Monthly Archives: July 2011

Addiction, Amy Winehouse and Me

Amy Winehouse died yesterday. I know, old news.
The thing is I liked her voice, I liked her music, I cringed when I read the accounts of her train wreck of a life on multiple celebrity websites and news shows.

Winehouse’s death wasn’t a surprise. She was an addict. I thank GOD my addiction is food. When things get too bad for me, I can reconnect with Weight Watchers and get back to a place that isn’t deadly.

I can’t imagine a life of drug addiction. A life where one minute you feel like you’re in control and you have everything together and the next you can’t walk or talk or live normally.

I know what it’s like to feel like I’m control of food and then two months pass and I realize I haven’t counted a point or lost a pound and ice cream isn’t safe in my freezer.

I’m not belittling drug or alcohol addiction. I’ve known plenty of addicts in my life and loved most of them. It’s a painful love. One minute they’re the person you know and you absolutely believe they’ve got the addiction conquered because it’s been two or three or six months, and then, suddenly, they’re calling you and your heart drops when you hear the slurred voice or worse, it’s a collect call from the jail, but you hang up before the automated voice can even ask if you’ll accept.

You can’t say yes. You can’t because you’ve done that before and the yes was followed by promises you know won’t be kept. You can’t say hello or even pretend it’s all okay. You just hang up and you sit in your chair and breathe deep so the tears go away instead of falling because if they fall, they won’t stop. And then the anger hits and you want to call the drug pusher doctor and tell him there’s a special place in hell for people like him, only then, it all comes back to the same stuff all over facebook and twitter about Winehouse. Addiction is a personal decision and she chose to use drugs and she chose to drink and she chose to die. And you wonder is it the doctor’s fault, is it Just Say No’s fault, is it your fault because there was a time the addictions were hidden? They were there, though, you remember that in bits and pieces. They were there, but they weren’t In Your Face.

So yeah, I know addiction in its ugliness and I hate it. I hate that a talented musician died because the drugs were more powerful than the love of family and friends, than fame, than knowledge that life was good when the addiction was under control.

I hope the ones I love don’t follow in her footsteps. If they do, and it could happen, their deaths won’t lead twitter and facebook posts about tragedy vs. sad, but they’ll still be dead because of drugs and alcohol, and it won’t matter that their deaths were ultimately personal choices.

RIP Amy Winehouse. I hope we learn something from your death because right now it feels like such a waste.

Nobody Tells Beginners…Ira Glass

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Lawton, OK, this is a disgrace!

Please click through and look at these photos. My father-in-law built a house on his lot. When he tore his trailer down, the neighboring lot’s disaster was more visible than ever. There’s even a place that won’t grow grass. In one of the pictures there’s a strange looking face thing. It’s not a face, but it sure looks like one. My father-in-law has complained for years and even been to the city attorney’s office. NOTHING helps.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The End!

Haven’t posted in two days because friends were visiting and I was writing, writing, writing.

I love when friends you haven’t seen in forever come into town and it’s like they never left! That’s how it is with Becky and Darese.


I finished a rough draft! It’s rough, rough, rough, but it’s done, and I like it. It will need a TON of work, but it’s a complete story.

I used the fast draft method, and I really liked it. I hope I still like it when I start revisions. 🙂

I also used Scrivener. I’ve barely utilized its features. I hope to learn more of the Scrivener secrets as I revise.

It’s 2:47 and I’m calling it a night!

Not a Victim: YA Saves

Dear Meghan Cox Gurdon,

I get you. I don’t agree with you, but that doesn’t matter. I get your fear. I get your horror. I get that trembling in the dark, looking up at the ceiling and praying to God almighty that your kid doesn’t go through the beyond belief nightmares in so much of today’s YA.

I get you because every year I see parents realize the truth of the world we live in through the eyes of their children.

Drug abuse, incest, rape, suicide, cutting, eating disorders, bullying, dating violence, pregnancy, abortion, adoption, gangs. They’re all there in the halls of the high school. Sometimes hidden, sometimes in your face, but there. Always.

They were there when I was a teenager, and that was a million years ago. They were there when my mom was a teenager a few years before that. They’ve been there forever, but the further we get from the age, the more we forget, the more we wax poetic about the “wonder years.”

The truth is the world is a dark place, but thank GOD, we’re  talking about it instead of hiding it away and pretending we’re all Little Women. Thank God we get to read about people who win against the evil out there, who find inner strength they never knew existed, who triumph and say I Am Not A Victim.

I get you because I’m a mom and my daughter just made it through to the other side of the teen trauma years. That time scared me, it scarred her, but in the end, we know those scars are what make all the difference. She claims them. She holds them to the light and says she can make it through anything, and she’s so right. YA encourages that mindset.

