Thursday, October 28, 2010

Promises and Pics

First off, we’re doing a fun pass-along story at The Scribbler’s Cove. Head over there and add you own paragraph!

Second off, today is the Halloween parade at my kids’ school. For those of you who don’t have kids this means that not only do I have to have all my little ones dressed up in their various costumes, but I also have to get out of my pajamas and make myself presentable to the world. This means that you get a goofy picture and a promise.

Here is the goofy pic:

And here is the promise: I solemnly swear to wake up earlier next Tuesday and post a real post in which I use more words than pictures, and that the words will even have meaning and sound decent. Maybe. And I also promise to do it again next Thursday. See? Good promises, huh?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween, Wonder, and Fantasy Novels.

I've been a Halloween Scrooge. It's true. I can't eat the candy, and my children were terrified of the masks and creatures. They cried and had nightmares for weeks after the dreaded day.

But all that seems to be in the past. This year they are giddy with expectation. It's almost Halloween and the ghouls and goblins in my children are starting to ooze out of their little bodies. Scooby Doo reigns supreme on the TV, and pumpkins haunt the front steps. It's not all fright and monsters--princesses and fantasy live as well in gauzy pink dresses and crowns bedecked with streaming ribbons and sheer, sparkly material. This year the excitement is almost too much to bear.

As I watch my little horde tremble in anticipation of the big night, I can't help wondering, Why are they are so excited? Is it the tinge of safe fear that taints the air? Or is it the glee of running down the sidewalk trailing loot in their wake? Or maybe it's the rustle of leaves and frosted breath that promises, "This is just the beginning--Christmas is coming!" Maybe it's just the candy.

But, then I realize it is more. It's the wonder of the night.

Halloween is the one night they get to be anyone or anything they can imagine, AND everyone else joins in their make believe. The world of daydream and nightmare collide in costumes and candy, and that all adds up to wonder. Loads and loads of wonder. It's like the world pauses in its scepticism and lives out one night of fantasy.

When else do friends become dragons and elves, undead and sorcerers, kings and peasants, superheros and villains? It's a night of magic and mystery. And I should be taking notes. Why? Because I write fantasy. In my own way, I try to create the thrill of Halloween night and package it between page one and the end. I try to capture the emotion and wonder of pretending and believing for oh-so-short a time in fairies and magic. Maybe for once, I need to don a costume and shed my inner Scrooge. Maybe I need to embrace Halloween and live the wonder with my children--even if I can't gorge on chocolate.

How about you? Do you have an inner Scrooge? Are you excited for Halloween? What makes the night magical for you?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Morning Mayhem

So, yesterday was one of those days. It all started with the melodious yowl of a cat fight outside my window. Have you ever been jerked from slumber by a cat fight? I'm almost positive that they use cat fights as a form of torture. Not a nice way to wake up--especially if it's your cat and you have to run down the stairs half asleep and rescue the thirteen-year-old puddy from probable death and certain vet bills. Yup it was that kind of morning.

As I stumbled back into the house silently cursing my cat, my sleep-fogged mind realized Kid A was in the shower. I stared at the light streaming from under the bathroom door and sighed. No more sleep for me. Time to wrangle the kids.

I descended into the basement, pulled Kid B from bed, asked-begged-urged-forced him to get dressed for school, and made his bed. Then I came upstairs and oozed into my chair and started opening emails. Kid A came in wearing a very confused look.

Here is our ensuing conversation:

Me: You okay?

Kid A: What time is it?

Me looking at the little clock on my computer. Me still looking at the little clock on my computer. Me staring at my watch. Me glaring at the little clock on my computer: Five o'clock!

Kid A: Why is it five?

Me, still glaring at my stupid clock: I don't know. It should be six. Why isn't it six?

Both of us staring at each other doing mental math.

Kid A: You mean I got up at four?

Me: You mean I got up at four?

Me: Why did you get up at four?

Kid A: My clock said six.

Me: My cat said, "**$#!@#%^&*!"

