Tania's Words

here is an empty shell- a resonant shadow- waiting

Archive for Blogging

I can’t juggle, much less metaphorical pens

I am capable of tripping even when I’m not moving. I once managed to upend a class of spiked cider (I wasn’t even drinking it, so I can’t use that alcohol as excuse), on my neighbors dog without actually moving a muscle. I’m clumsy, and that translates to a lot of my life.

I’m not lazy by any means. But I tend to want to do All The Things, and then Things get dropped. I might be blessed with a unique mind that zips around in an unusual manner, but it challenges me as well (sigh, and you as well, if you know me, but I’m pretty loveable so we’ll call it all okay).

I’m not being self- deprecating here, I don’t think. I am who I am, and like most people the sum of my parts can result in amazing things. A few missteps are small price to pay for the cool shit I get to give the world too.

Recently, I’ve been presented with lots of fun opportunities to write in various capacities. I’ve wanted to be a writer my whole life. At some point in my life I did discover that there is no secret “you’re really a writer now” club, complete with a membership card that would usher me in and make me the real deal. After a brief moment of mourning, in which my broken 13 year old heart wrote an appropriately funeral themed poem mourning the loss of a dream, I rallied. Calling myself a writer would require a level of confidence, chutzpah and maybe flat out fibbing, but it’s the only thing I’ve known deep inside that I’m meant to be. Yes, it’s taken a few years to get myself to a place where I can think “I’m a writer” and only feel like I’m 25% fraud. Progress!

Regardless of what they do or don’t call themselves, writers write. Hence: writing opportunities presented to me = writing opportunities I feel I must take.

Well right now I have a lot of things I’ve tossed up in the air — those pens — and am dashing around a bit when I can between trying to raise a 6yo, a 3-teen, and go to school (while navigating this back injury). Not only am I concerned I might injure myself or you with this clumsy metaphor, but that I’m due to drop a pen or two in the process.

But my brain was in no way designed to go slowly. I’ve tried slowing it down, it’s awful, and it’s not me. So, there’s this. There’s the contributions to the Detroit Moms Blog I am working on, and pulling together creative endeavors for submission as well.

I have been making some great blogging friends recently, so if you’re feeling bloggy, check out the blog roll I have going. My twitter is still kind of dead because I can’t remember that password, but maybe I’ll add another thing to this stack of things to manage. I am just sitting here anxiously refreshing my email to see if I got accepted to grad school.

I….’ve lost my train of thought. It was cool, I had a plan that was going to tie this blog post up neatly. I guess all I’ve done is prove that I can’t juggle. But I still made progress. I’d rather congratulate myself on that than allow myself to feel bad about my own limitations.

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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!

Reflecting, reliving, relearning.

Well it is a new year again, and here I am again, wondering what the heck happened. You may or may not know (or care) but I have never been a particular fan of New Years, or of resolutions. In fact, New Years Eve found me in bed by 9:45, wishing I’d gone to bed an hour earlier.

Ok, so that was probably 78% baby and 22% Tania, but still. I have never really cared for the whole, new start, ball dropping, counting down fiasco that is New Years Eve. I do enjoy a nice get together, when I have a baby sitter and am not pregnant. Next year…yeah!

Since I am not a fan, it would follow that I have no resolutions, and I don’t.

I’d like to resolve to blog more, but with a baby coming in April, this doesn’t seem realistic.  No new baby this year and I didn’t even do that.

I’d like to resolve to lose weight, but again, that won’t be a possibility until April. And even then, I know I’ll do it. I always do. I may not have lost all 70 Parker pounds, but I lost a good 65 of them…it just took two years 😉

I’d like to be more organized, more scheduled, to conquer the constant struggle that is getting my toddler to eat…but those are daily desires; they don’t change just because one day marks the end of an arbitrary time period and another starts.

And, I’ll be honest, I could go on and on. But I am so hungry, it is hard to concentrate. So I’ll move on. Both to a snack and a new topic.

I once read that Stephanie Meyers got the idea for her Twilight novels from a dream- she dreamt (is that even a word?) of the meadow scene from the first book (I believe). I was a bit irked when I read this, as I’d already had my own amazing vampire dream years before- honest, it was an incredible dream, the kind that stays with you for days and really resonates with you. Unfortunately for me, Stephanie Meyers proved to be more motivated than I. This is why I am freaking out about a $500 plumbing bill and she is probably counting her cashes and laughing.

Good news, kids! I had another dream. And no it was not about vampires. I doubt I would have what it takes to write a good vampire story anyway, and who would want to? Everyone and their mother are jumping on that one already. I’ll stick to what I know…nice middle of the road women’s fiction. Thrill a minute people.

Sorry, self deprecating moment has passed…I think….ok.

Anyway, I had the most amazing dream…in fact my sister woke me from it (Thanks Pilar). I can’t begin to describe it- I think I need to write it first on my own privately, so that I can remember it more clearly.  The really great news is that I believe this is my NaNo story for this year. It’s only January, so I might be jumping the gun, but I’m pretty psyched. I’m not the kind of person who is flooded with novel ideas…I generally only get about one a year, and use NaNo as an excuse to make it happen. Mostly cause I love a deadline, and my husband respects the one month time limit and is very supportive during that time (Well he is anyway, but during NaNo he helps me out with the house and the baby quite a bit so I can get it done).

My only tiny, insignificant little caveat here is the story of what happened to me during NaNo this year. I’d come up with my story in July, and for the entire month I was obsessed with it. I ate, breathed, dreamed that story. But I refused to write it, saving it for November. Of course, by the time November finally rolled around, the fervor had passed. I got it done, but I don’t know that the story is as good or the same as it would have been, had I written it when I was really in it. I don’t want a repeat of that this year, but at the same time, I have to trust that I can do this, and that I need more than the frenzy of sudden inspiration to create. I have a kid, and another on the way. I have a house to care for and my niece (for now) to watch.  I’m not always going to have the luxury of time whenever I want to write.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I need to trust my skill as a writer and know that I can craft a good story, even in the moments when I don’t feel absolutely struck by inspiration. If I can’t, then there isn’t really a point is there? Because editing is so much slower, more precise, and so much less about the initial lighting strike moment in which the story comes out. And this is the skill I am trying to hone and to strengthen; I am great at banging it out during NaNo, not so great at working on it consistently. And all that mumbo jumbo about trusting my skill as a writer…that’s all talk. But I am working on it. Right now I am at the stage where I am still to embarrassed to tell people that I consider myself a writer, or to tell people what my books are about. Not a great way to sell yourself. If I should ever get to the query stage (which I hope to, but that means I have to get back on the editing wagon), I’ll probably want to do it will a little more confidence than….well it’s a story about a girl…it’s dumb really, you won’t like it…

So, at the end of the day, what I’d really like to see from the New Year is this. A little more confidence, a new book in november, and the will to keep editing. And I need to find a crit group. Anyone know how I can do that?

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?

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.

Coming to grips with BoringLifeItis

Would this be an epic blog fail, or just a minor blog fail? I think I suffer from boringlifeitis. Which isn’t meant to imply that my life is actually boring. More, it is meant to imply that whenever I contemplate blogging again, I talk myself out of it, thinking I have nothing of interest to say.

Regardless, I think it is important to write, and write often.  I’ve been blogging for years (if you haven’t been, here is my old blog), and most of it has happened when absolutely nothing of vital interest was going on in my life.  And to be honest, I love my old blogs- I find them funny and insightful. Or, at least, an interesting chronicle of where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and how I felt about things at various times in my life.

That sounded kind of self centered.  Oh well, I’ll go with it.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.