Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Writing Boy Heartbreak

I am deep in revisions right now, about half way through my first round of RADIO STATIONS ARE FOR LOSERS.  (Yes betas, it will be coming to you soon!)  It has kept me from blogging because I am trying to save all my wit for my dj boy Kyle.

I have fallen a little in love with Kyle.  I hope Julio doesn't think I am cheating on him.

The great thing about writing YA books is that you can create the people that should have been in your life in high school.  The ones that you wish you had known or met.  I re-read Stephanie Perkins' ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS last night.  I almost never re-read books but it is such a lovely one and handles YA romance so well that I wanted to revisit it.

My boy Kyle had his heart broken today.  It was difficult to write.  And pretty great at the same time.  I sort of like writing boy heartbreak.   It remains to be seen if I got it right.

Today's blurb from Kyle:

"I was pretty excited when Mr. Sherwin pulled the “work in pairs” thing until Olivia pretended like she barely knew me.  Like she hadn’t been sitting on my lap with her hands all over me in the control room.  I felt kind of sick really.  Because Olivia had learned the secret language of girls quickly and I was the fool who had been sucked in by her awesome irreverence only to be later skewered by her inevitable rejection." 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

On Music and Soundtracks For Books

So it only takes listening to one top 30 Countdown on Radio Disney for its music to change from the "soundtrack of my current YA novel" to the "soundtrack that moves me to stick my tongue into an electrical outlet."

Just saying.

I know that a lot of writers have soundtracks for their books.  It kind of makes sense if you are delving into your characters to figure out what they might listen to.  For me, I prefer to write with silence.  Don't get me wrong, I love music and I am so grateful for it (especially when I have to wait 13 years in the carpool line while they try to match kids with cars).  I just don't think about my characters in terms of music.  Maybe it is because their voices are so strong in my head that I don't want them drowned out by music.

Not including music in a book about radio stations is like not including food in a book about a culinary school.  It's ridiculous to try to avoid it.  But I am wary of dating the book with popular music references and honestly, Radio Disney and the Glee soundtracks are pretty much all my kids are listening to these days (yes, Butter is 3 but he still sings "I Bust the Windows Out Your Car" right along with my 6 & 8 year old).  Bottom line:  Unless someone can wrestle the kitchen radio and CDs from Butter's chubby fingers, I am going to be getting pretty familiar with the Pinkett-Smith kids.  

Luckily, I have gotten around these aural limitations by choosing music for my book that is either classic (Billy Holiday) or slightly obscure (Lou Reed).  I am sure that my CPs will tell me to do some research on music but really, what happens when this isn't published until 2014?  Is it better to just make up bands/songs all together?  It probably is but I also think that it is sort of corny when bands are made up.


P.S.  Think I may have to read NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST to see how the pros handle the issue.  Dang, there goes the last of my Amazon gift cards.  Crap.    

Friday, February 18, 2011

Expecting Awesome and Getting Suck

So my visit to the high school radio station was in a word AWESOME.  I did leave realizing that I had to do some major rewriting based on new technology but other than that, it was exactly what I expected it to be, even the 37 boy to 4 girl ratio of the staff.  Perfect.  Truly.  And everyone was SUPER nice and accommodating and they even sent me home with SWAG.

I would like to think that my book will do for high school radio stations what Glee has done for show choirs.  Carrie assures me that once it comes out, those 37 boys will not know what hits them because the girls will come a'running.  I hope that is true.  But in the back of my mind, I can't help but think of scenarios where things did not turn out so well.


1.    Dear Tiger Mom:  Your citizenship has been revoked.  That shit was supposed to remain on the down low.  Regards, China

2.  Dear Lady Gaga:  You told us you were having a bbq.  Your credit is no longer good here.  Regretfully, The LA Butcher

3.  Dear Judd Nelson:  I thought you said that you had kicked the meth habit?  Sincerely, The Breakfast Club

4.  Dear Tiger Woods:  We told you to stick with TGIFriday's or at the very least, Applebee's.  Perkins is notoriously indiscreet.  Looks like you'll be screwed twice, Your Sponsors

5.  Dear Kesha, We will sadly not be able to recycle this glitter.  Rolling around in it naked puts it a smidge beyond the "gently used" category in our minds.  Hope you find another method of disposal, Every Nursery School In America



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Doing Research and the Power of Seniority

So I finished my rough draft of RADIO STATIONS ARE FOR LOSERS yesterday.  Thank you, Ninja Ali for leading the way.  It needs a lot of revision.  That will be the next Ninja challenge on my list.  That being said, I would like to state "for the record" that no one is allowed to touch Therese's last line:

"Oh my God, PDA during finals?  Seriously, you guys need to get a room.  Do you even know how many people have been watching your little reunion?  I'm sure that last little tongue maneuver is going to end up on YouTube."

