Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Good Writing Day

I've been writing short stories lately and I just finished one that, when I woke up this morning, I was kind of unsure about. I was worried that after all the the work I'd done this week, and how well it was going, that I would somehow macerate it to pieces today. But I didn't. I just had a major epiphany while I wrote it. I'm crying; I'm so relieved. I was writing it and this epiphany was going on for me and for my character and now I'm overwhelmed. It's times like this that I am reminded exactly of why I write. And I'm so grateful for this!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bugs 'R' US

Julia was sick today, but Liam wasn't, so I piled them both in the car and took him to school and then her to the store to buy an orange and some chicken noodle soup. On the way back home from the store Julia started screaming bloody murder. I have never heard her scream like that, ever, so I instantly pulled over to see what was going on. I thought maybe she had a spider on her; maybe it had bitten her. I turned around and she points to my seat. Right there, just a few inches from my arm, sat a HUGE praying mantis.


I dump out the food stuff and use the plastic bag as a glove to capture the thing and then threw it out the window (just the mantis-I ain't a litterer). Then I watched as it landed to the pavement and sort of shook out its long alien legs, then it turned his animatronic freak head to look up at the car. At me.


I hate these things. How the hell did it get in my car????? Poor Julia was so upset and came home to hug Henry the dachshund real hard for comfort. I would have hugged him too but Julia has first rights sometimes.

And then, yeah there's more, about half an hour later I go to pick up a refrigerator magnet that one of the kids had left on the floor, and a black spider jumps off of it. What did I do to deserve this plethora of bug hell? Tell me, cause I'll avoid it next time.


Sunday, August 29, 2010


Since everyone (well, at least my best blogger friends) is talking about vacations today, I'll tell you about mine. Things in my memory can be sorted out like the bible: there was BDL(Before Dad Left) and ADL(After Dad Left).

BDL our vacations consisted of his church (cult) trips to the Ozarks. I was too young to remember any of those, but Mom always talks about the trauma she endured in being stuck with three kids, crowds, and a group of God Raving men on a roller coaster.

ADL there was absolutely no money for vacation. Mom had her job at the library where she acted as librarian and provided social services to the community, ironically making IOU's to the cash pocket in the file cabinet so we could buy groceries. Government cheese and boxes of powdered milk could be found in our home—extra stock and very needed. Vacations were one of those things that just were not available, that is, until land share vacations came around. If you've never heard, it's basically a pitch to come and look at plots of land. They're just sure you will buy, and give you a couple of nights in a hotel as deposit and good faith. Mom had no intention in buying any such land, but yes, she'd take the free vacation. So we drove through Missouri down into Arkansas and had a few stays at some very nice little hotels, looked at the land, said no, and came home. One time Mom made a bad move and told the real estate guy we weren't really going to buy, and he took away our rights to the game room and swimming pool. Picture us three kids standing behind a metal fence watching a crowd of happy children running around in their swimming suits having the best of times.

Mom would plan little side trips to make the stolen vacation seem more exciting. One stop had us all digging through a huge mountain of dirt. It was a "find yourself a diamond" place, which could be exciting if you weren't seven and hot and up to your neck in dust and pieces of broken glass. Every once in a while someone would jump up from their pit and yell, "I got one!" and run off to the diamond-checker dude. Then three-minutes later they'd come sulking past, muttering, "It was only a chunck of Seven-up bottle." It is only till now that I question diamonds being in a plot of dust. Aren't they supposed to be in caves? Which reminds me of the cave tour we took. We all climbed aboard a little tram and were driven through the dark, cold underworld of Missouri. Tales were told, beautiful dripping stalagmites were ogled at. We heard about bats and how much they love caves, and then on the way out, the man in front of us jumped from his seat in the tram and began to smack at his back right shoulder. "A bat! A bat!" It was only a leaf and all us kids had a great laugh at his expense. It had been the best part of the tour.

My adult vacations are all about Colorado. I love Colorado and want to go back so bad, but probably won't be able to for a while. She's often in my dreams; I can feel her cool breezes and can smell her pine and aspen.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I was listening to Carole King's Tapestry last night, and remembered how much I love her. She never considered herself the most beautiful woman in the world, and it took much prodding to get her to record the album, early 70's. You may not know this, but she wrote/helped write many of the famous songs of the 1960's, and it's unfortunate that her versions are the ones lesser heard on the radio. She was feminine soul, and more than that, she was vulnerable with her feelings; real. Listening to her version of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" is an incredibly tender and moving experience, perhaps made so because it came straight from her own heart.

