Confetti Novel

The confetti of my novel. That’s the phrase that comes to mind.


Writers I love, admire, and respect swear by Scrivener.

But I don’t how to use it.

Scrivener feels like writing a novel through the prism of geometry, but I know it’s not.

I have “Scrivener for Dummies.”

A sympathetic student lent it me.

I have downloaded Scrivener. I have kept it a year. Shameful.

I have 120 pages of a confetti novel.

This happened with Offsides, Gentle’s Holler, Louisiana’s Song, and Jessie’s Mountain, and the Harper Lee biography, too, so why am I surprised?  (And other shelved unpublished novels in forever comas.)

I’m not surprised.

I wish I had a clear vision of this new book.

I wish I were bilingual. (Yes, that would solve everything.)

I wish I could keep failure and dread at the door.

My friend, Beth, sent this:

It’s helpful.


Here is the confetti swirling up into the air in this particular book in no particular order.


Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.


Frida Kahlo


Illegal/Being Illegal

The law HB 56

Coyotes and deserts

cockroaches with wings called cadillacs

Old Timer’s Disease

Lego Kingdoms

Sloss Furnaces

Cahaba River



Roman gods

Ellis Island



Public Library

“Be Nice or Go Away” – a sign the kid sees

* * *

So that’s where I am today.

But just today.

I am also still mourning the loss of Harper Lee.  It’s hard to wrap my head around all that.

“But what a peaceful death,” my mother said – and she is right. Nelle Harper Lee went to sleep, which is a very peaceful way to go. And there have been so many extraordinary tributes, and I have read everything and people keep sending more.

I can’t stop reading everything.

Maybe that’s I have a confetti novel in my head.

And in my own children news…

Lucy dislocated her knee and is on a plane home to Los Angeles from Chicago to be treated where she is covered under our Kaiser insurance. She was playing a game of basketball and tearing it up until she tore it up. Her boyfriend, Trent, has been a champ taking her to the ER and for MRI’s and all of it. But she’s not covered in Chicago.

Grade 1 MCL injury which is a ruptured interior and crucial ligament with bone bruising.

That sounds awful. And so I’m worried about her.

So today is what any day is – how to write this book of which I have 120 pages of moderate plot – and how not to worry about a kid in pain and what’s for dinner.

And should I try to get to an Al-Anon meeting?


Probably that would be better than trying to define/understand addiction through the lens of NURSE JACKIE.

Images of Today 


Inman Majors re-tweeted this great football coaching picture. Inman, a childhood friend, is a wonderful author – The Millionaires, Swimming in Sky, Love’s Winning Plays. It’s the coaching staff of the Iowa State Cyclones. (My father, Joe Madden, is standing to the left of Johnny Majors who is kneeling center.)

* * *


Here is one side of my desk. Norah put the fairies there. They are her fairies, but she doesn’t want them in her room anymore, so one day they appeared here. The postcards are David Hockney’s Yorkshire.

* * *


This is the other side of my desk. No explanation is needed.

* * *IMG_3627This is a closer shot of Lucy and Kiffen – he will be picking her up at the airport and tomorrow begins the Kaiser gauntlet. I am so grateful for Kaiser. This picture is at least ten years old. (Sometimes I feel like a curator of a life I dragged from Los Angeles to Alabama.)

* * *


My writing friend, Olive, who doesn’t worry about plot but wonders if this beanbag could be cleaner. 🙂


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