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all this whine and no cheese

This is a post with tons of whine ahead, so if you aren’t up for that, feel free to run away quickly to someone else’s blog. I am in a funky place and since sunshine, funny child antics from the boys, amazingness in general from the daughter, loving support from Mr. Wright, and people saying nice things to me aren’t helping, I am blogging about it. Isn’t that the American way? We have an emotion and make it public whether it’s appropriate or not? 

I am sad.

Sad like wearing brown during the nineties. Sad like a mullet in any decade.  Sad like hanging out in your pajamas all day and having to answer the door that way and trying to make up some excuse about being sick when you’re healthier than Jillian Michaels. Sad like doing all those crazy things and not even getting the Klondike bar for it. Sad like a shaved cat. Sad like a claustrophobe stuck in the airplane bathroom. Sad like a Star Wars fan during the last three films.

Just sad.

I don’t know what the heck is wrong with me. I am paralyzed to write because I feel crummy and incapable. And I don’t know why. I usually get a short bout of chronic depression in the month of May, but it only lasts a few weeks and I get over it. This is different somehow. This is epic. This has been the last month.

I’m thinking of moving to Africa.

Or maybe North Dakota.

Or maybe I’ll eat a tub of ice cream all by myself and watch chick movies because moving to Africa or North Dakota would require unthinkable amounts of packing, and then there’s that business of having nowhere to live once I got there . . .

I am actually writing this in a post because I went online to do something that always makes me smile. I’ve posted it before a few years ago, but is happiness something that can only be shared once?  This video has never failed to fill me with hope–hope in humanity, hope in understanding, hope in a simple smile and a dance.  It’s something that manages to coerce my smile muscles to do their job. It’s an absurdly easy job — lazy good-for-nothing muscles that they are.

I can’t figure out how to embed this (which figures at the moment in spite of the fact that I’ve done it before), so you’ll have to link to it on your own. Sorry for my lack of ambition.

Dancing

The top ten worst phrases I have heard as a mother

My kids have said some great things over the years. Things that make me laugh, things that make me cringe, and things that have actually made me cry. So here is my top ten list so far of the worst things my kids have uttered out loud and on purpose.

  1. “Mommy! The kitchen’s on fire!”
  2. “I don’t see why you’re mad; It’s not like it’s a *real* book.” (this said when I was preparing my first manuscript for the editor and had lost fifteen pages)
  3. “I’m going to my friend’s house for dinner. Her mom makes GOOD food.”
  4. “But Daddy doesn’t do it like that!”
  5. (during scripture study) “If all those people only eat milk and honey, they are going to get scurvy and die due to improper diets! You’d think God would know better about nutrition.”
  6. (child pointing to a quote by Colonel Sanders in KFC that has the word “damn” in it) “Look! There’s the word Mom uses!”
  7. “Mommy! Look! I cut my own hair!”
  8. “So you mean like it’s hard for you to hear why you shouldn’t swear?”(also during scripture study when I was explaining why Nephi’s brothers were mad, because it’s always hard to hear about the things you do wrong.)
  9. “The backyard’s on fire!” (notice how fire and my cursing seem to be thematic at my house?)
  10. “I’m ready to go.”

The last one seems tame compared to the rest, but it’s the one that gave me tears. It is what my daughter said after we’d packed up the car with her belongings to move her to St George to live with my parents so she can go to the school of her choice. She was ready to go. I am not ready to let her go.

She’s been gone for a few weeks and I miss the sound of her piano practice, and her coming in to my room to plop down on my bed and just hang out with me when she comes home from school. I miss the giggling between her and her brothers as they play.

The best thing I’ve heard? Last night she called and, in a teary sort of voice,  told me she missed me.

It’s nice to know.

GEDC0235

It’s against the law to sell your kids on ebay.

I’m serious. It’s totally and completely against the law to sell your kids on eBay. You can actually go to jail for such a thing. So no matter how tempting this idea may seem for your personal little demons angels, I strongly encourage you to find a different outlet for your frustration.

It doesn’t help that the father of my little demons angels is as big a child as they are. It doesn’t help that he tickles them in sacrament meeting, and does butterfly kisses on their cheeks during prayers. It doesn’t help that he giggles at things they should get grounded for (I giggle too, but at least I’m discreet about it!)