One of my favorites on Tapestry is "Beautiful", a precursor perhaps to the Christina Aguilera song written by Linda Perry. It goes further than to have an anthem of self-respect, and is more about the way to be beautiful in how we approach the world, not just how the world sees us as we pass through.

Have a wonderful Friday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Busy Season

My little Julia is excited about fall coming, and has started to gather leaves from the backyard. They're mostly ones that fell off from the dry weather, but I didn't tell her that. Well anyway, she did that for a while yesterday afternoon, but by evening had started in on wintertime. She drew a series of pictures that featured snowbanks and frozen ponds with a garland of icicles that she cut out and hung over her Littlest Pet Shop house. She even drew out all the parts of a snowman: three different sized balls of snow, a carrot, coal eyes and mouth, stick arms. I asked her where the scarf was and she got busy drawing that as well. She then cut it all out and used tape to put it all together. There's a whole snow scene now, and Eve and Wall-e are inside nestled in their beds (kitchen towels that she swiped off the counter when I wasn't looking), with the hippo from Madagascar as an added guest off to the side.

It was fun listening to her playact last night as I wrote. Of course, now I have leaves and trails of paper everywhere.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tucker Twain and the Gran Fury

First part of a story. Sorry, you can't have the ending yet. Mwahahahahahahahaha.

Filling Station Flip

Tucker and his son Jim had worked together at their own filling station since Jim could hold a rag and walk without falling down, though Tucker’d had to keep a good eye on the little tyke to make sure he didn’t get squashed into the oil spotted pavement by somebody's old Chevy. Jim turned out to be quite smart about these things, and was also good about hanging onto his father’s overalls at most times of the day, so worries slipped off soon enough.

It was a good attraction to have Jim shining up cars and washing windows standing on an old wooden crate. People decided it was worth it to drive the extra three blocks from the more professional looking, self-serve station that had been built only a year before right next to the IGA supermarket. They said, “What a good boy he is, that son of Tucker,” and “Isn’t it cute to see a young’n like that working so hard?” And it was good. He was a good boy through and through and Tucker loved him more than he could have loved anything on this earth; more than money; more even than his wife.

One day, when Jim was still so young to be a novelty, but old enough to be watching his own footsteps, a gold Plymouth came rolling into the station, ran over the bell wire, and parked right next to the unleaded pump. The windows were dark tinted, and the tires spotlessly clean as if they hadn’t driven through any of the gravel streets of town.

“Must’ve come right off the interstate,” Tucker mused to himself, grabbing his oil rag and wiping down his sweat covered forehead. “I’ll go see what he wants. Stay here son, and stack those Penzoil cans.”

Little Jim made no answer; he was already busy doing just that and didn’t want to ruin the perfect row he’d created.

Tucker advanced toward the car. Cops in town used Plymouths just like this one, but theirs were painted with the standard black and white colors and letters known to be of the law enforcement kind. A 1977 body with tiny chip on the windshield, he thought to himself, stopping right next to the driver’s side window. He waited for it to be rolled down so he could offer his services.

He heard the sound of an automated window, and soon saw, in slow revelation, the image of a face mostly covered with a black cap and wide, gold-rimmed sunglasses. “Mr. Twain?”

“Yep. That be me. How can I help you?”

The round tip of a gun barrel raised up and pointed into his face. “I want the boy.”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I just can't quit you!

Another day commeth and drove away. Now it's Tuesday and time to really get serious about this week, the last of August. I've almost finished that Larry McMurtry epic, but let me tell ya, it was tough. I liked Patsy, then I hated Patsy. I loved reading about the rodeo and Sonny Shanks, Pete and Hank and Flap and Emma . . . but the same things kept happening over and over, and I got tired. But I am going to read those last few pages, or die trying. The funny thing is that when I'm done, I'll probably go get another one of his novels. Oh boy, what's wrong with me?

What are you guys reading? Do you read the back cover before deciding, or the first few pages, or (gasp) flip through to the end (cheaters)?

Monday, August 23, 2010

I read it on the internet so . . .

