Tag Archives: people

Lemons and Things

25 Jun

So, uh, hey.

This is the part where I awkwardly tell you about my inadvertent, week-long blogging absence.  That’s what I get for breaking up my every-other-day-or-so routine last week.

Note to self: oops.

Rather than spelling out things you already know¹, I’ll just skip to the juicy parts.  Let’s pretend my life is a lemon (a before-I-made-lemonade-from-it version of lemon).

The juicy part?  My absence was inadvertent² for a reason: June has been more productive, in terms of novel revision, than both April and May combined.  This is rewarding and awesome (not to mention difficult and tiring).  I crawl into my cave³ and re-emerge hours later, only to realize time has, indeed, continued to pass.  And not at a snail’s pace, either.  Unless said snail is propelled with rocket-boosters.

The sugar in the lemonade, while not technically part of the lemon itself, would be the oh-so-fun distractions I’ve had in the past week!  Namely, I got to play the guitar and sing at church for all three services on Sunday.  This involved, like, an all-day commitment, plus a rehearsal.  It was a lot of fun, and it went well, but my poor hands are not used to that much guitar-playing.  I ended up with fingers full of blazing sore calluses-in-the-making.  (Needless to say, typing was a blast for the next few days.)

And now, for the seeds.

Obviously, the seeds represent the more annoying part of the week.  I’ll lump the pith in there, too, since bitter white nastiness isn’t anyone’s idea of tasty.  Right?  (I hope no one thinks pith and seeds are the epitome of yum.  That would just be sad.  And confusing.)

Moving on.  So, my week had its share of seeds and pith.  Like seeds in a lemon-raspberry tart which, otherwise, is the picture of perfection, some emotionally draining stuff keeps popping up where it’s least expected.  Responsibilities and commitments to think through, advice and support to give, random frustrations to deal with.  Nothing terribly terrible on its own, just a lot of it all at once.  Plus, I’m getting a cold.  In June.  Weird.

Rather than carry this lemony analogy full-circle (“My attitude has been…so…ZESTY!”) — mainly because I now have a wicked craving for lemon-raspberry tart — I’ll end it there.

In case you’re wondering where my Creativity Workshop end-o’-the-week-assessment is, it was eaten by snails.  Don’t worry, though, you didn’t miss much.  I took an inadvertent break from that, too, so there wasn’t much to report.

Also, in case you’re wondering why I didn’t post a new music video this week, in the tradition of the last two weeks (see here and here) — see my aforementioned blazing fingertips.  I may have also had some bad hair days in there, and did not want to frighten anyone.  (Give me some blue dye, I become Thing One and Thing Two.)  I’ll do a new video next week, provided my fingertips and hair do not go on strike.

Aaaaand, last but not least?  I get to hang out with THE Melissa Williams again tomorrow.  Hello H-Town, hello humidity.

Hello, awesome weekend.

Hope things are going as well as a seedless lemon-raspberry tart for all of you!

PS: Here’s the recipe for the lemon-raspberry tart — just in case you’re now craving it as much as I am!

¹Things like: time, these days, has a way of making a girl feel like she’s been sucked into a time warp and spit out six months in the future.  Or the past.  Or somewhere else entirely.

²It would appear that the opposite of inadvertent is not the word advertent.  This is inconvenient and somewhat illogical.  Just a thought.

³Also known as my living room, with no lights on.  Or, my favorite Starbucks.  Or, my new favorite library.  Who knew writing caves came complete with lattes and strange patrons?

Commitment v. Desire

18 Jun

COMMITMENT

[responsibility, obligation, duty, liability, task]

DESIRE

[wish, want, aspiration, fancy, inclination, impulse, yearning, longing, craving, eagerness, enthusiasm]

I don’t know about you, but to me?  One of these sounds way more appealing.  In an ideal world, the things you desire and the things to which you’re committed would be the same things.  Too bad the world isn’t always an ideal place.

There are tons of directions I could take this topic — relationships, work v. rest, budgets of all sorts, social responsibilities.  For now, because it’s a recurring theme I’ve seen at least three times this week, I’m pointing it in the direction of writer-sees-sparkly-new-project-and-wants-to-drop-everything-in-pursuit-of-said-sparkly-new-project.

