Moms Speak Up


Over the summer I got the bright idea to use one of those white-board calendars to plot my writing course over a three month span of time. I think I made it to week six before illness and deck construction ran me off the rails. But I haven’t abandoned the idea because it helped me complete a revision of a novella I first wrote about 12 years ago and is now sitting, waiting again for a final polish before being shipped off to the wide world of publishing.

I have so much to do despite the fact that in the last week plus I have written two pieces for 50 Something Moms, finished/submitted my flash fic election horror piece for the Apex contest, and created two Facebook groups for my writing groups while helping plan the joint anthology for next spring. 

I am not at all certain why I thought the anthology was such a great project to take on. It’s not like I don’t have a memoir to write for NaNoWriMo in November or another website to administer since I also let myself be talked into serving on the Strathcona writing groups board as the website manager.

I don’t think I was this busy when I had a job.

So, I need my calendar thingy again. Today one of my “to do’s” is the calendar. Another task on deck is getting my blogging obligations outlined and hopefully drafting a few. 

I am up to three blogs that I actively contribute to in addition to this site and not counting the website managing gig or the blog I need to create to go along with that. One would think there should be money in this somewhere, but still I toil in relative obscurity. I guess that is where everyone starts, who isn’t the child or spouse of someone famous.

Sixteen days until I disappear into memoir writing. I am kind of looking forward to writing it. Mostly looking forward to being done with it. Another widow – a 9/11 casualty – whose novel I will be reading and reviewing in December, wrote on her blog yesterday that she was uncertain how to follow the book up. Talk about her search for “happy ever after” or her journey from New York to the West Coast. It got me thinking about the focus of my memoir. I had thought to concentrate mostly on the after. After Will was diagnosed. After he went into the nursing home. After hospice. After death. After the first months of widowhood. There are so many things now that I simply can’t recall with a high degree of accuracy or that are just not share-able. Is that a word? But I am guessing most people know what I mean. Even a die-hard blogger like me doesn’t share everything. Some events are mine or mine and my late husband’s or mine and Rob. I don’t write about those.

Which brings me to the reason I need to organize the memoir’s direction beforehand. I don’t want to spend too much time wandering in the desert. I have only 30 days and hopefully I will surpass the 50,000 words. It needs to really be twice that length which means writing about 3,000 plus words a day. Not out of the realm of possibility. I can easily crank about 2,000 a day if I am focused and have an idea of where I am going.

NaNoWriMo means getting my blogging house in order. I need two pieces a month for both my other blogging obligations, and I have ideas so the thing is to draft/revise before the end of this month and get them slotted. I also need to get a bit of blogging ahead done here. I am woefully neglecting my dear readers and readers, however dear, are fickle and go where there is reading to be done.

I have what feels like a ton of urban fantasy to finish (I discovered during the month I spent at the workshopping site that I am not writing pure sci-fi but in a genre called urban fantasy – who knew?). I am pushing it back to December. One of the things they recommend doing after a NaNoWriMo is putting your manuscript aside for a month and then coming back with fresh eyes to read and revise in January. And that is what I am going to do, therefore December will be urban fantasy month for me.

In between all of this I have writing group business including: monthly meetings, board meetings, anthology preparation, and a publishing workshop. And also the daily life stuff of husband, children, house, dying father, grieving mother, yoga class, and reading.

Man, do I have reading to do. My Bloglines is so backed up it is groaning. I do apologize if I am not commenting much. I just have so much to read that I don’t often get to it all in one sitting and sometimes my mind is too empty to find words. Would a “hi, I was here” be acceptable? Somehow that seems very trite.

A few things before I leave off for today:

  • I am still interested in trading links. Leave a comment if you are too.
  • Please vote for me over at FuelMyBlog if you get the chance.
  • If we are not friends on Facebook, perhaps we should be. Let me know.
And so I am off to organize the writing machine which is me.

The wind shifted last evening. I walked out of the library with L and L from writing group and was met with a blast meant to topple a person. The chill was barely there, but the ferocity left no doubt that Mother Nature is tiring of Indian Summer.

I wrestled the steering wheel the whole way home. Even toyed with the idea of scooting through town as opposed to taking the highway and the rural road, but the latter is faster and I was already running late.  Much as I love writing group, I miss evenings with Rob. We are just coming off a three day weekend and have another coming up with Thanksgiving next Monday, but even the generous amount of time we spend never seems quite enough.

