Monday, September 29, 2008

A Quickie & The Unit

If you read dooce, then you've already been passed this fabulous story about a cab ride never to be forgotten. Guaranteed to make you cry and remember what's important in life.

And then there's SmallNotebook.org. It's a hard blog to describe, but it describes itself as "Welcoming, peaceful, Uncluttered." It strives to make your life so, too.

Anyone here what The Unit? Here's the season premiere if you missed it on Sunday.

Loved it!

But it seems obvious to me this Bridget chick is going to be a traitor. What do you think?

Sorry so short. I'm slammed. I made it to your blogs, but not to my own today, LOL. I'm enjoying the discussion in the last post, so please feel free to keep it up! :-)

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Whatcha Doing Thursday?

A couple people mentioned they were going to watch the debates the other night. A ton of people have mentioned they are going to watch the debate this Thursday.

Usually the vice-presidential debate is a bit of a blip. Usually I watch one debate. (I teach at night, so it was never a choice. We didn't have TiVo during the last election!) I've never watched a vice-presidential debate.

Oh, but I will this time!

What about you? Do you think more people are watching this debate? Are you?

I'm just terrified. I find myself staring at her, mouth open, mentally putting her at a negotiation table with China or Russian or Iran. I'm trying to imagine her as Commander in Chief.

Let's include some YouTube on McCain, a man who admits he still needs to be educated on the economy:

And what a sense of humor! You gotta wait for the punch line at the end:

Now back to Sarah Palin. Can you imagine her negotiating with Vladimir Putin? Only the first 40 seconds is stuff I haven't shown before. You can hear she's got the talking points memorized, but she doesn't seem to be able to think on the spot.

Oh, how nice: Palin is willing to put blind faith in our allies with no second-guessing. And, thank God, she knows the good guys from the bad guys.

What a relief. Because we all know the world is black and white, and the best way to keep the peace is to pretend the gray area doesn't exist.

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my "button" issues is the treatment, respect, and care for the elderly. But if you want to accuse me of ageism, I'm cool with that. Because I have to mention that if we elect McCain, there is a 1 in 3 chance that this woman will be the leader of the free world.

Matt Damon (of all people!) makes a great point. Although, it's 1 in 5 for his first term, 1 in 3 for his second term.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sleep, finally! And Mourning.

Only about six hours, but it was good, deep sleep. I set my alarm for 8 and I didn't hear it. At all. Not even a slight awakening. It was great. Sleep feels so good when you haven't had it in awhile. (Thanks, Edie!)

And I finally finished my latest WIP. And I am SO SAD. It is the most bittersweet ending I've ever written, and I cried. Hopefully it's not melodramatic and stupid in the reader's eyes. Or unsatisfying.

It's happy. It's just sad.

I've never been this sad before. Usually I hate my stories with a passion when they are done.

I distrust that they are so vivid to me. I'd rather them be fuzzy in my head and clear on the paper, but these characters feel so real to me. That worries me, because what's coming out on paper doesn't feel as vivid.

I miss them.

This is the fourth in the series, so maybe I just love these characters more. I don't know. Have you ever had a post-finish funk? A post-finish sadness? I want to unwrite the ending so it won't be over, so I can spend more time with them.

I already want to write the next one in the series.

Onward and upward. I'm burying myself in Anita Blake's world to finish an essay I've been plucking at for months. I'm struggling with the structure of it. I'm not sure it's working. We'll see.

And there's another novella I'm in the middle of writing. (Can you see why I lost my sanity?) I'd love to finish it by October 2, so I can spend a couple weeks just reading. I need a break.

One funny: when I was reading through my story and doing the final polish, I found a place where I'd used second person. I'd been so deep in my character's skin, I'd actually slipped and used second person. LOL!

So where are you in your writing world? How's the WIP? What's the WIP? Which genre? How much do you love your characters, at the moment?

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Just Two More. And a Question--

Still trying to sleep. I'm not sleeping, so I drink coffee in order to stay awake and get work done. But then I don't sleep. Vicious cycle. In my defense, I'm only drinking one cup!

I promise only one more video post. My brain should be in working order again soon.

In the meantime, I have discovered the world of political comedy, so I'm getting in a laugh every day. Definitely a de-stressor!

I do now officially feel guilty for laughing so hard at Sarah Palin's various interviews this week. I know how it feels to be tongue-tied. But I don't feel guilty watching Letterman blast McCain for canceling his appearance to run to the airport and rush to DC twenty hours later.

I forgot how much I enjoyed Letterman.

And in this forgetful trend of mine, I also forgot how much I enjoyed the Daily Show. The first part is funny, but I embedded the whole thing because it all made me laugh and I'm still delighting in my shiny new toy of embedding whole episodes of TV. It's like my blog is a satellite provider!

