Icy fingers

Am I scared? I’e2’80’99m hearing the question almost daily now, and frankly, I wasn’e2’80’99t until people started asking me.

On May 20th I go online and write, for all the public to laugh at. Having been named my county’e2’80’99s Artist of the Year, it seemed to me I had to give back, and this is what I came up with: let them see just what a writer does, stumbles and all.

Except that stumbling is fine in the privacy of your own study, with the delete key at hand’e2’80’94in the study, to paraphrase the old movie trailer, there’e2’80’99s no one to hear you swear. But I’e2’80’99m doing this under a spotlight, metaphorically at least, and if I think about it too much, my fingers are going to freeze up.

Now, I compartmentalize really well. I schedule surgery and don’t freak out about it until that very morning. I seize a project and go with it and don’e2’80’99t worry too much about what’e2’80’99s waiting for me in the wings. But it’e2’80’99s hard not to think about what’e2’80’99s happening on the 20th when in the past week I’e2’80’99ve done a clean sweep of the local media, talking to both dailies, both weeklies, the local NPR station, and the community television guy, and every one of them has asked, ‘e2’80’9cAre you getting nervous?’e2’80’9d

Thanks a lot, I wasn’e2’80’99t until you kept putting it in my face. How am I supposed to concentrate on this very tricky rewrite I’e2’80’99ve just picked up again?

I’e2’80’99ll be doing a radio interview on KUSP Friday morning with Rick Kleffel, and I’e2’80’99ll let you know where he archives it all.
And if you’e2’80’99d like to contribute prompts for me to wrap the story around on Saturday, you can download the (deep breath) Santa Cruz County Parks Department’e2’80’99s Artist of the year Writer’e2’80’99s Improv form from their home page

The story and project are especially geared towards middle school kids, so if you have any of those around the place, especially if they’e2’80’99re interested in writing, you might let them know I’e2’80’99m looking for topics.

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  1. Vicki Larson on May 15, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    Hey, Laurie. Don’t sweat it. If it turns out great I have utmost confidence you will take it in stride and not turn into a prima donna. If it isn’t so great, well, shucks, try again another day. You’ll still be our great Laurie. We love your stories and we feel as though we have gotten to know you a little bit through all the blogging and stuff, so relax. All will be whatever it is. No problem. Hang loose. Easy to say and hard to do, but I have utmost confidence in your sang froid. Is that an appropriate use of that expression? Well, gang, let me know.

  2. Maer on May 15, 2006 at 6:20 pm

    Vicki Larson said:
    “…I have utmost confidence in your sang froid. Is that an appropriate use of that expression? Well, gang, let me know.”

    Oh, yes! Great use and a great expression. “Sanguine” would also be good here, too, though come to think of it, only in the ‘hopeful’ sense rather than the ‘bloody’.

    Go for it Laurie! We’re all rooting for you.


    (Actually, ‘Sangine’ is one of the few words I know that means two opposite or opposing things to each other: hopeful and bloody. ‘Cleave’ is another one, and also ‘Livid’. Anyone else know of any?)

  3. Kait B. Roe on May 15, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    Laurie, all this hooplah reminds me of high school, when I had been a very bad girl and put off writing a short story for a class until the morining it was due, I would run up to a pal and say, “give me a one word plot!” You will do fine, sometimes the prompts were better than I could do. Once I had the idea put in my head, it seemed a lot easier. Generally, I received pretty high marks for those stories- but don’t tell my old English teachers, they might get a little miffed! Good luck and my prompt for you is “Mrs. Hudson’s stray cat! best, kait

  4. Anonymous on May 16, 2006 at 3:40 am

    Laurie, I seem to function in just the opposite way. I worry myself silly in advance, then become very calm and centered at the moment when I have to perform. I’ll be on the spot next week too, as I fly to Portland for the American Iris Society convention, relate to 1,000 strangers, then write an article about my experience. I know, when crunch time arrives, you will be able to call upon your well-developed imagination, skill,and focus. We’re all wishing you the best. Iris Lady

  5. Elisa on May 16, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    Another word that has opposing meanings is raise, although I think the other spelling is raze. But spoken, you have to listen carefully.
    Laurie, your writing skills are prodigeous. Think of the 20th as a first draft. You know there’ll be gold to be winnowed from what you can do in that hour. We’ll be watching and cheering.

  6. Chris on May 16, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    All I can say is – “Good Luck”! Although I’m sure you won’t need it. Maybe the resulting story can form the centre-piece of a collection of your short fiction some day?

    Best wishes

  7. WDI on May 16, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    Ditto what everyone else has said. I can’t wait to read what you come up with, and to read what you have the say about the process (and product) when you’re done. You do plan on filling us in via this blog, don’t you?

    I sent some prompts in myself, just in case.

  8. KB on May 16, 2006 at 11:51 pm

    Hope this isn’t a stupid question, but will you be writing so that we can watch or check in online now and then or something? I’d really love to share the info/event with all my writing buddies (hundreds of them, but just remember they all put their pants on one leg at a time or whatever that old saying is!) at the National Novel Writing Month board.

    If we can watch/check in, where will it be? I’ve been to the Parks site but it’s not clear to me. HELP!

    And, good luck, Laurie! This is very cool!


  9. Roxanne on May 17, 2006 at 1:07 pm

    This is for “Whitmangirl”–and anyone else who might be interested.

    I, too, am a librarian, and your query sent me scurrying for information:

    send down–
    suspend temporarily from college or university, in England

    OR —

    send down–
    Chiefly British
    To suspend or dismiss from a university.

    go down–
    4. Chiefly British – To leave a university.


    Hope this helps. 🙂

  10. Anonymous on May 19, 2006 at 9:36 pm

    Dear Laurie: I hope and believe this writing on line will be like stage fright: first it’s a bit awkward and by rote, and then it flows just fine. Will be watching to the extent our primitive electronics permit & Cheers!–Meredith T.

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