Listen to the Mustn'ts, child, listen to the Don'ts.
Listen to the Shouldn'ts, the Impossibles, the Won'ts.

Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.

-Shel Silverstein

Friday, June 29, 2012

What I learned during my hiatus

Greetings everyone!

It’s been a few weeks since my last post. I apologize for my absence, although I’m sure you haven’t missed me a bit! A lot has happened since my last blog post. We went camping, I attended WIFYR and met a ton of great new writing friends, I continued training for my ½ marathon and my dad had a bit of an accident.

Allow me to catch you up.

Top 10 Things I learned during my Hiatus

10. Sleeping bags shrink. Okay, maybe they don’t shrink in the I-Washed-It-In-Hot-Water kind of shrink. More of a Hey-I’ve-Gotten-Fatter-Since-We-Did-This-Last kind of way.

9. Quitting Diet Pepsi hasn’t helped me lose any weight but I’m holding strong. I will be reunited with the Dark Mother in T-Minus 9 Days. I’m still struggling to drop some poundage before the race next Saturday. But, according to my husband, “You may not have lost any weight—but at least your legs don’t look like they are choking in your pants.”

8. Running 11 miles along the beautiful Snake River doesn’t make running 11 miles any easier. You just smell worse because you can’t shower afterwards when you’re camping.

7. Dogs are a lot more fun outside—on account of there’s no carpet to chew.

6. 72-year old men should not be climbing 20-ft ladders to prune trees with chainsaws. I’m just saying.

5. Get a good job and be very grateful for health insurance—because one day you might need it in a big, big way.

4. My first novel is dead, I’m afraid. I received my 8th rejection, which I’m okay with. But I realized the story is so flawed that I either need to start over or put it in a drawer. I’m opting for the drawer. I’m going to give my new manuscript a chance to get finished.

3. I don’t know the first thing about writing, and yet, I know a little more than I thought.

2. The main character in my new novel has no motivation and the world I built didn’t make any sense and needs to be revamped. Easy-Peasy. Right? #pullshair

1. WIFYR is still the best week of my year. I love meeting writers and learning more about the craft.

Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful weekend. I will be spending mine learning how to be a farmer. Don’t be jealous! I’ll send pictures.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ode to the Dark Mother

This week I read LOVE AND LEFTOVERS by Sarah Tregay.

It was a great book comprised entirely of poems. I loved everything about it so I started thinking, as I usually do when I read someone elses great works, "Hey, maybe I could do that!?"

Have I mentioned I am delusional?

In order to write an entire novel of poetry, I figured I should start small.

But what to write about?

They say to write what you know.

But what if you don't know anything?

And then it hit me. Diet Pepsi! I have gone 72 very loooooong hours without my Dark Aspartame Mother in an effort to train for my half marathon so its been on my mind lately.

So, without further ado...

Ode to the Dark Mother:
Oh Dark Mother, how do I love you?
In ways I cannot count with fingers of five.
You served me well, like morning dew,
You kept me going, you kept my soul alive.
Though others have tempted, my love for you is true.
Alas, I have foresaken you to be a running-whore,
But do not doubt-
The days will run out-
And You and I will be reunited once more.

What say you? Do you think I have a shot at writing a Novel In Verse?

Maybe not.

On the WIFYR front, I received my pages for the conference. I have 173 pages to critique by next Monday. It's a good thing I am going to Canada again next week so I will have time in the evenings to work on them.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! See you Tuesday!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to Train for a Half Marathon

I know you are all dying to know how to train for a Half Marathon. Today I would like to impart my extensive wisdom on the subject in this simple 10-Step Investment Approach.

10. Invest in “Born to Run”

All of you should have a sister like mine. For Christmas, instead of knitting me a sweater with jingle bells on it, she threw down a challenge—to run a Half Marathon in July. She gave me the book “Born to Run” which I promptly read cover to cover and became brainwashed into thinking that, not only could I run, but I could run barefoot.

9. Invest in a Dog

Every good runner needs a dog. Because a dog will wake you up at six AM every day of your life to go to the bathroom and then jump all over and lick you. This is far better than any alarm clock on the market because there is no “Snooze” button. Trust me. Get a dog. You’ll never regret it.

8. Invest in Extra Leashes

Said dog will be difficult to control and will chew through several leashes so make sure you always have a spare on hand. In case you aren’t a dog person, evidently they are easily distracted.


7. Invest in a GPS watch

Just because you own a Smart Phone doesn’t make you Smart. There is a FREE APP, yes FREE, with GPS tracking, timers, route mappers, anything you could ever want in a Sports Watch. But, if you are *Smart* like me, you will ignore this APP and drop a few bones on an official GPS Watch. Just because you are smart.

6. Invest in a new pair of kicks

A new shiny pair of kicks will make you forget that you are pounding the pavement over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over. It will feel like you are walking on clouds. You will be able to run forever because, like I keep telling my husband, new shoes have magical powers.

