jail. (Unless, of course, you find your bliss in jail, in which case, CARRY ON.) … which is really number FIVE, Because….

5. ….being BATSH** crazy means you don't ever really judge anything ever. Like, LIVE AND LET LIVE. Sort of. Because the big things? B. Shit people don't care. We only really judge you if you are wearing really, really terrible shoes. Not ugly trendy… those are cool. Just, like, inappropriate. Which is really….

7. ….It's okay to be BATSHIT Crazy because only YOU need to know what you are talking about, or if you are REALLY going to poke a fork in someones eye, which you know you would not do, but thinking about it amuses you and maybe someday you will…. because number 6,,,

6. You are easily amused by yourself. This means you save a lot of money on entertainment expenses.

And there doesn't even have to be a number 3. Because if you are Batshit Crazy you can keep your favorite number and write down an invisible, terribly important reason, that only OTHER Lost and B.S Crazy Witches will be able to read in the invisible ink of the internet. Okay, there you go!

If you can clearly read reason number 3, comment here! I can't wait. And if you have just decided you can't understand a word I wrote, Don't be ALARMED!…. I am currently in the BS CRAZY mode. When I return from crazy pants land, I will not be able to read it either. So, simply bookmark this post and read when you are feeling like nothing makes sense. Because at that point? YES, you get it… this will!

LOVE, The Lost Witch. (ME)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Holding Hands With my Daughter

*this is a repost... but I wanted to revisit it today*

It was so simple. Most right things are. The key to my secret peace.

I was a tight fist of lonesome and tyrant of rage. A small little girl with tangled hair and balled up hands. I can remember my fingernails cutting my palms. The nail biting habit fixed that.

And every. Single. Time I started to relax... something would happen to make me turn around again. Slam the door. Shut my eyes. Squeeze my fingers blue.

In grammar school the church and steeple game made me feel more exposed than dodge ball.

In high school boys thought me cold 'cause I would kiss but not cuddle. No hand holding.

"I keep my hands to myself... do what you want with yours." I'd say.

And then you came. After a swell of chaos. In a blizzard when I was too young and everyone was mad. You were mad too. A mad little newborn with balled up fists. You shook them at me and cried your own blues. But.... when you fell asleep in my arms, your baby body softened and your tiny fingers loosened, there you were... all lazy fuzz and graceful fingernails. I stroked them and admired you.

In the parking lot. You were what? Two? Yes... and you reached up and grabbed my hand. Our palms met. A perfect fit. A rush of knowing. A startled peace.

I opened up my hand for you because you asked me to. And then I practiced harder, and opened up my hand for him.

Hands and hearts. It's all so simple, really.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Writing Process? MY WRITING PROCESS. Really... I think.

There are a lot of questions that aspiring authors ask whenever I'm lucky enough to meet them at book events.... but by far, the most frequently asked question is, "So, do you have a writing process? Are you a plotter, or do you wing it?" Well, the lovely author Susie Orman Schnall was nice enough to invite me into this blog hop and share not only some amazing tips of her own, but her book, ON GRACE. Check her out, and then... come back here for my answers.

I'm waiting.

Waiting..... still waiting.... yep.... 

You back? Good! 

SO, *Drum Roll* are my answers to these questions. (DO NOT JUDGE ME!!!!) Or judge, whatever, I still love you... Because I seem to have a STRANGE sort of process. But I'm The Lost Witch, so there. It would be SO MUCH COOLER if I could magically make the words appear on the page. But magic doesn't work that way. Sigh. 

Here we go! 

1) What am I working on?
Right now I'm working on my 2015 novel THE WITCH OF TIVOLI PARISH. I have two books coming out in the next few weeks, (THE WITCH OF BELLADONNA BAY and EMPIRE GIRLS (ohmygodgopreordersoIcanquitmydayjobifyouloveme)--- so finding time to get all the finishing touches on my current project is, how can I put this? Terrifying. But no matter what, those characters scream out to me, and it gets done. 

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Oh, I have a thing or two to say about genre. I call mine Tragic Cotton. You can read about it HERE. But I suppose, if we are going with Magical Fiction, Historical Fiction, General Fiction, Women's Fiction Genre's... the thing that makes my novels a little different is that I try to find the balance between dark and light. I kill people with flowers and nostalgia and vintage gardens. If that makes sense. 

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write the things I write because I have to. So, I'll be driving or taking a shower or walking around and this image will pop in my head. I write it down, describing it, and before I know it there's a whole book that grows around that image. I write dark, magical novels, laced with history and family secrets. I write about love and loss and redemption... and I write about those things because it helps me make sense of my own life (so far) that was full of sharp angles of love and blurry edges of sad. 

4) How does your writing process work? 

I wish I had a better way. But here it goes. The first draft comes in spurts of words. Sometimes 2k. Sometimes 10k in a sitting (ALL DAY LONG). Then... I wait. And the editing takes longer. I love the editing. The delete button is my best friend. When I'm in that phase, I make sure to edit a pre-determined set of pages a day. And I have cold readers who know my work, and who know to "Rip me a knew one" when they think I can do better. This is the most important part of my process... taking criticism. 

