Tag Archives: writing

I’m screaming…just so you know!

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The unspeakable just happened…and I may throw up…across the room and all the way to town.  Somehow, in some completely foreign, unknown to me way, I just lost at least 2 chapters of my latest book and all the rewrites I did Saturday.  I don’t know what the heck just happened!  I opened it up to start anew and it’s just gone…like disappeared gone.  I always, always save my work…heck, my computer does it for me if I don’t do it often enough!  Where could it have gone?

Okay fellow writers, what do you do when this happens to you?  Do you cry, scream, run in circles?  Do you try to rewrite what you had or just start over?

I feel like I just lost a couple of toes…like they vanished without preamble off my foot.  I know it’s ridiculous, I know I’m freaking out over something not really worth freaking out over…but ugg….those were my thoughts, pages of my other life, my little word babies.

Help!

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Being Thankful

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I asked my students, with absolutely no prodding or help from me, what they’re thankful for.  I refused to give them any ideas, and they had to come up with five different things.  Their responses were timeless, innocent and pure.  They never cease to amaze me…especially when you dig down to what’s just below the surface.  Here are a few of their responses:

 My family (this was a biggy – almost every one of them wrote it)

Love

Toilet Paper

God

Jesus

My class

Grandma & Grandparents

Mesa Blocks (not sure I know what those are)

I’ll be honest here…the world seems much less scary to me when I see these responses.  Truly.  Just think…what if these babies could keep their focus just on (most of) the items listed above?  Just think where the new generation could lead this world if their hearts stayed true to family, God, and love.

With each passing day, I find I have more to be thankful for.  And it’s not just the big things.  Of course I’m thankful for my family…they are my most cherished gift, one that I cling to each and every day.  Of course I’m thankful for nourishment and shelter…I know I’m so blessed to have what some don’t and may never have.  The thing is, I find myself more thankful for the little things these days.  Things like a pain-free body when I get up in the morning, a warm, soft bed to fall into at night.  I cherish the little conveniences of life…things like coffee and central heat and air and indoor plumbing.  I cling to my books and savor each day I get to write.

I’m also thankful for the silly things…like XM radio and the classic rock stations.  I’ve discovered channel 57 (Y2K country – and all I can say is thank you for some decent country music.  It saves me from having to listen to the new, overly produced, male heavy country music of today.  Gag me.)

I’m also thankful for the encouragement I get from the readers of my blog.  Opening myself to others and admitting that I love to write was very difficult for me.  I guess I spend too much time in the worry zone.  Anyway, your sweet comments and kindness have fueled my love for writing even more and given me courage to share some of my stories.  For that, I cherish each one of you.  I truly hope you have the best Thanksgiving ever.

For me and my family, we’ll be keeping our eyes and hearts on the words above…family, love, God, and enough toilet paper for the 35 folks coming to visit on Thursday!

Movies and Books

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I finally made it to the theater to see Gone Girl and The Best of Me.  There has never been a movie I like better than the book…not Harry Potter or Gone With the Wind…not any of them.  There’s just no way to capture the essence of the written word on screen, to me anyway.  These two followed suit.  Yes, they were both good but I still liked the books better.  Gone Girl’s screenplay was written by Gillian Flynn so that helped tremendously in translating the book to screen, but the Nicholas Sparks book…well, it was as if they stripped it raw and made up their own story.  I wonder how he feels about that?  I wonder if it drives him nuts that movie executives take his carefully scripted book and change it into something that could never be as wonderful as the original story?  It would me.

I’ve been reading like a maniac lately, one book after the other through my local library’s on-line eBook resource.  I love it.  (Sidebar:  I still LOVE to hold a book rather than my I-Pad but sometimes laziness wins the battle.)  However, I’ve found myself in a reading rut…as in reading the same type book over and over.  I now know more about Scottish Lords than any female has the right to know.

So help!  What book has snagged you lately?  I need titles, please, and lots of them.  With winter making an early appearance, I need a thorough list of must reads.

