Monday, March 30, 2009

Erica’s Blog Feed Has Changed

shoulder cat This is one of my most favorite pictures of Glenn. He’s one of those people who, the instant they get in front of a camera, tends to freeze up into a plastic smile.

But I love this one with Choo-Choo. Glenn’s coming home in about twelve days. I can’t wait.

If anyone missed it, Erica has a new blog address. And her blog feed is new, too. So if you’ve got her plugged into your reader, you’re missing her great posts!

Now on to today’s rambling:

I was just thinking how odd it is, how some people inexplicably clash. For really no reason whatsoever. Like there is someone I know who, everything I say, sort of grates on him. I like him a lot, actually, which is what makes it kind of funny. But I can totally tell I drive him nuts. I really like him, so I don’t mean to… it just is.

Sometimes it’s mutual, like my landlord’s wife. We can not talk to each other or email each other with both of us pretty much hissing immediately. I have to get my husband to talk to her husband.

I can count on one hand the people who react to me this way, but still, it just sorta is, LOL. And I think it’s some odd chemistry, you know? You can tell that it probably can’t be fixed.

Sometimes romance heroes and heroines are like that, and it always drives me crazy. That doesn’t feel real to me. If you have that sort of antagonistic chemistry, you certainly don’t have that yum-yum chemistry.

What do you think?

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Long-Term Goals and Mountain Tops

image Long-term goals are exhausting.

Lately, it feels like long-term goals are all there is. Well, it true that much of life is like that, but it just feels like all my various lives have mountains to climb.

What I love about this time of year, is that it’s the time of the year when my students start to sound really kick-ass. It always happens suddenly, and this morning, everything we’ve been working on the whole year is just all of a sudden coming together. It’s really weird how that happens.

Lately, though, it feels like writing is just a huge long-term goal, too. Well, it is.

I look at starting a new story and I sigh. Here we go again. I know the struggle ahead. I know I’ll get through it. I know I’ll love 70%-80% of the work. I know I’ll love the process when I just focus on one thing at a time. I know I’ll be thrilled at the outcome.

But the journey looks daunting.

I’ve written about this before, about the need to force one’s eyes off the mountain peak. I read somewhere that looking too long at your end destination can be detrimental.

image At some point, you have to keep your eyes on the next step. If you’re looking at the mountain top, you’re going to trip over the pebble at your feet.

Lately, I’ve been trying not to look at my long-term goals. I made the plan. I can adjust it later. I just need to look at what my very next step is.

If your entire focus is on taking one step, nothing is overwhelming. And boy, is that one step fun. Then the next step looks like fun.

Of course, until tomorrow, when I have to remind myself of the same things, all over again, LOL.

How do you balance the mountain tops and the pebbles at your feet?

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Good Stress; Big Changes, Anyone?

I’m having an odd week. After the universe and I made an agreement, the universe decided that in order to keep peace in our territory, it needed to clear out some clutter. It was quite stressful, but… I am so relieved and happy.

And I might have asked this question before, because it’s been on my mind.

Have you ever made a huge change in your life? Like, really big? Like something that drastically altered the course of the rest of your life?

Did it take courage? Excitement? The universe making things so bad you hardly had a choice in the matter?

What propelled you to take that step? Where did you find the strength? The courage?

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Some Cool Places

Still with nothing to say, but I’ve got two cool links for you. YouTube has just launched YouTubeEDU, which is like YouTube but with lectures from university professors.

It’s a lot like Academic Earth, which is a teensy bit better organized. You can sort by subject at Academic Earth: here are the English Lit lectures.

Of course, at YouTubeEDU, you can search, so a search on literature works almost as good. Here are the results on writing.

At this rate, kids in many subjects will be paying $160,000 in college just to get a piece of paper that proves you know what you could have learned online for free. Pretty sad, in my opinion.

Who knows what the future will bring? Any theories? Hopes? Fears?

Find any cool websites, lately?

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Peace Treaties with the Universe

I have, like, nothing to say. I just ran out. And I’ve declared a long period of peace in my world. No more random happenings, misfits of fortune, or irritating stumbles along every pathway.