As writers, we have more freedom than most to commit to the things we desire — if you’re writing a novel, a short story, even a blog post, it’s probably about a subject that appeals to you.  Right?  I hope so.

The hard part happens when new becomes old, dull replaces sheen, and our eye lands on a new desire.  There’s temptation to drop the current commitment and follow the sparkly thing, the pretty thing, the oh-this-would-be-SO-fun-RIGHTTHISVERYMINUTE! thing.

Usually, that temptation arises when the current commitment becomes difficult.

So, what are you to do?  Stick with the commitment, or follow the new desire?  Or, find a way to stick with the commitment and follow the new desire?  Well, I hate to disappoint you if you were looking for a hard and fast answer, but a) I don’t have one, and b) I don’t know if anyone does.  I have been thinking about this, though, so I’ll give you my thoughts.  Then, you should give me yours.

The way things are today, it’s become normal to do what we want, whenever we want to do it.  It feels unnatural to spend valuable time on a project we don’t always feel is valuable.  There’s the problem.  Feelings aren’t always reliable.  You have to go on truth, too.

Truth #1: Shiny new things will, inevitably, get dull and old.  Truth #2: Most worthwhile things take work.  Truth #3: Work is often hard.  Truth #4: If you’ve committed to it, you committed for a reason.  Truth #5: Nothing will ever get completed if you stop working on it when it gets hard.

However.

Misery isn’t exactly the goal, either.  I don’t think it’s wrong to want to enjoy life, or to want to enjoy the work you do.  So, when is it okay to drop a project in favor of a new one?  Here’s what I’m thinking.

[Click over to the actual post if you're on the main page & the bullet list is scrunched/impossible to decipher.]

It’s not okay to sacrifice Dull and pursue Sparkly when:

  • Someone else is counting on you.
  • You are legally obligated to follow through.
  • Your financial health depends on you upholding the commitment.
  • Your reputation or your integrity would be tainted because of it.
  • You’re acting purely on emotion, rather than truth + emotion.

It’s reasonable to ditch Dull and pursue Sparkly when:

  • No one else suffers negative repercussions from it.
  • The reason your current commitment is hard is because the idea is lame, will never work, and you’ve spent way too much time already trying to force it into something it’s not.  You had high hopes for it, and it is still hard to let go.
  • You are overcommitted, others end up having to pull your weight, and you are hurting more than you are helping.
  • You genuinely believe, after much thought, that the new project is a more valuable use of your time.
  • It’s a commitment for an undefined length of time, one which will never end unless you end it.
  • You don’t have a jumping-from-project-to-project-and-never-finishing-anything track record.

These lists are, most likely, not exhaustive.  Also, there are probably circumstances where exceptions happen.  And, like I said before, I don’t have answers — these are just thoughts, opinions based on (a slew of sometimes painful) experience.

To sum up: commitment is good, difficulty is not bad, misery is not preferable.  Emotions can blind, and are not reliable if unmixed with truth.  Overcommitment is a draining cancer.  Doing things you know are healthy — even if they’re not particularly enjoyable — can lead to wonderful, surprising results.  And, there are times when dropping commitments can be the best decision.  (Not a lot of times, but they do exist.)  Other times, you can keep current commitments, but still try to get a marginal amount of work done on the sparkly project in time not already devoted to anything.

Okay.  Enough of me.  What do you guys think?  How do you decide what to work on, when to work on it, and when to move on?

10 Things I Learned From First Graders…

28 May

Well, since you’ve all been dying to find out whether or not I got eaten alive by a den of hungry first graders the other day at my event as a guest speaker, today’s post is about that.  (About the event, rather — not about me getting eaten alive.)

Thank you, everyone who gave me encouragement and advice and ideas!  The event went well, especially considering I don’t baby-sit often and the only kids I see on a regular basis are the ones who treat the Starbucks café like their own personal zoo.

These kids, though?  These kids were adorable.  Maybe it’s fun-aunt-slash-kind-grandmother syndrome — they were adorable because I had no responsibility and was only around them for a very limited amount of time? — but whatever.  It was fun.

