Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Son, don't grab the honey bees...

Despite drinking an over abundance of caffeine, I'm constantly exhausted, restless sleeping at night, and my drive to do pretty much anything is zilch. Plus there is that random racing heartbeat thing which at first I attributed to maybe cutting back on the pot of coffee in the morning. At the urging of my husband, I finally broke down and sought out a doctor's office.
This is trickier than it sounds. I descend from French Canadian fur trappers, unless I'm losing a limb or dying, most illnesses and maladies can be toughed out with a band aid, neosporin, and alcohol. Don't get me wrong, I faithfully attended my OB while carrying all my children, and I will bring them to the doctor for a runny nose, but when it comes to myself, meh. I have sliced myself open with kitchen knives pretty good, wrapped them up in gauze and tape and went to work bleeding through my bandages. Rarely, unless I am hospital worthy sick, do I seek medical attention. Which can be a problem because when you only take care of the big things, the little things pile up. Which brings us back to heart palpitations, a twitchy eye, and maybe a rash I need to get checked out (relax it was just eczema). So I attempt to make an appt. Since I am a new patient, I get one weeks away. Funny how that works, when you finally break down and go for a doctor, it's an epic quest to find one.
When I finally get into that office, it's one of those startling little wake up calls. She starts throwing out words I don't like, the diabetes, anemia, I zoned out a bit after that. The racing heart beat worries her, (well doc, it worries me too, hence I have dragged myself in here). She even asks if I am nervous coming here. After the Fur Trapper explanation, she prescribes exercise, At least 30 mins a day.
Now, I am saying to myself "Duh, really?" I'm a writer, and a gamer, my people are notorious for their cave dwelling ways, but I'm also a mother of two very active little boys, which in my mind is plenty of freaking exercise thank you very much. Three days later I tried to take her up on the order and took the little guy out for a walk while big brother was schooling.
I carried him on my shoulders through the neighborhood, discovering a field at the bottom of the hill I didn't realize was there for the three years we lived here. As he ran around, decapitating dandelions and trying to snatch honey bees out of the air, I'm realizing I really do need to get out more. This is even more obvious trying to go back, which is all up hill mind you. Half way up I'm embarrassingly gasping for air like a fish on dry land while my son clings to my head. I have to stop midway to "let him run around some more" so I can find where I dropped my lungs.
Dear god when did I get so out of shape? But really, that Dr. visit was disheartening. I have no misconceptions that I have a body shaped by motherhood, I earned my scars and stripes, but I have not been taking care of myself. That's a terrible feeling. I don't feel healthy anymore. So after staggering back into the house, and drinking water (go, go, healthy me!) I firmly resolve to take my little tyke out bee chasing as often as I can if I have to throw myself out the door.
Though next time, perhaps I should wear sunscreen. I think I burnt my elbows.

Monday, April 22, 2013

No, really, it's not Rocket Science

There is this reaction people have when you say you're a writer.

"Oh, written anything I know?"
"Have you published anything yet?"
"When are you publishing something?"

Every time, it's like they are standing right in your face, flicking your forehead while going "Well, didya, didya, didya?"

There is a chasm between being a writer and being an author. The chasm of Publishing. Unless you are an aspiring author, most people don't understand how very damn difficult it is to actually publish something. Even if you go the route of self publishing. The internet took the disco ball and ran out of the dance with that one. Anyone can self publish and try to sell their work thanks to kindle's own little side business. The catch there is, will it sell. Self publishing is just what it says "SELF". It's all on you. Truthfully, publishers do not do nearly as much advertising for authors as they use to. But they did something, no matter how small.

