Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wait, what? I have another blog?

So all my blogging energy is going in to either watching the robin cam or blogging about the robin cam (see sidebar) The only other noteworthy thing in my current life is that we are leaving home in an hour to take B to hockey, from which we will take A to soccer, from which we will take B to hockey, from which we will go home, and eat supper.

Also because my sister-in-law found a nest of baby bunnies in her flower bed (how cool is that??? Bunnies! you can eat my liatris! Build a nest where I can find it! Wait. Do rabbits read blogs?) okay where was I? Right, she has this nest of bunnies and so I went and talked to Google about how bunnies is hatched, and what do you know, they aren't! Okay I knew that part but did you know that a female rabbit only nurses her babies FIVE MINUTES A DAY? And at night, so the predators won't see where she's sneaking off to under cover of darkness. It's all very covert. She doesn't go anywhere near the nest in broad daylight, either, because of the predator issue. And she doesn't lie down to nurse - she stands over the nest.

Once in 24 hours. Wow. I think I'd start to miss my baby :)

Speaking of which, Jack rocks.

Off to make sandwiches to eat in the car or at a game or something. Maybe it will be sunny today, and we can emerge from the rink and shed our parkas.

Right then. Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Housekeeping

1. Krista, you won the book! E-mail me your address, or I'll get one of those other people from your undisclosed city to bug you for it.

2. Jack is the prettiest baby on the planet, and perhaps some other undiscovered planets.

3. My front flower bed is weeded. There is a huge orange garbage bag of weeds in a landfill somewhere (although hello what is that about? They're dead plants. Can't I just fling 'em into the river just behind the greenspace behind my house? I was going to, but there's probably a law against it somewhere, and some uptight housebound sociopath with a telescope would report me. Not that I'm cynical. Or stereotyping.) Where was I? oh yes, the flower bed, it is weeded, and the old body I cart this soul around in is very very sore. I wince when I stand up, and I wince when I sit down, and I wince when I move. But the flower bed looks fresh and clean and full of potential, and I only lost a few perennials. (I think. I tend to forget what I had where over the winter, so everything that comes up is a delight. And then I'll be out buying a lamb's ear for that perfect spot for a lamb's ear and remember - wait. I had one there last year. Where'd it go?)

4. I was reading "Tips For Fiction Writers" over at www.wherethemapends.com and I read that as a matter of formatting preference, you should no longer put two spaces between sentences. I am an old dog. This is a new trick. I will let you know how it goes. (So far, it goes like this: instead of typing "period space space", I now type "period space space backspace" and then roll my eyes.

5. Have I mentionned the conference at Glen Eyrie? (there should be a link, but I am lazy.) The first time I went there was a woman carting around a gigantic water bottle that I envied with my whole heart (don't ask me why. Envy is a terrible thing. I am not sanctionning envy.) who was waiting to hear from a publisher who had her entire manuscript for a book she actually wrote. Herself. And finished. I was in awe of that as well. And guess what? You can now purchase this book for your very own. It's called Searching for Spice and it's about a married Christian woman who wants to have an affair - with her husband. It's a fetching premise and a well-written read and Linda, the protagonist (that's how writers talk. We say 'protagonist' instead of 'main character', primarily because we (and by "we" I mean "I") are in love with syllables. And personally I like the lovely long "o" sound in it. There are no long vowels in "character".) has an interesting job.

6. I think the above paragraph should get me arrested for bracketeering (you know, brackets embedded in brackets).

7. My cell phone just rang, forcing me to hobble through the house in search of it. I missed the call, AND I don't recognize the number, but I want to call it back and ask them to please not make me stand up like that again.

8. There are baby robins in the nest under constant perusal by our webcam. Both parents are feeding them. The parents are also either eating the baby poop or pretending to swallow it and then regurgitating it in a different location. Also the mother feeds them and then sits on them. While this is fascinating, I think I'm glad I'm not a baby robin OR a mama or papa robin.

9. Thing #1 I learned weeding the garden yesterday: Perhaps it's best to rename the liatris "bunny food". That way, when you find it all neatly snipped off you will be happy for the baby bunnies who are reaping from your bounty, instead of glaring under bushes trying to find the culprit.

10. Thing #2 I learned weeding the garden yesterday: If you have a nest of robins on your back deck, there is no way to convince the ever-vigilant papa that all you want to do is feed the mama a worm, and he should stop piping at you and let her come back and eat it.

11. Thing #3 I learned while blah blah blah: The phrase "dog-like devotion" is an apt one. (space space backspace eyeroll) The dog stayed out there with me for hours, content to lie at my feet. When I moved, she moved, and plopped herself down close to me. She was content to be in my presence. (space space backspace deep sigh) Why can't I be like that with God?