I almost said **$!@%^&*! as I realized I had missed out on two hours of blessed sleep. Two hours! If any of you are moms, I know you share my horror. And I haven't even mentioned that I didn't go to bed until almost one. Yes, cry for me. I cried for myself.

But there is a silver lining. I sat down on the couch to watch for the different buses with the kids, by the time they all departed, so did I. To dream land. I woke up four hours later with a kinked neck and a few missed appointments. So, if I stood you up yesterday, I'm sorry. But at least now you know why.

So, how was your day?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I've never been much of a Halloween person, at least as an adult. Maybe it's because I can't eat the candy, maybe it's because my kids struggle with real terror every year as people they know change into monsters right before their eyes, or maybe I'm just plain boring. What ever it is, it's almost Halloween and masks are appearing everywhere--in the grocery store, at the playground, at writer's conferences. They even gave us some. Mine is a sparkly green one.

As the speakers at the conference talked about masks, I realized they were right. Writers wear masks. Lots and lots of masks. Every time I sit down at the computer to work on my story, I don a different character's mask. I may be a twelve-year-old boy fighting a dragon, or I may be an eighteen-year-old girl who sees the future, or even a really disturbed psycho who has way too many people's identities stuck in his head.

It's like these masks by Morgan Hersey:

Each one is different. Each one has it's own personality, history, and mood. And, for me, that's what happens when I write. I place the character's emotions, and history, and attitude over my own for a time. I wear them. I become them. At least if I let myself.

Sometimes it's hard to descend into someone's emotions. I mean, who wants to be a grieving father, or a love-struck palace guard who knows his feelings aren't returned? Sometimes I just want to take all the masks and put them in the drawer and just be me. But I always come back. Every time. Maybe I do like Halloween after all. Maybe I live it every day.

If you want to see more of Morgan's masks here's her website.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Apples and Creativity

Sorry about the Friday post, I spent yesterday at my parents' house picking apples, stacking wood, and winterizing their enormous raspberry patch. It was glorious, but as I worked, thoughts of winter whispered in my mind. Nothing speaks of long, frozen months like climbing into the frosted branches of an apple tree or wading through six-foot tall raspberries to tie them up like old-fashioned haystacks.

Time has trained my mind to turn from summer and warmth and reckless play to winter and snow and the holidays by repeating these fall rituals. The air can turn chill and the leaves can blaze with color on the mountains, but it isn't really autumn to me until the apples ripen and I disappear into the tree tops.

As I worked yesterday, my mind slipped back to my childhood and then to my books. I pondered how, just like time has trained me to prepare for winter by repeating the same activities every fall, I've trained myself to prepare to write by sitting in my chair every day armed with my laptop and imagination. My brain is geared to string words together in that chair, just like it's geared to think winter every time I pick apples or split and stack wood.

I've programed my mind and creativity so show up and engage by showing up myself. And the best part about this is, I never knew I was doing it. I don't know if you can have a habit of creating, but I think, just maybe, you can.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Inspiration, Brushing Your Teeth, and Spit

I sat down at the computer to blog this morning, and this is what I thought: Ummmm.

I'm ashamed to say that it continued for quite some time. I typed three different blog posts and deleted them all. Why? Because they were lame. Very Lame. Lame with a capital L. You are most welcome for erasing them and sparing you the pain.

My three failed posts got me thinking about inspiration. I needed some. So, I called my sister and asked her to give me a writing prompt. She paused, and all I could hear was a swish-brush-mumble kind of sound.

Again, for the second time, I said, "Ummmm?"

She said, "Brushing your teeth."

I silently said, "Say what?"

She rinsed and expectorated. And I had it. The answer to inspiration.


Yup, you heard me.

I thanked her and hung up the phone. I didn't blog about that. Yet. I went and brushed my teeth, cleaned my tub, took a hot bath, and thought about spit and writing. A funny thing happened. All the ummmm left me, and my mind opened up. Ideas started flowing for my novel. I even had an ah ha moment. Pretty cool stuff.