As I furiously whittle away at my YA novel, I have that horrible sensation in the back of my head of "I have no idea what I'm going to do when it's done." But I often feel that way so I mostly just push it aside and keep going.
It's a learning process. Even if you get published, you need to find the networks and outlets to kinda slip your work into and hope for the best. You look at what other people are doing, how they did it, and try to emulate it. Use the insanity of the web to your advantage, there are face book pages devoted to promoting authors and they see traffic because it's goddamn face book. Everyone and their mother has a FB page, most authors have their own website you can Google. The tools are there, it's just a matter of learning to use them once you're ready to rock. Until then, you mumble a bullshit answer to those questions, smile, be polite, this could be your audience one day.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My son feeds his stuffed animals...

I probably spend an unhealthy amount of time worrying about my first born.

After many agonizing years and withstanding the judgement of family and friends alike, I still have to softly explain he is not autistic, at least they won't call it that yet. Instead he has the all inclusive title of "development delay", which is as vague and frustrating as it sounds and comes with nine different kinds of therapy all in an attempt to get him "back on track."
Anyone who tells you kids just develop on their own is selling some horseshit. Once they miss a couple of developmental markers the dominoes start to fall. I know my son is different, he has difficulty speaking, often shrieks loudly for no apparent reason while playing, is fighting all attempts at toilet training like we dipped his hand in battery acid, and is extremely clumsy. In comparison, his one year old brother, half his size, has already caught up and passed him in some areas. The Freak to his Max, the little guy runs circles around him, knows just how to push his buttons, and I think is already starting to grasp sarcasm.
And while it's terrifying, faced with the difference between them everyday, wondering how he will grow up, I sometimes get a glimpse of something, a moment that lets me know: He is going to be okay.
He learned how to kiss and hug us long ago, but just started giving his brother kisses last week. His dinosaurs have a special place of honor, set up like soldiers on his bed rail to guard him while he sleeps. Sometimes I catch him trying to feed graham crackers to his stuffed animals, especially cookie monster. That little bugger loves cookies, and my son knows it.
I still worry mountains down to sand. There is a long, rough, path for him ahead, but he's got love and compassion in him, and a little brother who runs circles around him. Yup, definitely Okay.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Opportunity is a flasher that looks like Johnny Depp

This is my fantasy, therefore it's Mr. Depp, now shhh.

Like a flasher, Opportunity appears before you, shows you the good stuff before you realize what your seeing, then darts away, leaving you feeling shocked, a bit awed, perhaps, and completely disoriented. Did I just see that? I think I like it. Where the hell did it go?!
By the time you realize what an awesome sight you beheld Opportunity has moved on to flash the next unsuspecting customer, who might be faster on the uptake than you and flying tackle it. Oh, um, got caught up in my own simile, whoa.
The real message here, seize opportunity when it comes flashing at your door. Right now it's the moment. My life is walking that tight line that happens when we are financially secure enough for me to pursue the 'life long dream'. I have to kick procrastination in the teeth, shove doubts out of the way, and pound motivation into myself to do this. The most over used excuse for failure is lack of trying. If you try to do what you want most in life, than you are already halfway to success.
Call this my motivational B.S. speech, everyone needs something like it, one time or another. Flasher Depp aside, fear of failure is a ten ton weight. People think writing is a risque career choice, but really, it has as many pitfalls as any other career track. You could fail to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, etc. just as easily. There are different factors at play but every venture, no matter how "secure" they are proposed to be, comes with risk.
Risk is just a part of life, plain and simple, so you have to overcome it. Strap on those knee pads and tackle Opportunity to the ground.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's Hard to Write a Sex Scene While Giggling

Romance, ah the mysterious beast that is romance.
Yes, I believe it's basically porn for women, but that's why we like it. My own taste in romance runs towards monsters and mayhem, and I'm most likely not alone in that respect as these authors sell a lot of books.
I've been trying to write a romance for years. Don't knock it, Romance is probably the most forgiving genre to break into, and perhaps the easiest. People can be very choosy about their fiction, even genre fiction, but romance has a lot of wriggle room. Many authors who start in romance have splintered off into other genres. I may not like Nora Roberts's books but I respect the hell out of her for basically creating an entirely new personality with J.D. Robb.

