Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Power-less powercords

So, blogging from an iPod may be the most rediculous idea you've ever heard. I say, true. Expect lots of typos. So the power cord to my laptop died utterly and completely, leaving me *sniffle* without any means to feed my obsession *sob*. So here I am sitting on the floor of the bathroom going on hour two of "child-on-toilet-until-he-pees", blogging from my iPod touch. I have to say, a computer-less me is incredibly productive in other ways, hence the removal of wallpaper and subsequent painting of aforementioned bathroom on whose floor I am residing while I type this. Potty-training and painting--can you imagine a greater hell?

Now lest you think this writing hiatus will make my writing suffer(don't forget I'm writing this from an iPod--me the non-texter of the world) no, I don't think my writing is suffering. It has given me a great deal of time to think about character and plot. Now I know my poor characters are screaming into the silent void of their non-working computer home asking, "what about us?! You left us in a really bad place!!" I should feel bad but considering all the horrid things I am planning to do to them, they should appreciate the reprieve. I will cut this short now because my pointer finger is starting to cramp from one-fingered typing. Let's just say that forced breaks in writing are not always bad. It can give you insight into a scene you are writing not previously considered. I probably shouldn't be too productive in the home, though, or my husband might just procestinate replacing my powercord.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Bright Light Amidst the Poo-pile

Two contrasting experiences today. First of all, being a mommy royally sucks sometimes but fortunately it's all piled on at once. Today is one of those piles.

However, amidst the pile (let's call it a poo-pile day, just to show this figurative contrast) there is always something that can lift your spirits, even if it exists in a completely separate realm. I got a partial manuscript request about a week ago from a wonderfully reputable agent. In doing my research on this agency, I was pleased to note that out of the 239 queries recorded (courtesy of mine was one of 6 they requested more material on. Not only was I bouncing off the walls in joy at having someone interested in RAGE (yipee!!) but it told me that my query letter (long revised, rewritten and generally stressed over) really can't be that bad. I mean, hey, if one agency liked it, why not others?

So today amidst aforementioned poo-pile, I was able to take an interesting side tour on my way to grocery shopping (4 children + 2 dogs = the frequent poo-pile day) to the post office to mail in my submission. Now I know they are not going to look at it the second it gets there in 3 to 4 days. In fact they told me they wouldn't get to it for 90+ day but it was still exhilarating sending my baby into the hard publishing world with all her perty, brand-spankin' new edits and find out if she pasts muster. Will they like her? Will she be exactly what they're looking for? Will they be able to see and understand her potential and all the money she will make them if they will just accept her for who she is?

So let's just summarize for a moment, shall we? Poo-pile days suck big time. Sometimes you don't even need 4 children and 2 dogs to have one. Sometimes it's the publishing industry that you're piled under. Maybe it's the endless writing, editing and query letters that are killing you at the moment. Then just remember that even while under the stress and stench of one such day there can often be that small glowing ember of happiness that says, "I can survive this! Someone wants to look at my precious manuscript!" and just watch yourself dig out of the pile holding out that shining submission to the postmaster, who takes it between two fingers while holding his nose.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just for fun

True story

On any given hour of any given day, the untamed tones of wild children resonate throughout the jungle of domesticity. What could be more fascinating, yet at the same time frightening, then to listen to the discordant tones while attempting to ascertain the nature of each conflict?

On this particular date, the feral yowls of J.J. resounded from the lair of his most potent enemy--a porcelain demonite by the name of Latrine. J.J. had been betrayed. The matron of his flesh had joined forces with Latrine in order to alter his future--a future he was loath to part with.

J.J. had fought this battle over the course of the last six moons but felt his stamina wavering. Each fight had ended with J.J. trapped in the clutches of Latrine and very seldom had he been able to secure even the smallest victory. He was sure his mother no longer loved him as, with a snarl, she lit a candle in order to vacate the scented spirits from the lair. The slamming of the gates behind her signified a moment for him to plan a defense even while Latrine held him in her cold clutches.

A brilliant idea astounded him for a moment and he took a shuddering breath as the magnitude of possible victory climbed into his chest. His mother may have left him to his nemesis but in her haste to dispel the spirits she had overlooked a powerful weapon.

Latrine did not notice or care as he reached a small rebellious hand toward the sacred scroll belonging to the demonite. The softness of the scroll slid seductively across his palm, his small face scrunching in concentration. If only he could eliminate one enemy with the unwitting weapon his mother had left. Perhaps with the loss of the sacred scroll his adversaries would be demoralized enough to abandon their foolish quest.

With a rapid flick of his wrist, J.J. captured the scroll and without another thought, set it above the flaming candle. With a roar, the scroll ignited, instantly turning into a brilliant inferno. Not expecting quite so much commotion from the typically docile aid to the demonite, J.J. dropped the scroll with a squeal.

Apparently the scroll was not the unassuming facilitator he had always considered it to be. It landed at his feet with a shower of sparks and ash, before rolling toward the basin of hallowed water. The lapping flames devoured the base of the pedestal, licking upward with great billowing clouds of smoke. J.J.’s scent spirits abandoned him with fervor, but he saw his chance.

Leaping away from Latrine, he bellowed a cry of triumph but also terror as Latrine’s lair was consumed. A cough burst from his throat as he raced toward the gates, a shrill alarm sounding from without the walls.

The shackles made from his clothing, hampered his escape but as he saw the closed gates, he realized he might have overstepped his zeal for conquest. Surely this would be the battle to end all battles—surely, even after securing the smallest win, he would not be able to complete his escape.

A rush of cool air brushed his face, as his mother swung the gates wide. Regret and terror flushed her face and she dragged him from the lair before rushing into the inferno to aid her new master. Sobs racked her throat and J.J. could not look away as she acquired a sturdy colorful vessel, a boat of great importance to him and scooped the very lifeblood from Latrine’s body in order to calm the fire.

The blaze quieted and J.J. stood in astonishment surveying the shattered sanctuary of his foe. His mother coughed into her hands, hunched over Latrine. J.J. felt only remorse at her grief. He had not known how much the demonite meant to her. For the first time since the beginning of the war, J.J. entered Latrine’s lair willingly, placing a small hand on his mothers shoulder, whispering sincere apologies. She flung her arms around him, sending happy waves of gratitude crashing around him in her pleasure of his safety. Perhaps it was time to find a common ground and cease the violence.

The consensus had always been that toilet training was an absolute pain. Expect messy floors. Expect messy clothes. No one had ever mentioned smoke inhalation or conflagration.

As one who had witnessed the flames, I only felt relief as I surveyed the minimal damage. A patch of bubbled linoleum and a slightly scorched cabinet—it could have been a lot worse. However for someone not knowing anything had happened, a delicate touch was needed.

The sound of an engine accompanied a crunch of tires turning into the driveway. I leaned casually against the doorframe as my husband exited his car. J.J. watched me quietly from his tricycle in the living room. He seemed frozen in place, his wide blue eyes staring at me as though he had never seen me before. I turned my attention to his father as he strode up the front steps.

“J.J. lit the bathroom on fire today,” I said, “and it’s really bad…”