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Archive for the ‘Personal Thoughts’ Category

The Write Drive

Posted by Flood on June 23, 2006

I don't know how to drive.

I don't mean that I drive poorly, I mean that I never learned to drive. It's a big confession for a grown woman to make. I am embarrassed when it comes up at gatherings becoming the focus of conversation.

"You should know by now!"

"Better learn before the kids do, ho, ho, ho!"

"How do you get around?"

"Easy way to get out of doing groceries."

What I usually do in those situations is get drunk and act like an idiot, making everyone thank God that I don't drive. Works like a charm.

We married poor, so we didn't have a car for a while. By the time we got one, I came to fear driving. We are on our fourth car, now, a soccer mom's dream. White van, with sliding side doors on both sides, dvd player, fully loaded, as they say, but I have no idea what that means. I've sat in the driver's seat and felt very small. It becomes completely out of context to me. It's like sitting all year in your desk in elementary school, and trying the teachers desk out. All perspective and familiarity is lost.

My neighbourhood is a blessing for walkers. Grocer, doctor's office, pub, parks, tennis courts, schools – all nearby. I can be anywhere in in my part of the world within half an hour, at most. Most trips, though, only take about a half hour to complete. At this point, I think the only thing that is going to get me driving is getting out of my comfort zone and becoming acquainted with a new part of the world.

So it is for writing. I've started very small, flash here and there, and I keep my big project a closely guarded secret. Just like I hate telling people that I am not sure I know the gas from the brake pedal, I hate admitting that I have no idea what I am doing with my book. I worry that I'm going to become complacent about doing flash and short stories and never test drive the car into an agent's office. I'm a quitter, a ruiner, a pessimist, sometimes and I disappoint myself.

I'm a creative person by nature. My spirit/chi/soul/call-it-what-you-will is begging to be heard. Who am I to let it down? These are the things I am going to do to help me help myself:

  • continue submitting short pieces out into the ether
  • make a concerted effort to get a rejection this year (from a mag or an anthology or something that uses paper)
  • keep writing the book
  • write daily, I don't care if it is a grocery list
  • adopt Little Puddle's joie de l'écriture
  • search blogs and websites to read about people who are close to making it
  • find a writing partner who is honest and articulate
  • ignore any writerly angst that threatens my mission

I meant it when I said that Scott's dare to suck idea is going to be my motto. I can't win if I don't drive. You will probably see me make lots of moving violations on the way. (I have read the driver's handbook. 6 times. I hate non-fiction.) When you do, give me a little help, huh?

Most of the people who read this blog are yet to be published. I know it's your goal, so I want to find out what your baby-steps are to getting out there. We are all at different levels, so your plans could help the rest of us. What works, what doesn't, how are you going to get to the finish line?

Posted in Personal Thoughts, Writing | 1 Comment »

On a Personal Note

Posted by Flood on June 23, 2006

We scandalized a lot of people when we got married because we were so young. We've scandalized more since, because we've outlasted a lot of them. The way the world works now though, most people aren't grown up at eighteen, so we had to finish raising each other. Mr. was kinda like my father in a lot of ways, even though he will tell you several times in one conversation that he is younger than me by seven months.

Now he is a real dad to four very real children, the eldest of whom just informed me that he bought his father candy for Father's Day. I asked him why, meaning why that candy. Misunderstanding, the boy answered, "Because I got in trouble for only writing Happy Mother's Day on a piece of paper for you." Laugh if you must, I am just going to quietly rejoice at the fact he listened to something his dad said. His dad will be happy that the kid actually parted with his money and spent it on someone else.

Little Puddle of course, has come up with some lovely poetry for her father, as they have been spending quite a bit of time wooing each other of late. Mr. has taken the theory that girls fall in love with their fathers before any other man quite to heart, taking her out for milkshakes and advising on the evils of boys. On Valentine's Day he remembers her with a small bouquet of wildflowers and she gives him a Toblerone bar at Christmas on the sly, so that she will be his favourite. Don't tell her that he told all the other kids to do the same thing.

Of the littlest two children (aged three and four), it will be the first Father's Day celebration for the girl. Like her year older brother, she wants to know if they will get presents today and when they will be having cake. Adoption has made Mr. a better parent in many ways. He tries harder to be empathetic. There is a large gap between two sets of children in our family and he wants to correct his errors in raising the older two. I think Little Puddle and her older brother are turning out great, but Mr. worries. Did I miss something? I was I too hard? Too soft? Could I have done something different or better?

