Monday, October 25, 2010

It Feels Like Cheating

When you're in the swing of things and you're writing like you should be and words are appearing on the screen and your story or whatever it is is getting plumper and you're not stopping every 5 seconds to check your frontier, it feels like cheating.

You know?

Because you're working, but it's not work, and it's stimulating and fun.

It will be a different story when blockage occurs (not "if," when).

Friday, October 22, 2010

YA Fiction and NaNoWriMo

Hi! I'm back. Follies is done for now. Sadly, they didn't want me to create the video for the DVD version so I'm all what-do-I-do-now and stuff.

Pete, by the way, was awesome in the Follies. She had ZERO stage fright, although she was nervous, of course. She spoke up and didn't miss a cue and got a ton of applause just for her. She wants to do it again. I am loving this.

While the Grandpa and Meme were here for the show, they gave me their notes on the story I was working on. The other one that I wrote a long time ago. They had some good things to say and some great advice. They thought it seemed more like young adult fiction than adult, which I hadn't considered before. But when I did, it made sense and opened up a whole new path for me to take. I considered working on it for NaNoWriMo, but it is against the rules to have anything written (other than an outline or some notes) before November 1 so I'm working on it between now and then.

Then, when November rolls around, I'm taking a break from all of my current projects and trying something new. A couple of years ago when I did NaNoWriMo, I didn't make it. I quit part way through. I gave up at just under 10,000 words. I do that, give up, when it looks like I'm going to fail at something, because for me it's better to not try and not fail than to have that failure on my record. I'm a chicken.


I'm ready to try again, though. I may not make it to 50,000 words. Especially considering I'm going to try to pull something completely new out of my hat. But I have an idea (inspired by Lulu's recent adventure) and I have in mind some books I've read recently (The Graveyard Book, the Series of Unfortunate Events books) that I enjoyed and a new audience (YA) to consider so I am hopeful that I'm not a total nut job. And I admit to having written 109 words to help get me started because I don't want to sit down on November 1 and go, "Duuhhhhh..." (drool). That would be unproductive. And gross.

How about you? Do you have a novel floating around in your brain that you just haven't had the time or motivation to write? If you sign up, let me know! We can be writing buddies.

And also, I'll be sharing the joy that is my NaNoWriMo adventure here with you so check back!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Listen to This

Lulu: Mom, how do you spell "air"?
Me: You mean like the air we breath?
Lulu: No. "Air" like in "Mary."
Me: Oh. A-R. Then you need a Y to make the ee sound.
Lulu (writing): A - R - Y. Mary. Bloody Mary.


Me to Husbandguy: Why is my 4 year-old writing about Bloody Mary?
HG: Apparently someone told her a ghost story at school.
Me: Oh...
HG: I told her it was a drink so she would go to sleep.
Me: You're a good dad.
HG: She thinks it's silly that people make drinks with tomato juice and celery.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kids. In a Box.

Last Friday, Pete and I packed sleeping bags into the trunk and gathered our toothbrushes and headed out to the church for a soup-kitchen-style dinner and a loooong night of sleeping in a cardboard box on the playground. It was supposed to be similar, for the elementary children, to what a homeless person might experience. Since the weather was nice (clear with temps in the 50s), it turned out to be a lot more like camping than homelessness, I am sure, but the point of the night wasn't to cause our children to be miserable (that comes when they're in high school and do the cardboard city in December); it was to stimulate discussion about homelessness and what we can do to help people who don't have homes. That part was a success! For our family, at least. Pete and I are exploring the social justice volunteer opportunities through the church and will be participating in as many as we can (after Follies). I intend to include Lulu in as much as I can too. She was too little for sleeping in the boxes, but she had a lot of questions about soup kitchens when we were talking about it beforehand.

Some other nice things happened at the event. Pete made 2 new friends. Unfortunately they go to the late service and we go to the early one so she won't see them much, but it was neat to watch her make friends. This seems to be an area where Lulu excels over Pete, usually. Maybe she's rubbing off on her.

Also, Pete played the prelude for the little worship service we had after dinner. She played Für Elise. Beautifully, of course. And even let me turn the page for her without seeming all embarrassed that I'm her mom. I got to ring the gong, but Pete's piano was prettier.

I did not sleep. It didn't help that someone decided that Friday night would be a good night for some Midnight Leaf Blowing. What was that about?! I'm not kidding, though. Someone nearby was using a leaf blower in the middle of the night. Also, 2 trains went by on the tracks near the church. There was only 1 emergency that required a siren nearby. No wild or stray animals wandered by our boxes. Although there was a giant cricket thing in my box when I slithered in to go to sleep. It was hideous! I'm not a fan of bugs. And Pete didn't walk in her sleep. I was mildly worried about this. She, in fact though, fell asleep fairly quickly and stayed asleep all night. That was nice. In the morning she was even rested enough to go to her swimming lesson at 8. We stopped for coffee and a pastry in the way (she had a smoothie, not coffee) and then met Husbandguy and Lulu at the pool.

And then later? After real breakfast?

I took a nap.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oh! I'm So Behind!!

