Saturday, December 11, 2010


This was my week for posting A Day in the Writing Life on the Elevensies website.

Here's the link: 

(Elevensies, by the way, are a group of YA/middle grade authors I'm part of who have their debut novels coming out in 2011.  Amazing people.  Smart people.  People who remind me my marketing plan should be more than just forcing my siblings to buy lots of copies of Virtuosity for Christmas presents next year.)

Anyway, I stewed over the Elevensies post because I like to keep things separate: Jessica the writer on one side of the room, Jessica the mom on the other side of the room.  In real life they aren't, and I wholeheartedly believe the two have to co-exist for me to be happy, but nobody wants them jumbled them up.  My family doesn't deserve to have me so pre-occupied with writing that I can't go jump on the trampoline or practice the piano or clean up barf.  And in the writing community I'd rather be defined by my personality and my writing than the fact that I do those other three activities regularly. 

None of that explains why my entire post A Day in the Writing Life is about juggling little kids and writing.  Truthfully, I tried to come up with one that didn't include my kids and it didn't work.  It was garbage and totally untrue.  So, while I generally don't talk about being a mom on this blog, I think the elevensies assignment warranted an exception and figured that while I was at it, I'd just confess to a whole bunch of other things.  Here we go:

1.  Virtuosity was written during nights and naptimes when my youngest was a baby.  "Sleep when they sleep" is only good advice if you aren't writing a book.

2.   Now my kids are old enough (5 and 3) that I can sometimes write when they're up, but when they call me I'm there.  No matter what.  Oh wait, that's a lie--if it's needless tattling ie. "He looked at me weird" I'm as deaf as a doorknob.

3.  I no longer confuse being a good mother with any of the following: gourmet meals, perfectly decorated house, made beds, folded laundry (clean is clean, who cares about wrinkles?), being on the PTA.  I think I'm a pretty good mom, but since I started really writing, I suck at that other stuff.  And because I love being a writer more than I love aforementioned other stuff, I give myself permission to not feel bad about it.

4.  I have to regularly sit down and make sure writing isn't encroaching on mothering, and other less important stuff isn't encroaching on writing.  I'd say almost weekly.  It's not as easy as just making the decision once.

5.  The smile on my son's face when I showed him the cover of Virtuosity and explained that we were going to be able to walk into B&N and see it there on the shelf was worth every second of sleep I lost writing it.  It was like fireworks went off in his brain.  He asks me questions about how I come up with my stories and who the people are all the time.  And then when he comes up with stories of his own to write down, it makes me so happy I could cry.  I guess that sums up the juggling act in all its glory.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Home Again

Meet the girls!  This is my favorite vacation picture.   

From left to right: my sister, my two sisters-in-law, my mom, and then me in the hat.  These are the women that remind me it’s NOT OKAY to go a week without showering, or to wear my electric orange University of Tenessee pajama pants all day long, or to cut my own hair.  Just because I live a whole country away, it’s still NOT OKAY.  I don’t know where I got my less-than-classy tendencies from, but without this bunch, I’d probably be digging through a dumpster right now looking for furniture or lunch or both.  

So vacay was a success.  I bought jeggings, I got my fill of cold for the decade, I ate a lot of chocolate and remarked that it would be fun to go for run if there wasn’t several feet of snow on the ground, and I saw a bull moose close up.  Mostly, it was fun just to talk to the people that understand me best.  Favorite conversations: 1. Plastic surgery (Lift or tuck or both? Botox--yay or nay or forehead only so you don't look like one of the Housewives of Beverly Hills?) 2. How much you'd pay to punch a Kardashian 3.  Whose husband is the most troll-like.  Just kidding, there was surprisingly little man-bashing to be had.  Maybe next time.

And now I’m battling post-vacation blues.  My four and half hour dentist appointment didn’t help any—for the first time in my life I actually cried in the chair.  Don’t judge me.  It was bad.  You would have cried too.  The good news is I only have one more appointment to go, and then I’m done until the next major catastrophe.  I should be back on solid foods in no time at all.