It's not that I can't spin a romance plot line, the mechanics of a successful romance are pretty straight forward: No matter how bloody and broken, fucked up and misunderstood you become along the way, everyone gets their happy ever after. That's why you read romance, for that slice of impracticality. No story telling is not the things that trips me up.

It's the damn sex scenes. There may be dozens of slang for male genitalia, but most make me burst out laughing. I mean does "She gazed upon his one eyed monster" really strike the right cord in a romantic setting. To quote a friend of mine "sex is just sex". However trying to write about male genitalia has nothing on the lady parts. For me, 'pussy' is a jarring word. There are few settings it fits smoothly into but it's one of those slang that just gets tossed into the sexy salad in many a romance I've read. And I have to say, hearing the medieval knight/dragon/viking warrior/vamp whatever talk about her 'tight pussy' just doesn't mesh. Most of the time, it's appearance makes me roll my eyes. Since I dislike the word so much I hate using it in my own writing, but surprisingly it's even harder to find words to stand in for vagina that don't sound like a 15th century porn. Between descriptors of felines and plant matter, finding the right words for a sex scene can turn into an epic word search.

I wonder if Nora giggles when she writes her sex scenes.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Most Likely To Be Posthumously Famous

It's not like I just woke up one day and thought, hey I think I'll be a writer of books. No, this has been the life long day dream since my informative years, spinning stories to my barbie dolls. Who were Amazons mind you, they needed to be entertained or they resorted to cannibalism. When I was an extremely naive teenager, I planned to publish a book before I was twenty or bust.
Well, I discovered this was an unfair timeline, so as I grew older the age limit stretched, and stretched. Right now its settled at thirty or bust but with only a few scant years left on that magical number I should have learned by now. 
What I have learned, aside from unrealistic life deadlines, is writing is a hard, vicious, taskmaster. Even in your moments of zen creative flow, thoughts flowing like water on the page, you will most likely wake up the next morning and declare everything you wrote in "zen" to be utter shit. Because the dark side of the writer's lifestyle, the one spoken about in whispers and dark alleys, is Editing, with a big, fat, capital E. (Dun, dun, duuuuuuh!) Editing is often a buzz kill, a story that was pure awesomeness in your head can get slaughtered under the editing knife. It can also be thoroughly discouraging. When you step out of your writer's hippie sandals and slip on your editor's wading boots, you might find your self face to face with your own worst enemy. 
I know I am mine. With those people who have actually seen my work, I have heard I could be a pretty decent writer. Of course, this audience is limited to professors and a smidgen of friends because in reality I'm a fuck-wit perfectionist with a motivation problem. When it comes to motivation, the will and need to write is usually choked out of me by the responsibilities of raising two kids, working full time, maintaining my household, etc. Even after quitting my full time job to stay at home more, I still couldn't find the motivation to whip out the lappy and pound out something, anything. I would sit on ideas for months, maybe scribbling down an plot outline on some scrap paper that would inevitably disappear. You don't become a writer unless you sit down and actually write something. 
The truth of it was I was stuck. I spent the last three years penning a YA novel which sat, quietly moldering away on my desk. I have been trying to edit it for months, and it's a soul crushing process. I avoided working on the edits so much, I pretty much avoided writing all together. 
Realizing I was becoming a WoW addict and playing an unhealthy number of online games, I sensed the need for change. So I started working on other things, forcing myself to sit and write anything for a least a couple hours a day. On the advice of a friend I cut computers out of the equation all together, digging out a hoarders supply of blank notes to drool on after I put the kids to bed at night. 
The results are still mixed. Some days, I managed to pen quite a few pages of new material, other days not so much. My hand is often cramped, but I feel I am making more progress than I have in months. Nothing is guaranteed in this lifestyle. Even after I finally finish editing that novel, it's another long, agonizing process to find a publisher. 
I'll take it one day at a time. I'll take a page out of Dory's outlook on life: Just keep writing, just keep writing, writing, writing...(come on, you know you sang it in her voice too.)