February 26, 2010

Interview with a Creative Liar

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by SarahAnn at Musings about writing stories for Children's magazines.  If you've been curious about that market--check it out here.  Thanks SarahAnn!

And apparently I'm a creative liar. :)  Thanks Bethany and Roxy for this award.  You guys are pretty great liars *ahem* I mean, writers yourself.

I have to post six lies and one truth about myself. Can you uncover the truth? Here goes:

(Answers have been added)

1.  I've seen a real live pegasus. Nope.
2.  My first job was walking the tight-rope in the circus. As cool as that sounds...no.
3.  I love repelling.  Did it once.  Not a fan of heights.
4.  I made the Olympic gymnastics team at the age of twelve but broke my leg and couldn't go. No, but I know someone who did.
5.  I sang backup in a Legends concert. Believe it or not, I did.
6.  I don't know how to drive a stick-shift.  Learned at the age of 33.
7.  I'm a distant cousin to J.K. Rowling. I wish!

Guess away people.  (I'll post answers on the weekend.)

Okay, now to award some AWESOME liars writers who help me enjoy life with their words:

Where Ladybugs Roar
Robin's Nest
Where Sky Meets Ground
Leiff Musings

February 25, 2010

Geometric Girl

I'm one of those people who draws furniture on graph paper before I move it.  I write a million schedules of my day--to be followed tomorrow. I like to know what's happening, where we're going, and who's on the phone.

I like control.

But I'm having to let go.

Now from the above statements, you might assume I'm an organized person.  I'm not!  I like "order" in weird places.  Like the coat closet.  It's neat while the living room coffee table has dishes covering it.  *Looks over shoulder to see if dishes are still there.  Happily, they are gone.*

Lately my control is cracking.  Which is a good thing because I don't want to be a controlling person. But it's hard to change.  So, since I'm having to let go in real life, I decided to draw a girl who is completely predictable--geometric. Even her eyes are square.  I love her.  She's me on paper. Even Steven.

*Awkward silence.*

So, *Ahem* now that I've bared my soul I'm curious; do you like to control?  Or do you tend to be controlled?

February 22, 2010

The Unlived Life

Do not fear death, fear the unlived life. --Natalie Babbitt

If you have not seen Darius Goes West, you are missing one of the most moving and uplifting stories of the year.  It's a must-see documentary about a young boy dying with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy who's taken across the United States by his friends while he still has mobility.  His story will inspire your socks off. (And you can see it free right now on their website.)

Why is it easy to forget to live life?  I don't have a fatal disease to stop me. Yet I pass by details every day without noticing the beauty of them.  I forget to run through fields barefoot or twirl a child in my arms.  I forget to live big.

What beauty will you notice today, big or small?

February 15, 2010

Unplug Week

Once again it's time to unplug and give ultra-focus to my work in progress.

From B.J. Anderson's blog, a quick explanation of what unplug week is:
If you get tired of networking and need a break, join me for Unplug Week. It starts the third Monday of each month and it's a chance to just write. Go ahead and check your emails once or twice a day or anything else that will stack up while you're gone, but after that, turn off your computer and go write. Unplugging means no blogging, facebooking, myspacing, twittering, or anything else that keeps you from writing. Good luck and happy writing! 

If you're participating, I wish you happy writing!  If not, happy blogging!  I'll look forward to catching up with you when I return. :)

February 14, 2010

Sunday Scribblings 202: The Ethic (of Love)

The truck jiggled my teeth.  A tremor plowed through me.  I wasn't sure if it was excitement or fear.

Tom's hands gripped the wheel.  "You've got until we reach the barn to answer me, Neva."

I searched his face hoping to find the teasing charm normally present; but it had vanished and been replaced with a tightened jaw.  I faced the road.  The white-washed barn stood a short distance away--my deadline.  Cattle and grass flew past us.

I was an adult after all, eighteen since June.  But Mother would be furious; she wanted me to go to college like Helen.  And Helen, goodness knows she'd wonder where my head went.  I peeked at Tom.  His dark hair whipped in swirls leaving a flattened place on his scalp.  Even with mussed hair and a worried brow he was endearing.  Was it wrong to go against my family's dreams?  On the other hand, they were always chiding me about being indecisive.

I winced.