Writing news. 
I’ve SEEN the cover photo of Virtuosity!  It exists.  It’s beautiful.  I’m dying show it to everyone and their dog, even strangers who don’t give a crap and their dogs too, but it’s still top secret so all I can do is be annoying and brag about having a secret.

It’s kind of bizarre that I even have something top secret to allude to.  I mean, it’s me.  Top secret refers to Christmas presents, or that mirror I broke when I was thirteen and then hid under the bed because I knew my mom was going to freak out about it (genius move, I know).   I know my book cover is not a matter of national security.  Probably nobody getting water-boarded if it gets leaked (at least I don’t think so, but really, who knows what they’re up to at Simon & Schuster?), and yet I can’t tell.  So…na-na na-na boo boo?  That doesn't seem like top secret protocol.  Clearly, they should have given me better instructions.

Lastly, the WIP is making me really happy right now.  I’m in that place where I daydream about my characters like they’re real people.  I love the way the story is unfolding, I love the direction the characters are moving, and all that’s a relief because it would be a shame if I had to kill everybody off.  Deep down I kind of like unsettling endings, but not that unsettling.  Besides, I have a feeling my editor/agent/every reader in the world might object to that kind of thing, so I guess it’s good I don’t feel the need to actually kill them.  Anybody else like a good bad ending?  What’s the matter with me?  Feel free to answer either of those questions, either in the comments or just to yourself while you’re shaking your head with disgust.    

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Copyedits, Book 2, Twitter, and MY TEETH

Yay, I’m going on vacation!  All the girls are meeting in Montana next weekend, and by all the girls I mean my mom, sister, sisters-in-law, and NO kids.  Here's what I've got lined up: 

1.  Pedicures
2.  Running with my sister
3.  Teasing my mom until she breaks down and swears at me
4.  Convincing my sisters-in-law that they married morons
5.  Team Edward vs. Team Jacob wrestling match.  Losers get thrown in the lake.

That last one is a whole lot funnier if you know the participants and can picture the hair pulling.  I’m just going to save myself the hassle of getting disowned and clarify now that MY MOM NEVER SWEARS, and MY BROTHERS ARE NOT MORONS.  Oh, and also there is a Santa Clause, and Edward isn’t a jerk. 

Writing News:
I got the green light for Book 2!!!  I sent the first three chapters and synopsis to my editor a couple of weeks ago, and got the good news last week.  Sweet relief!  This means I don’t have to hurl my computer off a building, buy a new computer, and then start writing a new novel.  I’ve put way too much time and love into this new book to be zen about a rejection, so yay!  I feel like I can finally take a deep breath.  By the way, this book (and I hope “this book” isn’t my final title) will be out in fall of 2012.

On an awesome note, looky here at what Anica-the-nicest-editor-in-the-world sent me? 

I call this face the half-blinky.  Tyra doesn't teach it on America's Next Top Model because you're either born with it or you're not.  Anyway, Anica felt bad for me because I’ve had a horrific two-week run of dental trauma (crown, crown, root canal, molar extraction,dry socket, bridge, and probably more coming up).  Or quite possibly she just wanted me to shut up already about my teeth on Twitter.  

But for real, what else am I going to tweet about?  Forgetting to pick up my kid at the bus stop? Check.  What I’m eating? Check.  Sister Wives wanting to make my head explode? Check.  I’ve tweeted about all of those things, because whatever I feel passionately about at the moment is what ends up in that little box.  I have great respect for writers who are able to use Twitter as a marketing tool and come off cool (there are lots who do it well), but I really feel like spewing randomness is more my style.  Especially when my oral surgery comes along with a fancy prescription.  Maybe someday I’ll grow up enough to tweet significantly, but until then it will continue to be my ranting receptacle.  I must say, it feels like good therapy.  If you haven't tried, give it a whirl.

So just when I was about to sit down and enjoy my new books, this arrived:

VIRTUOSITY, fresh from copyedit land, ready for me to work my way through!  I felt like a starving five-year-old who’d been given broccoli and a candy bar, and told do the right thing. 

