Monthly Archives: November 2012

The List Lady

I’m an odd amalgamation of free-spirited, crunchy-granola-earth mother and Type-A, follow-all-the-rules list maker. It makes for an interesting life. Lists relax me, they release some stress, and in many cases they’re actually pretty fun. So because I really need to start this week on a calm, relaxed note (Novel-writing and Thanksgiving baking in the same week? I shudder at the thought!), here are some of my fun lists.

Things I Miss About Autumn in the East:

  • The smell of wood smoke when I step outside.
  • Leaves in bright colors.
  • Hiking amongst said leaves.
  • Flannel sheets
  • Hot soup as a necessity to warmth.
  • Boots, gloves, hats, scarves.
  • Hay rides and bon fires.
  • S’mores at said bon fires.
  • Watching White Christmas and Meet Me in St. Louis with my mom.
  • That cozy evening feeling when it’s cold and dark outside.
  • Watching Big Ten football with my dad.

Writing Necessities:

  • A hot beverage, preferably tea.
  • Candles
  • Solitude
  • White noise or calming music. (Damien Rice, various classical artists, Explosions in the Sky, and Norah Jones are among my favorites.)
  • A handy thesaurus, just in case.
  • Being totally ready: hair done, teeth brushed, dressed as though I were going to see people, etc. (I’m always more productive this way.)

Things I Miss About Being a Kid:

  • Getting lost in a book all day because I had nothing else to do or worry about.
  • Not caring about what other people thought.
  • Discovering amazing things, like science and literature and art, for the first time.
  • Halloween. It was so much better as a kid.
  • Being innocent to the world.
  • Visiting my grandparents.
  • The exhilaration of Christmas morning.
  • School. (Not even kidding!)
  • The comfort of having my parents in charge, not me.
  • Having my own room

Things I Liked as a Kid that Make Me Smile When I Remember Them:

  • Barbies; Beanie Babies; Doodle Bear; Polly Pockets; the game Trouble; jump rope and tag at recess; playing dress-up; running through the sprinkler; the Columbus Zoo; tea parties; finger painting
  • The Muppet Show; Reading Rainbow; Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood; Bill Nye the Science Guy; The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show; Letter People; Shelly Duvall’s Fairy Tale Theatre
  • Muppet Treasure Island; The Wizard of Oz; Pete’s Dragon; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Babes in Toyland; The Sound of Music; Mary Poppins; Brigadoon
  • Nancy Drew; The Wind in the Willows; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Rabbit Hill; Dusty Mole, Private Eye; Alice in Wonderland; Heidi; The Twenty-One Balloons; Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH; From the Mixed-UP Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Things I’m Excited About:

  • Thanksgiving: parade, food, all of it!
  • Christmas!!!
  • The Hobbit movie
  • Getting a Christmas tree on Friday.
  • Colder weather
  • Skyping with my family this week.
  • Finishing this novel. NaNoWriMo, I am ready for you to be over!
  • My birthday
  • The bubble bath I’m taking tonight.
  • The book I’m reading. Deborah Harkness is just fantastic!
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NaNoWriMo is Eating My Brain

That sounds worse than it is.

I’m sorry I have been absent so long, but writing a whole novel in 30 days is, well…exhausting. I write for work, I write for NaNo, I listen to Christmas music and eat take-out while I write, and then I get really sleepy and watch TV until I fall asleep on the couch or Tyler makes me go to bed. I know all I’ve done for the past 14 days is sit at a desk and write, but I am one tired little lady.

This is what my life has devolved into this month. Leftovers, take out, laptop (which may as well be my third limb), and tea. Oh-so-much tea.

And I’m behind. Oh, heavens to Betsy am I behind. I had 99% of the story already in my head when I began this crazy venture, but filling in that skeleton is harder work than it seems, especially with a deadline. I almost wish I’d started with a story I didn’t care so much about, one I could never revisit after November 30th if I didn’t want to, but would have helped  me get my novel-writing mojo in place before I started this story that I’m invested in and care desperately about. But it’s too late for regrets, and I’m certainly NOT starting over. I am, however, working diligently. And I’ve decided that if I don’t finish by November 30th? That’s okay. I’ll aim to finish by New Years, and then I’ll start the mammoth work of editing and re-writing. And I’ll take my time about it, because I do care about this story so very much.

And I am enjoying it! I’m reminded every day how much I enjoy what I do, how blessed I am to have a husband and family who support my writing and think it;s a good idea for me to chase after my dreams. I could do so many other things, but would my soul be this satisfied? I remain unconvinced.

I’m sorry I don’t have more to offer than this right now. I have managed to read some, so I’ll try to squeeze out a few book reviews soon. Until then, I’m going to go take a nap, and here’s a short snippet of what I’ve been working on, just to hold you over. Nd while you read that, Im going to take a nap. At 5:38pm. No shame!

***

People of the Trees (Working Title)

Excerpt from Ch. 1: First Magic

Della was old, so old that her skin was as thinnest parchment, too stretched and sparse to hold the wrinkles that had once caressed her cheeks. When she pulled me onto her lap, it was with surprising strength and the firmness of touch that always communicates love from mother to daughter, grandmother to granddaughter, great-great-great grandmother to me.

We live long lives, we Healer women. We grow slowly, mature slowly, age slowly. But we learn quickly and forget never. We are a race in-between, not the humble humans we walk and live amongst and heal, not quite akin to the elevated Silva, the People of the Trees, those mysterious creatures who slipped in and out of our world like whispers in the wind. I think perhaps once one of their kind and a mortal must have fallen in love, and from that union came the Healers, but if that is true the tale is long-lost in time and the forgetfulness that enveloped us all in the years before the Tragedy. Strange, that the most defining moment of our age should be called nothing but the Tragedy, as if Mannix should be just the Deceiver, and Della just the Heroine.

But I get ahead of myself. On this day, when Della pulled me into her lap, wrapping me in her fragile arms like a house nestling in the limbs of a young tree, I did not know anything yet of our tragedy, of her bravery, of all the evil we had survived to get to this day, the day when I, the last Healer, would begin my education.

It is funny to think that I am the last. It was stranger to me then, but now I am old too, older even than Della. I have seen the lasts of many things, and the passing of a race does not seem so impossible now. I know it must seem odd to you as well, after all you are my granddaughter, and it would seem natural that you must be a healer too. But no, our powers are spent, the great price we paid to save the whole world, not just our people but all peoples, from a terrible fate that still, even now, sits on the cusp of the horizon, knowing it can never break through and yet salivating at the dream that someday, if it wishes hard enough, it might. Someday if vigilance lacks and our security lulls us again into foolishness, then maybe it will have a sliver of hope, a tiny opportunity to again devour us whole. I shudder to think of such a chance, but I am assured that Della’s magic was tight, that the trade was solid, that the wall will hold.

That wall is why you, my sweet plum, will never know the thrill of the first magic as it tingles through your fingers. It is why you will never feel your hands get hot on a babe’s forhead, why you will never gather mushrooms in the far glade to make the new year’s wine, why you will age almost normally, and why you now bear the sons that have been denied the Healer’s for so long. The magic is drained from us, denied you, child. In a few generations we will be all but human.

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