Tania's Words

here is an empty shell- a resonant shadow- waiting

Archive for writing

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.

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!

Potty time!

So many things to talk about. Life has been an absolute whirlwind of random stuff. First, Parker started “school”. Really, he is at a preschool/daycare. He only goes for about 6 hours a week, just on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The decision to send him kind of came to me all at once. Dan and I had already talked about sending Parker to preschool in the fall, the 3 year group. He’s a bright kid, and I think that the social interaction will be good for him, as well as some independence from Mommy, as he has been super attached. Once I realized that we wanted to send him to school, I had to think about the fact that we have a new baby coming. I was concerned that if we sent Parker after the baby comes, he’ll feel like we’ve banished him, or somehow link the two events together.

And so the search was on! Really it was the worlds shortest search, as we ended up putting him in a daycare that my two best friends had used. Once we’d picked the place, there was no reason not to go ahead with it, and so in three short days, I was dropping Parker off for his first day. I struggled with feelings of guilt, and worry. I felt guilty for sending him away, even though I knew I was doing it for all the right reasons- for him. Because I believe that it is important for kids to socialize and to become independent. Although he cried when we dropped him off, he stopped almost right away. Yes, I called to check, and was gratified and proud to hear that he was fitting right in and enjoying himself. By his second day, he didn’t want to leave when I came to pick him up.

Now that Parker is in school, Dan and I decided it was time to potty train. I know, we must be gluttons for punishment! Before we took him to school, I had asked Parker if he wanted to go, and he’d gotten very excited and said yes. So I told him that if he went to big boy school, he’d have to learn to go on the potty like a big boy. Ms. Rose (his teacher), said that it would be a good time as well, since he adjusted well to school and he is around lots of other kids who are learning to go potty as well. So starting Friday morning, potty bootcamp started.

From the get go, it was rough. I had a lot of doubts about whether or not we were doing the right thing, and the right way.  Parker got a new duck potty that sings when he makes it into the potty. The first day of boot camp he was put into big boy undies right away and we had a duck alarm sounding ever 15 minutes, and when it went off he’d have to sit on the potty. There was a lot of resistance, tears, and assorted meltdowns that first day. Sometimes being a parent is so rough, you never know if you are doing the right thing for your kid, or if you are just scarring them for life! But the second day went better, and twice he asked to go when he needed to. The big breakthrough was during dinner when he asked to go cause he had to go #2, and he did it! Any parent out there who has been through potty training knows that that is a huge success! Dan and I were so proud of him, and he got a cool prize which he loves, a dollar store fishing pole with magnetic fishies to catch. It is his favourite toy right now!

And of course, last but not least, I threw my back into spasm again last night. I am so tired of this, I cannot wait to be done with pregnancy. I’ve been in bed all day, listening to Parker and Dan downstairs feeling lonely, useless, and completely lame. I hate depending on Dan to do everything for me, I hate not being a part of Parker’s day and all of his successes with the potty, and I really hate not knowing when I am going to feel better and not have to depend on others to help me with Parker and everyday stuff.

With all this stuff going on, I’ve not been finding time to work on editing the book. We recently refinanced our house, have been shopping for new insurance, and I’ve been very busy trying to find new teams for Relay for Life, drum up sponsorship, and somehow, find time to fund raise for my own team. I am hoping that things will settle down a bit in the next week, and that before the baby comes I’ll get some solid work done on the novel. Here’s hoping right?

On a slightly more creative note, while I haven’t had a chance to write, I have been reading 100 years of Solitude, which I am really enjoying this time around. This is my second try reading it and it is going much better. My biggest issue is that the book features a huge cast of characters who all have the same name or a slightly different names. Oy. I also recently read Water for Elephants, which was AMAZING. I recommend it highly. Highly.

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?

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!

A new title and a small trip

This blog is long over due. Of course, I meant to blog. I promise, it’s not you, it’s me.

Thankfully, I am back! I am hopeful that in the coming week I’ll have more energy- lack of has been the culprit behind my blog absence.  I’ve only worked on the MS once this week as well. However, a visit with my endocrinologist yesterday led to an increase in my Synthroid dosage, as well as the promise that I should be a bit more energetic in a week or two. There is no explaining how tired I get when my thyroid levels are off.

In more exciting news, I may have found the title to my book! I know we all call it The Beach House, but that is and has always been a working title. A) I’ve hated it from the start and B) there are tons of books out there by that name already.  I am still deciding if I like the new title. An informal poll (I asked two girlfriends who have read the book), resulted in an even split. One liked it, the other didn’t get it. Still unsure, but on the right track. I can feel it!

Other happenings; Amie Borst is having another awesome contest! If you haven’t already been assaulted by my tweets, facebook updates, or general shenanigans, this is the scoop- multiple prizes, including books and Oreo cookies. But most importantly, I could win a first chapter critique and a query critique.  Heck to the ya peeps! As I’ve mentioned before, I love Amie’s blog, and recommend that you all add her to your blog rolls, follow her, general hero worship type stuff. If you haven’t listened to my advice (and really, why haven’t you? I give good advice. And I swear, those pants don’t make your ass look fat), then please do! Go on over, admire how awesome her blog is, and leave a comment (and maybe while you are there, you can mention that I sent you). Thanks!

Last in my list of news, tomorrow I am going up to the family cottage with hubby, sis-in-law, and my two adorable nieces! I am very excited. I foresee lots of sunshine, good food, and being slaughtered multiple times at phase ten.  There is no place like the cottage for a little rest, relaxation, and family game time. I am hoping to get some editing done, or at least read some more of East Of Eden, which I have been enjoying slowly for the past week or so. I’ve been so utterly exhausted, I don’t even want to read. This is rather drastic people; at least in my world.

Perhaps when I come back, I’ll even have something profound to share.  A few days at the cottage several years ago led me to write one of my favorite poems of all time. I feel very connected and in tune when I am there. It is quiet and peaceful, the air is still and filled with the sounds of the loons and trees.  Unplugged and focused on family and rest, fun and relaxation, everything has a sort of different perspective. We shall see what happens this time.