Quite the dilemma.  On the one hand I had pretty new books to escape into, and on the other hand I had the manuscript I’ve already read a gazillion times to mull over.  Hmm…

Since I was the loser kid who ate the broccoli first just in case someone was watching, I forced myself to go through the entire copyedited manuscript in one sitting last night.  SURPRISE: not at all painful!  It was kind of fun actually, mulling over commas and semicolons into the wee hours of the night.  The only lame part was discovering that I have no idea  how to use lay/lie/layed/lied/laid/lode/liederhosen properly, and now a whole string of people at Simon Pulse know that too.  I am ashamed (but not too ashamed to admit it here, apparently) that I looked it up every time I used it, so I actually thought I was using it correctly.  Thanks for nothing, Google and my English degree.  Just kidding kids, stay in school.

So now I can read my books guilt free, as soon as I write the acknowledgments and dedication.  Easy.  I’m acknowledging my dentist, my endodontist,  and my oral surgeon.  And the dedication…um, actually I’m putting that on ebay.  Bidding starts at $5.  Don’t be stingy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sweet Revenge

The other day I got sassed by a Walmart employee wearing a name tag, and I immediately thought two things:

1)      What is this, Miami all over again? 
2)      I am going to name a character after you, and he’s going to be stupid and have body odor issues.  And you will never know it because you probably don’t even know how to read, you cranky jerk you, but I’ll know it, and I’ll smile every time I think about the fact that I’ve slandered your name in my own petty and permanent way.
So after thinking for a while about how awesome that was going to be, I started imagining how I could expand that concept to punish everyone who has ever annoyed me.  Like that kid in junior high who teased me for being a goody-goody and then ended up in juvie for stealing a car in eleventh grade—I’m changing one of the names in my WIP to his name.  Yeah!  How ya like them apples, Paul?

Just to clarify, I’m not obsessed with revenge across the board, I just really enjoy naming characters.  It’s like naming babies, but better because I don’t have to convince my husband of anything, or try to figure out how the other kids are going to twist it to mock them.  Sometimes I switch up the names several times during the writing of a story, just for fun.  I look at nationality, age and popularity, meaning, all sorts of stuff, but often it just comes down getting to use one of the names I wanted for my children but got veto-ed.   I have a long list of those.  It’s not because my husband is picky, but because I like old lady names.  I’ll admit it.  I’m not ashamed.  And should I ever have another girl, she just might be Penelope, or Josephine, or Georgianna, if I can convince him that his opinion doesn’t actually matter. 

Right now I’ve got a very likable character with the same name as one of my nieces.   I may end up changing it, but for now it’s a little “thank you” to her parents who helped me out with my research for the story.   I asked my brother and sister-in-law for some experiences from their childhoods (the aforementioned Paul was right, I was a goody-goody so I’ve got nothing but lameness to draw on), and they provided me with pure gold—long lists of their delinquent teenage activity.  I don’t know if I can even believe half the stuff, but it's very entertaining.  Based on my niece’s gene pool, it’s kind of miraculous she isn’t building a pipe bomb in the basement right now, but she’s only eighteen months old.

Anyway, the moral of this story is don’t cross me people.  And if you buy me something really nice for Christmas you just might end up a main character.
On a less psychotic note, my agent, Mandy Hubbard, has some VIRTUOSITY stuff up on her blog!   She shows the query I sent her, then the pitch she sent out to publishers, and finally what's being printed on the book jacket. 

Parting thought:  See the “follow” button to the right?  When I originally set up the blog I took that off thinking now why would I want to advertise the fact that nobody actually reads this blog?  I have since had it explained that people "follow" blogs so they get email updates when I post (I know, I’m an idiot for not knowing this.)  Anyway, I just want you all to know that it freaks me right out, having it up there.  And if the number never climbs out of  the single digits, I'm going to be indiscriminately hating everyone I know.  That's all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How Peer Pressure and Reverse Psychology Are Ruining My Life

Me: I’m not running a marathon this year.
Husband:  Thank goodness.
Me: Hold me to that, please.
Husband: Gladly.
One Whole Day Later

Brother: Do you want to run the St. George Marathon with me next October?  All the siblings are doing it.
Me: I don’t know.  My book is coming out that month.  Not sure if it’s a good idea.
Brother: You probably shouldn't do it then.  You’d probably just stress yourself out trying to qualify for Boston, or re-injure your hamstring, or something.
Me: Screw it.  I’ll be there.

