Monday, June 29, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Tahoe was fantastic... well, most of it, anyway. The kids had a great time with different cousins at different beaches, and Dave and I did this thing we never do: relax.
Here we are at Sugar Pine Point State Park. Ahhh...
I'm not sure how many more years of jumping off the rocks at DL Bliss Dave and I have, but we managed to do it this time!
Yep, there's nothing to take one's mind of a revision like a plunge into 58 degree water.
The kids caught crawdads, counted pine cones, dug in the sand, and swam.
Now. The not-so-good? The FOOD! Terrible eats, and even worse service.
We experienced everything from menus thrown at us to forgotten toast to a long black hair in our steamed clams.
What the heck?
At El Toro Bravo in Truckee our last night, though, things finally turned around. Thank God. And Poppa.
Next year: same people, same place. We'll just bring our own food.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Yesterday, Dave and I sat on the patio of Gar Woods grill, overlooking the glassy lake, and decided that this wins first place in the natural beauty category.
It doesn't matter that the weather's not perfect. This, plus the state of the economy, has seriously dwindled the number of tourists. We're all alone on sandy beaches and at resort restaurants.
There's no cell phone reception at our cabin. No Internet, either. But we're not at the withdrawl stage yet.
For two nights, we traded in Dominic and Rees for a fourteen year-old niece, and today we're getting two high school juniors.
What can we do with all these crazy teenagers? Just pack up a huge cooler and hit Sand Harbor, of course!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
They can be cool and supportive like in Looking for Alaska. Or they can be negligent and mean, like in Matilda. They may even be absent, as they are in Harry Potter.
Whether absent or present, parents add depth to the central character. It would be tough to write a book about an extraordinary kid with ordinary parents. On the flip side, Matilda and Mr. Potter included, it's easier to write about an ordinary kid with extraordinary parents.
In the first draft of my MS, I didn't flush out the folks. They were one-dimensional, predictable, flat.
Now that I've added their intentions and motivation, my main character has grown. What he says and does is more understandable and believable. His actions are justified. He is deep.
How important are parents in books? As important, or even more, than they are in reality.
Right after I post this, I'm hitting the MS one more time. To clean things up, make sure it all makes sense. Triple sure.
It's funny. I had gotten hung up on conclusion. The thing I hit really hard with my writing students. And I couldn't come up with squat.
But a couple of weeks ago, I remembered the list of the only 8 or 9 kinds of conclusions in the world. And I tied a few of them together, and came up with a string of three words. A question.
And I've tried it out on a few readers, and the answer can go either way.
Even though I know the truth.
Monday, June 8, 2009
"Um, I don't know. Who?" he asked.
To get some perspective, I then pointed to People. "Do you know who they are?"
"Yeah! The Jonas Brothers!" Rees said. "Kevin, Nick, and Joe."
We've got some serious work to do over the next ten weeks.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Here's what got me through shrinking 55,000 words down to 40K, while flushing out characters and motivation, backstory and arc:
* faith. That what he told me to do was brilliant.
* hope. That I did what I was supposed to do. That he'll like it.
* long walks.
* days when I didn't work but when the kids were in school.
* a serious love of my character.
* a planned week in Tahoe, following re-submission.
All that. Plus some serious caffeine.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
In this little clip, she's paired up with Tim McGraw. My Other OOMA.
Short break while I swoon for a second...
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Do you find yourself rinsing out baggies and water bottles so you don't have to buy new ones? Your frugality is actually helping the environment.
The same goes for turning down/off your air conditioner.
Are you buying local produce to get fresh food that doesn't use pesticides or require transportation?
Have you signed up the kids for fewer activities? While you're saving money and gas, you're also spending more family time together.
This is true, too, if you've cut cable or movie memberships.
In that vein, are your kids aware of the economic crisis? Could spur some great family discussions, and their sense of thriftiness.
So instead of the kids playing on team sports and watching TV, they're thinking and talking. And reading and finding bugs in the yard. The kinds of things kids did before...well, okay, that's a different blog.
Plus, how's your work ethic? If you were lucky enough to keep your job, you're probably working pretty darn hard. And if you're at home, it's definitely the same.
Travel's cheap, and summer's here. Maybe you've planned a trip you never could've afforded. I offer this at the risk of being hypocritcal about the gas thing. Maybe the offset is family time, education, and appreciation for other cultures.
Speaking of that compassion, do you realize that while we are in this crisis, we are still living far above the conditions of most of the rest of the world? We are lucky, yes, lucky. Is there anything we can do for the less fortunate, even when we have less ourselves?
And education, incredible! The country is going back to school. My community college's predicted enrollment for fall? 150 percent increase!!!
I know times are tough. Believe me. This family hasn't been untouched by the recession.
But while money's been tight, there's been an opportunity to re-evaluate priorities, right?
We can choose to be worried and frustrated and anxious and angry. Or we can make the most of what we can for our families, the environment, and the world.