I’ll spare you the details of what I said, since I did pretty much what I told you about in the last post.  Instead, I thought I’d give you a fun list of the stuff they taught me.

(As usual, I feel I should advise you to click over to the actual post, rather than attempt to read it on the main page — the list below is much less cramped that way.)

10 Things I Learned From First Graders

  1. Six- and seven-year-olds are way more articulate than I thought they were. They expressed themselves with confidence and clarity when they spoke.
  2. They aren’t afraid to ask questions, and they asked some really good ones! Among the questions: Is it hard to write a novel? (Yes and no.) How many books do I plan to write? (Several, since I’m hoping this will be the first in a series.) Am I going to be rich? (Hahahahahahahahaha.) Where do I write? (Starbucks, or home, or anywhere quiet.)
  3. While many questions were surprisingly articulate, there were a few that were so adorably first-grade: “What is the cover made out of?” Not, “Who gets to design it?” — but what is it actually made out of? Um…thicker paper?  Thin cardboard?  Cardstock?  (Forgot to put that on my list of answers to prepare.  Silly me.)  Also adorably first-grade: “Do you have to write a lot of books when you write a book?”  Translation: “How do so many copies get printed?”  The sweet girl thought authors had to make, by hand, every single book that makes its way to a store.
  4. First-graders, these days, are not sheltered kids. They were all already familiar with Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, which totally surprised me.  Like, not just familiar with the names, but they recognized the cover from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Plus, at least three of them are currently reading the third Percy Jackson book.  Huh.  Good thing I didn’t bust out Dora the Explorer or Magic Schoolbus and expect them to think I was cool.
  5. They like to talk.  A lot. It’s probably more like they just enjoy the attention, but that meant lots of talking.  They were well-behaved, though.  The talking made things easier for me, because they were neither bored nor disinterested, and the Q&A time went on for longer than expected.
  6. I learned that I do, indeed, have a catchy title/main character name. I’ll call him “S.H.” for now, because at the rate my edits are going, someone might be able to whip up something with his name before I get the chance, and that?  Would not be good.  I didn’t even mean to bring his full name up, but I opened my notebook to the title page and they all read it out loud!  From then on, it was, “S.H. this,” and “S.H. that.”  Something about hearing his name said over and over again by strangers just warmed my little heart.
  7. Along with that, they are idea generators! My book is geared more towards the YA audience (though with first-graders reading Harry and Percy, I guess anyone could end up reading it one day), but if I ever decide to write for six-year-olds, I am now well-stocked with ideas.  “Miss Olson!” they exclaimed, “You could write ‘S.H. and the Missing Eyeballs’!” [giggles] “Or, ‘S.H. and the Missing Cheeks’!” [cue adorably freckled kid covering his cheeks as if they've fallen off] “Or, ‘S.H. and the Missing Freckles’!!”  I guess, to six-year-olds, all it takes to make a hit is a good name and something that’s missing.
  8. They’re perceptive without really knowing how perceptive they are. I asked them, “What tools do you need to write a book?”  Among the usual — pencil, pen, paper, computer — I got an interesting answer: an eraser.  That was fun to work with, because it led to a conversation about revision and multiple drafts.  I learned how to explain revision to them on the fly, and it was part Stephen King and part luck: “When you’re writing, you want to share the ideas in your head with someone else,” I told them.  “After I finish writing them down, I read them.  If I look at what I have and go, ‘Nope — other people won’t see the ideas in my head like I do,’ then it’s time to write it again.  I change it until it’s able to make other people see what I see.”  They got it.  Miraculously, they got it.
  9. In case there was ever any question, kids ABSOLUTELY DO CARE if their parents show up for things. After the Q&A time, the kids were herded to the library, where they got to read the books¹ they’d written in front of guests and family.  It’s a great idea, actually — very bookstore-book-signing-esque, where they get to be the author for the day, complete with refreshments and flowers.  Anyway, I had to console a little girl whose daddy told her he was coming, then didn’t show up.  Sigh.  They notice.  Yes, they do.
  10. The tenth thing I learned?  Even though it didn’t take much to impress these kids, their enthusiasm was contagious and motivating nonetheless. “I’ll buy all your books, Miss Olson!” one kid said, with the others nodding.  “Will you let us read it when it’s published?”  Count on it, babes.  You may be in fourth grade by the time it’s out of manuscript form and covered with whatever a cover is made from, but when that day comes?  Heck yes, you can read it.  Your library will get the first signed copy.²

All in all, you can probably tell I had a blast.  Who knew I liked interacting with kids so much?  Not me.  Maybe one day I’ll have some of my own.  (Sigh of relief heard from my parents, in-laws, and husband, I’m sure.)