Yesterday at dinner, our youngest boy, four, explained to us that he was going to be a Daddy when he grew up. "I am going to work in a castle," he said, "and drive a white van! Just like Daddy!" The admiration he has for his father should be proof enough that Mr. is doing something right.

My relationship with my father is strained at best. I didn't meet him until I was 15 years old, so we still spend our time trying to get to know each other and avoiding any discussion about how we feel. I never want our kids to feel like that. I want them to know every mistake we made, every misunderstanding, every time they thought we were too strict, it was out of love and terror.

I want Mr. to know, if he reads this, that I would hate life without him. He makes my existence easier and more comfortable. Because of him, I am a better person. I love our vision of the future us. I love the present us and I am grateful for our past. Happy Father's Day, Mr. From all of us.

 

Posted in Personal Thoughts | 1 Comment »

Weekend Update-Great News!

Posted by Flood on June 10, 2006

I am happy to share that Lorelle on WordPress linked (click it! click it!) to Jaye's interview and included a portion of it in today's entry.

I was so excited, I completely spazzed out and commented twice. (Same comment, one with an error.) That's what I get for trying to play it cool.

Whew.

Remember to check in on Monday for Bernita Harris' interview.

FlashFlood is booked for interviews for the next 4 weeks, but I'm still taking volunteers. Any blogging writer at any stage of publication is interesting, so don't be shy. Email me: flood.vax@gmail.com.

Posted in Blogging, Interviews, Personal Thoughts, Writing | Leave a Comment »

Manly Pool Interviews

Posted by Flood on May 27, 2006

We had a chipmunk run through our house today, which was very exciting to the four children that live here. And the dog. And Mister, who got to be a stealthy hunter in finding the petit wildlife. Mister also troubleshooted a pool problem on his own and was very proud of himself. It lead to the quote of the day:

I am so manly it sometimes hurts my heart.

I hope to use that line in a story.

I don't have much else to report this weekend. I want to mention quickly that FlashFlood is introducing a new series called Bloggers – The Interviews. Watch this space every Monday for interviews with bloggers who share advice, victories and defeats. The point of this feature is to help us all feel less alone in writing. Monday, May 29th sees our first subject, Jason Evans.

I hope all American readers have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

 

May God bless the fallen and their families

Posted in Interviews, Personal Thoughts | Leave a Comment »

Game Walkers

Posted by Flood on May 25, 2006

Game today is Answer/Ask. In comments, answer the question above yours, and ask one for the commentor below you. Play all day. Tell your friends. Make a new friend. Have some fun.

The weather has been pretty good so Mister and I have resumed our after-dinner walks. This is how one went recently:

M-"What's with all the bugs? Big enough to knock a kid of his bike"
F-"I could write a story about that"
M-"Can you develop a pollen allergy as you age?"
F- "I don't think Evil Editor would like a query about giant bugs though."
M-"Who?"
F- "Nothing."
M-"Look at that graffitti. Is nothing free from marring anymore?"
F- "That's chalk, honey. It's called 'hopscotch.'"
M-"Damn kids."
F- "I wonder about you sometimes."
M-"Why?"
F-"When we don't spend enough time together, you act very old."
M-"Maybe you are the fountain of my youth?"
F-"That's a nice thing to say. Can we walk a little faster?"
M-"Are you trying to kill me? I prefer a stroll to a power walk."
F-"This is like the hundred-yard mosey."
M-"It's peaceful though. Think the kids are killing each other?"
F- "Uh huh."
M- "People who don't clean up after their dogs disgust me."
F-"Where?" *concerned face for cute shoes*
M- "I am just saying."
F- "Let these people pass us, they have a stroller." *people zoom by*
M-"I don't know why everyone is in such a hurry these days."
F-"Well you just enjoy yourself, that's all that matters."
M-"You should write a story about me."
F-"Should I?"
M-"Why not? Am I not interesting?"
F-"Of course you are."
M-"Why do you take me out for walks just so you can tell me I am dull?"
F-"Did I say that?"
M-"The kids think I am interesting."
F-"The kids think you are their Grandpa."
M-"Aha! So you do think I am boring."
F-"I'm kidding you. You're very interesting. I'll write something about you."
M-"We should spend more time together like this."
F-"Only 17 years to go and it can always be like this."