Bing has a bright red spot on his forehead right between his eyes where he’s healing from the other night when they decided to play tag with airsoft guns. And I know I am a bad mom to allow them to play with such dangerous things, but at least they were all wearing protective goggles. Murky’s back pack is shredded along the entire bottom from where he decided to try it out as a sled. Rae gave me a top ten list of why it was unfair she had to clean her room yesterday.

Today, I sent Bing to my store to grab some cream cheese from the fridge. Murky followed Bing over and locked him in the store. I actually told them I was going to sell them on eBay.

Another idle threat has been born.

This along with the idle threats of:

  • If you don’t stop teasing each other this instant, I swear I will rip out your tongues and beat you with them.
  • I’m running away! (This is a true mark of my maturity. Isn’t it the child who is supposed to make such threats?)
  • If you guys don’t do                , then we won’t read any more of our current book. (As though I have any will power when it comes to books)
  • I’m sending you all to military school! (this will never happen)

Because in spite of everything, I would miss them terribly if I sent them to military school. And they might come home well behaved and less fun to be around.

Every day when I consider the things I am grateful for, the kids and that silly man I married top the list. Them along with flyswatters, cars that start, and heat in the winter and AC in the summer.

Since they top my gratitude list, I guess I won’t be selling them on eBay . . . even if today it seems like a good idea. At least they give me good writing fodder.

The Butcher

So my author friends struck up a conversation on the woes of abridged audio books.  I’ve heard them whine whine whine about this before, but never paid attention. After all . . . I’ve never had an audio book, and I feel they should be grateful to have something so cool.

Except now things are a little different. I am slated for an audio book for the novel, Eyes Like Mine, coming out in February. I am so wicked thrilled to have an audio book. I grin stupidly every time I think about it.

The thing is . . . it’s abridged.  The book is just over 90,000 words. The abridged version–45,000 words.

Yeah. My math isn’t so hot, but even *I* know that means HALF. Yes, gentle readers, half is a lot of words. And then once I cut all those words out, I have to try to piece it back together in some way that makes sense, with a logical flow of plot development and proper character depth and motivation. I owe all my friends chocolate and apologies. How do you cut a book in half and expect it to be the same?

It’s like the baby brought before King Solomon.  No good mother wants to see her child chopped in half. No good author wants to see their book butchered, and worse–have to be the one doing the butchering.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m still excited about the audio book. It’s the pain I’m afraid of. I determined I’d better get started soon because I have the sneaking feeling this is going to take some serious time.

But I can’t start this week . . .  or next. Tomorrow, I am speaking at a youth conference and really should be working on my presentation so I don’t bore several hundred teenagers to sleep. And for the rest of this month I have to finish my work in progress just so I can say I did.  It may not be a good draft, but it’ll be a done draft. Good can always come later, right?

Plays, Wishes, and Book Deals

If you’ve never seen the play Into The Woods, you’re missing out. It is quite possibly the most brilliant production ever written–funny, poignant, good music . . .

There is a scene where Cinderella is running from the ball. She’s run from the ball twice already and the prince is ticked that his female of choice continues to escape him. So on this final night, he prepares for her speedy flight and spreads pitch on the stairs. Cinderella is now stuck to the stairs and knows the prince is coming. She’s feeling a little contemplative as she stands there, stuck to the stairs. She has some big decisions to make. Does she tell him she’s really a housekeeper for her ugly stepsisters? Does she tell him she’s been pretending to be a princess this whole time and has in effect lied to him? Or does she have an alternative choice?

She sings a little song. The words go like this:

Then from out of the blue . . . And without any guide. You know what your decision is . . . which is not to decide . . .

My publisher’s answer would reflect the lines of that song. So I wait a little longer. I have no idea how long exactly, but I am patient, if not precisely pleasant.  So I have no answer today, and likely not tomorrow, and likely not until the committee reconvenes next month.  It’s been kind of cute since my daughter, Rae, is at girl’s camp. She’s borrowed her leader’s cell phone and called me from the mountains at least eight times over the last two days to find out the answer. Isn’t she great to be excited and anxious right along with me?

