Writerhead Wednesday: Summer Contest!

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


Today I’m giving away a $25 Visa gift card…with the hope,  intention, and understanding that the lucky winner will use it to buy necessary writer-related stuff—books, pens, paper, a shiny new stapler, one-third (one-fourth?) of a much-needed therapy session, a cheap thumb drive, business cards, a couple of double-shot lattes, a few hours of babysitting time, a bottle of Jack, etc.

What do you have to do to win?

Easy peasy.

Just answer this writerhead question in the comment section:

Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something. (For example, “For me, writerhead is like chomping into a habanero pepper” or “When I’m in writerhead, I feel like I’m floating down a peaceful river, until I plunge headfirst over the falls.”) You can also take a look at the writerhead authors, like Jael McHenry or Eugenia Kim or Lisa Brackmann.

If you’re new to this site (welcome!) or need a refresher course on what exactly writerhead is, keep reading:

Writerhead is “a (usually) temporary state of dreamy concentration and fluctuating consciousness during which a writer is most creative, productive, and artistic.”

You know…the purest moments of creation. Those beautiful (sometimes excruciating) sh, sh, sh, ssssssshhhhhh, I’ve got to get this down moments when words are bubbling, popping, zinging, and swinging. The ones when the “real” world disappears behind a gauzy cloud (insert sucking sound here…) and the imaginative world takes on firmer lines and brighter hues.

Some writers call it “the flow” or “the zone.” Some call it “hell.” Others refer to it as “writerland.” I’ve always called it writerhead.

“Sshshh,” I say to my husband if he tries to talk to me in the morning before I hunker down to write. “I’m in writerhead!”

Ready?

Got your answer?

Great!

Post it in the comment section below…and please make sure to either leave your email address or check back later in the week to see if you’ve won.

Good luck!

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GIVEAWAY RULES & REGS:

*To enter the giveaway contest, answer the question (above) in the comment section. Easy peasy.

**Comments must be posted before the clock strikes midnight on June 30, 2011. (That’s Eastern Standard Time U.S.)

***This contest is open internationally.

****A winner will be drawn on Thursday, June 30. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

*****The winner will be drawn randomly by the highly scientific method of my 3yo pulling a name out of a hat (or some other convenient container).

******Though I welcome all charming comments, only one comment per person will be counted in the contest.

 

Mojo Monday: Elizabeth Gilbert Talks Creativity

It’s Mojo Monday, and as always, I’ve got a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge you into writerhead.


I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk about nurturing and creativity…in which she boldly and humorously challenges the notion that creativity and suffering are inevitably linked. (She’s the author, ya know, of that somewhat oft-read book Eat Pray Love.)

Watch.

And then get thee to writerhead (preferably without any suffering).

 

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Q4U: Do you believe that writing is inexorably linked to anguish and suffering?

 

 

Expat Sat: Nooks & Crannies

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writing. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


Sion Dayson–keeper of the expat blog “paris (im)perfect”–wrote a great post a few weeks back about a hidden nook in Paris (Belleville’s Portes Ouvertes) that got me reminiscing about all the hidden nooks and crannies I explored and loved in China during my years there.

Geesh, I love a good nook or cranny. Way more than I care about the big, go-to sites in any given place. Give me a quiet corner in an out-of-the-way temple in Chengdu over the hustle and bustle of Shanghai’s People’s Square any time.

Here’s one of my favorites. When I first landed in China in 2006, I happened upon this old shoemaker in his tiny stall down one of Shanghai’s famous lanes. I was smitten…by the towering piles of leather and lasts, by the shoemaker’s friendliness, by the familiar smell of polish, by how different…and yet the same…this stall was to the shoe-making shops I knew back home.  Of course, I was also so new to China, I had no idea where I was in the city. Couldn’t find this guy again if you paid me (well, maybe if you paid me). But no matter. It was the initial discovery and engagement that hooked me. And besides, there’s always another inviting nook or cranny just around the corner.

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Q4U: How about you? What’s one of your favorite nooks or crannies in your host country?