12. Baby robins are very very unattractive. Their necks are like wet noodles, and they have freakishly large eyes.

13. I am considering dressing up as a baby robin for Hallowe'en next year. (I have the eyes for it!)

Okay that's 13. Pretend it's Thursday!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Nothing to read here ...

The good news is all over at Jack's house.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus. Thank you.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Welcome here, little guy

I'll let most of the news to come from his proud mommy and daddy, but I just want to say that Jack is here, and big and strong, and God is just so very good.

I can't wait to hold him, but more than that, I'm delighted that he's sleeping with his mommy tonight, and not in the NICU.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thursday is the big day

If this is Thursday, it's Jack's birthday.

Your prayers are appreciated.

Friday, May 16, 2008

even though you're really here for the robins ...

...I'm going to talk about myself instead. Feel free to come back another day.

Did I mention I'm writing a novel? No, I mean, really, actually writing it. Actual words in my actual novel. It's ...wow. Fun. I can barely believe the difference between the novel I'm working on and the novel I thought I was going to write when I started this whole thing. This novel? Basically backstory run amok.

So here's the thing. Maybe I have ADD, in some mild, functionning-without-medication form. (Some people I know just look at me like I have 12 heads when I say this and then say "Ya think?" I find these people ...well, annoying) So whatever. I'm a much better multi-tasker than I am a single-tasker. Here's how I have been attempting to write this novel:

1. Find a distraction free place, nice and quiet and no distractions.

2. Sit down.

3. Write.


This has not been working for me. I check my e-mail. I play Ticket To Ride online. I write three words and delete them because they are not fresh imagery. I check my e-mail again. I write 12 words, keep 4 of them. I read Angela Hunt's blog. I google any writer I've ever heard of, and read their blogs, if they have them. I write 60 words and a goat insinuates itself into the plot. I google goat husbandry - I'd hate to sound like I don't know what I'm talking about. I finally give up and go to bed, telling myself I will write TOMORROW. With NO DISTRACTIONS.

A few days ago, I thought - wait. I'm a multi-tasker. Why don't I watch TV and write at the same time? Tried it. 500 words before I ran out of steam. Double checked my word count. Turned the TV up, and wrote a few hundred more words. B came home from school wanting to play XBox. I took my laptop down to the basement with him, wrote another 500 words with his head in my lap and the XBox blaring.

Wrote 500 words yesterday while cooking supper.

I have some time to myself tonight, at someone else's house. Nothing to pull me away from the computer. I wrote 2 words, checked my e-mail, thought - what's wrong with this picture?? Turned the music up, let their (big, friendly) dogs in, wrote 350 words. Quit only when I ran out of story. There's more there, I just don't know what happens next, so I'm letting Brynn sit sulking in the dirt while in another part of the Village, his mother is Striding Determinedly toward - I don't know what. I'm going to sleep on it.

Without guilt. Because -

This is who I am.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

And speaking of robin's nests


Guess whose technogeek husband installed a webcam?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Exactly like that.

So there is a robin's nest over the light at our back door. We are delighted by this, but already, the deck is very messy. There is a huge pile of dead grasses and things underneath the nest - at least twice as much grass as appears to have been used to build the nest.

I was describing this to my neighbour.

"Huh", he said. "That sounds just like writing a novel."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What looks like lucky on an ordinary day*

(*with apologies to Pearl Cleage)

Working at my computer at 4 in the afternoon, I see movement at the back fence. I turn to see three deer picking their graceful way across the green space behind my house.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Contest!!

I know there are some of you sitting there thinking "Man, I wish I knew where I could my hands on a collection of short stories that would be guaranteed to be a great read."



(I couldn't find a bigger version of this picture. If you're really curious, buy yourself a copy on Amazon ;)

This contest is for you. You, yes you, can win your very own autographed copy of A Crack In The Wall, written by Calgary's own Betty Jane Hegerat.

Here's what Oolichan Books has to say about this release:

A Crack in the Wall takes the reader on a voyeuristic walk down suburban streets, a glimpse into open windows at people yearning for what was, and making their reluctant peace with what is, and what will be.

And about the writer herself -

“Betty Jane Hegerat is a gifted and compelling storyteller. She deals in ordinary people who lead ordinary lives, but by some unobtrusive narrative magic, her people become extraordinary.”
–David Carpenter.


Launch is tonight, and I'm buying YOU a copy. All you have to do to make it yours is leave a comment, and be the lucky winner!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

handy writing-from-home tip

Always know where your pants are.

In which TechnoBoy contributes his "Chronicles of Narnia" take-away

From The Horse and His Boy:

"Aravis also had many quarrels (and, I'm afraid, even fights) with Cor, but they always made it up again: so that years later, when they were grown up, they were so used to quarreling and making up again that they got married so as to go on doing in more conveniently."

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hey, I know. I'll talk about my trip to the castle.

So I had this benchmark epiphanological (don't you love that word? I made it myself) moment at Glen Eyrie last week and then had several days of reflection/feverish scribbling/thinking till my head exploded to process it. Here's my last take away.

