Hump Day Hmmm


I used to participate in a Wednesday blogging exercise inspired by Julie Pippert called The Hump Day Hmmm. She would chose a topic, blog about it and invite others to join in and link their opinion pieces to her blog. It’s been a long while since she’s been that active in the sphere, but I kinda miss those op-ed opportunities.

I haven’t anything to “hmmm” about that I haven’t bored you all with before and recently too. There is my heightened suspicions about the decline and eventual fall of the status quo I know as my native land, and my feelings about their moral ambiguity when it comes to the decency of a government run health care system as opposed to the haphazard system there is now, which is little more than capitalist driven rationing and a lot more like death panels than any of the opposition is smart enough to realize.

If I were to resurrect the Wednesday option of  “hmming”, what topics should I cover? I will open the comments to suggestions today. Politics? Paranoid conspiracy theories on world dominance? Love and relationships? Movies? Books? Writing?

Dreams, vivid and utterly nonsensical, have been exhausting me nightly again. Rob thinks I should write them down. Not because he thinks some pattern or theme will emerge, but because they are so completely strange in a head tilting, entertainment sort of way. Like the one I had Monday night about living in a castle in what appeared to be medieval England. Rob was the lord of the estate where we lived and I was perpetually moving from one room to the next, cleaning, organizing servants, children and various relations who seemed incapable of being anything but underfoot. Oh, and Rob looked like Colin Firth. Only it was Rob.

“It was Colin Firth,” Rob said when I told him about the dream.

“No,” I said, “it was one of those dreams where people I know look like someone else but are still who I think they are, which is very confusing but is a clue that I am just dreaming.”

“I think you have a thing for Colin Firth,” he says knowingly. “Maybe we should rethink that celebrities we are allowed to have sex with list.”

I totally nixed the idea of a celebrity exemption list a long time ago. First, it’s based on a ridiculous premise and second, I don’t share. I don’t care who or what the circumstances. I don’t share.

“No,” I reply.

“C’mon,” Rob teases me, “you know you want to.”

“No, I don’t. It’s a dumb idea and I have no interest in entertaining it.”

“So, I guess that means I can’t have a list?”

Somehow I don’t think celebrity exemption lists are high-minded enough for “hmmming” though they do meet the ‘hump” requirement.

Shall I “hmmm” on Wednesdays for a while? And will you join me?


 

 

The second day of the new school year and I am enjoying a quiet breakfast while catching up on my blog reading and commenting. BabyD is at school. Rob is at work. And as soon as the harsh rays of morning light pass, MidKid will emerge and finish packing for her move back to the city.

BabyD did not get her preferred teacher for grade one but assures me that as long as Mr.S doesn’t raise his voice to her specifically, she is fine with the outcome. It’s funny but, in a way, she is living her own life now that she is in school all day. Hundreds of things will happen in her life now on a daily basis that I will never know anything about. Amazing how quickly we become individual entities.

After I dropped her at school yesterday, I did a quick workout and then raced back home to spend some snuggle time with Rob. He stayed home yesterday morning with a bad headache but was sufficiently well enough for snuggling. Later I told him he will have to take the first morning of school off every year. A nice rite of passage for us to look forward to as we commence countdown to the day BabyD heads off to university.

I didn’t get any writing done yesterday between first day of school duties, snuggling and a hair appointment in the afternoon. A much needed appointment. My previous hairdresser was not to my personal liking. There was just no rapport. But between traveling and camp and mothering and reno work, I haven’t had the time this summer to search out a new salon.

The young lady who did my hair yesterday convinced me to go with brown lowlights and I think the results turned out quite well.

 

 

Not the best photo but good enough for illustration purposes.

Not the best photo but good enough for illustration purposes.

 

Yes, the curl is natural. I am actually a red-head but went blond at 18 and stayed that way for the most part since.

However, I am too old to do the bleach-blonde look now. When you first get grays, going lighter is a good way to hide them. Eventually you just start to look haggard and Madonna cartoonish and something has to be  done.

On a writing note, I read my Kumari story at writing group last night and they loved it. I received the best compliment on my writing I have ever received too when someone (Nate I think) said,

“I never have to work at suspending my disbelief with your stories.”

That sentiment was echoed and I was giddy. I just love reading my work and hearing the reaction.