The universe has been kind, thus far, and has respected my declaration of peace. (For three days, at least.)

I have all these books to re-read for an essay, and it’s so weird to spend a week reading and feeling like I have to read every moment of the day. So I’m reading all day. Gosh, it’s fantastic.

I feel like I tricked my to-do list or something.

Just got my computer back. Another great thing.

Um. Yeah. So, like, I have nothing to say. Can’t think of a thing.

So what’s up in your world? Any peace treaties with the universe? Ever made one, LOL? How’s the reading going? Does reading feel like a guilty indulgence? What are you reading?

How about writing?

Any good news I missed while my computer was gone?

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

This Is Serious.

Sunday seems to be my day to blog three times, and then I have no time to blog the rest of the week. Give me a couple more weeks, and I should be back to normal.

Anyway, I had to blog again, because I have a serious problem. Really serious.

It started a couple months ago. As y’all know, dairy causes asthma in me so I generally avoid it except when I’m being stupid, which is more often than I’d care to admit. 

Dairy pretty much knocked out 90% of my comfort food.

Sugar provides for the last 10%.

But in the past few weeks, I suddenly don’t like sugar. I mean, I can’t eat it. Can’t eat it. The thought of eating my favorite snack (ginger thins iced with butter/powdered sugar icing) makes me shudder and go ick!

So now I am left with NO comfort foods.

Have your tastes every drastically changed like this? PLEASE TELL ME I WILL RETURN TO NORMAL! I mean, I CAN’T EVEN EAT CHOCOLATE! This is REALLY SCARY!

And I’m mourning the loss of all my comfort foods. I don’t feel like eating anything, really.

Ever go through this?

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A Laugh to Enjoy

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Marketing Amongst Authors

image This will probably be taken the wrong way, and I seriously don’t mean it that way. It’s just, last weekend I just got tired of being marketed at by authors. Social media is about connecting with other people.

Seriously: I want to support all the authors in the world, but I just can’t afford it right now. Not a chance. I can’t even buy the books of all my friends!

And then I’m skeptical that marketing to authors really works. It looks to me like they’re just exchanging marketing and not buying each others’ books. Unless you can market to authors in a big way, why bother? Does it really work?

Oh man, see, here comes the guilt. I really, really, really want to help authors any way I can. It’s why I started this site. (But ran out of time to finish it, LOL. One of these days!)

I can’t figure out a way to say this politically correctly.


So here’s some questions:
What percentage of authors say they just don’t have time to read like they did before they wrote seriously? 80%? 90%? 95%?

imageHave writers considered marketing to readers? Is there any evidence that says marketing to authors works? How many of you let strangers-to-you authors friend you and then just ignore them? Or do you not friend them? Have you ever “un-friended” a spamming author? Ever felt guilty?

Am I the only one who just starts ignoring all the “events” and “announcements” and “please follow this link to my blog today” after awhile.

Or do you read about every single book release from the hundreds of author “friends” you have?

I picked up a TON of new authors from blogs. But not a single one from Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter.

You?

Why can't we let Facebook just stay fun? As a way to connect? To play a game here or there? To shoot the s**t at the water cooler about the biz or writing or whatever?

And, by the way, this post has nothing to do with the fact that the uber-cool Mark Terry has just joined Facebook. Yay! Go friend him!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Catching my Breath

image It has been non-stop busywork all week. I’ve been working non-stop, but I’ve gotten nothing really important to me done. They all just sort of serve the important things.

I hate weeks like that.

Every time I think I’ve cleared my plate, I remember twenty more things. I have this urge to go crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head, but that doesn’t help, because my head is under the covers, too, remembering the million little dangling threads I have to do.

I have a new bookkeeping system. It’s interesting. It shows the profit and loss in a clearer way, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, LOL.

Anyway, how do you handle the endless busywork?

image

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Done for the Day

image My latest goal has been to stop working by 9:30 no matter what. Today I stopped at 9 am watching T.V. and read before bed.

How luxurious!

Okay, this is probably the most boring post ever, but between the piano studio and writing and a couple other things, my life has been non-stop work, lately. Other than that, I haven’t even been going to movies.

I’m beat.