Okay, so I know many of you do the whole Twitter thing, Facebook, and of course we all blog. These activities are part of an online presence that we use to build our career, draw in fans, spread news about our projects, contests, etc. Let's say you're shy like me, but let it loose online. People who don't know me think I'm very quiet and reserved, but spend enough time, and maybe some liquor, and I'm ME. I gotta trust ya first. Well, so people online are getting to see and hear the real me all the time (for better or worse) and so if I ever met them, there'd be no shyness, no reason to hide anything. That's what an online presence does. It draws like-minded people, because no one's going to read a blog or follow someone on Twitter if they can't stand them. Basically, we're not wasting any time here; we're targeting the right places instead of aimlessly walking through a town hanging promotional posters that will only be thrown away. We're also making friends.

I find that kind of amazing. If we all met up we'd probably get along better than some people we know in our day-to-day, real life existence. We'd see past the quirks, the shyness, the seemingly uptight snobbishness.

So, my point is that although these things seem time consuming or technically intimidating, they are a great venue for our talents. And if used correctly, will bring you some really positive results.

Do you find this to be true in with your online experiences? How do you use the internet to further your connections and spread the word about your writing?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good Kind of Day

Just wanted to say Happy Sunday, hope things are well. I'm working hard on a new short story, so that's what is keeping me from being around so much.

I'm listening to some good music, got my cup of coffee, it's rainy, cloudy outside but I kind of like that for this pre-fall Sunday morning. Kinda diggin' it. I'll return later with the story for those of you who need a good Saia tale (harhar) and then erase it later before the commi-gods come and kick me in the buttox.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Balloon Heart

It has been an interesting week with both the kids starting school: Liam for the first time with preschool, and Julia with kindergarten. I have to race around town trying to get them to their classes on time, and then race back a few hours later to pick them both up (different schools). I wouldn't call it fun, but it is exciting and I love to see my babies in this whole new stage of life.

Though I have to say, summer went by way too fast. I mean, here we were just starting to get a regular schedule going at the pool. We had our Queen theme song and our snacks and full bottle of sunscreen. We had Mario Head and Spore and Justin Bieber on Youtube (don't actually watch these, they're very moronic and of a fifth grade humor. I spent all summer NOT watching them myself). We had crafts and books, apple picking and laughter. Dammit, we had mountains of cookies!!! Now . . . it's all so quiet. Geez I get melancholy about this stuff. I'm supposed to be excited that the kids are out of my hair for awhile. But I'm not. I miss them when they're gone. I just want them to be a little less annoying when they're home, and not make a mess everywhere, is that too much to ask?

Well, not much I can do about it. And hey, Julia's only gone for the morning and Liam's off on Fridays (we dropped sis off and went and had a donut together this morning). So all is not completely lost. Sigh. It's so crazy being a mom. You're torn this way and that. Your heart is like a balloon that keeps getting blown up till you think it'll explode, then all the air is let out unexpectedly.

There's always next summer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Super Great Contest Alert!

Hey friends, I just wanted to let you know that there are just a few days left to enter your work in the Lettuce WRITE contest over at Karen's blog. I highly recommend it. If you have a manuscript you are ready to query, please take a look. Good luck! Oh, and wish me a little bit of the same, I'll be entering too!

Hold on, you gotta let go

I was thinking how enraptured we have to be with our writing in order to get to those fabulous words, The End (which, by the way, no one types anymore, but it sounded good to say it anyway). I'm talking months of writing time with real life weaving in and out of the rapture, pulling you this way and that, distracting you, compromising your well laid out plot and character voice. I know I write better when I am absolutely drenched with the character(s) thoughts and mannerisms. Sound familiar? How do you keep yourself motivated with your writing? Do you need to role play, or does it come to you naturally the minute you sit down? Everyone's different!

Others might find what we do a rather childish occupation. "What do you mean you just spent an hour talking to a fictional character in your head?" Don't worry about it. We are so lucky to get to do this! This whole pretend thing that we do is what makes it so insanely fun, and it's necessary. Writing isn't just about being able to put together a great sentence over and over until you hit the last word. It is about creating something special that others can escape to. The only way to do that is for you, yourself, to escape.