I was invited to tag along to a writers’ conference in Surrey at the end of October. Though it sounds like fun and could be a great opportunity for meet/greet with agents/publisher’s, I don’t have anything really ready for that yet and the drive is nightmarish. And would be with people I only know through the group. 16ish hours in a car with people I only see once or twice a month? Plus sharing a hotel room?

Yeah, I am a bit too faint of heart for that despite the people in question being very good and dedicated writers.

My plan is to do writing conferences in the coming year and spend the rest of this one finishing up projects and preparing a portfolio of work and querying a few agents via email or letter.

Today, I have lunch in town with Rob after stopping by school to pay fees and hitting the post office – need to get some subscriptions sent off for work related journals. Then a nice workout and home to finish Kumari. I think I might submit it to Apex, but I am not sure if it is dark enough for them. They like their sci-fi/fantasy dark. Says so in their guidelines. But maybe I will let them be the judge of that, eh?

My t-shirt Friday post is still generating a lot of traffic. Perhaps tee’s should be a Friday theme? I don’t want to steal Nurse Myra’s idea out from under though she only does it on the last Friday of the month. I will await reader feedback (and Myra’s thoughts) before deciding.

No hump day hmmm. Julie was busy at the convention in Denver. Perhaps next week.


Last week it was 1976 with side trips to 1992 and 1974. My political awakening, understanding and jading. Politics, though it touches our lives in ways most of us barely acknowledge if we realize it at all, are not what brings music to our soul or dance to our toes.

The summer of ’93 brought me back to writing via a pocket sized notebook I took along to New York City. I was staying with a friend, Lisa J, who was in one of what turned out to be three different internships. I think it was surgery that time because she was doing a lot of needlepoint. I remember being a tad disappointed when she didn’t settle on pathology because I thought it would be cool to have a medical examiner for a friend.

Her apartment was one of those renovated old buildings/warehouses in Brooklyn with a doorman. It was within walking distance of the subway station. She instructed me in its use during a day trip to Manhattan. We went to the Battery and took the ferry out to Ellis and Liberty Islands. Someday I would love to go back to Ellis and just sit and write. There is the start of a story waiting there for me, I think. I have no interest in Liberty. That surf pounding last scene in Planet of the Apes where Charlton Heston curses the American goddess has turned the statue into something I will forever identify as creepy and apocalyptic.

I wrote and wrote and then went home and taught writing to 8th graders, who were frankly not much of an outlet. I have never truly enjoyed teaching writing to children when it went beyond the building blocks. Most of them – like most adults – suck when pushed to be creative. Competency can be taught but flair and the ability to tell a story? Not so much.

It was the next year that I wrote my first novella. The same one that I am slowly transforming into a novel right now. The inspiration came from a week long seminar my SisFriend and I took at Grinnell over the summer. I can’t remember the instructor’s name anymore. Morris Something or perhaps that was reversed. He was very – different.

I had taken the seminar before through my school districts AEA. It was a quick way to rack up credits towards re-certification. The first year had been a Thomas Jefferson scholar named Clay Jenkinson. He gave lectures while in character. That was a bit freaky.

He was cute though – that rumpled, long haired professor thing – and all the middle-aged women at the seminar damn near broke each others bones to sit with him at supper in the dining hall every evening.

I was invited to eat with him once after I mentioned that I didn’t care for the characterization of Ophelia in Hamlet. I have always found her “mad” scene after the death of her father to be over the top. I may have also admitted to thinking that Hamlet is one of the most selfish characters I have ever read. An opinion I still hold.

Getting back to Morris then, he had us write a short story based on an illustration taken from the Chris Van Allsburgh book, The Mystery of Harris Burdick. Interestingly I used that same book as story starters for my students.

So I wrote a novella. I had people read it for the purpose of feedback. I revised it many times and it was one of the pieces I submitted to the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa.

And I got rejected. The end.

I just didn’t have the self-confidence to write and put it out there. This despite the fact that I took creative writing courses over the summers before and after that where I received quite a bit of praise and admonishments to try and publish.

Jump ahead with me to 2006 and masters seminar. I tossed out my written presentation on a whim as I listened to the presenter ahead of me and, riffing off her, totally winged it. The guy who gave his thesis presentation after me was toast. Poor guy. But one thing came out of that presentation that I should have seen coming and yet it caught me a bit off guard when I heard myself close with “…I had thought that obtaining a masters would renew my interest in education and instead it has shown me that what I am meant to be is a writer.”

Epiphanies. They aren’t angels’ bells on a Capra-esque pine, but they jingle just as sweetly.