The latest news is I am not to get pregnant until I fix a few things with my health. So that’s put off a little bit, but I still have hope.

image

Right now, all I want to do is cuddle with Glenn, then go to some movies with him, then sit on a lake and read in my kayak while he fishes in his rowboat.

I’m curious: how do you unwind? When are you done for the day? How do you do the whole “after-work” routine? What do you balance work with?

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Puppy Smiles

image A lot of you have seen Colby Marshall around. She does the funniest videos, she acts, and she likes to have fun. But unless you visit her blog regularly, you might not know that the coolest thing she does is train puppies to be service dogs for Canine Companions for Independence.

I think that’s really special. Her stories always make me smile.

Every weekend, she posts a “Pupdate.” (Told you she was funny!) If you click on this link, scroll to the bottom, and read the posts going up, you can get the whole story of her latest adorable trainee, Edda (pictured above).

Here’s a video of her last pup, who graduated last year:



Okay. So what cool thing do most people not know about you? Okay, okay, if you're shy, what boring thing do most people not know about you?

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Research Requests

image I read this quote that Erica posted, and I decided to let the universe know that, as writers, we all need to research some gloriousness.

I feel the need to mention that I feel quite confident in my ability to empathize with angst and worry and financial woes and insecurity.

No more need for that sort of research. Thank you. It was very helpful. I will draw on it a lot.

Most of my writing friends and I seem to need to know what it’s like to live like in peace, security, with babies and family and friends surrounding us, our loved ones close. You know, I’m really clueless as to what it feels like to “have all my ducks in a row,” to see life in order. No pressing problems.

I also feel that I need to understand happy endings better. I’m not convinced I really “get” them.

Also, most books need a few moments comedic relief or contrasting relief to offset the incessant conflict in a book. A bit of happiness.

I’m not quite convinced I really “get” the emotions of such situations. I’ve forgotten what that’s like.

imageOther things I would like to research: perfect health, having a baby. Since we’re on the subject of babies, I just wanted to mention that it’s been twelve years since I’ve had health insurance. I forget what that’s like. Research is in order.

Also, I’d like to research what it’s like to be rich. I’d like to know how it feels to be a philanthropist. I wouldn’t mind doing so travel for such activities, either.

I’ve also forgotten what “flow” is like. I could use a few books that are “gifts” and “flow” easily. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to feel the flow. Let’s see, I’ve also forgotten what it’s like to be thin and in shape, to feel strong with tons of endurance.

I really need to know what it feels like to be an energetic person, one of those real Energizer bunnies.

Dear Universe, I sincerely thank you for all the research you’ve given me in the past. It’s been incredibly useful.

What would you like to research?

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Frayed at the Edges; Little Things

image What a week. My laptop needed a reformat. Then the fan went kerplewy and the hard drive test said “replace.” Replaced the hard drive, but there’s no way around sending it back for three weeks for the fan. That’s way above my skill grade.

No big deal, really.

(Okay, my ancient backup laptop failed after I tried to get it up and running, so I’m stuck on a desktop. This means I am stuck in my house for at least 22 hours a day for the next three weeks!!!)

Just one of those weeks you have where every little thing feels like the last straw. Glenn’s been out of touch all week, and my baby niece got sick so I didn’t get to visit with her and my best friend this weekend.

Out of sheer desperation, I started counting off all the things I’m grateful for. You ever do that?

And I remembered a copyeditor friend who agreed to go through a novella that needs a polish before a different release and I just burst into tears as I was driving.

There is SO much to do, I am seriously MONTHS behind. No kidding. I am MONTHS behind in everything except my studio and my laundry. And I just wept, I was so grateful for the help.

When people give me a helping hand, it’s always a bit of a shock to me. A GOOD shock, but still a surprise. It’s amazing to me, and you know?

Lately? Friends manage to be nice to me at just the perfect times.

It’s definitely a lesson in how the little, small things we do (well, the copyediting thing is big, but I’m talking in general) can really make someone’s week. A friend sent me tea, and I smile every day when I drink it. That’s made my month.

image Little things are the most special things. And sometimes they’re all we have to hold onto, when our life starts to fray at the edges.

Just feelin’ lonely and grateful tonight.

