Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cross your fingers...

My book has disappeared. Or at least, the file for it has. Stupid Erin, I don't have a recent back up (of the last 72+ pages). My computer refuses to recognize my flash drive, but doesn't show any evidence of what could have corrupted it. So cross your finger it's just my computer being stupid, and then when I go to work tomorrow my work computer will miraculously open the file.
And if it doesn't work? Pray that the re-written 72+ pages are as good as the originals...if not better.
Not to mention, please take my advice...don't do as I did. Back-up your files in at least two different ways...it may be a pain, but you'll be thankful you did.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

You never really stop being a writer...

Did everyone here my scream of delight this morning when I discovered the most fabulous news?
You didn't? Well, that's just wrong.
What was all the shouting about? To tell you, I have to back up a few (or ten, or twelve) years and explain my fascination with all books written by L.J. Smith. And don't you dare tell me you never heard of her, because that's just not right. Before we had Stephanie Meyers and Serena Robar's vampires, we had Stefan and Damon from The Vampire Diaries. L.J. Smith wrote paranormal YA back when it wasn't necessarily the thing to do. She wrote a trilogy about a coven of witches (The Secret Circle), one about psychics (Dark Visions), shadow people (The Forbidden Game), and a world where all paranormal creatures walked among us (The Night World). I devoured her books as quickly as I could find them. Then I read them again. And again. And again. Until at one point I was using scotch tape to hold the bindings together, since the books were falling apart in my hands. The Night World books began releasing back in the late 1990's with the promise of a fabulous finale.
Only the finale never came.
In the days when the internet was in its infancy, rumors floated around with no real place to go. Fans pulled together and created their own website (and no, I wasn't one of them) and even attempted to contact Mrs. Smith. Notes were posted informing us she was ill, but she'd be back working on Strange Fate soon. Months passed. Then years. I moved, the books stayed behind, and I forgot about them.
Sort of.
Part of me still wanted to know how the series ended. It was a small part, one pushed to the corners of my mind out of the way. It lived there with along with the questions about another series I loved as a teen that abruptly ended. Illustrating once again how influential books can be to a reader.
It remained in the corners of my mind until the other day when I walked into B&N and saw a two book collection reprinting The Vampire Diaries. Holy moly! Did my eyes deceive me?
So this morning, bleary eyed and uncertain, I opened my web browser and googled her name, barely letting my hopes up that I'd find anything worthwhile. What I found reminded me once again that writers never really stop being writers. We may take a break. We may walk way, but it's always a part of us. As it turns out, they aren't just reprinting TVD. No, they're also planning to re-release The Secret Circle books later this year, along with The Night World books in preperation for...duh, duh, du-uh! The release of the final book in the series. Something like almost a decade later the final book to a wonderful series will be released.
As it turns out L.J. Smith has been through a hell of a decade. Illness took over her family, and she struggled to move through all of it. Her story isn't proof of the publishing industry as a whole. Frankly, more often than not we're warned that if we stop producing we might as well kiss our careers good-bye. Obviously we don't know the details. Maybe Strange Fate was already contracted and her editor gave her an extremely generous extension. Who knows. Frankly, does it really matter? This woman proved she can write, that she had loyal fans waiting for her books. Numbers speak in the publishing world, and she must have had them.
I think the story also that if the story is big enough, strong enough, people will wait decades to read it. Looks like the wait is almost over.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yoga, WASL, Passover and writing...