Now: on to writing!  I’ve got ambitious goals for the day, to accompany my heightened motivation (and to make up for my less-than-stellar rest-of-the-week), so here goes.  How’s the writing going for all of you guys?  We’re several weeks in to the Creativity Workshop — are you guys hanging in there, or are you discouraged, or somewhere in the middle?  How’s the writing going for those of you not participating in the Workshop?

¹Illustrated non-fiction books about sea horses, starfish, octopi, and sharks. (When I saw these books, it became clear where the “What’s the cover made out of?” question came from.)(Construction paper, in their world, FYI.)

²By the way, nothing after the part about them being in fourth grade when it’s done actually met sound waves.  Kept the rest in my head.  Didn’t want to frighten them with happybabble.

A New Queen

8 May

Oy.  It is a dark and early morning, that’s for sure.  A loud one, too.

With two five-thirty a.m. text messages and a veritable R&B concert directly over our heads, I’m finding it a little bit difficult to do what people do on Saturday mornings (i.e. not wake up at five-thirty a.m.).

The text messages?  Totally understandable, and welcome even.  They were from my sweet mom, whose play¹ competes today.  She’ll be busy all day, wanted to know when we’d get to town (it’s a four-hour drive for us), et cetera.  Plus, I know she’s not the most dextrous texter — between her lofty texting ambitions and (probably) a ten-minute internal debate before bothering us so early, the texts are more endearing than they are a nuisance.

As for the music², I can’t say the same: this new queen on the block has just ousted her previous contenders people-who-drive-and-act-like-jerks-in-parking-lots, things-spelled-incorrectly-on-purpose-à-la-Kwik-Kutz-or-Sassy-Katz³, and pounding-bass-speakers-who-take-my-concentration-and-dangle-it-over-the-edge-of-a-cliff from their comfy, coveted spots on the Throne of Pet Peeves.  (Those three have shared the Throne so long its velvet has worn down in a few places.)  Technically, what’s happening today is the third pet peeve after it’s had about eight fully caffeinated espresso shots, therefore I’m counting it in a category that’s wholly other, and am convinced it supersedes the annoyance of a mere pounding bass.

It’s starting to get light outside.

Sweet little birds are singing.  It’s impossible to tell whether they are trying to sing karaoke or drown out the noise.

Hey, wasn’t it just last week where I mused about the delight of not having much to rant about?  (Yes. Yes it was.)

On a brighter note (one not being melismatically forced down my ears) that’s totally unrelated to anything else in this post, Jen Lancaster’s book reading/Q&A/signing was a treat last night.  The excerpt she read was funny, as was the Q&A.  She then managed to stay personable and look genuinely thrilled to be there while she signed books for three hours (I know this because we got there late and were therefore relegated to Group H on a scale from A to I).  Tyra Banks would be so proud — Ms. Lancaster welcomed photos all night, and has perfected the whole find-the-light and smile-with-your-eyes thing they’re always trying to get contestants to do on Top Model.

I feel sufficiently unburdened by my loud morning, so I shall roll with it and get a head start on today.  Breakfast, latte, and packing, here I come.  Oh!  Before I forget, I should let all you #CreateWS people know, due to our weekend trip, my Sunday workshop post won’t be happening until laaaaaaate Sunday (which might actually turn into eaaaaarly Monday)(especially if my neighbor has anything to do with it).

PS: I’m experimenting with a Tweet button at the bottom — thanks, Linda! — not that I really expect you guys to go reTweeting this totally unhelpful little post.

