Thursday, April 30, 2009

Schizophrenia Becomes Me

And I'm doing so much better today. For one thing all of my schoolwork is finished and turned in.

That's HUGE. Second, I got a call from the community college, and they want me for second session of summer. It's teaching 1 or 2 courses for 10 weeks and should turn into a year long gig with them.

I'm disappointed that I don't get to wallow in my summer, travel with my family, and spend my days writing, but overall, we need the money, and in this economy, I'm just going to be grateful.

Mom and dad come tomorrow night. It's been so long that I haven't had an assignment hanging over me... I keep remembering that it's okay to stay up late, read fun books, and surf the web, and it's just... wow. What a feeling.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Avoidance is the mother of invention

I'm fighting depression. Mostly because I just don't have time for it right now. In two weeks, I will sleep all day and wear sweatpants and watch sad movies and tell everyone that I could'a been a contender.

But today, today I write and I do not feel like I am missing anything by not attending the graduate dinner tonight where my colleagues will receive so many awards that, had I been there, I would have had to help them carry them all to their cars.

No, I will not.

Nor will I think about the amazing food that will inevitably be eaten. Or the loneliness of having a husband who is part assistant principal and part baseball coach. Nope.

I will avoid the cesspool of self pity glimmering like those wavy mirages on hot desert roads just ahead.

What are you avoiding today?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

All together now -- Where do you get your ideas?

If I have to write another cover letter or another word on Emerson and O'Connor, I may just lose my ever-loving mind.

It's discouraging out there, folks. It's tough pickins.

But I picked up my cap and gown today. :) I promise to post a pic after Saturday because I'm a HUGE dork like that.

So. Once we're all famous, everyone will ask us where we get our ideas -- it's the one question all writers field. What will your answer be? As to where I am when I have them, that's easy -- they come when I'm farthest from paper and pen or computer -- when I'm driving, showering, or just about to drift into sleep.

If not a literal where, then I'd say my ideas almost always come from "What if?" Nearly every idea I've ever had started with "What if..." and so on.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

If she knew what she wants

I don't know what I want. Something tells me this would all be easier if I did.

I have a meeting tomorrow morning with a woman at a local college. There are no open positions there, just the possibility of adjunct work in the fall. And I know I want to teach, so I have that, but I don't know where I want to teach. I was all set on teaching at this local community college -- flexible hours, huge creative writing program -- and then I start getting greedy. Thinking about how nice it'd be to be at a four year university, though I suppose that could come in time.

And I need to finish my novel. Meet with some people, shake a few hands, kiss a few babies (and butts?).

Life is never slowing down.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"If I could turn the page in time, then I'd rearrange just a day or two"

"Little Lies" always reminds me of being on the brink of 16, feeling dangerous yet completely in control -- self-conscious and sexy, standing on the precipice of adulthood.

All songs can give me a sense of the place and time they became part of my life's soundtrack, but that one is stronger than most.

I'm sitting in a Pizza Hut, and my hair looks good for once. My friends are rowdy and we are so young, so powerful. The edges are softened and curled -- it's a well-loved photograph of a moment that always comes on the notes of Fleetwood Mac.

Tell me lies. Yeah, that actually sums up high school fairly well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm a Lemon!



Yay! I've been nominated for a lemon by the always gracious and thought provoking Klo!

Thanks so much to those of you that read -- I've only been on here a short while, but I love Blogger and have found a new place to commiserate with aspiring writers and learn from the agents and editors willing to blog about the process.

It's all good here.

Thanks again Klo!

Now for the rules:

# Post the award on your blog ^.^


# Let them know who gave it to you and link. (done!)

# Nominate ten other blogs (I don't know that many folks, so it will be fewer than ten :-)


# Let your nominees know that they've received the award.

My nominations (in no particular order):

Judith Coughlin

T. Anne

Megan Rebekah


Thanks so much! Now back to the research paper...

telepathy

Why do we write? We write because we want to connect. We love the way our words sound from foreign mouths, the way the words look on the page. But ultimately, the best moments for a writer are twofold:

1. The delighted "gasp" of shock and excitement when we've really surprised our reader. The stillness of a rapt audience unsure of what will happen next.

2. The "that's JUST how it feels" moment our readers give us. This one trumps the gasp for me. I love knowing I've connected with a reader on that level.

What would you add to the list? Other than the "I WILL BE YOUR AGENT" and the "I'VE SOLD YOUR BOOK" or the "IT'S A NUMBER ONE NYT BESTSELLER!" Other than those, I mean. ^_~

We write because it's magic -- King's telepathy -- nothing up our sleeves, but magic nonetheless.

Monday, April 20, 2009

On agents and those all important first 250 words

So. I got 2 out of 3 of the published books in Nathan's little experiment. The third book made my short list, but ultimately is in a genre I never read, so I felt I couldn't represent it. (Yes, I might have taken his experiment a little too seriously)

It really opened my eyes to how difficult agents have it, and to reiterate how tough we writers have it. It was tough to really tell if a book was going to be any good by just reading that little bit. We just have to learn to sell ourselves and our characters, I guess. If you really want to be published, google copywriting and teach yourself a little. It can't hurt.

All I want to do right now is write. And not that stupid research paper. I've been following the Secret Agent on Miss Snark's First Victim and it has me wanting to completely rewrite my opening. And rethink my entire premise... haha.

My last Monday at this job. I'm a grad assistant, so when I graduate, the job (that gives a small stipend and paid for my tuition) is over too. I'm looking forward to a do-nothing summer, but wish I had something lined up for the fall.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cheers

I've decided that at some point after graduation, when the boys and Mike are still in school and working and I have my days all to myself, I'm going to buy some champagne and drink it, all by myself with some chocolate and a good chick flick.

