Friday five

Friday Five – The Writing Edition

Yes, I know, it’s been a while since I talked about my writing life. There are a lot of reasons for that, some good, some not so much, but in any event, here is my Friday Five from behind the writer’s desk.

1 – I’m thinking about writing again. This might sound funny coming from a writer who is used to always thinking about writing but my brain got overfull with life and needed to decompress. I’m not hearing any voices from characters but that’s okay. Right now my life is very noisy and I am craving silence. Once the inside of my head has realized the rest of my life is quiet, things will begin to percolate again.

2- I’m working on a couple of book proposals for some non-fiction books about writing which is getting the business side of my brain working again. Of course the business side of my brain craves organization the way the rest of me craves chocolate but the chocolate seems easier to come by.  I’m working up some survey questions I hope to post in order to get feedback from the masses.

3 – I signed up to take a class at . It is about writing for the glossy magazines, something totally outside of my norm for the last 7-8 years. I’m looking forward to the challenge of learning something new. I’m especially looking forward to learning how to write better “pitch” letters to get the assignment as that is a real weak spot for me.

4 – I overhauled my business plan. What? You’re a writer and you have no business plan? Don’t feel bad. This is only the third one I have done and the first one that feels like it is a workable plan.

5 – I am thinking about starting a business group for writers. A group that discuss the business side of things – promotion, recordkeeping, organization – that sort of thing. It would be a private thing, only those in the group would be able to read/respond. Possibly via LJ as a private community or maybe some other online venue. Yes, I know there are blogs that talk about this sort of thing and bulletin boards like Verla’s and SCBWI and such but I want to put together a small group, a brain trust of sorts, maybe 5-7 folks? That way we could all share more personally, support more specifically, and watch our business grow. If you think you might be interested in something like that (this is just in the thinking stages) leave me a comment, please.

Friday, September 5, 2008|Categories: Writing Life|Tags: , |14 Comments

Friday Five – dogs again

I’ve been trying to write this post all week but it’s been hard.

So here are my five dogs things first, and then the story.

#1  We met a dog named Cullen.
#2  We agreed to foster Cullen.
#3  Cullen came to our house.
#4  Cullen and Cassie played wonderfully well and never a cross word between them.
#5  Cullen moved on to another foster home.

Recently we met a dog named Cullen.

He had been found on the streets in Monterey, picked up and taken to the pound and pulled from the pound by the wonderful Bob at the Northern California German Shepherd Rescue group. We met Bob and Cullen at a local park and Cassie and Cullen seemed to get along just fine. They walked nicely together, sniffed a lot, played a bit. Cullen was still a little stressed (panting/drooling) from his trip to the pound but was a real love bucket. He was about the same age as Cassie and a total goofball, all arms and legs without a lot of control.

We went home to talk about it. Then last Saturday we went to the adoption fair to take Cassie to see her amazing foster mom PJ. We also wanted to meet Shane, PJ’s current foster. Shane was a beautiful sweet boy but my heart had already been stolen by Cullen. He was a living, breathing teddy bear and I could already see him as my therapy dog.

So we agreed to foster him which would give us a week to decide if we wanted to adopt him. Bob dropped him off at our house that afternoon.

There was a bit of excitement right off the bat because the dogs were being dogs and chasing one another and we hadn’t removed everything from their path. My fault and no one was hurt and my wonderful husband cleaned up all the broken glass.

This is Cullen.

He quickly found where all the air vents were in the house. He especially liked the one in the kitchen so he could stay cool but keep an eye out for food that magically fell from the sky.

He also found Cassie’s bed.

But she didn’t seem to mind too much.

It took a bit to tire him out but he finally crashed. Cassie is laying just a few feet away from him.


It really was a case of wherever one went, the other would follow, exactly the kind of doggy friendship one would hope for. Really, the two of them were great, walking side by side, sharing and swapping bones. Cassie couldn’t quite figure out what Cullen was doing when he launched himself into the small wading pool and laid down in it but she was very happy to have him to chase around.


Alas, while the dogs were fine it was too much for me. Cullen had no house manners yet (major counter surfing, broken dishes, etc) and was on and off the furniture. I have no doubt that a few months of training is going to turn him into the perfect dog for someone, but that someone is not me.

