Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Not so much.
But then H.C. was kind enough to do a blog of her own with her musings on the writing group and lo and behold she titled it "M.U.S.E aka Most Under-appreciated Super Egos."
I believe, based on that, perhaps that was the name of our writing group. I like it.
I really should sleep more before these things so I can remember important bits like that.
Also, I have noticed that I still do not have my writing assignment. This is not a good sign as it means someone else does not have theirs. It would be on my harddrive.
*smacks own wrist*
In other events Ashton said he needed me. I know, sort of random. But my kids don't often say really sweet things. He was nearly sleepy and looked at me and cuddled up and said, "I need you mom."
David has been saving a tooth he lost for two weeks. He is doing this because one night (one I was sure that the tooth fairy had a debit card and assortment of credit cards but no cash) I mentioned that if we hid the tooth and the tooth fairy could not find it that it would be worth more money the next night.
The next night, when we left the tooth someplace that even a tooth fairy would be sure not to miss it, he got more money than the average tooth.
So now he has one that he has calculated to be worth at least $20.
The tooth fairy is going to be pissed.
Creativity is excellent in writing. In child rearing it is a double edged sword. One must be careful the fairy tales one spins. They spin back and bite you in the ass.
Justice is not failing any classes, obsessing over any boys or otherwise doing any serious damage to anything. It has been a very good week. Now if I could teach her hygiene... But perhaps as she is tall, blond and blue-eyed the lack of that will keep the boys away so maybe I am on to something there, too. Note to self: do not remind her to shower, apply deodorant or brush her teeth. Excellent birth control and cheap.
Parenting a la Virg.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Feel free to check it out because it is super cool and will be super cooler when I add more pictures and stuff. Today I just created it so more to come, more to come.
There is also a nifty forum option on there and I am going to play with that once I get some traffic going that way.
In other literary news, I will be participating in a chat tonight on Coffee Time Romance, 9pm central time if you have a mo to stop by and join in the festivities.
In kid news... I went to school today. I lunched with the youngest of my brood and watched him scarf a hot pocket while sputtering about inviting kids to our table. Apparently it is a big deal to have a parent to lunch, as I have seen in the past, and they get to sit at the round tables and invite their friends over. Ash, I have learned from this, has way more friends and in both sexes than Justice.
I then was conned into buying both school fudge and Reese's fudge. For a mere three bucks a pop I had two frozen squares of fudge. I gleefully waited them thawing and went to Ashton's class to help out. Once there I got to play Cir-kus which is a game of making circles and triangles with a count-by-fives scoring method.
I learned from this that the "kid of the day" apparently does not speak at all. The poor thing only smiled, nodded and gave the occasional hand gesture.
It was fun and Ash had a ball.
So off I went to continue to await the thawing of my fudges. I spoke briefly to my mom and my exhusband and then decided that mostly soft was good enough.
I dug into school fudge first. It sounded smart. "School" fudge. It was a giant square of frozen no bake cookie.
It was not fudge at all.
I am still sort of bitter about this.
Not stopping in my search for fudge, I dug into the Reese's with a hopeful spoon.
It was good. It was fudge. It was peanut-buttery-goodness-covered in chocolate fudge.
Okay, the school redeemed itself but still bitter about the misnamed school fudge. If it is a giant square of no bake cookie then call it that so I know what I am buying.
Like Smarties... you can eat them all day and still feel dumb. But your tongue sort of sticks to the roof of your mouth so that is cool anyway.
Okay, enough with the random ranting. I shall silently sip my milk now and wait for time for my chat while eating fudge...
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Monday, January 25, 2010
"Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick' ?
You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'
It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special .
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP !
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP .
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP...
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so........it is time to shut UP!
Now it's UP to you what you do with this email."
Sunday, January 24, 2010
If this blog is less intellectual than the average, don't hold it against me due to that.
Who just snorted?
Anywhosenheimer, tomorrow is the big day and Odd Stuff will be out for your reading pleasure. Finally you can all join Janie on her great first adventure...
In other, non-literary news... things with the kids are on the upswing. The chaotic events of last week (which could not possibly have had a worse drop date timeline wise) have ironed themselves out (okay, I ironed them out with a bus and a shovel and other heavy work... but we can make it sound easy on paper!) and hopefully we will see things getting better for the shortest member of the family. If not, he will be grounded until graduation. One or the other. Either will work.