5. Invest in Orthotics

Once you realize that taking the advice in Step 10 to run barefoot has backfired because a human that is 100 lbs overweight and has lived a sedentary lifestyle for the last 3 years cannot in fact run down the street barefoot, you will need to drop a few bones on some custom orthotics. No biggie.

4. Invest in Groceries

Evidently Oreos and Mac and Cheese are not “Fuel” for your body. So, invest in some groceries that are high in protein, good fats and most importantly…FIBER!!

3. Invest in Underwear

After Step 4, you will need to invest in some new underwear. I’m just saying.

2. Invest in an iPod arm holder

When the weather turns warm and you don’t have a jacket with pockets to hold your iPod/iPhone you will need to invest in an arm holder gizzy because evidently cleavage sweat will short-out your very expensive, beloved Apple Product. (See...now I don't look so dumb for buying a GPS watch, do I?)

1. Invest the time

All that is left is to invest the time. Get out there and run, run, run!!

See you at the finish line.

Friday, June 1, 2012

That X-Chromosome Will Getcha

Well, we survived (I use that term loosely) another birthday at our house. Thing 1 turned 10 in human years—17 in girl years.

Someone help me understand when, exactly, I lost control as a parent…

Could it have been when I agreed to let her make her own birthday cake and she decided it needed to be frosted OUT of the pan while it was still hot so she dumped it on the counter and it crumbled into a thousand pieces all over my kitchen and floor?

Could it have been when I told her she could invite a few friends over for cake and ice cream and it turned into a free-for-all, you know, since she didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings?

Could it have been when all her friends helped her decide the party should start right after school instead of a reasonable hour when I could be home from work and so therefore I had to take a half day off work?

Could it have been when I told her we could have pizza for dinner but her friends decided they were hungry NOW so I was sent off to Little Caesars with a list of special requests?

Could it have been when her grandpa called to wish her a happy birthday and all of her friends passed the phone around the room and acted like ninnies?

Could it have been when I made the mistake of letting her pick out some clothes for her birthday and she decided she needed to wear all of them at once to show off to her friends?

Could it have been when the neon pink lipstick made its first appearance?

Could it have been when we decided having a baby sounded like fun and that bloody X-chromosome fought its way to the front of the line?

Yeah. I think that was where it all went awry.

Se la vi! We are stuck with her. Good thing we love her so much!

On the writing front, I have about 72 hours till my pages are due for the conference. I will be locked in my room, showerless and braless donning PJs while I complete my revisions. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dives and Diners of Lehi

We moved to Lehi about 6 months ago. We are only 20 miles from our old house but we may as well be half way around the world.

Nothing is the same around here. And I mean nothing. Sure, there is an Olive Garden but the bathrooms are on the left of the lobby instead of the right and their booths are green instead of brown. Its all very disorienting. It makes me homesick.

So, being a three-day weekend we decided to have a "Stay-cation" and visit a few new restraunts we have seen around town. We tried 3 places and all three were colossal disappointments. Our Dine Around Lehi felt a little something like this...

Delicious, right? I only wish I were joking.

Anyway, despite the bad food and ambiance we had a great time with our family.

I spent some time writing my synopsis and working on my 15 pages for the upcoming WIFYR Conference. My synopsis looks and feels a little like this...

But at least I got some words on the page and that is half the battle. Synopsis are hard. You have to give a summary of your entire book in 1 to 3 pages. Which wouldn't be that hard if you had already written the book and knew how it ended. But trying to work out the entire book in your head and write an interesting summary can be hard. But I managed.

Now...for the revisions! Revision is a glorious thing. Nothing is ever beyond fixing. There is always a chance to delete, improve and embellish. I only wish life were that forgiving!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Censorship Sucks

I received an email this week that the 15 pages of my new novel are due June 4th. PLUS...a 1 page and a 3 page synopsis of the novel. I am a little freaked out by the synopsis part. I've never written a synopsis, let alone a 3 page one that is interesting.

Guess what I will be doing with my Memorial Day weekend? It should be a nice break from cleaning my doggie-floors!

This week I have been thinking a lot about censorship.

I used to be very open, bold even, in my blogging. I used to LOVE blogging. But I received a lot of criticism, enough that I stopped blogging altogether for a few years because, if I couldn't say what I really thought/meant/wanted...what was the point?

I am finding that is true with my writing as well. I am worried about who will read it and what they will think, that they will frown upon me because I am too...me. Because "Me" is not like anyone else around. Not even close.

I have wanted to quit writing altogether because of self-censorship. It is hard to hang one's metaphorical heart on one's sleeve and keep from being made a fool in the process. In fact, I daresay it's impossible. I am trying to write my entire new manuscript without using one swear word or edgy, inappropriate theme. And I'll be honest. It ain't easy.

The real question is--am I brave enough to keep writing AND stop the self-censorship?

I don't know if I am. I can see myself getting published and then being ridiculed beyond what I can handle. How dare I write books for young adults that are truthful and raw and still call myself a "good person"?

