Tania's Words

here is an empty shell- a resonant shadow- waiting

Archive for Blogging


I make promises all the time.

I’ll read the 10 books on my year of reading resolution list.

I’ll write poetry everyday, or at least spend 10 minutes a day writing.

I’ll buy chapbooks for poets I’ve never heard of.

I’ll parent without frustration.

My kids won’t watch too much tv.

I promise I’ll clean according to this schedule I’ve made.



Make something of this life I know in my heart was meant to include words. This gift I first felt as a little girl, a hot little burning of promise and potential and the need, need, need to let it expand and find it’s way onto paper and into words and the world.

It’s so easy as a parent and adult to let go of little promises we’ve made. I’ll do it tomorrow, right?

Future is so fragile, but somehow, another promise we count on stubbornly and foolishly.

So it’s not much, but this is a single blog that’s my dedication to the promises I’ve made, pulled out and thrown here, without as much thought or ceremony as I’d maybe like.

Stylish Blogger Award and Seven Random Things About Me!

Hey, I’ve been nominated for a blogging award! I feel so pretty (ignore that spit up stain on my shoulder and unwashed hair). My wonderful writer friend (whose book I promised to read and still haven’t…sorry I swear I will! I got distracted by being super pregnant and then having a baby) has nominated me. The only conditions that follow are that I must share seven random facts about myself with you, and then nominate five others for blog awards. Sweet. Ahhhh the sweet smell of success. Or that might actually be the smell of that oatmeal raisin cookie I just ate. Whatevs man, life is good.

Ok, seven facts

1) I have a completely irrational fear of boats, from row boats to cruise ships. I am a swimmer and am not afraid of the ocean. I grew up in a boating family. It’s gotten to the point that Dan can’t even get me into a paddle boat at the cottage.

2) I have another completely irrational fear of water slides. It just seems too likely that you will either a) loose a finger, toe, or bathing suit in one of the seams between tubes or b) go flying over the top and splatter to your death on the concrete below.

3) The disney cruise ship commercial that has a water slide that goes over the ocean makes me want to vomit. See above. It is like someone reached into my brain for a way to scare the pee out of me then decided to advertise it as good old fashioned family fun.

4)I love the Little House on the Prairie books so much, they fell apart from reading too much and I had to borrow them from Maura because I went into withdrawal.

5) My best friend used to baby sit my OBGYN’s kids when she was a teenager. We discovered this random fact when I was pregnant with Parker and she saw a letter from his practice on my board. It’s just creepy to hear stories about your OB on the beach with his kids. I prefer not to think of the “Lady Doctor” as a regular guy who wears a bathing suit.

6)I never had allergies until I had kids.  I blame Dan. I don’t know why.

7) I do not want to own a dog and have never been a dog person, but I am obsessed with the tv show The Dog Whisperer. I want to be calm and assertive. Instead I am petrified of boats for no reason. It is sad.

So there are my random facts. I would have come up with better ones, but I haven’t gotten much sleep recently. I know I know, you are thinking  “Geesh how long can she use the whole I just had a baby excuse?” Well I am here to tell you, until the baby sleeps for more than 3 hours at a time, that’s how long. In your face.

Yes. I’ve lost my mind.

Alrighty, it is time to nominate some stylish bloggers. Now, most of my blog roll friends are actual friends, so I ask that no one’s feelings get hurt. I can only nominate five of you. These are the five blogs I check all the time, whose entries I look forward to and anticipate most.

1) Titus 2 Work In Progress

2)Elegant Truths

3)Laundry Letters

4)Gen Stops Waiting

5) And Then There Were Two

So to those of you nominated, to accept your blog award you must right-click on that picture up there and click Save As. Then create your own blog post sharing seven random facts about yourself and listing your own blog award nominees. That’s it!

Thanks for stopping by!

I fall off the wagon, I get on…

Oh the circle of life. How it turns.

Ok so that makes no sense, but hey, Parker and I watched the Lion King (again) this morning, so I have it on the brain. Now we are watching Finding Nemo. Poor guy inherited my immune system. Which is to say he got nothing good. Thank goodness he got the de Sostoa hair, or I’d be feeling pretty guilt, especially as he’s coughing up a little lung right now.