I don't normally drink at all, but I've got a bit of a soft spot for a little champagne.

I'm such a bum. I should be working on that final paper, but I've completely wasted two full weeks now. Motivation? Left. Gone.

In two weeks I will walk, shake some old guy's hand, and accept a diploma for the degree of a master's in English. I am 36 years old, and now I've got to find a job. Hmmm... yeah.

I should probably feel worse than I do. Ever the optimist, I can't help but see the whole thing as an adventure. I will write that novel. I will explore all possibilities. I will jump.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Today I had another reading. This one was more formal, a part of my thesis followed by questions. I chose to read one story and the prologue for my thesis, both which I'd written just last week. When I finished reading there were a few quiet gasps, just the sort of reaction I adore.

It's always so gratifying to read my work, though I'm HORRIBLE at taking compliments. I feel like a total dork, and I just don't know what to say. One of the girls said, "I can't wait to read your book!" To which I said, "Me either..." haha. The thesis is a small collection of stories, but I plan to turn it into novel this summer. Ha, I say that like I think it's going to be easy -- I don't.

Anyway. Another good day. And my thesis is in. Turned in, finished, oveh babeh.

Now to write that final paper and work for one more week. Then FREEDOM!

Question: Have you ever read writing for someone, maybe not even particularly a friend or whatever, but they're terrible. I mean, it's not even subjective, they're so bad... you're embarrassed for them. What do you say to them? Or do you not? Oh, and I should add, this guy is getting all of this good feedback. People telling him he's amazing. I have no idea what to say. I know writing is objective, but if you read a lot you learn to recognize good reading, and well, this was just so bad.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

On allergic reactions and literature galore

I got an email with my real, full name, and a blog with the same. I'm too early... I haven't finished the book yet!

Should I move to that journal or stay here and wait until my book has an agent at least? Keep this one for daily ramblings and let that one be the more "professional" blog (soon as I figure out what that actually means)?

Help.

In other news, my under-eye area is experiencing an allergic reaction to some Mary Kay night cream I put on Thursday night. Yes, THURSDAY NIGHT.... it's weird. It gets worse by the hour, not better. My under-eye area is so swollen, it's changed the shape of my face, and I look a little like an albino panda or a fish. Yeah, I fish. I don't know, I can't explain, but kind of a fish...

In still other news, I have too much fun reading to get to work on my research paper! These are the books: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher; If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Past Caring by Robert Goddard, Fade (book 2 of the Wake trilogy) by Lisa McMann, and The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.

They're all library books. Yes, I'm a book whore. I give my love to any and all books, and they don't even have to love me back.

I want to take my Benadryl, curl up in bed, and read. Stupid research paper...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Must read to write

I wrote 500 words on the new work that I hadn't planned to begin until June. I hate getting into something and then having to put it on hold while I finish something else, but the words were there, on the tip of my tongue, so I let them fall onto the page.

We'll see how many I end up keeping.

Today I begin a research paper, the last one of my master's. I'd love to have this thing half written before I head back to work this Tuesday. Not to mention the presentation I have to give on Wednesday.

I love Y.A. with a splash of the supernatural, but I like it well written. Anyone have any recommendations? I'm desperate for a fun book. I've been trying to get into several books, and none of them are sticking. Meh. I need a fun book!

Magic realism is a favorite -- doesn't have to be Y.A., just seems like they often do it best. ;)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I can hear the bells are ringing joyful and triumphant and I can...

Have you ever heard a song and wondered if the artist knew, if they felt the way the notes and the words came together -- if they realized they were making magic? The kind of song that would make women cry in cars or cause men to reevaluate their lives as they stand in line at the bank.

Do you think they knew? I think they did. Because I know when I'm writing something that will touch people. Don't think me vain, it happens so rarely, and usually in useless little snippets that I'll never use, but when it happens, I feel it. It's magic.

I wonder if Mike Doughty felt it when he wrote I Hear the Bells? He should have.

I hear the bells
They are like emeralds, and
Glints in the night
Commas and ampersands

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Girl with the Wandering Heart

I am in a walking frame of mind. I am not done with my thesis (due tomorrow), but I am not panicked. I feel like walking. Just starting off at the porch and out the driveway and on. Right into town where traffic moves and music plays, and the greasy smell of french fries pushes from behind keeping you moving to a greener scene.

I plan to walk a lot this break because I'm craving it, in the same way I crave food and Diet Coke, I guess I just sort of need to plod about.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Whining, feel free to move along, just don't scuff the chalk around my prone frame

It's crunch time, and I'm not gonna choke.

That's right, I said "gonna." I'm writing my thesis, the last bits of it, and one of my characters is written with a slight accent. She's sloppy, and I'm worried this isn't going to read well. I personally detest reading through thick dialect, it's why I missed out on Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. It just made my neck hurt and my eyes squint too much to commit to the hours it would take to finish.

Yes, I'm weak, and dialect is my kryptonite.

So I hope mine's not too heavy. It's just a few G's left off the ends, like "anythin'," with a couple of ain'ts tossed in for good measure.

It's hard to believe that I'll be done with school (or this leg of it anyway) in just four and a half weeks. In three and a half weeks I'll be done with work and class, a week from graduation.

Master's in hand, I'll conquer that novel and then move on to the query and agent route. I shall prevail? Does it bug anyone else that Stephenie Meyer landed the first BIG agent she queried? Girl can't write. Great plot ideas, but c'mon. The tweens love her, though, marble foreheads, creepy stalker boyfriend and all.

In other news, I found out yesterday that a story of mine made it past the first round of eliminations in a contest. w00 to the hoo! Mostly, it's the prize money that has me salivating.

Random pet peeve: I hate when people write dialogue without contractions. Do you not live in the real world? Unless a character's being emphatic, it's always the contraction.