Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Legos in my head...

Before you start laughing your tush off at the image, let me explain. I was talking with a friend tonight, and explaining that I have a mental block against the definition/concepts of certain words. For example, I can never keep straight the difference between "semi-annual" and "bi-annual". (In case you care, semi-annual is twice a year, bi-annual is every other year.) I don't have any clue why. Usually words are my strong suit, but for some reason these elude me. To further prove my point, I went on to explain that I'm pretty sure that my mental block is made of legos. More than likely from the Star Wars kits, or possibly from the castle kits. You know, the ones with the princess and her night in shining plastic? Yup, my brain is made of legos. Or has been blocked by legos. Either way, I'm not sure it's a good thing.

Shana Tova!!

First off, I want to wish everyone a shana tova, a wonderfully happy and healthy new year. So far mine is starting off pretty damn well, all things considered. I may not have gotten a lot done over the weekend, but everything that I did do? Yeah, it was completely worth the time away from my work and writing. Who can argue with a day spent out in the sun walking around and talking about anything and everything?
In light of the holiday, I've received emails and phone calls from friends I don't get to talk to nearly enough, all of us checking in with one another to send out holiday wishes.

So Happy 5767!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sitting shiva...

Here's another one of those things that's going to send my friends' eyes rolling in their heads. I can picture it right now. They are sitting at home, enjoying the newest episode of Grey's Anatomy, and laughing their heads off everytime someone says "shiva". It's really not funny. The concept, not the situation. The concept is to honor the life of the person who has passed. Most families "sit shiva" for a week after the death. Family and friends visit, bring food, sit and share memories and stories about the person who has passed. Sadly, I've had to sit shiva more times than I'd like to think about in my life. But one thing always amazes me...it is not the strictly somber occasion that everyone would expect. Instead, it's a mix of laughter and tears as we remember the person we loved and the life they lived.
The humor in this particular situation stems from the irony of the situation. The Jewish character? She's Asian American. She's is as far from the stereotypical Jewish doctor as one can get. The tag line of course is, "Is it really shiva if Izzy's Catholic?" And every time one of them says this line, I giggle. And I picture my friends, in their homes, sitting on their comfy couches, laughing too.
Yeah, I know...it's kind of sad that I get such a kick out of it. But at the same time, it just goes to show how well I know them all.
Now, back to quarantines and plagues. More later!

Sometimes writing...

Is just not going to happen. I'm starting to learn to accept this fact, though I don't have to like it. As a matter of fact, I hate it. But I know my truth. I know my reality. Some weeks are great. I have tons of free time, and not a whole lot to fill it with. Other weeks I'm at school until 6, then there's Curriculum Night and High Holy Days. Really, those are the weeks when I wonder if the whole world is conspiring against me. Those are the weeks that even when I do have some free time, I just want to go off and do something fun because my brain hurts and revisions are simply too taxing.
Yeah, I know...tell that to my book. You know, the one where all the characters are screaming at me to finish up already because they want me to start THEIR story? Yeah, that one. That one is still on the back burner, wondering if I'll ever get around to filling in the gaps and turning it into a masterpiece.
I will. I promise!
I just have to go grade papers first.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Apparently it's my turn...

to entertain. Was talking with Ms. K this evening about blogs, and those who read blogs. She expressed her ire at not having anything new to read. Apparently all my new posts this week do not count. No, I have to post more. Mostly because certain other people have been lax in their posting. Still, I must pick up the slack for them. Hmmmm...me thinks this is a bit unfair. Especially seeing as how I spent 11 hours at school today, between teaching, prepping and grading. Which is nothing compared to how long i'll be there on Thursday, which is Curriculum Night. My elementary when I was a kid used to call it meet the teacher night. I guess it's not about meeting the teachers now, it's about the curriculum. Well fine. I guess I can deal with that. As long as it's a little bit about meeting me. I mean, c'mon! Who doesn't want to meet me?
Still, at least that part is almost over. It's a bit like standing before the firing squad, waiting for the parents to decide whether you're worthy or not. So there you have it. My bit of entertainment for the evening. Tomorrow is an early release day, so I'm hoping to get some revision work taken care of. Needless to say, so far it hasn't happened this week.