I thought back to when I was much younger, in my twenties with babies in diapers and 4-5 big dogs living in the house, a house much smaller than this one. I don’t recall it being so intense, where I wasn’t able to relax a minute. But then I’ve gone through a lot in the past years so I guess I just can’t do it anymore. Or maybe later, down the road, when life settles down some.

I should have posted this yesterday, I meant to, if only to be able to give thanks once again to the Northern California German Shepherd Rescue group. First for bringing sweet Cullen out of the pound and second to finding another foster family to take him in when it became apparent that I was unable to keep him. A special thank you to PJ who not only helped me hold it together over the phone but gave up her Sunday to drive over the hill and pick him up.

Cullen, I know you’ll find a forever home soon. I’m sorry it couldn’t be ours.

Friday, August 29, 2008|Categories: Life With Dogs|Tags: , |21 Comments

Friday Five – More about dogs

These are the thoughts going through my head this Friday:

1 – Cassie is very attached to my husband. I adore her, she has a giant chunk of my heart already, but if I had it to do over again I might go looking first for a male dog that would glued to my hip. (Example – My husband left the house around 9:30 this morning. It is now 11:30. She has circled the house up and down stairs, his office, around the house again, outside, back inside, repeat, for 2 hours. ) She loves me, but she loves me more when my husband is home.

2 – Another dog might help Cassie with missing her favorite human. Her foster mom had told us that too.

3 – Cullen (see yesterday’s post) is a real teddy bear of a snuggler who would totally be my giant lap dog. 

4 – Cassie and Cullen are close in age – maybe only a few months apart. This could be insanity waiting to happen. 

5 – I don’t know if it’s crazy to bring another new dog into the house so soon or not. But with all the stressful stuff in my life right I have to admit that having a teddy bear dog to love on sounds pretty good. But I have to think with my head and not with my heart and make sure we can do right by two dogs.

Oh, and a bonus I just remembered – the yard is not in, not even close, barely started. So to deal with two young dogs and new plants? Yes, I am insane.

Friday, August 22, 2008|Categories: Life With Dogs|Tags: , |24 Comments

Friday Five – the Cassie edition

Cassie has been with us almost 3 weeks now so I thought this edition of the Friday Five should be about her.

#1     We are still working on separation anxiety. She has super-bonded with my husband which is both nice and sad. It is nice because of course I like to see both him and Cassie happy but it is sad because I want her to bond with me. She loves me, but since he is home with her most all day it is different. When I am home with her and he is gone she whines for a long time and sits in the dining room facing the front door. It is getting better but it is a lot of work on my part to build the relationship. I am the person with the best (translations – stinkiest treats) and I’m the only one who feeds her scraps of meat that she gets to take from my mouth. I do a lot of the play/training with her so hopefully it will all add up. I realize we may have this who thing in reverse when we get a male dog down the road.

When we are both gone she has to go in the crate. This does not make her happy.

She does not like the crate at all. The trainer suggested we set up a video camera to see how long she freaks out when she was in it so we know how serious it is.

#2     Things happen for a reason. Remember all those big piles of dirt and decomposed granite in the backyard? Cassie loves them. She loves to climb to the top and dig in like a pile of sand. She likes to take a stick and lay on the top of the hill. She likes to crane her neck back so she can watch the planes go overhead. So now we are replanning our backyard design so that we can make a hill for Cassie.

For the longest time that was about all she would do outside, run to the hill and sit down. Now she is learning how to play. Outside she likes to gather sicks and run puppy races. When we first brought her home she really didn’t know what to do with many of her toys. She liked things that squeaked though so we got this little beehive that has three small bees inside. They all have a different kind of squeak. She has to get them out of the hive. She loves it.

The trainer that we are working with told us that we should add tricks in now, at the same time we are working on obedience, and Cassie is loving it. She isn’t 100% consistent yet, but she is getting there on SHAKE, SPIN, and CRAWL. She is also learning to ring the bells hanging on the door to let us know when she wants to go outside.

#3     She does not like the ocean at all. We took her to Aptos to see the ocean and this was as close as she would get and she wasn’t happy about that. There were dogs all around her racing into the water but she squirmed away. She does however like her wading pool in the backyard. She won’t go IN it but she likes to dive underwater and pick up things on the bottom of the surface. And she likes to remove all the leaves from the pool. We are surmising that someone used a hose to scare her in some way because whenever I water the plants she moves away. We are working on me having the hose on the ground next to me and having her come close for being touched. Tonight I was watering in the courtyard and she actually walked over to me of her own even though water was coming out of the hose. We are constantly amazed at how quickly she is progressing for a rescue dog.