Some man just swam through a wheat field on a Subway commercial on TV. One would think that would chafe. Just sayin.
We had the biweekly meeting of the writers group on Saturday Night. I think our name is M.U.S.E. but I don't remember what the acronym stood for. I was kind of punch drunk tired at that point and they were plying me with wine. Okay, I can't blame it on the wine, but it was worth a shot. I liked the wine. I had no sleep going into that meeting and I was doing the galley on Odd that night as well as the meeting so bits are blurry. Like what our name means. But I remember I liked it. I also remember all about the prompt game.
Regarding that... The post apocalyptic story I had been given was named by me Zombie Revolution (which I thought was a fantastic name for a zombie book.) ZR had started out with a very nice, very scary kind of fun feel. I turned that feel into a prologue and started chapter one with my writing. I decided that the guy was incorrect in his assumptions. He realizes the zombies do not want to eat brains or people. Why would they? They are, however, killed because they are as contagious as the mouth of a gila monster due to their states of decomposition and dangerous because they are dumb and that is why they are killed on sight. A new spin...
The other post apocalyptic story with Bob went a kinky way that all of us... were somewhat icked out by. I cannot wait. I get my greedy paws on that one this week and I sooo-o know where it is going next.
My story went to a teddy bear... I cannot even explain in words. I can say Jeff is brilliant at spinning a story in an unexpected direction.
And H. C. spun Spence's story from a funny romantic comedy into a paranormal in a few short pages.
Altogether the prompt project has been a fun way to challenge the muse's and I am loving the way it is coming out. It has also, still, been lovely to discuss our other projects and have feedback.
They have been very patient with me while I have been buried under the last minute Odd Stuff and work stuff. Thanks guys!!
Okay, that is all the news I can think of now and Michelle has spaghetti with my name on it... I am off to twirl some noodles.
See ya tomorrow :)
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I had a headache. My day at work was just not the best day. Bad things are happening with the boys at school and I am being forced to go to extreme measures to resolve the issues. It just... sucked.
I drove the long drive home. I got the kids. I headed to Michelle's.
She had made ham chowder. I am not sure what it involves exactly as it is beyond my culinary expertise. It seems to involve cream and ham and some cheesy goodness. There was a nice Havarti cheese and Ciabata bread to go with it. The kids were in a good mood. My ex-husband came over and he was in a good mood.
We had a lovely meal (gasp!) and then watched Sherlock Holmes. Amazing movie.
I woke up this morning mostly improved in mood and we did the Sunday routine of cleaning house. We cleaned out the car (which really needed it) and then me and the kids went out to breakfast.
I kind of forget sometimes what a blast they are. We need the vacation that looms in the near future. Today we went out and the conversation was so terribly random and Brat Pack that it was great. We did not talk about school issues. We did not talk about what we needed to do. We talked about stupid things... nothing things.
We reveled in being together. They did not fight. I did not yell. I did mention to get their elbows off the table.
We laughed and ate a bite of each others breakfasts. We argued over whether or not they should drink coffee creamer.
I miss just hanging out with them. I am looking forward to summer. School last year was not this trying because Summit made them happy and, by effect, me happy. We did not have discipline issues constantly because school is their priority so if they were doing well there... I could be more lax when they messed up out of it. Now every infraction is a huge offense. I hate being warden and not mother. Public school and my kids is not a good time...
But we had today. Tonight two of my kids are at moms. Little man is on the couch and hanging out. Tomorrow I go back to work and Ash will go to the sitter and on his behalf... action will be taken for better or worse. I hate that I had to go that extreme to be heard and make a change.
But they will make this right.
I will unveil exactly what all is going down soon. I want to wait for it all to unravel first. But for now... I just hope that all three of my kids find a place to learn that will help them grow and blossom. I don't like it when they fall into cracks... and again they are falling into one.
So I have putty in hand and am sealing cracks.
Best wishes to my champion...
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
It could be I like them so much because sleep has become this mysterious thing that I chase but never quite catch up with. I will eventually. I have always said, stealing from some unknown source, "I will sleep when I am dead." At this rate, I will be dead from lack of sleep. Oddly, the day job does not seem to be damaged by my punch-drunk, fuzzy, bleary-eyed view of the world. I thank coffee for this. Starbucks is your friend. They have high-octane stuff, Starbucks. Expensive, but high-octane.
