Thank you for reading or following my blog. Some of you have been with me since I started it when Toots was a baby.
Things have ramped up beyond the usual mayhem in the past year, and I have been pretty spotty in my posts. At this point, I am considering at least a semi-permanent breather if not completely ending the blog in this form.
All three kids graduated this June: Mr. Cynic from High School, Captain Comic from Middle School, and Toots from Preschool. They are all starting big things in the fall and have activities all summer. College, High School, and Kindergarten. It’s a big time for us all.
I still take pictures almost constantly, never did upgrade to a better camera. I am still seeking a publisher for my children’s novel, and working on a couple of new projects, though my time has been very full with the kids, life and stuff that my writing focus has fallen off for a while. I’ll get back to it, just a lot of focus on the spawn these days.
Who knows? I may post an occasional poem here from time to time. Or I may decide to reorient to more of a writing blog in general. All I know is at some point, this became something that I felt obligated to do, then couldn’t keep it up as I would have liked to.
I still get out to appreciate nature:
I’ve just lost the focus to regularly post, and don’t want to leave you all wondering why I stopped.
Thanks for keeping me company since May 2009. Much love to you all.
It’s dark today. And wet.
But the greens and roses glow like living ghosts
refusing to give in.
The day is brooding and nostalgic,
Makes me think of springs to come and so many
that are imprinted like film negatives, carried with me,
For all my days, gathering wrinkled currents.
The wet lovely petals shining on the pavement
Of Commonwealth Avenue;
The sense of hope of the road before me
And all that was to come has come.
Some of it has gone, but so little, really.
I am full, my heart sings to the ghosts of hope
And it springs eternal,
The roses, the new green leaves glow.
Apologies to Elvis Costello as I give a brief update, since I really shouldn’t be sitting up at the computer:
Much has been going on here in the land of mayhem, and then a car accident, and I was hurt, no blood, no bones, but I hurt ten days later. A lot. Working on some things, and I start physical therapy on Monday.
While I was trying to heal and rest and being on meds, Mr. Cynic similarly got into another accident within days of mine. So now we have two totaled vehicles.
Working on figuring out everything, moving forward, while trying not to move, but the mayhem continues, and so must I. But I shouldn’t quite yet.
I can laugh about some of this, but it hurts. But the good news is I can laugh.
Writing is currently on hold, except I decided to toss the sermon I was working on for months and had several drafts. That’s right, chucking it completely. After the two car accidents, I found “the piercing arrow” that is discussed in writing circles. Now I have about two weeks to get it right. It’s okay, most of my better work has been produced under the pressure of a deadline. It’s epiphanous.
As Samuel Beckett said,
Dear Literary Agents,
You want to read and shop my middle grade novel to publishers. It is brilliant! Trust me.
Please contact me in the comment section below.
(I am not jaded at all, why do you ask?)
((I hope this reads as funny as it does in my head. Starting to feel a bit loopy in researching agents.))
I know I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog lately.
The obvious place to start is with my grief over the loss of our dear sweet Lucy. It was so sudden, I think I’ve only begun to process it. I am not in a complete fog, walking through molasses and crying at the drop of a hat now. I think it piggybacked our autumn loss of Babette, which was within a week of the loss of my mother’s last living sister, and I couldn’t make it to the funeral. I lost a couple weeks of normal, quieter in some ways. In the meantime, we have been busier than usual in others.
I am proud of him for trying hard, and always being game for a tough 1st season in the sport. Next year, maybe he’ll win a match from time to time.
Mr Cynic and I have been traveling to colleges and auditions for their music departments and Scholars Competitions, etc. and to have a look around. That has been a couple of adventures in traveling to Boston and to western Virginia. That has been a bit of roller coaster of pressure, comic mayhem, not so comic mayhem, seeing good friends and my niece, sleeping on sofas, floors, random beds and hotel rooms. We crossed many bridges, literally and figuratively.
In the meantime, he has been involved in the Bay Rivers District Choir, and auditioned and won a spot in the All-Virginia Choir! The performance for that is the same weekend as his birthday in Richmond, at the end of April.
