Tongue & Groove/Writing Process Blog Tour

Tongue & Groove FlierAs many of my friends know, after years of beating myself up via music, at my advanced aged, I have decided to change tactics and beat myself up via prose. I know, I know. But Doug, some say, you don’t know the difference between Ian McEwan, Ewan McGreggor and Ian McKellan. And what’s more, your disastrous music career was hilarious. True, and true.

But it’s 2014 and writing is the new singing.

Ian McE


Ian McK










So Doug, some might say, you have a blog and you don’t write much there. Sure, you’re a Facebook troll, but you just got on Twitter recently (@douglaswoodbaby). You aren’t on the Tumblr, or the Instagram, or the Vine, or any of the cool new thingies. By the time you finish learning these essential, easy to use programs, the novel will be passe. The short story, defunct. Also true. Nevertheless, MFA it is!

For some unfathomable reason, my cool as heck pal Cynthia Romanowski from my writing program did two things. First, she asked if I would be willing to read at the inaugural Orange County Tongue & Groove reading series, next Sunday evening in Fullerton which is a pretty big deal. Cheeky, I asked, “Will it include Ron Carlson, Samantha Dunn, Lisa Alvarez, Shanna Mahin, and my best girl, Shawnacy Kiker?…It will?? I’ll be there!”

Shenanigans and tomfoolery will no doubt ensue.

Second, she tagged me in this Writing Process Blog Tour, where writers write about how they write. What nerdly fun! You can read Cynthia ‘s answers to these questions by clicking the linkie on her name and sign up for her blog. Her hilarious, trenchant responses are far better than mine, so if you get bored with my blather, go see hers. If I didn’t think I’d get caught, I would just cut and paste her answers here. In music we call that sampling. In writing, I hear they call it plagiarism.

1) What are you working on?

I have several projects I’m working on, in various stages of completion. At the forefront is a new novel that I began at the end of June. Eighty-nine thousand words later, I got to the end of it just yesterday. As for the plot, I’m going to hold off on discussing it just now, like a mom who doesn’t want her infant exposed to too many snotty kids. (That would be you, dear reader.) If you see me, I’ll talk your leg off about it though. I’m super excited.


I’m also going to redo the first two chapters of my previous novel, The Bookist, based on some feedback that just feels right. If you want to read the old first chapter, it’s here and it’s not bad, but I think I can give it one more little nudge and then, I’ll start submitting it again.

I’m working on poems now too. Poetry is Nutella for my soul, which is prone to low blood sugar (imagery). As a novelist, poetry keeps me flexible in finding new ways of expression and forces me to value the heft of each word I put down.

2) How does your work differ from the other works in the same area/genre?

It doesn’t. It’s exactly the same old stuff you’ve read time and again. I’m not that smart.

3) Why do you write about what you do?

Why do people do the stupid stuff we do? People are freaks. Some are secret freaks, others wear it out in the open. Last year I was working on a short story about a young woman coming home from the hospital after having had tummy tuck, breast implants and a nose job. Her name is Brynn, natch. And I love digging around in there and in an empathetic way, hopefully, finding out what in the hell led her to think that going on an all-juice cleanse two days after surgery would be a great idea:

In the fridge, kept in plastic bottles lined up like clone troopers, is a twelve day supply of Toxin Bee Gone™ Organic Juice Cleanse, containing garlic, cayenne, lemon, celery, kale, yellow beet stems and pro-active bee urine nectar. The cleanse, which Brynn has done twice before, will not only skinnify, but it will also purify. Toxins, as she read on the web, multiply because of two things: stress and physical trauma to the body, which is exactly what surgery is. Still, she’s not going crazy. In case the cleanse doesn’t work, she can always fall back on the bottle of antibiotics the doctor gave her.

I feel for people. Their mysterious decisions (mine included) fascinate me. Mostly nowadays, I try not to judge what I don’t know, preferring to assume everyone is doing their best, given what they’re given. I love Brynn, and if her ex, Dallon, doesn’t appreciate her, she’s not going to seek revenge by becoming a Supreme Court justice. She’s going to send him a picture of her huge new rack, to be like, I’ve moved on, bitch! And Dallon will go all Bruno Mars, crying about how he should have treated her better.

Sad, funny, true. Those are the colors I like to play with. Oh, and Kind. Sometimes kind.

4) How does your writing process work?

My writing day looks like this:

First I have to check my news websites: Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Towleroad, Slate, NY Times. Then I do Facebook and emails. Once I’m sure the world and/or my friends aren’t falling apart, I write. I am a beast with the daily word count. Getting to 2,000 words is not too tough for me. I can write anywhere, any time, even if I have fifteen minutes. I have to stop myself from writing all day long, living in this fantasy land of my own creation and do things like take a shower and talk to my family. It’s like a fugue state.

I don’t really like video games. I’d rather write. That’s more fun to me.

I read some. But I’d rather write. (This is a problem, I know, but I’m being really real with y’all.)

I watch some TV. But I’d rather write.

I go out for coffee, talk to friends, run errands, exercise (<–lie), take trips, sing occasionally around the house, and I love it. But mostly I’d rather write.


An illustration from the upcoming novel by James Sie: Still Life Las Vegas; illustrations by Sung Yoon Choi

Okay I would like to tag…

Although he will freak out and stress about it (or possibly because he will freak out and stress about it) I want to tag James Sie, whose wonderful blog Sie World you should all subscribe to. And you should buy his book when it comes out because I’m not cheap to keep. (Still Life Las Vegas, on St. Martin’s Press, Coming August 2015).

And I’d also like to tag Liska Jacobs, because she has my same haircut plus l want to know how she does what she does.



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