Other than being busy (something I complain about because it secretly makes me happy... I am sick like that), I have been very productive. Some people find chaos counter-productive. I am not in that club. I am in the Yeah-We-Are-Busy-So-Things-Are-Going-Well-So-Do-More-While-They-Still-Are club. There is a very nice mug for this club. And gift cards for Starbucks. We all go there. Yeah. There are meetings. We all stare at each other in between slurps off our coffee and clicking on our laptops and cellphones and simultaneously talking rapidly. Okay, there is no club. But I should start one. And we all will balance kids with all this with the greatest of ease (don't tell my kids I used that phrase... they would snort with derision and then pat me on the head and say, "Well, not ease, but you are ok.")
I have decided I did not have enough going on with just the Odd Stuff series (one going to print Jan 18th (estimated), one submitted and waiting for response, one almost finished) and two other WIP's. This was not enough for me. My muse, apparently, is a workaholic. (Or criminally insane) I am working on a submission for a open-call, too. A-heh-heh-ha. The open call is for a 20-25k story due by 2-1. I started it yesterday. Because, you know, I have all this extra free time... lingering. So I had to fill it with something... or really, if you want to be honest it was because I saw the guidelines and went-- Oh-Oh-Oh, I can do that!!
So, we will see if I hit that deadline. Because really... I just thought more logs on the fire makes a bonfire and who doesn't like a pretty bonfire?
Just a catch up blog on what I am doing, really. What are you doing?
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I have been remiss in mentioning something that has been going on writing-wise. We have started a writing group. We are working on a name and should have one by next week, as that is one of the assignments we gave ourselves for next week but the mention of assignments is getting ahead of our birth.
It all started when some friends of mine and I were talking about books and writing. We thought it would be fun to get together every other week (how about Sunday since that is an off night? Maybe Saturday since then we could sleep in on Sunday… Sounds great!) and ate wine and cheese and talked books and writing. The first meeting of our little literary group happened at my house and consisted of a bottle of blackberry wine, a bottle of chardonnay and a huge plate of multiple cheeses. We sat and discussed Odd Fate (which at that point was in the middle of NaNoWriMo and having issues with a part and it was very nice to have some real-time feedback) and my friends WIP’s and my other friends at that point story start. We also discussed books we liked to read and just basically jammed books until the wee hours.
It was a blast.
The second meeting was about the same. In between, we had the holidays and I mentioned writing prompts. The prompt that we voted the best out of the options was this: Waking in the stylists chair in my sisters’ salon, the first thing I wondered was how the hell did I end up here? The second was about the gun…
We all were supposed to write a page about that prompt. I admit, I was lax and did not get my assignment done (ironic as I came up with it and gave this pretty little speech about challenging the muse and stuff) since I was working on edits for one of the WIP’s. However, I threw one together on-site at the meeting and we all had one. Spencer had a romantic comedy that put one in the mind of Jason Stackhouse from Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire books. I had a comedy sort of as well but mine came out to be sort of an open book and ended up being just a really long prompt. It involved a bag of money getting added to the gun, a mysterious phone call and never really gave setting, character description or even a reason for her suddenly being told to ‘run’ but you are left with lots of questions (bank robbery? patsy? Who is the mysterious voice on the phone???) that I never answer hence the loooong prompt. Magnus and H.C. both wrote (dystopian or post-apocalyptic were discussed as writing styles) horror/thrillers off that prompt. Magnus’s involved a disease that had zombified the country and a machine gun… H.C. was in a world overrun with shadows suddenly. She seemed to be one of two people left in the world… her and ‘Bob.’
It was a good example of how you can give multiple writers the same thing to work with and get very different outcomes… also we decided to add onto the assignment and swap stories and next meeting’s assignment is to write a page on whomever’s work you got. I got the zombies… Magnus got mine. Spencer and H.C got swapped. It will be interesting to see what directions the stories take next.
We also, still, are supporting each others work and discussing our projects in real time and getting real feedback. This is something new for me who previously had been writing mostly in a solitary world with only one reader at a time for feedback. It is nice to have multiple people to bounce ideas off of at a time. It is nice to ask what someone thinks of an idea and get real opinions and brainstorming from like minded individuals. I had heard writing groups helped but until getting into one or helping form one… well, I now am supportive of the idea.
