Wednesday, December 19, 2018
School is out for the quarter and I've fallen hard and deep into the world of audiobooks. My eyes are still tired and my mind is still flittering here, there, and everywhere, so it's hard to sit and read words in a book. That's sounds dangerously close to a book-girl crime, but so what. School, work, and mom land have had their way with me these past few months. Kristen Ashley, Patricia Briggs, and Ilona Andrews kept me tethered to daydreams and make-believe. To all those trapped in the rapid pace of living, making money, raising human beings, getting by, whatever, look up your favorite author and try an audiobook version of some story you never get tired of. Then fall deep and hard too because make-believe is so much fun. I wish you all a safe and warm holiday season!
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
So I'm in grad school and will be for the next two years. School, work, mom-land, and the books I'd like to finish editing, yes, they're already written, we'll see how it all goes. But first, one of my teachers offered writing a 100 word story as part of our extra credit! Okay, I have to braille it to near perfection, but first I have to write it. What is 100 words? I've written short stories, about 4 or 5 of them, the smallest around 12,000 words. So I looked it up. Holy cow! This is a real thing and you can't stop after one. That's my prediction (plus, another author/blogger said that on her blog-I believe her). Here's my first 100 word story. I'm not sure if this is the one I'll submit, but I'm just going to keep posting the ones I write.
School HierarchyKinder through third line up in a mad collection of noise. Roaming adults repeat the rules. Don’t talk, touch, or leave the faded yellow line. Fourth graders stand next to me on the other side of the courtyard, car-less parking lot more like. Prime elementary year, fourth. You’re not a year from Middle School and you probably grew to satisfying heights over the summer. Yeah, fourth rocked. What doesn’t rock is fifth. The girls are mean. Us boys are approaching pre-teen, which means love-hate with everything. The teachers treat you like a disappointing mini-adult. Yellow line, you good ol’ days.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
I treated myself to an author talk that wasn't free. This is a big thing for me because I'm a library events kind of girl, meaning absolutely free. It's also a big thing because we're talking about Anne Lamott and I love her. I read her in college and felt like I really got her. I read her again after I was a mom and her words hit me in a completely different way. She helped me through a rough no-writing patch. I have a long list of reasons I stopped writing for a few years and some of them are good, we're talking starting my life over good, and still, all that matters is getting the words down. Make the time and write even if you suck. Write to write and it's that simple. So I got back into it. I wrote a new story in a new genre. Juvenile fiction if you can believe it. I love it but I can't tell if it's any good. Anne's talk didn't help me figure that out, but she said so much that spun my head around.
If you've heard her talk at all, you know she's big on Jesus. She told us to feed the hungry, feed the babies. It was the most important thing to Jesus. She hands out a water bottle, a box of crayons, and a cigarette to the homeless. The cigarette because she's not about judging. She's a save the world kind of person who also knows she can't save the world, but sometimes thinks she can and should and is failing and so is the world since they aren't being very saveable. Feed the babies, it's a line that's been flying through my head like those skywriter planes writing floating messages in the middle of bright blue sky.
She also said, "Help is the sunny side of control." I still do not know how to process this. I can tell it's deep. Take the line, "I'm just trying to help you!" I imagine that being whine/shouted at a person who apparently needs help. And then I imagine Anne perching herself on this helper's shoulder singing her sunny side quote. When is help simply that? Like handing out water bottles to the homeless. So I need more Anne Lamott talks. She's an inspiration, but she also feels like a friend, a kindred spirit kind of friend where you don't have to know her, just know she knows how you feel.
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Last night I drove up to Everett, WA to hear author Craig Johnson talk. If you've heard of the Longmire series, if you've heard the name Walt Longmire, if you enjoy nothing town sheriff murder mysteries that take place in the middle of nowhere with a cast of characters so compelling you feel like they're in your life, riding your shoulder and speaking in your ear, then you know why I made the 90 minute drive through Seattle traffic on a Saturday evening.
Here are a few neato things from last night:
Many years ago, Craig Johnson's wife pushed a magazine in front of him and said, "You should do this." It was a short story contest. I can't remember the title of the contest, but Walt Longmire was born. And the best part is that Craig Johnson read the award winning short story that introduced the world, but not really the world, the readers of that particular magazine, to Walt and a bit of his brand of sheriffing. Only thing was with the awesome contest win and the stage set to turn it into a novel, Johnson wrote two terrible chapters (terrible according to him) and stuffed them in a drawer and didn't stumble across those pages for 9 years. Nine years!
If I had time to process this I'd have tons of questions for him, like, "Hey, Mr. Johnson, what the heck? Did you long to get back to those pages? Did you write during that time? Or did you write via write-thinking/write-living? Did you stop thinking of yourself as a writer if you weren't writing? And after all those questions, I'd get to my favorite question for authors, "What is your writing routine?"
Sadly (and typically), I didn't ask any questions. Beside the fact that I need time to process mind blowing stuff, I am favorite author shy. This is true, but I did get his signature on my Kindle cover in silver Sharpie. So cool.
Another neato thing is learning that one of your favorite authors is seriously awesome aside from the stories they create.
I'll leave you with something he said near the end of his talk. He writes for the over-reader, the reader who wants a hero who is overweight, over-age, over-...I can't remember all the overs, but he creates characters we can relate to, a real person who has qualities we value, not stats, but qualities, like character, humor, and even loneliness. If you think loneliness isn't a high quality value, think on a person homesick or lovesick or shattered by loss, and then imagine them putting one foot in front of the other and getting stuff done.
So, if you get a chance to attend a Craig Johnson author event, jump at it. If not, grab a copy of Cold Dish and fall into Walt Longmire's world. If not even that awesome advice, check out the Netflix series Longmire that is now over (but there might be more TV-edition Walt in the future...not an actual series, but something).