 

 

Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Carleen Brice

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


Today I’d like to welcome Carleen Brice to Writerhead Wednesday. Most importantly she’s  the author of two acclaimed novels–Children of the Waters and Orange Mint and Honey–but she’s also the creator and curator of one of my favorite new blogs “White Readers Meet Black Authors.” In the masthead, Carleen describes her blog as “Carleen Brice’s sometimes lighthearted, sometimes serious plea for everyone to give black authors a try.” I love this…and Carleen…for putting some humor to such an important topic. If you’ve got a few extra minutes this week, get your butt over to her blog and watch her very funny, very poignant video “Welcome White Folks.”

The Scoop About Children of the Waters

“Still reeling from divorce and feeling estranged from her teenage son, Trish Taylor is in the midst of salvaging the remnants of her life when she uncovers a shocking secret: her sister is alive. For years Trish believed that her mother and infant sister had died in a car accident. But the truth is that her mother fatally overdosed and that Trish’s grandparents put the baby girl up for adoption because her father was black.

“After years of drawing on the strength of her black ancestors, Billie Cousins is shocked to discover that she was adopted. Just as surprising, after finally overcoming a series of health struggles, she is pregnant–a dream come true for Billie but a nightmare for her sweetie, Nick, and for her mother, both determined to protect Billie from anything that may disrupt her well-being.”

The Buzz

“I was exhausted and singing the blues the hour I began Carleen Brice’s new novel, Children of the Waters. Five hours later, I’d finished this fresh, free-rein novel about mothers’ secrets and children’s sorrows and was shouting ‘Hurray!’” ~ Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

“In Children of the Waters, Carleen Brice manages to explore the difficult, messy and unpleasant details of life with both humor and wisdom. The parallel journeys of sisters, Trish and Billie, will resonate with everyone and anyone who has questioned their identity and place in this world. Once again, Carleen Brice has crafted a thoroughly enjoyable novel that gets at the heart of the human experience.” ~ Lori Tharps, author of Kinky Gazpacho

First Paragraph (Prologue)

“Time was short. Maxine Kuepper was starting to say things she didn’t mean. Yesterday, she told her granddaughter to Move my dish, when she wanted to ask her to bend her leg. Trish stared, stumped and afraid, yet all Maxine could do was yell the word ‘dish’ over and over knowing that she wasn’t making any sense.”

_________

And now for Carleen’s writerhead

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

Writerhead feels like the writing is already done, the scene has already unspooled in my head like a movie and all I have to do is follow behind it and get it down on paper. I know how it starts. I know what the characters say and how they say it. I know where they are, what they’re wearing, how they’re feeling and the why of all those things. Writerhead makes writing feel easy. I don’t have to think or wonder or dream. I just know. I don’t know how I know, but I do.

It often feels like writerhead sneaks up on me. Sometimes I can conjure it up with coffee (and cookies—hey, the brain runs on glucose, what can I say). Usually it feels like a gift. But I have begun to notice that this gift comes when I give attention to my fiction every day. The where or when matters less now. I used to find that first thing in the morning before I sullied my brain with the news of the day was best. Now I can check emails, read blogs or whatever and still get into the writing mode. However, my fiction is still best when I write before I do any other kind of writing—blogging or freelance articles. If I spend the morning doing those kinds of activities, my afternoon fiction writing will go better if I work on editing or rewriting. Or if I go to a coffee shop (and get a cookie).

I have always thought of myself as someone who could be of two minds about something. Someone who not only could juggle multiple things, but felt more comfortable doing that. I am a Gemini, after all. But either I’ve changed (which is possible) or I’ve been wrong about myself (not the first time). Because what I know about myself now is that I’m really, really obsessive. For me, writerhead is born out of obsession.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

I guess there might be a “where” involved with writerhead after all. At home I am very sensitive to distraction. I have an office, but our house is small, so I can hear my husband going about his day. All it takes is him opening a kitchen cabinet and I start to wonder, What is he doing? What is he looking for? Pulls me right out of writerhead. Whereas if I’m in a coffee shop and music is playing and people are talking, I can completely tune them out.

