Monday, August 27, 2007

Time Off

Hoodie will be on vacation until the middle of next week.

All by herself.

*giddy laughter*

Have fun without me.

No Vocab word - Hey, the vacation starts right now.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Literally, this is killing me...

Okay, I try to give the majority of the population the benefit of the doubt when it comes to incorrect word and phrase usage. I've committed a few grammar felonies in my day. Though "I could care less" has become more common than the BigMac, I try not to let it get me down. But I just can't seem to reconcile myself with the new way the word "literally" is being thrown around.

The irony is like sparks of electricity in my head every time I hear it, for the word "literally" is no longer being used literally.

The compromise is so pervasive it's on TV now. I was watching a travel channel when the host of the show said, "So the fish goes literally from the ocean to your plate." No, she didn't mean that you are served a dripping, raw fish, gills still undulating in their search for water. She meant that the fish you are served was caught earlier that day, though once it reaches your plate it is quite cooked, seasoned and, apparently, delicious.

It's abuzz in public. Teenagers are "literally dying" all around me. One girl, though she appeared quite dry, "literally peed [her] pants."

What are we to do when the word has been whored to the point that when we actually need to be literal, no one knows what we're talking about?

My head asplode. (But not literally)

Vocabulary Word of the Day:
LITERAL - adj - Conforming or limited to the simplest, nonfigurative, or most obvious meaning of a word or words; Avoiding exaggerations, metaphor, or embellishment.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Graceful Critiques

I wrote in a previous post that I didn't know any writers personally. This was before I found out that a family friend who lives close by has been writing a book. He only shared this information with me when I made a passing comment about writing being one of my hobbies. I politely told him I'd love to read some of it sometime and he gave me the first five chapters when I saw him next. I asked him if he wanted me to actually critique it or just read it. He said he wanted all the advice I could give him.

I just finished reading it. It's a fantasy novel and from what I can tell the story-line and characters are pretty well-conceived. There are some integral flaws, however. His POV is all over the place and the pacing is poor. He seems anchored to a single sentence structure and loses a lot of action in the telling of character background and motive. I gave him what I thought was some general, helpful advice, but IMO it would take a major overhaul for this book to be published.

Since this man has found a fellow writer in me he is eager to share his excitement and ambition with me. He keeps talking about how things are going to change "when the book sells." I asked him how much he knows about the query process and he insists that he "knows everything there is to know about getting a book sold," and that he has "no worries," on that front.

I have never sold a book, but from what I've learned from my blogging buddies, getting a book published is neither simple nor guaranteed. So my question is, do I give this man, who seems to hold my opinion in fairly high esteem, polite encouragement and let his process unfold as it may, or do I tell him what I really think?

My instinct is to do the former. But if our roles were reversed, I think I would want some realistic advice. I don't want to stunt his enthusiasm, however, of which he has plenty.

What would you do?

Vocabulary Word of the Day:
FUSILADE - noun - A rapid outburst or barrage.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Sometimes I like to just write and let it be, without editing a piece to death. It makes me feel free to let a something out and let it live, even with flaws it might have. I wrote this a few minutes ago. I will not edit it.

The photograph’s rounded corners and grainy image reminded her how long ago it had been taken, along with its unnatural hue, as if covered with a golden film.

Her childhood face smiled back at her, dirty and smiling with more bangs than any person had any right to have. Her corduroy cover-alls were smeared in mud, her feet buried in it.

She wasn’t sure if she actually remembered that day, or just the memories of trying to remember it, photos for fuel.

In the stories Mom always told about it, the mud was secondary, inconsequential. It was those shoes.

They’d left them on the car, and then drove away.

Mom laughed when she recounted how distraught her little daughter had been at the loss of the shoes she’d nearly grown out of. The silliness of children.

The pain of losing the shoes reflected back to her through the years, like two mirrors facing each other, compounding as it stretched through time. The details were lost to her, but the loss was fresh.

Silly, indeed, to still be missing those shoes all these years later. A day of realization, a peek at the cruelty of accident and chance. A turning point, to learn Mother was falliable, that dear things are sometimes suddenly gone.

Slipping the old photo back into the album in her mother’s closet, she wiped the tears from her eyes, flattened the wrinkles out the bodice of her black dress and headed back to the guests downstairs.

Vocabulary Word of the Day:
MERCURIAL - adj. - Quick and changeable in temperament; volatile

Monday, August 13, 2007

Family Haiku*

{Someone please help me! Try as I may I can't get my hard returns to translate in posting. There are supposed to be many spaces in this post!! Gah! What the heck? Anyway, here are three SEPARATE poems.}

1.What is beautiful?
For I have eyes for none else
He's what love looks like

2.Cheeks dimple-adorned
Painted with innocent smiles
Her laughter a gift

3.Recklessly trusting
And finding life in great bursts
Affection so earned

*Haiku in the loosest of terms.

Vocabulary Word of the Day:
EXPATIATE - verb - To speak or write at length; to wander freely

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Virginia Woolf Syndrome

There has been a long-standing association between art and depression. Some of the greatest artists of all time have been afflicted. Maybe because angst is such great fodder for a creative product that speaks to people? There is no story without conflict, no painting without contrasts of dark on light. Who better to understand conflict and darkness than those who feel it at its deepest on a regular basis?

If there is merit to this line of thought, then I am destined to be a great artist.