I have been basking in the term "tongue maneuver" for 18 hours.

Part of the revision process for me is doing some radio station research at my old high school.  I actually wrote a letter to the head of the station a few weeks ago:

Dear Mr. X,

I am a radio station alum who is writing a YA book called RADIO STATIONS ARE FOR LOSERS.  I was wondering if it might be possible for me to visit the station sometime to see how different it is to when I was Program Director there.  I appreciate your time and assistance.


I didn't hear back from them.  I know, you are probably as SHOCKED as I was.  Julio pointed out that I might have done without mentioning the title of my book.  Huh.

So after two weeks of waiting for a response (as if I weren't already obsessively checking e-mails for agent rejections), I finally had to go the direct route and call the administration.  (I was certainly not going to be blocked from research by a lack of response to my e-mail inquiry.)  The "administration" transferred me to the radio station phone line.

Mr. X:  Radio Station
Me:  Hello, Mr. X.  I am an alum of the radio station and I was wondering if I might take a tour of it.  (Note that I did not mention anything about my book or more specifically, book title.  I normally only need to be hit over the head once.)
Mr. X:  Sure.  What year did you graduate?
Me:  1992 (Shut it, Alyssa Milano and Madonna are older than me and they are both still hot.)
Mr. X:  Cool.  I graduated in 1997.

Hold the phone.  Hellooo...1997????...Game Changer!!!!  The head of the radio station is younger than me?  To some of you, this might be incredibly embarrassing.  Not so for those of us who have learned the power of presumed wisdom and seniority.  What is this power???

An example of the power of wisdom/seniority:

When Rebecca and I went to see New Moon at 7pm on opening night, we looked at the line of 11 year olds around the block and were SO not excited about waiting in it.  (I mean, really, I don't even wait in line for good movies.)  I told Rebecca to keep her mouth shut and follow my lead.  (She is an eldest child and therefore a total rule follower.  I have had to teach her many youngest child rule-breaking Jedi tricks).

I waltzed up to the front of the line and fell in with a group of older people who were evidently living under a rock and had come to see some other movie without the knowledge of the teen mayhem that was about to befall them.  I presented our tickets to the pimply ticket taker (what is that job called?).

Ticket Taker:  Oh, you're here to see New Moon?
Me:  Yes.
TT:  Well, the line is over there.
Me:  How old are you?
TT:  16.
Me:  I'm 36.  I don't wait in lines.  I wouldn't wait in line if the Grateful Dead were playing and Jerry Garcia was magically resurrected.
TT:  But...
Me:  Listen, I am way closer to death than most of the people in that line.  I am sure you see why I have no interest in waiting.  Plus, I need special accommodations. (On account of the fact that I am clearly INSANE for going to see New Moon on opening night with a horde of 11 year olds).
TT:  Oh, sorry, I didn't realize.
Me:  That's fine.  You can take my ticket now.
TT: Okay, it's Theatre 3.

See???  There is power in seniority.  So, obviously, I got myself all scheduled to "tour" the radio station. I almost considered talking Mr. X into letting me take a shift but luckily, I caught myself before I did it.  Because actually having to work at the station again (even for one shift) would sort of, you know, Suck.

Monday, February 14, 2011

One Step Closer to Happy Hour

So yesterday, my friend Rebecca and I took our collective 6 kids geocaching.  If you don't know about this Awesome Time Suckage opportunity, you need to read NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL by Justina Chen Headley.

The first time our little team of 8 ever went geocaching was on New Year's Eve.  We stood in the parking lot of the Dunkin' Donuts for an hour and a half looking for a cache called "My Daughter's Double D's."  I kid you not.  We, of course, did not find it because we were new to the whole thing and hadn't figured out yet that my iPhone is not exactly the best GPS device.  But whatev, we got a box of Munchkins out of the deal.  Plus, our husbands got about 40 calls that day from people saying that they saw us digging around the drive-thru menu board at DD and were worried that we might have lost one of our wedding rings.  Julio, "Not her wedding ring, just her mind."

