Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy holidays everyone

I know this isn't a Christmas tree or a seasonal wreath, but I love this picture. To me, it's the perfect representation of a year coming to a close, twelve months filled with quiet moments, personal triumphs and tragedies, chaos, lots of juggling and the constant need for prioritising. You plan to go left, but life pushes you right. You *think* you have it all under control and then suddenly you don't. And as you move through the days and weeks and months, each year takes shape into something uniquely different than what you originally imagined... I hope you had a good year and I wish you the best this holiday season.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

An author's sanity depends on outside support and understanding

I feel sorry for my husband. There are days when he comes home from work (or a long trip away) and I'll say, "Can I talk to you about something? And, to his credit, even when he winces ever-so-slightly and I pretend not to notice (possibly because he knows what's coming?) he always says, "Sure."
And then I'm off, describing a scene in detail and asking his opinion on what he thinks motivated my fictional characters based on what they did or didn't do in said scene. For the most part, he gives me good answers, but there are other days when he takes in a deep breath, blows it out, and says, "What book are we talking about here again?"

Still, he humors me and I know that can't always be easy.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Favorite summer chuckle

Here's one of my favorite laugh out loud moments from the summer of 2011... As we were leaving a family reunion, I hugged my niece good-bye and wished her good luck with her upcoming MCAT exams. My youngest son, standing behind me, heard this. Hours later, he was being unusually quiet so I asked what was wrong and he said, in a sad voice, that he was disappointed in her. "I just don't understand why she wants implants."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Juggling priorities

Ask any author with a family and I'll bet "huge swaths of uninterrupted writing time" will be at the top of his/her wish list. It's a luxury we dream of the way others dream of shopping until they drop. I know it won't be like this forever, but these days I have more stops and starts than I care to count. Here's a sample of this week's juggling act:

Front door slams and I hear someone howling in the distance. My oldest runs down to my desk, attempting to look casual. "Uh, Mom? How do you know if someone broke their arm or if it's just, like, sprained?"

My youngest phoning from school to say, "I found my field trip form in my locker but it's due today so if you don't come to the school and sign it the teacher says I can't go."

And let's not forget these:

"That wasn't a gunshot, it was Dad, backing over my basketball."
"Mom? Will grape juice leave a permanent stain if it's spilled on a rug?"
"There's a lady at the door who wants money for blind people."
"Can you help me study for my exams?"

Then, late last night when I was working on chapter 16, having success with a dialogue piece I'd previously had trouble with, my youngest came downstairs and curled up in the armchair across from my desk. He was having trouble sleeping, a by-product of Tourette Syndrome. "Mom, have you got a minute?" he asked.

We talked for an hour - about things he's been worried about, about dreams he's never shared with me before - and when he finally went to bed, I turned off my computer and called it a night, thinking, You will never pass this way again. The rest can wait.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Priceless keepsakes

My youngest, who is now twelve, went through a stage when he was seven or eight where he'd often leave notes on my pillow at night. I would tuck him in for the night and head downstairs to my office to write. Then, hours later when I finally climbed into bed, I'd find one tucked under my pillow, often with a stuffed animal perched on top. Today, they still flatten me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

How to LOVE a good book

When I read, I'm constantly analyzing and trying to learn from my betters. Armed with a pen, a highlighter and post-it notes, pages are unceremoniously folded and comments are often scribbled in the margins (about the story's arc, the narrative drive, character development). I slap post-it notes on pages I admire, noting a great piece of dialogue, a scene that moved me, a well-crafted subplot, the author's ability to set a certain tone or foreshadow, etc.

When I'm done, the pages are often dirty and the book looks like it's been through a bad storm. Some people would cringe if they saw my collection of books, but to me they looked 'loved to death' which is a compliment to the authors who wrote them, wouldn't you agree?