And if that wasn’t enough, then I came across this picture of the last race we ran together and got all nostalgic.  It was the Grizzly Half-Marathon in Choteau Montana, five years ago.  He placed THIRD OVERALL, and I placed first in my own very small category of women breastfeeding at both the start and finish line.

Now I just need somebody to peer pressure/reverse psychology me out of running a marathon next October.  Any volunteers?  Or just come and run it with us.  Trust me, it'll be fun.  There might be tears, vomiting, chaffing, fainting, and/or bleeding, but it'll be fun.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

 On the Writing Front

VIRTUOSITY Revisions: ACCEPTED!!!  I’ve been sweating bullets over my new ending, but my editor loved it (thank you, Anica!) and the manuscript has been sent to copyediting.  Whatever that is.  Or maybe I should say wherever that is.  Maybe there’s a whole copyediting land with unicorns and cupcakes and free massages.  Hmmm, if so, I hope I get sent to copyediting someday…  (I'm not sure if I actually need to explain that I do have some idea of what copyediting entails or not.  Guess I just did.)

So just when I thought I could stop checking my email four times a minute, Anica told me they were having an open casting call for the cover model, and that if she's allowed to, she’ll send me a picture of the girl they choose!  Back to refreshing the inbox.  I really hope my Carmen doesn’t have a snaggletooth and a monobrow.   

The WIP.  I have got to name this thing so I can stop calling it that.  I’m rewriting, because apparently that is what I do.  My writing process needs some serious tweaking, but I’m not sure how to fix it.  I guess I write books by writing 80,000 words, then realizing I’ve finally found out who my character really is, but that isn’t the same person she was at the beginning of the book, and her story needs to be different too.  So I rewrite the book.  Totally.  It’s not that I don’t outline.  I just have to get to know her really well, the same way you get to know a real person, and that takes me a long time.  Maybe for the next book I’ll do some intensive Daniel Day Lewis style become-my-character-for-a-week instead.  Seriously, that would be easier.  Let’s hope it’s not a book about a serial killer.

Ode to Watching TV with my Husband

I hate COPS.  The show, not actual police officers—I like them just fine.  I’m watching the show right now because I like to be in the same room as my husband in the evening after the kids are down.  Hard to say whether or not this counts as quality time together or not.

Anyway, I hate the show.  At first it’s hilarious (I mean, are people really that stupid?), but then you realize yes they are, and what you’re watching is happening all over America, that there are thousands and thousands of huffers/DUI-ers/wife beaters/tranny prostitutes getting arrested right now.  And that’s sad.  Then you realize there are way way more out there not getting arrested right now.  And that’s scary.

I prefer it when he watches Telemundo.  I don’t speak Spanish, but I get significantly more out of it than ESPN, which is the other go-to.

Clearly, I need to reclaim the remote.

Why I Don’t Reclaim the Remote

I’d much rather make fun of his shows than listen to him make fun of mine. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blah, blah, blah

Hey, I’m dedicating this post to Barb.   She just tore a strip off me at book club for not posting this week.  (Fine, she just asked me why I hadn’t posted—nobody’s crying themselves to sleep over my blog slacking.)  My lame excuse was that I’ve been busy with my WIP, but the truth is I just haven’t had a single funny thought in days.  Not that this has to be Jessica’s comedy hour, but nobody wants to read blah blah blah.  What can I say—my husband’s been out of town and my sense of humor has been dampened by only communicating with people who think the word “bum-bum” is the most HILARIOUS thing in the world. 

So here’s a rundown of my somewhat humorless week.  Brace yourselves:

  • I finished my edits and sent them to my editor.   I’ve been  refreshing my inbox every ten seconds since then.  It’s crazy addictive.  I don’t recommend it.

  • I got a very unfortunate haircut.  Luckily, I don’t like my hair enough in the first place to be all that sad.  I fixed it up myself with some dull kitchen scissors, and it looks much better now.  Two months and I should be back to socially acceptable.