Because it was 40 degrees yesterday and SNOMG is finally starting to melt, we decided that it was time for more geocaching.  Here is a pic of the 8 of us walking down the road trying to get to the woods wherein the cache is stashed.  Yes, my daughter was wearing my rain boots (7 sizes too big) because she didn't want to ruin her winter boots.  Don't argue with an 8 year old.  (That's me in the front of the line carrying Butter on my back).

At least 75 people passed us in cars on our way there.  No one stopped but I am certain that a few called DCFS.

Once we got into the woods, we had to convince Rebecca's eldest that there weren't bears in the woods.  We had to convince her youngest that everyone's feet were wet and we all were getting poked by branches.  Her middle daughter had the GPS tracker.

MiddleKid:  It's zero feet from where I am standing.  Zero feet.  That means like right underneath me.

(We all looked down and saw snow and nothing else.  We started kicking up the snow which led to general mayhem and more complaints).

Me:  Okay, let me try getting my phone out.  We can use the GPS on that too.

Here is a picture of me studying my phone.  I was actually just pretending.  Really, I was looking at the picture that Laura and Lisa Roecker sent me wherein my profile picture has pink hair.  In solidarity, all my profile pictures will have pink hair until their Awesome book THE LIAR SOCIETY comes out on March 1st.

Me:  Yeah, guys, it is definitely here somewhere.  My phone says we are right on top of it.
Kid1:  I'm freezing.  Can't we go home?
Kid2:  I think I heard a bear.
Kid3:  Do we have any Mambas left?
Kid1:  My feet are so wet.  Can't we go home?
Kid2:  Those footprints look really big.  They look like bear prints.
Kid3:  How come Butter got to have 3 Mambas and the rest of us only got 2?
Me:  Keep looking, guys.  It is a big ammo box, I think.

So this is what they thought that I was looking at on my phone:

This is what I was actually looking at:

After another half hour of these antics, we decided to throw in the towel and head home.  As I was carrying my 35 pound son back to the car which was parked .8 miles away, I looked at Rebecca and asked, "Why do we do this again?"

Rebecca shrugged and said, "We're just that much closer to happy hour."

Friday, February 11, 2011

That's YAmore Blogfest and It's Back On with Twitter

First, in case you were concerned, totally NOT breaking up with Twitter. (Whatev, Kuzma, if you haven't gotten my flare for the dramatic yet, it may be lost on you forever).  Realized today that I don't actually have to tweet at all but instead can stalk and be delighted all day long with tweets such as these:

@hankgreen  We're working on facebook integration in Your Pants.  Hilarious notification from facebook: "Are you sure you want to remove Your Pants?"

@sarahlapolla  Remember the episode of Friends where Monica dates the hot guy from her HS & realizes he's lame?  That's what it's like to follow @johncusack

I did mention that I can be a bit fickle, right?  #Me=LoveTwitterStalking.  Way better than tweeting to Herb in Toledo.  Twitter is now Awesome.

Now on to more important things like the That's YAmore Blogfest that is going on over at Oasis For YA.  Basically, the rule is that I need to post a swoon-worthy scene for the upcoming Valentine's Day celebration from my WIP (which would be RADIO STATIONS ARE FOR LOSERS-don't get too attached to the title).  

Two important things to note:

1.  I am pretty sure that I mentioned that Valentine's Day doesn't work that well in my house (not that making puppies out of hearts with my 3 year old's class today wasn't Awesome because it TOTALLY was).  Please keep that in mind when critiquing anything that I would consider a "love scene."

2.  WIP means kind of Sucky.  No one has read this yet.  Okay, Carrie has read the first 15 pages but really, I am still first drafting so don't judge too harshly.  I am sure that the first draft of Harry Potter was a train wreck (okay, it probably wasn't which is why I kind of might hate J.K.Rowling).

And now to the scene...


I was trying to channel some of the sultry voices that I had heard on other radio stations but I just couldn’t get into it. I felt like maybe a hair flip might help.  And that’s when I got caught in the microphone. 

I ended up having to do the station ID contorted sideways so that I could speak without sounding muffled.  Of course, Kyle walked in three seconds afterwards.

He arched an eyebrow at me. 

“The Best of Lady Day.  Nice choice.”