It’s Sunday! How are things? How’s the writing going? Life?

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Friday, March 13, 2009

The Worst Advice You’ve Gotten?

image I’m sure I give out writing advice sometimes, but I expect everyone to ignore it. If there’s any advice I’d give about writing, it would be: Find your own path.

I’ve learned a lot from others. I do like to notice where people have regrets or make mistakes, so I don’t need to tread the same path.

But there is one bit of advice that has done me no good, and in fact, wasted quite a bit of my time: Write what you love to read.

Bollocks. (I love saying that. Pardon me.)

I love reading spy thrillers but can’t seem to write one for the life of me. I love reading light mysteries but I doubt I’ll ever write one. I don’t read my own genre anymore.

So I’m curious: What writing advice is the worst you’ve ever gotten? The best?

And I took a fun quiz asking Which Austen Heroine Are You? Who are you? I’m Marianne Dashwood:

You are Marianne Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are impulsive, romantic, impatient, and perhaps a bit too brutally honest. You enjoy romantic poetry and novels, and play the pianoforte beautifully. To boot, your singing voice is captivating. You feel deeply, and love passionately.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Writing Short; Writing Non-Fiction

image So I’ve been wanting myself to blog about piano teaching for a couple years. The problem is, I’ve amassed fifteen years of experience. And it’s not just the experience: I’ve spent the last fifteen years actively researching and continually growing my knowledge and skills.

Worse, I pretty much skim and/or read just about anything that shows up in Borders on child psychology, development and education. Coaching, too. I read a lot on coaching children: quite useful stuff, there.

And then I get to watch kids grow up. I’ve seen hundreds of kids go through the changes of childhood, seen them change and deal with getting older, and I’ve seen how each year changes and doesn’t change them.

It’s a privilege a lot of teachers don’t get.

The problem comes when I want to explain why I do something. Swear to God, I’ll try to explain why I do something to a parent, and I end up with an email that is just too long… and even that is after I delete the related points I think are necessary.

Yesterday, I wanted to blog here about what I’ve learned about motivation from piano teaching.

The problem?

My post was MILES too long and I discovered it was only an INTRODUCTION.

I had one parent this year who randomly said some things that sort of infected two other parents. All three have massive misconceptions on just about everything to do with me and my teaching, and they really have no idea why it’s important to do certain things that I ask their children to do. I have this insane desire to explain everything to them, but… very few people would read it.

And once people believe something to be true, I’ve found that facts and the real truth have very little power.

imageBesides, every thing I do has about thirty pages of material that explain WHY and the BENEFITS. Add in at least another twenty pages (and we’re not talking double-spaced 250 word pages here, we’re talking 600 word pages) of disclaimers, exceptions and the when and why we sometimes don’t do what I usually do, or how we change things at their different age levels.

Not to mention the fact that when I do something with them at 6, there’s a reason we do it related to what they will be like at 10, and/or 16.

In fiction, it’s easy to say “we don’t need this information” and hit delete. In piano teaching? I draw on every bit of it. It’s ALL relevant to how I teach.

If I put everything in my head on paper, it would probably be a thousand-page book.

So I have yet been unable to come up with even Piano Teaching Blog Post #1. Where the heck do I start?

I don’t know. How do you handle a massive amount of information, and then organize and write it in such a way that a normal person will read it?

Can you see why I’m not crazy about writing non-fiction? And in the end, is it really worth it?

The most I could ever do would be to eventually self-publish it. But it would be nice if some new piano teachers had access to that kind of information. A lot of the people writing about teaching piano do it from a strictly theoretical standpoint, but have a lot of degrees. In fact, I can’t tell you how many people teaching piano pedagogy have a degree in it but have taught only a few students. It’s a little funny.

Okay, not really.

I read theories, but I’m not a big fan of them.

Anyway. What to do? Where to start? Why to start?

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Late Night Ramblings on Cursing

image Ever notice how everyone has different words they hate and different words they don’t mind at all?

You’d have to ask my best friend to be sure, but I don’t think I curse that much out loud. Zoe always teases, “Oh my God you said a swear word!” when I type one, and that’s pretty much the reaction I always get in real life, so I don’t think I curse that much out loud. I’ve got a squeaky-high voice that’s higher than most of my ten-year-old students, so curse words tend to sound out of place, anyway.