It's weird when a week sort of separates you from you favourite person. A sense of humour is really all that keeps us together sometimes, with so many other things going on. When you are struggling with your big project, be sure to have someone you can lean on that will make you forget all about it for a little while. I mean, forget completely about it and stop beating yourself up. Later, it could be the key to fresh eyes and newfound motivation. That's Flood's Tip of the Day™. Thanks for laughing with me, Mister.

Posted in Game Thursday, Personal Thoughts, Writing | Leave a Comment »

Gee, A Curveball

Posted by Flood on May 24, 2006

I am trying to stick to posting only once a day but a couple of interesting things are happening.

First, The Curveball Conspiracy. Very exciting new project that brings together photography and flash fiction. (This should be right up Jason Evans' alley.) Writers are given photos to inspire a short piece. Have interesting pictures? Want to deviate from loving your major project to a brief kiss of fiction? This might be for you. Be sure to read manifesto thoroughly.

Second, from Fringes, via Schprock, I have the letter 'G' so I am celebrating my one month anniversary as a blogger with my first meme. Yay.

Gloria – I love the melisma in "Angels We Have Heard on High" I sing my little heart out.
Gatorade – Gross
God – He has a sense of Humour
Gravity – Of a situation, or as a matter of physics, gravity is not to be trifled with. Respect, yo.
Gravy – I make the best gravy after I have had a few drinks. I'm less stressed about it.
Ginger – My favourite castaway on Gilligan's island. She is the reason I first tried false eyelashes. It was not a success.
Gambling – Casinos are scary 'cause all the people are like zombies in there. Romero should do a film at one.
Gnostic Gospels – There is an gentle story in one of the gnostic gospels about Jesus, as a child, molding a bird out of clay and it comes to life. Beautiful.
Guitar – Mister cinched his pursuit of me with one.
Ghosts – We have some in our grandfather clock. The lady who owned it originally went mad, but I am not sure it was the ghosts' fault.

Want to play the game? Golly, I can give you a great letter.

Posted in Flash Fiction, Personal Thoughts | Leave a Comment »

Cheesy Adventures of Potential Proofreaders

Posted by Flood on May 23, 2006

There many ways to tell a story and I have experimented with a new one. This is a more personal story, but I have some ideas for telling some fiction this way. Check it out, and don't mind me for being a cheesy mom.

Sir Authur Conan Doyle is one of my favourite authors. I love Watson's retelling of his adventures with Holmes. I enjoy the humour and, of course, a good mystery is hard to put down. Yesterday was Doyle's birthday and there is no better way to celebrate than to enjoy his work. You can find The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes at Project Gutenburg in text here or in audio here.

Project Gutenburg distributes eBooks. Free and powered completely by volunteers, it is an online library of works that are public domain in the U.S., or with permission by the copyright owner. They accept monetary donations, but they also have a need for hard workers. If you want to help proofread a book, procure eligible paper books, or burn CDs and DVDs for people without internet access, the project is looking for you. Like you don't have enough proofreading to do…

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The Near Loss of The Little Hand

Posted by Flood on May 15, 2006

This is a cropped photo of my sister-in-law's (SIL) hand. (Her hand is held by my mother-in-law's hand.) This weekend the hand, affectionately known as the "the little hand" or "the claw," was almost torn off in a frightening car accident. She's ok, so now that everyone feels better, I thought I would share the story of the accident because my black sense of humour finds it hilarious.

First, some background on the hand. It's just a birth defect with no good reason. The x-rays rock out as far as weird goes. SIL is 26, very cute and one of those ne'er-do-wells that keep returning home to live with her parents. She is the source of many jokes and takes it all in stride. She loves the little hand because it terrifies children, makes her a good deal of money at the pool hall and got her first job in retail. My FIL called the store and demanded to know why his princess was denied a job because of her 'disability.'

One of the most moving things to happen about the little hand was my son, writing to Santa, asking him to bring SIL a new hand for Christmas. We made one out of paper mache, but the boy wasn't to be fooled. He saw immediately that the new hand would not be able to assist SIL in anything, so he decided Santa was stupid.