My husband just, you know, living his life, is an inadvertent interruption that I have no right to be upset about. So while I might feel frustrated at the interruption I don’t say anything. I am ashamed to say that I have literally growled at a more direct interruption, like “What time do you want to have supper?” (Writerhead brings out the bitch in me.) But my husband is a musician and I don’t come strolling into his studio to chat. When he’s working I let him work. And the few rare times I have been stupid enough to ask my own dumb question, like “Would you like me to turn on the A/C?” and interrupted his work, he’s just as irritated. So I’m double-lucky. He cooks and, mostly, understands writerhead.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

Writerhead is like being newly in love when endorphins are flowing and everything is wonderful and filled with infinite (and only good) possibilities. No matter how many times I’ve slipped out of writerhead and plummeted back to hard earth, when I slip into writerhead it still feels so easy and full that it’s almost impossible to really believe that it will end.

_________

Carleen Brice is author of ORANGE MINT AND HONEY and CHILDREN OF THE WATERS. In February 2010, ORANGE MINT AND HONEY premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network as SINS OF THE MOTHER, starring Jill Scott. It was the second-highest rated original movie in LMN’s history and received two 2011 NAACP Image Awards. Brice is the recipient of the 2009 First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and the 2008 Break Out Author Award at the African American Literary Awards Show. She is also founder of the blog White Readers Meet Black Authors.

You can read more about Carleen on her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter (@carleenbrice), and her blog.

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Q4U Readers / Writers:Writerhead is like being newly in love”–I love this and can so relate. You?

 

 

Mojo Monday: The Elevator Pitch

It’s Mojo Monday, and as always, I’ve got a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge you into writerhead.


Looking for an agent? Prepping for a 30-second elevator pitch?

This video should help get you in the right frame of mind…and make you chuckle. (It cracks me up.)

Three takeaways:

  • It can be hard to succinctly articulate what your manuscript is about. (Tip: Figure it out BEFORE you approach an agent.)

 

  • It can be hard to contain your ardor for your own story. After all, you’ve lived with your story for what seems like FOREVER. You feel married to it. You love it. (Tip: Temper your passion.)

 

  • It can be hard not to act like an insane nutball when you come face to face with an agent. (Tip: Practice meeting an agent. Pretend your broom is an agent. Role play.)

 

Here ya go:

 

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Q4U: How did the role play with the broom go?

 

Expat Sat: The Wild, Weird World of Jetlag

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writing. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing and publishing to expat writers around the globe.


For most expats, jetlag is a way of life. And truly, I’ve never met a soul who enjoys being jetlagged. When suffering from it, most everyone I know sits around whining to anyone who’ll listen that “I’m so tired,” “I don’t think I’ll ever be right again,” “I haven’t slept in __ nights,” and so on. In the final throes, they simply beg, “Help me!”

The smart ones turn to sleeping pills (though those don’t always work).

The official Merriam-Webster definition of jetlag reads like this:

a condition that is characterized by various psychological and physiological effects (as fatigue and irritability), occurs following long flight through several time zones, and probably results from disruption of circadian rhythms in the human body—called also jet fatigue

(For the record, I’ve never heard anyone call it jet fatigue.)

My personal definition reads like this:

the strung-out, stretched-out, I-can’t-sleep-but-dammit-I-can’t-keep-my-bloody-eyes-open-so-my-head-is-going-to-drop-onto-this-plate-of-spaghetti-at-any-moment-and-don’t-talk-to-me-cause-I’m-mean-MEAN-I-say syndrome that results from too much travel over too many damned time zones

The only benefit to being jetlagged is that the brain pulls weird-ass tricks on you (and yeah, I guess I like weird-ass brain tricks…feels a little like writerhead).

One of weirdest that ever happened to me was that as my husband and I were driving from a friend’s house at night, I yelled, “Watch out!” and pointed at the white things bouncing on the road. Nearly killed us as he swerved and punched the brakes.

Course, there were no white things bouncing on the road.

Just my brain pulling a weird-ass trick.

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Q4U: How about you? Jetlagged often? Love it? Hate it? Ambivalent? Resigned? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done/seen/experienced as a result?

 

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Image: krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Jael McHenry

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


Love food? Love foodies? Love fiction?

