Sunday, August 29, 2010

California Dreamin'

I tend to think I don't have time to get away. When I do, it feels as if it's all about doing, going, making sure I miss nothing. But I have been in California for a week now and for the first time I get why getting away is a good thing to do.

I think a difference in this trip from others, is that I am here primarily for work and feel no need to sightsee. I just have to exist in another world, enjoy different surroundings and amazing weather. I am working, but in a way that feels like my paradigm has somehow shifted.

The first couple of days I was still in that tightly wound work mode. But then I could actually feel the unwinding, the slowing down, my brain opening up, and I felt creative in a way that I hadn't when I was so focused on my normal daily schedule. Now to take that same sense of expansion back to NYC with me when I leave.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hold On Loosely

Or as my brother-in-law was sure the song was called . . . Hold On Lucy. . .

I have a lot going on right now in a way that I've never had a lot going on before. It's hard to explain what I feel about it all, though thankfully it's not overwhelmed. It's like I feel organized. I feel like I'm keeping my eye on everything, balancing, even dreaming about keeping it all going. I feel invigorated by it all, excited. But I didn't understand that I was feeling anything at all, per se, until yesterday when we did the biking in Central Park video shoot. We shot footage for just over an hour that took us across the south side of the park, up the east side to 72nd Street, across 72nd Street, then back to continue up the east side of the park around the top, then started back down. We wrapped up the shoot as we were coming down what is known as Heartbreak Hill. I turned off the microphone, I could stop worrying that our cameraman was going to crash on his bike, then I just rode down the hill. It was a gorgeous day in NYC, the north part of the park not nearly as crowded, and I felt a release, like I was flying, like my whole soul opened up. And I realized then that I had been holding on tight, keeping everything going, not letting my guard down. When in reality the best way to make things work, make them fly, is to hold on loosely, breathe, and only then can you really make magic happen.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I've finished a book, the copy edits delivered, and now I am focused on the next book. Plotting a new book is always scary for me, even after having written 20 books. I'm always afraid that this time I won't be able to take all the different pieces of a story that is bubbling in my head and make them into a cohesive whole. Or worse, this time I won't be able to come up with all the pieces that make an entire story. Plot points will remain out of my grasp. Every single time I have to remind myself that I always feel this way. And every single time, like magic, somehow the pieces come and the pieces fall into place. Not that I ever believe this while I'm angst-ing over this. However I read an article in the New York Times about how the brain works in regards to creativity. When I'm plotting, I often want/expect my brain to work the same way as when I'm doing some sort of analysis or problem solving. But reading this article puts into words exactly what I feel . . . when I'm doing math my brain moves efficiently from Point A to Point B. But when I plot, it meanders all over the place. It goes off on tangets. This has always scared me. After reading this I realized I need to sit back and enjoy the ride.

When you're plotting out anything creative, do you trust that you'll come up with the solution? Or do fear that the plot will never come clear until suddenly, voila!, there it is?

Monday, August 9, 2010

NYC Music . . . like booksignings

In preparation for the YouTube video channel launch of Linda Francis Lee in NYC we're not only videoing Off the Tourist Map sorts places to go and see in NYC, but we're making a list of all the those things to video next that are just around the corner that make NYC an amazing place to live. Restaurants, sites, shops, people, and anything else we can think of primarily in Manhattan but in the other four boroughs as well. Included on that list, we've been looking into NYC-based musicians and for now here is a taste of some of the groups we've found.

The Brooklyn-based St. Vincent video makes me smile because what author hasn't had a booksigning where no one but the staff shows up . . . and they have to! And I really like Brooklyn-based Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks" even with the odd video.

What is funny is that on August 1st when I was running in Central Park at 6 a.m. people were streaming through Central Park to line up for some concert. I only found out later that St. Vincent was giving a free concert that night and people were lining up (a la Shakespeare in the Park) to get in that night! I could have gotten in line! Coulda, shoulda, woulda as they say . . .

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Writing As Fast As I Can

Some days I wonder why writing is so hard. Why a jackhammer that normally wouldn't register bangs outside with the persistence of an anxious heartbeat. Why it feels that my characters mock me. Why sentences get tangled in my head like I have two left hands and can't move over the keyboard with any sense of grace or meaning. On those days I wonder if I should have been a sales clerk or forest ranger or deep sea diver. But then all of the sudden the words are there, the characters playing like a movie in my head, my hands racing to keep up with my thoughts, and I remember that I'm not all that enamored of stores or forests and especially not of anything in the deep sea. Then the jackhammer fades away and I find my place.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Perfect Pair of Jeans

I am working on the new book and hit a plot snag. I decided that there was no better way to do clear the mind than to shop. More specifically, shop for the perfect pair of jeans. I am getting a new author photo taken, your basic posed, dressy affair. But I also want to get other shots looking real. Hence the thought to get jeans. Jeans, white shirt, fun shoes. I started at Bergdorf Goodman where I bought a pair of James Jeans. While they are great, when I got them home they felt very young. So I went back out, headed to Saks Fifth Avenue in hopes of finding a pair that weren’t too young, but also weren’t mom jeans with a waist up to my neck. Saks has a huge jean department, but the young, impatient woman who helped me was, well, not very helpful and she couldn’t seem to get her mind around the thought of “not too young.” We pulled several pairs for me to try, and by the time I left the store I was certain that the Perfect Pair of Jeans didn’t exist. Next stop, Bloomingdale’s, though not before stopping at one of my favorite burger places, Burger Heaven for a cheeseburger and extra chocolate, chocolate milkshake. By the time I got to Bloomies I had gone up a full pant size. I found a pair there that I still don’t know what to think about. I actually like them a lot, but I keep remembering this photo of me from my junior year of college, and I swear they are the same jeans. What’s old eventually is new again?? I returned to Bergdorf thinking maybe I missed something (I didn’t), then made my way to Barney’s. Couldn’t find anything there, though that was probably due more to sheer jean overload than anything else. With arm muscles aching from pulling tight jeans on and off all day (who needs a weight room), I made my way home with two pair of jeans. I still need the white shirt and shoes, but just the thought of more shopping makes me shudder.