Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Chocolate and Mosquitoes.

image I found a really awesome new blog called Will Write for Chocolate. Every week it offers a new comic strip about the writing life.

I'm pretty sure it's one of those things where I'm the last one to the party.

I totally teared up in a lesson today, to the point of having to wipe my eyes. One of my students who used to use all the wrong muscles to play the piano. (Yes, wrong. If you use your muscles wrong, you just won't be able to play advanced music later, and you'll injure yourself if you try.) Suddenly, after a couple weeks off, she played with AWESOME technique. It all clicked.

A few years ago, when she had had it up to here with me endlessly nagging her and holding her arm and forcing her to use the right muscles, when she was frustrated to tears and I had to not look at her arms while she played to prevent myself from incessantly correcting her, I promised her she would have the best technique in the whole studio.

Well, she certainly has the best technique for her age. She's got the best chords. She's going to have an amazing year. She won student of the year last year and cried. Which made me feel better about crying today. :-)

Sometimes when we set a goal, we go forward with a suspension of disbelief. We go forward forcing ourselves to believe we can do it. We tell ourselves we believe we can do it.

But when we finally do it, the feeling is I can't believe I did that!

It's like that with teaching, except it's a I can't believe we did that!

And with writing.

Have you ever achieved something that you thought you believed you could do, but after you did it, were shocked that you did?

It's pretty much like that with every story I finish. I can't wait to finish my current WIP. Not that I'm sick of it. I just hate it when it's stuck up in my head. I want it out. I want it to stop nagging me. I want that finished feeling.

On the other hand, I haven't finished a book in ages. It seems to be taking me forever to read. I don't get it. I used to read a book a day, before I started writing. I used to read a book every couple days, after I started writing.

The unfinished stuff nags me, like a mosquito trapped under my skin, biting me from the inside out.

I also ran out of contacts. My vision is getting worse. I have to fix my teeth first, but I'm making all sorts of typos in my WIP because I can't see the freaking things. It's taking me twice as long to peer closely and edit and edit. I need to do double duty to make up for for my eyesight. I really prefer no mistakes at all. They irritate me like mosquitoes, too.

I need chocolate.

21 bonus scribbles:

Melanie Avila 7/08/2008 08:55:00 PM  

That sense of accomplishment is a wonderful thing. I felt it when I finished my first full-length MS, and I'm confident I'll finish my second. If you'd asked me a year ago I never would've imagined I'd ever finish one.

If you find a place for discount contacts, let me know. I still have a couple pairs, but only because I rarely wear them. I usually go out half blind.

Edie 7/08/2008 08:58:00 PM  

I'll check out the blog. I already know it has the best blog name.

That's great about your student. I haven't felt choked up about my writing lately. I'm doing a crappy draft and will be so glad to get it done and then shine it up and make it pretty.

I can think of a good temporary solution for your eyes: make the font VERY LARGE. I hope you get your contacts and your teeth fixed soon.

Susan Helene Gottfried 7/08/2008 09:21:00 PM  

Of course I'm amazed at the things I can do when I try. It's why I always tell my kids to try when they think they can't. But sure enough, they can.

spyscribbler 7/08/2008 09:31:00 PM  

So true, Melanie! Although I have uncertainty with each one. I will let you know about the contacts, though! My experience has been that the shipping expense makes up for the discount. :-(

spyscribbler 7/08/2008 09:33:00 PM  

May it get done fast for you, Edie! The blog is really cool--I can't believe I've never heard of it.

I'm embarrassed to admit I have my font at 20. See, one eye's near-sighted, the other far-sighted. This works out well, except the distance between my eyes and the laptop screen is too short to be seen by the far-sighted eye, and too far to be seen by the near-sighted eye, LOL.

spyscribbler 7/08/2008 09:35:00 PM  

That's awesome, Susan! Yeah, I tell them to do it anyway. They always can, and with the kids, it's usually on the first try. Little buggers.

Anonymous,  7/08/2008 09:36:00 PM  

Well, I always thought I believed I could sell a story but when I finally sold one I realized I hadn't really believed that I could because...well...I could hardly believe it.

I also felt a little like that one year when I managed to finish an expert course at the annual West Point Orienteering Meet. It seemed plausible before hand but afterwards I realized it just wasn't the sort of thing I did!

spyscribbler 7/08/2008 09:45:00 PM  

That is so cool, Eric! You have to check out Loreth Anne White's blog. She did one of those, I'm pretty sure I remember her saying. She does all sorts of cool adventurous stuff.