#4      She loves meeting new dogs and is wonderful with all of them. She met several new dogs at the beach. She meets new dogs on her daily walks and is great with all of them except for the little yappy dogs, like daschunds, that come toward her. Those she is afraid of which makes us think the probably with the people who adopted her from the pound were the little dogs. Sigh. We were charged by a Beagle, barking and growling and ready to bite and Cassie just sat down and waited.

Her favorite playmate is her cousin Crice, my brother-in-law’s three-year-old Shepherd. They love to play chase.

#5 She loves going everywhere with us, even out to dinner. We went to Ma Maison in Aptos for dinner and they allow dogs on the patio. They even brought Cassie water in a porcelain bowl, the same kind of dishes we had on our table.

We just gave her a bully stick and she was happy.

I’d forgotten how much work a puppy was, even an older pup like Cassie. She sleeps all night but gets up way too early, no matter what we do and someone always has to have an eye out for her so I can’t ever relax. But I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.

In the midst of all the crazies going on in my life right now, most especially the waiting at work as the merger goes forward with plans to close toward the end of the month and the layoffs in huge numbers due to come as soon as possible after the merger closes, well, puppy kisses make it all bearable.

Friday, August 15, 2008|Categories: Life With Dogs|Tags: , |21 Comments

Friday Five – The Animal Edition

1 –  Thank you to everyone who shared my pain in saying goodbye to my long-time four legged friend, Chelsie. It really does help to hear from so many of you. While I miss Chelsie and will continue to do so for a long time to come, I can look back on how unlike herself she had become and know that it was the right thing to do. We have packed up her toys and bowls and will donate them to the local shelter. (New animals will have new things.)

2 – We are already looking for another dog. Actually two. We wanted two dogs for quite some time but Chelsie never did well with other dogs. I’ve spent my events scouring and the various animals shelters. Hopefully we can find one or two that click with us aged 1-3 (for at least one of them.)

3 – At least one of the dogs will be a German Shepherd rescue dog. Both my husband and I have had them in the past and miss them. I didn’t have the room for one when I got Chelsie. Tomorrow we will go to the first of what I imagine will be many events to meet a few potential dogs and see how we get along.

4 – To adopt from anywhere but the pound there is a mandatory home visit, which is fine. I can understand wanting to make sure the yard is safe, etc. But we had been spoiled in that Chelsie basically never did anything. Now that I am looking at the house through new eyes we have a lot of picking up to do. That’s okay. I’m also looking at my landscape design in the back with new eyes. One thing to be grateful for is Chelsie leaving us before the new yard is in. I need to plan for a longer expanse of grass for the dog and a dog water play area.

5 – We’re looking forward to being able to have a dog that wants to go places with us. Many of our friends have dogs that we would like to visit. We want a dog that can go to family dinners with us and play with my brother-in-law’s dog. We live in an area where many places are dog-friendly and we are anxious to get out and play.

Friday, July 25, 2008|Categories: Life With Dogs|Tags: , |14 Comments

Friday Five – The I made an expensive mistake edition

1. I have 3 tons of expensive blue stone in my backyard.

2. I hate the color.

3. It is not returnable.

4. I screwed up when picking it out. All my fault.

5. I am now investigating ways to try and stain it enough that I am okay with the color. Will try iron sulfate first. Not sure what after that.

Friday, July 18, 2008|Categories: Home & Garden|Tags: , |21 Comments

Five things on Friday – the random edition

1 – Jim Averbeck, author of IN A BLUE ROOM, is blogging! You can read my (your) interview with Jim here. I added a feed to LJ so we don’t miss a post. You can add it too:

  I also added a feed for Lynn Hazen, author of Shifty, Cider Rabbit, and more! You can add her here:

 Just remember when you read posts via a feed and you want to comment, it is best to click through to the actual blog to post or they won’t see the comments.

2 – I am entering 3 days of insanity as I have determined I WILL finish the work-for-hire stuff by the time I go to bed Sunday night. That would be early and a week ahead of schedule but I need that stuff out of my head now.

