Saturday, February 28, 2009


As I found myself facing another late night/early morning attempting to do this thing I so love to do, I also noticed my mind wandering to the inevitable questions which have hounded me since making the decision to devote less time to writing for others and more time writing original pieces of my own. There I sat, coughing and shivering, not daring to take my temperature for fear of the implications (and realities) inherent in that single, foreboding number, focusing on the increasingly bleary letters on my screen and asking myself,
"Are you out of your freakin' mind!?!?!?!?!"
It was not an easy decision, as a single mother of three, to refocus my attentions and efforts towards my lifelong dreams of becoming a "full time" writer, especially as there is a decided lack of support from family and a sense of overall incredulity among many of my friends. One does not, in the midst of a major illness (g6pd-induced MDS) not to mention putting three children through school (a son at Dartmouth and two daughters at Phillips Exeter Academy) merrily make up her mind to make such a sudden, life-altering decision. After all, it is not as though my ex-husband contributes financially to the children's upbringing in any way; moreover, my family--such as it is--in not the warmest, most supportive group in the world! Any sane person would have probably considered doing what I am doing, laughed uproariously, then gone on to saner, more realistic pursuits--such as rewriting from staggeringly brilliant notes the next staggering dissertation for the next, great scientific mind!
(You all realize that if one of my clients read this particular line, I would be so completely screwed, of course!)
Then, I remembered my childhood and those rare, wondrous moments when the concept, the vastness of writing in order to create, astonish, explore, and comprehend first unfolded before me. Learning that I could pluck specific aspects of life from the mundane ritual of human ritual and capture the grace and beauty, the magnificence and simplicity of human experience on a regular sheet of paper with a regular, stubby little pencil proved simply intoxicating! I--plain little Chance--could reform and reshape those realities into anything I chose to make them be with the power to learn from well as urging others to learn from them as well. I could give life to what would have otherwise perished in those thin, insubstantial tendrils of faded memory. To capture, to preserve, to analyze, describe, and explore: these powers had been granted to me; and I could not help but use them whenever and wherever I could.
More compelling was the notion that there were other people out there--faceless, nameless entities, many of whom I would never know--who were awakening to the same marvelous revelation! To think that I could be a part of them and them a part of me left me flabbergasted.
Now--many,many years later--I find myself rediscovering the awe and mystery of writing, those aspects of creating into which so completely enticed me as a young girl. And, recalling those early days, when after I first revealed to my father my desire to write as an "occupation" I was subjected to a scathingly condescending three-hour lecture which left me curled in a tight ball on the burnt-orange plush of the sectional couch in our living room (filled with images of doom, gloom, and begging my bread on the streets of the naked city), I know with a still, placid, comforting certainty that--other than a mother and a decent human being--there is nothing in this world I would rather be...
Than a writer.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Looking For Illustrators...?

I know I am. Part of the work I do (as an independent editor) is seek out talented illustrators in order to match them with my current client(s)--usually those interested in self-publishing. The goal is to soon be in the position of utilizing a bit of that artistic flare for my own work; yet, until then, I suppose the task is simply to add to the pool of names I now have.

If you are looking for an illustrator, you might consider these links:

Reciprocally, if anyone else is familiar with other artists or illustrators, please feel free to post those links as well!

Samples of My Work

For any one who would like to browse samples of my work, feel free to take a peek at the following links:

And, by all means, return the favor: post your links. I would love to read what others are writing as well!

Interesting Links

Last night, I found myself finishing up a short story for possible submission to a company called Girl Child Press. A friend of mine invited me to attend the Homage to Julia de Burgos and Audre Lorde in Hartford on Friday, the 20th of February, where among the poets giving recitations of their works was Michelle Sewell, who encouraged applicants to offer their entries for inclusion in an upcoming anthology of short stories. Given my current physical limitations of late, my offering was not the best, I'm afraid; nevertheless, I have been determined to enter as many contests and track down as many helpful sites at possible in my quest to not only self-publish but establish a "name" for myself on this journey towards the ultimate goal of not only publishing the type of work I want to present to the world but also creating my own publishing company which would focus on showcasing truly original work by truly talented artists who probably would be neither eagerly accepted or immediately appreciated (as financially profitable) by the main stream.

Anyone interested in possibly submitting her work as well might make a perusal of the website at:

You might also try the Arts Review Fogged Clarity at: http://

Other interesting sites I am investigating are:

Of the three, however, I can only recommend the latter. Wendy Burt-Thomas is a friend of mine and a remarkable woman who posts a great deal of very helpful and informative information pertaining to resources for writers as well as tips on becoming published.

As for the others...we shall see.

In the meantime, I will make a point of sharing any interesting links, sites, pages or avenues I upon which I happen to stumble.

Until then...Happy Writing, ya'll, and good luck finding your Muse!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Unavoidable Delays

Everyone, I believe, goes about the writing process differently. For me, working as a freelance writer and editor, I must approach it as a discipline, setting for myself a strict objective of one-thousand words per day (to include journal entries and letters but excluding e-mails and Facebook.) This teaches me to write, not only as inspiration strikes, but also as assignments demand.

Usually, it is quite an easy goal to reach.

This week, however, I am somewhat limited by chills, coughing, sore throat, achy head, congestion, a runny nose, an earache...

And a fever of 103!

Speak up: when it comes to writing, what method best works for you?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What Is Writing to You

Writing is not what I do, it is what I am.

My name is Chanctetinyea Ouellette, a little girl who grew up in a tiny town in West Carroll Parrish Louisiana called Oak Grove. As one of ten children, I had precious little to call my own--only my imagination and the ability to rewrite life, viewing it not as it was but as all it had the potential to be then capturing that view on paper using the endless spectrum of language imagery. To unravel the thin layers of subterfuge and conditioning, upbringing and attitude, myth, denial, self-delusion, and dissembling in order to look into others and see the bared beauty of their souls came with that marvelous ability; thus, I have never taken for granted the power, the majesty, the awe-striking responsibility of the written word. Writing is my way of understanding myself and the world around me; of seeking truth, wisdom, and knowledge; it is my source of peace and my expression of displeasure; it feeds, it starves, it thirsts, and it fulfills...

In short, to write--for me--is to breathe.

Reflexively, I take in all that is around me and emit--with the stroke of a pen or the click of a keypad--the images and perceptions, sights, scents, insights, and discoveries which they form within me. Through this expression of self, I explore. I learn. I LIVE!!!!!!

What does writing mean to you?