Final Billing

JordanGeneral, Mothers and Writing, Musings

Death is on my mind (read my prior post). It’s unavoidable, and crushing, and I continue to remain completely dumb in the face of such tragedy. And so I’ve been digging through my fiction for something appropriate. I came across this story, first published in Zaum, the literary magazine of my undergraduate Alma Mater, Sonoma State University. The rights have reverted to me, though, so I’m free to share my thoughts/feelings on death the only way I know how (it’s also on my Scribd profile:  Final Billing  Jack and I spent our first date walking through the wet grass at the new end of the cemetery, assigning fates to the dead strangers. Dutiful Mothers became neurosurgeons, beloved uncles, sea … Read More

JordanFinal Billing

Building a Web of Light

JordanGeneral, Mothers and Writing, Musings

Before I was a mother there was nary a subject I was afraid to tackle in my fiction. Fiction is, after all, a safer realm to explore those dark realities and questions that we often can’t in our daily lives. I wrote with almost cavalier freedom about a child who’d lost her arm, a teen mother who cracked under the burden of sudden motherhood, about drug addicted parents and their adult children and the vast gray areas in the human experience that have always fascinated me. And then my son was born two years ago. And it physically hurt to see tv shows in which children were going hungry, much less a movie or book featuring abuse or worse. Today, my friend Alegra Clarke and family have … Read More

JordanBuilding a Web of Light

Telling Stories

JordanGeneral, Musings

It’s been a tough week for people I care a lot about in some very heavy ways. Life and death stuff. Stuff that makes one’s soul shrink in at the edges. And it makes me think about the power of story. How, when there are no easy platitudes to express one’s deepest sympathy or horror, story is often the only thing we have. Sharing our own. Turning to others’ stories to find ourselves and our way back from terrible things. Remembering the joyful times. Weaving new stories. It also makes me think about the stories we tell ourselves to get through difficult times, when we’re too afraid to shine the light into certain depths, and the ones that wrongly limit us. Human experience … Read More

JordanTelling Stories

Reasons to Write (that have nothing to do with publishing)

JordanCraft, General, Musings, Publishing

Lately several of my editing clients/students have asked me the questions that always make me cringe: “Should I continue my pursuit of writing? Do you think I have a chance to be published?” The first question: Should I continue? Always gets linked to the second: Do I have a chance to be published? And as much as I understand the need to link them, I feel it’s a mistake. Why? Well let me first say that of course every writer wants to have an audience, earn big advances, achieve some level of fame or notoreity, and feel as though he or she has “arrived.” But if that is the ONLY reason you write, if there is no joy, sense of … Read More

JordanReasons to Write (that have nothing to do with publishing)

My Friday Four

JordanBusiness of Writing, Craft, General, Musings, Publishing

I like this whole week in review concept. I’m often late to pick up on a strategy, so no surprise here. With half  of my face numb from the dentist (Dr. Root Canal), here are my thoughts and insights about writing and reading, et al from the week: 1. I am embracing the digital reading revolution with more gusto, have reconnected with my kindle for those “gotta have ’em now” books, while at the same time I bought three print books from my local independent bookseller, two of them BIG, meaning I spent over $14 on them (Tana French’s The Likeness, Mr three-first-names’ Shantaram, and and I’ve pre-paid for French’s new hardcover Faithful Place which goes on sale next week). I want … Read More

JordanMy Friday Four

Write for Joy

JordanCraft, General, Musings

I, like countless other writers, have wanted “the dream” to hold a published novel of my own creation in my hand since I was a little girl. In a third grade essay about careers, I wrote, “I want to be an authoress.”  Who knows where I got that term, but it embodies the passionate, zealous little girl I was who became an equally zealous writer over time. And the hunger to hold that book (or perhaps now to hold my Kindle as I admire the pixels of my words) has not gone away. I still want it. I want it for my talented writer friends, students and clients, too. BUT… But something else has happened to me since my son was … Read More

JordanWrite for Joy

Ignore the “don’ts” and “can’ts”

JordanBusiness of Writing, Craft, General, Interviews, Profiles, Musings

When I was still pregnant with my now two-year-old son, Writer’s Digest (my publisher of Make a Scene) interviewed me at their website. And while I don’t normally make a habit of quoting myself, I have to say: I have some really good advice, that the me-of-now nodded along to. My life has changed so dramatically since my son’s birth, but pretty much everything I said here, rings true: What piece of advice have you received over the course of your career that has had the biggest impact on your success? In short, “be persistent,” which actually means to me: FIRST worry about the writing (and explore it, delve into it, try a lot of things on and get excellent … Read More

JordanIgnore the “don’ts” and “can’ts”

The Terror of Disconnection

JordanGeneral, Musings

Today I woke up to a message telling me my gmail account had been temporarily suspended. I immediately felt bad and shameful, like when my French teacher in 5th grade caught me talking, but only because that cute guy I had a crush on had shot rubberbands at my head and I was telling him to quit it. But the thing is: I didn’t knowingly do anything wrong. In fact, it might be a spam related issue that has “violated” gmail’s terms and conditions. Either way, following directions to re-activate my account led to an error message telling me “that service is not available at this time.” They are, of course very sorry. Not as sorry as I am. Email … Read More

JordanThe Terror of Disconnection

Assemble Your Team

JordanGeneral, Musings

In the past year of working on my novel, which I am STILL working on, and probably will be until it arrives at that miraculous place known as “right” or “done” I have been beautifully reminded of the need for other writers. Because writing is a solitary act, I think many of us writers start to believe it HAS to be solitary–that we aren’t allowed to join forces, that we shouldn’t muck up our process by inviting others into it. Some have competitive issues. Some don’t know where to find other writers. But let me tell you: if you try to do it alone, you will…be…lonely. By “it” I mean every stage of the game. If you’re a new, struggling writer … Read More

JordanAssemble Your Team

Give Them Heart

JordanCraft, General, Musings

I’ve written about building believable characters before, and there are hundreds of great articles and books who’ve gone before me that do it in eloquent ways. But today, as I formulate a critique, these are the words that came to me about character: You can learn how to write great dialogue, give your character a snappy voice, and follow a character arc through a transformation. But beneath all of that, and really in order for all that to be true, your characters must have heart. Heart so real you believe them. What do I mean? They must, at some point in your writing journey, morph from paper creations to real people. You must see them as real. You must find … Read More

JordanGive Them Heart