Posts Tagged ‘pets’

Writing life vs. “real life”

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Yesterday my friend Megan Bostic wrote a post on her blog about whether writers market too much on social media. She mentioned a formula, which I’ve encountered before, that says you should share 25 percent about your books and writing on social media and 75 percent about “real life.”

I understand the principle, but I also started wondering if it’s really possible for most writers to separate their writing and their personal lives. I find that writing permeates every aspect of my existence. I adore my family, my pets, and my friends; I’m dedicated to my work as a dance and Pilates instructor; and there are plenty of activities besides writing that I enjoy doing in my spare time. But if I’m being really honest with myself, I’d have to say that when I wake up in the morning, my first thought isn’t about my family or my work or my hobbies – it’s about my plot or my characters.

I feel guilty saying that. Does the fact that I think more about the people I’ve created in my head than the actual human beings around me make me some kind of sociopath? Does it mean that I don’t care about the people in my life? I don’t think so. I think that, like many writers, I’m just hard-wired to make my creative work my top priority.

I try to share about my personal life on social media, I really do. Take this blog for instance. I’ve posted about cancer survival (and how it affects my writing), about my husband (and what he’s taught me about book promotion), and about trips we’ve taken together (and how I managed to write during said travels.) You see, writing is so interwoven with the rest of my life that I can’t simply set it aside or separate it out.

So I apologize if I’m talking to much about my writing process and too little about what I did on my weekend. That’s probably because I spent most of it writing.

What do you think? Do you wish writers would share more about their personal lives and less about their writing processes?

 

In praise of PAWS

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

As the release date of FLYAWAY draws closer, I want to take the time to highlight (and thank!) some of the people and organizations who made the book a reality. And no organization was more integral to my writing of this novel than PAWS.

PAWS, short for Progressive Animal Welfare Society, is a regional organization, located in Lynnwood, Washington and focusing on Washington State and the Northwest, that strives to improve the lives of animals, both wild and companion. Their mission statement reads:

“PAWS is a champion for animals- rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife, sheltering and adopting homeless cats and dogs, and educating people to make a better world for animals and people.”

When I began writing FLYAWAY, I knew I would need actual experience working with injured and abandoned birds to lend authenticity to the scenes at On The Wing, my fictional home-based bird rehabilitation clinic. I knew from my Internet research that PAWS had a bird nursery, so I contacted them to see if I could volunteer.

The lovely Rebecca Mandell, then the volunteer coordinator at PAWS, helped me get started. I attended volunteer trainings where I learned how to fashion toilet paper nests, make “bird mush” from soaked ferret chow, and feed baby birds using syringes and tweezers. I spent several weeks volunteering at the bird nursery, where I fed birds in incubators, baskets, and aviaries, and learned firsthand just how often baby birds need to eat! During my time as a volunteer, I met bird expert Candy Brown, who later vetted a draft of my manuscript.

My wish was to volunteer all summer, but when my doctor found out I was working with birds, he advised me to quit immediately. As a cancer survivor with no spleen, I’m at high risk for infection. It hadn’t occurred to me what a risk it might be for me to handle birds, which often carry germs that can be hazardous to humans. Reluctantly, I followed his advice and turned in my volunteer badge.

But my experience with PAWS wasn’t quite over. I knew that my novel would contain a scene where a rehabilitated bird is released into the wild, so I contacted Kevin Mack, who took me along on a robin release. I will never forget the moment when the other volunteers and I opened the cardboard box housing the robin and watched it fly away, a scene which I recreated in my book.

I will always be grateful to the people at PAWS for giving me the hands-on experience. And the Companion Animal Adoption branch of PAWS has given me one more thing to treasure.

A Pause (paws?) for cuteness

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

I know I’m supposed to be blogging about cancer survival and the writing life, and I promise I’ll get back to it on Wednesday. But today, maybe since it’s Mother’s Day, I couldn’t resist sharing this photo of my cute four-legged babies.

Sunny, our butterscotch tabby, was napping in his “donut” by the window, and our little rescue Yorkie, Toto, whined to get up there with him. I put Toto next to Sunny, and they snuggled happily for a good part of the afternoon.

Happy Mother’s Day!