I used to think I'd have a breakdown now and then, but eventually, sometime in my adulthood, I would have dealt with all the things that hold me back from being who I'm created to be, and it would be smooth sailing from there on out. (Why I thought that I don't know, but who cares? "Why?" is the wrong question. :) )

Here's what I think now. I think it's about equipping. I think that as life winds on "like a bewildering and stupendous dream", I will consistently be called to new things, things outside my comfort zone, and because of who I am, I will consistently meet those new challenges with terror. When I get to a point where I need a complete breakdown in order to get to a place where I can be equipped to do "the work God has prepared for me to do*", I will have a breakdown of some degree.

This is who I am.

I can live with that.

And now, I have a book to write. And after that, probably another one.


*(that's in the Bible. Somewhere. I have to leave for work in 2 minutes, so I'm not looking up the reference.)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

so B can have a sleepover when he owns his own house

A was at a sleepover last night.

The mother of the house called me at 9 am to find out how much time Amy needed to get ready for church, and we fell to talking about sleepovers. She said when her son had sleepovers, she just left the house. And then she said,

"the one time I did stay home, I finally went downstairs when it got so loud I thought the neighbours could hear the shouting, and they had duct taped one of the boys to a chair."

Saturday, May 03, 2008

okay if this post is annoying don't read it

I appear to have managed to sell a (very) short story to an online magazine.

http://www.mindflights.com/item.php?sub_id=3955

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Five

Hey, why not some Glen Eyrie take-away's? (does the phrase "drinking from a fire hose" bring anything to mind?) Actually this is more like Glen Eyrie aftermath take-away's – I had an 18 hr car ride in which I did some thinking.

We listened to a few Narnia books on tape on the way home – at least, Brad and the kids did. I was having a seizure of multi-tasking so I read and listened to my MP3 player and listened to Chronicles and prayed and wrote as well. You'd think 18 hours in a vehicle would be a good time to catch up on your sleep, but my brain wasn't interested. Sleep is for ...not me. So points 2 through 4 are bits of the Chronicles that filtered through to me. They're badly quoted because the children lost patience with the rewinding.


 

  1. The Lord your God is with you

    he is mighty to save.

    He will take great delight in you,

    he will quiet you with his love,

    he will rejoice over you with singing.

        Zephaniah 3:17


     

  2. "Peter did not feel very brave. In fact, he felt like he was going to be sick. That did not make any difference to what he had to do."


     

  3. "Is he safe?"

    "Safe? Oh no, he's not safe at all. But he's good."


     

  4. okay the next one is from Prince Caspian and I'm going to go look it up, because I want to get it right. At almost the end of the day yesterday, the CD player boomed at me, in Aslan's voice, "Susan?" which just happens to be my real name. When Aslan booms at you, you listen. Here's the quote:


     

    Then, after an awful pause, the deep voice said, "Susan." Susan made no answer but the others thought she was crying. "You have listened to fears, child," said Aslan. "Come, let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?"

    A little, Aslan," said Susan.


     

  5. "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." Julian of Norwich

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Every time I go to a writing class or a weekend retreat or some such thing, I go in looking for the "take away", the thing that I needed to know or remember that I didn't know before I got there. This post is primarily for me, and many of them will seem cryptic to You, The Reader.

Glen Eyrie Take Away's

1. A cute pink notebook to tuck in my purse so I can be just like Judith except it won't be in my back pocket.

2. Character development - yeah, the session I was going to skip because characterization is my strong suit. There's all these things you can do ahead of tiem before you even start to write your character (or, if you're like me, after you've played around with your character on paper, for an unspecified length of time) that breathe life into your character on the page. These things are not solely for Type A over-achievers and ...this is the best part ...doing them counts as working on your novel even if your word count remains the same. Take that, Headitor.

3. Read Ender's Game already.

4. Orson Scott Card has maybe written some books about writing. These may be useful.

5. So that's his bleakest moment! He has a bleakest moment! I found his bleakest moment! (I also went and found Angela Hunt and punched her (lightly) in the arm and exulted "He has a bleakest moment!"

6. From my notes: I ache to be worthy of the calling, but I'm getting it backwards. I am worthy by virtue of being called. This has nothing to do with anything that I am, have, or have done. It has everything to do with "while there's breath in my body, God has a job for me to do."

7. You haven't fallen.

8. "Why?" is the wrong question.

9. "I am the smart one" sounds good on the surface, but it is another of the toxic lies that fall into the "take every thought captive" camp.

10. You are doing it, tooth and claw.

11. WANTED: ONE FREAKING BREAK, SELF-ADMINISTERED

12. Praying "show me what surrender looks like" is a dangerous prayer.

13. "And we lie on our beds
...
Wide awake, cracked open.

There will be no going back." May Sarton