So what did you think of the debates? I'm off to go watch the recaps. No, I'm off to go to sleep. Edie's melatonin is kicking in. But tomorrow. Before I watch, I'd love to hear your thoughts and impressions!

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Putin's Floating Head, Part II

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It's Funny Now.

Whenever I do something really stupid and make myself angry at myself, I tend to tell myself off. And then I make fun of myself. I glory in making fun of myself. And pretty soon, I totally start cracking myself up.

So remember how I mentioned I live in my fictional world a lot more than I actually write it?

Well, when I sat down to write my last chapter, due Thursday, I read my whole manuscript from the beginning. Problem is, I'd compiled it from separate chapter documents in Liquid Writer.

And I forgot a chapter.

So looking at my notes, I couldn't figure out how I was going to fit all that stuff into one chapter. I thought to myself that I'd written a few of the scenes already, but they weren't there.

I gave it a moment's thought, and figured I'd just imagined them so much it felt like I'd written them.

So I proceeded to squeeze two chapters worth of scenes into one final chapter. Sent it off.

I recompiled my document. I noticed I was missing a chapter. Huh.

I found the chapter.

With the many of the same scenes I'd just re-written in a squished version because I didn't have enough room.

CRAZY!

With no sleep, with DH unreachable for another week, with a student's and parent's drama, it was just too much. I just fizzled and fried. Went to two movies and slept.

Oh well. I'll re-write the chapter again today. Even though that pushes back a bunch of other projects that are due soon, so I sorta flipped out.

Have you ever re-written scenes you thought you wrote, couldn't find, and figured you'd just imagined them so much you only thought you'd written them?

I feel like a crazy person! I feel like I must really be losing it, LOL. Geeze. It's embarrassing. (Which is why I'm telling the whole world, LOL.)

Anyway, I changed my iPod battery! It was HARD. But I did it all by myself and I'm so proud I want to share. I've grown addicted to it in the short time since one of my student's (God bless them!) gave me their old iPod. Isn't that the coolest?

And today I'm going to an out of town Borders and only writing. I have to get work done. One thing at a time.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Putin's Head Floats Into the US


Watch CBS Videos Online

I have nothing else to say.

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I Am Losing My Mind.

I haven't slept in like three days. Literally. I lie awake at night, I'm so stressed out. This is largely unhelpful since I have so much to do. And then I made the stupidest mistake that I just found today after about eight hours of writing the mistake because I am a complete idiot.

A complete idiot.

DH is going offline today. Coming home, but I won't be able to contact him until he gets within cell phone reach of Canada, which could be next Friday or much later.

*sigh*

I wasted eight hours this week, and did I mention that I was already hours and hours behind? All I do is work and nothing ever gets done.

This is no minor mistake. This is complete idiocy. I have no words.

Pardon me for a moment.

*&$*%$(*&^

I am so frustrated.

No. I am grateful. I am really grateful. Things are looking up. Financially, and I've got four loving cats, and DH is coming home in 14 days. So much to be grateful for. Totally.

Still, some weeks just suck.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hemingway Fun & Book Winner

image This is totally inspired by an episode of One Tree Hill. (Yes, I'm watching the first season on Hulu. I am so addicted. I tried watching one from this latest season, and I was not half as impressed.)

In one of the episodes, they are studying Hemingway. The teacher asks them to describe someone in one word. So I came up with a list of questions, just for fun.

In the spirit of Hemingway's economy, one word answers only! :-) You can answer here, or on your blog. You can skip questions if you'd rather. Hey, could this qualify as a meme? Is there a permit I need to get from some International Meme Association? LOL!

Describe your best friend:
Describe your spouse:
Describe your pet:
Describe yourself:
Describe your favorite blog:
What do you most want?
What is your biggest dream?
What is your primary life goal?
Career goal?
What's your greatest obstacle?
Your greatest strength?
What is your favorite feeling?

Any other questions you can think of? Let me know, and I'll update the list. :-)

To choose the winner for Remains of the Dead, I had the brilliant idea of using Random.org to choose a comment number. Well, after I won the book six times, #32, blueviolet won! Congratulations, Elizabeth!

So what are your one-word answers to the Heminway questions? I'll kick it off in the comments!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chuck It All

Man, it's been non-stop, lately. I've been working in bed in the mornings, not because it's a treat, but because I wake up and feel like I have so much to do that I don't have time to take a shower and get dressed first.

It's crazy.

And my house is such a mess. I finally devoted a whole hour to cleaning my kitchen yesterday.

It's still a mess, but the second shelf of my refrigerator is now spotless.

That's crazier.

I am grateful for work, I am. It's just, I hate busywork. There's just gunk I have to do that doesn't mean anything. Like organize receipts, bill students, write their assignments, clean the house, do the laundry, keep up with email, etc. Tons more than that, but you get the point.

Pretty much, I just want to read, write and teach, but there's a cost to everything, I guess.

