Today is an exceptional day for my family, because my father’s mother – the only living grandparent I have left – celebrates her 100th birthday.
An entire century of life! Can you imagine?
She was born in 1917, like the Russian Revolution, lived through two world wars and countless other political upheavals, gave birth to three children, and was one of the very first women to get a divorce as soon as it became legal in Italy.
One year ago I chose this date, my Grandma’s birthday, as the official beginning of my Artist Residency in Motherhood, dedicating it to her, wishing her to live to 100. She did, and I on my side have done my best to stand up to my self-assigned Residency goals.
I shouldn’t have written this post. The reasons are multiple, but let’s just say it’s because I do not need another depression-inducing blow at the heart of my tiny beloved workshop.
On the very first day of the year, one of the people I consider the closest punched me in the balls by asking something along the lines of – So when are you going to finally snap out of it and go get a job like all normal people do, as it should be evident by now that this “writing” of yours is not taking you anywhere?
(Time to be a responsible adult, bitch.)
One week later another someone to whom I am related by blood told me they found my blog (this thing you’re reading now here), read a couple of posts, but then gave it up because it was getting embarrassing to witness such personal stories, it felt voyeuristic, dirty? Anyway, they don’t want to see any more of it.
Fuck it hurt. I know I’m all bulletproof and I don’t need anyone’s approval to live my life the way I want to, but nonetheless – being flashed out of left field by the grim reality of how my “allies” actually see my creative struggle successfully cooled the “New Year New You” fireworks.
Spending two precious hours of Toddler-free time on writing a text which will further celebrate the fact my craft is not taking me anywhere and posting it on this embarrassing blog of mine would seem quite a counterproductive thing to do right now. Continue reading →
Fast, intense, naked, troubled, terrific, exhilarating, terrible, this November has been about dreams and long awaited (feared?) turns finally coming around. Multiple incredible events took place this past month, but I will tell you about two (2) main ones.
Ever since I was 12, I dreamed about becoming a novelist, AND –
On the first day of November I started writing (the first draft of) my very first novel!
If you follow me on social media you must have already heard that I took part in this year’s NaNoWriMo, which means that in the past 30 days I filled up a word document with 50,000 words.
50,202 – to be precise.
This sounds incredible and much more compelling than what it actually looks like, as these 50,202 words are more like one huge regurgitated blob of disconnected thoughts and episodes and anecdotes and bits of dialogues, all written with great speed and no filters (because word count) rather than anything even vaguely resembling a novel. I’m not even half way through a first version, not to mention revisions, editing, and all the actual work I still have to do for it to start making sense. So please don’t hold your breath.
Then again, what really matters is that I found in me the fire and persistence it took to accomplish this, which is the single greatest act of support toward my Inner Writer I’ve ever had the courage to undertake.Continue reading →
Ever since the very first day I became serious about my writing (about 8 years ago), I’ve been dreaming about a studio. An office, a room of my own, a place exclusively dedicated to my writing work, where only I had access, so I could leave my notebooks lying around without worry that anyone would accidentally read them. In my imagination’s eye, this space is cozy but stylish (in a retro-shabby way), filled with light coming from a large window which offers the additional bonus of an inspiring view. Piles of books, photo albums, bunch of notes cover most of the free surfaces, post-its with summaries of the scenes I’m developing hang in colourful patterns on the walls alongside photos, magazine clippings with articles pertinent to my newest projects. The solid but slim desk is of course the heart of the studio, with its perfect writing chair (ergonomically shaped in Scandinavian wood), but my favourite place secretly is the soft armchair in the corner, with the lamp next to it, the warm plaid draped at its feet, my reading nook. Of course there is also a plant or two, a candle here and there, some nostalgic frames displaying the sheepish smiles of past lovers. Nothing fancy, as you can see.
Well, in my eight years as an on-and-off professional writer, I did not yet manage to make this dream come true. Continue reading →
I’m extremely excited to announce that on May 11th (2016) I have become an Artist In Residence In Motherhood. Incidentally, on this very same day, it was also my Grandmother’s 99th birthday. We are not very close, but I nonetheless would like to dedicate this Residency to her. May she get to a hundred.
If you’re curious, you will find all the details about the Artist Residency In Motherhood on its official website, but if I were to tell you with my own words what compelled me to join, I’d say. It’s a project that radiates wit and a badass creative approach not only to art (any art) but to life in general, and my lust for things that are both intelligent and fun is too great to not want to be part of such an inspiring, empowering project.
With just one crucial shift of perspective, I understood that in my hands lies the power to turn my Toddler into my Muse, rather than a burdensome distraction from The Real Work. Many a time I’ve been reminded by fellow artists and film professionals and other such authorities that I will not be able to Continue reading →
I’m really sorry you guys, I’m afraid I owe you an apology. I’ve made a big fat mistake and I need to tell you about it. Please let me explain.
You see, I’m a writer. I know I’m a writer for a number of reasons, but let’s just say it’s because when I write I feel right, I feel strong and sane, while when I don’t I become sick. Physically, mentally, in every single way. If I don’t write for too long I will break down and fold up on myself like a mad dinosaur pulverized by an alien beamer.
Round about the time my son was born, I completely stopped writing. Overnight, I went from multiple pages a day to absolutely not a single word for weeks and weeks and those weeks became several months very fast, almost a whole year. Obviously, I couldn’t afford to break down and fold up on myself as I had a baby on my arms, and so I dropped into a subtle creative panic that made me hallucinate a little. Continue reading →
I hope you won’t mind the technical angle I will shine my light on. You see, I’m one of those writers who love their craft, with passion. I love to read about writing, I love to study writing, and I love to write about writing too. I believe writers are very much like athletes – the novelists possibly like marathon runners, the copywriters like tennis players, screenwriters could be overpaid football stars – and one of the many things we have in common with sportspeople is the need to look at the results of our performance. So this one goes out to all my fellow writers at the heart of the cozy bunch of this blog’s readers, as I know we all like to compare notes and learn from each other’s downfalls.