Then he walked over and grabbed a stack of CDs and started returning them to the wall behind me.  He didn’t even say anything about my hair snafu.  I sat frozen for a few seconds, waiting for him to laugh at me but he didn’t; he just sang along with Billy Holiday and kept sliding CDs into empty spaces. 

I slowly unwrapped my hair from the mic, which was actually hard since I couldn’t really see what I was doing.  Not that I was about to ask Kyle for help after he so graciously ignored my predicament.  It took me nearly the whole song to disentangle myself but when I was finally done, I looked up to see Kyle with this huge grin on his face. 

“You’re beautiful, Olivia.”

I must have turned forty shades of red.  I didn’t know what to say.  No one had ever called me beautiful who wasn’t related to me.  We didn’t really talk about that kind of stuff in Montessori because you know, we were encouraged to acknowledge the work that people did more than superficial stuff like how they looked.  But Kyle just said it, out of the blue, after I had spent five minutes wrestling with a microphone.  It was amazing.  

Brilliant, right?  Okay, shut it.  I did say WIP.  And speaking of, I am in a pickle with RSAFL right now.  In all my mighty Ninja writing, I have managed to turn my book into "Can't Buy Me Love" know, the Patrick Dempsey movie from the 90's?  I think that all writers must go through this when they reach 30k words and yet, I feel a little put out about the whole thing.  I am not sure if I should power through and go back to fix the Dempsification problem later or if I need to take Ninja time off for thought before re-engaging and turning it into Awesome again.  


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Twitter Is Ruining My Life

I am going to have to break-up with Twitter.  I just can't pull off witty in 140 characters.  My tweets seem hilarious in my head and then I look at them later and I think that I might have the IQ of a pencil.  Plus, random people seem to be following these Sucky tweets and I am not exactly sure why.  I'm not talking about other writers who follow the same agents/authors as me.  I am talking about Herb, the car salesman from Toledo.  Why is Herb following my Suck and how did he find me in the first place?  Did he happen to search "parallel parking" and "Steinbeck's Winter of Our Discontent" and my name popped up?  And even if it did, after reading the evidence of my tweeting lameness, why would he still be inclined to follow me?    (EXAMPLES OF SUCKY TWEETS BELOW)

Add to this the fact that I just can't help myself when it comes to responding to agents' tweets.  It's like a black and white cookie before me, I just can't resist.  Especially once I've broken the ice with a bad tweet response already.  I mean really, at a certain point, I feel I have nothing to lose.  So the agent who received last week's happy "puss/pus pockets" tweet was complaining about all the illness in her house and I responded, "sounds like you all might be suffering a bio-terrorist attack."  It was meant to be funny but reading it again later, I realized how this woman whom I have never met before might think that I was admitting to some nefarious plot.  I am totally making a name for myself with this agent.  I can't wait until my query letter crosses her desk.  Truly.

In point of fact, I think that I might also need to break up with my phone who is the messenger by which I frequently react without thinking things through.  For example, I received a request from my kids' Montessori school to participate in a promotional video wherein I answer questions about how great the school is.  They promised that it would only take 10 minutes.  (That's 10 minutes to tape me and 10 hours to edit out most of my particular brand of honesty so they are left with me saying, "My kids are happy..." and the "because they can go to the bathroom freely" has been redacted).  You are probably wondering why they even chose me.  If I had to guess it would probably be that they actually wanted Julio to do it but he sadly had another gig and is sending me in his stead.  And there is no getting out of it since I already told the school via my phone that "we" would be happy to participate.  I am sure they will be DELIGHTED by the Julio/Christa substitution.  Stupid phone.  (And curse you for your Twitter app).

So now, without further ado, the top, 6 Sucky tweets of the week (I don't even tweet enough to have 10 to choose from which is like the opposite of what I am supposed to be doing on Twitter.  #Me=TwitterLoser):

1.  I think the hardest thing about being a mom is the parallel parking.
2.  I love to write in the teen corner at the library on HS half days.  It's a glimpse of magic.
3.  Holy crap, it's only Wednesday?
4.  I've stopped buying clothes, I only buy books.  Today I will have to wear Chapter 6 of Steinbeck's Winter of Our Discontent.
5.  RPattz has weird nipples.  He should have had a chest overdub in New Moon.
6.  Somebody stop me before I volunteer again.  

