Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year

Today's Mood: Happy. Today's Music: Unwell--Matchbox Twenty (at the moment) Today's Writing: this blog. Today's Quote:
It's our choices that make us who we are. - Dumbledore (Harry Potter--but I don't know which book)

Well, this is it. In about twenty minutes it will be a whole new year. A year filled with possibilities, opportunities, disappointments, and successes. And it's often hard to tell what things we will remember, and what we will forget by year's end. I've found that it is usually little things that I remember most: an emotion, a smell, a strand of music.

If I were the type who believed I could keep a resolution, then I'd make several. Of course, I'd resolve to get published, but since that isn't totally under my control, I guess that falls more under wishing or praying. So okay, I'd resolve to exercise more--which technically shouldn't be hard since at present I don't do any exercise beyond the daily chores. I'd also resolve to get more sleep, eat healthier, and floss once and awhile. But I never keep resolutions, so why bother making them?

What I do want to do is live passionately, without regrets. I figure if I can really do that, then obviously I won't regret not exercising more, or eating healthier, or all that other stuff. Most of all, I don't want to get to the end of the year and find out I just put in time. Yup, real living means I'll get banged up, bruised and broken. But it also means I'll laugh so hard that my guts will hurt, and I'll love so deep that I'll lose myself and gain the world.

So this year I'll wish you all the courage and wisdom to live all out. The full Monty, take no prisoners, like there's no tomorrow kind of living. Give it your all, don't hold back, and savor every succulent, bitter, sweet, wonderful bite of life in 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Proper Title

I want to title one of my essays 'rat Houses, with the "'rat" a shortened term for muskrat. Is it okay to use the apostrophe and small letters for the first word in the title? A capital "R" just doesn't convey the same thought nor does "Muskrat." I suppose I can write ir the way I want, and let the editor decide.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Picking the editor's brain

Today's Mood: Mellow with an edge. Today's Music: Matchbox Twenty- mad season. Today's Writing: revising Black Dragon (I'm down to 226 pages! Only 2 more to cut out!) Today's Quote:
You can't hope to be lucky. You have to prepare to be lucky. -Timothy Dowd

I'm conducting researching into how many chocolate covered peanuts a relatively small (I'm a very sturdy waif) female can eat before she feels ill. Or should I say, very ill?

Just a quick post here since I have all that research to do, as well as conducting play tryouts. So, here is my question: If the current Writers Market says a publisher accepts queries OR the full manuscript, but that same publisher's website makes no mention of accepting the full manuscript, should one avoid sending the full manuscript? Will that publisher read it, or throw it out into the very large pile of culled slush garbage?

IMO (granted, it is a relatively inexperienced opinion, so take it for what it is worth), it is better to send the complete manuscript so it saves time. I mean, you always send it with a short cover letter anyway--sort of like a query. And if that interests them, then there is the manuscript, ready for them to read. Of course, maybe editors don't see it that way.

Check out my question to an actual, real live editor about how not to get black balled by editors. Editorial Anonymous writes a very funny response back. She made me laugh--and I found it encouraging to know that maybe the competition isn't as horrible as I always imagine. The previous post's question on Editorial Anonymous was mine as well. Check it out here.

And, as always, keep those little fingers writing or taping away at that keyboard!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Winter fun

Today's Mood: Cheerful. Today's Music: Inner Genius--Creative Mind System. Today's Writing: Revising Black Dragon (down to 230 pages. It needs to be 224 or less)Today's Quote:

Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. -Victor Hugo


Our family hunted down the perfect Christmas tree on Saturday. It was an especially good year because it only took us 10 minutes, which is by far the record for the shortest time spent getting a tree. Usually we have to look at every tree on the tree farm--twice. But this year we wimped out and bought one off a lot. So even though we still looked at all the trees twice, there just weren't that many to look at. And my children were happy since it was next to a playground. Okay, I have to admit I was happy with the playground too. Let me tell you, going down the slide with ski pants on helps you catch some serious air! It's like a rocket launcher! (My daughter pointed out this guy standing there watching me go down the slide. I told her he wished he had snow pants on so he could do it too.)

Anyway, a lot of Anne Sexton's poetry is dark, but a fellow teacher shared this delightful poem with us last week. And I thought I'd pass it along to you.

Enjoy the snow!


blessed snow,
comes out of the sky
like bleached flies.
The ground is no longer naked.
The ground has on its clothes.
The trees poke out of sheets
and each branch wears the sock of God.

There is hope.
There is hope everywhere.
I bite it.
Someone once said:
Don't bite till you know
if it's bread or stone.
What I bite is all bread,
rising, yeasty as a cloud.

There is hope.
There is hope everywhere.
Today God gives milk
and I have the pail.

Poem: "Snow" by Anne Sexton,. © Houghton Mifflin, 1975. Reprinted with permission.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Logic and emotion battle over priorities

Today's Mood: Disappointed. Today's Music: Foo Fighters. Today's Writing: Revising Black Dragon (again.) Today's Quote:
"I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities." -Whoopi Goldberg
I'm starting to think I'm weird. Don't laugh. I'm talking beyond the normal weird. Maybe even obsessive weird. This diagnosis comes from recent events. Get this. I belong to two writing groups. Each group meets once a month (which isn't enough for me), so between the two groups, I have two small group writing meetings a month. Last month only 3 people could come per group. A bit slim, but workable. And this month, no one could come--to either group. Except for me. Sigh. My momma always told me to look for the common denominator. Guess that would be me.

