Repeats

2015 has been a year of edits. Multiple rounds of edits on my first novel, Fortitude, carried me through winter and spring. In between those, I reworked my second novel, Corroded, to be submission ready for my publisher. (I signed the contract for it in April.) Over the summer, I worked on my messy work-in-progress, as well as line edits on Fortitude.

And Fortitude is finally done! The manuscript is with the designer and cover artist. WooHoo!

Teen me.

Teen me.

Now I’m back to edits on Corroded. I’m spending my early morning hours going through life with Mary and Ben, revisiting the angst and thrill of high school. Would I go back in time if I could?

No!

But I’ll take the safe distance of fiction to reassess those emotions, whether through my own storytelling or the art of others. After all, I think we are all still “coming-of-age.” Even if you are happy where you are in life, there is always something you can do to stretch yourself to the next level.

If you could redo a section of your life, would you?

Scents of Wonder

I’ve been thinking about smells lately. Not necessarily bad odors (though with three kids in the house, there are plenty of those), just the power of memory in regards to one of the main senses.

Childhood, in a jar.

Childhood, in a jar.

To me, a fresh box of Crayola crayons or a container of Play-Doh is childhood.

Camel cigarettes smell like corruption.

The scent of brush fire is fear.

And this…

The battlefield of clear skin.

The battlefield of clear skin.

…is high school.
Open a bottle of Sea Breeze and all the insecurities of my teen years rush back to me. Or did they ever leave?

What smells trigger your memories, for good or ill?

Read Aloud

100_7028It’s World Read Aloud Day and we’re celebrating here by taking extra time to read from our bedtime tome, The Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. We’re currently in The Silver Chair, the next to the last book in the series. The kids have enjoyed the stories as much as I do—and as much (or more than) the movies—which is awesome. 100_7029

I remember the best part of school was listening to my fourth grade teacher read Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary to the class every day after lunch. That was where my fascination with Newbery award winning books began—listening to Ms. Sawyer’s raspy voice read those letters from Leigh to his favorite author.

Which books do you recall from your childhood, or do you currently share with loved ones, in the read aloud tradition?

Turbo Charged

Good movies are fun to watch. They can be inspiring, emotional, or even just entertaining. I tend to love movies that are all of the above—laughter, tears, and cheering on the characters are what make watching movies (and reading) enjoyable.

One movie I adore is Turbo.

Yes, the movie about a racing snail.

Turbo

What makes it work? Nostalgic (to me) So Cal flavor, the underlining theme of never giving up (ridicule, injuries, and mishaps can’t stop him), voice talents of Paul Giamatti and Samuel L. Jackson, plus the whacked-out soundtrack (it almost makes my iPod on Shuffle look tame). Almost.

Haven’t watched it? Then you’re missing lines like:

• Yeah, I’m crazy! What made you think I was sane?

• No dream is too big, and no dreamer is too small.

• What happens if you wake up tomorrow and your powers are gone?

Then I better make the most of today.

Now it’s time for me to “snail up!” and get back to edits.

What’s your favorite movie line?

Signs

I’m not superstitious, but… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gU5Vg2JokU
Had to add that song because I can’t say “superstitious” without it playing in my head. And, yes, Europe is still around and sounding better than ever.

This morning I approached my desk to write the beginning of my new story. Yes, pre-writing is complete and it’s time to get to work! I pulled the blinds open and saw not one, but FIVE pairs of indigo buntings around the bird feeder area (which is just a few feet away from Fernando, if you were wondering.) Indigo buntings are beautiful—my simple camera, especially pictures taken through a window screen—can’t do them justice. Since they are BLUE, and the younger a gorgeous turquoise, you can easily spot them.

100_5392

100_5397

100_5399

I’ve only seen indigos once or twice in my yard, and it’s been several years since my last sighting. I thought it was amazingly cool, but didn’t put the birds together with writing until I noticed something on the floor. Right next to my anti-fatigue mat (you got it—I use a standing desk because it worked for Hawthorne and I like to pace) a picture was lying face-down. One of my favorite pictures, that just so happens to be me with local writing friend, Joyce Scarbrough, and my writing hero, Laurie Halse Anderson. At some point during the night it jumped off the top of my bulletin board and landed in my path.

100_5405

Then it all made sense to this creative brain of mine: my story is about to take flight and I’ve got good company on the journey. Or something like that.

While I’m not superstitious, I do believe in signs.

What do you believe in?

Nostalgic

While cleaning/organizing my desk today, I realized I’m sentimental in both a functional and not-so-functional way. Yes, my fondness for British literary movies should have been a clue, but let me give you two examples from my office to prove my point.

Exhibit One:

100_4668

Functional collection of Hello Kitty/Sanrio clips from the 1980s. I did break one of the smaller ones, it was blue with angels or something with wings… a few years back and had to toss it. The big one is scarred with bite marks—don’t ask—but I’ve kept them all these decades. They been put to use and clipped on desk organizers in between jobs.

Exhibit Two:

100_4667

My old disks: better than the floppy ones, but still completely outdated. Yes, my first four manuscripts, college assignments, and assorted poetry from the early 1990s are contained on them. But most of those documents can also be found in my filing cabinet, on paper.

Do I have a computer with the appropriate disk drive? No.

Will I ever use these disks again? No.

Can I throw them away? No.

What are you hanging on to from years, decades, or centuries past?