¹She’s directing high schoolers in a one act play competition.  They made the state-level competition, which is a Big Deal in Texas because it takes stellar performances at three or four competitions in order to do what they’ve done.  I’m proud of her, and proud of her cast!

²(Noise.)

³Yes, it hurt to type that.  Hurts more to leave it in there and not delete it, knowing a good many of you may very well cringe upon reading it.

Intricacies

28 Apr

It’s been a while since my last Project: Edit update.¹  I’m almost hesitant to write one, given my tendency to jinx myself whenever I’ve had a string of productive days, but whatever.  Update you I shall.

Things have been productive.

It took a while to get started on the actual editing of my second draft, but the ball is rolling on that.  I’m taking it scene by scene, doing my best to be all there when I write.  Somewhere, a long time ago, I wrote that the first and second drafts felt super rewarding, but for different reasons.  Already, the same holds true for my third draft.

For the first draft, I didn’t know where I was going, didn’t know what kind of characters I’d meet along the way.  What resulted was surprisingly coherent, but far from polished.  I added subplots, strengthened characters, bada-bing bada-boom,² the second draft was born.  With both of those drafts, I wrote to get the story down, not to make it pretty.

This time feels different.  It feels slow, calculated, intricate.  Not overworked — just worked.  It’s fun to focus on each scene, fun to make each one special, fun to know the whole story and strengthen its parts.  As satisfying as it was to know I could produce quantity, it’s a hundred times more satisfying to see the quantity morph into (what I hope is) quality.

It’s late, and it’s been a full day.  Time for a little Curb Your Enthusiasm (our most recent DVD fix) after a midnight conversation with my sweet husband and my little editing assistant.³

Project: Edit Update | The note card system is alive and thriving.  I’m still working my way through section one (of nine), but progress is progress.  Diligence is key, and that’s been going well.

¹If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click on “Challenges” at the top of the sidebar.

²And by bada-bing bada-boom, I mean, of course, that it happened overnight.  And by overnight, I actually mean that it took a while.  A long while.

³Also known as Mr. Remy Fang Richard Alpert the Cat, pictured above, hard at work.  He sits in my lap whenever I write, which is adorable until he decides my wrists are made for biting.  Always nice.

Merrilee Faber’s Creativity Workshop

23 Apr

Something really cool just landed in my lap, and no, it’s not a spilled glass of iced water.

It’s an opportunity.

A challenge.

A here’s-a-chance-to-grow-in-your-skills-and-discipline-and-creativity sort of opportunity-slash-challenge, dropped down from the sky courtesy of the amazing Merrilee Faber.

Basically, she’s taken the initiative to organize and put on a fourteen-week Creativity Workshop (one week of intro, thirteen weeks of workshop) from May 2 – August 5.  There’s a whole slew of awesomeness wrapped up in this opportunity, including a wide range of applicable topics to be covered by Merrilee and the various guest bloggers she’s lined up. Here in a minute, I’m going to direct you to her two most recent posts for more information.

To quote Merrilee, “It is a workshop about teaching yourself to be creative when you need to be, not at the whim of the muse or the tides or the phase of the moon.”

I don’t know about you guys, but this sounds great to me.  For more information about what kind of work is involved, what kind of topics will be covered, who the guest bloggers are, and to sign up, follow the links below.

A brief overview (the what, the why, and other answers to questions)

More details, schedule, and sign-ups

Let me know if you decide to join Melissa, Cassie (JC), yours truly, and — of course — Merrilee, as we brave this adventure.  I fully expect it will rock.  In fact, it will probably rock so hard that I’ll spill iced water all over my lap and then be inspired to write something creative about it.

Where Did The Time Go?

11 Mar

I have SO MUCH to tell you guys.

It’s been one crazy week, let me tell you.  This is the…uh…second time I’ve stopped to sit down today and rest.  Things have been a little crazy, what with my attempts to prepare for a trip, rearrange-slash-organize-slash-completely clean my whole apartment (laundry included), and yes, get some work done on the novel.

[I interrupt this blog post with outrage: Ryan Seacrest, did I just overhear you say America voted out Katelyn Epperly?  One of my favorites, THE Katelyn Epperly?  Okay.  Just making sure.  Crap.]