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Confessional time…

I signed up for the NaNoWriMo writing challenge.  (It’s the National November Writing Month challenge where you write 50,000 words in a month.)  Well, it’s the middle of November and I’m nowhere near 25,000 words.  Why November is what I’m asking?  There’s a holiday in this month, dang it.  Let’s move it to January when there’s absolutely nothing going on.  I guess they couldn’t call it NaNo then.  Anyway, I’m trying to get more word to paper.  Wish me luck!

And remember, please let me know great books you’ve come across lately!

 

Writer’s Block

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What exactly is writer’s block?  I won’t pretend to know, but something is going on.  Something in my head.  I want to write but when I sit down at my computer…nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  And I’m frustrated.  I have this story in my head but it won’t transfer through my fingers to the computer.

I’ve tried to dissect it…this strange clogging of thoughts…and so far this is what I’ve gathered.  Maybe I’m in a funk.  Do you have them?  You know, the I feel thick and sluggish and I’m tired all the time and if I don’t get out of my house soon, somebody’s going to get hurt feeling.  Please tell me that someone else feels this way too!  I’d hate to think I’m the only human being that gets stir crazy.

What’s the culprit?  Many things, I believe.

First, my kids are growing up and they don’t need me as much anymore.  They don’t need me to drive them around.  There are no camps, no trips to town for the thousands of things they need.  Now they do it on their own.  It’s a blessing in so many ways but still…suddenly I’m a momma only needed for the occasional meal, laundry services and advice once or twice a week.  It’s such a dramatic change from life before.  I’ve always said raising children should come with warning labels and this is one of them – I will grow up and leave you.  Suck it up.

Second, I’ve been home-bound this summer.  Not by some injury or ailment.  Just home-bound because I have nothing to do…absolutely nothing.  Which sounds wonderful, I know!  And for the first few weeks of summer it was.  Now, I’m getting restless.  My hubby says I need to get my butt back to work.  Maybe he’s right.

Third, we’ve taken no vacations this summer.  Hubby’s job won’t allow it, and the lack of travel and one-on-one time with my family is making me cranky.  I need to see something else besides the (wonderful) walls of my house.  We’ve always traveled every summer…wonderful places like New York and Maine and Mackinac.  Not this year, and I miss it.

Fourth, I’m not doing enough for others.  I’ve come to the conclusion that my boredom/self-pity/restlessness stems from the giving of myself all school year coming to a screeching halt.  Yes, teachers need a break to recover from one school year before tackling another, but I need to find other ways to give in the summer.  (And honestly, something that has nothing to do with small children – that’s my full-time job.)

So…writers block, writer’s block.  It sucks and it needs to go.  Should I run off to some foreign location for a week?  Or how about kidnap my hubby for a few days and disappear north?  Hmm…or maybe, just maybe, I should go on the hunt for somebody who needs help.  Whatever it is, I’ve got to find a way to clear this funk in my head.  I’m on the count-down for the beginning of the next school year, and I need to start with a fresh, clear, funk-less mind.

Any ideas…anyone, anyone?  Beuller, Beuller?  (Sorry – told you I was going stir crazy!)

My imaginary happy place.

My imaginary happy place.

 

 

Summer On Purpose

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Summer is here!  Woo-hoo!  I honestly can’t believe it still.  We’ve been out of school for a week now, and I’m still in some sort of weird denial.  Maybe it’s because I’m still trying to write April on my checks.  Don’t know.  I keep telling myself it’s real…maybe it’ll sink in soon.

With summer comes the lists, the plans.  I refuse to waste nine wonderful weeks.  My plans go something like this…read, clean, write, write, write, read again, clean out a closet or two, read, write, write, write.  Let’s hope I can stick to the plan!

I have one book I’m editing (which makes me giggle each time I say it because I’m no editor), one I put down a year ago that needs an ending (not sure why I put it down), and one I just started.  I plan to give them all lots of attention this summer.