So, I am back. Morning sickness is over, NaNo has been defeated yet again. I made it in the nick of time- I was only 4,000 words short at about November 21st, and then for some reason I stopped writing and just…stopped. It might have had something to do with the death cold I’d contracted, but details, shetails. Finally, November 29th, I camped on Maura’s couch, cementing my bony butt into her cushions,  and declared I would not leave until I was done. Unfortunately, her family expired before I got to the goal, and at 9pm, I left, with only 500 words to go. Motivation being my middle name by this point, I settled on my own couch and made it work (A la Tim Gunn, of course).

I won’t pretend this book is anything as good as I’d hoped, or even really somewhat like my vision going in, but that is what NaNo does to you. It makes a mockery of all your carefully laid plans, spits on your hopes and dreams; and just at the moment when you are curled in the fetal position, quivering and crying for your mother, shows you the light. Did that make any sense?

Ok, it is obvious NaNo has sucked the life and intelligence out of me at this point. I am mostly here to update you all, get back into the swing of blogging, and talk about the future.

I’d intended to keep track of all the books I read this year…which I did for about half the year. I have no idea when I stopped really, so I can’t even guess what I am missing. Which is a good thing, actually, since I haven’t read a single thing of substance in months. I don’t know why, but I guess I just decided to read easy stuff and skate along for a while. I never read Dangerous Liasons, and now I really would like to get that done, if only that, by the end of the year.

I’d like to set a timetable for editing and querying for the first book, and get back to reading SRP books with Maura. I think those will be on my mind for next year. I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, as a rule, but I would like to start the year with a plan. Of course, several things will be getting in the way of that plan….Relay for Life, having a baby. You know, the usual.  For now, other than reading Dangerous Liasons, my number one task is to pick a name for little baby boy. Any suggestions?

Tale of a disappearing blogger

Yes, I am once again guilty of disappearing. I realize this is a weakness of mine- I am terrible at making a routine committment to my blog. If I swore I have a good excuse, would you forgive me just this once? Cause, I promise, this time I really do have a good reason.

Morning sickness.

That’s right, morning sickness. Lucky for me, I’ve never been the throwing up type of girl. Usually, this is awesome.  Not so much this time. I cannot swear that this is accurate, but from what I hear from other friend, when suffering from morning sickness, once you throw up, you feel better. Until the next round of course. Not so much for me. Since I never throw up, there was a good two month period where I just never felt better. Unless I was lying down with my eyes closed, a little jar of pickled ginger close at hand.

I’ll acknowledge that I am a total pansy.  There is something about constant nausea and dry heaving that completely interrupts my life, ability to think clearly, be productive, and get anything done. Rest assured, this blog is not the only think in my life that fell by the wayside. Laundry, clean kitchen, dusted rooms and shelves, all a thing of the past.

As I am officially past week 12, I felt safer in finally letting the cat out of the bag.  I am slowly trying to get control of my life again, starting today with the huge mountain of laundry which has been multiplying in my basement. I haven’t edited a word of the novel in over two months, and NaNo is just two weeks away. My best friend Jenney is arriving in less than a week for a nice visit, so things are bound to get hectic, and I’d like to be on top of the ball, rather than smushed under it.  If step one was starting the wash machine, step two is this blog post.

We shall see what the coming months bring, to this blog and my life. I still have my niece and my son to take care of during the days- he’s just two and she’s only 1.5. They bring me so much joy, but many a challenge as well! Getting ready for the next little one, keeping true to my commitments as Relay for Life Vice Chair, and making sure my family is happy and healthy, all the while continuing my journey as a writer…this is gonna be fun!

Blogging and Social History

I’ve been steadily plugging away at the novel. I set a goal for myself of 5 pages per day. I might or might not get a Fail for that goal this week. Sunday I only got 3 pages done. I told myself to buck up, I’d just do seven on Monday. Or not. I think I got about 5 done yesterday.

Yes this blog will be a thrill a minute. Grab onto your seat reader.