No vocab word today.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


When I was about twelve I decided I was going to write a novel. Excitedly I found my mom's electric typewriter in the basement and gave it what I was sure was going to be a permanent home on the desk in my room. I decided that my story was going to be a scary story about five friends who get stuck in an amusement park after hours with some kind of psycho, their adventures, mishaps and close escapes. I proceeded to name them all: Jake, Tiffany, Randy, Ginger and Janie. These names are easy to remember, you see, because they were the names of my closest friends at the time.

I wrote three pages, and as I held up the product of my days work, I was proud. The goal was to finish chapter one in the next few days.

The length of that book remains three pages.

I had started writing without a real plot lined up (I figured that would naturally unfold as I went along) and when I came back to start at page four, I had no idea what needed to happen, I got discouraged, and after several months the electric typewriter went back into storage.

This was my first fiction writing attempt.

Writing was always a strength through High School and I majored in English Literature in college. I wrote so many papers and essays my brain turned to pudding and I swore I would never read a "classic" again. I wrote in a journal at that time, "I used to write and wonder at the genius of it. That was before I was made to read real writing and poetry, forced to see how dim my own thoughts are next the brightness of the greats." I lost my confidence. I read Harry Potter. I married. Children came. I wrote now and then when inspiration hit, but it was mostly non-fiction. I read. A lot. (Yes, even classics)

But I still think about that book I started to write when I was twelve. Not really the book itself, but the excitement about writing it. I still feel that. I desperately want to write.

I don't know any writers personally. There are not many I associate with who share my enthusiasm. I'm still looking for my voice, picking through technique, plotting, characterization. I feel tiny, but I want to grow.

I hope that those who read this blog will look past my lack of experience and help me along my path. I have many questions, much admiration to hand out, and a burning desire to be a writer.

Vocabulary Word of the Day:
CADRE - noun - a nucleus of trained personnel around which a larger organization can be built; A tightly knit group of zealots in a revolutionary party.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Just Another Man

Since I've been in the flash fiction mood, I thought I'd share another piece.

Just Another Man

She knew she couldn’t stop what was happening to her, that fighting it would make it worse. With contempt, she stared up at the face looming above her. Bastard. How could you do this to me. She could see the pleasure in his face and fought the urge to spit on it. Let it happen, she thought. Don’t think about it. The pain between her legs seared like fire as the force came in its steady rhythm. She’d heard other women talk of this, seen how it had changed them. She couldn’t have imagined it might hurt like this.

As she lay on her back, helpless, it seemed it would never end. His hand was in her hair, on her face. She wanted to bite the damn thing off. She felt skin ripping and a scream tore its way from her lungs. No woman should have to go through this. She wept at her own powerlessness.

He looked right in her eyes. “It’ll be over soon,” he had the nerve to say. Shut up shut up shut up you son of a bitch. If you ever touch me again, I swear I’ll kill you.

The pain heightened, but she sensed it might be over soon. She closed her eyes, willing the end to come. Another scream was pulled from her devastated body, one that did not sound like her. Finally, it was done. Stillness returned as her tense muscles began to relax, but she could still hear the screams. She opened her eyes to see tears running down the man’s face.

“He’s so beautiful,” he said. “You did it, babe. We have a son.”
Thanks to Jason at Clarity of Night for hosting such a great contest. The winners were well-deserving and it was all great fun.
Vocabulary Word of the Day:
CAROM - noun - A collision followed by a rebound

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mirrors and Lines

I've created this blog for the purpose of strengthening my fiction writing, but I'm going to add some non-fiction here and there as well since I'm deliciously anonymous and can share things I mightn't otherwise. I have actually written quite a few non-fiction things and have not shared many because they tend to be so intensely personal. That is definitely who I am, however. I'm all about introspection and the relationships between people. Anyway, I wrote this about a year ago and just found it in a notebook.

note - It will be helpful to know that I am a deeply religious person and that I was a virgin until my wedding night. Knowing that may help you see that sense of anticipation that is so vital to understanding this piece.

I remember looking at my naked self in a full length mirror when I was 19. I watched the lines of my body, noticing which places were lean and which places weren't, deciding that overall it was a pleasing shape. I remember wondering what that someone would think when they saw those lines, wondered if I would be nervous to reveal myself to the man who chose me, exposing all my flaws as well as assets. My eyes traced the lines of my neck, my collarbone, my shoulders, the curve of my arms, the placement of breasts, the shadows in my stomach. I turned to examine the swerve of my spine, continuing into a fullness of buttocks, then slimmer thighs, calves, right down to my painted toes. It was the body of innocence, the body of youth, the body of ease, leisure, of health. A body prepared. A body in anticipation. Ready. Able.

Today I see myself in another mirror. It is a different age, a place far away from that 19 year old in so many ways. The lines have altered, proportions have changed. A fullness has come to this body, small expansions in almost every place. I recognize in myself the telltale lines of a mother. It is the body of a woman, carrying scars that indicate the stress of bearing new life. It is not a body one would see in an ad. It is not what the world would call beautiful. But my lines are beautiful. Proportions may have changed, but the shape is much the same. I am still me, flaws included. That someone loves me and my lines, holding them as they change.

Many mirrors in the future will reveal countless changes as this body carries me through life's experiences. Shapes will change, lines will move, but beauty will remain in spite of whatever imperfections may be picked up along the way. And there he will be, by my side, loving my lines and embracing my fluid beauty.

Vocabulary word of the day:
SUPERLATIVE - adj. - Of the highest order, quality, or degree; surpassing or superior to all others.