Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sorry for the melancholic interlude

I just realized that I posted that poem last night without any today, I explain. On the first of this month, my most darling, sweetest friend lost her husband of 7 years in an accident. She is now a widow at the age of 27, and is left raising two of the cutest boys aged 5 and 3.

She is an amazingly strong person, but now that the intitial shock is wearing off, it's time to deal with the back-breaking grief, and the stress of starting over. As someone who loves her, I struggle with knowing what to do, and knowing what to say. I can only hope that time goes by quickly enough to heal her, yet slowly enough to keep the memories of their incredible relationship intact.

I think that when you're as strong as she is, it's hard to even know where to begin asking for help and support. I'm so grateful for her husband's family, and for the concern they have for her. I know they worried so much when she didn't come crashing down in the first couple of weeks, but as it begins to settle in, they are there for her. We all want to be there for her.

So, I hope she knows how much I love her, and how much I wish I could say and do the perfect thing that'll help her make it through another day. I hope she knows that no matter how far she feels like falling, I won't let her go down, and neither will anyone else.

Friday, August 28, 2009

impromptu poem on a dear friend's grief

days go by in
fast and slow motion
agony because of how slowly
every tear seems to fall
painful because of how fast
every heartbeat
leads away
from precious time together
mourning thrice over
once for yourself
twice more for little ones who
seem to forget
the life carefully planned
by loving
parents too soon parted
would that i could
linguistic valium
but my words carry
little comfort
if any
instead i save tears
for when
darkness falls
because i know that's when it
strikes you
seemingly unyielding
my pillow is tear stained
though not so wet as yours
i can't walk in your shoes
only alongside
as near or far
as you can
so i do what i can
while on my knees
that you can
carry on
that you can
make it through
another first step
but not
because you're
ever watched over
ever prayed for
ever supported
by friends unsure
by love unfeigned
by hands unseen

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to school blues

I really shouldn't be complaining. After all, every single one of my five children has been bouncing off the walls (a couple of them in a literal sense - ah, boys...okay, and one of the girls). So, while I'm happy they'll have somewhere to go that will allow them to release some of that energy, I'm so sad that the end of summer is here. And not just because I can't sleep in anymore (although that is a very, very sad thing...)

It's been fun, it's been busy, and it's gone by way too fast! Do you remember how quickly summertime flew by when you were a kid? I sure do, but why, oh, why didn't anyone warn me that it was even worse when you're a grown up?! How lame is that?

So, in an effort to cheer myself up, I've made up a list of things I'm grateful for with the kids heading back to school.

1. I won't have to find creative ways to fit eight hundred cups into the dishwasher (seriously, why can't they use the same water glass or two during the day?? Or better yet, why can't they use their water bottles?).

2. I won't have to do eight hundred loads of laundry a day (like it's not bad enough with 7 people in the family, they have to change several times a day...I keep trying to get them to live in their bathing suits all summer, but they just won't listen!).

3. My kitchen will get the rest it deserves (because contrary to popular belief, kids don't need 3 snacks between breakfast and lunch, 5 snacks between lunch and dinner, and 2 snacks before bed).

4. I won't have to feed them eighteen times a day (and I thought breast-feeding them as babies* was time consuming - it doesn't hold a candle to all the time I spend in the kitchen feeding them "real" food - and it's waaaaay more expensive!)

5. If I clean up the living room/bathroom/any room, it'll stay clean for most of the day. (Sure, I only like to do that when company is coming, but still...)

6. No more tripping over video game cords.

7. I can put music on really loud without interrupting anyone's favourite show.

8. Peace and quiet**. (This may seem to contradict #7, but I don't think they're mutually exclusive. There's a time and place for rockin' out, and a time for quiet. With them gone, I have a choice!)

9. Peace and quiet.


Ahhh, I feel so much better already. What makes back to school easier for you?


*Too much information, I know.

**Sure, I home school #1, but she's generally the least noisy of the 5.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Teensy reminder

For the upcoming 10K day on Saturday. You can RSVP to the event here. I just rediscovered her site, as it's been moved from blogger, so you may want to bookmark the new one.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No more sleep, and how to dress for the weather

Well, it's almost time to send the kiddies off to school again. That means no more revolving front door, no more 24 hour a day kitchen, and no more sleeping in.


I mean, it's bad enough that the hustle and bustle of lessons and homework is starting up, but what I will miss most of all are the summer hours of late nights and sleep-ins. As a night owl, the school year just about kills me. I live for weekends and holidays so that my poor, tired body can recuperate from those early mornings and live in a way that is more conducive to my wonked out internal body clock.

My inability to function within the parameters of regular society weighs heavily upon me for ten months of the year. When my second wind hits (usually at about 9pm every night), I begin to dread the coming hours. My mind contends mightily with my body as it tries to talk it into getting to sleep at a normal time so I'll be able to wake up refreshed (and functioning) the next morning.

Now, I know that I have a powerful mind (hey, I've totally read The Secret). I'm an extremely stubborn person with an iron will (you know, when I really want something). But my mind has nothing on my body clock. My body clock defies all logic and reason.

Evil Body Clock has no respect for the conventions of modern, school-going life. It doesn't care that kids have to get out the door on time. It doesn't care that stores are only open at certain times of the day (small town living, what can I say...). It certainly doesn't care that the crazy hours drive my husband completely around the bend.

Evil Body Clock has its own agenda, and I secretly believe that it wants to rule the world. It certainly rules mine. But enough about Evil Body Clock...