I think one of the biggest reasons we experience writer's block is because we stopped believing in the character world; we were yanked out by some real-life experience, or someone told us it was all stupid or the voice was bad. Believe in the voice, believe in the world of your story, and the rest will follow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Perhaps sending in that query for a book or story is like jumping off a bridge (bungee style of course). The thoughts that go through your head are what define the experience. One person might look down and make the mistake of picturing their death. Hard to jump after thinking something like that. Another person thinks that it will be a great rush, and wants to linger in the whole adrenaline-fused moment. It's not if they live or die; it's the whole act of it that they get off on. Lastly, a person might think of the consequences, but decide it's worth the risk. They know the cord will most likely hold out, and that, even though sacred shitless, the experience is worth the risk. They neither crave nor shun the moment, they just want to know that they are brave enough to do it, that the experience will be good for them as a human and will enhance the rest of their life.

Okay, maybe sending in our work isn't quite a thrilling, soul-defining as jumping off a bridge, but it does feel like it sometimes. We spend so much time on our writing, don't we? And we want to be good at what we do—we want to know it hasn't all been in vain.

But the only way to find out is to jump. Continuously jump, and continuously have faith that everything will turn out right. We must find the joy, the pleasure, the passion, the excitement, the reason right now to make that jump and not dwell in the fear. It doesn't matter about what happens after we jump, just go for it and be brave.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Nervous Neurotic Nitwit

You know, sometimes I'm absolutely ravenous to write, and other times I avoid it like it's a homework assignment. I do know that most fears are put to rest after I've gotten into a good flow of writing. It's just getting there that seems the hard part sometimes. That's why I generally tell myself to go ahead and write, all with the precursor that it doesn't have to be good, it just has to be written, and then after that we'll see and worry. Not need to call for help, "We have a Freak Out!"

Kind of in one of those hard to get started phases. I think the fact that school begins this week is what is messing with my brain. Once I get used to all that, things will work out. Any one else out there get nervous like this and worry that they'll never write again, or at least, anything good ever again?

What really makes me nervous, since I'm admitting all this anyway, is the thought of sending out short stories to magazines. You think I'd be excited, but I'm absolutely terrified! The thought of somebody tossing my stuff to the side of their desk and forgetting it forever just makes me wince. But I am not going to concentrate on that (since it is inevitable and happens to many writers on a daily basis), no, I'm going to step into the feeling of excitement and forget the fear—let that lead the way. Wish me luck, and good luck to all of you with your writing! Liam is wrecking something so I gotta go.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dial "1" for Silence

Sometimes I go through spots of time where I don't really have that much to say, or, at least, I don't know what to say. All I know is it will come back and there's nothing to worry about. Only it makes me a horrible friend to others. I hate chit-chat and lose more friends over this stupid thing called conversation. Do we really have to call each other every day? I'm fine, I hope you're fine. Debates are more my style, but who the hell wants to debate religion and politics with their friends? No one. Not smart people at least. Wait, I think I just incriminated myself.

I wrote a song about this once, "You . . . you know I . . . hate to talk for nothing. I'm . . . as silent as the moon." Hey, that was a pretty cool song I wrote.

But conversation, what is this incessant need to talk? It certainly hasn't been a gift for me. I spent way too many hours alone as a child sitting in front of the record player watching it spin, dreaming, dreaming. I had no one to talk to. And now . . . even if there was, I wouldn't know what to say.

Anyway, the birds sing, the crickets chirp, they're all speaking but they're not really saying anything. They are vibing, joining in a rhythm. They are recording and repeating. They are buzzing and building and breathing. They aren't speaking, not really. The locusts outside have been humming all summer and the hotter it gets, the louder they hum. I'd like to hum. Or I could rub my hot, August legs together like a cricket and squeak out a signal, "Come over here, I'm lonely." But that might scare people away.

Night is silent. Night is beautiful. I like night and the stars with their soft glowing light so far away. I could be night, and it would all make sense.

But until then . . . I just listen. I listen to the silence. And it is golden.

"Oh My Gawd!"

I don't have much to write at the moment, maybe later. But I did want to share this hilarious video. It's sort of like Candid Camera, but for modern times.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gourmet Love

I have a new favorite thing, rather silly it is. Okay, I'll just tell you and get it over with. I love watching old episodes of The Galloping Gourmet with Graham Kerr on Cooking Network. There, I've told you. I used to be in love with Jacques Pepin, but now it's Graham. He's so funny, and he never actually cooks anything worth eating, but he cracks me up so much that I just can't help but watch. I even tape the show and watch it two, sometimes three times.