So, I will document our progress here on bloggie from now on. As it, as I mentioned, was remiss of me not to mention it. This entry is dedicated to H.C. Harju, Magnus Harkenwood, Spencer Phoenix, and sometimes John… the unnamed as of now writing group. May your tongues be silver and your fingers be swift!
Friday, January 8, 2010
It didn't. But I got an honorable mention. As there were somewhere in the area of six hundred or so entries, I am doing quite the happy dance in the snow today.
The requirements were write a teen diary entry in less than 500 wds.
Here is my entry:
I know just yesterday I was complaining about the idea of a vacation without technology. I was ranting, even, about living for three weeks without phone or computer to keep me in touch with life. Then I think I touched life today more than I ever have before. Or at least for a moment, I felt more alive.
Please don’t tell Dad I said that.
Walking along the river, I had been kicking stones and listening to them plop when I saw the guy in the red shirt fishing. From a distance he looked old but I went that direction anyway since I had absolutely nothing better to do with my time.
Upon close inspection, his hair was jet black and seemed almost blue where the sun hit it. His skin was this deep gold, like he was in the sun all the time and for a minute I just watched him casting and reeling back in the line. There was this one bead of sweat that was moving down his neck… anyway, he was not old. So I tried my usual. I tried to be flirty and smiley and all that stuff that usually has boys doing the ‘help the poor dumb girl’ routine.
He glared at me.
I shut up and looked across the water. It sparkled like someone had cast diamonds on it. He continued fishing, ignoring me.
No one ever ignored me.
I sat down and felt the sun warm my skin. After awhile the silence bugged me. At first I spoke kind of quietly. He still had not said a word. I found myself telling him things I hadn’t ever told anyone. His quite was oddly freeing. I talked about mom for the first time.
At some point I had closed my eyes. I realized it and wondered if I opened them, would he still be there or would he have left for more optimal fishing?
I peered through my lids and saw him watching me.
His eyes were cobalt, liquid blue. He was looking at me in a way that made my face go hot. I had never been looked at like that before. It was kind of like the look a boy gives you before he kisses you but not really.
I lay there, barely breathing for a moment before he turned away. I know he saw me see him looking.
I did not talk anymore and neither did he. After awhile, I headed home. I am going back tomorrow. I want to see him again and yet am not sure what to do if he is there. What is his name? Where is he from? Why isn’t he talking?
There was something about that look…
This is what was said on the blog: "The honorable mentions, who I'm afraid just missed the cut of finalists but who done quite good..."and then I am listed...virg_nelson.
To see the full article, look at Nathan's blog: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/01/secret-year-publication-day-plus.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed
If you copy and paste all that, you get to the contest finalist page.
Just basically a blog to gloat.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Life is similar in nature. Let's just take cats. Family pet and friend, cats are cute. Fluffy. Companions. Their reproduction is hilarious. The male cat sniffs all over the neighborhood for the female based on scent given off by fertile female. If you picture human males doing this, well, funny stuff. Then when it gets down and dirty? You know that yowling noise you hear from cats in the neighborhood and you think... hmm, cats doing the nasty? Do you know why they yowl? Barbs on the male penis scrape the female sex organs during the deed. Cats are truly the sexual masochists of the animal world.
Don't get me started on twisted creations like the praying mantis or the sea horse. People watch all day long while butterflies or cats do the nasty. But every other creation is funny. Or icky.
Creating characters is a similarly strange process. Not as messy. I have never had to clean up after creating a character but then again I am young yet.
One of my favorite recent creations was PePe. He hasn't even gotten his real name yet as he is a new guy and as of now a secondary character. He is coming back later though to star in something. He is just too cool not too. PePe revealed himself to me while I was writing Odd Fate. I was plowing along during NaNoWriMo and vomiting words regardless of drive to write or creativity. For one scene I knew there was a robbery of a chicken drive thru. I knew that there was a shape shifter in the scene and he was really supposed to be a plot device. So I wrote him and described him as a stinky guy, yellow eyes... and had no clue what flavor of shapeshifter he was. As the scene progressed, I kind of needed him to go from half hairy to fully hairy.