Anyway, I'm thinking of taking a two-week vacation from writing and just using my off-time to read and relax. Two weeks to refill the well.

I am SO behind on reading, I can't tell you. I MISS READING! I never feel like a writer unless I'm reading a ton. I have been in the middle of five books since June. I've started at least twenty. I haven't finished a single book since May, except Eat, Pray, Love. (Maybe a couple more, but I forgot already.)

It's like Groundhog Day or something. I keep working and everything keeps being unfinished.

Do you ever just want to just stop everything, curl up in a window seat, and read for a month? I just want the whole world to stop, for everything to be finished, so I can relax and read, guilt-free. And after a month, I'll add some teaching and writing. A nice, balanced life.

Things should be better October 2. And even better October 9. And best of all October 14. And then it will be October 31, the time I make my New Year's resolutions again. At the top of the list is BALANCE and READ!

Below is the season premier of Chuck, a week early, courtesy of Hulu. I just think it's the coolest that I can embed a whole episode of television in my blog. So here it is. :-) If you click it, it will take you to hulu and you can watch full screen.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Celebrating our Rights

image I practically cried when I read the statistics below. Seriously. It struck a fear in my heart, let me tell you. If people don't know their basic rights as Americans, it's no wonder they are being violated.

The quote below is from Gene Policinski, vice president and executive director The First Amendment Center, Washington, DC. (Courtesy Michael Haskinsand Ted Pease)

“Perhaps one reason so many [Americans] are not fearful of, or would even invite, government limits on the five freedoms is that so few of us can even name them.

“The survey found again this year that just 3 percent of those questioned could name ‘petition’ as one of the five freedoms in the First Amendment. Only ‘speech’ was named by a majority of respondents, 56 percent. Less than 20 percent named religion (15 percent), press (15 percent) or assembly (14 percent). . . . 4 in 10 could not name any freedom--the highest such result in the survey’s history.

“[These are] ‘inalienable’ rights for all, indeed—but in today’s United States, rights that are unknown, unnamed, or even undefended, by many.”

It's worth spreading around. We need to spend more time celebrating the rights we have, instead of letting the fear of terrorists be the rule of law. We need to let the celebration of our rights be a stronger component of our culture, something we refer to and remember often. It's appalling to me how the fundamental rights given to us by our country are being chipped away at.

Can your kids imagine a world without these rights? Can we? Teaching them once every couple years in history class won't work. They need to be something we refer to often.

Once our respect and remembrance for our rights are gone, what will we, as Americans, have to be proud of? Worse, can we imagine the sort of life our children will have without these rights?

If we forget the value of our basic rights and freedoms as Americans, we doom our children and grandchildren to learn their value the hard way. We doom them to learn their value at the cost already paid by the founders of our country.

It's not too high a price for our freedoms; it's too high a price for forgetting the value of what we have, for forgetting the the sacrifices those before us have made for our freedoms.

And after we remind ourselves, we need to remind our politicians. Often.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Free Book, It's All in the Mind, & Republicans

image I have a free book to giveaway: Wendy Roberts' The Remains of the Dead. It's autographed, just for me to give away on my blog (eight months ago--*blush*).

How about this? If you want to be entered into the drawing, just say "enter me!" at the end of your comment.

The series is fabulous: It's about the owner of a crime scene clean up company who can see dead people, specifically the victims.

It's FABULOUS!

(I just got rid of another three bags of books to donate. How did I accumulate so many books? My shelves are still full, and I've gotten rid of 7 big black bags.)

Anyway, I find it fascinating in piano teaching: I can go through a whole piece and stuff it in their memory in forty minutes of their lesson, and yet some students can practice for hours and not get it at home. Even after they did it in the lesson.

And I've got a couple very talented fifth-graders who are struggling to do a bit of technique that takes a couple second-graders 15 minutes, that takes other fourth- and fifth-graders 15 minutes, but they can't seem to do it in 40.

It's really sort of bizarre to me. For something that takes us 5 minutes in a lesson can take 40 minutes by themselves. And I'm a Look It Up in the Dictionary type teacher. I never show them anything.

So it continues to perplex me.

My latest theory is the fact that I KNOW they can. Without a doubt. Not a single doubt. Not even the foggiest.

They, on the other hand, fear they can't. Their parents aren't sure they can, are worried whether they can or not. They're "first children," so there's a bit of a disadvantage: they haven't seen an older brother or sister do it before, so no one's showed them it's possible. So it's harder. MUCH harder.

That's my theory. I don't know. I really don't know.

Piano lessons are private, so we go at the student's pace. (Or mine, LOL.) And it continues to amaze me how they can limit themselves severely and hold themselves back, simply by what they believe (or don't believe) they can do.

On another note, I thought I'd leave you with this shining example of the Republican philosophy. I think this video speaks well to the Republican approach to the world. Am I wrong?

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wow! Walk While you Work!

