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Showing posts from December, 2009

How Many Resolutions Am I Going To Break This Year?

Let's start with the worst: keeping my house clean. I know that one is going to be broken, because I have never been good at maintaining an immaculate living space. I put the effort in every day, believe me. But now there are kids running around, a dachshund tearing up wrapping paper that I thought was in the trash already, a fluffy cat that sheds, and at the moment, snow being tracked in and mixing with pine needles being spewed all over the living room by a dying Christmas tree. Here's what I'm going to do--it's genius really--I'm going to clean the house and take a picture of each room, so that when people come over I can show them the picture and say, "This is what it looks like . . . underneath. Yeah, it's a pretty room, I know. I miss it sometimes."
Get a maid, you say? Oh no, I'm the only one cleaning this mess. No one ever pays me to do it, why would I give money to somebody to clean my house with no kids bugging them the whole time…

Ten Steps to Beating Writer's Block

It's really too bad writer's block isn't literally a big block that you can't beat the crap out of. Man, that would feel good. But it isn't. It's psychological, emotional, physical, societal, paranormal and anything else my gooey brain can come up with. I usually have no problem with receiving any and all inspiration, but like everyone else out there, find myself struggling with the whole process now and then.
So what do you do? Some writers are very adamant that you just keep writing. It's a job, not a party. If you want to be a writer, you have to produce no matter what your mood, no matter what the inspiration. Others will suggest that you step away from the project and wait for the muse to come around and sprinkle her magic dust on all your thoughts; tossing words into your brain like a parade goer tossing candy out to kids lining the happy avenue of life. The problem is, that can take years, or never. Waiting for a muse is like waiting for Twil…

Let the Festivities Begin

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It is Christmas Day and the snow is falling. The world looks like a Bing Crosby song with waist-high drifts and little peeks of sunlight coming through to illuminate each tired flake. Presents spill out from under the tree, my coffee is brewing, and it is just Henry the dachshund and I awake to enjoy the solitude before everyone else wakes up and the real fun starts.
I remember all my past Christmas', especially those of childhood of waking up to find my own little mountain of gifts under the tree that hadn't been there upon going to bed the night before. I believed in Santa, and still do in some form, as something magical can never quite be taken away from any child's heart. My favorite Christmas was the year I came downstairs to find, alongside each of our wrapped presents, a bowl for each of us--and until they broke--were well used and well loved for many a year. Funny that such a seemingly mundane gift should stick in my memory but it does. Perhaps because I knew…

A Child's First Snow

When children are told about snow, it's almost taken as a fable; just as distant as a faerie fluttering around their head at night, waggling a magic wand over their eyelids to keep them suspended in dreamland. You tell them about snow; explain how light it is, how it looks like slivers from a giant crystal, cold, yet melts the second it hits your skin; how its patterns are of millions and so beautiful that it doesn't seem possible to believe, even when you're standing in the midst of a blizzard.
And then the day comes when they see it for themselves.
Joy.
"What's that Mama? What's that?"
"It's snow."
"Snow?"
"Yes. Do you want to go out and play in it? You do?" A hand is reaching for the doorknob, no need for boots or coat or anything. "Hold on. Let's get you dressed. Snow is cold."
Now comes the fun of stuffing two little sausage arms into a puffy coat, feet into boots that are either too big or too small…

Being an adult ain't much fun

It was fun until I found out I had to take the dog out in the freezing cold--and rain, and heat--every morning and night for the rest of my life. It was fun until I found out putting clothes on kids every day is like threading a needle with playdoh. It was fun until I had to pay bills, and taxes, and tickets, and library fines.
This is why I write. Because writing is fun and it takes me out of the mundane existence I sometimes find myself in. I love my kids, I love my dog--and cat, I love my house and library and police man and everything else. But it does get pretty hectic sometimes. Kids know how to make a mom feel very unappreciated, so it's nice to be able to sit down and create something that was lingering in my mind my whole life anyway.
Last year was a tough one, and I noticed that when things started to become too much too handle, I began playing this game in my head. I was creating a dialogue with someone, filling up the space with a scene and then adding charact…

I Love the 70's, Man

The 1970's were shaggy looking guys, chest hair, Disco, no bras . . . That's just a sort of surface evaluation. The way I see it, from the memories I had in those few years after just being born, were of a time organic, girls with long hair, whole wheat bread, Bubble Up pop in bottles, Baseball games, Pontiacs, nature, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Dinah Shore, walks through the forest, untamed land, men in suits standing on the street corner in town, little stores, Catherine Deneuve.
I remember the whole bell bottom thing, locked in my mind because of one intense moment. I had been riding my bike up and down Franklin Street, when all of a sudden the hem of my wide corduroy pants became caught in the chain--the very chain which, by the way, was always popping out at the worst times. The event stopped all motion, throwing me to the just-paved street in an act of bicycle violence. There I was, lying on the ground in the middle of Franklin, yanking away at thick corduroy and sn…

Jesse, Jesse, you're such a bad boy, Jesse

The third main character in my book ended up being my favorite because he was just so funny and rebellious--Jesse Limon. He drives a black 1972 SS Camaro, plays in a band called The Limelights, works at the local record store where he doesn't really care about the merchandise, and--last but not least--may or may not be associated with the terrible Soul Seekers.
When Emma meets him, you get the feeling that on any other day, in any other town, she'd really fall for him. But there's something strange going on. Whenever he comes near she feels repulsed and scared. Not yet accepting of the fact that she has powers of intuition, she brushes it off as him being a player and nothing more.
Jesse is Emma's ticket out of town. He's ready to shoot off to New York to find his father and start up a musical career, record and all. It's such a perfect plan--Emma should definitely go with him and be done with Springvail. But things seldom go as planned; fictional people …

Setting ourselves up

I've been thinking how we are so afraid of failure, or the pain of failure, that we almost ask for it on a constant basis. "You're gonna reject me! Oh God, just do it already!" Instead, we should be saying--like the SNL version of Joy from the talk-show, The View--So what, who cares?
I'veknownsomuchfailureinmylifethatIcouldlistitasabodypart.Knititasweater.Holdbirthdayparties. Invite it to a movie. Why, oh, why am I so afraid?
Because it hurts and it always feels like you have to reinvent yourself after a rejection. But that's life. You can't be a writer, an artist, a musician, a mom if you can't take rejection.
So, I am rejecting rejection. My dreams will not have floorboards. Instead of worrying about being put down, I'm going to envision the day I succeed, and most of all, how much fun I had getting there. Instead of having months of worry and pain before the blade drops down, I'm going to write and have fun and believe in good th…

Ralph's Christmas Card

Spring Hill Middle School was ready for Christmas. Every room had been decorated with a tiny tree, paper garlands, and glittery tinsel taped along the walls in scalloped bows. There were even presents, brought in by the students themselves for a classmate whose name they'd pulled out of a hat.
Every year they showed a film in the dusty auditorium, whose radiators bubbled and hissed under each curtained window along the eastern wall. This year's was A Christmas Carol. It flickered on the large white canvas in black and white jolts, hitting my retinas like a jumping match; drawing me into a world of old London, and crooked, mean-spirited Ebenezer Scrooge. The moment Alastair Sims looked out over us in the darkened middle rows with a sneer, I smiled, and from that moment on have loved this particular version of the classic, and Sim's brilliant performance as the miserly changeling.
Looking around, I could see the faces of all my classmates. They looked bored, tired, re…