The coming weekend is full of kid stuff. ElderD is 26 this Saturday. It seems odd to me to have a daughter that age. Grown children are so different than little ones. They relate on levels that a person doesn’t dream is possible when the daily battles of “Yes, you will be wearing shoes out to play when it is 8 C” or “No, we will not be eating bad food* for dinner like X, Y and Z school friends do.” 

Young children are a job. The work that goes into forcibly molding them into people other people will not run screaming from is taxing, and I am only guessing, but I think that’s what makes adult children such a compound joy because not only are they the kind of people you want to spend time with but you helped in the process that made them so.

Thanksgiving will be both older girls and possibly ElderD’s “friend”. I use the quote only because Rob and I really don’t know what kind of relationship is in the offing here. ED is so in love with him and he professes love for her – she tells us, but though they have recently moved in together – they each have their own bedroom. Perhaps this is a new thing with young adults? 

Anyway, the house will be full and I am attempting more culinary feats that two years ago I would have thought a person was mildly insance for suggesting that I try. Homemade everything really or I won’t be able to eat. Pumpkin pie, Zuchinni bread. Cranberry sauce. Salmon and Turkey breast. Yams and mashed potatoes with a side of green beans from our garden. I am awesome, don’t you think?

The blogs seem oddly quiet today given that the financial world is still in freefall and Obama and McCain “debated” last night. I missed the debate. A cursory glance at the news this morning that Obama was charming and “presidential” and McCain was angry when he wasn’t just grumpy or playing Obama’s echo. I feel sorry for them both. Obama will inherit a straight-jacketed office from Bush and McCain will never get this shot again. And god forbid that Palin is still viable in 2012.

Rob greeted me this morning with news that interest rates were cut again. All the money and cuts don’t seem to be having their intended effect however. Are investors and Wall Street types too girly for such a stressful pastime? It is appearing so. 

I saw an interesting piece last night on AIG. Apparently a week after their $85billion dollar bail out, they sent their top officials to a ritzy spa in L.A. for a modest $440,000. Hey, they were stressed – supports my girly theory nicely, don’t ya think?

Speaking of financial crisis, I have a piece up at MSU on the bailout and such. I would be pleased if some of you checked it out.

I am nearly ready to launch my maiden piece at 50 Something Moms too. However, my editor wanted me to take out the reference to my age. I am one of – or the – youngest writers there and my mentioning my age caused a bit of commenting she told me. It makes my topic apt though – being inbetween. Forty-something is the new thirty only in the minds of advertisers. To everyone else I am still not young anymore and not old enough to be part of the “mature” woman crowd.

Reminds me of the Harry and Sally exchange in the film when she wails about turning forty and he reminds her that it is eight years off. She comes back with “but it’s out there – looming!” 

I am looming. Hovering. Not young and not old. Not a writer yet and more than a housewife.

Another story rejection arrived the other day from failbetter.com. The White Boots. It’s one of my personal favorites, but I know why it’s being rejected and I have decided that perhaps I can rework it and fit it into Drama Boy’s story. 

Drama boy is a character from my NaNoWriMo novel of last year. In it I attempted to fictionalize my widow experience but I think now that the focus should have been on his character and not my doppleganger. The White Boots can become part of his back story though that will make him more “Rob-like” than he already was – which is weird because I conceived his character long before I met Rob. Prescience, eh?

But I recall promising Sally that I would publish the story here should I fail to get it into print elsewhere. So look for it this week. Friday maybe? I am not pleased with T-shirt Friday. It has a too exhibitionist feel to it. Not that I am not. Rob teases me – accurately – about this tendency of mine from time to time. But one, I am not a t-shirt kind of girl, and two, it feels lonely. So let’s consider it history, shall we? 

I am thinking that perhaps a Halloween Friday might make up for it at the end of the month as the last Friday is the 31st. Let’s ponder that a bit. Let me know what you think.

Ah, rambling, it is so much easier than actual writing with that whole “sticking to a topic” thing and all.

 

*Baby also asked why her friends tummies are big whereas her own is flat. “Is it because they eat bad food?” To which I responded that they also likely watched too much tv when they should be playing. She then told me she was glad that she was not fat like they were. Oops. Now what have I done?