OHMIGOSH! Have you heard of the "Treadputer?" I love the idea. Walk while working. Awesome! But could I really type and walk at the same time? What do you think? Could you?

I could use to burn an extra 600 calories before noon while getting writing done. Pictures from The Treadmill Desk.

Evidently, it helps with ADD symptoms. THAT is cool.

image

Okay, back to work. I am so procrastinating! In my defense, I did 15 hours of studio business gunk over the past day and a half. Now I can write guilt-free!

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The Pull of Materialism

I have been SO good this year. I told myself I would not buy another book until I could afford a Kindle. And in the past year, I've bought maybe three books.

But I am DYING here. DYING, I tell you! DYING!

It's been ten months since I made the decision to save up for a Kindle. And yet, I still don't feel like I should. But, geeze. I don't think I've wanted something so much and put it off for so long. (Well, something smallish/mediumish.)

Don't you think a year of not buying books + no more cable + no more gas-guzzling car + saving $120 a month on fuel + three "extra" gigs worth much, much more than a Kindle + 60% cutback on writing at Borders + 50% cutback on going to movies + birthday + Christmas should equal a Kindle?

(Say yes, please? You're my friends, right?)

And if the above answer is yes, do you think I should have to wait until Christmas or do you think I should get it now?

*sigh*

I have to wait. I have been SO goooooood! Just a little longer. And it's really starting to pay off. It's sort of like... what it called? Snowball effect or something? I just balanced the books last night, and I am SO happy! This summer was tough.

Now that I'm Ms. Tightwad, it's hard to spend the money on a Kindle. It's a big chunk. Sure, I've saved well over $30 a month for the past ten months. I could deal with $30 a month, but I can't deal with it all at once.

Did I mention I've donated half the stuff in my house? 80% of my books?

I don't think it would be so hard if I were actually buying a book now and then, but I don't feel right buying a book when I'll eventually want it to be on my Kindle.

Are you saving up for anything? Is the wait killing you? How do you stay strong? What's the most exciting thing you've ever saved up for?

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tender Intimacies

Scarlatti is so pretty. Isn't this the most tender, intimate, beautiful thing you've ever heard? This is Vladimir Horowitz playing. He has the sweetest-sounding piano, and--wow--he plays with the most amazing range of colors!

Horowitz was amazing at bringing the listener into the music, as if he were confiding a secret. You know how sometimes you can be told a secret in such a way as you feel flattered?

He makes his performance such an intimate experience, even when he has hundreds in the audience. It's almost as if you're his lover, and he's whispering sweet secrets in your ear.

And of course, that got me thinking about writing. How can I make my stories as tender and intimate? How can I make my words pull the reader in?

Not just hold their attention, but make them feel special?

And Horowitz had such a range of colors. He once cited over two hundred, or so the legend goes. What would the equivalent of colors and shading be in writing? The different rhythm of sentences we use? Maybe our own stylistic quirks?

I don't know. Something to think about. But this week, I'm going to try to write as Horowitz playing Scarlatti.

PS: Okay, I can't help it. One more:

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Talking. Writing. Succumbing to Pettiness.

I've said before I write so I can sleep, so I can get the stories out of my head and onto paper.

I also write so I can talk.

Sometimes, it's like my brain just shuts off when I talk to someone. I revert to nodding my head, not because I agree, but because my thoughts are knocking around my brain incoherently and I can't organize them in order to disagree or add to the conversation.

Like today:

My neighbor requested I trim a few plants that I thought were hers. No biggie. Sure! I clipped the stem thingies so they didn't stick out in her space and brush against her clothes when she stepped out of the car.

But now she says the stem thingies are "ugly" and they need to completely disappear. (They are sticking about six inches above the leaves. Straight up. Not even pointed in the direction of her space.)

It's a plant. It is supposed to have whatever stems and branches the earth gave it. I am not going to change them. For crying out loud. Have you ever heard of anything more ridiculous in your life?

I invited her, at first, to do anything she wanted with them. They are, after all, basically there for her, as she is the only one that can see them. But no. She wants me to!

And then I realized, about FIVE HOURS LATER, two things: 1) Why am I so irritated by this? 2) I don't have to cut my plants any certain way just because she thinks stems are ugly.

imageI could sink to her petty level and just dig them up and replace with grass. I know she would hate to have grass there instead of flowers, but, you know what? If the six inch stems are so ugly to her, then we'll put grass there. I never get to see the flowers; they are just facing her house.

And I have TEN MILLION other things to do with my life than trim two inches off some stems just because she thinks they look ugly.

If I'd had a brain while talking to her, I would have told her I think the stems look pretty the way God made them and I don't see any reason to cut them. I would have told her that if it bothers her so much, she may cut them. (Actually, I did something akin to that.)

But no. I nod and seethe.

And it takes me FIVE HOURS to come up with a logical response most people would come up with on the spot.

