Monthly Archives: June 2007

Just Call Me Roberta Villa

I did not have to write the grant letter.

We decided the deadline was too short and, honestly, the grant we were looking at wasn’t a perfect fit for us. Which means I had the last two days off.

So if I’m on vacation, why am I so darned tired?

Remember that Colonial Cream paint I was talking about? Well, yesterday I scraped, sanded and primed the front of the house. Today the finish coat (the cream) went up and, after that dried, a new mailbox, house numbers and I installed a new light fixture.  We went from crack house chic to actually looking like a real residence. I’m psyched.

The boys have been from you-know-where today, though. The morning started out with two of them fighting over who got to go on the computer first. At 6 AM. The short answer? Neither. They both lost computer for the morning, which then later became all day because they won’t stop fighting. They seem a lot like the puppy: if you exercise them regularly, they behave better. So the husband took them to the park (along with the puppy) this morning.  It worked well for the dog; she’s been out like a light since they came back. The boys, though? Not so much. Still arguing and doing nasty things to one another just to be — well,  nasty. Gotta love having three boys.

Which brings me to why I’m blogging instead of doing anything truly constructive. I’m exhausted and fed up with these kids! Forgive me if this entry seems a little disjointed, but they tend to interrupt me every other sentence. When does school start again?

Better yet, where’s my duct tape? Just kidding.

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Filed under Life? You Mean I Have To Have A Life?, The One Where I Waffle On About The Kids

The Writing Stalls – Temporarily

Yes, I’d been on a roll writing-wise. Sunday afternoon found me out on my patio listening to the tiny otter water fountain, writing. God, I love wireless Internet and laptop computers. I finished a scene, incorporated some of what I did in the original draft, and have made what was three chapters seven. Because a LOT more is happening. I’d worried I was revealing too much too soon. Solved that problem, didn’t I?

But when the laptop battery died, I stopped working. I had ever intention to pick up where I left off later in the day, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I bummed out. I’d already shirked responsibility in the basement for the day, why not the writing stuff, too?

Monday and Tuesday found me from 8:30 to 3:00 at Cub Scout Day Camp. All I can say is thank God we didn’t go on a camp out. It’s Wednesday morning and I’m ready for the weekend. Needless to say, no writing was accomplished. However, whenever the camp leader would say, “Pick your BB gun up,” I kept twitching because he was splitting an infinitive.

Not that I ever do that. Nope. Never.

Today I’m at work in the morning, but not sure about the afternoon. For that matter, not sure about the rest of the week. I had planned to have it off (the joys of a school-year related job), but now I have a really nasty feeling that I’m going to be writing a grant letter in two days. The deadline is Sunday. We’re screwed.

Correction: I’m screwed. Being the resident writer and all.

A few years ago – I conveniently forgot how many – A friend and I made a promise to one another that in five years, we’d be making our incomes from writing. She made it.  Me? Well, you see, it’s all a technicality, isn’t it? Making my living writing fiction? No, that hasn’t happened. Writing, though? Yeah, that’s what I do. I write psychological reports and make up functional skills assessments and write grant letters. That’s what I do. So technically I’ve kept my promise.

The whole fiction thing? Well, that’s kind of like the joke about the blond who prays to win the lottery but doesn’t  buy a ticket. In order to get an agent, one must query them. My querying has been seriously slack as of late, though one just went out about a week ago. Whoo. I’m on a roll.

So if I don’t write a grant letter this week, I might get a chance to write fiction this week. Actually, perhaps my chances of writing at home are improved if I do write at work, now that I think about it. If I’m not working, then I need to paint. And who wants to yammer on about a dead flautist with Colonial Cream in her hair?

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Filed under It's A Writing Life

39 Pages, Baby! Yeah!

This blog has become less about writing and more about home renovation lately, but this morning I will steer back to my original topic: writing. Because I’m actually doing it again.

This time of year, the old 9-5 (or 8-3 in my case) gets to dragging a little, which leaves me lots of time to do nothing. Nothing, this week, has meant bringing my faithful jump drive to work with me and spending that down time working on MURDER IN F MINOR.

I’d submitted this to NAL on request from the New Jersey writing conference this fall. While it was unfinished, the editor wanted to see what I had. What I had was crap. She recognized that on sight and rejected it, with an invitation to resubmit when it was ready.

She gave me some good suggestions, and I took them to heart. Looking it over again, I was trying to make a romantic comedy a mystery, which wasn’t working too well. I tore it apart (something that just kills me), threw out about half of what I had (The pain! The agony!) and started fresh.  Up to this week, I’d gotten about three chapters in and it was a total slog.

Not sure if it was the uninterrupted time at work (well, uninterrupted by kids, definately interrupted by the few things I still need to do around here this week) or if I finally have come out of my eternal summer slump from two years ago, but over the last two days, I’ve rewritten and added new material to 39 pages. Which is a minor miracle, even by professional writer standards.

My goal next week is to get the first scene onto the website, so be sure to look for it if you’re interested in my torn-apart, still-first-draft-but-getting-more-gelled bits.

So the goal now? Between painting and flooring, etc., this might be a bit ambitious, but I’d like to finish the final draft of this sucker before Sept. 1. We’ll see.