Also known as: How to drive Erin insane in a week.
My students began the WASL last week. They all seem to be doing fine, and are handling it very well. I, on the other hand, am a basket case. I just want one normal day. One where I don't have to check, double-check, and then re-check what time they all go to recess. One where I know when they have art/music/PE (or if they even have one of them). I want a day where I can plan my lessons and be reasonably assured I'll get to teach them...and not just teach the science lesson (dissecting owl pellets takes forever!!).
And since I was such a wreck all week, I decided to give yoga a third (or was it a fourth?) chance. This time it went fairly well, all things considered. Well, until the next day when moving my arms took an immense amount of effort. I still don't believe humans are meant to bend these ways. One move required me to stand on one leg, bent over at the hips, while using one arm for balance and the other extended up in the air above me. Then I was supposed to twist. The directions alone are were confusing enough, let alone the execution of them. But I will admit to feeling pretty darn zen-like by the end, when we got to my favorite pose. You know, the one where you lie flat on your back like a corspe? Yeah, I really like that one.
Saturday brought the first night of Passover (Pesach to those in the know), and 8 guests to my apartment. I worked in the a.m., and the guests were due at 6:30. Theoretically this left me with about 5 hours (give or take 30 minutes) to make the charoset (yummy apples & nuts mixture), clean the apartment and set up the table. At 4:30 I finally made it home from the second grocery store of the day, with most of the ingredients I needed.
Among all of this madness (or is this just normal life in my world?) I needed to get 55 pages of my manuscript read so that I can dive back into work this week. It was close. Sunday at noon I was still 25 pages short and looking at another Seder that was guaranteed to go well passed my bedtime (and it did). But I did it. I buckled down at the computer and read. And read. Ate some matza, and read some more. And while I have an obnoxious craving for all things bread/pasta related, I'm just about ready to get back to the writing of WHISI.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's a wild world...

This last weekend I made my annual pilgrammage back to Michigan to see my bubbe and assorted other family members. Going back is always weird for me. I grew up in Metro Detroit, and spent the better part of 22 years there. When I left, it felt similar to a mass exodus, as most of my friends moved out and moved on with their lives. Most of my immediate family is now in Washington, and so when I go back, there aren't that many to connect with. It makes it easy to keep my visits short and sweet, even if they are a blur.
This time around felt like a weekend at a nature preserve...if the animals in the preserve were designed to scare the bejeezus out of me.
First off on Friday I decided to take an hour and go back to high school for a bit. They've redone most of my old high school, down to the food service. They have a pop machine! The wild and wooly part came on the way to the school. FH is not a rural area by any stretch of the imagination. There aren't a lot of parks, or places for wild animals to live. They were pushed out 20 years ago (give or take), by housing developments. So believe me when I say the deer that decided to bound into the middle of the busy street was completely unexpected. Even more unexpected were the two who followed their friend. Thank goodness my rental car had good breaks, or I'd be wearing antlers.
Later that day I took the family dog over to the local pet shop to be groomed. We walked, since the weather was breezy (if you count almost gale force winds a nice breeze) but sunny. Madi was thrilled to trot along and sniff the ground, and when we encountered a couple of geese? Why she scared them off, of course. Too bad the geese didn't stay scared. The crazy beasts decided that they, not the city of FH, owned the sidewalk and I had no business walking on it. They hissed and honked...and chased me. I ended up crossing well before the intersection to escape turning the potential to violence into actual violence.
And of course, all this went on amidst warnings that the thunderstorms they expected to arrive later in the day might provide the perfect conditions for a tornado. It's just too bad that the t-storms never really fleshed out by me. Only a little thunder and lightening to speak of.
The weekend also involved baking coffee cake and making gefilte fish. And let me tell you, if you weren't a fan of it to start with? You don't want to know how it's made.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

With all the excitement...

I forgot to update the blog. Sorry, folks! I hope you all enjoyed my conversations with Diana/Emily. I hope to share more conversations with you in the future, since they are a blast to do.
I'm officially on Spring Break! I live for my breaks, if only because they guarantee time to take care of all the little things that fall between the cracks...like writing. Or cleaning my apartment. And for those who might be wondering, no, I don't really work for the CIA. Teaching is not a "front" or a secret identity. I swear.
Or do I?
But seriously, folks, I'm on break and trying to use my time wisely. This means changing out the warm, flannel sheets for my new spring colors, getting some of my shoes stashed away (rather than leaving them strewn around the door), and cleaning out the clutter in my mind. And there's a lot of clutter there. In an effort to create a healthier, less cluttered mind, I'm trying yoga again and this time I intend to give it a fair chance. I'm also working on the procrastination problem I have. You know, the one where I leave all my writing until 10 o'clock at night, when I'm supposed to be going to sleep. So I've been working on tricking myself into starting earlier. Like telling myself if I start by a certain time, I only have to write for 15 minutes. Or I can watch my show, but only if I finish my page (pages). It's working so far, sort of. Frankly, I'm not very good at tricking myself, as I'm then the first one to say, "Yeah, right." See? It doesn't work very well. But I'm working on it, and I'm pushing forward, and in the end that's what matters, right? Right?!
So there you have it, the ramblings of a teacher on Spring Break. Gotta love it.

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