So I write. Fingers to keyboard, and my brain unlocks, organizes. My thoughts line up, my ideas group together like magnetically pulled.

Any wacky reasons why you write? Do you think better when talking or writing? And how do you avoid getting swept up by pettiness?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What They Don't Tell You

I've read a whole lot of how-to books on writing. I've read every book in the writing section in Borders, mostly during my first two-year period of writing. I read or skim every new writing book that lands on the shelves, just because. (I think I'm afraid I've missed learning something huge.)

They rarely talk about imagination.

They say to write what you yearn to read, but I don't think that's enough. They teach you to plot, plan, and revise. They teach you to up the stakes and to follow the journey.

I have plenty of spy stories I'm yearning to read, but I haven't finished one, yet. In the comments, yesterday, I whined that no matter what NY story I undertake, my imagination tends to stick with what pseudo writes. (*blush*)

With one of my series, most every reader who writes me says they wish they could "go there." Ohmigawd, they have no idea! I would die to go there. DIE! I love that world! When I'm writing it, I spend probably twenty or thirty hours a week "living" there. The main character is one of my "friends," and I visit him often while writing other worlds.

I spend more time in a day imagining my story world than writing it. I probably imagine ten scenes to every one that makes it in my story. Five hours of imagining to two hours of writing.

I think you have to write the story that grabs you so much, you would love to live there. A world so fascinating, you want to spend hours upon hours of imagination time exploring it.

I "live" in my WIP: during the shower, during car rides, during cleaning, while falling asleep, while waking up, while going through the motions of my day. If my imagination time is interrupted by worries about teaching or students, then my writing time suffers.

My main character's name and mine are regularly interchanged in my imagination. I "become" my main character. I feel what she feels. I cry real tears. I laugh out loud. I become afraid, depressed, thrilled, in love, and even, sometimes, traumatized.  No kidding, seriously shaken and traumatized.

Maybe it's not everyone's process. Maybe it is. I find if I'm not interested enough to live intensely in my story world for weeks and months, then the writing doesn't happen.

I am utterly in love with my worlds.

I've always lived in these worlds. Always. My earliest memory of them is first grade. Every night, it took me two hours to fall asleep because of living in these worlds. When I finished my first real story as an adult, I fell asleep within five minutes, completely at peace. Finally! I swear, 70% of why I write is so I can fall asleep in peace when the story is written and "done."

If I don't write these stories down, they don't get an ending.

Sometimes, rarely, I have to force my mind into my current WIP. This sometimes works, sometimes not so much. I have to be enraptured by the world.

How big a part of your life is the imagination time? Do you yearn to live in your story world? How often do you imagine your story during the day? Do you imagine more than write? Write more than imagine? Is it equal?

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Formulas for Success

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure. ~Mark Twain

Was it Michael Phelps who said he trained by doing what he knew others would be unwilling to do? That's one of my life philosophies. If I want to compete at something, the first thing I do is try to figure out what others are unwilling to do.

That space is the only place to find an edge, unless you've got tons of talent. I never bank on that, though.

When you want to "win," where do you look first for your edge? Where do you find inspiration? How do you plot your way? Any favorite quotes?

***

And sorry for the absence and late response to comments in the last post. The internet and electricity were out, and then I got hit with a major flu. Major yuck. I hope I'm feeling better today. I've got that post-fever headache. Ick.

Do you ever have certain fond memories connected to your illnesses? Like this flu: it had the same taste in my mouth as one I got when I was young. And that made me remember my daddy brought home this kit to cut out, fold, and make houses. I laid on the living room couch with that, hot Jello, and Campbell's chicken noodle soup.

I strangely found myself yearning for those things when I was in bed, this time.

Isn't that weird?

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Where are you looking?

Barry Eisler once said something that stuck with me. I'm going to paraphrase it badly because y'all know how my memory is. He said that if you want to get to the top of the mountain, there's a point in your journey where it becomes detrimental to keep looking at the top of the mountain, because you'll trip over the stones and branches at your feet.

Once you plan your journey, once you know where you want to go, it's more effective to look at your next step.

Last night, I was watching a football game (one of my students is field commander), and there was this player who could NOT get past the other's team's defense. What struck me, is that he was looking right at the blocker (henceforth my official term for that position, LOL), nothing else.

He couldn't get past the blocker, and his eyes were GLUED to the blocker.

The player who did manage to burst past their blockers had their eyes looking for a path, while keeping the blocker in their peripheral vision.

It struck me as interesting.

And this morning, it struck me as amusing that I can obsess about which path to take next in my career all I want. I can agonize about writing what I write instead of writing something for NY.

What's funny is it makes no difference: the next morning, there I am writing. Without any thought. Just there I am.

It's like me writing is a completely different entity from me trying to work out a career, from me trying to (for lack of a better word) coach myself.