Tom darted a nervous glance towards me then back on the road again.  His knuckles paled as they tightened the steering wheel.  I'd never seen him afraid. He wouldn't beg.  If I said "no" he'd be gone.

That thought wrenched my heart. My eyes jumped to the closely approaching barn.  I tried to swallow, which was difficult with my dry throat.  I sucked in a breath and he shot me a look.

"Yes, I'll marry you."

The truck bumped off the road and came to a stop.  A smile bloomed and stretched across his tan face.  "Law me, I wasn't sure you were gonna say yes."

"Me either."

He laughed and took my hand.  "Can you be packed by 4:00?  Mabel and Les'll meet us at the courthouse."

"I'll be ready."

He winked at me and turned the truck around.

February 11, 2010

Inspire MeThursday: Smile Often Sugar

I wish all these things for my blogging friends.

If you could chose one saying from the picture above, what would it be?


Shannon sweetly gave me the Sugar Doll Award yesterday.  Thank you Shannon!  I'm supposed to tell 10 unusual things about myself which I already did here.

So now to spread the sugar love, I award six blogs who deserve a looky-loo:
A Heart on a Wire - she recommends GREAT books and has a lighthearted take on life
Bugigangas - gives awesome organic recipes for creams and writes great short stories
Holli's Ramblings - will make you laugh and cry in the same post and she always speaks her mind
Nightwriter - shares her heart like you're talking over coffee
the thing with feathers - creates the coolest journal pages and stories
Vintage Girlfriend - has a unique blend of art from the past and shares her cooking experiences
**As always, don't feel obligated to take awards if you prefer not to.  Just consider it a nod in your direction.

February 10, 2010

Wing Tip #8: Dig in Deeper

"Some let the dream go gracefully.  Others do not go gently, attempting to write over the years, beginning journals only to let them lapse, showing up for writing workshop only to disappear after the first session.  If this describes you, it does not mean that you lack ability, though it may mean you lack ego.  But if you can't give it up, if hearing how impossible the odds are only makes you dig in deeper, it doesn't really matter if you've got natural talent.  Your job is to marshal the talent you do have and find people who believe in your vision.  What's important, finally, is that you create, and that those creations define for you what matters most, that which cannot be extinguished even in the face of silence, solitude, and rejection." --Besty Lerner, from The Forest for the Trees, An Editor's Advice to Writers

I start a lot of things.  I don't always finish.  That thought sometimes echoes around my head.  You'll never finish this novel.

A week ago, I pulled out a box full of old school papers.  As I thumbed through paper after paper I discovered writings from my younger self.  First grade, a story about my family in which I was the princess.  Third grade, a tale with more heart.  On and on, I found papers I'd written up through college.  Two diaries half-finished and scraps of stories everywhere.  All a peek into my young mind.  And there was something warm and reassuring in those papers.

I hadn't quit.  I'm still writing.  And if anything, seeing my young dreams made me more determined to continue. I'll dig in deeper.

What's something from your past (or present) that keeps you writing?

February 8, 2010

Live the Life You've Imagined

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."-- Henry David Thoreau

As a writer, I daydream.  A lot.  I dream about my characters and how they respond to the trials I give them.  I dream of fun new things for them to try and adventures they can overcome.  But sometimes, I forget to live.  Forget to step away from the computer and splash around in the world.

How do you remember to live?

Kimberly Conway kindly awarded me the Happy Award.  She has a fun contest going on at her blog and the prizes include jewelry so check it out!

I'm supposed to list 10 things that make me happy.
1.     Blogging friends (top of the list)
2      My hilarious husband and witty kids
3.     Friends (who've seen me through highs and lows)
3.     Coffee
4.     Good books (and the smell of them)
5.     The ocean
6.     Babies
7.     Warm cheeks
8.     Snowfall
9.     Josh Groban's voice
10.   Children laughing

I'm going to pass this award on to:
Lynnette at Chatterbox Chitchat
Stephanie at The Writer's Cocoon
Jennifer at Me, My Muse and I
Diane at Need More Words
Heather at Notes from Lapland
**As always, don't feel obligated to take awards if you prefer not to.  Just consider it a nod in your direction.

February 4, 2010

Work Space

Jennifer at Unedited showed her desk yesterday which looked like my dream work space--airy and clean. But here's my current version.