Toots is forever Toots, and a spark in our lives, and she apparently has a preschool boyfriend. I told her teacher on Valentine’s Day, that when I asked her who she loves after writing the family valentines, she answered, “D—?” sheepishly, knowing she should have said at least one family member in the context of the conversation. It was adorable. She also has been wanting to invite him over for sleepovers for a couple of months now. The teacher cracked up and then told me she is always trying to get them to sit with other friends or at recess to play with other friends, but the two of them are stuck like glue everyday. I asked Toots at one point what she likes about D– so much and she answered, “because he is kind.” I couldn’t be happier, honestly, that she has found a best friend who is kind regardless of gender.
She has also been getting into trouble a lot at home, but she is approaching five, seeking independence or when we are preoccupied, seeking attention by plugging the sink, flooding the bathroom and soaking herself from head to toe. Or by poking the bear: Captain Comic, by doing the exact things she knows will trigger a negative response from him. Kazoos and pennywhistles she earns for good behavior in preschool are a big tool of torture for the noise sensitive Aspie.
But she is still our girl and how could we ever stay mad at this:
One day, I will remember to hold this smartphone horizontally while recording…
Meanwhile, in the writing department, I have started sending out queries to agents, and the rejections have started coming in. At least I’m starting at the top:
Creativity is running rampant around here.
I got sick over the end of last week, and it laid me out pretty thoroughly on Saturday. My family was kind enough to cater to me in bed while I watched back episodes of Dr. Who on the Tablet.
But then, yesterday morning, I got down to business and cranked out
– composed over several hours with infinite interruptions because it was a day off from school and Captain Comic had to ask me a gazillion questions like, “Who do you think would win in a fight, Batman or Goku?” or tell me his next movie or comic idea, which was a new one about every minute and a half –
a query letter and sent the first ten pages to the first agent on my list. Today I plan to send it out to two more. Tomorrow and Thursday another each and that is where I will leave it for a little while.
I was invited to send this poem to a newsletter where a bunch of friends will see it.
Captain Comic drew this up for his coach (see #4 in this post) to approve before making a poster.
Mr. Cynic has loaded his next professionally produced song.
This song was his productive response to his brother being bullied at school last year. Considering some of the lyrics, I am really glad he has music for a creative outlet. 🙂 I remember well his reaction when he found out what was going on before it was resolved. Mr. Cynic looks like a pretty cool cucumber most of the time, but he is extremely passionate about any kind of injustice, and this was brother.
I don’t talk much about Honey’s work, but he designs staging and a bunch of his designs are currently being built around New Orleans in preparation for events surrounding the Superbowl.
Toots is always bursting with creativity. She sings little ditties about everything. When asked if she made that up, or what’s that from? She responds, “I wrote it.” She has worlds of imaginary characters she walks around the house acting out costumed scenarios with and she loves to draw and paint and dance around the house. She plays architect with anything she finds that she can put on top of something else in interesting ways, like Jenga blocks. Oh, to be four and a half years old again.
I couldn’t be happier about what my family is up to these days.
1. Yesterday I completed the fourth draft of my manuscript! I am going to start submitting query letters to agents this week.
2. I wasn’t going to have any of my readers go over it again, but I had one late offer for a fresh eye to it recently, and after thinking I shouldn’t, I went ahead and sent it to him. He is someone whose opinion re: writing is one I value, especially one for humor and action elements. I suppose I wanted to be certain those elements were present after so much reworking over so long a time. I’m nervous, but it will be good to hear what he has to say about it. To paraphrase, I basically asked him to tell me if it was crap or not. I am not up for another draft at this point.
3. Captain Comic did not wrestle in last night’s home tournament, but he did last a good long time supporting his team in a loud gym, and he did a good job assisting setting up. Ear plugs helped.
4. One of the coaches asked him to draw up a poster concept of a wrestler hugging a cactus. He did two versions as soon as he got home. Both were good. He is an excellent artist with a lot of humor inherent in his work.
5. While at the tournament, I was talking with another parent who suggested I contact the other closest high school in case a paraprofessional position opens up. His sister works in the special ed department there and he said he’d put a good word in for me.
6. I did. There is a little more to this story, but I have a good feeling about it and some things are best left to happen organically rather than discuss so much.
7. Mr. Cynic had a quick turnaround from his application to Berklee College of Music, his first choice, and his audition is in 10 days!
8. In the meantime, we all have colds, and it seems like it has been raining for eternity. The colds aren’t too bad, and the rain should help restore the water table from the recent summer droughts, and it hasn’t been a monsoon to flood, as how it usually seems to occur in recent years. But it sure would be nice if Mr. Sun would peak out from a cloud once in a while.