Ok, so I didn’t really come here to blog about the snail pace at which I edit. My tweets, if they haven’t sent you into a coma of absolute boredom,  have been telling you this all week. I came for two reasons. First, to issue an apology, and second to share a really wonderful book I am reading with you.

Alright, let us start…with the apology. The other day, I read a great blog by Jodi Hedlund about maintaining a professional blog. After reading through this, and a few of her other blogs, I really got to thinking about my blog. What I am doing here, why I am doing it, what I hope to accomplish. In part, I blog because I always have. I journaled as a kid. When I went to college, I started LiveJournaling. After I left LiveJournal in 07, I maintained a daily blog on a website for people who were trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss.  Now the last was less a blog and more of a daily journal- not the most riveting, but at least it kept me writing.  I found, after a while, that I missed my Live Journal, but didn’t have the desire to resurrect it.  It felt more like a relic, an accounting of a different life, a different girl, in different times.  Since my Live Journal days, I’ve had a child. My father passed, and I started writing books. Big changes. I wanted a new direction.

Blogging  intended for just friends and family, a daily laundry list of activities and complaints,  joys and small triumphs,  is fine. I did it for years. That isn’t what I want here. I want something more polished. I want to have something to say,  a point to the story.  Now, I won’t claim that I always achieve this. Often, I don’t blog because I am afraid I have nothing of interest to say, nowhere to go, just useless words.  Long absences in blogging on my part have become nothing more than a symptom of self doubt and some honest lazyness. It is hard to start it back up when I’ve been gone for so long.

I do think though, that I have worried too much, and taken it too far. One thing I loved about my LiveJournal is that it was always me. Funny, quirky, angry; it was very true to who I am. Many times I find myself editing these tangents and moment of personality out of this blog because I am aiming for something more “professional”.  I’ve always envied Emily’s blogs, as they are always so well written, precise, and intelligent. But I am not Emily. I don’t write like her, and we have completely different styles. So why do I hold myself to this standard, and neuter my own voice?

Now, please don’t think that I said “professional” to disparage Ms. Hedlund’s blog. I didn’t. I really appreciated what she had to say. And with her words in mind, I went through all my old blogs here, and edited. Most horrifying were the spelling errors. Let’s not lie. I am the worst speller, ever. Honestly. Watch my tweets- about 25% of the time, I’ll spell writing, writting. I know that this is not right, but I do it anyway. I don’t spell check as thoroughly as I should. And even when I do, I miss things. Embarrassing? You bet. Fixable? Absolutely.

So, the apology. For subjecting you to poor spelling and grammar, I apologize.  And as for the rest? Well, let’s just say I will try to be myself a little more, and worry about everything else a little less.

Now, for the amazing book I am reading! Dan’s grandmother lent me a book, A Woman in Berlin. It is the anonymous memoir of a journalist living in Berlin as the city falls to the Russian Army.  Before you go out and buy it, a warning. This book is very hard to read. Her description of the war, conditions they were living with, the fear and confusion and lack of information – all of this is disturbing. Her portrayal of what it is like to be one of many women who is the victim of mass rape- haunting.  But throughout, her voice is constant. You read her, her personality and self, in every word and line of this book.  This book moved me in so many ways.  Her strength and will serve as a vivid and honest reminder that people can rise to the most difficult of challenges and overcome them.

As a piece of social history, this book is also an excellent reminder and lesson.  Most of us, thankfully, never have and never will have to live through war. Have to experience the uncertainty that comes from living in a city with no government to run it. No water, no electricity. Ration cards that are no longer good, no radio or newspaper to tell the news. We won’t have to sit in a basement each night as our home are bombed.  War is a concept that inspires fear, sympathy, patriotism. Yet, unless we are serving in the war, we don’t know. I personally think that it is important, to be reminded and taught, about what war is really like when you are living through it.

