Living in Frames, by meshing the lyrical moments of life with the captured images of experience. This is a reverie, a journey, the fork in the road, and the never-ending story....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Leaving Comments

I have received a number of emails from friends and followers, regarding Living in Frames (LIF). I always appreciate the feedback and I'm encouraged knowing that people are actually reading my babbling, stream of consciousness. When I hear how a blog has touched someone or how they were able to relate to something I have written, it makes my time and thoughts all the worthwhile. I absolutely enjoy sharing my experiences with others and love having others share with me, theirs. Whether it be personal stories or another perspective, I am almost always open to the communication.

Recently, I have had a number of people contact me, who read LIF, to let me know they were not able to leave comments on the page. Initially, comments were only allowed to be left for "followers" of the blog. I have since changed the settings to all Gmail/Blogger users. The comments will be monitored, but I will post as many of them as I can.

Thanks again for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Breaking Up is Not Easy to Do

So, I have been a bit of a basket case the last couple days. I received feedback from my mentor on Thursday, regarding my first submission. Though overall her comments were positive and she was very excited to see what was to come in the future, the most constructive critique she gave me, was that my first seven or so pages needed to be reworked and my opening completely scraped.

At first I thought, "Hey, this won't be too bad", but then I realized, "Oh shit! The anecdotal opening, is a metaphor for the novel's entire theme!" She wasn't convinced it was the best way to introduce the main character and in a sense she thought it was too superficial for the depth of the protagonist.
"Sarah, you just got to learn when to kill your babies," she said.

As amusing as that was, I knew I had alot of work before me, whether I was ahead of the game or not.

Unfortunately, I can't just discard the first page and start from there, because it would leave the beginning too vague, with multiple unanswered questions. The main theme of the novel is: how relationships shape us as individuals, and how we can learn from them and grow. It's not so much that I am attached to my opening, it's that I don't know what to replace it with, while still being able to get the theme across right away and present the female lead.

My manuscript, at least the first seven pages, is looking a little like confetti right now. I've kept the most important paragraphs and have tried to organize them in a logical way. But there are still holes that need to be filled in and I absolutely hate the idea of using "filler" to patchwork my story together. Maybe I just need to scrap the whole first chapter and start over that way?

I know there is no one else who can really solve this problem for me and the answer will probably come to me when I least expect it, but I only have 15 days left until my next deadline and it already feels like not enough time. You just can't rush the creative process and be satisfied with what you've done. I may have to use a temporary band-aid, so I can continue forging forward...

RECOMMENDATION: Here's a man who doesn't get seperation anxiety with his art, UK chalk-artist, Julian Beever

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Personally... I think it's too personal.

When you are in the business of the arts and you eat, breathe, and rarely sleep over your work, when does it become too personal? In my family circle, we call it "soul puke", where the artists' guts and blood are spilled out like a Pollock painting, for people to criticize, misinterpret, and muse over. However, as romantic as the thought is, most artists don't put themselves out there completely for an audience and most do care what others think of them. Even Pollock, who was known for his self-deprecating antics and critic-hatred, had his moments of solitary reflection and expression. Even Philip Johnson, who built a glass house as a statement of transparency in craftsmanship, couldn't bare to live in a place that lacked privacy.

Tonight, I caught myself saying, "It's just too personal", when someone close to me suggested I post an essay I recently wrote, to my blog. Yes it's true, there is writing out there that I selectively reveal and censor to more intimate relationships. I also have writing that I have never shown to a single soul; that will only emerge when I have left this life. (And for those who the work is dedicated to, it will be yet another world unveiled). But it's interesting how we classify what is worthy of another's eyes and what is left solely for our own. And what we will leave behind, when we can't hide it anymore?

I have written about sex, lust, love, violence, death, abuse, and insanity, but all in such a way, I have still managed to remove myself from the scene or subject matter. I am an onlooker looking back, looking forward, I am a character in disguise, but rarely am I in the present tense with my bathroom or bedroom door, wide open. I can derobe in an artist's studio and have my nakedness hung on a gallery wall, but how different it is for me, to have my honest words read by foreign lips and deciphered by strangers' minds.

I came across this book online, Sleeping With a Famous Poet, and immediately I thought, "What an allusion to so many meanings and I don't even have the faintest desire to read what it is about." All the questions that first popped into my head: Was he really that famous? Was it his fame she was attracted to? Or was it the novelty of him being a poet? Was he a good enough lover to write a book about him? Or was it about having an affair with another man? But even with all these unsolved questions, I still didn't care enough to read poem after poem, of personal bravado.

Currently, I am working on a novel of fiction. My main characters are already, pretty defined at this point in the process. The protagonist (a female) and the antagonist (a male), have an undeniable chemistry that leads the story along, with both tension and longing ( never once do they occupy a physical space together in the present tense.) The female character is very much tied to my own psyche and initially, when I began writing my manuscript, I had chosen to use the first-person perspective. But as I began to work the strings, as the creator of this woman, I realized it was becoming harder and harder for me to allow her to be something I wasn't. I had become too attached and couldn't see beyond my own perspective. That is when I made the conscious decision to change the "I's" to the "She's".

She still resembles me in some ways, but at least now I can acknowledge that she isn't me and stay somewhat emotionally detached. And that way, when people rip my manuscript apart (and it will happen) I am less defensive about the characters and more focused on the overall critique. I don't know what would be worse? Protesting, "No, she's not!" to a publisher. Or saying "It's really not that bad, is it?"

To find out more about Philip Johnson and his Glass House, go here:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What does LOVE got to do with it?

How do you when you have submitted to the same editor one too many times? When Gmail has defaulted "Editor" to your chat list. Four weeks have passed since my submission to the NY Time's Modern Love column and I suspect I am probably not going to hear back from them. Or, I may just receive another one of these:
Dear Sarah Caouette,

I'm afraid we've chosen not to use your essay in Modern Love, but we appreciate the opportunity to consider it. The volume of unsolicited submissions we receive prevents us from responding personally to each writer, but please know all essays are read and considered, and in fact we discover most of the essays for the column among these submissions. Thank you for your interest and best of luck.

Daniel Jones
Modern Love editor
The New York Times

Yes, the specifically-formatted, apologetic, rejection letter. A letter that most writers, get very familiar with.

According to my mother, who also just submitted to the column a couple weeks ago, today's Modern Love was about "frozen sperm". We have a running joke that if its not about drug addiction, trans-genderism, beastiality, or abuse, it's just not interesting enough to make the cut for our beloved Sunday column. And if you think about it, the average profile of someone who reads this column, let alone the New York Times, probably can't relate to the obscure, isolated cases that the editors seem to favor for publishment. Maybe it has become a bit of a "pissing contest" for the out-of-the-ordinary, leaving little room for the truly, relatable relationships and stories, to compete.

I have one last pitch, then it is time for me to throw in the towel. But I will sit on this one for a while, really foster it, maybe push the boundary of absurdity a bit. You never know, maybe the column will be able to pull at the heart stings and inspire once again, acknowledging those with genuine passion and story-telling capabilities. Until then, we will continue to be entertained by meth-addicted, cross-dressers, who are obsessed with their pet parrots.

Today's Modern Love:

RECOMMENDATION: My Heart Vs. The Real World, by Max S. Gerber
"a photo documentary volume that explores the lives of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) through striking black–and–white photographs and interviews with subjects and their families." - Cold Stone Harbor Laboratory Press