They tell me to change what I think, say and write and then they will accept me. Did they ever think that perhaps it's not me that has the problem? But it doesn't matter. I'm still the one that has to live with it.

Censorship sucks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Birthday Dilemmas

I am blogging from Ontario, Canada. I will be traveling here two or three more times this summer so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

This week I am having a motherly dilemma. Thing 1 is having a birthday next week. Want to know what she has asked for?

1. An iPhone
2. A plane ticket to Austin Texas to visit her cousins
3. A pair of roller-skate shoes
4. A disco light
5. A razor and shaving cream

We usually keep birthdays very small—just a small gift from each member of the family. Most of you would look at this list and laugh at me, as you should, and tell me the answer is simple.

But let me explain my dilemma...
1. I want her to have an iPhone so she will STOP using mine! And, we are in the process of renegotiating our contracts so it would be relatively feasible to get her one. Except Daddy has insisted he is higher up the iPhone food-chain than she is so Option 1 is out.
Plus. Come on. An iPhone for a 10 year old? I can’t bring myself to do it.
2. I would love to send her to visit my sister. In fact, I would love to go with her. I think that is an awesome birthday present. And, thanks to my travel for work, I have enough frequent flyer miles to buy her a ticket.
But just because I have enough miles…should I? Is that too extravagant? Shouldn’t I save those miles for a family vacation instead?
3. I hate roller-skate shoes. The dog running around my hardwood floors is bad enough. Roller-skates? No.
4. A disco light? Seriously? Where am I supposed to get one of those? And…ew.
5. A razor? Heaven help me. She needs to, don’t get me wrong. She is starting to notice and getting self conscious so I can’t put it off much longer.
What is a mother to do? I have a bad habit of overindulging my children. I want them to have things. I do. But I’m afraid this time it’s gone too far.

I think we will end up with a razor, shaving cream and…WHAT?

Please give me some ideas!

I know. How about a Diet Pepsi and a kick in the butt?
There. It’s settled.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dog Dayz

Several months ago my kids suckered me into getting a puppy. My husband and I hate dogs. We vowed, at the alter, we would never have a pet.


And yet, somehow there is a mangy dog living in my brand new house.

I overlooked the accidents, because she was a baby.
I overlooked the chewing, because she was teething.
I overlooked a lot of things, because.

Ben keeps asking me what she gives in return. To which, I answer...

Um. She's cute? And she stink? And she has nasty dog breath and jumps all over me? She is always in the way? She costs lots of money? She gets my floors all dirty?

Yeah. That's what she gives in return.

So far, the only benefit I can see is that my yard is going in much faster because of her.

Today she crossed a line. Today she chewed a hole through my very best, my very expensive area rug.

So, she is grounded today while we debate her future. I am hiding in my room, enjoying a dog free morning, working in my warm cozy bed, watching daytime television, listining to the rain, and writing.

What could be finer?

Oh yeah, not having a dog.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Discouragement and Perspective

Discouragement is a disease that has touched all of us at one time or another. For me, it takes many forms…

It’s a rejection letter

It’s a bad day at work

It’s a harsh word from a loved one

It’s an ungrateful child

It’s a pair of running shoes sitting in the bottom of a closet, taunting you

It’s bad things that happen to good people

It’s bad things that happen to you

It’s a pair of jeans that are just a little too tight

It’s a sleeve of Oreo’s and a half gallon of ice cream

It’s a dirty house

It’s a sink full of dishes

It’s a dirty dog

It’s an unfinished project

It’s an empty bank account

It’s an unwritten story

How do we overcome discouragement when it’s so prevalent, up in our grills 24/7/365? I believe who we are as a person is a function of what we do in the face of discouragement. Life will never change, it’s our perspective when life happens that defines us.

Last night, I came home from work and felt sorry for myself. I stuffed my face with comfort foods, laid on my bed and watched TV, slept, left the house, children and dog to themselves, and wallowed.

Today, I am ashamed that I let the little things in life get the best of me.

Today, I won’t let that happen again.
Will you?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Creating Things...It's How We Roll

After following my own advice, I finally finished my retaining wall.

Isn't it beautiful? There is something to be said for creating something yourself, with your own hands. Thing 2, my 8 year-old, decided she wanted to learn how to create pancakes all by herself. So, with a sophisticated recipe in hand, she did just that.

That's how we roll at our house. We create things. Now, keep in mind--we aren't creative, but with a good formula and a little instruction, we know how to create.

The same can be said of writing. Most people are crippled with the idea of writing because they don't feel creative. You don't have to be creative to write, you simply need to have a desire to create.

If you have ever thought of writing, open that blank Word Doc on your computer, dust off that journal and start. There are many great books and websites available to help you along your journey if that's your thing. But it's not necessary. The most important part of the creation formula is merely to do it. To start.

Here's to pancakes and brick walls. Here's to writing a novel.