I have a vivid memory of reading Mrs. Dalloway and feeling the horror and fear that the war inspired in Woolf’s words.  Read the words of authors who lived during WWI and you’ll see how the war completely changed the way they viewed the world and themselves.  WWI is a history lesson to us, a distant memory, overshadowed by the atrocities committed during WWII.  But for those who lived through it, it was unspeakably life altering. The way that people understood the world and how they fit into it was destroyed, and there aren’t words enough to describe how frightening or disturbing that can be.  Do you remember how you felt the morning of 9/11? I do. I felt unreal, unsure of anything. I had never imagined anything so horrible happening so close to home. I remember walking to class (I was at Michigan State in ’01), feeling like a veil had been lifted abruptly from my eyes. As though suddenly I was seeing the world for the first time. A world that wasn’t nearly as secure or safe as I had thought.  A Woman in Berlin reminded me of this.  Then again, I am one of those people who think that if we don’t learn from the past, we are bound to repeat the same mistakes.  This is why I think social history is important. Because war maps and ledgers have historical value, but as a people, we can only really relate to other people through their stories, their fears, their hopes.

I guess this is one reason I love blogging, and reading  blogs. I have always liked to know other people’s stories. What they were thinking and what they went through. While it may be presumptuous to call this little blog a piece of social  history, the truth is that we all are a part of that fabric. Which threads will fade? Only time will tell. All I know is that if mine doesn’t, I’d rather it be clean and not full of spelling errors. And that it might make someone laugh.

Wanna help?

I have recently discovered the amazing online writing community  through  my new BFF, twitter. I am now able to internet stalk agents, editors, writers, and writers in training without fear of restraining orders or neck injuries sustained hefting extra duty binoculars. God I love the internet.

Although I have no hope of winning, I did just join this contest. The winner gets a free query critique (I want, I want!), chocolate and a book! Wooot….

Want to help me? Go to this blog, by Annie Borst, and become a follower (be sure to comment and let her know I sent you!). Thanks, you are awesome reader (yeah, that was a joke! Ha ha!). Even if you don’t feel like helping me out (sheesh), still go check out her blog, not only is it pretty, it is practically covered in chocolate and a lot of fun to read!

Alas, I am off. I must edit at least five pages, which kind of makes me want to die. But October 1st looms large, and lets face it, I’m obviously in a sassy mood right now. Sassy + blogging has led to injury in the past. We’ll just leave it at that.

uhhhhh, Sookie….

It’s pretty sad that only incredible boredom is getting me back to my blog.  But hey, whatever works, right?  If blogging was a muscle, mine would be a puny little atrophied mess. Yeah. What can I say, I’ve been busy.

First, Maura got me reading these terrible books. Ever heard of that True Blood TV show? Well, they are based on these books by Charlaine Harris- the Sookie Stackhouse novels. Well, I for one am on the bandwagon. I almost didn’t make it through the first book- the style it is written in is not my cup of tea. But for some reason I persisted, despite really disliking the first two.  By the time I was on the third, I could not stop. I can’t tell if the writing gets better, or if the story is just so good it sucks you in.  These books are like crack. Once you start, just just cannot stop.

Well I assume. I don’t do and never have done drugs. But I watch a lot of Intervention. And the Sookie Stackhouse books are my current brand of crack. That might just be my personality though. I tend to get obsessively into things. I go through phases. Most recently, the Bones phase that almost ended my marriage. Just kidding. Although I am pretty sure that if I watched one more episode of Bones, Dan was going to take away my rights to Netflix (consequently, how awesome is Netflix streaming through the X Box? So totally awesome).

Alas, there were only so many episodes of Bones to watch. Once I had exhausted those, I had to find something else to latch onto.  Or devour like a swarm of locusts. And thanks to Maura, that turned out to be the Sookie Stackhouse books. Which I’ve read and re-read. Now I am getting the DVD’s of the tv show sent to my house (once again, can we talk about how awesome Netflix is?).

All that, and Relay for Life was last weekend. It was awesome. I mean, really incredible. I really rather wish I had been feeling 100% for the whole event, seeing as I’ve been a part of the planning of the event since last September. Either way, though, it was an amazing success. Hopefully, someday I will feel up to a long, drawn out blog about it. I won’t make any promises.

So as you can see, I’ve been busy, like I said.  Hopefully now that Relay is over for a few months, I’ll have a little time for things like house cleaning, and blogging.