Sorta makes me wonder why I bother worrying about it. I should just see what the girl who sits down at the desk every day writes, and then my other half can worry about selling it.

It's like I'm two people. The one worries, nags, agonizes, obsesses, plots the path, sees the pitfalls, etc. She frets like you wouldn't believe! (Well, you read this blog, so I guess you would believe.)

And then the other me just sits down every day and writes, completely unperturbed, unfazed, and unconcerned.

It sort of blows my mind.

Do you have two people in you? A writer and a career-plotter? And where do you look? The next step or the top of the mountain? The obstacle or the path?

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Shoulds, Dreams, Goals

I was going to post about relaxation, but Edie, Marcia, and Erica have me thinking about goals and dreams. Edie talks about this stuff a lot: she's really good at all the positive thinking, visualizing, and all that stuff.

She's heard me complain more than once that I don't dream of certain things I feel I should be dreaming of.

I remember, when I first started this blog, I was dying to get my real name in Borders. I did it. Cool. (And then I realized it didn't mean much. I'm glad I did it, but... it's definitely no longer a motivator.)

Things have changed. With DH being gone to work for months at a time, my goals changed. My overwhelming life goal, my overwhelming dream, is for DH and I to be able to live every day together. I don't want to live alone. I don't like it, it's lonely, and what is life without love? Without the person I love most in the world? What kind of life is that?

I love being with DH.

And I have some goals, like make X amount of money so DH doesn't have to go away, put X amount of money in savings so we can live our dream lifestyle, etc.

My family is DH. I want my family together. That's not a lack of independence. It's just... there are things more important than a career. People who say wanting to be with someone is a lack of independence already have love. They have kids, they have sisters, brothers, family, friends.

It is not the human condition to be alone.

So the problem comes when my dream to have my little family together overwhelms everything else. Like, I don't care how I make the money, I just want us to be together. I don't care whether pseudo or real name writes, I just want it to make DH and I be able to be together.

So I'm trying to make a dream board, trying to focus on goals, but they feel so false. I'm not in the slightest bit enthusiastic about them.  I feel like my list is things I should want.

But maybe that's okay. Maybe if I make the board and look at the things I should want, I'll start to get more excited about them and want them more.

I don't know.

Any thoughts? Ever have to train yourself to want something? Did it work? Ever feel like you want one thing so much, that you can't get yourself to care about anything else?

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Love... and Hate!

image Well, you know. What goes up must come down. This week, the cookie crumbled so that I'm totally cringing at my WIP.

What can you do?

I think we're often blessed with the path we most need. Sometimes.

Anyway, I have to say, if I didn't have to finish all my stories, if I didn't need the money, I would tear them in little tiny pieces and gleefully destroy them.

No, the delete key would not work.

I'd have to print it out, tear each page individually into tiny little ribbons, crumple them all into paper balls, put them in a fire circle, and watch them burn.

And then I'd print it out a couple more times so I could do it again.

I always hate it at the end. HATE it.

I should just trust the process.

But what if this is the one that really sucks, like royally bad?

I mean, I went out there this time, and I fear I didn't pull it off. And if I didn't, man, that would suck.

Since we're talking about shit, I thought I'd just mention I want to toilet-train my cats. The litter boxes are driving me crazy. They are in our bedroom because that's the only place for them. Let me tell you, it's not doing it for me.

It would save $60 a month. (Can you believe that???) And the mess would be gone!

And tomorrow I'm going to a football game. One of my students is field commander. I'm bringing a book and leaving after half-time. :-)

How do you keep going when you feel certain it sucks? Grit your teeth and bear it? And kitty toilet training: would you or wouldn't you?

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Remember Matt?

Okay, sorry. Didn't mean to complain in last post. Well, I guess I meant to, but... I'm feeling embarrassed for being a big whine-pot. So here's some YouTube responses to Where the Hell is Matt to cheer us (me) up. The first is SO cute. The second just cracks me up, because that was one of my FIRST thoughts!

And just in cased you missed the original one:

Here's the very first one he made, before he was "famous:"

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25 Days

Geeze. I'm lonely and want a hug, DH calls, and all he wants to do is grill me about the stupid brakes. The brakes! And he complains that I complain! Of course I'm complaining! I miss him and haven't seen him in nearly four months! Four months!

FOUR MONTHS!!!

Oh well.

Doesn't matter.

Besides, how can saying I miss you and I feel lonely be called complaining? That's not complaining, that's just stating the facts! What else am I supposed to say? Life here is hunky-dory? I'm having a blast. Everything keeps breaking, I'm working 24/7, I have to walk two hours to get to the mechanic in the morning, and I'm sleeping in a bed all alone.

25 days.

I so need a hug. This is ridiculous. Just a hug. Well, okay, I wouldn't complain about more, but...

I feel so tired. God, SO tired, I can't even tell you.

How about some good news? Anyone got some good news?

