Welcome to Cal's Cosmos

Allow me to roll out the red carpet and usher you into my world--the world of writing. I am a blessed man; a man blessed with the enjoyment of creating worlds on a lifeless sheet of paper or a blank computer screen.

You'll find many things at Cal's Cosmos: information about my long and passionate love affair with writing, my views on literature, my musical heritage and thoughts on current events.

Please, come back often to see what's happenin' on Cal's Cosmos.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Solitary Profession

Writing is a lonely, solitary profession. Perhaps that's why I've spent countless hours writing in cafes, restaurants and Micky-D's, pencil in hand, ruthlessly destroying the pristine blankness of a sheet of paper. The buzz of humanity in the background calmed me somehow.

Take my time writing at sidewalk cafes in Paris, for example. I learned more about writing there than I did in the lecture halls of both Hampton and Howard universities. So, I challenge you to write, folks. The more you write, the better you will become.

And why do we write? We write because we have to. We write because our souls dry-up if we don't. We write to have that union, that completion that words, stories and characters bring us. We write because it gives us an insight into human beings--and into ourselves.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I knew they were coming; my agent, Dawn Dowdle , told me to expect them--a list of edits the publisher wanted. What would they be? Would they object to a scene and make me remove it? Would they make me change my writing style, my voice?

Would I be required to kill-off my children, those sentences I had labored over, writing and rewriting them until every word, every phrase, every punctuation mark was pickled and penned in blood?

What about the ending for The Phantom Lady of Paris that I'd rewritten until I had it memorized? Surely they wouldn't mess with that...would they?

Would the editor understand the poetry I'd inserted into the prose? Would he get it? Would he enjoy the lyricism of my descriptions of the arrival of both winter and spring in Paris?

I'd worked myself into quite a state, feeling as protective of my literary baby as I had of Kelly when he first started school. I was so apprehensive about the whole ordeal that I asked Vonnie to scan through the returned manuscript and tell me what needed changed.

The editor objected to a few word choices. I write dialog the way people talk: "Lemme tell ya what happened." is now "Let me tell you what happened." Listen to how people talk and I'll bet you'll hear it the first way more so than the second.

Two scenes had to be rewritten. In the first, the editor wanted the ambulance drivers talking in French. Since the book is in English for English speaking readers, lots of sentences in French can prove problematic. But writers are creative souls, so this writer created.

In another scene, a secondary character is telling the main character about a newspaper article. The editor requested that I have the secondary character read the article to the main character. Which meant I had to write a clear and concise newspaper article without the twists and turns of literary phrasing. A doable fix, although a tad boring for my tastes. Now I know why journalism never appealed to me, even though I read three or four newspapers a day.

In all cases, the editor's suggestions and wishes made for stronger scenes. I'd agonized over the edits for nothing. They were few and minuscule, really. And I was grateful for that, for I am now one step closer to publication.