Zoe Winters 7/08/2008 11:25:00 PM  

oh chocolate is wonderful. Now I have to have some too. Though my mind has gone now to a very bad place from this blog title. Chocolate and mosquitoes makes me think of "chocolate covered mosquitoes" like chocolate covered ants. Sorry...I just had to ruin chocolate for everybody else too. :P

Travis Erwin 7/09/2008 12:27:00 AM  

I'm always amazed when I finish writing a novel. My wife will tell you I don't finish taking out the trash so spending a year on something and actually finishing is always a surprise.

Robin 7/09/2008 06:33:00 AM  

What a lovely story about your student! For some reason I'm shocked that you have to learn to use muscles properly when playing an instrument, although it makes perfect sense. (I'm not very musically inclined.) That's pretty cool.

Bernita 7/09/2008 07:31:00 AM  

Was going to suggest those magnifying reading glasses one can get at the drug store, but if your eyes are unequal they probably wouldn't help.

Michele 7/09/2008 10:26:00 AM  

We tell ourselves we believe we can do it. But when we finally do it, the feeling is I can't believe I did that!

Exactly! And a sense of euphoria sets in and I tear up (happens every time). And then I start to feel the excitement for the next story...

I have the HARDEST time reading while I'm writing a story. I have to read novels during those writing breaks between drafts. I don't know if it's because I feel guilty for reading or if reading is distracting me or what. I just can't do it. :-)

Aimless Writer 7/09/2008 05:59:00 PM  

Awesome sight! Thanks.
I just read my daughter what you said about the muscles. She took piano lessons for awhile but never heard of that. Can you elaborate?

I know the contact stretch! I hate changing lenses as they are so expensive I make them last as long as possible. No glasses?
My sis in law had lasic's surgery. I'm so jealous. But she did it on the payment plan and will be paying it off for the next three years. I don't think I want to go into debt for that. It will have to wait till I hit the lottery. lol

spyscribbler 7/09/2008 07:19:00 PM  

Ewww, Zoe, yuck! I'll admit that my mind went the same place, and I googled to see if they had a picture of a chocolate-covered mosquito. Evidently not, LOL. :-)

spyscribbler 7/09/2008 07:19:00 PM  

Oh, Travis, that reminds me! I have to take out the trash tonight.

Yeah, I am SO not a finisher. The only things I finish are stories.

spyscribbler 7/09/2008 07:22:00 PM  

LOL, Robin. Well, if you think of how people type improperly and get injured, it's the same with piano. Except piano is so much more energetic than typing, so the risk is greater.

spyscribbler 7/09/2008 07:24:00 PM  

Sad, but true, Bernita. One is near-sighted, one far-sighted. And one has astigmatism. (Haven't a clue how to spell it.)

The inequality is really useful. They just didn't overlap about a foot away, where I need to see the computer screen. :-(

spyscribbler 7/09/2008 07:25:00 PM  

Michele, I am having such a problem reading. I don't know what the heck is wrong with me. I don't know if it's I'm too busy, too distracted, just not picking up anything interesting, or what.

I'm glad to hear someone else has issues. Maybe I need to stick to reading between stories.

spyscribbler 7/09/2008 07:36:00 PM  

Aimless, I haven't bought glasses since, crap, twelve years ago. With the piano, I need peripheral vision, and with glasses on, that little bit of peripheral vision between the bottom of the lens and the cheeks is lost... so I wear contacts.

And I do the same as you. I wear my two-week lenses for about a month, and usually take a week or two off between.

Oooh, technique? My specialty is technique. :-) If you think of how easily people are injured typing, the risk to piano is even greater, given the greater complexity and difficulty and energy.

At one of the conferences, a hand surgeon from John Hopkins said that it's really a miracle we play piano at all. The hand was SO not made for it.

If you want to boil it down to the basics, though, the fingers must be strong, and the wrist, arm, and shoulders should be loose, flexible, and hanging. A whole lot of students will sort of "squeeze" their wrist muscles (tendons, actually) in an effort to play fast or loud instead of manipulating weight.

Is she serious? If she is, feel free to email me if she wants a lesson. I'll be in New Jersey probably sometime in the next year. DH wants to play poker for his birthday. :-)

Barrie 7/10/2008 04:45:00 AM  

I used to get my contacts at Costco.