Another (much less traumatic) thing that the school year brings, is cooler weather. In a few short weeks I'll probably be dragging out the winter jackets and mittens (I'm from west-central Canada, and we have 2 seasons: winter, and countdown-to-winter). There is a tradition up here that very few outsiders get to see. It's where we send our kids to school in winter clothing on the outside with summer clothing underneath. Mornings can be so cold, and afternoons so hot that we've been forced to adopt a slightly schizophrenic way of dressing.

If you've ever wondered what makes us, that just might be it. You psychology types can go to town on that if you like.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to see if I can remember where I put the winter boots*...


*Why I even bother putting them away is beyond me...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Because apparently I have nothing better to do at 3 am

Stupid insomnia. I went to bed at eleven, only to come out at half past twelve because my husband (you know I love you honey) was tossing and turning and keeping me awake. I was up this late last night too!

Well, 10K writing day was, um, yesterday I guess. I participated to the best of my ability considering how dozy I was, and came up short of 5K, but in all, writing is writing and gets me a little closer to my goal. I've become quite a fan of 10K day. I like having that extra bit of motivation to just do as much as I can.

Mini progress report: I've all but ditched the book I originally started on a while back to pursue a new and fabulous idea. I'll get back to book 2 (I'm about 1/3 of the way through), but this other one is shaping up to be a snappy little thing.

The idea originally came to me as a series of Far Side type cartoons (I'm totally dating myself, I'm sure...) and involves something I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd write about - a zombie. The cartoons will be incorporated as part of the story, and I have to say that this is different and fun and dare-I-say high concept enough to be something great. I'm not even going to give up the title because it's all kinds of genius (says I)!

Now, don't be thinking this is a horror novel of some kind - it's not. I don't even like scary stuff*, and can't name any zombie movies to save my life. I've also never read a book with zombies in it (because, hello, they're too scary), though I've heard of several current YA books that deal with them. This book is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy/tragedy YA, and I really hope I can pull it off because I'm sooo excited by the concept.

Well, I guess that's about all anyone in their right mind should put in a post in the middle of the night. I'm going to see if I can finally crash out!


*To read about my super-sekrit method of watching scary parts in movies, or just dealing with scary stuff period, go here. Trust me, it works every time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another 10K writing day (or two)

It's getting to be that time again. If you missed it last month, you can still get in on the action. There are two, count 'em TWO! 10K writing days this month. One on Thursday the 13th, and another on Saturday the 22nd (a great idea for those who can't participate during the week). Head on over to Milli Thornton's blog to check it out. Don't forget to sign up!

Some of you are probably thinking "I could never write ten thousand words in one day!" You may be right, but it doesn't matter! The idea behind the 10K day is to just dedicate the day to writing (it could be in a journal, for a blog - comments on other blogs included!, or your latest novel). You may be surprised at just how much you're able to get done.

I heard about it for the first time last month on MeganRebekah's blog. I ended up spending that afternoon at the park with my kids, but took my notebook and just wrote. I wasn't anywhere near the 10K mark by the end, but the experience really got the creative juices flowing, and I ended up with some excellent chapters for my current WIP, as well as getting a great start on a few other projects I had going.

If you find that you're languishing over what comes next in your story, take a break and write something else. Or, give yourself permission to let go. Be crazy, and let those characters do something silly. It'll help move things along, and next thing you know, you'll have the answers the story needed. Writing is work, but it's supposed to be enjoyable*.

And, in case you're wondering, I do occasionally take my own advice :)


*Uh, I think. Otherwise, why am I doing it when I'm not even getting paid yet...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Getting ahead of myself

Well, I prefer to think of it as being prepared for the future.

Because my family is my priority, I try to think of the best possible scenario for my success as a published author in relation to them.

What does success truly mean to me? I look at the craziness that surrounds someone like Stephenie Meyer, and have to ask if that's what I want. The answer is an easy no.

I choose her as a comparison, not because I think I can write cocaine-laced prose (I think she's a fabulously addictive storyteller), but because she's a mom who ended up with a crazy best-seller, and you can't have that kind of success without it taking a huge toll on your family.

It's important to have some idea of how far a person is willing to go with promoting, etc. Without a plan, it's too easy to be taken by surprise. Before I have time to realize, something important will have been compromised.

Another example I see is Aprilynne Pike, whose recent blog post confirmed my suspicions. You really can't have a huge amount of success without sacrificing something. Let's face it - it's usually family time. Kids are extremely vulnerable to these sorts of changes, and will act out.

Shoot, I know that even though I'm at home 24/7, that if we don't make an effort to be together as a family, the kids are cranky, the parents are crabby, and the underlying peace that ought to be there goes out the window.

I can't live like that.

So, does that mean I can't be a very successful author? I certainly hope not!

In fact, thanks to the examples of other mom-writers, I am in a better position to judge what will work for me. I think it's great that Aprilynne and Stephenie both have a husband who can be there full time for the kids while they toil away at those future best-sellers.

It just wouldn't work for me, because I know that I need to be with my kids just as much as they need me. My husband doesn't have that need and would likely go crazy if he had to be with the kids non-stop.

That's why my plan includes writing with the kids around. If I can't write in the middle of the chaos, and be there for the kids in a way that I'm comfortable with, then I may as well not write at all.

Of course, going on tour for a book is going to take me away (remember, I'm envisioning future success...). I have plans for that too...but that's another post for another time :)

That's why it's good to put the cart before the horse a little bit. It gives me a chance to develop a plan for success that includes the needs of my family in a way that I can be happy.

And I owe it all to the highly successful mom-authors who are (hopefully) living their dream!