Sunday, September 4, 2016

A trainwreck of thought

So I've been embarking on my break between drafts.  My goals were to read all of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, bake something, do a craft with my girls, and do an adult craft on my own.  Well, I finished the Cursed Child pretty quickly, as expected.  I baked what was going to be zucchini bread with my daughter Megan but turned out to be pumpkin bread because my zucchini went bad.  And of course, when I baked the bread, it rose so quickly that it decided to volcanic-ly ooze out the side throughout the duration of the baking so that the ends burnt and the middle was still, well ooze.

I made the mistake of filling the one bread pan too full and that was my result. Needless to say, as tasty as the baked part was, we lost most of the loaf to ooze or overly baked portions.  Normally I'm not that bad at cooking and baking in general, but I guess I'm just off my game.  Who am I kidding?  Bread seems to remain a mystery to me.  Unless, of course, I use a Krusteaz box of pre-mixed dry ingredients.

Now onto my adult craft: I was going to bind my first book.  However, I'm pretty tight on money so I used the alternate versions a screw punch or awl called "the push pin."  Thank you, Youtube, I may as well have saved myself the grief and the annoyance.  I gave up pretty quick when the hole it had created was too small for the large needle I had to have and the thread to pull through the holes I had made.  I pretty much destroyed the nice paper I was trying to use.

Let's be honest: I didn't completely destroy it, but to save what was left of it, I decided to stop before it was unusable in any other case.

As for the kids' craft: I still haven't decided on a craft yet, but I hope to do one with them tomorrow.  And crappy or not, it will be finished and enjoyed because that is the beauty of kid crafts.  It's about the effort and the fun, not the end result.  I can make the world's saddest craft and still come out as a hero mom for having fun and getting messy.

My draft has already been staring me down.  It is currently sitting in my closet away from my children's fingers, crayons, and constant drool (my son is teething).  Every time I open the closet even for a moment, it catches my eye and says "hello," quite beadily.  It's waiting for my return, calling for my red pen and my extra notes now that I have an actual draft.

I'm fairly sure that this week it will begin once again, and my absence may be poignant.  But it is my main agenda besides my family, and besides working to lose some weight.

My sanity is ebbing due to the stress of work and home life (mostly work and how much I want to be somewhere else when I am there), so exercise is key for me in my sanity. It probably won't harm my writing and clarity of thought either.  I seem more organized in thought when I am able to run out in nature and truly feel the world around me.

So the in-betweens could have gone better, but so could the first draft.  Big deal.  At least I finished it.  At least I can say I accomplished it.  But now, it's time to get back to work.  After my craft with my girls though.  Pinterest, here I come for some fun kid craft ideas.  Worst case scenario: we will paint ourselves and each other and have a blast making memories of the worst craft ever.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Loss of Heart, a third of Life, and 75000 other things

It has been a very long time since I have crossed the paths with this blog. I don't expect many to be waiting for me any longer.  I expect everyone has moved on.  Still, I will dust off the entry mat,  brush the cobwebs off the windows, and put on some hot apple cider while I wait for inspiration to visit.

I was fully prepared to keep the door hinges well oiled back in March.  The springtime holidays began to rev up, I was finally settling into my job, and the call of my novel was in my ears at every quiet moment. Then, on March 29, 2015, I received the call no child ever wants to receive: my mother had moved on from this world; this life.

Even now, this many months later, there are no words to be said to comprehend just how difficult it is to lose a mother, indeed to lose anyone who has taken up so much room in your heart. It broke my heart in so many ways and writing for a time, was lost to me.

You see, my mother taught me my love for books, for stories; for these small yet infinite rectangular worlds.  It has never been lost to me that my love of the written word was gifted by her.  She could read multiple books in one day.  When we visited the library, which was once every two weeks,  she would bring home a stack of books.  We didn't have a lot of money, but we had the world with our library cards.

Obviously, when I was little, she read me many books.  One in particular that I remember was Matilda by Roald Dahl.  She used to say I reminded her of Matilda, without the crazy mean family and the telekinetic powers.  As I got older, we would recommend books to each other and then discuss them.  And when I was in high school, we revisited reading some of my childhood memories and read more books out loud, together.  Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte now always reminds me of my mother.  We had quite a grand time discussing the symbolism and the themes.

After she started losing her vision, she listened to books on tape or CD.  I even recorded myself reading a few books to her, the last of which was The Little Prince by Antoine de Sainte-Exupery which now has so much meaning to me, it's difficult for me to get through any of the more tender and deep-rooted themes without ugly crying, or bawling, as it used to be noted.

So much of this comes to you as you reflect on your memories, your thoughts, and on what you truly believe about life and death.  And it never comes all at once. And sometimes when you aren't expecting it at all.

A short two months after my mother died, I found out I was pregnant with our third child.  It was a lot of worrying ultrasounds, modified bedrest, and constant added stress, but the pregnancy itself was actually fairly calm compared to my second child.

Our third child and first boy was born in January and chaos descended onto the world of work after I returned from maternity leave.  However, when the world is at its most chaotic, it seems that is when the creativity kicks in, and the motivation to do something completely outside of normal life comes to the forefront and begs to be noticed.

This is what I have accomplished in the last month or so.  August 21st at 12:40 am, I completed the first draft of my first novel.  It has been a terrifying and exciting ride, but I have achieved something that I promised my mother I would achieve, that I promised myself I would achieve.  But this is simply the beginning.  I have editing to do, cutting up my novel to pieces and reassembling it into something that someone might actually want to read.

It's still amazing, and still quite terrifying, but it exists in reality now, not merely in my mind.  That is something.  And it is a good something.

It's a journey besides an accomplishment.  But understand that as amazing as first draft completion is, it is just the first step into completing something wonderful.  Don't sell yourself short and refuse to do edits.  Edits can be your best friend.

I am taking a short break between my first and second draft.  I've had it suggested many times to do so to get a fresh perspective.  Instead of a timeline, I have given myself a small range of "things to do" as a reward for completing the draft, and as a way of keeping my creativity peaked in between times.

My rewards for this in-between are as follows:
-I finally get to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (I just hit Act II last night)
-Do a craft with the girls
-Do a more adulty craft for me
-Bake something with the girls (Did you know my 3 year old can crack eggs without getting shell in the bowl?)

Once I finish these tasks, it is back to writing.  Well, physically writing.  We all know that actual writing never stops, even though the pen might be silent.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Running, Always Running

Step after step
running in the darkness
music in my ears
the breeze pulling back my hair.

I am actually longing to go running now. Even in the darkness, which I've never been overly fond of. I long to make my way down the trail I have frequented and just go until my legs can no longer move forward. I just want to run, let this world around me dissolve, and the world inside me open its doors and allow me entrance.  To the stars, I say. To the stars.

When I close my eyes, I can see the nebulae birthing solar systems, planets teeming with life: lush plants, rushing green waters, small fish and animals rushing to and fro.  The world is tangible. I can touch it, smell it, feel it beneath my running feet.  I want to see it all.