Sometime in early January 2015, I took my Big Black Notebook to one of my favorite cafe’s on a Sunday afternoon. Over a delicious bowl of lentil soup and an almond-milk latte, I wrote down what were about to become my writing goals for the coming year – regarding my rookie blog, but also my screenwriting “career”. At the time, Baby Blues And Rock’N’Roll was only 5 months old, I had written a shock of eclectic posts, I had not been published anywhere else than on my own website, and I realized I needed to start planning things a bit better, if I wanted to grow my audience and improve my stories. Continue reading →
Those of you who have known me for a longer time, know that this is not my first blog. No, Baby Blues And Rock’N’Roll is, in fact, my third attempt at becoming a famous blogger. I started the first one in 2009 and shut it down before even reaching one year of activity. Why? Because (almost) no-one was reading it. After several weeks of pondering where did I go wrong, I came to the conclusion that it must have been because said blog was in a little-known language (Polish) and THAT most certainly prevented me from reaching an international audience. In 2011 I launched my second blog, which started as an English version of what I had already written, but after just four posts I dropped my keyboard and had to sit back. It wasn’t working, it was bad. What was I thinking posting translated, recycled two-year-old stuff which sounded completely different than the original, and failed to excite even me, the author? How could I expect this was going to engage ANY audience? So the blog went idle for over six months while I figured out what to do. Eventually I did, in 2012 I Continue reading →
And by TWAHT I mean Trying to Work At Home with Toddler (mom). My line of work is writing and I do it whenever my young offspring is asleep (god bless naps), whenever it’s a weekend and he’s out with his Papa, or in the bath, or at night when I need to write so much that I can’t sleep. Currently, my life mission is to utilize every possible scrap of spare time to slide any of my writing projects forward, even if it’s only by one paragraph. Sometimes, I write even when I’m not writing: under the shower, scrubbing potatoes in the kitchen sink, or chilling on the rug while my son launches his toy train off the couch’s edge.
Writing is my work, but it’s hard to consider it a job. Also, it’s hard to have those around me understand what it means to me, this invisible passion. Writing is my art and my calling and I do not think I need to earn money on my words in order for me to be legit. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, but as long as I write I am legit. This very moment, this drowsy afternoon while the dishes downstairs are not yet done and I’m trying to type as many sentences as possible before my son calls me from our bedroom, right now, I am as legit as I need to be.
Every Holiday Season is always spiked with hurdles in the form of uncomfortable questions from friends and family and strangers alike. Their inquiries and conversation starters will all be tentative paraphrases of the same thought – What is it exactly that you do? Every one has a clear opinion about what I should be doing instead of writing, and by everyone I mean my mother, my next door neighbour, and helpful strangers on the bus. Continue reading →
Lists are incredibly fashionable nowadays. It seems that, in the world of written entertainment, if something is not written in a listicle form it has very few chances to be read. Lists are fun, dynamic, they usually are not too long, they don’t beat it around the bush, and their form is by default fragmented, which allows the reader to easily skip a paragraph without losing the plot. They are fast to write, easy, they don’t have to be works of literary art to be compelling, on the contrary, they are a practical, informative, accessible read. But I think that their entertainment value is not all that lists have to offer. Continue reading →
I have finally started bringing out of the garage some of the boxes with books I’ve not yet unpacked since our move to the new house four months ago. This past weekend, I found a bunch of special books which are close to my heart in a peculiar way. Their story is what you are about to read, I call them The Interrupted.
Like many other bookworms out there, it’s quite hard for me to read only one book at a time. Usually, I have an average of 3-4 titles in progress on my desk, bedside table, and toilet sink. Many of them, eventually, meet their destiny and get read till the end, but there is always a small percentage which remains stuck at some level and lingers for months and months in this halfway state between the unread and the finished until I get tired of seeing its cover catching dust, I force myself to make peace with the thought I will not see the end of this story any time soon, and I finally archive the title on The Interrupted Shelf.
Yes, I have an Interrupted Shelf. I also call it “The Limbo Shelf”, a name that wants to express empathy for their stuck and unfinished state of being. I have feelings and respect for my books, even those I will probably never read till the end. That’s why I would like to introduce to you nine of the most egregious Interrupted titles, celebrate them for a moment, before they slide back onto their shelf and deep into this reader’s oblivion.
1 * THE NEW YORK TRILOGY * Paul Auster
Interrupted when and where: sometime in 2009, on page 129 of 308. Reason for the Interruption: as the title suggests, this is a collection of three stories. I read the first two, City Of Glass and Ghosts, and stopped right before The Locked Room. Why? Although I am a big Continue reading →
1. LISTS – I mean, really. It’s not that I don’t like lists. On the contrary, I think they are a fun and fresh writing form, fast and easy to read, funny and to-the-point, which are all qualities I appreciate. What I don’t appreciate though, is when something is absolutely EVERYWHERE. Blogs, online articles, books even [“Parenting In 71 Lists“? Rings a bell? Bestselling e-book of the season on A$@zon??] – it seems that if it’s not something like “13 ways in which you are worse than your mother-in-law“, “42 things I wish I knew when I was 42” or “7 deadly sins that are actually quite lively“, it has virtually NO chance of being read. Do you want your whatever-it-is-you-wanna-write to be shared on FB an infinite number of times, get you 3.5K likes and go viral ’round the globe in half an hour? Well then you better start every sentence with a number.