Then you’ll love Jael McHenry’s debut novel The Kitchen Daughter.

And you’ll really love how she talks about her writerhead.

The Scoop About The Kitchen Daughter

Jael McHenry’s The Kitchen Daughter is about a woman who discovers she can invoke ghosts by cooking from dead people’s recipes.

Julie & Julia meets Jodi Picoult in this poignant and delectable novel with recipes, chronicling one woman’s journey of self-discovery at the stove.

After the unexpected death of her parents, shy and sheltered Ginny Selvaggio, a young woman with Asperger’s Syndrome, seeks comfort in family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning—before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.

(To find out more, you’ll have to read the novel…)

The Buzz

“For Ginny Selvaggio, the protagonist of Jael McHenry’s captivating debut novel, food is a kind of glossary and cooking provides its own magic, whether it’s summoning the dead or softening the sharp edges of a world she finds neither comfortable nor familiar. The Kitchen Daughter is sweet and bitter-sharp, a lush feast of a novel about the links between flavor and memory, family and identity.” ~ Carolyn Parkhurst, New York Times bestselling author of The Dogs of Babel and The Nobodies Album

“McHenry writes passionately about food and foodies….While Ginny is wonderfully single-minded about cooking, her fresh, sharp story has as many layers as a good pâte á choux.” ~ O, The Oprah Magazine

First Four Lines

“Bad things come in threes. My father dies. My mother dies. Then there’s the funeral.”

_________

And now…for Jael’s writerhead:

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

When I try to picture myself in writerhead, I see a dizzying gallery of images. I’m sitting in silence, cross-legged on a carpeted floor in Santa Rosa, California, with my laptop on a pillow in my lap. I’m leaning forward on a wooden chair at a dining room table in Philadelphia, hammering away at the keys of a different laptop, music blaring. I’m perched on a bar stool at a busy Manhattan restaurant, looking down at a spiral-bound printed manuscript on the marble bar, a red pen in one hand and a glass of Riesling in the other. I don’t have a particular time or place that I write. The good news is, that means that any spare moment might be a great moment to achieve writerhead. The bad news is, that moment is just as likely to be fruitless, and I’ll end up in blankhead or clumsyhead or screw-this-let’s-play-Angry-Birds-head instead.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

Most often, for me, writerhead interrupts itself. It’s fleeting. It’s here and gone. I can be writing along in a perfect wordspilling haze and then–fwoosh, it’s over. Will it come back? Will I try to MAKE it come back? How? When I’m under deadline, I have ways of making myself make progress, like to-do lists and multicolored Post-It notes and a complex system of self-bribery. But progress isn’t the same as writerhead. There’s satisfaction in progress, but no joy. I want the joy.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

Sometimes, writerhead is like whipping cream–you have to stick with it as it changes, going from a liquid thing to a solid thing, watching the shift oh so carefully because if you go too far it becomes butter, which is delicious and all, but not something you can put on top of your hot chocolate.

Sometimes, writerhead is like making fresh pasta, staring down a jumble of humble ingredients–flour, water, an egg–that somehow become a glorious thing you never would have known they could become, and even if your hands are the ones that did the work, you don’t really understand how it happened.

Sometimes, writerhead is like pitting cherries with a bobby pin–not “hard work” if you’re comparing it to coal mining or air traffic control, but a task both utterly tedious and utterly satisfying, and something no one but a fellow bobby-pin-cherry-pitter understands.

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Jael McHenry is the author of the debut novel The Kitchen Daughter (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books, April 2011). She is also a talented and enthusiastic amateur cook who blogs about food and cooking at the SIMMER blog, http://simmerblog.typepad.com. She is a monthly contributor to Writer Unboxed and Intrepid Media. Her work has appeared in publications such as the North American Review, Indiana Review, and the Graduate Review at American University, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing. You can read more about Jael at jaelmchenry.com or follow her on Twitter at @jaelmchenry.

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Q4U Writers / Readers / Foodies / Cooks / Eaters: Whatcha think? Whipping cream? Fresh pasta? Or pitting cherries with a bobby pin?