3 – I am planning the garden, front and back. It will be easier once the cement is out next week (provided I survive all the jackhammering.)

4 – Even though it is already 93 degrees on my patio I am drinking hot chai. I don’t know why except I am a creature of habit and cold chai just doesn’t do it for me.

5 – I am filled with guilt that I forgot to post about the wonderful contest that

 held last week. I had a big post written in my head that didn’t make it to the page. To that end, I want to challenge everyone to post a note of encouragement that to another blogger in spirit of

 and give that blogger a shout-out in someway. Not because there’s a contest, but because we can and should encourage each other. It’s a tough world out there. It helps to have a friend to hold your hand when you cross a busy street.

Friday, June 20, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |6 Comments

Friday Five – the home improvement edition

There is still a little bit of Friday left so here’s a little bit of what has been going on around my house.

1 –  We got bids on replacing/upgrading our furnace and AC systems.  We have two separate systems, one for upstairs and one for downstairs. This house is an odd assortment of things so we expected surprises. I didn’t expect it to be quite so much money but, like I said, we have two systems and need two systems because there’s no way to tie the ductwork from one to the other. The last guy was very good and even came up with a way we could add another vent to my office (down the road.) Right now the two AC units sit on the seldom used sideyard. I thought that was a good thing because I didn’t have to design the landscape around them. Turns out they are too close to the fence to pass code. Gee, what a big surprise. Now they have to go in the tiny backyard and I have to design the landscape around them. Plus that means all the electrical and plumbing needs to be rerun correctly under the house and out the other side. Sigh. And if we’re going to the trouble and expense of all of that, well we might as well replace the ductwork which most likely has asbestos that will require special handling. Sigh. And we have to try and figure out how long we will be without AC here in the midst of summer – hopefully only a couple of days but the whole job is going to be more like 7 days.

2 – We got bids on replacing the roof. Sheesh. We had people who told us the roof was fine and we just needed to pressure wash the shakes and all would be good for another 10 years. We had someone only pushing composite. We had someone only pushing metal. Everyone did agree however that our funky additions in the library and my office makes the roofing/insulation a must do.

3 – We got bids on removing concrete (of which there is much) and replacing the driveway with pavers. We had one guy price it so high that he must not have needed the business. Actually so high that I figured we wouldn’t be able to do it at all. We finally found someone more reasonable and that looks like it’s a go in the near future. Which is a good thing since the furnace/AC guy would have needed to break up some of the concrete on the sideyard anyway and if we do this in the right order, it will be helpful to him. He is also going to redo the courtyard patio in pavers so everything matches which means now is the time to have that trenched in places so we can run the downspouts into the planting area rather than letting it just wash across the courtyard.

4 – I have been working on the design of the front yard. It’s hard for me to picture it with the aggregate gone and the one remaining tree taken out.  We will be taking out the lawn which means I need to decide what to do with the sod when we take it up. I think I can use most of it in the backyard where I will let it compost in place for a long time. There’s no way we’ll get the entire yard in this fall so I can have a lasagna compost pile and plant wildflowers on the top of it until it breaks down.

5 – I have been working on the design for the backyard. I’m trying to figure out the best combination of plants to bring the most amount of birds and butterflies to the yard. I’m debating whether it makes a difference if I have a swing or a glider under the arbor. I’m trying to decide if I want an actual patio area or just pockets of places with benches. The yard is very small but has the potential to be something nice. At least the way I see it in my head.

Friday, June 13, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |8 Comments

Friday Five – The great links edition

A few items of note in the kidlitosphere today. Five to be exact.

If you are one of those writers, like me, who is often wandering lost in the desert of missing plots, hop on over to

  where she has an interview with the wonderful Plot Whisperer, Martha Alderson. Martha is the author of Blockbuster Plots: Pure and Simple. Becky is running a contest and you can win a copy of one of Martha’s DVDs to help you find your own missing plot.

If the idea of working on your plot makes you want to run away and hide for an hour or two or three, curled up with a good book. Well it’s not too late to participate in Mother Reader’s annual 48 hour book challenge.