*laptop gone for repair

And even though the bookshelves are jumbled, I try to keep the lower space clear.  Notice my Fancy Nancy glasses in the corner? hee-hee

Care to share your space?  If you've already posted it, please leave a link in the comments so I can see it!

Also, Kristin Rae gave me this award earlier and Patti Nielson awarded it yesterday.  Thanks ladies, I'm so honored!

I'm supposed to answer these with one word.

Your cell phone: Ringing
Your hair: Chestnut
Your mother: Beautiful
Your father: Brave
Your favorite food: Bruschetta
Your dream last night: Nada
Your favorite drink: Vanilla Coke
Your dream goal: Novelist
What room are you in: Living
Your hobby: Painting
Your fear: Failure
Where do you see yourself in 6 years: Traveling
Where were you last night: Home
Something you aren't: Spontaneous
Muffins: Pumpkin
Wish list item: studio
Where did you grow up: Arkansas
Last thing you did: Tucked-in
What are you wearing: Coat
Your TV: Quiet
Your pets: None
Friends: Eclectic
Your life: Full
Your mood: Excited
Missing someone: Yes
Vehicle: Dirty
Something you aren't wearing: Contacts
Your favorite store: Gardeners Used Bookstore
Your favorite color: Purple
When was the last time you laughed: 10 seconds ago
Last time you cried: Today (I cry easily)
Your best friend: Intimate
One place you go over and over: Car
Facebooking: Yes
Favorite place to eat: Carrabbas

Now I give the Over the Top Award to:
DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude
Shelli at Market My Words
Elle Strauss
Sarah at Bookduck

February 3, 2010

Wing Tip #7: Micro-Movements

Ever thought "if only I had more time to write" or "I just need fifteen more minutes"?  Well, let micro-move-ments help you.  This excerpt is taken from SARK's book, Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper (Love that title!):

I invented a method that I use to get writing onto paper.  It's called micro-move-ments.  It's so simple that it appears it can't really work effectively.  Writers commonly assign themselves HUGE projects and then get discouraged when it doesn't fit into "real life".  It's so powerful it's the reason I have 14 published books.  Prior to micromovements, I specialized in "talking about writing" to anyone who would listen, until their eyes glazed over.

Micro-move-ment: 5 sec - 5 min in length
Gentle date and time written down: Gentle means flexible
This creates a "habit of completion": Your writer's mind will note that something is being done with your writing
*If you start and 5 minutes isn't enough, just keep going!

Here are some of her examples:

TUE  8 pm Sharpen 20 pencils
SAT  7 pm Meet friend for tea, discuss literature
MON 7 am Turn on computer, title File: Novel
WED 2 pm Move book pages out of bottom drawer

Sounds simple, huh?  Almost too simple.  But then I don't have fourteen books to my name.  So today my micro-move-ment is polishing my opening paragraph.

Do micro-move-ments seem appealing to you?  Why or why not?

(FTC disclaimer: Unless stated otherwise, the books reviewed have either been purchased from a bookstore or borrowed from the local library.)

February 1, 2010

The Great Good Thing

"Sylvie had an amazing life, but she didn't get to live it very often."  
-- The Great Good Thing, by Roderick Townley

I've been thinking about life and story quite a bit lately and how they mesh together.  How we create our own life stories.  Not to say, we have control over everything.  Someone getting cancer does not have control of that tragic turn in their story.  But, we do get to shape how we deal with those conflicts.  Much like a character showing bravery in a dark moment, we can show bravery.  Or not.

One of my Uncles died last night.  I wasn't close to him but I knew enough his story to be sad.  Heartbroken at a young age because of the death of his wife in an ice-related car accident, he never recovered.  He was the one driving.  And he was unconscious during her funeral.  His wife was my mother's sister--my name sake.  But the saddest part is that he chose not to live after that.  He quit life.  He withdrew.  Nothing mattered past that moment of losing her.  He lived a bitter, angry life.  That said, I've never lost someone that dear to me, so who's to say I wouldn't do the same.  But even so, it makes me sad.

I hope at the end of my life no one will say, "Catherine had an amazing life, but she didn't (choose to) live it very often."

What do you hope will be said of you?