Things are moving right along for many in our family, and it feels good. The past few years, even with all the mayhem, has felt rather stagnant, and it’s nice to feel like progress can happen.
Jets fly overhead, blasting us with noise,
Rumbling our bones, and we tune that out, too.
But a birdsong, a flit, an unseasonal aah!
So tiny, so inconsequential
to starting the car and rushing about,
I cannot let it go.
Lately, I have tried, but an unfamiliar bird,
white stripe by his eye has crossed my path so many times,
as if to say, hello! I am here!
Don’t you want to know me?
So much so, that yes, yes I do.
In this age of instant gratification, I go searching on the internet,
And wish I knew where my ornithology book was,
wish I had to hunt through the library for Audubon’s giant tome,
lug the tome to a table and flip the illustrated pages,
smell the musty age of pages,
just to slow down a bit more because
don’t we need this?
Don’t we need to be wrong and curious,
don’t we need to stop, light up,
don’t we need to let go of this rubberband life
and be present for an hour, a minute, a day?
We live too much for our slow DNA souls
and a bird needs us to wink
And say hello, because he is singing
the universe’s song in our backyards.
We need to feel the breeze,
even in winter, blow through our hair,
not because we create a wake of it behind us,
but because we must live in it now
to know the world goes on without us.
We are not so important as a white throated sparrow.
I must stop, hear his cheery, melancholy
Old Sam Peabody, Peabody.
Old Sam Peabody, Peabody.
Because to take this moment,
this reminder to live,
to know joy and love in a birdsong, a flit,
An old friend who is also a writer and small publisher asked me to answer some questions about what my Next Big Thing is.
Thanks, Cherie Noel of Tales from the Writing Cave (psa: adult content) for thinking of me and giving me another way hold myself accountable. I need a lot of accountability to keep me going.
Following is a little ten question self- interview re: my latest work in progress. She is doing the same on her blog and rounding up several other authors to do the same and link to the other blogs. Go check hers out!
10 questions about my WIP:
What is the working title of your book?
I started this project in Nanowrimo this year on a whim, and the working title is Nanowrimo 2012. Really clues a reader in, doesn’t it?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I think I have spent a lot of my writing fiction striving to make stories that are incredibly realistic with an imaginative twist, rather than bursting at the seams with imagination like so many fantastical stories that I love to read, or the stuff that just goes on in my head, which is pretty out there. So for this project, I decided to have fun leaping around in fairy tale land and bringing it into a modern context. What would happen if a couple of 7th graders came across the stuff of their imagination and fears in the real world?
What genre does your book fall under?
Fantasy for middle readers to young adult target audience.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Twelve year old best friends, Clementine and George open a book one week before Halloween, coincidentally, Clementine’s thirteenth birthday, and strange things begin to happen.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
No idea as of yet.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Don’t know yet, still in the beginning stages…
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Something vaguely Neil Gaimanesque, like Coraline or Stardust, or The Neverending Story in reverse. Kind of. Many tales exist where kids go into a book for adventures, but this is the book coming out and wreaking havoc on their world, and constant changes according to who is ‘reading’ it.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
A lot of reading since I began to read. I’ve always loved otherworldly tales.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s a coming of age story, where the kids in the town can ‘see’ the weird things happening, but the adults can’t, except for the destructive results. I am going to weave some kind of apocalyptic ending with children against the monsters of their imaginations in a huge battle of good against evil. It’s going to be terribly important that the imaginary world is returned to the magic book before midnight on Halloween, and before Clementine is completely thirteen, since she won’t be able to to see the imaginary beings, etc anymore when the clock strikes twelve.
Also, it explores a completely platonic best friendship between a boy and a girl. I always had friends who were boys and that seems to be a hard concept for a lot of people to grasp.
Who would you have play (what actor/actress) your characters in a movie?
The fun thing about my characters’ age is some of the actors I am thinking of are already too old, so it would have to be the next up and coming spunky girl to play Clementine, and George could possibly be played by Rico Rodriguez, or another newcomer. Rico may be getting a little old for the role, too.
Fellow Writers, please add a comment below posting a link your Next Big Thing and I will happily point the way to you blog in a future post. If you can point the way to some of your writer friends as well, that is part of the package deal here. Please link back to me when you post, so that we can promote each other. First handful to comment will be part of the my links post. Thanks for playing! Let’s keep it going.