I read a wonderful quote on-line – it said, “…be an on purpose person.”  That means living my life each day with some sort of goal, don’t you think?  It’s so easy for me to get caught up in stuff…stuff that eats away time, not material stuff.  I don’t want to look up in July and wonder what I’ve accomplished over the summer.  So my purpose for this summer is to spend time doing what I love, and I love writing.

Periodically, I get reminded by a punch to the gut that life is not endless.  Our community suffered another loss of a child this week – a 16 year-old, polite, kind boy.  I hate that these moments make me more aware of passing time.  I hate that sometimes I need a nudge to get to doing and get to living.  I have dreams…I best get to making them come true.

 

“The brightest of flames becomes an ember.  You better live life while you can.” – Keith Urban

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Twitter, tweet, twerking…

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Twitter, tweets, twerking…wait I don’t think the last one has anything to do with the first two.  Right?  Today I joined Twitter, and all I can say is…whew…I’m so very confused!  Does that show my age, my lack of social media expertise, or just my reluctance to branch into something new?  I’m afraid it’s all three!

I’ve joined Twitter…by name only.  Now what?  They made me pick a few people to follow.  Check.  Did that.  Now what?  No…really…now what??

I can only use so many characters in a tweet…got that.  BUT…what about the links I saw, and all of the Greek, unknown language I truly didn’t recognize?

This is me rubbing my face, thinking I’ll have to have my 19-year-old help me do this.  UGGG!

So…really…is there anyone who can help?  I want to connect with other writers, other people who are learning how to publish books.  Got any suggestions?  Or know of any good Twitter sites to follow?  (Wait…do they have ‘sites’ or is that just on the internet?  I’m so confused.)

Fiddle-de-de, no that’s not right.  It’s twitter-de-de…I’m done for now – after all, tomorrow is another day.

Happy 4th!!

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Happy Independence Day!

 These may be the only fireworks I see this year.  It is pouring down rain here in Tennessee – buckets and buckets of rain.

The prettiest fireworks I have ever seen were sitting on the beach in Huntington, California.  We were on vacation there, and the fireworks appeared in shapes such as hearts and cubes in the sky – very cool.  My children were most impressed.

I have another reason for fireworks today.   I just finished my current book!  Yahoo!!!!

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Granted, it still needs a ton of editing…but it’s finished, done, and over!  So proud of it and myself for finishing it.  This book has taken me the longest to complete because of work, raising teenagers, major life stress, etc.  You know, all the things we all are bogged down with from time to time.  It feels like a real accomplishment to finally finish it.  I keep singing this little song (I don’t know the words to) in my head – “I don’t care…I love it…I don’t care!”  Couldn’t tell you what the song is about or why it’s in my brain but it’s sort of my celebration song today.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!!!

P.S. – Darla from the Little Rascals movie – “He makes me melt like a popsicle on the fourth of July.”  Don’t you just love it?

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

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Does everything hinge on love?

If you have it all – a beautiful home, nice cars, fancy clothes – does it make you whole?  Complete?

Even as you secretly yearn for your neighbors new phone or the expensive boots they’re wearing, will getting them make you full?

And how about your actions?  If you force yourself to do and say the right things in and out each day, are you satisfied?  What if you go to church every Sunday and earnestly listen, claiming to be devout but still find yourself empty, what then?

What if none of it mattered?  Not the things you have or the things you do if behind it all, there’s no love or compassion?

What if everything we are is simply defined by love?

Love manifests itself in many ways – affection towards another, in our words and actions.  And if there is no love in any of our actions or any of our words, then what?

Love isn’t simply the passion between a man and a woman.  It isn’t simply the devotion between parents and their children.  Maybe it is most commonly identified in those situations but love goes way beyond the obvious.  It is in our movements when we greet strangers, in our words when we encounter people we don’t know.  It identifies us when we look at someone completely opposite than ourselves and decide whether or not to show kindness.  It shows itself through compassion, through understanding, patience, and by putting our own wants away.

What if everything we are, everything we are going to be, and what lies just beyond this realm, is all based on love?