So You Think You Can Write? is the brainstorm of

 who is looking for a few friends to share the experience of writing in different genres. She asks the question, “If there were such a thing as “So You Think You Can Write”, what genres should be included, and how do you characterize that genre?” When I first started writing I admit to having a lot of tunnel vision and not being very willing to write outside what I THOUGHT was my genre (sweet romances for teens and historical, ahem, bodice rippers for adults.)I could have used something likeSo You Think You Can Write?to help me stretch my writing muscles. Hula Bunny also posted another Oulipo exercise that is a lot of fun.

Just in time for Father’s Day,Mitali Perkins, author of the First Daughter books, posts a baker’s dozen of books about the relationship of fathers and daughter. Thank you to Mitali for including my novel, Hugging the Rock, on the list.

Which leads me to announce that I will be hosting this month’s Carnival of Children’s Literature. The theme for this month’s carnival is fathers in children’s literature. Think about a father in a children’s book that made an impression on you in one way or another. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. Write a blog post about it and send the link into the carnival. You can also send the link directly to me. Links for the Carnival are due Saturday, June 21st. I’ll post the round-up of all the links on Monday, June 23rd. It should be some interesting reading. Thanks to Jen Robinson for mentioning both the Carnival and Hugging the Rock in her Thursday visit round-up.

Friday, June 6, 2008|Categories: Random|Tags: |4 Comments

Friday Five – The Sunflower Edition

#1     I am the sort of person that needs to be around plants and flowers and bugs and birds and stuff like that.

At my last house, even though it was a rental, we put in a small native garden. When I would come home from work I would head out the garden just to deadhead flowers or see what new bugs had come by to visit. It was soothing and inspiring.

#2     Sunflowers make me smile.

#3  If I can’t have sunflowers outside, I want them inside.

#4  But sometimes I CAN have them outside.

I have been patient, waiting this first year in the house as we learned what we did and didn’t want in a garden. We’ve done the prep work, ripping out everything in the backyard save one tree and the lawn and the lawn will be gone too. But I missed flowers. The birds were coming to visit. But all we had growing in the yard was a Japanese maple that, while lovely, had no flowers. While the garden I am designing will be filled with many natives that will flower I didn’t want to plant them now because we still have to take up the lawn and the concrete and do some more prep work. So I decided I could have just a few sunflowers out back. I picked up 4 plants in the little 4″ pots but the sunflowers were already over a foot tall. I planted them out back, near the bird bath. They all had flowers about to open. The second day, one flower opened and one of the local hummingbirds came to visit. (Hey, it was the first time I had something new to offer him besides the bugs on the maple tree.) I was thrilled.

The next day I opened the blinds, looked out back hoping to see a little hummer darting around or at least a smiling sunflower face beaming back at me.

Instead I see this.

That would be just a stem of what used to be a sunflower. One of the four flowers were gone. And I don’t mean broken off and sitting in the dirt which was my first thought. I figured a bird or squirrel had landed on them, broken it and that we’d fine the flowers in the dirt. Nope. We looked all over the yard (which, remember, has been stripped of everything but the one tree and the lawn. There’s just dirt.) There was no flower in sight. There were no seeds in the flower yet but we finally decided that a squirrel must have carried them off. There was no other explantion.

Or was there?

The next day when I was at work my husband was working from home. He sent me a text message that said “I know the creature that is eating your sunflowers.”

Of course I had to call him right away to find the answer to our mystery. He said we had lost another flower but that he caught the criminal in the act.

#5  Dogs will eat anything, even entire sunflowers.

Yes, my picky eater dog was the one who calmed ate an entire sunflower and then, went back for more.

Sigh. I still have two left but I don’t know for how long.

Friday, May 30, 2008|Categories: Life With Dogs|Tags: , , |19 Comments

Friday Five – the Canine edition

She’s a Southern girl. Part Border Collie with a little bit of Aussie Shepherd and Spitz.

I got Chelise in New Orleans. Yes, I know that is not the way most people spell Chelise but trust me, it was the only small battle I could win about her name at the time. I wanted to call her something literary. Sigh. I did not intend to get a dog. I had a cat. I was living in an apartment (albeit a nice sized one) and I was working a full-time job. But I went to the pound with a friend (always a big mistake) who was looking for a replacement dog. Replacement because he had adopted a dog there and then when they went to spay him, the dog had some disease and they had to put it down. So he basically had a gift certificate to the pound that he didn’t want to use.