  • I celebrated Banned Books Week by hosting a book burning.  Just kidding.  I went to book club and talked about whether, when, and why violence is appropriate in YA, among other things.  Hooray for Hunger Games!  Definitely a bright spot in the week.

  • Last but not least, I, um, got paid.  For writing my book.  It was surreal, and not at all ho-hum—the whole thing is still so unbelievable (I’m not just doing this for fun?)—but I celebrated by taking the aforementioned comedians for FroYo and the word “bum-bum” was said at least five times, just for laughs.  Clearly I need some tips on celebrating.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

What Would Carmen Wear?

Carmen is the main character in my upcoming novel VIRTUOSITY.  She’s a 17-year-old concert violinist, which means she gets to wear fabulous gowns like the ones you see on the red carpet.

So what would Carmen wear?

Not Exhibit A, B, or C.  That’s a guarantee.  And not anything Lady Gaga has ever worn or will ever wear.  Definitely not the meat dress.

And why am I wondering this now?  Because my editor sent me an email this last week full of gowns they were considering for the cover of VIRTUOSITY!  Imagine my joy, my glee, my freak out dance!

Thus far, being a writer has not been super glamorous.  (Unless you think writing bleary-eyed at 4:30 a.m. in footy-pajamas is super glamorous, and if so, try it and get back to me.)   So to be looking at pictures of real dresses that an actual live model was going to wear at a photo shoot was mind blowing.  

By the way, my editor, Anica Rissi, rules for letting me weigh in on this.  I’d heard not to expect to have input in my cover—most authors don’t—and I was okay with that.  Leaving things to the experts is smart.  My partially-functioning sprinkler system and dead dead lawn are evidence of that (sorry honey, you have other gifts).  I used to play chamber music for weddings, and I don’t know how many times I had a bride nearly ruin her nuptials by choreographing details she had no business messing with.  (And while my fifth bridesmaid is walking in I want you to play Ode to Joy, but then go back to Pachelbel’s Canon for the next two bridesmaids, and then when you see me, start playing Send in the Clowns, because it’s my dad’s favorite song. )  Think I’m joking about that last part?  Wrong.  I ACTUALLY HAD TO PLAY SEND IN THE CLOWNS WHILE A BRIDE WALKED DOWN THE AISLE.  Ask my mom, she was there, playing with me.  I lost a little bit of my soul that day.  Mom, if you’re reading this, back me up here because people never believe me when I tell that story.

Anyway, I was cool with leaving the cover art to the cover artists.

But then they went and asked my opinion, and the power totally went to my head.  How did I forget that I’m the girl who can’t shop for clothes without her sister there telling her what to buy?!   I wrote back with a lengthy explanation of why I loved my favorites.   I don’t know how much my opinion meant, but it probably meant considerably less an hour later when I sent a second email, in which I changed my least favorite dress to my most favorite dress.  Oh, credibility, where are you now?

Doesn’t matter.  I trust the people at Simon Pulse—they make gorgeous covers.  And I've decided that if I ever have the need for a red-carpet gown, I’ll go straight to Lady Gaga for her raw meat dress.  She clearly knows her fashion.  Classy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2 Lists

I’m still in my editing cave, the grass needs cutting, the other novel needs writing, and the kids are starting to smell weird.  And yet, I’m blogging.  Don't worry, I'll be brief.

Dumb Writing Habits I Should Do Something About

  1. Eating while I write.  On the one hand, it makes writing WAY more fun, but now I need an exercise bike with a ledge for my laptop just to balance things out. 
  2. Feeling guilty if I’m writing while my kids are awake, and feeling guilty if I’m not writing while they’re asleep.  It’s an exhausting amount of guilt, really.  I don’t recommend it.
  3. Not having my head in the PR game.  When people find out I’m a writer they expect me to have something intelligent to say.  I usually set them straight with comments like, “Did anyone see the Bachelor Pad last night?  Yeah, that ruled.”   And then I realize I should maybe try to say something smart so people want to buy my book, but by then it’s too late.
  4. Worrying about disappointing my family and friends with my writing.  You’d think I’d be over it at the ripe old age of 31, but I’m not.  I start worrying and then I see the delete button and then....
  5. The internet.  Oh, you tempting she-devil, you. 