Your turn to entertain me! Bring it on!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sudden realizations...

My mom often asks me how can I re-watch movies or re-read books. She doesn't see the appeal of spending time on something you've already done. (Never mind the fact she never remembers what she reads or sees anyway, that's beside the point.)
Today, I'm reminded again why I love re-reading my favorite books, or re-watching movies. It's for that, "How did I miss that?" factor. I don't know about you, but when I read a book, or watch a movie, I'm looking at the big picture. I don't notice the little subtleties, those little moments that are almost hidden within the text or picture. It's often not until the second, third, or even forth time through that I begin to notice those little pieces I missed. Often, they are subtle, but important clues to the overall piece. I love that feeling, the one I get from noticing a line, or a look. I love finding those deeper meanings, or hidden treasures.

What do you love? C'mon, share with the class!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

How a night on the town with your sister is different...

Than a night on the town with a friend.
Lil' Sis graduated from college last month, and has since moved back home and has entered the job search arena. This arena, of course, is very much like those of the Ancient Romans, complete with man-eating lions and blood thirsty spectators. Understanding this, and knowing most of her friends are not in our area, I asked her if she wanted to go out with me last night.
Note should be taken here, because this is something I rarely do. Lil' Sis and I are two very different people, who have very different ideas of a what constitutes a fun evening. But she accepted, and invited two of her friends along, and so our adventure begins.
So how is a night out with your sister different from a night out with friends?
  • A friend doesn't want to have to explain things to the police. A sister doesn't want to have to explain to Mom.
  • A friend has your back, but will most likely be the one to cause you great embarrassment. A sister has your back, and will likely be part of the embarrassment.
  • When you order a drink with a friend, it doesn't phase them. When you order a drink with your sister, her jaw drops and she gapes like a fish. The effect of course is ruined when you have to explain you ordered a Diet Coke, and not a "real" drink.
  • Friends know if you take extra long to come back from the bathroom, you may be chatting with someone interesting. Siblings begin to worry and call out the National Guard because it's "Not like you."
There's more, I'm sure, but I can't remember right now. Needless to say a good time was had, despite the not so great music and the vast number of Cougar fans.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

You just can't take it personally...

(aka rejection part 2). One thing I've learned about the business of writing and publishing is that you cannot take it personally. Over half the time you are sending your manuscript off to a complete stranger. If you're lucky, you had the opportunity to meet him or her at a conference and a partial was requested. The majority of the time, though, you are sending it off to someone whose face you don't even know, and wouldn't be able to pick out of a crowd. In the case of the latest, the manuscript was sent (unrequested) to an editor who I have never personally met. I've seen her at a conference, but I've never had the opportunity to shake her hand and give her a face to put with the name. So I'm not all that shocked that I received a rejection in the mail not from her, but from an Editorial Assistant at her publishing house.
Why don't I take it all that personally? I know you're sitting there thinking, but it's your book! Your baby! You've put almost 2 years of your life into the sucker! Darn right, it should be personal. But it's not. At least, not in this case. If the letter had addressed specifics, if the EA had said, "Well, your character Shayna is flat and two-dimensional. She's complete unsympathetic." Well, then I'd take it personally. Instead, I got a form letter printed on plain printer paper with the date, the title of my book and my name HAND WRITTEN into the three blank lines at the top of the page. This was followed by a paragraph about how the writing just isn't strong enough for them and listing what they look for as a house.
What does that come down to for me?
Not a whole lot...except I'll wait a bit before sending this House anything else. Nope, all it says is that I tried, and it's just not the right fit for me. So onward to the other agents and houses. No time to stop and wallow...

