Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Joys of Easter and Gallbladder Surgery

You know how busy weeks usually start. Weeks before this alleged busy week you simply scratch in a single activity on a calendar. Little did you know, that while you are living the days up until that single activity, the activity has been quietly and militaristically recruiting under the sly. Now suddenly at the beginning of the week you look at your calendar, remembering scratching in that single activity only to see twelve others also scratched in (No way is that your handwriting!) and voila! The busy week hath birthed.

Well such a busy week appeared on my calendar early last week. It started out innocently enough with friends over for lunch on Tuesday before blossoming into a full fledged 9-year-old birthday party, soccer/hip-hop/football practice and Easter weekend. Now lest you scoff at this week and say you've seen worse let me add one more:

Wednesday night (the day before the birthday party) this poor mother found herself in such pain that she couldn't even begin to imagine laying down and sleeping that night, much less throwing a birthday party for nine squealing 9-y/olds. A late night visit to the ER and a friendly visit from Mr. Morphine and suddenly, that heavily laden table that was my week suddenly became someone else's heavily laden table.

I will admit right here and right now to a bright sappy look that must have crossed my face as the sleepy ER Doc told me that I needed emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder. There may or may not have been tears of gratitude and an attempted sloppy kiss (remember the morphine) that had mostly to do with the fact that I wasn't dying anymore--although there might have been a secondary moment where I saw my busy week suddenly (and with no need for guilt on my part) become someone else's. I got to spend the next two days in relative peace and quiet at the hospital playing "You know you're a writer when... 1. You analyze every pain and put it into a descriptive sentence. 2. The drug-induced dream becomes your new favorite idea for a book 3. That thing the nurse just said about your dressing is not only poetic but inspirational and must be written down(remember the morphine)."

So today is Easter Sunday. I've been out of the hospital since Friday (although in a narcotic haze that tends to amplify not only the dog barking two miles away, but the child crying right in my ear) and all I can think to say is how grateful I am.

First: The birthday party was a success in that, even though I wasn't able to make the Barbie Cake my 9 y/o wanted, or draw the picture for pin-the-crown-on-the-princess, she and her squealing little friends had a wonderful time (thanks to a resourceful husband and a copy of Tangled) proven by the huge smile I got from her when I saw her later that night in the hospital.

Second: The doctors were able to not only quickly diagnose my problem but also get me into surgery quickly, thus successfully curing the mystery illness I've had for the last couple of years.

Third: I have the most wonderful family, friends and neighbors. From the phone calls, text messages and dinners brought over for my family, I feel so cherished and taken care of. Even today, Easter Sunday, we were surprised by the most amazing Easter ham with all the accessories and even a get well card.

And last: My husband, Brett, who did the work of both a dad and a mom-with-a-super-busy-week. It's hard for me to take time just for myself and he managed to make me feel completely comfortable and secure that my children are being well taken care of so that I have been able to sleep and heal.

Happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Writer's Group Givin' Nothin' But Love

I may or may not have mentioned in past posts some very important people in my life. My writer's group (aka Once Upon a Keyboard), are what I would consider the Godparents on my novel. And yes, they give me nothing but love.

Now before you scream foul, and whisper behind your hands that only positive feedback is the worst thing a novel can have (unless it's been written by a supreme being and therefore has no flaws...and I guarantee that's not the case with R.A.G.E.), let me expound.

My writer's group are some of the most positive people I know (sure), with nothing but great ideas backed by intelligence, deeply grounded personal opinions, and the type of affection for their poor, flailing Godchild that tends to bring out the criticism.

Yes...I said criticism. From the beginning there has been a lot of pats on the back, lots of praise and lots of that hard-to-take-but-necessary-if-Godchild-has-any-chance-of-surviving criticism.

Example: even with R.A.G.E. out with the professional editors for Shelfstealers, I still handed it back around to my Keyboardians for last chance critiques. And you know what they found? Mistakes!! *gasp* I know, how embarrassing! Some were small easy fixes. However, I know of at least one case a major mistake was pointed out. It had to do with the dialogue of my Main Character that, it was agreed on, made her sound too childish. The problem was presented to me in the best way possible (i.e. with hesitation, downcast eyes, and a nerve of steel) and it took a good twenty minutes for fellow Keyboardian Terra Luft, to get her point across. Once I understood what she was trying to say, I responded in the best way possible (with a bit of welling about the eyes, a growl of frustration, and a resolve to ignore her). However, when I didn't sleep well that night, (thinking psuedo cuss words at aforementioned Terra Luft that my MC said too much of) I went back and looked at R.A.G.E. again with fresh eyes.

It was true, my writer's group loved me enough to anger me into taking a drastic action that succeeded in making my Main Character sound like an adult rather than a teenybopper. Bullet dodged.

Have I mentioned how much I love my writer's group? They took me out to dinner the other night to celebrate the publishing contract and also gave me the best gift a writer/reader could ask for--a gift card to Barnes and Noble. :) So here in front of the fifty six followers I have, I would just publicly like to thank the Godparents of R.A.G.E.

Keyboardians, you guys are amazing. Thanks for showing the love!

Do you have a group willing to say the hard stuff? How's that going for you?