And I got stuck. I don't get writers block. I have short periods of writers puzzlement. What was he?
So I was talking to my friend on the phone and I described the scene and what went down and she said... "So he stinks... yellow eyes... and you want it to be funny?"
"How about a skunk?"
I initially scoffed. A skunk shapeshifter. What did they even eat?
Omnivorous, the skunk fears nothing. The skunk rocks. Or doesn't rock. They will walk right up to a mountain lion but are scared of bass music. And the spray? Oh, fun stuff that.
So he became a skunk.
And he was created from confusion, a random idea of a friend and then research. Now the guy is going to eventually get his own book.
An interesting birth. Less painful than say Phin. Phin is my fairy eating, siren blend, fog shifting creature. Phin evolved over the course of three books. He started out a cameo monster and then blew up. Slowly... and painfully. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what and who he was.
My favorite birth has been Chance. Chance was born because Janie had life a little too easy. She had all things simple and I needed to mix things up.
Sitting down, all I had was primordial muck. Those two words. Those were the inspiration.
I sat and met him on paper by himself before he even hit the story. He is such a mystery in the book and he still hasn't told me everything about himself. He is the character most likely to wake me at three am with a scene that he has to be in and how could I possibly write it without him? He is the one always pushing and prodding at Janie... making her better or worse than she would be on her own. And yet all those pages of creation I had to do before I could understand him enough to write him... none of it will ever make it to a book. You get peeks. You get to glimpse his mysterious back story... Things like the silver bough give you an idea where he has been. And his meeting Fate. But you never quite get the full picture of what it is to be living breathing energy. To be power brought to life.
Chance is quantum physics embodied.
I don't think I will be able to top him for coolness. And Janie can't even get how flipping cool he is.
Ah, creation. Funny thing. You spend this time making a world, giving it inhabitants and then watching them play. That is what is magic about writing. It is like playing God for a minute or two. Safer because no one really bleeds. You can always do a rewrite... Life in real creation is smellier and messier and never goes the way you plan.
But to write... to create... what greater fun could there possibly be?
Friday, January 1, 2010
I have been small great, which turns out to be just fine, but lets get back to that scrawny kid who bears little resemblance to me today.
She answered the phone at her mothers house on that long ago New Years Day to a Canadian boy who she had heard of because her friend Tammy was dating him and had met him through Model U.N. and now he was calling.
Greetings were exchanged. Happy New Year. I am yada de yada. Then I asked out of the box, "Do you think trees have souls?"
This may seem an odd question to ask a stranger in another country. But I was thinking of it because at the time I walked home from school in Jefferson, Ohio. Here the trees are twisted things with funny lumps, almost tumors on the sides. When I had commented to someone (Bobbi? Maybe?) that they looked like tree tumors I had found out that trees indeed did get cancer. If trees could get cancer...
It had started my brain whirring. I had looked at the trees and wondered at their silent watch. They, some of them, had been there for hundreds of years. How many people had sat in their shade? How much tragedy, life had each tree seen?
So it was on my mind and I asked.
This conversation evolved into an engagement and multiple criminal charges ranging from runaway to stolen cars in Jason (call me Jayden)'s and my relationship. We were some kids. We were going to change the world and nothing was going to stop us. Not distance. Not time. Not space.
Today I got a text. "Happy fifteen year anniversary"
I smiled. Wow. Those kids were a long time ago and so far from where we are today. I answered, "Trees have souls! Fifteen years... yeesh."
He came back this morning with, "2010: Do trees have hangovers?"
I smiled again. Well, probably I know someone who does. "Too wise, trees. They wouldn't intentionally poison themselves for social lubrication. Their sex sucks, too. Metaphysical sex is not as fun as real."
I figured that if trees pollinate and have souls perhaps it is some beautiful metaphysical thing... and I thought of real sex. I think I would rather the slide of skin on skin and...
"They come all at once into the air hoping the wind will help them come on an appropriate mate. That's kinky."
I read it and cringed. "Or just messy. Depends on whether you are a male or a female tree. Standing in a shower of... oh, so not kinky."
Well. We aren't the kids who are going to save your world on the upside. We are still talking about trees...
But the conversation has gone down a somewhat different road for quality...
Happy Anniversary Jason James Never Failes.