I SWEAR I am a better writer than this.  I am clearly just a Twitter failure.  Please don't hold it against me.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Best Laid Plans

Julio and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. This harkens back to the year when we first started dating wherein I stood before him in a RIDICULOUS outfit and handed him Chris Rock concert tickets (whatev, it was an Awesome gift in 1997) and he handed me a spice rack. Yes, a SPICE RACK. He would argue that it was very thoughtful because he was "listening" to me when I lamented my lack of spices at Christmas time. I would argue that it was Valentine's Day. (Side note: I have asked him for a blog redesign for V Day this year since I am a little tired of the pink standard template. It will be unveiled when he finishes it in 2014. He's a pretty busy guy.)

Happily, Valentine's Day has been re-appropriated from Suck into Awesome by my friend Bergl. The two of us agreed to always cover V Day for each other after she had a disastrous experience wherein she told her boyfriend at the time how important V Day was for her and he bought her gas station flowers and a stuffed bear on the side of the road (or something equally egregious). Each year Bergl sends me more elaborate gifts. I am thinking of something like this for her this year:

I am also in charge of providing the craft for Butter's preschool Valentine's party. I am trying to figure out if I can pull off having the 3 year olds decorate doilies to take home to their parents that say "My Life Would Suck Without You." I might get calls.

I am so glad that the Montessori school doesn't celebrate ANY holidays. Sure, it might be a rite of passage to have in-school holiday parties (and Butter's siblings are already complaining that it isn't fair that he has a class party and they don't) but really, how much more evidence do my kids need that I am a complete slacker? The fact that Butter's "valentines" for his classmates are cards that I bought 2 years ago on sale at Michael's and found again in the bottom of our ottoman should suffice.

And speaking of slacking, Alexis awarded me this Stylish Blogger badge weeks ago and I am just now thanking her for it. Thank you, Alexis. My lack of immediacy in acknowledging this is not from a lack of gratitude but much more from a general inability to figure out (until yesterday) how to post this award on the sidebar of my blog. (Julio better not mess with this when doing the redesign of 2014).

Part of accepting this award involves telling 7 things that you may not know about me and nominating other blogs that I find Stylish. To address the latter, I have been sitting on this award for so long that there are very few blogs that I follow that haven't already been told they are Stylish. If, though, you happen to have a blog that has not received this award and you are interested in it, feel FREE to grab it from me. You are ALL nominated. (I love when everyone wins).

As to the 7 things...tricky, because after the sex/pee panel and "escort" story, there isn't much you don't know but I will try my best:

1. I was a volunteer rape crisis counselor in Chicago ERs for almost 10 years. If it didn't take me away from my kids in the middle of the night (with a husband who travels), I would do it again in a heartbeat.

2. I choose the Bad Boy 9 times out of 10. I married the Good Guy who looks like a Bad Boy. Win-Win for me. This is him:

Yum, right? He is surrounded by my scrumptious children. All I have to say is: "Look to the cookie, Elaine."

3. When I first started eating mangos, I ate the skin too.

4. I am not quite a Tiger Mom, more of a Tigger Mom (WASP-y pressure and guilt instead of emotional abuse). I send my 6 year old to school with binary code messages in his lunch. He loves it. So do I.

5. I taught kickboxing at Leo Burnett's company gym until I was 8 months pregnant with Jojo. Bad A-S-S.

6. I am the spider/insect killer in my house.

7. I have never loved a job as much as I love writing.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ninja Novel Writing Month

Okay, I am at 25k words in RADIO STATIONS ARE FOR LOSERS. Carrie has the first 15 pages. Rebecca read the first 8 (and told me to keep going which is one of the Awesome things about Rebecca!). So now, I am joining a group of writers (thank you Ali Cross) to hunker down and finish our drafts. Yeah, yeah, I am still shopping GESTAPO. But I need to write right now and I want to finish RSr4L so that I can get to revising it.

In February.

Yes, I am going to finish my first draft in February. February. February. February.

I am a Ninja. I can do this. Forget NaNoWriMo. November is too far away. February is a short month and we are 7 days into it. That's 21 days to finish. Wish me luck.

What Time It Is...And Other Things YAs Don't Know

My 6 year old has turned on some function on my computer that announces the time every 15 minutes. I have no idea how to undo this function. It is simultaneously annoying and hilarious because it is like a constant reminder of a) my level of SLACK and b) my level of technological ineptitude.

Some days I feel very young. This is sadly not because I am super hot and carded all the time at Famous Liquors. I feel young because I do such stupid stuff that clearly the wisdom of age has not made any sort of chink in my armor.

