Saturday, April 28, 2007

I got tagged

I just got back from an amazing trip to the mountains of North Carolina with 200 8th graders, 16 adults, and 8 high school juniors. I’ll definitely post about the trip and some inspirational lessons I learned as a result, but not tonight. I’m still processing, and I had a very busy day.

However, I was tagged by both Alyson and Jackie on the following meme. So, here it is.

Three Things That Scare Me:
1. losing the people I love
2. not measuring up to whatever standard I’ve set for myself
3. getting it wrong in this life

Three People Who Make Me Laugh:
1. my girls at AotP – I’m constantly cracking up at their emails
2. my nephew named Reid
3. seventh graders

Three Things I Love: (besides my family, which is a given)
1. books
2. mountains
3. challenge

Three Things I Hate:
1. insincerity and fakeness
2. prejudice
3. judgmentalism

Three Things I Don’t Understand:
1. hate
2. politics based on personal agendas rather than the greater good
3. the reason my ISP sucks

Three Things On My Desk:
1. my God box
2. my morning journal
3. my new passport

Three Things I’m Doing Right Now:
1. laundry
2. fighting sleep
3. thinking about a bedtime snack

Three Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
1. make a name for myself as a writer by writing and selling books that women (and men) eagerly anticipate
2. see Africa
3. live in the mountains

Three Things I Can Do:
1. inspire teenagers
2. cook real, authentic enchiladas
3. write

Three Things I Can’t Do:
1. make cheese cake
2. file things – file cabinets are the enemy
3. enjoy an entire round of golf – that damn little ball pisses me off

Three Things I Think You Should Listen To:
1. your conscience
2. your heart
3. music that inspires you

Three Things You Should Never Listen To:
1. hate rhetoric
2. sensationalism in the news
3. negative self-talk

Three Things I’d Like To Learn:
1. how to write a best-seller
2. how to sing on key
3. how to play the piano

Three Favorite Foods:
1. a really good margarita
2. scallops
3. salsa, enchiladas, tacos – okay, pretty much all Mexican food (my favorite Mexican restaurant – Abuelo’s – is in the DFW area)

Three Shows I Watched As A Kid:
1. Scooby Doo
2. Mash (with my dad)
3. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series

Three Things I Regret:
1. Not doing a better job of keeping in touch with a few people I love.
2. Not having more confidence in myself.
3. One really big thing that I, too, don’t want to mention. And yeah, I’m sorry about it also.

Three people I tag:
1. Julie
2. Mimidish
3. YOU!

Happy writing!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Facing your demons

There are times when I just need to look into the eye of the fear that lurks in my subconscious and give it a name -- identify it for what it is -- accept its possibility. Then, I need to move on.

This is one of those times.

There are days when I wonder what the hell I'm doing trying to write this book -- or any book for that matter. What makes me think I could tell a story that anyone would want to read? I won't ask what makes me think I can write. It would be false modesty to say that I didn't realize I could organize words on a page in a way that compelled readers. But....that's not the same as telling a story.

Fear #1: What if can't tell a story? Or worse, what if I tell it and it's really bad and I've spent all this time believing I could do something I couldn't?

My life is a hectic, overscheduled mess sometimes. I really don't know how to trim it down. I've done most of what I can -- short of quitting a job that pays half the bills. My job, huh, requires a high degree of commitment and time, comes with very little respect and equally little pay, and alot of overtime with no extra dinero. Before you call me an idiot for doing such a job, I just want to say that, really, there isn't anything I could do that is more important. I believe you have to use the gifts you have. I am. But I also want to write. Eighteen hour days are not condusive to writing (or washing clothes or grocery shopping). Often, when I write, I'm dog-tired, I have no idea what I last wrote, it's completely disorganzed because I get five minutes here or there, or my head bounces off the keyboard -- literally. That brings me to....

Fear #2: What if I can't finish? What if it just never comes out quite right? What if I stay mired down in a endless loop of rewrite, refigure, replot, rehash? What if next year at this time I'm still not quite to act 3? What if I still haven't quite figured out exactly where that is (see fear #1 about storytelling)?

Part of me says wait until you have time. Ha. I'll never have that unless I prove myself now and actually sell -- enough to quit the all-important, but high burn-out job I have.

Fear #3: What if it's just too much? What if I can't do it all? What if I'm never going to realize my dream because all the "must do's" get in the way of the "want to do's"?

All these demons play with my nerves. My heart is pounding with the ferocity of having just run a marathon. The fear ignited my adrenaline and I want to fight or flee. Part of me says "run" - far away -- so that the fear can't follow. But the realistic part of me knows I'll stay and fight the fears and keep plugging away.

I'll just reread a favorite quote and keep plugging away.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt

I've named my fears, faced my demons. I've invited the little whisperers of half truths and white lies out and called them what they are -- fear. Isn't identifying the enemy a good place to start the war? While I may not be able to kick their butts tonight, I will keep hammering at them. I'll keep getting in the ring. I can do it.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

My exact literary match

According to The Book Quiz, this is my exact literary match. Take a look! Take the quiz yourself and post your answers here.

You're Siddhartha!

by Hermann Hesse

You simply don't know what to believe, but you're willing to try
anything once. Western values, Eastern values, hedonism and minimalism, you've spent
some time in every camp. But you still don't have any idea what camp you belong in.
This makes you an individualist of the highest order, but also really lonely. It's
time to chill out under a tree. And realize that at least you believe in

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I've been thinking about fiction this week. It's a favorite pass time of mine anyway.

I've been thinking about categories in fiction. You have literary fiction and genre (or commercial) fiction. What is it that makes a book "literary"? No, really, I want to know. Why can't a great romance novel double as literary fiction? What's the distinction?

Many people somehow think that literary fiction is better than genre or commercial fiction. Why? What do you think makes some think it so?

I have many friends who, if I were to suggest it, would laugh at me if I recommended a romance novel for their book clubs. Why is literary fiction "better" to these people?

What characteristics distinguish literary fiction from other types of fiction?

I actually have a reason for wanting to know. Post your answers. I'll talk about this more and tell you why I'm curious in another post.