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THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER GIVEAWAY

Today—Wednesday, June 15, 2011—I’m giving away a signed copy of Jael McHenry’s debut novel The Kitchen Daughter. Yep, a signed copy!

RULES: To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment right here on WRITERHEAD for Jael. Wish her well. Tell her that you ordered three copies of her book. Tell her what a fantastic read The Kitchen Daughter is or how much you’re looking forward to reading it. Ask her a question (which she might pop in to answer personally). Offer her a better method for pitting cherries. Show her some love.

*Comments must be posted before the clock strikes midnight on June 16, 2011. (That’s Eastern Standard Time U.S.)

**This contest is open internationally.

***Winners will be drawn on Thursday, June 16. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

****Though I welcome all comments, only one comment per person will be counted in the contest. (This isn’t American Idol.)

 

 

Mojo Monday: What’s Your Word?

It’s Mojo Monday, and as always, I’ve got a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge you into writerhead.


My word?

BELIEVE

 

 

Q4U: What’s yours?

 

 

Expat Sat: The Walkopedia Writing Contest

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writing. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing and publishing to expat writers around the globe.


The Walkopedia Writing Contest sounds like a great opportunity for writers (and photographers) to get their work out there in the world and possibly win a little cashola.

Description: Walkopedia is not about peak-bagging or self-flagellation. We will judge your writing or your photographs based on how vividly and passionately they convey your experiences on your walk or hike. Whether you are writing about or photographing your wander through a city, a trek up in the mountains or even a quick walk to the shops, we like to see conciseness and humour in writing, and a lively and evocative eye for what’s going on around you in all entries. Entries must be fewer than 1,200 words.

How to Enter: To enter the competitions, you need to:

  1. Register with the Walkopedia website as a new visitor (unless you are already registered as a member).
  2. Send an email including a completed entry form (see the form on the site you can copy and paste the form into your email) to:
  • walkopediatwcomp@gmail.com (for travel writing) attaching your entry as a word document. (We ask that you also copy and paste a written piece in the body of the email as well.)
  • walkopediaphotocomp@gmail.com (for photography) attaching your entry as a jpeg

Prizes:

For writing:

A *Daunt Books book token worth £500 for the winner.

£200 for a runner-up.

£200 for the best entry by a person who is under 18 as of the date of submission of the entry, provided that the relevant person is not otherwise a prizewinner.

£200 for the best entry by a **First Story student as of the date of submission of the entry, and £100 for a runner up.

*Probably the world’s best travel bookshop: www.dauntbooks.co.uk

**The excellent First Story charity was set up to nurture and inspire creativity, literacy and talent in British schools. See www.firststory.org.uk

For photography:

£400 for the winner.

£200 for a runner-up.

£200 for the best entry by a person who is under 18 as of the date of submission of the entry, provided that the relevant person is not otherwise a prizewinner.

Deadline: Entries must be received by no later than 31 December 2011. Entries received after that date will not be considered.

Judges:

For writing:

William Mackesy, travel writer and founder of Walkopedia.

William Fiennes, best-selling author of Snow Geese and co-founder of First Story.

Serena Mackesy, best-selling author, travel writer and journalist.

For photography:

The photography competition will be judged by Walkopedia staff.

The Kicker: None that I can see.

The Upside:

  • More than one entry is permitted per person, but no person will be allowed to win more than one prize.
  • Entries can come from any country in the world.

Advice: Get walking.

For full terms and conditions, click here.

 

*Please Note: All information has been copied/taken from the Walkopedia web site.

Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Lisa Brackmann

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.


It’s no secret that I’ve got a soft spot for anything China…so it’s not a surprise that when Lisa Brackmann‘s debut novel Rock, Paper, Tiger came out (Soho Press, 2010), I devoured it.

It’s a great story…a fantastic read…and good gracious, look at this cover art! Amazing.

Just yesterday, June 7, the paperback was released (big round of applause). Whoop! Whoop!

So welcome, Lisa, to Writerhead Wednesday. Let’s get started.