What’s weird is, my mind, when thinking, tends to adopt the voice of a country boy, kicking back with a beer and shooting the shit at the local run-down, after-work bar. (I’ve never been in one, but I’m a writer. What can I say? I’m practicing dialogue.)

Anyway, most people say hell isn’t a curse word, but my mother was so belligerent about using it that I always hated it. Her voice usually came from her throat, squeezed tight like she was straining hard to hold it together.

But when she said hell, she’d open everything up. Her jaw would relax, her tongue would get big, her mouth and throat would open wide, and hell would come up from the very bottom of her stomach.

Now some people hate shit, but I rather like it.

I like to play at teasing and compliments. You can’t know this about me from online. As a teacher, I have great respect for the art of complimenting: it’s no easy thing to shoot one right on target, one that makes someone feel so good they couldn’t stop smiling if they wanted to. Those are hard to do.

Trust me, they take quite a bit of craft.

Glenn has his buttons. If I tell him he’s handsome, he’ll tell me I’m full of shit. Granted, he’ll say it with a pleased smile, but still, it’s like getting a middle piece of cake when the person before you just got the corner piece loaded with icing.

But if I manage to deliver a compliment with just the right words when he’s least expecting it?

He’ll stop dead in place, a huge grin on his face. And if he can’t get his mouth to stop grinning, all he can manage to say is, “Shit.”

Bulls-eye.

He can’t, however, stand the word f-ck. He thinks it’s the ugliest word ever. Indecent.

I think it’s rather cute. When I say it, it sounds almost like a two year old saying “Lookee! Duck! Duck! It’s a duck, mommy!” (Yes, my voice is that high. *sigh*)

It’s so neat and clean and compact. It’s chipper. It rhymes with luck. And duck and truck. A little squeak and it's gone, cut off cleanly with the k.

The worst for me, though, is when Glenn gets mad at another driver. We’ll be driving along the road, which is one of my favorite things to do.

Glenn isn’t much of a talker. He'd be all friendly-like if you met him, but at home he’ll read or watch TV or work on his computer. If I want to talk deep thoughts, he gets antsy and feels pinned down, so I have to lock him in the car we have to drive somewhere.

I don’t much get to talk to anyone else, because all my interaction tends to be with kids, so I treasure our times in the car together. We’ll be driving along, and I’ll be chattering and he’ll comment and I love the sound of his voice.

He has a low voice that is smooth and rumbly at the same time. When he’s amused or he’s thinking I’m cute at the moment, the smooth rumbles get more airy, like light shining through bubbles.

I love that sound. I don’t have kids, so right now that’s the most beautiful sound in the world to me.

But then some driver will cut him off and spoil everything. I mean, one minute his voice is full of love, and then all the rumbles and airiness flat disappear. His voice gets hard and passionate—so passionately intolerant and angry—and he curses the worst one in the whole world to me:



image “Oh go jump in a lake!”

I know what you’re thinking but you have to hear it.

My husband’s voice sounds mad and ugly when he says it, and I’ll get upset because our intimacy is spoilt. I’ll yell at him not to be mean and not to curse, because it just sounds so awful. I swear I hate it so much that just to hear him say those words will put me in tears.

I hate “Go to hell,” too. What a horrid thing to say. What an awful, horrible thing to say. How could you wish that on someone?

So which curses do you find cute? Which ones sound horribly ugly to you?

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Enjoying the Fiction of What You Don’t Believe In

image You know, I haven’t been able to watch 24 this season. I love spy fiction, and I’ve enjoyed 24 in the past, but this year, it just makes me tired.

Spies are the superheroes of thrillers, of action.

My problem, lately, has been a reluctance to feed the politics of spy thrillers. I enjoy everything about them, don’t get me wrong. I love watching an assassin drop into Pakistan and take out a terrorist from 200 yards. I usually enjoy a torture scene: it says fascinating things about the characters. And recruiting? Talk about a character development gold mine!

Spy thrillers are absolutely fascinating to me.

