Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympic Spirit

Team Canada won the gold medal in hockey.

We all pretty much expected they would.

Canadians invented Hockey. This is not a metaphor. It's a fact.

For the past two weeks I've been drunk on the Olympic Spirit, the idea that most of the athletes who arrive at the Olympic games are thrilled to even be competing at all. 99.9% of the people who show up to compete are pretty sure they're not going home with any kind of a medal. A lot of them are thrilled if they break a personal record, most of them consider it a success not to fall flat on their face.

I wept along with Joannie Rochette whose mother died only days before she took the ice at the games and won the Bronze Medal. I was happy for Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir when they won Gold in Ice Dancing.  I was even cheering (loudly) for Shen and Zhao, the Chinese couple who won Gold in Pairs Figure Skating. Don't get me wrong. I've also been rooting for my fellow Americans in Snowboarding, Skiing and the Nordic Combined thing where they shoot guns and then race around on cross-country skiis.

But seriously, Team USA, you played a great game of Hockey. Why the long faces? I know you came to win. Really. Everybody secretly hoped that by some small miracle they might get to take home a medal. You got a silver one. In the Olympics.

There are Billions of people on this planet who will never get an Olympic medal of ANY kind and you have a SILVER ONE.

You could at least have the grace and decency to look at least a little bit happy that you even made it to the championship round. You could at least have the grace and decency to NOT look like your mom got run over by a bus while walking your favorite dog.

There are so many worse things that can happen besides winning a silver medal in the Olympic Games. Like earthquakes. And tsunamis.


Suck it up.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Babies and Snow and Olympics, Oh MY!!!

First of all, I would like to welcome the newest edition to the family: My nephew, Aiden Charles was born Feb 12th! 8lbs 7oz and 21in long. Everyone is doing well, and I got to have a chat with my big brother and see my precious nephew on the webcam. Thank goodness for technology!  He is adorable and I'm such a proud Auntie!

Right about the time my brother called to tell me Aiden had arrived, I looked out the window and it was SNOWING! Yes, snow in North Georgia. A miracle in and of itself. Not only that, but we ended up with about 5 inches. I haven't gotten out the ruler, but it's definitely more than the dusting the weatherman predicted...

Java insisted that with all this snow, he needed something to keep him warm: 

The hubby, doggie, and I snuggled up on the couch to watch the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. It was quite a spectacle. The tech nerd hubby was most impressed with the quality of projectors that made all kinds of images dance across the floor. Everything went so smoothly and was timed so perfectly, until... the torch lighting Fail. I would not want to be the engineer responsible for THAT malfunction.

All in all, it was quite an exciting and eventful February 12th, 2010. Now, I'm going to go watch some of the games, and see if I can't actually get something written today....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sunshine and Rainbows

As dreary and miserable as yesterday was, today was that much brighter. It seems that for quite some time a heavy cloud has been hanging over not only my own mood and thoughts, but just about everyone I spend time with on a daily basis. One of the most cheerful people I've ever met (and also one of the most secretly dark and twisty ones, yipee!) has been absolutely downright miserable lately. Not eating, not sleeping miserable. Another person I know is going through some nasty ugly stuff in a nasty ugly divorce. There has been enough deaths, enough illness, and enough sadness in people's lives to last an entire year, all crammed up into just a few short weeks. While I have not been struck with anything so terribly serious as all that (knock on wood), my mood lately has been incredibly dark and frustrated.

I was feeling very resentful towards anything that was keeping me from writing. Work inside and outside of the house, people around me... even hating myself for the times when I didn't get any writing done at all. It's been difficult for me while I try to find a balance between what needs to be done, what has to be done, and what I feel I want to be doing. It's great when these things coincide. It's really, really lousy when they don't.

In my dream world, I am a successful writer who spends her days at the computer writing at the very minimum 4-10 pages per day. I have an editor who gives me deadlines; an agent who finds me work; a publicist who gets me interviews; and a fabulous assistant who keeps my life perfectly organized, mails things for me, does my laundry, makes me lunch, and keeps me motivated on a daily basis so that I can freely give myself up to my Muse whenever she decides to pay a visit.