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Respect, Writing & Rolling on the Floor

1. Respect: I have to confess something: when I first meet someone, I don't always view them as someone I can learn from. And that's really sad, since one of my core values is that I should learn something from everyone I meet.

Recently, I've even found myself even disregarding some people when they say something I think is stupid.

But even more recently, I've re-discovered that you can learn something from everyone.

Everyone.

Treating people with respect and dignity, even when you disagree or they believe something you believe to be not smart--it's not just a value to be "nice" to others. It's one that pays back dividends.

Even intelligent people are "stupid" in some ways.

That's not a lecture, LOL. It's just a realization I re-remembered, recently.

2. Writing: I have two more weeks, so things aren't so hectic. Except I want to throw out everything I've written. I love the characters, hate the story. I have just a bit to polish on another story, so I'm going to finish that and then tackle this one with more perspective.

4. Life: My brakes went out. Terrifying. Now I have to walk over an hour to get to the garage to pick up my car. *sigh* What can you do? Life, huh? The walk'll do me good, I suppose. (Pardon me for a moment, I need to write a letter to the universe.)

Dear Universe:

When I said I wanted to work hard, when I wanted plenty of work... when I said I wanted to make more money and save towards our goals, I just want to be clear: my goals are NOT broken lawn mowers, exploded brake lines, and dental emergencies. The extra money coming in is meant for saving for a rainy day, saving for our dreams, saving for financial stability.

Just because there appears to be more money this month, does not mean I don't already have bills to pay with it. Remember taxes? And the whole savings goals?

There's really no need to find a use for that money, thank you very much, because I already have it earmarked for important stuff like medical issues, dental issues, and vision issues. And taxes. Forever taxes.

So no more surprises, 'kay?

Natasha :-)

5. ROFLMAO: I'm sure you've all seen Robert Heinlein's form fan letter he used until the advent of the computer. (Via Moonrat)

My favorite one just cracked me up:

"You say that you have enjoyed my stories for years. Why did you wait until you disliked one story before writing to me?"

image

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Loving and Forgetting

27 more days until DH gets back. Yay! I'm really talking about writing, even though it might not sound like it at first. :-)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Sometimes, when you spend time with someone day in and day out, you sort of forget you love them. The things you love about them become a little less prominent, and the things that don't matter seem to grow bigger and bigger.

With DH gone, I remember all the things I love about him. And, like, him farting on me while we're sleeping spooned becomes something I miss. I notice all the things he does, and the things I appreciate about him.

I believe I'm having the same experience with writing.

I've tried so many NY ideas, and none of them have grabbed me enough to get written. It's been a mental struggle. I keep trying to find reasons and excuses.

What surprised me, the last few weeks, is how much I love writing what pseudo writes. I love it. I'm having a blast!

I'm finishing two books in two different series, and I'm DYING to write the next book in each series already.

I always felt I'd get sick of a series. I'm on books 4 in both of them, and I just LOVE them. I always felt I'd run out of stories in a series, but... not in the slightest.

I am totally in love with them. Totally.

I knew I enjoyed it.

I had no idea I loved it. In fact, I was pretty sure I was sick of what pseudo writes.

So color me surprised.

It's not like I'm abandoning NY ideas: I'll keep mining my mind, and one of these days some are going to grab me, I'm positive of it.

It's just me to want to be "successful," to strive to be the best, the top tier, whatever. (Whether I get there is another story, LOL!)  If NY is the place to be a "winner," then I want to get there. It's just who I am, I'm afraid.

But the last two weeks, I realized: I love what I write. I totally forgot. I love it passionately. Love it, love it, love it.

I honestly don't know how I'm ever going to sync up those two parts of who I am, those two loves and drives.

Oh well.

Have you ever forgotten you loved something? Have you ever been surprised you loved something?

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

28 More Days

And only a few more days of my current writing spree.

I kinda like deadline frenzy. I prefer writing in huge spurts of tons of words at once. It sticks in my head easier. :-)

I'm eating, sleeping, writing, and thinking in another world. Kinda fun.

How's your writing going? What're you working on? Beginning, middle, end, revisions? What's it about?

And do you prefer to write a bit each day, or a big ton crammed into a few days?

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Dear Sleep,

I miss you.

We're still on for Friday, right?

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

SCORE!!!!!!!! Two for the Team!!!!

image Yes, yes, YES!

Ohmigosh, I am SO excited!

Guess what?

TWO in our blogging circle are finalists in the American Title V contest!

YES!

Let's give a eardrum-shattering squeal, a big jumping high five, and a crazy happy dance for:

Edie Ramer: Dead People

Michelle Lauren: How to Tame a Harpy

Oh, oh, oh, oh, OH, I am SO EXCITED!

I feel like dancing in circles and yelling, "We rock, we rock, we rock, uh-huh, WE ROCK!"