But when I watched the first episode of 24 this year, it made me tired. It felt like a manifesto for Bush’s international policies. Since about the last two years of Bush, I stopped reading most spy thrillers. This makes me sad, because I love them. Totally love them.

image I just fear the power of entertainment. How much did 24 influence American’s willingness to support torture? In this age of terrorism, we want superheroes; we want spies who are all-powerful and can get anything done at any cost. Look at Burn Notice and even Chuck. Spies can do anything in fiction.

Is something wrong with me? To enjoy something I don’t believe in, politically?

I’m at a weird place with spy fiction. I’ve lost the heart to read or write it, but I miss it. I love the stuff. But I feel like if I wrote it, I’d need to put a big political disclaimer at the beginning.

I got to thinking about all this because Barry Eisler’s Fault Line came out today! Yay! Finally! Maybe that’ll get me out of my funk. :-)

Do you ever enjoy the fiction of something you don’t believe in, in real life?

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Turning to Art

image I don’t normally “escape” into my stories or music. I don’t “pour my feelings” about some life event into them. When bad things happen to me, I don’t “use it.”

I am not, in any way, saying this is a good thing.

It’s just odd.

I have one adult student who totally uses piano to balance her life, to vent her frustrations and pain. Every time something bad happens, she uses it.

I really admire that. 

In the classical music world, there are various… ethics of performing, I guess you’d say. One school of thought (not one I abide by), for example, focuses on not distracting from the music. The performer is showcasing the music, and wants to stay out of the way, not draw attention to himself, not move and sway or what have you.

imageThe musician is really only a channel for the music. 

I don’t agree with that school of thought, but I wonder if some of that has seeped into me. When I write or play, I set the rest of the world out of reach. I don’t draw on it. I try to leave it behind so I can focus on the art at hand.

The story and the music are not about me; it’s about them. I usually aim to get out of the way.

The problem with that is if I’m “not in the way,” then I don’t have a voice.

Of course, we have to draw on our experiences and our feelings to write what they feel like, but I think I do most of this subconsciously. I do see trends in my books, but again, these happen subconsciously.

image This week, though, I began questioning this. Why shouldn’t I take the feelings I’m feeling now and find a way to pour them into my stories? Why shouldn’t I look forward to writing as an escape from this world? Why shouldn’t I desire and crave to escape this world? Why shouldn’t I try and find comfort in my fictional realm?

Is art a balance between passion and craft, or a struggle?

I’m just wondering. What do you think?

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Story Wrangling

image I’m of the wrangle-a-story-until-it-works school, but I’m certainly not saying it’s the best way to go about things.

I’ve been wrangling with one story for a year, in between writing other stuff. I’m only a couple thousand away from the end, but it still needs some wrangling.

When a story isn’t working, I start asking questions. Right now, I’ve got two interweaving plots that share the same climax.

”Why” is a particular good question. First up: why not just write two stories if I have two story lines? Why should they both share the same book? Why are they equal?

What is each story line trying to say? If they’re saying the same thing, is one redundant? Should they say the same thing? Or should they say different things? Should they say different things that make the same point?

And what about the characters? Often, with multiple story lines, readers put up with the other characters for the sake of their favorite character. Are my two characters and storylines equally interesting?

image We have four character journeys and five character relationships to deal with. That’s… nine arcs. (Yeah, I’m skipping one.)

Nine arcs. That’s a whole lot more questions.

How do you wrangle a story into working? And what do you think of stories with more than one main character and storyline? Ever try one?

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Would You Turn Down A Million?

When I was in eighth grade, I had this science teacher who graded on a curve. Not the make-it-easier way, but the make-it-harder way. All the grades were averaged together, and the majority of the class ended up with C’s, because, well, that was average. (So yes, if the whole class aced a test, then everyone was screwed.)

He had a son in our grade, a smart kid who was one of two “teacher’s kids.”

image One day, the science teacher came into school looking rather… worn out and dazed. He sat us all down and explained that last night he’d won the Publisher’s Clearing- house Sweepstakes.

And turned it down.

TURNED IT DOWN.

He was at first met with skepticism, and after we were convinced, he was met with why the fuck did you turn a million dollars down?