Thank you Susie for inviting me! And next week, please check out Jennifer Gooch Hummer who will tell us about GIRL UNMOORED. (Which I just ordered because... YES!)

Thanks for reading, you guys. And if you have a question about my process I didn't answer, feel free to ask in the comments!

Best to you all, 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

For Erika, wherever I may find her

When I was little, I had a best friend whose name was Erika. And man, did I need a best friend.
We had a lot in common. We both had crazy, beautiful mothers who were caught up in the wild 1970's and who lived their lives out loud.

Sometimes, Erika and I would sit for hours, just being quiet. Because that's what you have to do when you're six years old and you are convinced that you might just be OLDER than the people raising you.

We weren't, of course. We both grew up colored by that childhood we shared. Dark and light. We knew how to respect beauty and art. We knew how to dull pain. We grew to understand the hidden truths behind what people say.  I'll always be grateful for that.

We also learned how to hide.

Erika taught me how to tie my shoes and how to spell CAT. She held my hand when I cried over ... well, everything. Because I was a dramatic beast of a child.

She helped me throw a mean tantrum and she laughed with me when we had to clean it up.

Once, we soaped the floor of a bathtub because we didn't like the lady living with us and we got into a lot of trouble. I don't regret it. No one got hurt.

Erika understood why I liked to lock myself in bathrooms. I did that a lot. At home, in restaurants. Everywhere I could. Don't ask.

We sat together, late at night in the back of her father's car and waited for him (while he did something terribly exciting and most likely lurid that we couldn't be involved in...) and ate pint after pint of blueberries while we sang the entire score to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Oh, and the Eagles. I can't listen to the Eagles without hearing her voice.

Your voice. I miss you.

Dear Erika, wherever I may find you,

There is this past that no one knows but you. A past full of pain and joy and lost things. There were fights and tears and bites and pushes and running away from home. There were jealousies and desperate moments of love.

I don't think anyone will ever know the side of me you know. And that's a damn shame. If I found you, we could laugh about things that would make other people cry.

If I found you I could tell you secrets I can't tell anyone else.

I didn't imagine you, or the white shag carpet, or the inappropriate books. I didn't imagine eating too many plums or walking on the yellow lines barefoot so we wouldn't burn our feet. I didn't imagine knowing, no matter what, that someone saw me... that I wasn't invisible. I didn't imagine any of it. Did I?

Find me. I still have words I can't spell, and stairs too hard to climb. I still have tantrums and epic crying jags. I still want to sprawl out on the floor and remember all the secret sorrow we harbored together too young.

Sometimes I see you standing behind me, or walking in front. Sometimes I see you right in my eyes when I look in the mirror.

And I know, I mean... KNOW... that I'd be a little less lost if I could wear your denim jacket and run far, far away with you one more time. Because, didn't it feel good when we got home and the cops were there? We knew they loved us then. And then we forgot. I need to remember.

Love, to EGWC from SMC

Monday, March 31, 2014

Words and Dreams and a Giveaway of The Witch of Belladonna Bay!

That quote, "Mermaids don't drown", is from my newest novel, The Witch of Belladonna Bay which  hits shelves on May 13th. I'm terrified, and honored, and excited... and a little overwhelmed by everything. I have another novel, Empire Girls, hitting shelves on May 27th and a book tour that begins in June.

There are so many things I didn't expect when I entered the world of traditional publishing.

One of the things I never considered, (which is strange as I am a reader who underlines and highlights EVERYTHING), was that there would be readers who would enjoy certain quotes from my books. I can't quite explain the pure, raw, emotion I feel whenever I visit a book club and the lovely group asks about specific passages from the novels. It makes my soul soar. And sore. How I love words.

People quoting words I've written falls under the category of "Hidden Dreams of my Soul Revealed" And "Heaven, Stay."

So, as part of the gear up to the release of The Witch of Belladonna Bay, I thought about WORDS. Because, of course.

So here's how this goes....

1.  Leave a comment here, or wherever this is posted on FB or Twitter, that includes a quote from The Witch of Little Italy (released last year). No worries if you don't have a copy, there are excerpts online, as well as quotes that delicious readers have posted on the internet that you can grab! I guess this is where we could write..."No purchase necessary..."

2. Feel free to share this giveaway, though it is NOT required.

3. On Friday, 4/4/14, 11:59 pm EST I will close the contest and put all the names of those of you who commented with a quote into a random pick generator. Got to love technology, right?

4. On Saturday I will announce the winner, contact you personally, and send you a copy of The Witch of Belladonna Bay! You get to be a "First Read" reader.

That's it! So, here you go. Comment and share away.  NOTE: I am not limiting the amount of comments per person, so... yeah, the more you throw your name into the hat, the better your chances with that random generator.

I hope you enjoy this giveaway, and I look forward to posting more as the release date draws ever closer. YIKES!

XO ~ Suzy