Globe and Mail writer, Christie Blatchford, was moaning about blogging and bloggers in Thursday’s paper, so in her honor I have decided to write the most banal of all blogging pieces – the update on my life.

I find “real” writers’ abhorence of blogs and their laments about the decline of “real” writing and journalism amusing. Newspapers long ago succumbed to the tabloidy tricks that placed selling above content. Print will never be able to compete with cable news channels and the Internet for timeliness of delivery, and when it comes to depth of topic, the political blogs have the edge and the freedom. Everything evolves. Just ask Darwin.

Besides journalists with blue-blooded leanings make lousy bloggers anyway.

So read along as I squander my finite word bank* by committing to the blogosphere my “most idle thoughts and mundane obeservations”**

My funked up mood from earlier in the week has cleared up thanks to a near complete abandonment of my schedule. No gym. Late lunches. Later suppers. No manuscript.

I just did as I pleased, and oddly it pleased me to reorganize the bathroom closet and search out the source of the fouler by the day odor in the cabinet where the dry goods are kept. The former is still awaiting final purge approval from the husband and the latter turned out to be a sack of something that had reached the gelatinous stage of decomposition therefore defying labeling attempts by both Rob and I.

I attended writing group on Tuesday evening and managed to be racially offensive to a potential new member of Cree descent. I didn’t do it on purpose but as I was explaining more of my novel to the group after reading the first several pages, I mentioned that one of the stories my main character tells is based on a family story. My grandmother’s great- uncle was the source of much concern when he was a toddler because a local native woman took quite the shine to him and hovered about whenever they ventured into town. The family, like most white immigrant settlers of the time, mistakenly thought she might snatch him. I could see the new member tightening as I told the story – even though I explained its origins and how it fit within my novel. I hate having to weigh words. I hate more that when people are offended they often fume instead of speaking up.

I finalized my writing course picks for the fall. Made out my yoga class schedule.

I prepared a new dish for supper.***

BabyD and I shopped. For her. She is quite the opinionated little clothes pony. While trying on a variety of pants, she jumped, pranced and wiggled – admiring herself in the full-length mirror as she did so. One pair of leggings left her standing completely still and not smiling. When I inquired about this, I was told,

“This pants don’t make me dance, Mom.”

A girl with her priorities straight.

While at the cute children’s clothes boutique, which is actually in The Fort, I overheard the owner mention she was looking for part-time help and I inquired. I nearly danced myself when she asked me to bring in a resume. Until I remembered that I don’t want to work for someone and that I dislike “service” work. Oh, and I am none to fond of the constant flow of humanity in the real world and that I find most things SAHM-ish incomprehensibly dull.

In fact now that I am sounding a bit more mommy-bloggish than I am comfortable with- let’s get back to me, shall we?

All deck work stopped this week. Rob and I are slightly fried around the edges and have just taken a step back from all the reno for this week. Sometimes one needs to surf the web and watch pointless movies in bed.

I got back to contributing at Moms Speak Up. Wrote a piece on Texas teachers being allowed to carry concealed weapons on the job. I won’t go into why this is the worst idea ever but if you knew some of the people I have worked with over the course of two decades, you would just take me at my word. I have yet to meet the educator who hasn’t uttered the phrase “It’s a good thing I wasn’t carrying a gun” at least once in their career – out loud and in the presence of witnesses.

Oh, and I have been reading. A novel.

Finally, I finished tagging my earliest blog posts from mid 2006 until about the time Rob and I started dating. Mostly very depressing widow stuff, but if that kind of thing interests you or you would like to know where I started my blogging journey, I am now easy to search under widowhood or grief. They can also be found under remarriage or long distance relationships or YWBB. Enjoy.

* Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated believes that writers have but a finite number of printable word combinations in them and to blog is to basically piss them to the wind.

** To quote Ms. Blatchford

*** That deserves its own paragraph. I am sure my husband can attest to the wonder of my attempting to expand my meager repertoire.


I am feeling prolific this week. I have a new piece up on the debilitating capacity of flip flops that I would love for as many of you as possible to check out and leave a comment, if you would be so kind. 

We are still the feature blog at Todays Mama, so any traffic that flows to either site is good for the writer in me. I really appreciate those of you who are reading my work here and there.