I am so sorry! I am so behind in my blog visiting and commenting. Please don't give up on me. As soon as I finish the giant powerpoint presentation for the Follies (which includes converting one more DVD to video, a process that takes a long time with StupidVista), learn all my lines and the rest of the songs, finish putting together my props and costumes, clean the piano room and my room and the bathrooms, and do the laundry (and then clean my room again because it will all end up unfolded in baskets on my floor unless I do something with it once it's washed), THEN I promise I will visit each of you and stay to chat for a while. I PROMISE!! PLEEEASE DON'T LEAVE ME!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Brain Scan!

Every 2 years, my neurologist likes for me to have an MRI. That, there, to the left, is an image from my last one 2 years ago. Weird, right? I actually think it's kind of cool. Although, if I had to see an actual head transected like that, not just an image, I'm not sure I'd still think it was cool.

Today was my this-year one. Just like last time, my MRI was done in a trailer behind the building. It's strange to go outside for a medical test, but I think it would only be a problem if we were having a hurricane or tornado or something.

MRI's are boring; it's not like you can read a book when they're scanning your brain. And loud; they gave me ear plugs (actually, they put them in my ears for me, which was weird). And not particularly comfortable because you're not allowed to move. I passed the time trying not to get dizzy from laying on my back so long. And counting the knocks and bangs and boops and buzzes. And discovering that I have a song for the Follies memorized. That song then played in my head for the remainder of the time, even when I was thinking about other things. It was like a soundtrack. It was there while I wrote the beginning of Lulu's story. It was there while I relived the woman stabbing me in the arm again and again trying to inject dye (there are only so many times a person can say sorry and expect a gracious response - she used hers up and then some - although I didn't fault her - I just didn't excuse her eventually). It was neat (the song, not the stabbing). My brain can multitask. Even while it's being bombarded by resonance!

So that's done for another 2 years. Well, once I find out what it showed. And pay the couple-of-thousand-dollars we'll owe for it...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

More About Lulu's Abandonment

I asked Lulu a bunch of questions about what happened when her class left her behind. Because I think there's a chance this could be a really sweet story. And I found out this:

When she came out of the bathroom and was all alone she:
  1. started to cry,
  2. stopped crying and walked around the classroom,
  3. she didn't step on anyone's work (she goes to a Montessori school, remember?),
  4. then she sat in the "thinking chair" and thought about what to do (this is my favorite part),
  5. she realized she knew where they were and decided to just go on her own,
  6. she looked for a hall pass to the cafeteria, but there wasn't one so she just went without,
  7. she walked all by herself down the LOOOOOOONG hallway,
  8. and managed to beat her class to the cafeteria because they had taken the scenic route.
My child is very proud of herself. As well she should be.

Aw! My baby!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Know You're Jonsing for a Story Update

I am so unmotivated to work on this. It doesn't help that there is plenty of other stuff to work on for the Follies. And that there was a big to-do recently about closing my girls' school (it's not going to happen - whew!). And that Husbandguy's parents were her a week-and-a-half ago and the TV was on constantly, making it difficult to focus, since it's just on the other side of the room from the computer.

But I have printed it out and fumbled with it in the carpool line while I wait for my children so progress is being made. Sort of. You know, the kind of progress where a week and a half go by and four sentences get changed. Still, it's progress...

And also, I'm working on other stuff. I thought Lulu's abandonment experience might be a cute tale. We'll see...

Sorry. I'll be back for real after the Follies is done.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oh! That Kid!

While I was eating my lunch today, Lulu's teacher called and left a voice mail. Husbandguy was there while I listened to it and looked alarmed when I gasped, but as the message went on I realized that he should really hear it for himself and just held up my wait-a-minute finger instead of explaining. Here is what the message said:

Lulu was in the bathroom before lunch, getting ready to go with the class to the cafeteria. While she was still in there, the class lined up and left. They left! They left my baby all alone in the great big empty classroom and went on to lunch!! Obviously it was an oversight. They are very careful, usually, head-counts, double-checks, etc., but somehow Lulu's absence from the line got overlooked. I was shocked, of course, and am very appreciative of the phone call. We'll be talking about this at the parent-teacher conference coming up, but come on. I'm sure Lulu isn't the first child to ever get left behind (physically, not academically).

Anyway, the message continued: When Lulu came out of the bathroom and realized she was alone, did she wait there for someone to find her? Did she cry or scream or give up? Of course not! She's my Lulu!! That kid gathered herself together and walked alone down the hall, the long hall (her classroom is at the end of the farthest hallway in the school) to the cafeteria and found her teacher. She then explained that she was "scared" when she came out and was alone but then felt "excited" that she had walked to the cafeteria alone. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in those hallways!

I'm so proud of that kid!! I can't wait to hear her side of it all.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Two Things

First: I wish the dog wouldn't let the cat eat her (the dog's) food.

Then: At the mall the other day. there was a small stout woman with a bun of black hair on the back of her head near the top. Lulu, from atop her dad's shoulders, said this: "Yep. There's an Oopma Loompa." Then she said, "You don't see that every day."

I am usually sensitive to people's feelings and try to gently correct my children when they say something that could hurt someone's feelings, but OH MY GOSH! I had to laugh. A. The woman didn't hear her, and B. Lulu's observations, both of them, were very, very astute. And hysterical!

What socially insensitive thing have you done recently?
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