Well I am off to watch some more Lost, Season 3. And maybe find a snack to eat.

Crock pot dinner gets 2010 off to a great start.

Well, lets face it…I was a bit of a blogging failure in 2009. In fact, I’ve been a bit of a blogging failure ever since Bloggate 2007 ( I’ll explain that one later). Anyway, moving on. If Step One is admitting I have a problem, Step Two must be assigning blame.  Now, now, don’t you start with your pious, “There is no one to blame but yourself” speeches…  I must blame someone, if only because the blame game is so much fun, and I don’t really feel like taking the blame myself.

Actually, since it is a new year and all (although generally I don’t do the whole new year/resolution/starting over type crap, believing instead that each day is a new opportunity to try again, and commit to being a better person, whatever that may mean to you),  I feel the urge to recommit myself. To creative pursuits, to blogging, finishing at least one novel, and of course, being a better person. Mostly this is due to the amazing inspiration of my love, Jenney, whose blog has me in stitches quite often, and who is generally a totally awesome woman.

I defense of, well…myself, I must say that 2009 wasn’t a complete letdown in the writing and creativity fronts. I did finish the second edit of my first novel, and began working on the third. I took a giant leap of faith, and began emailing chapters of said novel to friends for advice, critique, and tomato throwing. I also managed, somehow, to complete another 50k NaNo novel this year, in a record 10 days (a success which I owe completely to Maura for egging me on in our strange little competition, and Dan, for letting me hole myself up in the study for hours at a time while he played with Parker).

Anyway, on to 2010. The start of a new decade. I think that some goals are in order. I love lists. Lets face it, who doesn’t? The satisfaction of crossing something off of a to do list is pretty awesome. I’ve been guilty in the past of adding things I’ve already done to a to do list, just for the satisfaction of crossing it off again and feeling accomplished. Yes, I am that lame.

Ok, so lofty goals for the year

– Finish editing novel #1. Also, re title it. Hate the title. Begin shopping for an editor.

-Write at least one poem. (I wouldn’t want to overdo)

-Read every book chosen for The Book Club

-lose the rest of this darn baby weight

– Raise $10,000 in sponsorship for Relay For Life, and for my team, Frankie’s Kids, hit our fundraising goal of $1500!

-Begin working on baby #2

-Keep up with my blog

-NaNo 2010…though maybe not in 10 days….

– Read every Jane Austen book (ok, so this is a cheat, since I started this in 2009 and am halfway through the books, but again, I like to know I can cross at least one thing off of a to do list.)

Make dinner today

All right…I know that I will think of more, but for now, that ought to do. I have a plate full of things I must get working on. At the moment, I am not working on any…well except for the Jane Austen part. I am in the middle of Mansfield Park. Although it is slow going; I’ll admit, it’s no Pride and Prejudice. But it has it’s own charms, and I am enjoying it. Maura and I both want to be through with the Austen’s by the end of January (I think), which means that in a few weeks I may be crossing at least one thing off of my list. Wonderful.

Plus, in recent and stupendous news, I already  made dinner- that is I threw lots of canned goods and some frozen chicken into the crock pot. Yay, I get to cross something off of my list! The year is off to a roaring start!

Does feeling it make it so?

I think it must be in the air. I’ve been reading others blogs and there seems to be a general feeling of suppressed creativity.  I think most writers (and I speak for writers because that is the only art I really know. I would say all artists, but I can’t be sure), feel this way at one time or another. As if something is rising up through them, but they don’t know what it is just yet. I can feel this today, inside. I have a story to tell, words to place. They are unfamiliar yet. I don’t know their shape or meaning.

There are times when I love feeling this way. It is a feeling that reminds me that I still have it. I still have the drive and desire to write. That there is still something tangible that I want to grab a hold of. I don’t know if all writers feel this, but I worry that one day, it will be gone. That I will wake up numb and not even realize. Not even miss it. Does that make sense?

