Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cusco, Peru

Here are some pictures my daughter took while she was in Cusco earlier this month. I stole appropriated them from her blog.

Yes, I'm vacationing vicariously this summer.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Phone Home

I got a call on my cell phone today and the screen said it was from area code 261. I don't think I know anyone in that area code. But I answered it anyway, feeling impatient about having to explain I was not who they were trying to reach.





"Who is this?"

"It's me!"

"Ohmigod, it's YOU. Are you really calling me from Argentina? How did-- but you don't have a ph-- "

"Phone cards, mom. Remember those?"

Well, yeah, of course. But the call was unexpected. I can't even tell you how good it was to hear her voice. Twenty three minutes of it before she had to go off and do something.

She's got a head cold -- going from summer heat to sleeping in a tent when it's 25 degrees outside will do that to a person -- but she's having a great time and is now safely in Mendoza. The family she is staying with is "very nice." They go to the university tomorrow for more orientation and a Spanish language placement test.

Sometimes it's worth it to answer the phone.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wishful Thinking

We're having Thanksgiving dinner today. Because my daughter leaves Tuesday for Argentina by way of Peru and she won't be here for Thanksgiving this year.

The house smells wonderful. Just like Thanksgiving. If you ignore the sweltering humidity of a 90 degree July day and the fact that the kids are at the pool, if you disregard the absence of Christmas songs on the radio and mega sales at the mall, you could almost believe it's November.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Request for Feedback

Yes, I've been writing. I know I said I wasn't going to until after the move. I was wrong. I'm deep into "the mess in the middle" as some writers call it. Revising, twisting the plot and trying to get everyone from the beginning to the ending in a way that makes sense without being predictable. It's frustrating, because every time I think I know what happens next, something else happens. At least things are happening. But my mind keeps going back to the beginning. I've re-written it several times and will re-write it again later. But I keep thinking about it. Usually that means I screwed up somewhere. So I thought I'd ask for some feedback from the demented discerning few of you who still read this blog.

Correct my grammar and spelling if you must, but that's not my concern right now. I want to know: Does it make sense? Do you care about these characters? Do you want to know what happens next? Would you keep reading?

Please do not say, "Of course I'd read it, you wrote it." My mom is the only one allowed to say that. Pretend you have no idea who wrote it. It's not a romance, though there is sexual tension between two of the main characters. It's a thriller. You're in a bookstore and you pick it up and turn to the first page. What do you think? If you don't want to comment on the blog, send me an email: [click here] Yes, you over there in the corner. I want your opinion. You don't have to be nice. Really. [BTW, I tried to get rid of the double-space formatting so this wouldn't be so long, but it's late and I'm too impatient to keep messing with it.]

I'm not posting this anywhere else and I'm only going to leave it up for maybe a day. Then probably I'm going to delete the excerpt part of it. I don't know why, I'm strange that way. If you miss it, so sorry. Oh, and I changed the title. Here it is:

* * * * *

7/9/08, 12:45 AM, edited to add:

Okay, so I said I'd leave it up for maybe a day and I did.

Thank you so much to everyone who commented here and sent email. The input has given me much to ponder and it will help immensely in the re-write. Yeah, I'm going to take it apart and do it again. And again. Whatever it takes.

The hardest part of writing -- and the best part, in my opinion -- is editing. I think the trick is to keep it fresh and not lose your voice or your consistency, while at the same time making it stronger and more clear. Unless, of course, you're misleading people on purpose. [grin]

I liked one of the earlier versions I wrote of the scene with Annie, but it was mostly "telling." I remember thinking it would be a lot of work to fix that scene and maybe I could do it another way. Well, the other way is just not doing it for me. So I'm going back to the earlier version to see what I can salvage. Maybe I'll post it again once I'm done. Then you all can tell me whether you think it's an improvement. Or point out where I've screwed it up even worse.

In the meantime, I'm removing the excerpt from this post but leaving the comments. I know I really dislike it when someone blithely deletes my writing for no good reason and I'm going to assume others feel the same. Besides, everything you all have said is far too important to me not to leave it just as it is.

Again, thank you for your help.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Out of the closets . . .

I had planned to write today. And I will. Later. I'm not a morning person. Now I'm laughing, because that might be the biggest understatement I'll ever make.

So instead, this morning I cleaned out a couple closets. Just the ones that had old books shoved into the corners. Dusty old single title paperbacks, mostly romance. [achoo!] I don't re-read -- I've tried and I just can't -- so I knew I had to get rid of these books. There is NO POINT in keeping them. Really.

So I started pulling them out, lining them up in stacks of twelve as I went so I could figure out how many there were. It made me wistful to see some of those names, many who used to be favorite authors but whose work I never see any more. Or who used to write romance but moved on to other genres. Some good stuff there.

I filled up two shopping bags. Then three more. Then another. Look, here they are, on their way out the back door:

The cat was flicking her tail, expressing displeasure about the disturbance in the force. The two large bags each contain four dozen books. The four medium bags, three dozen each. That makes, um, let's see, carry the one, oh that can't be right-- twenty dozen? Gasp. Two hundred forty books.

The nice library people are either going to love me or tell me I can never come back.