I’ve been planning to write a good long post about my editing progress this week — after that whole Smoke Monster incident, after all, you might have worried that I’ve been sulking in despair, ignoring the world and my writing.  I’m pleased to report that there’s been very little sulking, and loads of progress.  Monday morning, I sat down to work, and something just completely clicked.  I’m not stuck anymore, and am poised to get a lot of work done when I return from my trip.

Unfortunately, it’s been one of those days that’s left me in a state of dazedness, and all I can really think about right now is a huge plate of pasta, white wine, and a night full of Survivor and NBC comedies.  The unfortunate part of that sentence (since we all know pasta, white wine, and TV is a recipe for awesomeness) is that my long blog post about the editing itself will have to wait.  There’s still quite a bit of work I have left to do before embarking on a loooooooooong drive to Minneapolis tomorrow with my church group — this, most likely, means my next post won’t be until I get back to Texas a week from Sunday.  Just thought I’d let y’all know, you know, so you don’t worry when I’m MIA all week.

Oh: those of you who love LOST as much as I do, you should know that I won’t be able to watch it until after I get back, so this is my preemptive strike against accidental spoilers!  (Why, yes, I am planning to bring my laptop justincase there’s an Internet connection and I get a chance to watch it at, like, five a.m. one morning when I’m not busy hanging out with 20 freshmen.)

Happy week to you all!  I’ll be back soon.

PS: Another Outrage Alert!  Two of my other favorites — Lilly Scott and Alex Lambert — got voted off tonight, too.  This is not because my taste = horrible.  It’s because America’s does.

To Fall and Crash and Break

22 Feb

Before I update you all on Phase Two of Project: Edit, perhaps I should begin with a little story.

I’m the sort of girl who offers to make her sister’s 250 wedding invitations.  The sort of girl who, when the choices of print shop suddenly become print-shop-with-wonky-discoloration versus print-shop-with-insanely-ridiculous-prices, decides to go with neither print shop and opt instead for make-each-invite-and-response-card-with-her-own-two-loving-tender-hands.  I’m that sort of girl.

Fortunately, my sweet husband is the sort of husband who says, “Look here! I can turn the espresso-and-white maps into black-and-white maps, and squeeze eight onto a page.  This will cut costs and eliminate the issues with discoloration — then, we can do all the color copies at print-shop-with-insanely-ridiculous-prices!  Then you’ll only have to make the RSVP cards by hand, and the original price you quoted will stay about the same!”

Bless him.

So — all that to say, I (sometimes) bite off more than is comfortable to chew.  Not that I can’t chew it.  It’s just uncomfortable.  (See also: my withered hand when I finished the RSVP cards. If I had done everything by hand, in one weekend, as was my original insane solution, I’d probably still be in pain. And that was last June.)

This week has been annoying and discouraging and overwhelming.  Note to self, and to everyone who’s up to speed on what I’m working on these days¹: when taking handwritten notes in a spiral notebook, if the plan is to enter them into the computer in an organized fashion, do it in small chunks at the end of each daily session instead of all at once.  The notes themselves aren’t all that intimidating; the system in which I’ve organized them isn’t the problem, either.  The problem is that it’s tedious.  Worth it?  Almost certainly.  Fun?  Certainly not.

I’ve also felt the tendency to compare myself to others this week, in a way that’s not necessarily healthy.  Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reading² and while that’s inspiring and all, it’s also a wee bit discouraging.  It’s so easy to pick up a book and forget that it didn’t just magically appear, in polished-and-published form: no.  These things took work.  Just like mine is taking work.  I keep forgetting that this is my first time to edit a novel and that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with learning how to do it.

So.  

Perhaps now is a good time to mention that thanks to the Olympics, I am in awe of snowboarders.  I spent an entire afternoon watching the girls’ halfpipe competition, marveling at Torah Bright, at Gretchen Bleiler, at Hannah Teter, at how easy they make it look.  Also?  I marveled at how insanely painful it must be to mess up, to fall and crash and break.  