The Scoop About Rock, Paper, Tiger

Iraq vet Ellie McEnroe is down and out in China, trying to lose herself in the alien worlds of performance artists and online gamers. When a chance encounter with a Uighur fugitive drops her down a rabbit hole of conspiracies, Ellie must decide who to trust among the artists, dealers, collectors and operatives claiming to be on her side – in particular, a mysterious organization operating within a popular online game.

The Buzz

“To add to the list of ‘good fiction set in modern China,’ check out Rock Paper Tiger, by Lisa Brackmann. It’s a mystery/action novel that pretty much pulls off something I would have thought improbable: combining an account of Iraq-war drama (the emphasis is on Abu Ghraib-type themes), with a portrayal of the urban China of these past few years, complete with overhyped art scene, dissident bloggers, lots of young expats, and constant uncertainty about what the government will permit or crack down on. Along the way, lots about the online gaming world that often seems the main passion of youthful Chinese, especially males.” ~ James Fallows at theatlantic.com

First Line

“I’m living in this dump in Haidian Qu, close to Wudaokou, on the twenty-first floor of a decaying high-rise.”

_________

And now for Lisa’s writerhead

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

Typing on my laptop, talking to myself, reading passages aloud, giggling and occasionally pumping my fist, shouting: “Yes! BOOYAH!” when I solve a problem or come up with a line I really like. Walking down a Venice Beach sidewalk doing same, which is okay because I blend in pretty well with both the mentally ill homeless population and every other Angeleno conducting intimate conversations on their cell-phones. Missing my freeway exit because I’m so involved in the geography of my story (I really am paying attention to the actual road, too, I promise! Just not to where I need to be going in actual space). Standing in the shower, letting the hot water thrum against my skull, having a “Eureka!” moment—hey, it’s no accident that the original “Eureka!” moment was in a bathtub. I worry about our ongoing drought though…

When: often, but not always, late at night, when it’s quiet around me, and dark.

Also: when I’m traveling. I find it incredibly inspirational just to be in a place and absorb what’s around me. The places I go to can be as far away as China and as close as my own neighborhood. I just need to be in that observational frame of mind to travel a long way.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

Well, I currently have this insane cat. She needs to be entertained! And if she’s not suitably entertained, she finds ways to entertain herself. For example: unrolling the toilet paper roll. That one’s easy to solve, I just have to remember to keep the bathroom door closed. Lately, though, she’s taken to trying to dismantle the cats’ drinking fountain. She’s been rather successful at this. It leads to a lot of water on the floor. So I have a laser pointer to distract her. I try to type with one hand and move the little red laser dot around with the other. I’m only moderately successful at this.

The thing is, I’m not a writer for whom words come easily or quickly, so for me, most of the time, writing is a struggle. I’m not one of those “Oh, I just love to spend time with the voices in my head, if I don’t write and write and write I’d go nuts! The words just flow!” kind of writers. More like, “Put a gun to my head to make me start writing. No, I’d rather you just shoot me,” kind of writers. I do best when I write a little every day, even if it’s only a paragraph, rather than save it up for some major burst of inspiration that rarely comes.

So I probably interrupt my own writerhead far more than any external force interrupts it.

Except for the dude on the street over from mine with the World’s Loudest Motorcycle, which apparently needs to idle for excessive periods of time both to warm up and to shut down. I swear I’m gonna stick a potato up that pipe.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

For me, writerhead is an irresistible force hoping to dodge the immovable object.

_________

Lisa Brackmann’s debut novel, ROCK PAPER TIGER, set on the fringes of the Chinese art world, made several “Best of 2010” lists, including Amazon’s Top 100 Novels and Top 10 Mystery/Thrillers, and has been nominated for the Strand Magazine Critics Award for Best Debut Novel. Her second novel, a literary thriller set in Mexico, will be published by Soho Press in early 2012. Her first published short story appeared in Akashic Books’ SAN DIEGO NOIR (June 2011).

You can connect with Lisa on Facebook and Twitter (@otherlisa). Also be sure to check out her website (www.lisabrackmann.com).

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Q4U Readers / Writers / China-philes: Any other writers out there paying so much attention to the geography of your story that you’re missing exits on the freeway? (I’m proudly raising my hand.)