Monthly Archives: February 2014

That was surprising

I didn’t expect to get a lot of writing done tonight since we’re working on deadline and it was small group night. But I’m at that part of the story where everything starts to fall apart, and that tends to be pretty fast writing in the draft stage. I was hoping for 500. I got almost 2k. I’ll take it.

We talked about men we admire in small group tonight. It’s easy to think of that in superficial terms, which would be the complete opposite of what small group’s about. I said my dad. My dad can stay calm in chaos like no one else I know. He never freaks out. He doesn’t judge people. He prays. He goes through life these days with some pretty awful pain because of arthritis. If I had psoriatic arthritis, I feel quite confident the whole world would know about it. I definitely didn’t keep my frozen shoulder secret, and that was just for a few months. But Dad doesn’t whine. He just keeps on keeping on. I’m glad he’s my dad, and I’m glad he’s always been there to look up to.

If I keep going with this draft like I have, meeting the first draft done by spring break goal won’t be a problem.

Bonnie, if you’re reading this THANK YOU for kicking my butt back into gear nicely….

The words today included QUITE the shock!

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Oh insomnia…

I think insomnia goes hand in hand with writing for me. Turning characters off so I can sleep isn’t always easy. That could be a good thing if I didn’t report to work at 7:25 Monday-Friday. Nah. It would still be a bad thing. Because I might be able to create for hours, but sleep is essential. At least it is for me.

The 5k day yesterday hurt my arm all day today. It was either that or the cold front moving in. UGH! Not sure which. I am sure I wrote again tonight, but I stopped early because I’m not up to hurting again tomorrow.

It’s fun to watch the word count meter crawl closer to the end. One day at a time. That’s the key to finishing this book. I hope I’ll have a draft done by Spring Break. Fingers crossed it happens. Today’s writing ended with one of those “didn’t see that one coming” moments that make the first draft so much fun. My poor heroine. She’s going through hell in this novel. SOOOOOO much fun to write.

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AMAZING BUT….

Today’s writing day was incredible. BUT I didn’t do what I promised myself. I didn’t take it easy, and now I’m blogging after icing down the arm. That is not okay.

But I get into the story and I just get lost in it. Until I look up and two hours have gone by and I haven’t stopped to even get a drink.

I’m going to have to start setting a time or something.

UGH!

I’ve had a few questions about the book. I’m not sharing yet because I learned a long time ago that I can’t talk about the story or I lose the push to write it.  I don’t know why, but that’s the way my writer brain works.

I know some people can talk out their stories and actually end up with a better book. Not me.

Of course some people can’t write to music with words, and I write better to music with words. I’m having so much fun listening to new music while I write. Loving all the strong women anthems in the country world. Thank goodness for spotify and the Nashville soundtracks.

It’s going to get cold again this week. I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate that!

I’m ready for spring.

AND

Prayers and positive healing thoughts for my mom, please. She went to the doctor Friday and got diagnosed with pink eye. Today she went to the ER because it hurt so bad. The doctor took one look at her eye and said that’s not pink eye. He did some tests and found a scratch on her cornea. He ordered her to go to an ophthalmologist first thing tomorrow and gave her eye drops to use every hour for twelve hours then every two for twelve more hours. I’m not a fan of our ER docs because none of them in town are in network for BCBS. They refused to accept the terms of the insurance company about four years ago, and that’s never been resolved. BUT I sure am thankful for them when they’re needed. Those of us with BCBS can just pay $5 a month on our bills until they’re paid off.

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P.S. WAY to go Jr. That was one heck of an end to the race. #NASCAR fan for life even though I only got to watch the last 30 laps since it was on during prime writing time because of the rain delay.

Date Day and Writing

It would be easy to lose myself in a novel over the weekend. But I’m working hard NOT to do that. Today was date day. DH and I went to the Home & Garden show. Awesome this year! We went out to eat and then we watched HOURS of House of Cards Season 2. I’m still stunned with that ending. We finished the day with a little Olympics.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m disappointed with NBC’s decision to air the Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan story tomorrow. It’s the last day of the Olympics. I’d rather see something about the current Olympians. I know Costas, et al. have done several segments throughout the games, but I’d still rather keep the focus on our current athletes. Show the Harding, Kerrigan story next week.
After date day came writing time. Yesterday I wrote my poor heroine into a near death experience. I couldn’t very well leave her there.
I’m really enjoying this draft. I’ve given myself permission to write crap, and there have been a couple days where I wondered what happened to my command of the English language. One day I had to delete more than I kept. I know there will be more of those days. But I’m not thinking too much about that. Instead I’m focusing on how writing some every day gets me closer to the goal of the end.