Now the logical part of me (yes, there is one, although it is by far the slimmer of the twins), says that it is a busy time of year, most of us have day jobs, and all of us have lots of things to do. Yup, very reasonable. But the fat twin, the emotional one, is disappointed. And thinks these are scheduled meetings, people! (hear her? She really is a drama queen). It's not like you can't schedule most things around a once a month meeting! Logical twin-Okay, yeah, I get hernia surgery. You're excused. I get moving and boxes everywhere and no DSL and no bed. You're excused too. Bloated emotional twin-But come on! Isn't your writing more important than some of this stuff?

It's about priorities. Fat Emo cannot understand why other writers don't seem to put more priority on their writing. But Logic says that, as the common denominator, I'm the one with the screwed up priorities. And when I combine my split personalities, I get that writing fulfills different needs for different people.

Still, can't but help feel disappointed. I write no matter what, but being a part of a small group makes me feel like a writer instead of just a mom/wife/housekeeper/librarian/goddess--oh wait, that's just a fantasy of mine. Seriously, if I don't keep my writing as a high priority, it'll just disappear amid piles of laundry, sick kids, happy kids, school projects, meals, meetings, and all the other things that DEMAND my attention.

Okay, well, I feel a little better. I guess I'll just buckle down and write more. After all, best way to feel like a writer is to write. Right?

On a different note, let me tell you, if you have to stay home from work with a sick kid, pink eye is the way to go. I brought Shanna in to the doctors on Sunday and she was diagnosed with pink eye. Since kids are not supposed to go to school until they have been on the eye drops for 24 hours, she missed morning kindergarten--and I got to sleep in. Well, sort of. I actually took my oldest to school with her invention (let me tell you, school projects are getting much more complicated these days. Or at least, parents are making them that way!)

Anyway, Shanna and I colored, and beaded, and went hot tubbing since she didn't feel sick and was in a great mood. Now if I could just catch pink eye and stay home.... Just joking (well, sort of). But seriously, here I figured out that all I have to do is revise 9 pages a day and I'd have the Black Dragon revision done by the deadline with several days to spare. And then I proceed to use all my days to spare because I'm knocked out of my normal early morning writing routine.

The good news is that I don't hate Black Dragon. In fact, dare I say it?, I even like it. But it does need to be shortened (for the contest) and I find myself tightening, adding smoother transitions, and tweaking the dialogue (I'm still too wordy for my male characters.)

Anyway, logic says to tell you all that I understand your need to do things other than writing. After all, some writing is better than none. But Fat Emo says what the heck is your problem? Don't you know that writing is the best thing ever?! Writing is the drug of choice, a spiritual experience, a high like no other, a...a... words can't express it. You are all so screwed up. You need to see a therapist. Seriously. I feel sorry for you.
*(Current blogger takes no responsibility for the opinions expressed by Logic or big Fat Emotion.)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Maine-inspired Poetry

Hey All! I'm stuck in the Portland, ME airport--my flight from Chicago to GR was canceled due to freezing rain, so the airline got me on a competitor's flight into Cleveland, then home. No biggie. Better safe than too dead to be sorry, as I say. However, I had to PAY to use the airport's wireless and there's only ONE electrical outlet for every hundred or so seats. I'm not complaining, just surprised that even this small airport hasn't moved to become more business-traveler friendly. The Starbucks tastes the same, though.

Yesterday, as I said my goodbyes to my Cottage By The Sea, I managed to write a few lines about the moornise the night before. The beginnings of a poem, methinks. Me also thinks that more will come as I process everything I saw and did. I think now that my non-writing while in Maine was more because of my desire to be on the road seeing and doing, instead of writing. Perhaps the next time, or the time after, I'll be more inclined to sit by the water and put thoughts on paper. For this first trip, I needed to experience everything.

The other thing is/was sensory overload. Sometimes I get so numb, or maybe paralyzed is a better word, because I have absorbed too much--too much color, texture, mental videos, information, too many smells, too many new ideas, etc. I tend to become unable to do anything but veg out. I play solitaire or online Euchre, stare at TV, or read, just to focus my senses on only one thing so my brain can process all the other stuff. Jigsaw puzzles are good for this purpose, too.

Does anyone else have this problem? Does it negatively affect your writing? How do you deal with it?

I also discovered on this trip that because I write so much on assignment, when I don't have an assignment to write about I can't come up with anything on my own. I go blank, and because writing then becomes a chore, I don't PBIC (Plunk Butt In Chair). If I did PBIC, chances are I'd come up with something to write about. Hmmmm. OK, guess I just solved that conundrum by writing about it!

Well, I'll be home tonight. I've decided that three days a week (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) I'm going to set aside 30 minutes first thing in the morning to write my own stuff. That will get me back in the habit of coming up with my own "assignments."