I’ve been airing my snowboarding awe to my husband all week.  On Saturday night, when all my little frustrations about editing surfaced along with my ridiculous snowboarding dreams, he just listened patiently and reminded me of some truth: those snowboarders didn’t just hop on a board, jump into a halfpipe, and proceed to nail their switch backside 720’s³.

No.  They practiced.  A lot.  Like, a lot a lot a lot.  And, even gold medalists and their toughest competitors fall at the Olympics, because they’re giving everything they have.  They don’t play it safe, they take risks that may or may not pay off.

You see where I’m going, yes?  Huge goals require huge risks, lots of practice, lots of patience, and the understanding that sometimes, you just might crash in the snow while you’re trying something amazing.  Oh yeah, and to remember that everyone has to start somewhere and learn along the way.

I’m learning.  This novel is a huge project, overwhelming sometimes, uncomfortable sometimes, but not impossible.  Not impossible at all.

Revision Update, Phase Two | All notes have been entered into pretty little spreadsheets.  Still have more work as far as prioritizing them goes, but on the whole, it’s coming along.

¹If you’re not up to speed, click here and here

²FINALLY finished The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) and Bright Lights, Big Ass (Jen Lancaster).  Had to read them concurrently so as not to fall into total, time-travel-tragedy-induced despair.

³I looked this up.  According to this NYTimes article, this is the cherry-on-top move from Torah Bright’s gold-medal-winning run; it’s “a perplexing double rotation with a blind landing that flummoxes all her competitors.” (I’m loving the abundance of the letter in that sentence, BTW.)

Happy LOST Day!

2 Feb

At the risk of sounding like an obsessed freak¹ — after eight months of waiting (impatiently), it’s LOST Season Premiere day!  It’s only ten in the morning, but I’ve already learned a few things today.  (Be warned: I haven’t had many lattes lately, and I’m having one now.  That, combined with my excitement?  Put on your seatbelts, because I’m feeling some energy today.)

First?  Today might as well be a holiday.  Examples include the email I got from my music-teaching mother:

“Happy LOST Day!  I moved around my piano lessons so I can watch — if Obama can rearrange his State of  the Union address, I can rearrange my lessons!”

and the text messages with friends, á la Christmas Eve, yesterday:

“It’s LOST Eve!  One more day!”

and the greetings from not one, but two, of my barista friends at Starbucks (granted, we watch the show together every week, rotating from house-to-house, Bible-study style, with desserts and coffee):

“Happy LOST Day!” (shouted in chorus when I walked in)

Examples abound.  You get the picture.

Second thing I learned this morning?  I’ve been (*sob*) spelling the word premiere without the final e for days and days.  I felt like a schmuckety schmuck when I figured it out and promptly rushed to add the elusive e to my latest Tweet and the invitation to our viewing party this evening.  Crisis somewhat averted.

Third lesson isn’t so much a lesson; it’s more like confirmation that yes, in case there was any doubt, I am excited about the season premiere.  While it is completely abnormal to, say, dream that you are a cast member of the show (who may or may not be Evangeline Lilly) and that you are trying to get back to the Island via military plane leaving from Alaska-slash-Miami (apparently my dream-world has not seen the script for the finale)(or an episode, for that matter)(or a map) — it is completely understandable that this dream would poke its way into my head on LOST Eve.  Especially after watching the brain-melting minute-long teaser-trailer a couple times in slow motion² to catch all the sneak-peaks into what’s to come.  

Lest you think I’m merely jumping up and down as if I’ve just been surprised with a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas³, I should mention that while I have zero focus right now, I am nonetheless completely inspired to work on my novel.  In sort of the same way I’ve been inspired by J.K. Rowling, I feel inspired by the writers of LOST.  

Seriously.  To write a show where, six seasons in, loads of people still care about your characters?  Your mysteries?  Where people feel simultaneous hatred and compassion for your villain(s), simultaneous empathy and frustration with your heroes?  Where people can read a zillion things into what you’ve written because you’ve managed to share just enough to raise questions about religion, literature, and mythology?  Where you write on two levels — one for the casual (though necessarily consistent) viewer, who just wants a story; and one for the engaged viewer who loves to unscramble anagrams, look for symbolism, pick out hidden easter egg clues, read into the very purposeful placement of details?  Where people dare to get this worked up over a season premiere, in full confidence that you’ll deliver because you deliver every single time?