Are you right to want to protect kids and their innocence? Yes. My God, yes. That’s part of motherhood. Will keeping them from the darkness of The Hunger Games, et al do so? No.

I still get you. Do you have the right to determine what your kids are reading? Yes. Will you know for sure? No. I can’t tell you how many of  my students “weren’t allowed to read Harry Potter” but knew the books inside and out. Should you be aware one way or the other? Absolutely.

Dark YA serves a purpose. Sometimes that purpose isn’t so life changing. One of my students read a book about cutting and was able to cry for hours over her parents’ divorce. She’s not a cutter, never will be, but she connected with the emotional desolation of the character. Other times, the society changing purpose might not have been the intent of the work, but it’s still the outcome. Words like rape and incest don’t have to be whispered any more.

So yeah, I get you. I don’t agree, but I understand.

Find Gurdon’s article here.

NPR segment with YA author Maureen Johnson and Gurdon


P.S. Years ago we ran a package in The Chronicle about teen pregnancy. A reporter shadowed a new mom for two days. Another wrote a story about a girl who gave her baby up for adoption. Another wrote a story about a girl who chose abortion. Over half the faculty signed a copy of the paper and a note letting me know I was encouraging teen pregnancy by allowing my students to write the stories. One teacher came back with an apology and a card with this quote inside: “I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to my death your right to say it.” The quote applies here.

Happy Independence Day and Week 4 Fail

Happy July 4. We had an amazing service at church yesterday about the founding fathers and the US ties to God. It was fabulous! God Bless the USA. And a HUGE thank you to every person who has ever served protecting our freedoms.

Now on to the fail:
It started with the newspaper. The plan, hit the headlines and off the computer.

The reality; trn–dmn–cnn–msnbc–perez–eonline–people. One hour later, I looked up and groaned

It didn’t stop there.

I read and read and read some more.

Not books, but still. And then I watched a Lifetime movie and a Disney movie.

At 9:30 I’d written 1000 words. 4k under yesterday, a non-reading day.

Back to square one on reading deprivation. MAN, it’s hard!!!

The Artist’s Way, Chapter 4

Going along great on The Artist’s Way, when BOOM, here’s chapter four and reading deprivation. I thought it would be about making sure you read enough.

NO. It’s about giving yourself one week without reading.

I’m not doing it 100%, but I’m not reading books, or watching scripted TV, or hanging out on twitter and facebook this week.

Today, even though we went to Lawton, that translated to over 5K words.

Nice return on investment.

I’m not sure I can make it a week without reading.

I mean, I read cereal boxes and bottles of shampoo and the instruction booklet for the car. I read everything.

But this week, I won’t.

For now, my plan is to blog in the morning after morning pages. We’ll see if that works. If not, I might go a week without blogging, too. ACK!



Summer TV

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Unbelievable. A documentary looking into the life of the Travelers. It devastates me for the girls. I watch every chance I get, fascinated and sad.

Toddlers and Tiaras. Eden vs. Mackenzie. Finally got to see. Think Mackenzie go robbed even though she’s atrocious acting. Love this show. Fascinated and horrified. Surprised at how many of the moms and kids are actually likable! I had students involved in child pageants a few years ago, and the show is exactly what they described.

Battlestar Galactica. Who are the final five? Are they ALL Cylons? Love this show. Love it. Want to watch daily. Need to know the truth!

Buffy. Always. When there’s nothing on, and I don’t have something to do, I can always tune in to Buffy.

That’s it so far. I’m sure something new will take the place of BSG, but I haven’t decided what yet.

What worries me: I’m spending so much time on twitter, facebook and Netflix, I’m not reading as much. Might need to put a time limit on my TV and social media.

What is it about Buffy?

1. She’s tough, and she’s unapologetic about that toughness.
2. She’s a girl, and she’s unapologetic about that, too.
3. She says the best stuff. Kudos to the writers for that one.
4. She’s saving the world. Good vs. Evil, and if the wrong team wins, humanity ceases to exist.
5. Angel and Spike. No explanation needed.
6. It’s impossible for it to be true, but I forget that the whole time I’m watching.
7. She has best friends, and they are awesome.
8. Vampires. Even though I’m kind of tired of vampires everywhere else, I still love them on Buffy. And Dark Shadows, but that’s a different post.
9. Romance. 🙂
10. Buffy wants to be a normal girl, but she understands that’s impossible. She embraces her slayer self even as she wars with it.

This is the tip of the iceberg. There are the ties to the goddess, mythology, strong character stories, dialogue, lack of cheerleading ability, crazy fellow slayers, dopplegangers, fake Buffy’s, secret sisters. It’s everything that is good about teen targeted TV, and I love it.
Glad I got to spend two hours with two of my favorite episodes last night: Becoming Part 1 and 2. So good!!!!