Then I saw Chelise who was scrawny and covered in bugs. I figured she was about 9 months old back. She leaned against the cyclone fence and it was love at first sight. I remember being worried about have the same pound spay her. When I went to pick her up she was still out cold, sleeping in a pile of urine. They let me take her home even though she wasn’t awake and I remember carrying her up those very many stairs of the apartment and hoping I didn’t drop her. Benjamin (my cat) was fascinated with the sleeping dog who didn’t move even when he poked it with a paw.

I gave her a sponge bath and waited for her to wake up.

When I lived in New Orleans she was always happy to see me come home from work.  I thought she was part kangaroo the way she would jump into my arms. I’d have to be quick to put my purse down so I could catch her. Not so much anymore. I often have to go find her to let her know I am home. Part of it is I think she is starting to go deaf and part of is she just doesn’t care as much as she used to.

For the longest time my cat Benjamin was her best buddy. (She mourned him for months after he died.) The two of them would wait anxiously for me to come home from work. We had a special cushion made to fit on this chest so they could look out the only window in this very tiny place we lived in when I first moved back to California.

Back then she could still jump up on all sorts of things but now that she is older and has had back surgery, she hesitates before deciding if she really wants to make the next step up or down between the library and the rest of the house. Now that we finally have a big house with a yard it is sad. She doesn’t go upstairs at all and really doesn’t care to be outside for any longer than it takes to do her business.

She is the least food motivated animal I have ever had in my life. At least now. When I was in New Orleans and she was still so afraid of everything and hungry she would do more for food but not anymore. She saves her treats until after dinner. No matter when you give them to her. No matter how many you give her. She just lets them pile up. At the end of the night she could have 5, 6,7 treats piled up. And while she will eat a milk bone or a greenie, she would much rather have a piece of a plain tortilla or lick the ice cream bowl. She does, eventually eat them though.

She’s a bit of a snob.  She’s not fond of most men and doesn’t like other dogs. She takes a while to warm up to anyone new.

And she’s easily bored.

She is also the first dog I’ve ever had who didn’t know how to play with a ball. In all the years I’ve had her I’ve never been able to teach her how. She doesn’t play much at all. Never did. She has some stuffed toys and will sometimes run after one once if you throw it, but only once.

She’s also a bit silly.

Whenever I sneeze, she leaves the room. And my office has two sets of French Doors, one from the library (where she spends most of her time) and the other from the living room (where no one spends any time.) If I close the ones to the library and leave the ones to the living room open, she can’t figure out how to go around and get in the other way.


She appreciates a good nap.

In fact, nowadays that’s what she spends most of her time doing. Sleeping. Behind the chair in the library or in the corner of my husband’s office. Sometimes in my office but not often. Getting her to eat anymore is a major chore and she doesn’t want to be petted or brushed so it is always a struggle. She just wants to be left alone and sometimes I find myself resenting the caretaking I am doing without any of the fun of having a dog.

But then I remember being in New Orleans with only Chelsie and Benjamin to keep me company. I remember how Chelsie and I would run laps around the inside of the gated apartment complex (because it was too scary to run anywhere else) and how she would always stop to roll in a muddy puddle (of which there were always many) and then jump up and shake like it was the best joke she had ever heard. I remember when a stray mama cat deserted the last kitten in a litter and I brought it home. My own cat wanted to eat it but Chelsie let it sleep between her outstretched paws and growled whenever Benjamin came close.

But most of all I remember how very lost and alone I felt living on my own for the first time (even though I was in my 30s) and how easy it was to get depressed and feel like my life was never going to get any better and how knowing I had to get up and take her outside was often the only thing that got me through the day.

And I figure being a caretaker to her in her old age is a mighty small price to pay for all she has done for me.

Friday, May 16, 2008|Categories: Life With Dogs|Tags: , |44 Comments

Friday Five – The Writing Edition

1 – Plant Kid has a name. Thank you everyone who helped yesterday. I let them all swirl around my brain and before bed I went to the link 

had shared with me and I saw a name and I thought, yes, maybe. And this morning I got up and said yes, that’s it. So Plant Kid’s name is Boone. Yes, as in Daniel. And no, I don’t know why except maybe it sounds close enough to Bloom that it works for me.