Some days I feel quite old. Those days are almost always when it becomes evident that my kids have some technological skill that I do not. Butter (3y0) is the only one that I can outpace technologically in my house. And my days are seriously numbered on that front.

I have a 16 year old friend on speed dial (or text dial, as it were) who miraculously answers any and all random YA questions that I have. This is truly THE BEST although with every pinging of returned text messages that I get from her, I feel like I age 20 years.

Some examples of showing my age from 1st draft of GESTAPO:

1. Sixteen year olds do not have a frame of reference for Columbine. They may have heard of it but it apparently means very little to them.

2. YAs don't play Trivial Pursuit. Not even the dorky YAs play Trivial Pursuit.

3. YAs don't know what D&D is.

I know, I am as SHOCKED as you. Columbine? Trivial Pursuit? Dungeons & Dragons? Dungeon & Dragons???? I mean really, D&D was like the beginning of all MMORPG (or whatever that acronym is). Surely, they understand some history. Apparently not.

Julio told me this great story from one of his work colleagues about getting older. It involved an incident he (Mr. X) had with a barista at a Starbucks that he hadn't visited in a few months.

Mr. X: Hi.
Barista: Oh, hi, I haven't seen you in a while. Tall Americano, right?
Mr. X: There you go, that's what time it is.
Barista: It's 8:30.
Mr. X: No, like "what time is it?"
Barista: I'm not following.

At this point in Julio's story, I start laughing about how these young kids don't even know about MC Hammer. I mean surely they've heard the Glee soundtrack???

Julio: Well, actually hon, it's Flav Flav.
Me: Who?


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Being the Sucky Brownie Mom and Getting Perspective

Do you ever have one of those days when you feel like everything is easier for other people? Like you are the only one in the world who can't get your act together enough to make it through the day unfrazzled? This is a picture of the recycling that is sitting on my counter waiting for me to sneak into neighbor's recycling bins:

In case you are wondering, the large light behind it is a HappyLite (for those of us who live through sunless winters and need a little pick-up)!!! I haven't gotten to the recycling in 4 days. And you can pipe down about that wine bottle, I wasn't the one who finished it off:)

Jojo left for a Brownie outing this morning at 7:30am, lamenting the fact that I still hadn't sewn all her patches on from December. Those patches are a bitch to sew on, ask anyone. I have tried hot glue and staples (not lying) but neither can hold those things on. I hate sewing.

Jojo: Every other girl will have all her patches on.
Me: Well, they have better moms than you.
Jojo: Um, you're a good mom. (Panicky eyes searching for example of my good mom-ness)
Me: Yes, I know. I just don't sew or recycle.
Jojo: Well, maybe Grammy June can help.
Me: Yes, undoubtedly.

The irony behind this is that my mom (Grammy June) can and probably will sew the patches on. She is great like that. But if you want to know the reason that I hate sewing, it is because my mom made me spend 3 weeks before summer camp (for 9 years) sewing little "Belongs to Christa" labels into every article of clothing I was taking to camp. When you are going somewhere for 8 weeks, that's a lot of socks.

This altercation with my daughter got me thinking about my original thesis of everything being easier for everyone else. Luckily, before I got swept into a pity party that only a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7 marathon could undo, Perspective came knocking on my door. And I remembered that the snow is always easier to shovel on someone else's sidewalk.

Perspective came in the form of:

1. A hilarious text from my sister about her 3 year old son getting naked in preschool so that he could get the teacher's attention and wake the napping kids up.
2. A twenty minute period yesterday when my kids and I were all sitting on my bed reading our own books!
3. A love note from my husband. *Swoon*
4. The knucklehead who dropped my daughter off 45 minutes early after the Brownie outing and sped away without making sure that she got into our house safely. (Evidently, I wasn't the only one having a rough morning).

These all seem unrelated, but really they aren't. The point of all this perspective is that really, all of us, every day, are doing the best we can. Some days, we have a better shoveled sidewalk and some days, someone else does. I try to remember this in writing too. Some days the revision mountain seems huge and some days it seems easy to tackle.

It is amazing how much resentment, doubt, defeat, anger, negativity can be done away with if you remember that EVERYONE IS DOING THE BEST THAT THEY CAN. I understand now why writers don't want to review books or only review books favorably. They somehow understand how difficult the process is and they want to be FOR anyone who is trying to get through it. I am taking that perspective too.

