Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My 100th Post- House building and Awkward 9th Grade Romance

I have been considering what to write in this post for a long time. It is my 100th post, after all. Unfortunately, with a yearbook deadline looming, the beginning of play rehearsals starting, and being smack in the middle of house-building insanity, I don't have much creativity left in me.

So today I will leave you with two random things.

1. The first is a picture of my house at its current unfinished stage.

This house is the reason why we live on 1/3rd of our income.

It is the reason why we have been living in a 30 foot trailer for almost 4 years now.

It is the reason why my husband and his father have been busy every weekend and every evening for the past 9 months.

It is the reason why I have gained 10 pounds in the past 4 years and my husband has lost 10.

It is 2400 square feet of glorious living space that we paid for with ready money.

It is our ticket to a debt-free, mortgage-free, nobody-owns-us-not-even-our-jobs lifestyle.

I am more than a little proud of this house.

This house is the reason why I can someday be a stay-at-home mother.

It is the reason why Anthony will one day be able to retire early.

So, without further is the house that we will hopefully be living in by December...

My second random thing today is a conversation I overheard yesterday in my classroom. The two ninth graders were around the corner in my classroom and did not realize I was still there. I considered shouting out that I was indeed present, but I ended up just being quiet so as not to embarrass the darlings.

Awkward 9th Grade Boy to Strange but Sweet 9th grade girl:

A9GB: "Hey- so this is your class, huh?"

SbS9gg: "Yeah."

A9GB: "'re pretty."

SbS9gg: "Thanks."

A9GB: "So...I've been classes with you before and you're really smart, too."

SbS9gg: "Thanks."

A9GB: "Can-Can I ask you a question?"

SbS9gg: "Sure!"

A9GB: "Would you like...go out with me?"

SbS9gg: "Like- be your girlfriend?"

A9GB: "Yah."

SbS9gg: "Sure!"

A9GB: "Okay, cool. I'm going now. I'll see you tomorrow."

SbS9gg: "Okay."

And with that, he walked away extremely quickly. It was so very, very akward, but in a sweet way. I remember those days in Junior High and early high school when boys would ask you out and then leave abruptly. I can only assume he had used up so much of his courage just asking that he didn't have any left to continue the conversation. Oh, young love.

Friday, January 21, 2011

On the other Foot

Usually, I am the one facing rejection when it comes to my writing and other new things I try, but this week the shoe was on the other foot.

We had auditions for our spring show this year, and I had to choose between my little darlings. Their bright little faces were so enthusiastic about auditioning for the show, and when I told them it was a funny murder mystery about an old family curse in a castle in Scotland, their little eyes got big and I could tell they wanted in the show SO BADLY.

Alas, there were only 11 parts, and at least 20 kids showed up to try out. It is very hard to be the rejector. I posted the list this morning, and tried not to look out my window and see their little faces droop.

When I was in high school, I had directors who would refuse to even come to school on the days where casting or honor choirs were announced. Thankfully, most of my kids are mature enough not to throw a fit or anything like that, but I think many of them went home with a heavy heart today.

Ah, well, the show must go on, and next time might be right for the little ones who just weren't loud or sparkly enough to make the show. For the moment, I know what it must feel like to be an editor who has to reject people on a daily basis. Neither shoe is a very comfortable one.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2010: A writer’s year in review

Last year around this time, I had high hopes for my writing in 2010. I was going to write a page every day. I was going to get my poetry published again, and I was going to finish writing my second children’s book and keep revising the first.

As the song goes, “You don’t always get what you want…but sometimes, you get what you need!”

I did not succeed in writing a full page a day. However, I did write a whole lot more than I had the year before.

I did get two poems published in literary magazines and I was published in our local newspaper a few more times. I even won a local poetry competition!

I started this blog, and had a wonderful time trying out new poems and ideas with a truly supportive blogging community. I made more friends than I ever expected to, and I have had a wonderful time reading other people's experiences with writing and publishing.

I discovered that grief can both inspire writing and bring it to a grinding halt.

I learned a lot about my personal writing style and what works for me, and possibly more importantly, what doesn’t.

I started advising for a yearbook class, something I knew nothing about, and didn't want to have anything to do with, but serendipity being what it is, the class has taught me quite a bit about sales, editing, design, and publishing.

I was rejected A LOT- but through that, I’ve developed a much thicker skin about it and a much more realistic perspective on what to expect from editors.

I have high hopes for my writing in 2011. Every day that I live, I gain more experience and have more and more resources with which to enrich my writing.

So thank you to those of you who read my blog in 2010. I apologize for the hiatuses I had to take due to technical difficulties, and I assure you that for the moment at least…those have been resolved. I should be able to get back into my routine of posting 2-3 times a week.

Oh, and finally, the icing on the cake is that this year, counting my blog earnings and KVSun earnings, I have earned almost $200 from my writing. It's not much, but it's a start.

Today I leave you with the first few paragraphs of an exciting new short story I am writing. I am writing this story to try a new writing process: creating the outline BEFORE I start writing. I know it sounds simple and obvious, but often I just start writing with very little idea where it's going, and I really need to get away from that, so this is a little practice piece.

It's working title is, "Alvinia."

When Alvinia was born, her mother cursed God. She knew the dangers of being different, and when Alvinia was born with delicate features, skin as pale as milk and hair so blond it was practically white, her mother wept and pushed the baby from her.

“We’re too poor of a family to have a beautiful daughter!” she wailed to her weary husband. “Would she had been dark and sturdy. We don’t need a thin, pale one like her.”

Alvinia’s father sighed and went outside to poke at the dirt and stare at the sky.
In all other respects, Alvinia was a normal child, and as she grew, she did what chores she could. She wasn’t strong like her sisters, but she did have quick fingers, and was a help to her mother in the kitchen. She might have made a good wife for a young handyman or a trapper like her father, except for her looks.

She was too beautiful for the sorts of young men who came courting her sisters. They wanted sturdy women to help them with their spot of land, women who could pull a plow if necessary. They liked to look at her, and many a man whistled at her when she walked about the town, but none ever approached her. She was too delicate, too beautiful for her own good, her mother said with bitterness.

Although Alvinia would have liked to be married, she didn’t worry about it too much. She was practical, and mainly stayed close to home, but some nights, when the moon was full, she felt a wild longing in her heart, and wondered why she had been made to be lonely.

It was bad luck that old Master Emery first saw her on a sunny day. If it had been raining, as it often was in those parts, she would have had her hood down and her face would have looked pale or even sickly compared to the dark clothing she normally wore, and he might have passed by without giving her a second glance. But as fate would have it, the day was beautiful. The sun sparkled across the fields, and when he saw her walk gracefully out of her parent’s humble doorway, the rays of the sun caught her hair and illuminated her face. He stood for a moment, watching her, and though he had never before thought of remarriage after his first wife had died so many years ago- he did now.