My Blog Posting Formula

1.       Write something
2.       Ask my husband to read it and give me his opinion
3.       Listen to his opinion
4.       Yell at him
5.       Begrudgingly implement his suggestions, because they’re pretty good
6.       Apologize for yelling at him 

*Note: #6 is optional, as in, sometimes I just think I should really apologize and that seems to work well enough.

**Another Note: I didn't follow this formula today.  He would've said something like, "Maybe you should just wait to post until you have time to write something good..."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

If Only I Could Grow This

Behold, the playoff beard.

The principle is simple: once your team is in the playoffs you stop shaving and you don’t shave again until they win the Stanley Cup.

Behold, the revisions ponytail.

I got my first set of revisions from my editor last week (yay!), and I decided this would be the hairstyle that would see me through to the end.  I do wash it occasionally, but then it’s back to the ponytail.  To be clear, this is in no way necessary.  I have time to do my hair.  And it's not like the revisions are so traumatic that I'm too distraught to hold a blow dryer.  Just like I’m not too distracted to make a real meal, but my family has been eating scrambled eggs and cereal for dinner for a few days now.  I'm just making it special. 
The editing itself has been fun, and no, I'm not even lying.  My editor’s suggestions are incredible so far, pretty much exactly what the manuscript needs.  Plus, it’s been a long time since I’ve looked at VIRTUOSITY so re-reading it has got me excited all over again about seeing it published. 
Oddly enough though, doing revisions has made me stress over my work-in-progress.  I guess seeing VIRTUOSITY get cleaner and tighter makes me notice how rough the first draft of my wip is.  I just have to remind myself how much rewriting and editing went into getting the first one up to where it is now.  First drafts are hard.  After that, I can rewrite and edit with a smile on my face, but getting that first draft down is almost physically painful.
I’m not sure how long the revisions will take.  Around here, people are hoping not too long because the gym teacher hair is getting old.  And I don't want my kids to get scurvy.  But, as I explained to my husband (a former hockey player), no self-respecting athlete would shave his playoff beard just because it started to smell funky.  Therefore, I will persevere.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Signing Things

I signed my book contract last week!  It was kind of surreal.  I sign my name all day long, but it’s usually just giving Mastercard permission to come take my firstborn child if I don’t pay 19% or 56% or who knows, maybe  83% interest on whatever I’m buying.   But a real contract with a real publisher! Yikes!!!
I’ve only signed a handful of important things in my life.  I guess my marriage certificate was probably fairly important.  The deed to my house.  Maybe my kids’ birth certificates, but after that, I’m drawing a blank.  Unless of course the waiver at that bouncy house place was really as crucial as they pretended it was, which I don’t believe for one second.  (And as if I’m not suing if I break my collarbone anyway…)
Here's what it looks like.

Looking at it, I realize:
1.        I have the signature of a 15-year old.  I want it to be messy and artsy and worldly, but it’s not.  You can read all the letters, and if I intentionally scribble in the middle it just looks like I had a mini seizure.  Note the second signature.
2.       My name is confusing.  Am I Hispanic?  I wish.  I only know four or five words in Spanish and they can all be found on the Taco Bell menu.   I just married well.  (Side note on the confusing—I had my first child in Miami and every single doctor or nurse coming through the delivery room door did so talking to me in Spanish.  I was ready to throw a cup of ice chips at the next person who said Senora Martinez, como esta?  As it turns out, me+pain=shocking intolerance.)
VIRTUOSITY’s tentative release date is for October 2011, which means I have about 13 months to get a cool signature, on the off chance I get asked to sign a book.  Maybe a tube of red lipstick would be a better idea and I can just kiss every book I see, whether I wrote it or not.  Wait, I just pictured myself getting kicked out of Barnes and Noble for making out with all the books.  Beautiful.

Speaking of signatures, I found this the other day.  It was stuffed into an old book.

