#AmWriting lousy (maybe?) dates on which they ask each other what’s your favorite show or music or NPR segment. And why have the hats come back from the dead?

Howdy, ya’ll. Okay, I don’t really talk like that, but it sounds friendly. I did my last face-to-face writing session with my best accountabuddy! While I’m mega sad, I know that him moving to Wisconsin is good for him. We’ve even talked about doing our writing sessions over Google Hangouts. It has a Skype-like function, too. #ThankGoogleForTechnology

Here’s what I learned this week: I really want my story about the two forty-year-olds on a date to reflect who people are today. Just to be clear, this is a new story I’m working on. It’s fiction, but it’s not unrealistic. As a result, I had written a scene with them discussing a segment they heard on NPR. This time, I was really struggling to get started because I’m not sure what will be the denouement of the story. Where is it headed? I allowed myself to write whatever, which led to these characters talking about music and TV shows. It sounds boring, even to me, but these conversations are interspersed with memories, such as when the man brings up The Coasters and the woman remembers her parents dancing to “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” in the living room.

The Coasters.jpg
The Coasters in 1958. The group frequently changed members.

I’m sure I’ll go through and edit out loads, but at the time it was fun to just write like I was talking to someone, as if I WERE the characters. How often do we really see ourselves in fiction? One problem with that is the man and woman start to sound the same, and we all know the narration has to match the character.

Near the end of my hour, I decided to go back and look at some older work, a series of flash pieces go together that I wrote circa 2009. And wouldn’t you know it: the main character is an old depressed lady whose cat has died — and she has yet to acknowledge it (she even keeps scooping the empty litter box) — and wears a big red hat that gets bigger as she gets sadder! It’s like the hat weighs her down and hides her from the world.

Dear self:

You don’t wear hats. Sure, there was that one summer you had the floppy sun hat, but then you wised up and got a parasol. What is your obsession with hats? You should Google this later, something along the lines of “Are hat obsessions a sign of a gaping internal psychological wound?” On a positive note, now I know I can take the hat out of the date story and polish up these old pieces! Hooray! #Winning

See you next Saturday!

*I changed my header and logo. I’m hoping it’s easier to see and more fitting!


  1. Interesting you have that hat motif. I think there are probably patterns like that in a lot of authors’ work. We may not notice it (or mind much if we do), but those patterns are likely there. Your story premise sounds interesting, too. I’ll be interested in how your progress with it.


  2. I liked the previous header, but then I’m very bad at letting go of things. My sister in law M is a milliner, she would say throw away the parasol and wear a hat, a different hat each day or each hour to express yourself. I love your emotional hats, hope you find a story where the idea works for you, then, because it works, you reuse the idea in a novel.


    • I noticed that with the previous header it was very hard to see the title of the blog. Also, this is one I made instead of using a stick photo on WordPress. I love that your sister-in-law is a hat maker. I didn’t think we even had those anymore!


  3. It’s interesting to start seeing patters. Like the one you found with the hat.

    I was thinking what I would see behind that particular pattern and to me, an external object representing how I feel would be a metaphor for me having sometimes problem expressing my emotions and talking about them (which is true because I sometimes feel people should read my mind and I struggle with that so maybe that’s why I am seeing this particular theme behind it).

    As if that external object does express my emotions on my behalf. And I could relate to that. 😊


  4. I’m sorry – I’m so blown away and envious at the thought you have a parasol that all the stuff about the writing was erased from my mind. A parasol! Admittedly in Scotland I’d only get to use it once a decade or so, but still…



  5. Your accountabuddy is moving to Wisconsin!? Anywhere near me? Do they need a friend? I can help! (#AggressivelyFriendly)

    Also: Hats are amazing. Keep them coming. I own a ton of hats and I love wearing them. Do I wear them often? Pft, heck no. But I have them.

    Editing is totally part of the process. Sometimes, you should just write to get the words out. I get so frustrated when David just stares at everything and can’t let the words out. He’s so focused on making it perfect the first time… I just wish he’d *write*. Get words on paper. Better understand these characters and let the perfection come later. There is always time for editing. 😀


    • I get where David is coming from, especially since his project is a longer work. If he just writes where it goes, he can easily mess up everything he’s already written. that’s why novels and such a pill. They have to work beginning to end, no room for continuity errors.

      My accountabuddy, Charles, is moving to Madison. His wife is attending a PhD program there. I think you’re near Madison? OMG, exciting! I had a cat that was aggressively friendly, once. I had to get rid of her because she wanted to be friendly right by my face all the time. That sounds awful, but it’s true!


  6. I noticed your new header in the last two posts I read, but forgotten to mention how much I like it by the time I got to the bottom of the posts. It looks great!
    I love hearing about your writing process as you go. The date story really appeals to me. I often wonder how my divorced friends did the dating thing – I think it would be painful and awkward, but maybe a little bit fun too?


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