Friday, September 28, 2012

Living History

So this post doesn't really have anything to do with writing.  And it's not YA.  It's a post to celebrate my father's life:  he is 90 years old today (Yes, you read that right.  He had me late).

To me, he's the man who tucked me in at night when I was little and sang me to sleep, his voice crackling on the chorus of "Massa Dear".  He's the one who entertained my best friend and I by writing our names backwards on fancy paper name tags. He's the one taught me a real man is gentle with children, respectful to his wife and isn't afraid to unplug a blocked toilet.

But he's also living history:  A young boy who learned to love lard sandwiches during the Great Depression.  An artistic airplane mechanic in WWII who painted the naked woman onto the 84th bomb group's B-24 bomber.  A father of six who managed to give his kids a happy childhood on a Parks & Rec department salary.  A man whose life has spanned nearly a century. 

There is so much I do not know about my dad's past.  So much that I never bothered to ask because he was just "Dad"; I guess I never saw him as his own person.  But I won't let another year go by without finding out who he was, really, before I came along.   There are stories there to be told, to be understood, to be cherished.

What are some memories that should not be forgotten?

Love you, Dad.  Happy Birthday.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bigger Word Count= Bigger Pant Size

Has anyone invented a desk/stationary bike for writers who do nothing but sit?

I used to walk back and forth to the kids' school and now I'm walking back and forth to the coffee pot.

What's awesome is that I've written an average of 2,000-3,000 words a day since switching roles with my husband.  I was lucky to do that in a week before.

What's not so awesome?  I've gained an average of 2 - 3 ounces a day as well.  I can't say I was thin before, but geesh.  My half-hour Just Dance sessions aren't cutting it anymore.

Maybe I just need to look at those pounds padding my hips differently.  It's not fat, it's a feat.  Yeah.  I've got to work hard writing to get so wide.  Success=Spread.  

It's the risk one takes being a writer. Ahem.

Monday, September 17, 2012

New Addiction

Up until a couple of months ago, I never understood the attraction to coffee.  I'd had what people call "good" coffee and found it nasty.  I'd had what people call "bad" coffee and found it nasty. I tried it with sugar or cream or both or black or mixed with chocolate or cinnamon.  Still nasty.  It was a mystery why anyone would drink this bitter stuff.

And then I started falling asleep while writing.  At first it was every once in a while.  But by the end of the summer, all I had to do was sit at a keyboard and I'd start snoozing.

My first worry was:  My God, is my writing THAT boring?

My second worry was:  No, really, is it that bad???

"Pfftt," said my friend, Paula.  "Your writing's fine.  What you need is a half-hour nap or a hefty cup of coffee."

I've always had a hard time with naps.  It feels like cheating somehow -- an irrational idea that's stuck with me from God only knows where.  But it's stuck.  If I nap, I do it in secret where no one can see me. (Okay.  Yes. I may need therapy.)

Coffee, however, is not only a drink but a social event.  It'd be good, I thought, to be invited to coffee and not have to say, "Oh, but I only drink tea."

 If only it didn't taste so bad.

I started off soft; I bought a cheap package of instant coffee and put a teaspoon of it in a cup of hot water every morning.  When I was able to tolerate that, I moved onto two teaspoons and two cups. Teaspoon by teaspoon, I forced myself into a new addiction.  And it worked.  My coffee addiction is on almost equal par with my popcorn addiction or my licorice problem or even my love/hate relationship with Diet Coke.  I'm toting around ten ounces of terrible coffee wherever I go.  And I like it.  I look forward to it.  Awful, bitter taste and all.

Easing oneself into addiction is twisted, I admit it.  But it's made a difference.  I now drink coffee before I write. While I write.  And I've stopped using the keyboard as a pillow.

In fact, I've almost stopped using any kind of pillow.

 All that coffee's got me up at night.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Role Reversal

Swapping Lives

I've had a hell of a summer.  I'd just made up a plan of action for attacking my new novel when my husband had an aneurysm.  I'll spare you the details, but let's just say scary doesn't cover it.  Luckily for my husband (and me and the kids!) someone up there has his back.  It's been a long haul, but he's made it through practically unscathed.

I say practically.  He's still got some health issues related to the aneurysm and is stuck home from work for at least a couple more months.  Despite loving the guy, the thought of trying to catch up on three months of lost writing work with him in the next room on the X-Box gave me chills.  I knew I'd get pretty resentful trying to keep up with everything while watching him recuperate.  And he'd surely go nuts with my annoyance stomping around the apartment like a whole other person.  So I asked him for a favor: a life swap.

Normally, I'm the stay-at-home parent.  Here in Geneva, the kids go to school four days a week and have off from 11:30-1:30 for lunch.  Believe me, that really cuts into everything.  After the shopping, the cleaning, the cooking and the school run, I only end up with a couple hours writing time.  My fantasy (other than that one with Robert Downey Jr, of course)?   To be able to go off all day and work on my novel non-stop.

To my surprise, my husband jumped on it.  He's been doing the school route four times a day and cooking lunch without complaint.  Yes, when I get home it looks like someone spewed junk everywhere and I can tell what they had for lunch just by looking under the table.  But I'm writing and he's recovering.  And that's what counts in the end.  My goal is to get a rough draft done by November.  Any tips on how to keep the momentum going?