Can you imagine writing, and executing, a story like this?  Can you imagine ideas coming from your brain and resulting with people who wish each other “Happy LOST Day!” in Starbucks, people who rearrange piano lessons, a  President who agreed to not conflict with what you’ve created?  

I can’t really imagine what that must feel like, to be honest.  

I’m consistently amazed by the process of creation, especially when that creation is executed in such a compelling way.  This is at the heart of why I love to write: to watch things form, to hope that the details will fall in such a way that inspire any inkling of resemblance to this sort of thought-provoking stuff.

Now, to try and get some work done before descending into the inevitable pit of party preparation: that’s my challenge for today.

Revision Update, Phase One | 134 pages down, 201 to go | 40.0% finished!

¹We obsessed freaks, by the way, prefer to be called devoted, completely intrigued fans.

²What?  It had new footage.  Very weird new footage.  Plus, it played in the middle of The Bachelor, which I have zero interest in whatsoever (except for the fact that Mr. Jake Pavelka Bachelor himself grew up, literally, about two minutes from where I currently live.  His parents live next door to my friend.) so I was easily distracted.  And it was about one in the morning.

³Which actually happened, by the way — my husband’s work surprised us with an all-expense-paid Disney Cruise that we get to take later this year.  Hello, bathing suits, beaches, sun, and ocean (and the gym!)!

Prolific Blogger Award

31 Jan

After a relaxing (read: lazy) Sunday spent in the cozy comfort of my living room reading Jen Lancaster’s Bright Lights, Big Ass; after selecting a celebrity photo for doppelganger week on Facebook¹; after watching The Matrix (for the first time ever) — I checked my blog and found the sweetest little thing waiting for me!

Laura Best, author of Bitter, Sweet, is one of the first blog-friends I met when I started this blog way back when.  She’s always über-encouraging, and it’s been amazing to watch her go from revising her almost-published novel to someone who does book signings and receives free hot chocolate from fans.  Anyway, she received a Prolific Blogger Award and has passed it on to me, along with six other awesome bloggers (including three blogs I frequent — Jennifer Neri, Linda Cassidy Lewis, and NewToWritingGirl).  Thank you for your sweet words, Laura!  This was a fun surprise.

Soooo…you guys know what that means, right? 

I love surprises, especially when I get to be the one doing the surprising.  Part of the Prolific Blogger Award means the recipient gets to pass it on.  I really like the idea of this, because I love being a little match-maker; it’s fun introducing friends who may not know each other.  So — make your little Owl and Sparrow friend happy, and check out the blogs mentioned earlier, as well as the ones I list here.  Hopefully, they’ll be as inspiring to you as they are to me.

In no particular order, here are the seven recipients I’ve chosen:

Melissa @ Blame the Weatherman 

Megs Payne @ Scattered Bits

Merrilee Faber @ Not Enough Words

J. C. Hart 

Cynthia Newberry Martin

Christine Fonseca

Alexis Grant

And…with that, I will now be retreating back to reading Jen Lancaster, protecting my water glass from Dexter the Kitty (who seems to think drinking my water while getting his head stuck is a consistently fine idea), and wondering what the heck is going to happen on the season premier of Lost this Tuesday night.  If, somehow, you happen to know?  Do not spoil it for me because  I WILL jump through this computer and go all Smoke Monster (circa the episode where it destroys Keamy and his posse of freighter-bullies) on you.

Oh, yeah, and if you’re a recipient of the award, read footnote #3.

¹Evangeline Lilly from Lost, in case you’re curious.²

²Wishful thinking.

³Prolific Blogger Award Rules | ONE: Every winner is expected to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. | TWO: Each Prolific Blogger is asked to link to the blog from which he/she has received this award. | THREE: Every Prolific Blogger is asked to link back to this post, which explains the origins of the award. | FOUR: Every Prolific Blogger is asked to visit the post listed in rule #3 and add his/her name to the “Mr. Linky” at the bottom.

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