We all love the little hand. It's like an entity unto itself.

On to the accident: SIL leased a new Austin Mini last year when she was hired as a bank teller. The bank closed down in her little hamlet, so when she was offered a transfer to a location much farther away, she declined. Several jobs later, she just last month started as a sommelier at a vineyard that also has a restaurant in it. Part of the appeal of that job is wine delivered to each employee's door every month. The idea is the more wine they taste, the more adept they become at suggesting wines to clients. It's a great perk that had SIL very excited about her new career.

Coming home from the NEW! GREAT! FABULOUS! job on Saturday night, she was navigating roads in a pretty bad rainstorm. She had her cell phone in her lap, and as she approached a turn, it rang. Looking to the cell phone, she lost control of the car. The mini rolled and the airbag inflated, and SIL thinks she covered her face with her arms to defend herself from the attack. I suspect she may have had her hands up already in anticipation of impact during the rolls. The driver's side window shatters and her little hand falls out the window and is crushed during the horrifying rotations of the NEW! GREAT! FABULOUS! car.

No one is sure at this point how emergency services were notified of the accident, but they did come. The car had landed, finally, on SIL's poor little hand. It had to be rolled again, to rescue SIL, with "this really big noisy thing."

Awake throughout the ambulance ride to the hospital, shock must of kicked in, because all she reports about the journey was that her paramedic was "really cute."

At the hospital, SIL is alert and increasingly afraid. The triage nurse made "a lot of funny faces." Doctors and/or various members of the medical staff are all poking and prodding and SIL gets an oxygen mask and is told to remain still, that she will be fine. At some point she sees her forearm and all the skin and muscle from her wrist has become a sleeve, pushed up to her elbow and her bone is exposed. She tells me this was "yucky."

She knows they are cleaning up the injury to see how bad things really are when she hears the following (which is the part that cracks me up):

Sweet Jesus! She's lost some fingers!
Was there a fire? Some of her fingers looked fused together!
Ask the paramedics to find her other fingers!

SIL manages to explain that her hand has always looked like that, but her confidence in the medical profession is waning. Fortunately, the drugs kick in, and she doesn't care anymore.

Within hours she is in surgery; a metal plate will forever hold her forearm together. She has pins sticking out of her arm to hold the plate and bone together for a few months, but there is some concern about the healing process now, as some of her skin is turning black around the pins and she has no sensation in the little hand. That part is not funny at all.

What would have been funny is if she wasn't able to explain that the little hand was just being itself, and the paramedics spent a couple of hours looking for the missing fingers. Or, what if they found missing fingers?! Scary.

SIL's biggest worry is about her new job. She said to me with tears in her eyes,

"But, it's free wine."

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Hardboiled Oddities

Posted by Flood on May 11, 2006

After much moaning and gnashing of teeth trying to work on an entry for the Hardboiled Contest, I received these two Mickey Spillane books as a gift of motivation. One is a Mike Hammer and the other is a Dogeron Kelly (The Erection Set). I haven't read any Kelly yet, so I am excited to get right on it. I judge books by the first two lines, and by that test they are bound to be good. Someone is almost dead by the second line of Survival Zero. Yay. Brain candy.

I think this means, however, I will not be meeting my goal for the Desdmona.com contest. Entries are due by the 15th, and I doubt I can get the right tone and a good story done by then. I might be too critical of my own work, but I don't think I am getting the style down right yet. I've tried different directions three times. There's something to knowing what I can't do, though. It makes me appreciate better what I can .

Other people do amazing things with words. I've collected some of their odd and difficult writing here for your perusal.

A Book With No E's
Article about a Book With No Verbs
Palindrome Story in 2002 Words
More Oddities

I know Gadsby has been around a long time but this was the first I'd seen of it, in its entirity, online. A more frustrating effort I cannot imagine. Well, maybe this.

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Dr. Seuss vs Eminem

Posted by Flood on May 10, 2006

I noticed tonight while putting wee ones to bed, that Eminem and Dr Seuss share a rhythm in their writing. I rapped "Is a Camel a Mammal?"

Try it. And let me know if it's true for any other Suess books.

*I just realized it's not by Seuss at all, but Tish (Tish?) Rabe. I cannot believe the Cat-in-the-Hat made appearances in someone else's book.

Posted in Personal Thoughts | 1 Comment »