Into the Woods truly is a magnificent play. There’s another song at the beginning where all the characters are introduced. They all want something–a wish. Each wish from each character is different, but no less worthy than any of the other wishes. The baker and his wife want a child. Cinderella wants to go to the ball. Jack (of beanstalk fame) wants his cow to give some milk so he and his mother don’t starve. Jack’s mother wishes for all sorts of things, and little red riding hood wishes for a loaf of bread for her granny in the woods. The witch has her own hearts desires. The princes of the land want princesses worthy of them.

I wish . . . more than anything . . . more than the moon . . .

Everyone wants something.

I am not so far different. I sing the words, “I wish . . .” a lot. I could drown in my list of wishes. On days like today, a small degree of defeat bleeds in and my current set of wishes negate all the wishes previously fulfilled. If I had a genie, I’d make him dizzy with all the, “No wait! What I *really* want is . . .”

Into the woods is supposed to be playing at the Utah Festival Opera this summer. I’m buying tickets.

And the answer is . . .

I know the committee meets in the morning or early afternoon based on the times Kirk (my editor) calls me to give me news. So at 3:30 I realized it has to be a “no” and Kirk doesn’t know how to break the news to me.

Then an email popped up in my box.

It was from Kirk.

My hands got all sweaty and my arms went numb as I clicked the email open.

And the answer is . . .

I still don’t know.

How do you like that? Kirk said the committee was going slow and he’d likely have an answer for me tomorrow. Is the suspense killing you guys as much as it’s killing me? 

Yeah . . . I didn’t think so.

Regardless of the answer, it’ll be a relief to put me out of my misery.

In the mean time, I need a new laptop. Anyone have suggestions or cautions on laptops they just love and can’t live without, or ones they hate and would never deign to touch again? I need an *inexpensive* laptop, so don’t go telling me about the latest cool costs-me-one-of-my-kids laptops. I would prefer one that docks or at least lets me hook up a full size keyboard and monitor to. The bane of writers everyone has finally found me–carpal tunnel.

Light! I can’t believe I still don’t know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Define This

My boys came into my room this morning, dragging me away from my work, to proudly show me their cleaned bedroom.  Their dad and I had decided that the new computer won’t go in their room until it is clean. 

Clean apparently has varying levels of definition. What clean means to me is the polar opposite of what clean means to them. I informed them that they’d have to do better than that.

Whine whine whine whine

“I mean it! Clean! By MY standards!” I say this in whispered shout because the husband is still sleeping and I like to be nice and let him sleep as late as he can before he has to get up for work.

My middle child (my clown–the same one who entered my room wearing a t shirt, boxers, tennis shoes and black socks, asking if what he was wearing would be okay to wear to school)  squints his eyes at me and says, “Define your standards.”

I couldn’t help it. I laughed. He was still standing there in boxers and tennis shoes for heaven’s sake. What else could I do in a situation like that? In my moment of weakness the boys thought they’d convinced me that their definition of clean will stick. Sad news for them when they get home from school.

 I went and looked again. Yeah . . . there is no way that room is clean by anyone’s standards or any definition of the word. I should be grateful the board of health hasn’t come crashing through my windows with flame throwers.

Sadly, this little power struggle will cost me several hours of stuff-I-gotta-get-done time. I should take an ibuprofen now. It’ll save me time later. I hate that they’re funny and infuriating at the same time.

Rats and Rejection

I took another one of those blogthings quizzes (man, you’d think I have nothing to do all day). But this one was imperative to the future of my chosen profession.

You Should Be a Film Writer
You don’t just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.
You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.
Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.
And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

http://www.blogthings.com/whattypeofwritershouldyoubequiz/

It all makes so much sense now.  I’m writing in the wrong medium.  What was I thinking writing novels when I could be writing for the silver screen? Of course the woman in the picture looks as frustrated as I feel right now,  so maybe I’m not all that far off.  I received a rejection letter today and it stung, but the agent was so nice about it,   I can’t even hate her.  Sigh.  Don’t they know it’s so much easier when we can hate them? (see the ‘how evil am I’ post)

I know . . . I know . . . there are other agents in the world, but I LIKED this one.  Sigh. Get me the phone. I’m calling Hollywood and seeing if they’re hiring.  OK, not really. I have at least ten more books to write before I can do anything else. I just feel whiney and displaced and irritated and fighting with my daughter over the blasted dog doesn’t help. I’m getting a Dr. Pepper and a box of Twinkies.  Comfort food will get me through the current edits that are due in just a few weeks.