I can’t believe I’m posting this.  No, that’s not my maiden name—Wilson is the last name of a guy I really liked, and no, I’m not saying when.  Fine.  It was in COLLEGE, and I didn’t even date the guy!  We hung out for about a month one summer, and from that I extrapolated my new name, our wedding colors, the names of four children, and the decorating scheme for our house.   So again, WHY AM I POSTING THIS?  Because apparently, I have no shame.  And also, finding it slammed me back into my teenage years, which for a YA writer is a good.   I like to think I haven’t really matured much beyond 19 anyway, but occasionally I get a good reminder of the crazy optimism that I love about this age, which makes me want to go work on my next novel. 
Random and Unrelated Portion of This Post:
Who wants naked stick figures?  I know, you’re thinking I’m a liar.  In the manifesto (a few posts back) I said no nudity, but actually what I said was limited nudity.  I found this on the back of a shopping list while looking for my son’s social security number this week.  I thought, “Why is this shopping list from forever ago in my son’s file folder?” and I almost threw it out.  Then I saw it.
His first stick figure.  He was the kid who would rather eat a crayon than put it to paper, so I remember being amazed when he actually did this.  And then I looked closer.  Are all the vital parts there?  Sort of.  A head, no arms, but 2 legs, and what’s that?  Oh yes.  Everything is accounted for.  The fundamental man.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What's that again?

I never re-read books. It's not a policy or something I'm actually advocating, but at any given time I feel like there are at least thirty books I want to be/should be reading, so re-reading doesn't even occur to me. This week, however, I'm throwing caution into the wind.

The showdown: Anne of Green Gables vs. Handmaid's Tale.  It's not really a showdown--I'm not comparing them. That would be stupid.  I am, however, alternating chapters just for pure shock value.  It's like going back and forth between hot chocolate and a Slurpee.  That hurts my teeth just thinking about it.  I'm reading them both as research for the novel I'm working on.  (I know, if you've read both of these books you're thinking "what the?" and honestly, so am I right now.)

It's been about 20 years since I read Anne, and 10 since Handmaid, so it's kind of a relief to still be loving them both. I'll recant if that changes, but for now it's nice being able to tell myself I have to be reading both of these books.  Makes me have warm fuzzy thoughts about being a writer.

See the Zhu Zhu Pet? After totally alienating the animal-loving population in my first post (probably not smart), I decided to show my soft and cuddly side. I got these for my kids and they rule. The kids love them, and they barely even know they aren't alive. Best part: they don't poop every five seconds like the real guinea pig we used to have but had to give away because the smell was driving me insane.  See?  I'm not a terrible person.  There's room in my heart for a chirping, battery-operated  friend with an "off" switch.  Next week I'll post pictures of the plants I'm intentionally killing right now.  They're just so freaking needy...

And now for the totally random part of this post:

I saw this ad for Disney auditions in the newspaper today, and my knee jerk reaction was, "Yay!  Now I can be a Disney Princess!  This is the best part about living in Orlando!"

It took me a few seconds to remember:

A.  There are a whole bunch of Disney Princesses and I don't look ANYTHING like ANY of them.  No self-esteem interventions please, I like myself just fine, but seriously, no resemblance.  I'm probably closest to looking like Mulan, and I'm not even Asian.  I just have similar shaped eyes and am much more likely to be able to disguise myself as a man than as Ariel.  If you know what I mean.

B.  I'm not looking for a job!  I feel like I've got way too much on my plate right now, and I'm already dropping the ball in more than a few area.  Today's example:  I forgot that Wednesday was early day and wasn't there to pick up my brand new little kindergartner from the bus drop off.  That's right.  Worst mother ever.  One of the other mothers in our neighborhood walked him home for me, and I'm so embarrassed I want to curl up into a ball and read Anne of Green Gables without the electric cattle prod effect of Handmaid's Tale.  Who forgets their five year old on his first week of school ever?  In my defense, it was MY first early day too and next Wednesday I'll be extra special early.  The other mothers on my block are probably planning some kind of intervention for me right now.

I guess my take home lesson is it's probably not wise to go auditioning for Disney Princess gigs yet. Also, now that my kids have schedules, I should really start using my planner.