My reality, however, is filled with mountains of dirty laundry that I can never ever seem to get under control, a kitchen that I can only barely maintain some semblance of order in, a living room filled with sawdust and drywall dust, a giant stack of cushions, an upturned sectional, and a project that has been underway for a month of weekends. The entire house is now covered in a patina of dust that I fear will take years of vacuuming to get rid of completely.

I hope that one day, I can find some kind of balance between these two worlds. I understand that even though I may be a published writer one day, there are only a very, very few people who are able to maintain a serious career as a writer and have all the things I dream about having for myself. I'm absolutely certain that it will not be easy, and will take an unbelievable amount of hard work and perseverance, but I'm up for it. I don't expect the ideal, dream world to be my reality, but a life filled with order and a balance of work and play would be something I would consider a complete success.

Today was one of the first days that the cloud seems to have dissipated. My mood, and everyone else's around me today seemed much brighter and much more cheerful. I enjoyed a great lunch with some great friends, and came home ready to sit down and write.

Part of being a healthy, sane human being is being able to set reasonable goals and achieve them to attain self-worth. Once upon a time, I was convinced I was going to be a big huge movie star and stand on the stage at the Oscars holding that golden statue, crying and thanking my mom for supporting me all these years. I experienced a glimpse of Hollywood and realized just how ugly and selfish it all is. I'm pretty sure I don't really belong in that world.

Since then, I have fallen in love with writing. I think part of my fascination with the film world was that movies are simply living stories. The basis of a good film is a good script, and a good writer; someone who can tell a story in a clear and concise manner. I hope that this is something I am able to do. Writing fiction gives me the elbow room to expand the thoughts and feelings of the characters more than a screenplay would. So much of a screenplay has to be left open for interpretation by the Director and the rest of a film crew.

Finding out what kind of writing fits you best is one of the most important steps you can take as a writer. Some people are poets, some like non-fiction, others like to create new places and things that exist only on the page in front of them. I'm a fiction girl. I've met many, many characters over the years that I've been writing. I've thought of many scenes and written out many chapters. The current project I'm working on is the first time I've ever had a complete story in my head at the same time. It's something I feel I can tackle as a whole. Other projects have been only scenes or only character studies. This is all of that and more.

As much writing as I've done, I have yet to truly finish something; to write a story from Once upon a time all the way through to The END. I hope that this will be the one I can see through from beginning to end. It's why I've started the Facebook page, the Twitter, and begun in earnest on this blog. I'm afraid that keeping it all to myself will only hold me back. I need the encouragement of everyone around me to give me that extra push to see this to the finish line. For all those people who have read bits and pieces of my work and said "I want more!": Thanks. It's the best kind of compliment I could ever hope for. And thanks to those who bug me every day by asking "Where's the rest?"

Well, it's coming.... it's coming....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dreary, Drudgery Day

Try saying that title three times fast.

Go ahead.

I'm listening.

Okay, so today was pretty much boring all around. The one somewhat interesting thing I did was go to step aerobics. It was a lot of fun, and right in the middle of class when the instructor shouted out "Let's get those knees up, ladies. Higher, let's go!" I was all of a sudden struck by the realization that step aerobics shares quite a few similarities to porno films.

I'd go into further detail about this subject, however I was advised against it by my lawyers. Not really. But, by day I'm a preschool teacher. What would the parents think?

So I'll leave you all to discuss the topic amongst yourselves. It's quite entertaining if you think about it. And I SOOooo know you ARE thinking about it, filthy kitten.

I suppose I shall have to discuss another topic today, so how about something similarly related? Where do ideas come from? We've been hearing a lot about where Laurell K. Hamilton gets her ideas. She even wrote a whole essay about how the idea for her new book Flirt came about.

My ideas tend to sneak up on me when I least expect it. For example; when I am dripping sweat, gasping for air, and trying very hard not to fall flat on my face while I do aerobics. (You thought I was going to say making a porno, didn't you? Cheeky monkey!)

