Monday, June 28, 2010

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you...

My all time favorite poet is the famous 13th century Persian poet, Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī. I have a Coleman Barks translation with sticky tabs sprouting from all the edges in lime green and yellow. But even with my favorite poems marked I usually let Rumi surprise me with something new.
He never fails to take my breath away. After my post about writing at dawn, I opened the book to this poem:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.
I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.
Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain,
Let's buy it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The best time of day to write

Miranda, my cat, is the first to know I'm up at the crack of dawn. Little does she care I have reasons to be padding around the house other than feeding her. There are prayers and coffee to make which I perform to the tune of an orchard full of songbirds announcing the new day like it's going to be something crazy special.

Two days after the summer soltice, dawn begins at 4:07 a.m. where I live in California, but I give myself another hour of sleep and set the alarm for 5:00. That leaves me 45 minutes until the official daystart, but if I'm lucky I can keep writing until 7 or 8.

What's so special about writing at dawn? I could be sleeping like most normal people, but I love this 'in-between time' emerging gradually from the darkness of night. It hasn't opened into the full light of day. More like a rose bud, that's dawn. It feels like wonder and promise and hope.

I open my laptop and bring up my WordDoc and suddenly I'm in my Special World that Christopher Vogler describes in The Writer's Journey. When I'm writing I must leave the Ordinary World just as my protagonist must after he responds to his 'call to adventure'. I slip into it so easily at dawn, it seems like a gift bestowed from Beyond. I always try to prolong my visit as long as possible and I feel a sense of loss when I must leave. Sunrise ushers in the 'ordinary world' and demands my attention, my body demands to be fed, and I remember my journey like it was some kind of dream.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What the bleep is a writer's platform?

Greetings friends, both old and new. I'm kicking this blog into gear again and the first thing I want to address is this thing called a writer's platform. You can't go anywhere without reading about it. Type it into Google and you have over 4 million pieces of advice on this matter. But first, I have to get this off my chest. The name 'platform' just bugs the heck out of me. Who came up with this generic, dull term for authors online 'presence'?

'Platform' evokes all the visual imagery of a piece of plywood. Come on, we're writers. We can come up with something better than this! Bandstand, auction block, podium, launching pad. A thesaurus is a wonderful thing.

The other thing that's bugging me is that everyone seems to be regurgitating pretty much the same advice, although I confess I haven't read all four million postings. Get a blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Ok. Got it.

But hey, I'm not making these complaining noises for nothing. I did listen and obey. My Guardian Cats are on Facebook, I have a couple of blogs and just recently started tweeting and guess what? What sounded like a lot of work is pretty fun. Too much, if you know what I mean. If I'm blogging, FBing, twittering, then I'm not really working on my book. But I'm connecting with people and that's got to be a good thing for a hermit. Right?

I'd just like to add a couple of things to the platform, and that is GoodReads and Google Friend Connect, which allows you to turn your website or blog into a social hall, which is why I'm back here at my Blogger blog rather than WordPress.

What are you doing to build a platform? Do you have a Facebook page strictly for your writing or a particular book? Do you Twitter? What part of the platform do you enjoy the most?