Are you living with it,

are you giving it,

or are you simply waiting on it to find you?

To the Mountains

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Well, my first travel itch has been scratched!  For the past six days, I’ve been on a long overdue vacation with my family in the Smoky Mountains.  For the first time ever, all 14 of us were under the same roof for one night.  Luckily, we were staying in a cabin large enough to house the Tennessee Titans so personal space wasn’t a problem.

Four individual families, three children, two teenagers, a twenty-six year old readying to head to Israel to enter a master’s program, two coffee pots, one tea maker, endless board games and toys, spread out through the cabin.  The writer in me studies people and how they mesh, and I must say we meshed well!  We all carved out our own little niches throughout the cabin and settled in like we’d lived their all our lives.  (And having five bathrooms helped too, I must say!)

Smokey Mountains - Wears Valley, TN

Smoky Mountains – Wears Valley, TN

The view from our bedroom was incredible.  On the last morning, fog had settled in the valley below, and I awoke to the image above.  I’ve seen the mountains before on many occasions but never do they cease to amaze me.  Their beauty is exquisite, their charm intoxicating.  Our cabin was on the edge of the state park and behind us was nothing but hundreds of miles of wilderness.

On our third morning, a visitor from the park stopped by.

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We all were talking, which couldn’t have been a quiet thing, and this bear leisurely strolled across our deck in search of a morning snack.  Glass walls separated the bear from us which gave us time to snap pictures…but still, he was a little too close for comfort!

I hope this wasn’t a once in a lifetime trip.  I hope we all do this again soon…but if it was, I’m thankful for the time we had together.  Riding through the mountains, stuffing our bellies with too much food, laughing as the children played, and simply being together was a priceless gift.  Family is a gift…one I think we all take for granted way too often.  Life spins us in many directions all at once but stopping to simply be together has to become important, too.  We may never all be together under the same roof again for longer than a few hours, but this trip pulled us together for a snatch of time.  For a few special days, we were able to simply be.

The Crew

The Crew

My Daddy

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Daddy and Ginger - 2010

Daddy and my stepmother, Ginger – 2010

Forty-three years ago, my daddy (and yes, I still call him daddy) began working for a large grocery chain.  He was very young, extremely broke, newly married with a child on the way, and just barely a high-school graduate.  Suddenly at eighteen, he was responsible for a wife and baby that would arrive come September.  The year was 1969, and gone were any chances of going to college.  Any dreams he may have had for his future were replaced by the demands of necessity.  Necessity demanded that he make enough money to support a family.  Necessity became the commander of his life.

My mother always told me that their parents had politely and succinctly told them that the day they graduated from high school, they were on their own.  The words, “you made your bed, now sleep in it,” were part of her story.  It was the time, it was simply the way it was.  It was the sixties in the south, and youthful dreams quickly took a backseat to reality.

My parents were so young but they were never young to me.  They were parents regardless of their age.  They fed, clothed, filled the den with toys on Christmas morning, disciplined when we needed it, instilled great manners, but more than anything, they loved.  My parents had abundant love for us given how very young they were.

Daddy - early 1970's

Daddy – early 1970’s

Through moves, through divorce, through remarriage and more children, my daddy stayed on with this original company.  He worked long, hard hours every one of the forty-three years he served this business.  Knees were injured, hernias erupted, but with a tenacity many young people have never heard of or experienced, he endured.  He stayed, he worked for every cent he made, and he never lost his ability to love.

Today, my daddy is retiring.  Today is his last full day as a working man!  I guess starting out young gives one the opportunity to work for a very long time.  The true blessing is even after working for forty-three years, daddy is still young enough to enjoy a long, thriving retirement.  My celebratory wish is that he enjoys every single minute of it!  Thank you, daddy, for giving your all, for holding on even when circumstances seemed insurmountable, and for never losing your ability to love and the joy in your heart .  Those things will be your legacy to us all.

Daddy and Hunter

Daddy and Hunter