Which is a really silly because it should be "They rock, they rock, they rock, uh-uh, THEY ROCK!"

Especially because THEY DO!

HAH! What great news! YES! Is that not the best?

Go, Edie! Go Michelle!

CONGRATULATIONS!

CONGRATULATIONS!

CONGRATULATIONS!

image

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Friday, September 05, 2008

T.M.I.

I love my writing lair in the basement, but I hadn't been out amongst people for five or so days, and I was getting a little crazy, a little wild-eyed.

So here I am at Borders, writing.

And, walking through the store, I realized I love books so much, being in a bookstore turns me on. Strolling through the aisles, I feel such intense desire for the smell of books, the possibilities of books, the energy of books, that I can't bear to even touch the books.

I don't look at covers; I don't look at titles. I don't pay attention to genre or author.

I just walk the aisles, with the same pleasure a dog gets from rolling in the grass on a bright summer day.

God, I love words.

I love bookstores.'

I love stories.

Totally turns me on.

Ever feel like that?

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

*sigh*

I really miss DH. I want  him to hug me. 31 more days.

That's all.

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Words to Live By

I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.

You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.

You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety.

And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

You died when you refused to stand up for right.

You died when you refused to stand up for truth.

You died when you refused to stand up for justice.

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the sermon “But, If Not” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967. (Via Tim Ferriss)

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Do You Mistrust Love?

So I went up nine flights of stairs today without a single wince. I walked down nine flights of stairs without a single wince. I've lost 10 pounds toward Mission: TKD, and I didn't shake like a leaf at the dentist's today.

I'm pretty psyched.

I'm at the end of one of my WIPs, and I, um, love the ending. This is new. Usually I hate, hate, hate, HATE the ending. Usually, by the end, I hate the whole darn thing.

I love this ending. I have that satisfied, happy feeling, like when you rest a book to your chest for just a few minutes when you're done and you have a little smile on your face.

This scares the shit out of me, because, like I said, I usually hate the ending. I usually see a thousand flaws. I have to finish then work my way back in, but I think this is going to be one of my favorite endings.

I'm uncomfortable with this feeling. I am more comfortable with ripping my work to pieces and making fun of it to myself. Actually liking it at this point in my process is weird.

I've been focusing on improving my endings for at least a year.

What's funny about this story, is even though I love my ending, I'd say this story has the highest risk of being hated out of all my stories, ever. I did something a little different, and I can definitely see that it might not work with everyone. So who knows?

I'm behind on another WIP that I have to finish by next Thursday, too. So back to work.

How do you feel about your WIP when you get to the end? Sick of reading it? Loving it? Where do you struggle the most? When do you hate it? When do you love it?

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

On Contests

It's all the rage, now, to have contests where the prize is your name in a book. Maybe you'll be murdered, even!

To me, this is rather eery. My name in a book seems too... powerful. Too voodoo-ish. Too freaky. I don't want someone else messing with my fate, LOL.

I'd hate having a character named after me.

What about you? Is this just me? Would you be thrilled to have your name in a book, or horrified?

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Monday, September 01, 2008

A Lot Happy, A Little Sad

I went to see the World's Prettiest Baby today! My niece is SO adorable. She's going to be a chatty girl, I bet. She's getting older, so I'm going to have to start calling her the World's Sweetest Girl.

Made me sad, though. I played my Happy Music all the way back home, but it sounded so sad. Funny how music can suddenly sound so bittersweet. It was nice to drive in the Jeep with the top off on such a beautiful day, though.

It took two hours for her very shy cousin to give me a smile, LOL. Which is funny because yesterday, in Walmart, a girl started following me around. I Didn't Know It! I swear to God. I was trying to get through my list, and suddenly there's this girl underfoot, staring up at me expectantly with a smile on her face.

Expecting what?

I always feel so awkward, I've mentioned this before. I was certain the mother was going to come tearing around the corner accusing me of kidnapping her child, LOL. When I was housesitting, I was walking a dog and that's even worse because dogs attract kids! Two different girls came up to me to talk.

What do you do in those situations? I still haven't figured it out. How can I not be friendly, you know? I'm not going to cut off the conversation and be rude to a child.

Oh well. I've decided it's the parent's responsibility to look after their own child, and if they haven't taught them not to talk to strangers, it's none of my business.

I'm back in my writing room. Feels a little lonely today, but still cozy. People always say to "use it." I think they mean to pour the feelings into your fiction.

I don't know. The way I use it, I figure, I want to entertain the people who feel sad, to give them some fictional friends that will keep them company so they don't feel so lonely. Kinda how listening to Stephanie Plum makes me almost feel like DH is in the car with me. (We always listen to Stephanie Plum while driving.)

34 more days.

Many of my readers yearn for something they can't have. I've been there. I don't want to write about how that feels, I want to give them what they can't have, if only for an hour or two.

I don't know. How do you use it?

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