2 – I contemplated doing a Poetry Friday post today. I mean, I’m off on Fridays now and supposedly I’m a poet and one would think I’d want to do a Poetry Friday post but then I realized I was putting too much pressure on myself which made me feel guilty which made me not want to do anything about poetry. But then I thought about a book I’m reading right now and in it the author mentions the poem HOWL by Allen Ginsberg which I guess had a major impact at the time of being published as well as for some time after. So I went to look up the poem and read it and realized I had absolutely nothing to say about it except it must have scared a lot of people of the times.

3 – I am currently writing three books at once. (Which according to people who know me pretty well, explains a lot about me because I bounce around all the time from thought to thought.) VZ, which is Flyboy’s story, Max which is Max and Frankie’s story, and the book that still has no name but is Plant Kid’s story. (And it is killing me to not have a title for it but, oh well.) Ahem. Anyway, I was thinking about poetry and I was thinking about Hugging the Rock and how I didn’t start off thinking it was going to be a verse novel. I started off with it in prose and it evolved to a verse novel after a whole bunch of things including a suggestion from Janet Wong. So that got me thinking about my various other WIP that I am not actively working on at the moment. (Sidebar – one thing when I am stuck some place where I have I have to sit still but have nothing to say is to make a list of every book I can remember I ever started to write. Sometimes it is just the title because, well, I am good at titles, except when it comes to Plant Kid.) Anyway, I did this the other day and I wrote down this title that I know is perfect for this YA I want to write someday but am too afraid to write at the moment and for the first time ever I thought, hey, what if I did that one as a verse novel? The subject matter lends itself to it. The MC is so much of me that it fits. And I got that wonderful little chill that told me it was a good idea. But I am NOT writing it now. No, really I am NOT.

4 – Money motivates me to write. Not the lack of money which tends to motivate lots of people to write in order to feed their obsession with things like food to eat and gas for the car and power to run the computer. No, money in the bank. Just sitting there. The more money that sits in the savings account, the more I am motivated to write. I don’t know what that says about me except I am very weird.

5 – My favorite pens are no longer my favorite pens. Most of my writing starts in longhand, especially the poems. For more years than I can remember I have used a fat medium point Bic ballpoint pen. I used to love the freebie ones that businesses gave away. They were perfect. No pressure to write exquisite words with such ordinary and functional pens. But I am older now with an always messed up shoulder and writing by hand for any length of time is harder than it used to be. I worried for a while until one day at work I needed a new pen and I went to the office supply drawer and just grabbed one. They are always different depending on what brand the admin can get a good deal on when she orders. This time it was a kind I hadn’t seen before -Sanford Uni-Ball Signo Gel 207. I used it for a few days at work and fell in love. Off to the office supply store to buy a stash of my very own. And lo and behold, they don’t come in just black or blue but a total of 8 different colors. So now I have a new favorite pen.

This writing edition of the Friday Five may soon be followed by the home improvement edition. Or not if I am getting a lot of writing done.

Friday, May 2, 2008|Categories: Writing Life|Tags: , |7 Comments

Friday Five – in which I ponder titles

Okay, I can’t manage a poetry Friday post today but I’ll try for a Friday Five which, I’m not sure, I think means five short snippets of something that do not have to be related. (Feel free to correct me.)

1 – A title for a new book came to me but it’s not a book I want to write yet. But it is a perfect title. I also have the perfect opening line. But it is about something that really happened to me, something I am still living through, so I can’t write about it, yet, because it is about someone who would probably not appreciate it at ALL. But it’s a great title.

2 – The WIP which also has a perfect title (which, if you read my Teaser Tuesday post you already know) necessitates some research including, most likely, flying lessons.

3 – The other WIP (I can’t help it, I want to write them both right now) has a perfect character and a lot of terrific scenes are coming to (though they have yet to make it out of my head and onto the page) but alas, it still has no title. Which means, probably, it can’t be a WIP yet because I can’t write it without a title. 

4 – And the verse WIP has a bunch of very interesting dark poems and yet ANOTHER perfect title but absolutely ZERO plot to hold it together.

5 – I am good at titles. Really good. Now all I need to do is figure out how to get paid for just coming up with great titles.

Friday, October 12, 2007|Categories: Writing Process|Tags: , , |19 Comments