Why? Because I stepped away for a short time and let my mind relax and ponder spittle while my body cleaned the tub. Sometimes we need to let the creative process simmer, or in this case lather, before we set it down in hard words. Every story needs to be created in the mind before it goes in print. I'll remember this the next time I have an ummmm moment, but for now, I'm off to put my new thoughts into my novel.

So, I owe my sis a thank you for getting me to think about spit. I now have a clean tub, clean teeth, and clean ideas for my novel. Oh,and a blog post dedicated to spit.

What gives you inspiration?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Nine Months Of No, The Accidental Engagement, and How To Face Rejection

I'm a writer. (That in itself should be enough for you to know that I'm a little bit cracked. But only a little.) As a writer, one of the scariest things I face is sending out my manuscript. Sure there's a chance someone will acquire it, but there is an even greater chance I'll get a rejection.

Rejection hurts. A lot.

I've been thinking about pain as I get ready to send out my latest manuscript, and this made me think about my hubby. Not that he is a pain, or that he causes pain, but because I caused him pain. A lot. It happened a long time ago, so don't look at me like that. Sheesh. This is how it went...

We met two weeks before I graduated from high school. I was young. I was a teenager. He was five years older. He was ready to get married. I wasn't. We fell in love. He proposed. I freaked out and said no. Did I mention I was young? Did I mention I was a teenager? Did I mention we were in love?

See? Pain. Poor guy. Poor me. I can only imagine the courage it took for him to get down on one knee and ask me. You can only imagine the terror that swept through my eighteen-year-old body as I thought about saying yes. Hence the no. But the real story is in the next nine months.

He proposed every other day for nine months straight. I told him no every other day for nine months straight. But he kept asking. I am so very glad he did, because it wasn't that I didn't love him, or that his offer wasn't good, or that I didn't want to marry him, it just wasn't the right time--yet. I needed to grow up a bit. So he kept asking--every other day--and I kept rejecting--every other day--until I accidentally said yes.

Yes, you read that right. We got engaged on accident. It happened over curly fries at the local Hardees. He looked up between bites and said, in the saddest voice imaginable, "Are you ever going to marry me?"

I dipped my fry in sauce and said, without thinking, "Well, yeah."

He stared at me with the most adorable goofy, shocked, I-must-be-dreaming expression, and then I froze with a curly fry halfway to my mouth and thought, What have I just done?

He said, "Really?"

I thought about it and realized (much to my own shock and surprise)that, yes, really. So I told him.

I had to take the keys away from him and drive us to my home. Friends just don't let friends drive in a love/success induced stupor.

But the whole point to this long and painful story is, he didn't give up. Last night I asked him why, and he said, "I knew I wanted to be with you, and if I kept asking one day you'd say yes."

Have you ever heard a more romantic thing?

So, in the tradition of my nine months of no, I will submit my novel, and submit my novel until someone says yes, because I know what I want. And if I keep asking, one day someone will say, "YES!"

What about you? What takes courage in your life?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Got An Award!

First off, I'd like to mention a contest going on at The Scribbler's Cove. Hop on over there to win free books, awesome art, and a gift certificate to Barnes and Nobel. *Rubs hands together and grins*

Today I'd like to send a special shout-out to Carolyn V at Checkerboard Squares for giving me the One Lovely Blog Award!

I'm so happy. Thanks Carolyn! She has an awesome blog. Make sure you check her out.

Now, I'm supposed to pass this award on to other worthy blogs. Choosing is so hard. If you look at my blog list on the side you will see how hard this is. But, anywho, here we go. Drum roll please. (Can you hear it? I can.)

Heather at StoryMonster
Jolene at Been Writing
The Word Is My Oyster
Grab A Pen
The Scribbler's Cove Check out their contest--oh and I may have a post there today. Hmmm. Can I do that? Anyone? *Waiting for someone to tell me the rules* Anyone? Hmmm. Well, they are cool over there. Check 'em out.

Anywho, thanks again Carolyn.

The end. That's all today, folks. *Grin*


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