He told us that he didn’t want his lifestyle to change. He had a job he loved, his wife was happy, his kids were happy, they had a nice house, and he didn’t want all that to change.

And so he turned it down.

(As a piece of side trivia, did you know that people are slightly more stressed out by coming into a lot of money than people who lose a lot of money?)

image It just got me thinking, tonight. I would never turn down a million dollars. Even if I personally didn’t want it, there’s just so much good I could do with it. (I’d want it, but I’d share, LOL.)

Would you turn down a million bucks? What would you do with a million bucks?

And you know, no one ever asked the question that’s haunted me ever since:

If he didn’t want to win, why did he play?

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Why Doctors Can’t Write Dialogue

image So my latest fascination is with the brain. There’ve been all these books on the front tables about the brain for months, and I’ve finally started digging into them. The brain is really a fascinating organ. (Er, is it an organ? I am no doctor.)

However, tonight I’m reading about Sex and the Brain, and I can’t stop giggling. (It’s sorta reading like a self-help book, so I’m a little skeptical.) This is either some leftover adolescence or slap-happiness in me, but tell me this dialogue doesn’t make you scream and roll on the floor with its stiltedness and falseness!

So a friend of the doctor is talking to the doctor, and this is what he “says:”

“Daniel, I am so grateful for everything you have taught me, especially about the anterior cingulate gyrus. I am married to a woman who has the anterior cingulate gyrus from hell. No matter what I say, she says the opposite… Since I have listened to you talk about the anterior cingulate gyrus, I realize that her brain gets stuck and I need to ask the opposite of what I want… I’ll say, ‘I am going to the store. You probably do not want to go with me.’ Incensed, she says, ‘Of course I want to go with you. What would ever give you that idea?’ We are doing much better now. But I still have one problem. It’s the sex thing. It doesn’t sound right to say, ‘I am going to have sex. You probably do not want to come with me?’

Ohmigawd, I can't even make fun of it, I'm laughing so hard.

This is just me, but this is closer to what I suspect his friend said:

”That shit you talked about, that anti-coagulate-gyrating-whatever shit is so true! Now I tell my wife, ‘I’m going to the store. You probably don’t want to go.’ She says of course she wants to go! But god, the sex thing. I can't say, ‘I’m gonna have sex. You probably don’t want to come with me.’”

But it gets better. Here's how the doctor talks to his friend:

“I am very pleased you have learned practical neuroscience to improve your relationship with you [sic] wife. I have several ideas on how to get more sex with people like your wife who have anterior cingulate gyrus problems.”

Or maybe doctors never use contractions when speaking and always speak overly formally, LOL.

I could use this as a way to write about how to write dialogue, but sheesh, you guys already got that down. So I just thought we could enjoy a good laugh.

And it sorta reminded me of the stilted language people use in order to resolve a conflict “correctly” when they’ve been in relationship counseling.

Methinks all doctors should take a course in writing dialogue.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cuteness Smiles

funny-pictures-a-cat-lady-is-born
 funny-pictures-cat-asks-if-shirt-makes-her-butt-look-big

funny-pictures-kitten-claims-he-is-not-a-bobblehead

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Time for Red Hair and a Haircut

image Another big project got added to my to-do list today. I’m excited about it, but man: I am overwhelmed.

But I’m ticking things off my to-do list, one by one. That’s all you can do when you’re overwhelmed!

And then I feel major restless. Jon summed up my feelings precisely in his blog post, Courage is a Beard.

I feel like a frumpy piano teacher. And you know what? It drives me crazy when people get the wrong idea about you. No truth of the matter will get past their belief that you are someone you aren't.

[long, whining complaint deleted]

image Still, I feel restless. I want to go out and really rip up the town, but two drinks and I’d be sick for a week.

Even red hair and a haircut seem a bit blase. Maybe Run Lola Run is the shade of red I need. What do you think? Or would it make all my students go running in horror?

I want to be audacious. How do I be audacious?

How do you be audacious?

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Growing Up; Growing Down

imageI swear I wrote this post before I bawled over Brothers & Sisters for two hours. :-)

So I constantly check my ovulation chart. Five times a day, even though it doesn’t change, even though the budget is not planning on getting pregnant until Fall.