Don't worry, I will still be snarky and sarcastic because it is in my nature but I will do so with the perspective that we are all doing the best we can and that for some people, that means getting ridiculous Twilight tattoos. (Photo "borrowed" from the blog, hilarious!)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stupid Stuff I Do/ Exercise in Humiliation Friday comes Early!!!

So a little thing about blogging...

There are these things called "stats" that let you know how many times that your blog has been viewed . It is very fun to read the "stats" because you get to see what kind of blog draws people in. Not surprisingly, any blog whereby I mention the stupid things that I do seems to draw people. Go figure.

Unfortunately, I have just figured out that these "stats" are a bit suspicious because they actually include the number of times that I have gone to my blog page. So if a blog has been viewed 67 times in a day, I now have to calculate how many of those times have been me messing with my iPhone to see what my blog looks like when it is tiny or trying to add gadgets and see what they look like. (This blog thing is tricky. How come everyone else can do these fancy things like bookshelves with hundreds of books and all I can do is an Amazon carousel of 10 books that sits at the bottom of my page?) The point is: the 67 viewings in one day is more realistically 7 viewings. Outstanding.

Still, 7 viewings are more than 1 so I am delighted. People clearly find the stupid things I do enchanting. *grin*

In that vain, I will now lay bare this week's list of stupid but only after I explain why I put this sort of information out there to be viewed 7 times.

When I had a 5 month old and had been wearing the same gray pants for over 11 days, my dear friend Lindsey called me. She had a 5 week old and the first thing that she said to me was, "No one told me how much this was going to suck. How come you didn't tell me?" Um, because I couldn't figure out how to change my pants let alone warn all the pregnant women in my life about the upcoming SUCK.

Lindsey and I agreed from that moment forth that we would tell each other everything: the good, the bad, and the smelly pants. And motherhood got MUCH better. When one of my college besties got prego a few years later, I wrote her an entire treatise on the 4th trimester SUCK. I like to think that it helped.

So without further ado, I will put before you this week's STUPID STUFF THAT I DID and hopefully, you won't feel so bad about your own.

Agent stuff (this is about a month's worth but only because agents don't give me the opportunity to embarrass myself more regularly...if only they knew):

1. Sent an agent asking for sample pages the first five pages of my manuscript with the subject line "SAMPLES PAGES: GESTAPO"---yes, "samples" in the subject line. Believe it or not, English is my first language.

2. Tweeted an agent that I have been "following" who mentioned that she had strep throat "@AGENT (redacted) Is there anything worse than puss pockets?"---Nice way to introduce myself! Plus, I think it is supposed to be pus which makes it so much worse. I bet that query letter is going right to the top of the pile.

3. Did major revision on GESTAPO (based on lovely and hilarious comments provided by CP Jeannie) whereby I took out a bunch of clichés before sending first 50 pages to agent requesting a partial (exciting--I know!) only to find that I had inadvertently left in a cliché that involved Rachel "shuttering." Yes, shuttering like she would do to a house which I guess becomes less of a cliché since it is not actually the right kind of shuddering. Also, did I mention that I forgot to put page numbers on the requested 50 pages? Next time, I will send the whole thing in a purple package with glitter stickers that spell out "I am an amateur" or maybe "amature."

Non-writerly stupid stuff:

1. Got caught sneaking my recycling into all my neighbor's recycling bins because mine can't be dug out. It is hidden beneath a mountain of snow. This is a picture of Jojo searching for the recycling bin. No, it's not the green one. That's the trash. The recycling bin is underneath that massive pile there.

2. Got car stuck in the alley behind my house because "I can totally make it over that mountain of snow in my mini-van."

3. Paid a teenager $40 to shovel because I had strep throat and Julio had bronchitis during SNOMYGOD. Forgot to mention that we needed the back sidewalk done too. I believe that is $40 for 8 feet of sidewalk. Julio and I had to do the back. Suckers.

4. Started crying at the Minute Clinic when the pharmacist told me that no one was coming in to give me a throat culture because of SNOMG. Pharmacist: "Do you need a tissue, Mrs. Desir?" Me: "No, I need someone to look at my puss (pus?) pockets, Sheila."


Just read--DASH AND LILY'S BOOK OF DARES by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan...Love love love books about smart teenagers. And this one is set in NYC at Xmas. Fab.