PS. In other news, University of Michigan plays Notre Dame today. Go Blue!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

All I want to know is...

Is it wrong that instead of paying attention during tech training, I was working on revisions? I followed along with the training. Really I did. And I know what I need to do now, thanks to the training. So is it bad that I was working on my book? I think it's just an example of multitasking at its finest.

And no, there is no reason to panic. I just love this button and believe we should all have them on our keyboards.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

AIDS Walk revisited...

First off, I want to thank all of you who donated to this walk. I realize many of us are under tight money constraints, and it means a lot to me that you donated.
The walk was yesterday morning, and it dawned rainy and gray. Last year it poured for the first half, and this year appeared to be no different. Ms. K. and I left our town and headed across the bridge to Capitol Hill, where they were holding the walk. We purposely went in late, as we've learned from past experience that the wait can be horribly boring, if we go in when they tell us check-in starts.
The walk itself remained dry, with lots of volunteers cheering us on (including one group of actual cheerleaders). The downside was that this year the lead walkers carried a banner that stretched across the width of the street. These banner carriers set the pace of the walk, which was unbelievably slow. I don't think I've ever taken 45 minutes to walk a mile in my life. Even when I weighed my heaviest. This was the first year with the banner, and I hope it was simply for the 2oth anniversary, and not a new yearly event. Especially because I cannot spend another "walk" listening to Ms. K. complain about the pace, and how painful it is. Really. It was a bit much. We're used to setting our own pace, weaving in and out of other walkers as we try to see how fast we can finish. It's a combination of good exercise and doing-good. This year? It was doing-good.

And the list keeps growing...

and growing...
Jill Shalvis did a post the other day on the Brava Authors blog about her TBR piles. More specifically, what her husband thinks of her TBR piles.
Thankfully, I live alone, so the only person bothered by my piles is me. And let's be honest, folks, this is a good thing. Especially when my last two trips to the bookstore produced the following results...
I need to buy:
  • Body Movers, Stephanie Bond
  • The Big Over Easy, Jasper Fforde
  • High Stakes, Erin McCarthy
  • The Kept Woman, Susan Donovan
  • Hit Hard, Amy J. Fetzer
  • Cast in Shadow, Michele Sagara
  • Murphy's Law, Lori Foster
  • Will Write for Shoes, Cathy Yardley
  • Out of this World, Jill Shalvis
Yes, this is only a minor list. But when you add it to my already way too full shelves, well, then you can see the problem.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I fully admit...

I'm a strange person. Really. I accepted this about myself a long time ago. Of course, I never realize exactly how strange until today.
Picture it...Washington, 2006 (shades of Golden Girls anyone?)
I'm exhausted from my first day of teaching (wahoo! I have a job!). I straggle home, picking up a latte on the way. I pick up my mail and notice a white envelope. Huh...looks familiar, I think. Check the return address...oh. It's one of the SASE's from last week's batch of partial submissions. Huh. This can't be good. It's only been a week. They can't have hated it so quickly, could they?
Open the envelope, pull out the letter from Editor X. She was my long shot. She was the one I'd met a few years ago at a conference and I'd heard she was hungry for new material. So I sent her the partial.
Read the letter.
Re-read the letter. Get excited.
Wait. Excited? About a rejection? What is wrong with me!? (rhetorical question here, people.)
Re-read rejection. Nope. Still excited.
I'm weird.
So by now I'm sure you all want to know why I'm so excited. Truthfully, it could be the caffeine talking, but I don't think it is. See, Editor X thought I had a "fresh and attention-grabbing concept", and she was "excited to read it". The problem, if you can really call it that, is that she didn't fall in love with the story as a whole.
Well, okay. I can understand that. I don't love every story I read, either. Of course, I think she should have loved mine...but I can understand it might not have been her cup of tea. But her rejection rocked! None of this "you suck, don't ever write again" business. No. I have a "fresh and attention-grabbing concept". Yeehaw!