Robin Hawke

One by One
May 24, 2011, 11:15 PM
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Grief is demanding. Sitting down to work, to writing, to housework, I promise today will be productive and that I will cross off simple, for today, goals, one by one by one. Instead, grief becomes an excuse to procrastinate. Why I  favor tears over accomplishment, I have no idea. As soon as I drop my task, grief takes over until I choose another chore. I bend my head, willing myself to concentrate. And before I find success, before the bed is made, or the post is published, I find myself distracted and take another walk. I fail my simple tasks but won’t allow myself regret. Grief is demanding enough.

Writing should be simple
May 20, 2011, 5:17 PM
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Writing should be simple. Idea > eruption > refinement.  Then, to achieve something worthwhile, a dance—the lead alternating between words and author.

There are writers who think in sentences. When interviewed, they use beautiful language. It comes naturally and ably. I’m sure writing is simple for them, second nature.

I think in pictures. I stumble over words. I skip important segues. I fall downstairs, pick myself up, and slowly, with bruises aplenty, climb the forbidding incline.

What keeps me going? I use to teach. I remember students with natural talent, they danced up those stairs in twos and threes, but soon slipped away, beyond sight, and left no evidence of their rich inclinations. Others would make plodding progress. They would get to the top and build a scaffold to climb higher. I learned from them.

I think in pictures, and, for now, that will have to do; it’s a sturdy platform.

Morning Glory
May 17, 2011, 9:48 PM
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Vines, many, many vines began growing in one of the vegetable beds. I must have planted morning glories last fall. They took over, but squash seeds have sprouted. Those aren’t morning glories. Small buds promise white, insignificant flowers. I’d better find out what those things are. The vines love this rainy weather and have escaped into the weedy lawn. Buckwheat? How in the world did buckwheat get going? And why is it relegated to that bed?

Weeds are despised by people who want virginal grass. Dandelions and violets are allowed to bloom in my yard to great delight. Unfortunately, so do plantains. And the plantains in my grass have no relationship to the slowly blackening fruit on the kitchen counter.

I gave up grass twenty years ago in favor of a devil-may-care-what-will-grow attitude. It has served me well and cut down on years of fussing and fuming about weeds. These vines threaten more than the vegetable bed with their substantive growth.

Survivor Thoughts—Last Vote
May 16, 2011, 7:20 PM
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I love watching people and, because they are hungry, determined to win money and full of surprises, Survivor contestants become endearing over the course of a season. The last tribal council always surprises me, though. After all, the jury is fed and sleekly groomed. Last night, I was particularly disturbed with the disrespect shown Phillip.

Any game, any game, that takes a player to the end should be analyzed and appreciated. Phillip’s game was brilliant—he was the person everyone wanted to take to the end. He guaranteed himself a final spot to win the million. Rob couldn’t say the same and if he hadn’t been able to play the immunity idol, things might have been different. Regardless of idol play, Phillip was slated to stay.

Phillip should have gone to Redemption Island at the first tribal council. Instead, he outs the secrets of his supposed alliance. At the time, I thought it was a nutty thing to do. A few days later, I realized that it was an ingenious way of divorcing the small alliance in favor of the greater one. He demonstrates loyalty before called upon.

I wish Phillip had had a marketing guru telling him what to say to the final jury. With the right spin, a changed tone of voice, and a semblance of the sanity he has shown in outtakes—he could have won.

Phillip Sheppard survived. In my heart, too. I wish him the best and he deserves credit for playing an underdog who’s willing to rub salt in wounds. Most underdogs would be afraid to create chaos.

Time Sink
May 15, 2011, 12:02 PM
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Solutions to writing problems and knotty issues come to me when I’m driving or showering. Places I am without a notebook. Triggers, phrases, ideas, a whole sentence—to jot them down—how ingenious that would be.

Instead, I linger under hot water. People in the know say complete relaxation is a key ingredient of incubating wisely. I’m never sure how wise I am when that clever solution flows down the drain as soon as I begin to towel off.

A Start
May 12, 2011, 10:19 PM
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Starting over, starting something new, starting becomes a profession all its own. I’m beginning a new career as a romance writer. I love it. I love nudging words around and celebrating love.

What is also beginning–dreaded marketing. I hate writing phrases that will entice people to read the words I slave over. It seems I’m limping. One foot is racing to get back to the story and characters I’m developing. Then, there’s that other foot, stuck in a bog of confused marketing language.