I can't honestly remember the exact place I was when the idea hit me for the book I'm writing. All I know is that I was looking out the window somewhere, and thinking about how much I missed living in Lower Manhattan. Then, all of a sudden, Sidney walked into my head. There she was, with her long thin frame, brown hair pulled up in a ponytail, and she was holding up a badge saying, "What have we got?"

I didn't know much about her at first, but I knew the crime scene she was walking into was a grizzly one. She didn't seem terribly bothered by the gruesome findings, so I assumed she'd been at this for awhile. I wrote that first chapter, the first scene, and put it aside for awhile.

There were other projects I was working on, other characters in my head who were nagging at me louder than Sidney was. She seemed content to sit back and take it all in for awhile. Finally, I brought the chapter back out and read over it. Then everything seemed to clicked into place. I found out more about her backstory and the rest of it all just sort of happened. There's another character who's giving me trouble right now, keeping the story from running smoothly. As soon as I figure out exactly what his reason for popping into my head is, perhaps I will be able to work out the kinks and get things going again. Sidney seems to be hung up on someone else at the moment. I might try giving her a reason  to notice him more fully and see what happens.

Stay tuned....

Monday, February 8, 2010

I Don't Have a Title for This Blog. Just Read.

Okay, so probably one of the reasons I've been really bad about keeping the blog updated on a regular basis is because writing for myself is SO unbelievably boring. I talk to myself in my head plenty, probably too much, so why bother writing it if I'm the only one who's going to read it?

That having been said, if you read this, I will give you candy. Of course, there will be a quiz. How else will I know if you've read it or are just trying to get free candy? Don't be a CHEATER. That's just not cool. Really.

I've been doing lots of thinking and analyzing and discovering lately. I have noticed several things about my very favorite (and most successful) writers.

*First of all, each and every one of them are women. I don't know if that has anything to do with anything at all, but I find it odd that I tend to read women writers almost exclusively. I don't dislike male writers. I don't avoid them on purpose. It simply seems that lately, I have been gravitating towards the Girl Team.

*These Successful Girl Writers all tend to do several things that seem to bring them great Success. Something of which I would like to have one day when I grow up. (By Success, I mean being published, actively working writers with lots and lots of fans, and busy schedules, and looming deadlines.)

*One of these things is that they all have fancy websites. Feel free to go have a look, but please, don't get so involved that you leave and forget to finish reading THIS blog. Remember, Quiz.

Meg Cabot's Blog-- I like this blog. It is full of sparkles and girly things. Meg's blog is super fun and has lots of good information about what's going on in the world of Entertainment. Meg writes LOTS of books for people of all ages.

Laurell K. Hamilton-- Laurell's page is filled with lots of swirly gothy things to scroll, and some really badass pictures of Laurell K. Hamilton. She has written loads of books as well, but they are NOT for people of all ages. She works incredibly hard, and some days writes as many as 20+ pages.
I got to meet her this week. She is so very kind. Here is a picture of us together:

Maureen Johnson-- This is Maureen Johnson's page. She has lots of hot pink and black. It is sexy and very girly at the same time. She's also on Twitter A LOT. Maureen is very quirky and has a great sense of humor.

*Another thing these women all have in common is that they are extremely active in social media, i.e, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and blogging. I think this one of the secret Keys to being a Successful Writer. How can I expect people to read my writing if they don't even know I exist? Besides, we all know how much writers like to procrastinate. This is a good way to waste time AND become successful.

*These writers also have another essential element in common. They all WRITE. I mean, a lot. A lot. They are always writing in some form. Twitter, Blogging, etc. So, above all, I need to be writing a LOT. 

*They also Finish Things. I'm sure it helps that they all have editors and agents calling them up every hour asking, "Are you finished yet? How about now? Are you done? How about now? Deadline!"  I do not have that luxury. I am self-disciplined. And if anyone knows me well, they know that my self-discipline level is pretty lousy. I mean, if I sent myself out for a switch, I'd come back with a piece of yarn. Seriously. I'm sitting here avoiding a massive pile of laundry seeping out of the laundry room as I type this.

So. With all that being said, I kind of figure that perhaps by emulating these successful people, I myself will also find success. 

Now, you can have your candy.