My heart keeps staring at my charts going, “You’ve got at least two chances this Spring before he goes back to Alaska.”

I say Fall, and my heart and womb don’t even blink. They’re ready. They’re focused. They have a plan.

And I’m praying he gets home just a little bit early, like the first weekend in April. Or I pray I have one of my 5 week cycles.

I think this is a case where my mind has made a decision and my heart just doesn’t pay any mind. I would just be so grateful no matter when it happens. We’ll make it work.

imageAnd I’ve been reading up on adoption. I thought you had to be rich. You can be married, single, and just “normal,” financially. I’m astounded by the beautiful children up for adoption. Heartbroken, actually.

Glenn had mentioned adopting, and now that I’ve done some research and thinking, it’s definitely something I’d love to do. I think I’ll have babies first, given that I have a narrow window of opportunity, but… it sure would be nice. We’d have to be foster parents first. Glenn already did that once, a long time ago.

Writing is a means to an end, for me. I know people want to get published by NY, but it’s not my main goal. I’d be thrilled, it’s true, but I eye NY and wonder if they can give me what I need, not vice versa. I’m just being practical, not confident. The world is changing at lightning speed and they are just so darn slow. In the end, whatever is most profitable for me. That’s the bottom line.

image Gosh. Remember when I used to write about writing and stuff? I used to have interesting posts, a couple years back. Now I just hang on to my obsessions while I wait for Glenn to come home all the time. I sorta miss that person. I miss doing Tae Kwon Do every day. It’s funny how just that one little injury has changed my life and my mental and emotional state so much. I sorta worry she was a much more pleasant and fun person for others to be around.

I have the Achille’s foot. :-)

I don’t know. Do you ever look back and wonder or worry if you’ve grown or… un-grown? Do you ever wonder if you should go back and recapture the person you were? Is that even possible?

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A Sunday Chat: More Than You Wanted To Know

image It’s time for my favorite blog of the week: the Sunday chat. Well, you didn’t know about it, did you? Every Sunday, I kinda like to know about you guys’ lives. You know, what you’re writing, what you’re up to, what’s going on. So what’s up with you guys? Anything? I already read your blogs, so what’s up with the day-to-day life of you this past week? Next week?

Are you happy? Sad? Anxious? On an upswing? Downswing?

My Boring Life:
I didn’t finish my taxes, but I hope to finish today. I did finish estimating my taxes. Let’s hope I didn’t overestimate, LOL, but it looks like things are going to go perfectly this year.

Knock on wood and pray, please.

Glenn sounds miserable. We’ve hardly been able to talk at all. At least two nights a week, I only get 1 1/2 hours of sleep. Most other nights it’s 4 1/2 – 5, and then a couple days a week I’ll crash in bed for 10 hours.

I’m hoping to finish taxes today: that will be a big project done.

I have been attempting to stop and read in bed at 9pm no matter how much is undone. This was great for one night, but we’re making slow progress on this. I just really want to get most of this gunk cleared off my plate so I can focus on writing. I did maybe 500 words last week and I hate that.

I had about eight asthma attacks this week.

I saw the dentist. Felt badly because I completely lost my temper. My teeth will never be fixed, it seems. Maybe in six more months I’ll be able to eat normally again?

When you’re a pianist, you look at hands a lot. I can tell people’s ages by their hands.

My hands are aging. A lot.

image Six more weeks until Glenn gets home. I think we’re going to go see the cherry blossoms in DC. We go to DC every Memorial Day, but we’ve never been during the cherry blossom festival.

Writing is really stop and go amidst dental visits, asthma attacks, spring piano events, and life. I can’t stand that. I’ve been reading quite a bit in snatches, though. I’m almost through Charlaine Harris’s backlist.

So that’s my very boring life. I’m about to have another attack: lungs are tickling.

I’ve had nose sneezes all my life, but it wasn’t until this year when I’ve started sneezing from inside my lungs. Weird freaking sensation. I bet all you allergy-sufferers know what that’s like!

Now on to your lives… what’s up? Big, little, boring, fascinating… let’s hear it!

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