Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Enlightened: High School Musical edition

Well, not really. I just have that song in my head because I just had my high school reunion on the weekend. Okay, so that doesn't have anything to do with HSM per se, but just go with it, mmmkay? My high school was not so much musical, although we did put on a few of those (The Boyfriend, anyone? No? Um, as you were...).

Uh, anywho, I went to my reunion, and had a flash of inspiration: I was a terrible teenager! Now, before you go rolling your eyes at me because you're thinking all teens are terrible (admit it, it's crossed your mind), what I really mean is that I wasn't any good at being a teenager because I didn't really have the right mindset. You know, the one with all the drama and parties, and the drama, and I heart the football team, and the drama! and all that jazz?

I didn't care what other people did or thought; I just did my own thing*. Peer pressure was a non-issue**, and when I was interested in sports or drama, that's what I did. I loved band, so I did that all the way through. I took motor mechanics because I thought it'd be interesting. It was! I did cheerleading (very briefly in grade 9 before volleyball started), tennis, volleyball, basketball, track, badminton, drama, choir, band, debate team, Model U.N., SADD, variety nights...and I had a blast!

Where was I?

Oh yeah, me being a lousy teen. I definitely had the cranky hormonal thing going on (sorry mom), but for the most part, I was too grown up to be a teenager. This was a big revelation for me at my reunion. I watched people acting pretty much the same way they did in high school, and as I sat with my girlfriend (love you L!), I realized that my point of view was also the same. People were just as ridiculous as they were back then, but I hadn't changed. Sure, I'm less hormonal (er, mostly...), but I'm more or less the same gal I was back then (only wiser, and hopefully kinder, and maybe - okay, definitely - a little chubbier, hehe). Honestly, the reunion was a great time, but I'm grateful to no longer be a teen-aged grown-up.

Anyway, I got to thinking about how this affects my writing. I've got a few young adult novels in progress, but I know they lack a little bit of that teen flavour. I've always known there was something amiss, and I now know that it's because I wasn't typical in many ways. This is pretty exciting, because now that I recognize that, I can fix it! I think that everyone has strengths and weaknesses in their writing, and this perspective was definitely a big one for me in those YA novels. Not that I'll be working on them for a while, what with my focus on perfecting this middle grade novel, but's there when I've got the time.

Have you had any revelations lately?

*Too bad one of those things wasn't my hair...
**And would it have killed me to feel the pressure to dress a little nicer??

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summertime memories

One of my favourite things about summer (aside from school being out) was knowing that many adventures awaited in between the covers of yet-to-be-discovered books. Many times, I would ride my bike to the library, filled with the anticipation of loading up my basket with books. The library was a magical (air-conditioned!) place where sprites and elves could pop out from behind the shelves, and a trip to Narnia seemed possible. I also remember the excitement of finding a Nancy Drew mystery that I hadn't already read, or the thrill of discovering that a beloved book was actually a series.

Judging from what I've read on your blogs, I know I'm not alone in my library love, and when I think of some of my strongest and happiest girlhood memories, I think of summer days picking out books at the library. In my mind's eye, I can see that ecstatic little girl wandering down the aisles, touching every spine, and pulling out the most promising ones for inspection.

I caught a glimpse of that little girl in my daughter today. We went to pick up the last book in a series on which she'd placed a hold. Before picking it up, she browsed the shelves and found a book that she knew she'd love. Her face was glowing when she showed it to me, and for the first time in a long while, I was lost in my own memory of a time (was it so long ago?) when I lived for magical summer days when I could get lost in the stacks.

As a grown-up dealing with 5 kids at home and the general busy-ness of summer, it's sometimes hard to capture that magical feeling - even for an upbeat person with an active imagination. However, today's little trip down memory lane was a gentle reminder to really savour every moment; to feel the joy of new discovery, to enjoy the warmth of the sun on my face, to go for walks in the park, and to look for elves and sprites in the trees.

In between all of that, I will be travelling, editing, querying, reading and writing. I'll blog when I can, but the way my summer is shaping up, I'll be even more scarce than usual! May your summer be filled with magic, and don't forget to have fun!


P.S. I will still be holding my 100 followers contest sometime this summer, so I do plan on being around at least a little bit!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fifteen years

Last week my husband and I celebrated our 15th anniversary. How did this happen? I have no idea! I suppose it's a good thing that time seems to go by so quickly, but to be honest, I don't like the idea of the years racing by. I get this sense of urgency that I need to accomplish something before it's too late. This is ridiculous, because while my family is definitely a work in progress, it is (and will remain) my greatest accomplishment. I say "my", but I really mean "our". I couldn't do this without my husband.

I want to talk a bit about this man of mine. My husband is hard-working, honest, thoughtful, caring, humble and true. He can't walk by someone in need without checking his pockets for spare change, and cannot operate under any pretenses - what you see is what you get. Lest you think he's perfect, I'd like to point out that I didn't say he's patient. He's not. That's sort of my department, and sometimes my ability to detach from a situation drives him bonkers. :) That's okay though. My husband and I are opposites in many ways, but I appreciate those differences so much! If there was one thing I'd change about him, it's that he looks at things a tad pessimistically (quit laughing, mom). Other than that, he's pretty much perfect. Which he'd totally deny, by the way*.

He really hates when I say good things about him, because he thinks he can't live up to them. He can never seem to grasp that he already has. I'm so grateful to have him in my life. He's a wonderful dad, and a great example for all of our kids. I hope our boys turn out to be just like him. Well, maybe the improved (read: more patient) version, but I think we always want our children to be a little better than ourselves, don't we?

I've been so blessed to have great men in my life, and I'm so thankful that I can give my kids the same thing. Thank you mom and dad for giving me a great example to follow - as a person, and as a spouse. I love you!

Others' flaws might drive us a little crazy sometimes, but we can learn so much from each other, and being with my husband has helped me realize things that I need to improve upon *cough*time-management-and-organization*cough*.  I'm a ridiculously unsentimental person, but I absolutely adore him for helping me become a better person. Here's looking to the next 15 years and more!

*Don't worry, he never reads my blog, so he won't even know I'm saying nice things about him. :)