I’ve never been very confident writing nonfiction, e.g., essays and personal memoir, and I’m always envious and admiring of those who do it well. This week I’ve had a nonfiction piece published in the Seattle Times, our local newspaper. It’s an Op-Ed piece that is part of their “My Take” series, in which Seattle residents write about an issue they are concerned about. I was reluctant to even try submitting an Op-Ed, as I know it’s hard to get a piece published in the local newspaper these days. But my neighbors who are involved in helping me advocate on a local neighborhood issue really wanted us to get an Op-Ed in the paper as a way to reach out to other neighborhoods in the city, to inspire them to take action on the same issue. And to let the city know we’re serious about this issue.
So, I hesitantly sat down to draft a piece for submission, and after I drafted it I got feedback on it, which helped me to revise it into a final form. I sent it early this week and heard back that they will be publishing it today! Here it is, if you’d like to take a look:
In the middle of August you start to feel the pull toward autumn. Here in Seattle we’ve been having hazy skies that turn the sunlight yellow and sometimes make the sun glow red. It’s a scene that feels almost apocalyptic, something about the yellowness of the light making the world feel older, reminding me of the goldenness of light in the fall.
In the past few weeks I’ve been doing some long thinking, thinking about what direction I want to go with my writing and with my work. We all have different reasons for writing, and at the same time we all have the same reasons for writing. To be heard. To express ourselves. To connect with other readers. To become more than we already are.
If you’re like me, you’ve learned a great deal from your writing. Whether it’s new techniques for conveying your thoughts, or how your work is perceived by others who read it, or it may even be new ways to express yourself.
It’s been five years since I started this blog, and it has given me a wonderful opportunity to express myself. Back then I posted small “flash” fiction pieces, every day for five months, based on the WordPress.com Daily Prompts. I had once piece selected for “Freshly Pressed” just a few months into my blogging, which was sensational. It made me feel like a “real writer,” whatever that is. After five months of daily posting, I switched to 2-3 times a week, still posting fiction. Along the way over the next few years, I added some reflection pieces and updates to the fiction mix, all learned by reading the work of other bloggers like you! What’s been even more fun is serializing a couple of longer stories, which was great fun, seeing how each episode took the story further along.
Along the way I’ve been privileged to be part of a wonderfully supportive community of blogging writers. My colleague Anna Jailene Aguilar and I collaborated on an anthology of Cinderella-retold stories that we published on Amazon.com. I have had multiple and deeply rich conversations with fellow writers who have taken the the time to comment, and sometimes email, their thoughts, suggestions, and kudos about my writing. It has been hugely encouraging. I am deeply grateful for the generosity of the blogging community.
Thank you for visiting, thank you for your time to read my work, to click “Like” on a post or to write your thoughts in a comment. I can’t express how much it means to have a conversation, however briefly, as part of an ongoing conversation, about one’s writing and about the connections it makes with other writers and their experiences. It has been uplifting, and it has helped me build confidence in my creative ability, and build determination to keep writing.
As you know, we all strive to “bloom where we are planted.” My Lab Notes blog has been rewarding and fulfilling. As my outside-the-blog fiction work has been taking off, I have been less and less active on Lab Notes. Besides writing new stories, I am working on a couple of chapbooks of stories, including The Little Book of Lies, and I have started working with a couple of novel projects. It is with regret that I have decided that it may be time to put Lab Notes on hiatus for a while.
I have one more episode in mind for my ongoing serialized story “The Tattoo Girl,” and I’ll write and post that episode in the next couple of weeks. To you: my blogging community members and those who have faithfully and enthusiastically read my work on Lab Notes, THANK YOU! You have been extraordinarily inspiring to me and my writing. I hope to rejoin you again in the future, with more stories, more reflections, more poetry, if possible. Have a wonderful end-of-August, and keep writing!
the neighbor’s air conditioner
a passing truck
the car alarm in the mini-mart parking lot on the corner
the street light out front
conversation of two passers-by
a police siren
I’m sitting in my office this evening thinking about the ways in which our surroundings influence us. Today is Independence Day in the U.S., and I hear the pops, cracks, and booms of fireworks (legal/illegal) outside my window. It’s been a warm day for Seattle – 70s-80s – and deeply cloudy this evening, a strange sort of gloominess in the sky. Yet the circle of light from my desk lamp casts a friendly light on my writing and this little evening moment with words connects me with writers all over the world, with writers of the past and those who will write in the future. Words are our connections, aren’t they? Language and thought and the poetry of conversation.
Photo by Theresa Barker.
Where do you like to write? Whether in a nearby coffee shop, at the kitchen table, or (if you’re lucky enough) in a…
Have you thought about the development of voice in your writing? Have you seen, or fallen in love with, other writers’ voices? In this month’s writing newsletter we explore voice and its effect on writing and the reader. Take a look!
When I stroll down my block, or look around my yard this time of year, there seem to be flowers on the shrubs everywhere. As I think about the progression of the seasons I often wonder why I don’t remember how bright and festive the lavender blooms on my rhododendron are, or how lively and engaging the tiny white flowers on my thyme bushes can be. But even so, the surprise of discovering flowers bursting forth this time of the year can be delightful; perhaps more so because each year the flowers seem altogether unexpected and new.