Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Glamorous Life of the Writer...

Just to fill everyone in, I have been busy working on cranking out the last few chapters of the novel...which seems to keep getting "just one more" chapter added to it each week as I delve deeper and deeper into the world I am creating. 

I have also churned out three freelance articles in the past week in an effort to keep up with the steady stream of appliance-break-down (knocking on wood) that seems to be plaguing our home.  (Clearly I owe a huge karmic debt.)  For those keeping tally, we are currently enduring the following: 
  1. Leaky roof
  2. Leaky kitchen faucet (this one is new as of today)
  3. Broken dishwasher
  4. Broken closet door
  5. Broken air conditioner in my van (with 100+ degrees common in the foreseeable future)
I did somehow (I suspect sheer, dumb luck) manage to fix the broken toilet last weekend, and my husband did manage to fix the broken washing machine a couple of weeks ago.  (Hey, I will take whatever small blessings I can get!)

Ah, the glamorous life of the writer...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Imagination Drain

I have encountered several people lately who seem to think that there is something wrong with encouraging our children's imagination.  If these individuals are to be believed, we should not encourage our children to read certain types of things because "they need to focus on the real world.

There are people who seem to think that cartoons are a "normal phase" for a child, but that encouraging them to read the Harry Potter books, or discover Narnia, or Middle-earth is irresponsible parenting!  And these people seem to gravitate toward me and then lecture me endlessly in an effort to "enlighten" me about this perceived parental shortcoming.

Um...yeah, right.

Book have always been my refuge.  When school was unbearable, I read.  When faced with the endless summer of a latch-key kid, I read.  I have ALWAYS read.  And my kids read...a lot.  They see me reading, and they grab a book and join me.  Sometimes we read aloud and sometimes, as my seven year old son puts it, "We will read quietly, in our heads, and snuggle next to each other."

My children have learned friendship from Harry Potter, bravery from Bilbo Baggins, self-sacrifice from Peeta Mellark, and--here is the most important part--we TALK about what they read.  We read some of the books out loud in order to touch on things that might need explaining.

Yes, my children have cried through books when characters die...and I cried right along with them.  In life, people die.  Encountering death in books gives us a way to talk about some of these big life-things before Life dumps them in our lap. 

This "real life" of which the naysayers speak also has death and betrayal and sacrifice and hard choices (or hadn't they notices?).  I am trying to help equip my kids to deal with these things.  So we read about it, and we talk about what we have read, because reading has never failed me.

So, yes, my children may know an insane amount about Harry Potter, and they may be able to quote huge chunks of The Hunger Games, and they may know more about Middle-earth than some might consider healthy but...along the way...they also learned a few other things, too.  Things that I am darned proud of.

Rather than pull the imagination drain and trying to tell my ten year old (who HATES the sight of blood) that she "needs to be a pediatrician because it is a steady field with a good income" rather than "following your mother's fantasy of becoming a writer," maybe you should actually LISTEN to her when she tells you that she loves books, and loves words.  Maybe you could even encourage her a little when she tells you that she has a story she "simply has to get out." 

I have always told my daughter that words are powerful and that they can be used for good, or used for evil, and that she had a responsibility to watch her words to make sure she used them wisely.  To those who try to deny the importance of a child's imagination...OF ANYONE'S IMAGINATION...I say to you:  You need to watch your words.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gone Writing

I would normally be blogging today, since I always look forward to posting on Fridays, but I have more book revisions and rewrites underway that are demanding my attention as my 40th birthday starts to loom larger on the horizon. 

Also, a wonderful artist friend of mine has agreed to do the artwork for my book cover and I need to talk to her more about that.  She is so talented, and I am so honored that she agreed to work with me on this.  Once the cover is finalized, I will post it here.  If she agrees, I would LOVE to do an Artist Interview here and link up to her site so that you can see the other amazing work she has done.

And, as if that is not enough, my dear friend was in a car wreck this morning.  She is doing well (knock on wood)--a bit banged up, but it could have been so much worse

So the blogging will have to wait until Monday so that I can write, and talk about Art, and fret over my dear friend while she mends. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Murmuring Muse, a Blog Award, and Random Facts About Me

My Muse has been chatty all-hopped-up-on-caffeine-and-vegan-chocolate chatty.  I am not complaining, mind you.  Her hyperactivity has resulted in another chapter for the novel and a new short story that has grown to four pages since this morning.  So, really, I am grateful.

I am also grateful for the blog awards that Lauren and Alice and Jess have been gracious enough to bestow up me.  (The Versatile Blogger award and the Kreativ Blogger Award!)  It means a lot to me.  And with every blessing comes a responsibility.  Per the rules, I am obligated to share seven random things about myself and to, in turn, bestow this award on seven worthy souls.

Obligation #1:

Since my head to full of novel and short story stuff, I am afraid to think too much about anything else.  No, really!  I feel like my brain is at capacity, and I fear that if I put anything else in there I will lose something important (you know, like story stuff); therefore, I have asked my dear friend to offer up some randomness about me.  Here are her offerings (none of which I can deny):

In no particular order: 
  1. You really like being random
  2. Your top three  "some random number of" favorite writers are:  J. K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Hemingway, Norman Maclean, Neil Gaiman, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor...
  3. You have a cat named Sirius.  Maybe your readers have noticed?
  4. You’re a ginger.  There, it’s out.
  5. You have this weird way of hesitating dramatically whenever ordering food at a restaurant.  This is amusing to the company you’re dining with, and probably maddeningly frustrating to the person taking your order.
  6. You bake.  A lot.
  7. You believe that a hot toddy is the ultimate cure for all ailments. 
  Obligation #2:  I proudly nominate the below blogs as worthy recipients of the Versatile Blogger Award...
Now, take a minute to check out their blogs, if you haven't already!  Share the love!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Counting the Days

There is a certain part of the book when you realize that there are only a few chapters left until you are done.  (Fair warning, a certain red-head may be at this part of her book.)  Ahem, as I was saying: 

When you are a writer and you get to this part of your book, you sit down with your calculator and start crunching numbers to figure out, realistically, how quickly you could actually be finished with the first draft. 

Well, at least it starts out realistic.  "Assuming the nice and steady 500 words per day during the week that got me here, that gives me 2,500 words per week.  I seem to be averaging around 1,500-ish words per chapter, and I think I have about five chapters left.  So in about three or so weeks, I will be finished."

Then you sit there and look at the calculator a bit.  And then you think, "Hm, if I can write 1,000 words four days a week, that means I can get 4,000 words a week.  That would have the rough draft done in two weeks."

Wouldn't that be nice?  Two weeks!

Then you pick up the calculator again.  Okay, so if I work through lunch and then work at home in the evenings, maybe I could get 2,000 words per day.  If I could do that for just five days, I would totally be finished!"

Five days.

Then your realize, "If I call in sick, I could work for eight hours straight.  I could have it all FINISHED in one day!"

Just eight solid hours!  How hard could it be?

Then you check your email...and Facebook...and Twitter.  You get some chocolate, and try to remember the name of that movie from the late seventies that ends with the shot of people standing on the back of a giant sea turtle.

Suddenly two weeks sounds just fine.

Or maybe the three week option...that one was good, too.