It’s interesting how the “permission to write crap because you can’t fix a blank page” mentality frees my creativity. I have two amazing young men working on closing copy for the yearbook. One isn’t even in my class, the other is in a non-writing class. Both are known as amazing writers around campus, and they have done a GREAT job with the words, but they’re not quite there yet. They’re not honest enough. I made the guys take the oath Friday. They resisted. They’re used to writing for their English teachers instead of for readers. Sometimes, especially in upper level classes, kids are so focused on getting the words right they don’t realize that getting them wrong first leads to magic later. By 5:22 Friday evening, they understood. I told them to keep notebooks around for the weekend and warned them that inspiration could strike at any moment. It’s going to be interesting to see what they come back with Monday.

Just like it’s going to be interesting to see how many words I have on this novel draft Monday. 🙂

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A Night of Writing and Thoughts on Arizona

I’m calling it a night.

It’s just 10:46 on a Friday, which is honestly prime writing time, and I’ve set my next scene up for lots of fun conflict, but I’m going to try not to exhaust myself with this book. I’m also going to try to keep my arm moving. Frozen shoulder hurt too dang bad for too many months to ignore the twinges I’ve got going on now. The doctor doesn’t think the hours I spent in front of the computer writing last summer had anything to do with the issue, but I’m not taking any chances.

I kind of hate to turn off Spotify tonight. I started using the discover tab and I’ve found so many amazing country and folk artists I’ve never heard of. It’s so fun to write to music that sets the tone of the story. I’m listening to Laura Cantrell right now. Amazing.

I might come back and write more later if my brain won’t shut down, but I’m going to at least take a break and stretch, which is far better than the quick Facebook break I took before writing this. That stupid quick break turned into a 40-minute look at lots of disturbing news.

I’d written a long Facebook post about Arizona, but I deleted it because it was just preaching to the choir, which is pointless unless you’re trying to inspire and motivate. I’m not. I settled for something that has become a guiding principle over the last few years. Something that would make life a lot easier and the world a much better place.

Love God? Love people. It’s that simple.

I remember when I was in college a friend came out. This was back in the day when dorms were community bathrooms and tiny rooms. Another friend was shocked and said “Oh My God, you’ve seen me naked.”

Our friend who was now out and a little embarrassed and afraid of how we’d respond laughed and said, “You have a very high opinion of yourself.”

We all laughed along with her and went back to whatever it was we’d been doing. We didn’t care that she was a lesbian. She was simply her. The person she’d always been.

Okay, that last paragraph is a fairy tale. It’s the way I WISH it would’ve been. The truth was we were all freaked out, but we tried to be the people who treated her the way we had before she told us…at least while we were with her. I don’t remember it being that big of a deal after a few days, but it might have been. Time messes with memories. Sanitizes them. Makes our parts in ugliness so much prettier. Time lets us believe we actually said all those things we WISH we would’ve said.

What I do know is that was the early 90s. She and her SO could go anywhere in the US without fear of being legally denied service because of what someone believed. If they would’ve traveled overseas to, say, Afghanistan, that would’ve been another story. There they would’ve been executed by people who believed their religious dogma trumped all. People who used hate for years to inspire terror and terrorism. Hate that led to 9/11.

My heart hurts for that girl and her SO and for the anger and pain and ugliness now being spewed all over social media…again. Someone asked me once what I would say if my kid were gay. She’s not, but if she were I’d say the same thing I say now: I love you.

Hate is never the answer. Love is always the answer.

The Pay Off

Yesterday’s words were hard fought. I mean I had to tell my brain to shut up and force every sentence. But I did it. I didn’t stop and check out the Olympics. I didn’t go to cnn.com or timesrecordnews.com or huffingtonpost.com. I forced myself to write.

Today I was at school until late and had to go grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping alone, but it’s lots of fun with hubby. We made steaks, and I tried a new recipe: roasted cauliflower (recipe at bottom of post). We watched the Olympics while we were eating. Quarterfinals for some cool looking skiing event with lots of jumps and skids and all sorts of fun. It would have been easy to skip the writing tonight, especially when yesterday’s words were so hard to come by.

But I didn’t. I started at 8:30 and finished at 10:30 and right now, I like the words. I kind of love them. I have no idea how I’ll feel about them when I get to revisions, but I’m not going to worry about that right now. This is the draft stage, and I gave myself permission to write crap because I can’t fix a blank page. It’s way easier to teach it than to do it. 🙂

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Roasted Cauliflower:

I head of cauliflower. (The fresh stuff, not frozen.)

4 TBSP butter. (I’ll use 2 next time and add some coconut or olive oil)

Minced onion, garlic salt, pepper.

Stick it in the oven at 350 for an hour stirring every once in a while.

AMAZING, Easy, low-carboliciousness ❤

I Am A Ukrainian, This Needs To Go Viral

Heartbreaking events in Ukraine, especially since there was a truce. I can’t imagine being this brave.

Thought Catalog

I am not a Ukrainian. But, the creator of this video is and it should make us all feel like we are. Watch it. Share it. Send it to your representatives. It’s not your problem. True. But all of our collective voices might be part of the solution.