Conversely, I dislike this feeling because it feels stuck. Static. I feel like I want to be writing something meaningful and true, but I don’t know what it is yet. And sometimes, nothing happens. I end up crocheting like a madwoman or reading some Sharon Olds and just forgetting about it because nothing comes.

I feel like I know what I want to write-  a story idea that came to me in the midst of a 4 am feeding. It might be absolute lunacy, considering my state of mind at the time. However, I’ve learned that I can do it. I realize that sounds completely hokey. But it is true. Completing my NaNo novel in ’07 taught me that I absolutely can write a book. Before I did NaNo, I was always afraid that I didn’t have enough story in me. That I wasn’t creative enough to write a whole book. Especially after years of poetry writing, during which I learned agonize over each word., when I struggled to learn the art of speaking in four words what should take 50.  Unlearning and allowing myself to use as many as possible (50,000 ideally), was a struggle, but I did do it.

Ok, so maybe my NaNo novel is no masterpiece.  In my defense, it was written on a whim, in 30 days.  And maybe I’ll never complete it, and there is a great chance that no one will ever be allowed to read it, but that is ok. Because I can look at it and know that I have it in me.I feel that I must add though, that all this talk about being a writer is making me a bit self conscious. As if others will read it and think, ” How presumptuous for her to call herself a writer.”  I’m not published, not many have read what I have to offer, and I may not even be great, good or mediocre. Does feeling something inside make it so? All of my life I have known that this is what I love more than anything. That I have the desire to write. Does this make me a writer, or is that insanity and arrogance?

Now if only I had some spare cash and a room of my own. Instead, I think I’ll go make a bottle and plot my strategy for writing during afternoon nap time.

On Blogging

It has been a while now that I have contemplated whether or not to restart the old ball and chain I so fondly called my blog. A part of me has long thunk, eh, why bother? My blog rarely served as anything more than public therapy at best, and/or a detailed recounting of the daily minutiae I like to call life, at worst. Not the stuff of greatness.I really made few new connections as a result, and I doubt that anyone who read it really got much from it (other than a chuckle or two at my expense). A good friend of mine recently wrote a three part series surrounding her desire to get back to a more creative life.  Her words really had an impact on my whole  start-the-blog-up thought process. The more I digested what Emily had offered, the more I realized how much more or less I could do with my blog.  I could keep blogging the way I had for years- recounting my day, the things that aggravated me that day (and there are many), the small victories.  I’m not sure there is necessarily anything wrong with that, and to be honest, with a new baby at home and a thriving marriage I want to keep tending too, I must ask myself if I really have time for much more. Some days, I am so tired from the non stop cycle of 4 am feedings and constant baby-talk that I have little to no brain power left.  And I can’t speak for anyone else, but at least I have always enjoyed my blog.  Is that enough though?

I guess it all has to do with intent. And desire. Do I want to be just another of the millions of random bloggers out there who think that their word counts for something? Does it count for something just by being? Or does it count when I make it count, when I come to the table with something to offer?

Big questions, I know. Well maybe not for you. Depends on who you are. If you are anything like me- insecure, doubt ridden, and paralyzed by a fear of failure that keeps you from ever reaching as high as that highest bar (just in case you might come short of actually reaching it), then you probably understand what I mean when I say, I just don’t know. I don’t know if I have something to offer that anyone else will want to read. I don’t know if I can inspire, educate, interest others.  But I do know that the last four years have been marked by such an intense fear of failure, that I have just stopped reaching.

The truth is, this blog could very well be just a reinvention of the old.  But for the first time in years, I’d like to try. I’d like to take a chance at failure- how else could I be giving myself a chance at greatness.

Now, now, calm down. I realize that a simple blog is hardly the realistic forum for greatness.  But I am not.  Hopefully taking one step will lead to another and then more. Hopefully this is the first step in realizing so many goals I have talked myself out of- finishing that first book, writing more poetry again, going back to school, becoming more active in my community- so many things.

It is interesting how the details of our life are so interconnected. The first blog I ever had was inspired not only by self-doubt and insecurity, but by a few girls who, in the time since, I have greatly come to admire and respect. So thanks Emily, Roz and Lorraine. It seems as though somethings remain the same.