Wednesday, December 28, 2011

See Through

Me (to my kids): Guess what? I'm going to do a puppet show for you guys!

Daney (12): Mom. Is it the kind of puppet show where you're having a problem revising your book, so you act it out, then ask our advice about it?

Me: Um.

Daney: MOM!

Me: Come on, help me out here. This book is hard for me.

Daney: Yes, Mom, we know this book is hard for you. You know how we know? Because it's hard for us, too.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fish(nets) Out Of Water

A couple of years ago, my friend Leslie invited me to her birthday party. It was at the local kids' museum, with lemon cake frosted with chocolate. And the theme was "Circus."

The day before the party, I asked Leslie's husband, Alan, if this, like all their former fantastic parties, was dress-up. Alan said it was.

So, I decorated myself. I went as a tightrope walker, with a red sequined headpiece, a feather boa, fishnet stockings and tall boots, thick fake-lashes. I thought I looked quite smashing.

It was only upon entering the party--late, from having had lash-glue trouble--that I noticed that everyone was in normal clothes. Everyone except Alan and me. He was the ring master. I was mortified.

To add salt to the wound, there were real tightrope walkers at this party. They were doing all kinds of tricky aerial stuff. And they were dressed normal, too.

When Alan and Leslie had a Mad Men Holiday Bash the other night, I didn't call first for the dress code. I just put on something that could go either way.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Year of "Cerebral" Work

Holy hiatus, bloggers! It's been ages since I've posted.

And the reason for that is that lately, I've been working on an enormous revision. This is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian political story. And it's not YA -- it's adult!

Genius Agent Holly has given me lots to think about. Big things. Scope. Stakes. Character.

These things are so hard, I had to think about them for a few weeks before even pulling the draft back up. And after I thought and thought and talked to a lot of people about really weird stuff, I am now writing. Writing!

My goal is to finish mid-February.

Because I want to stay in this all-out flow. And at the end of February, I'm teaching Oregon's first-ever Firefighting Composition Class!

In 2011, I did a ton of writing. I revised a YA literary story, scribbled essays for the NEH Institute in Oahu, designed the firefighting class, penned the dystopian novel, was accepted for publication by the American Journal of Nursing, and took two notebooks of notes on Southeast Asia in Honolulu.

I've read, too. I figure that over the last year, I've graded 600,000 words of student work. That's 2,400 pages!

Also, I've got a new curriculum for my winter research writing class: "Beyond Super-Sized; What Food Does For--And To--Us."

Still to come, in 2012, is an article in a State University of New York anthology on Southeast Asia.

Whew! It was a big year for my brain.

But when I put a sponge in the microwave, or miss the exit to get home, when I check myself in the school parking lot for pants or a skirt, or something, on my bottom half, I know that not much has changed.

Yep. I'm still me.