He's like a lost cast member from Monty Python; he's like Dick Van Dyke with a proper British accent; he's tipsy, hilarious, swanky, silly. In about two hours he'll be on. Yesterday was crab and veggies wrapped in a filo dough. It doesn't matter what he cooks. I'll be watching and so will the kids. Then it's off to the library for more books, though I shouldn't read too much because I'm determined to get my book written before Sept. 1. I will, and that's that.

A nice Picture of Graham. Graham the Man.

I love this old 70's kitchen set-up. It's groooooy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday Ramblings

I have been losing myself in the Larry McMurtry novel Moving On which is in all essence about a crying, temperamental, gorgeous Texas girl named Patsy Carpenter. She and her husband Jim have been following the rodeo circuit for a photography book he was planning on putting together, only he never seemed to be taking any pictures. They met all the different folks of the rodeo and have now moved on back to Houston so Jim can forgot the photography and concentrate on graduate school, late 1960's. I'm a little spent at this point. It's been over two-hundred pages and I'm a little tired of Texas. Hell, I'd be tired of Kansas if that was what the book was about, so Texans take no offense please.

There's two things keeping me reading this novel: I like Patsy, and I like McMurtry's writing. But I think I'll put it down for just a moment and read something else just to clear my head.

Somewhere in Time was on yesterday—and you know how much I love Christopher Reeve. The movie, and his acting, was panned on initial release, but it has survived and become a cult classic, something I did not know when I saw it for the first time earlier this year. But, you see, I love time travel and this one does it very well, following Finney's theories of self-hypnosis from Time and Again.

The music in this film is really beautiful. I guess Jane Seymour, who plays Elise McKenna, asked a composer friend if he'd write the score and voila' magic! By the way, I never thought much of Jane Seymour until I saw this, but she is just perfect as the Victorian Elise. Her impromptu speech to Richard (Reeve) while on stage brings tears to my eyes whenever I see it. In fact, I can pretty much stand there and recite it from memory now, something which cracks Liam up. He likes the penny scene at the end, but I won't tell you anything about that!

Anyway, here's the beautiful score from Somewhere in Time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I'm baaaaaack

So I'm starting to feel the melancholy. School starts next week, summer is coming to an end, the show officially ran its course yesterday and we tore down the set. Everything has decided to end just about the same time and I feel it in my soul.

I was super stressed out this last week, memorizing words and steps. I was overwhelmed and nervous, but excited . . . happy. I was feeling the pain of being such an introvert among a whole bunch of really talented ladies who've been on stage much more than I have, and in much bigger productions, and who all knew each other and had that sort of larger than life stage personality. I felt like I was a little bit lost perhaps, and in the way. But that was just me freaking out.

All last week we had dress rehearsal at the theater. Our dressing room was backstage and clothing was hung everywhere, makeup was all over the counters, curling irons, heels. Heck, we even had feathers strewn around back there (from the Aretha Franklin number—think BIG). You bond so much in those rushed moments. It's a whole pattern of, "This person is on stage, so use the mirror now. Oh crap! Time to go on. Hey, grab my boots will you? Thanks!" Hobbling toward stage right, walk on just in time with boots on at the last second.

I loved being Joni Mitchell. I wore an off white hippie dress with a large leather belt, beaded earrings, and a long braid in the side of my hair. Janis Joplin was on before me singing Bobby McGee, and I was back there every night dancing around. Then when she walked off with her empty bottle of Jack, I would saunter onstage, guitar in hand, ready to sing about that parking lot and paradise. "Don't it always seems to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone . . ." How true. It was lovely working with all these great women/girls. I ache now, because it's over.

We were so worried that it wouldn't be good. But the show received great reviews, and we have been asked by several people to do some extra shows in the future. Sort of a traveling revue.

So anyway, I'm not sure what to do with myself now. For weeks I kept thinking to myself, "I can't wait until I can devote myself to writing again," and now I'm a little lost. I did write this morning, though, so all is good. For the rest of the day/week I plan to watch some movies, read a lot, clean the damn house, and just hang out with my beautiful kids.

But, will fake eyelashes and black eyeliner be part of my future again? Why yes, I think it shall.

Ya'll know I write under a pen name. photo credit: Web-Betty Pete's Kitchen | Denver, CO via photopin (license) A girl’s...