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Filed under It's A Writing Life

Carrie Underwood and Plenty of Booze

So I’m in the shower this morning when my lovely 7-year-old Son #3 strolls into the bathroom to do his business. No, I don’t get any privacy. He’s singing something. I can hear it over the water running, but can’t make it out. Right before he hollers, “I won’t flush, Mom, so it won’t burn you!” (thanks for your consideration, kiddo) I finally make it out:

I’ll dig my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up 4-wheel drive…

Oh. My. God. My kid is singing Carrie Underwood songs.

At least they’re not showtunes.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I have to admit I like that song. The beat and the melody, not necessarily the words. Especially not if my kid starts singing them. And understanding them. So the next time I tick him off, he’s going to key my car because the song told him to do it? After all, they’ve blamed rock and roll (and acid metal) for everything from premarital sex to suicide, so why not a little afternoon’s light vandalism?

I love the line, by the way, that goes something like this:

The next time he cheats, it won’t be on me.

Can I just say, “Well, DUH!” Picture this guy, as slimy as he may be, coming out of the bar with his flavor of the day finding his car keyed and torn apart. With his girlfriend’s name carved into the seats, no less, so there’s no doubt that this is no random act of stupidity. What’s he going to do? Apologize? Heck no! He’s gonna call the cops and have this psychotic bitch put away, that’s what he’s going to do!

At 35 I get that. At 7– well, this may be a conversation I need to have with Son #3.

Singing show tunes, by the way, will be inevitable. I have Guys and Dolls in the CD player in the van right now.  The poor kid doesn’t stand a chance.

On another note, I have been very remiss in not mentioning my buddy’s new podcast Will Write for Wine.   These two ladies sit around drinking some yummy wine and talk writing. Last week they tried drinking games. In their mid-thirties. It was hilarious.

This week, they are doing an improv session, and yours truly is in charge of setting up the elements they will use to do their improv. So if you have suggestions, toddle on over there and let me know! I’ll be picking later today, so don’t delay!

And I swear, I will be updating links soon!

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Filed under Life? You Mean I Have To Have A Life?

Ah, Powertools!

Notice this has turned from a writing blog into a home improvement project blog? Well, that kinda sorta my life right now, I guess. I think I need to write a book about a woman carpenter. Then I could use all the info I get going to harware stores where guys look at me and say, “You sure you want greenboard? What’s your husband going to do with it?”

Um, he’s gonna carry it into the house so I can cut it to size and put it up. On a wall. Just like guys do. Seriously!

I am so turning into a guy, though. Pretty soon I’m going to be scratching and watching NASCAR with a beer. My big splurge this weekend was a cordless drill kit, complete with bits and a huge selection of various grinding tools. I was in heaven. Then I borrowed a grinder from a freind of ours to take out some old blots that were in the concrete floor in the basement living room. Took me like two seconds to grind down each of those little suckers. I felt like grunting like Tim Allen.

Miraculously, I’ve done all this without breaking a single nail. I’ve jinxed it now, of course, and will sumarily break every single nail on my hands. They tend to be weak and peel off, anyway, so it is somewhat “call the Pope” worthy that I was able to put a clear coat of polish on them tonight and they look very maincured. I’m not naive enough to think that nail color will actually last through putting up drywall, though, and kept the color to the toes.

So in one night I’ve ground down metal spikes and filed my nails. Am I a modern woman or what?

Maybe THIS could get published. Nope. Probably not.

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Filed under It's A Writing Life

Progress Measured in Inches, Not Feet

Slow going all around for me this week, it seems. Frustrated at work because we have a project that needs completed by the end of the month, yet we need to wait for info from other sources. So we wait. I want to get it done. Now.
Basement is slow going, although this weekend saw the stairwell painted and the bathroom ready for sheet rock. Still have sanding, mudding, taping, painting, floors, yada yada. I want to get it done. Now.

The garden would be okay, if it were not for the puppy being a digger. I planted peas and cucumbers about a week ago. Then Lizzie dug a hole in that bed deep enough to bury her in. And I was sorely tempted. So yesterday I went and covered it up, added more soil and replanted. Then I added garden stakes with jute rope going about 4 feet up. There was no way in or out of that bed.

This morning I went out to find a hole in exactly the same place as it was before. The fence was undisturbed. Apparently my dog can teleport.

Writing is the same. A slog day in and day out right now. Not like I have much time to write, but my head is always buzzing with my characters. If my life had gone according to plan, I would have been attending a conference in Green Bay this past weekend. Instead, I was prying rusty nails out of the studs around the shower in the basement. Writing life is not going well.

As you can tell, I’m a little bummed lately. So much work and I never seem to make any headway. But I have to remind myself – I try, anyway – that I am making progress. Slow, yes, but progress nonetheless. And even the dog will be trained one day. It’s hard to see it now, but I think she’s a better behaved puppy than our dear sweet Lucy. She was 5 before she grew a brain, and was hell on earth to potty train. Lizzie’s just about got it. Not enough to get new carpet yet, but she’s getting there.

Oh, and I want my new carpet now, too.

As Brian May once wrote, I want it all. And I want it now. (Note: If you’re not a Queen fan, Brian May is their lead guitarist. And he has a PhD in astronomy, too. And do sample this song on iTunes. To quote my son, it rocks.)

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Filed under Life? You Mean I Have To Have A Life?