Archive for June, 2012

conversations with strangers #34

June 15, 2012

i’m conversing with strangers … here’s why.

him: you tired?

me: *after a beat* hmm? me? oh, yes. very. long day.

him: something something something work

me: *shakes brain awake* *attempts to decipher what he said over the beeping of the grocery items being scanned* *stares at him*

him: where do you work?

me: *thinks to self, didn’t we just establish i’m tired? and now you want to Talk?* *shakes brain awake, again* i work over at [redacted] in publishing.

him: that’s so cool. there are lots of smart people over there. i bet you’ve got a lot of books with all those ideas floating around over there.

me: [i’m not exactly sure what he said because it was full of soft spoken words and mumbles. i’m assuming it was something like that.] *thinks to self, OMG. is this what it’s like talking to me?* hmm, yeah.

him: i’m going to patent my idea for massaging shoes.

me: oh?

him: yeah.

me: is that because you stand on your feet all day?

him: yeah and there are some MIT kids who are starting something similar, so i’m working with a patent lawyer to get the idea as mine and then they can do all the work. i just want 40% of the profits. i’ve had that idea since i was 16.

me: *catches about every other word* oh?

him: and if that doesn’t work out, i’m going to go into nursing. that’s what my dad did.

me: my brother in law’s a doctor, so i know all about how much he values the nurses.

him: being a doctor is hard and too long.

me: that’s for sure. i don’t have the stomach for it. a nurse though, that’s very respectable.

him: yeah. i just don’t want to be here for too long, you know?

me: sure. you’re ambitious.

him: yeah. i’ve got that.

i swiped my card for payment as he packed up my groceries.

him: good luck with your publishing.

me: *stumbles over attempt to say good luck with your future attempts with nursing or patenting that shoe idea or wherever your ambition leads you.* good night.

it’s hard to hold a conversation when you’re tired and the person talking is quiet. it required more focus than i had at that moment, but boy, i promise to be better about not mumbling because that was a frustrating conversation full of mis-starts, missed words, and misunderstandings.

however, i am partial to the way he said goodbye. it’s like he was telling me good luck not with my day job, but with my dream.

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June 12, 2012

i have a frown on my face. my body feels heavy and my focus is fractured. i’m unable to give anything any thought longer than a minute.

except the thought i miss my family.

this quiet, this solitude i craved is too much, too big, too not what i truly want. i want to return to the chaos of my family, the lack of privacy, and time, and choice. i want my day to be structured around the babies mac and making them laugh and chalk drawings and leggos and fisher price toys and guessing when sister E will wake up and how do i get her to buy that adorable dress and walks around the neighborhood and laundry (no quarters needed!) and shopping and ways to help sister J cool down and talking and sharp bursts of misunderstanding and letting our hair down and wearing PJs until 2pm because there’s never time to shower and change when the babies mac are awake and commanding attention and emptying the dishwasher and making dinner and a too small kitchen table and when to ask dad to make us cocktails and naps and misguided tours and that pantry and bagels and ice cream and shuffling the cards for mom because her thumbs are sore from too many years of doing that exact motion and technological adventures and laughter and discussions with bro-in-law T about bird bones and moving trucks and how even he likes THE HUNGER GAMES.

i want to walk over to the sink and find it full of dishes, even though i just did them 15 minutes ago. it’s life lived messily, but loved cleanly.

i want to be where one equals one family instead of just me.

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after exerciser

June 8, 2012

during one of the many tangents us book hungry gals get on, kelly and i were talking about exercising and how we don’t necessarily like the act of exercising, but we LOVE the endorphin rush once we’re done.

which got me thinking about writing.

(i know, i know. i’ve been thinking about writing more than i’ve actually been writing.) (wow, look at me, i’m procrastinating!) (can you believe it, mom?)

if i’m a person who gets a rush AFTER THE FACT, how am i supposed to get that from writing? i mean, there’s a lot of time involved before one reaches THE END. more time than a marathon, so how can i sustain that level of intensity without any reward?

how do YOU do it?

(tee hee)

how do you sustain a certain level of productivity when it’s nearly impossible to see the finish line?

FWIS: writing time

June 6, 2012

FWIS (from where i stand) is a monthly feature i’m doing with jessica corra and bria quinlan. all three of us are YA writers in different places in our journeys. (check out their links for this month’s FWIS from their points of view.)

today’s topic: writing time

my writing time of late has felt a bit like that picture — scattered and spread out.

i started off WIP #3 with a bang. i got through 21K in about 4 weeks, which while not much, is some sort of record for me. but then i left tire marks on the asphalt as the brakes kicked in. i haven’t written anything in about 3 weeks. i’m not sure why those brakes were applied or how to undo them.

i’ve continued to do some RESEARCH:

i’ve read a bunch of books in a variety of  genres (ENDER’S GAME, THE WITNESS, THE GURNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY, A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL, UNDER THE NEVER SKY, and IN A FIX, to name a few) in hopes of igniting my brain.

i’ve FLESHED OUT some of the other characters in my WIP. my PLOT outline is skeletal, but in working order. i’ve napped. i’ve eaten. i’ve exercised. i’ve watched DOWNTON ABBEY and just started SHERLOCK (love it!). i’ve talked on the phone. i’ve emailed. i’ve performed a complicated series of sacrifices (aka spring cleaning + putting my room AC unit in the window) all in the hopes of paving a path back to creativity.

all the gears are lined up. all that’s left to do is for me to put my butt in the chair and write — and yet — it keeps feeling like this:

today i found lots of beautiful skies that i wanted to collect but couldn’t.

i don’t know if it’s because i don’t have any real deadlines or if it’s because i’m waiting for a sign before i begin again. i do know that i have no idea what size or shape or color that sign will be. i’m also not sure what that sign will say, but hopefully it’ll be something along the lines of, “it’s time to start writing again, your highness” instead of something more like a slap across the face.

though that would certainly get my attention.

how do you use your writing time? is it productive? creative? full of you staring out the window? what do you do to get the momentum going again? how do you deal with a lack of deadlines? have you ever been slapped? (if yes, how come?!?!)

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getting ready

June 5, 2012

brother G’s youngest turned 4 yesterday (4 on june 4 — golden birthday!) and he (G) sent out the following picture the day before:

maybe turning 4 will improve his fashion sense?

one of the most wonderful things about kids is when they reach the age where they can and do dress themselves. the combinations of shirts and pants and socks and tutus and tights and shoes they put on is awfully endearing.

it’s also how they learn (a) how to put on clothes and (b) which clothes match, or not, depending upon the intended end result.

they figure out (a) by if they’re mobile in their clothes and they understand if (b) is correct by judging their parents’/siblings’ reactions. much laughter probably means they should turn around and try a different combination of clothes from the closet.

which got me thinking about writing.

we first have to learn (a) how to write and plot and create and dream and (b) if the story, plot, characters match.

we can figure out (a) by writing and writing and writing some more and we’ll know if (b) is working based upon the reactions of our critique partners, agents, editors, beta readers, real readers (depending upon what level of publication you’ve reached).

but the most important thing i realized from my nephew’s current fashion sense is that the beginning/the learning/the figuring out of clothes/writing is messy, crazy, and silly, as it should be. the only way to learn what’s right is by doing what’s wrong. it’s also very important not to take life or your outfit or your manuscript too seriously because where’s the fun in that?

cheers to mismatched socks, plots, and birthday cakes.

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