[tc-related post=”289138″ align=”right”]

If our shows of support as Europeans and Americans are weaker than Russia’s desire for control, the political ramifications of that will be felt. This simple, but powerful message has not gone viral the way videos of cats and laughing babies do — and it probably won’t, unless we do our best to make sure as many people as possible see it pop up on their news feeds.

This woman is brave and her message is clear. I dare you not to be moved by it. [tc-mark]

image – YouTube

Peek inside the real post-soviet Russia here.TC Site

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A rail against standardized testing pre-K and Kindergarten

I’ve been reading a lot about the push to test pre-K kids. We already have standardized tests for kindergarten and first grade. All I can think is pre-K kids should be taught not to hit each other just because someone takes your toy, not to wipe your snotty hand in your neighbor’s eye and to (please!!!) wash your hands after you potty. It seems like pre-K would be about learning and story telling and using real words and fun NOT bubbling. In kindergarten I played a lot. I learned about “stranger danger.” My kindergarten teacher would’ve actually liked standardized testing, I figure. She threw my color page away because I colored the people purple. She told me people weren’t purple. I tried to explain about the purple people eater, but she still tossed the paper. I think she might be running the show over at Pearson these days. In first grade I learned to sing the National Anthem, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Oh Susannah. I also learned how to read, but not until late. I was the only one in my class in Minnesota not reading. A test didn’t tell my teacher that I couldn’t read. A book did. And she didn’t test me to get me to read. She taught me to read using vocabulary and phonics. As far as standardized tests go, in elementary and junior high we had a national norm test. I sucked at math and rocked the reading and writing. Senior year we were a test for the exit level exams that were to come, but those tests were about making sure you didn’t graduate if you didn’t have a basic skill set. I wonder what’s wrong with all these politicians that they keep buying into the idea that testing babies is a good idea? I mean they made it to political office. They get a great pay check and great insurance. They learned to share, to be polite (okay, maybe not), to keep snotty hands out of their friends’ eyes and (hopefully) how to wash their hands after they paid a visit to the potty. They might have even colored purple people for purple people eaters. They read and they are usually eloquent speakers. They made it through the gauntlet of higher ed, often with advanced degrees. Most are my age or older, which means they did all this without testing, and they did it all successfully. Does anyone else wonder about this?

 

Working Overtime

Good thing I administer the “give yourself permission to write crap, you can’t fix a blank page” oath every year. Trying to convince myself these pages are better than blank pages and wondering if every writer does this.

Today our local paper had a story about the Texas Hooker. It’s the weather system that’s going to deliver 50 mph winds to us and huge fire danger since it’s hella dry here, and it’s supposed to deliver blizzards and severe weather east of here. Interesting that it’s called a Texas Hooker. Interesting that a weather system starting here is going to deliver a storm to my daughter 1300 miles away. Interesting that DD moved 1300 miles away to Ohio, where they’re having the worst winter in decades, maybe EVER. Interesting that she likes it even though when DH called to laugh at the fact that it was going to be five there her response was “THANK GOD! Five is great.” Because, you know, when it’s five here I just want to say words that would have gotten my mouth washed out with soap when I was a kid (sorry mom). It’s not five here often. It was this winter. More than once. I really hate winter. But I think I’ll hate summer more if it doesn’t rain and we can’t fill our swimming pools. 110+ without the chance to swim will really suck. Of course the lack of pool relief will be the least of our concerns if it doesn’t rain.

THIS is the kind of blog post that happens when the words are crap. On the bright side I’m still wide awake and the last scene I wrote was crap but crap I know I can mold into awesome.

Back to work. One word at a time. Image

 

 

Choices

We’ve been talking a lot about choices in my class these days. About how you get to high school, and you can’t do everything, especially these days with eight classes. It made me remember back to when I first started this blog in 2005. I remember being so angry because I thought the whole Bring Home the Bacon, Fry it Up in a Pan, Never Let You Forget You’re a Man mentality I’d grown up with that said you can definitely have it all without giving up anything was a big lie.

All these years later I’ve learned it’s not exactly a lie. But the definition of “having it all” changes over time.

“It all” for me means learning to make choices. It’s not easy to give up something you want, something you enjoy.

If I’m going to write though, something has to give. There are only so many hours in the day, and at least six of my hours have to be devoted to sleep or I’m comatose instead of rockstar in the classroom, not to mention my fuzzy brain means I can’t tell a verb from an adjective and that’s a bit of a problem for a writer.

Soooooo I’m making choices.

It’s not easy.

Tonight I gave up the Olympics, Facebook, twitter and NewsHour.

I chose walking the dog, dianeravitch.net, KFDX local news at 6, dinner, coffee, spotify, my office, and new words.

I’ll watch the Olympics on video later. I know who won, and I missed the short program anyway.

You can’t do it all, but you can have it all. You just have to decide what “it all” is.

 

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Liza Jane and Grady, WIP