September Madness

“The Month of Madness” is what September 2011 shall be known as in my life.
The month when this homebody was away as often as home during regular hours. The month that forced this shy lady into several public speaking events.
The month my kids cried because I left them so often. The month the grandparents were taken advantage of for free childcare. (Thanks, Nana and Grandpa!)
And right in the middle of the month the little princess celebrated her third birthday with a yard full of friends for an “Easter” party. Egg hunt, duckies, butterflies… and frilly dresses, too! I’d post pictures here, but, yeah, you know. I don’t do that at this point.
Reading has been a lifesaver, once again. You can tell how crazy my life is by how much reading I’m doing. The only way to escape and unwind. I have to read myself to sleep, otherwise I’d just think myself into a frenzy every night. Anxiety sucks but it is good for increasing my reading progress.

A Need so Beautiful was a loaner book from a good friend. It took me a while to get into the character/voice, which isn’t unusual for me—it just took over half the book instead of a few chapters this time. Loved the ending.

I reread Summer of the Swans, a classic Newbery winner. Loved it, once again. Most of my favorite novels are “middle readers”, usually the 10-14 age range.

And because I wanted to read more Joan Bauer books (see last post) I checked out Squashed and Close to Famous(her newest—still reading this one) from the local library.

I’ve also been reading Homeschool Your Child for Free (great purchase) and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (thank you Mobile Public Library) during the daytime, when I’m not running the roads. Which has been next to nothing this past week.

September 24 is the start of Banned Books Week. Search my blog for previous posts on this topic.

If you’re on Facebook, you can find a public fan page for me and my writing. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/pages/Carrie-Cox/182006808539156 But if you know me personally, I’ll accept you as a friend on my “private” page. And feel free to link to my blog whenever. I appreciate all 20 of the listed followers here!

A Month, Revisited

The past few weeks have been filled with home, family, friends, and literary adventures. Just like Mary Weber, the main character of Corroded, I’ve been expanding my comfort zone by participating in new experiences. And with each new merit badge of life I earn, the anxiety over the unknown lessens.
Examples—aren’t you curious to see what I consider adventurous? Probably second hand to most people, but for this anxiety-prone wallflower these things are a big deal:
My first belly flop! A diving board was NOT part of it, but it counts, right? And the fact that I was standing in an above-ground pool… but it was a big one… Hey, this is from the girl that could never do a Slip-N-Slide because I couldn’t make myself fall down!
Taking all three kids downtown for a field trip. Yes, I did meet a friend and her three kids at the museum, but I had to park and walk the block to the entrance alone with my kids. We even crossed streets twice—one of them Government Blvd—to look at cannons and read their historical markers.
Creating a public “fan” page on Facebook for me/my writing. Might be premature, but some of you out there care enough to “like” me. 🙂
Conducting my first public meeting for the Mobile Writers Guild. Me. Public. Speaking. Those that know me from church have witnessed my teaching and speaking engagements before. Get me in front of a group of kids and I’m fine. Add more than half a dozen adults to the mix and I turn blotchy red. I pace, wring my hands, and my nose sweats. But this went better than I expected. Yes, I fumbled over words, my eye-contact could have been better, and my nose still sweated. But I wasn’t red (or purple or splotchy) and no one ran from the room screaming. Not even me.
Sharing Corroded with family members. Yes, I’m finished! Just waiting for two more critique group sessions for the group to finish it before sending it off to Laurie Halse Anderson for a critique. I first offered the manuscript to my sister-in-law, then my eldest sister, and finally my mother. They are all avid readers. I’ve heard back form my s-i-l that the first two chapters already had her sucked in. And, of course my mother thought it was “really good” (she read it all yesterday afternoon) but she immediately wanted to know how much of it was true. Yes, it was inspired heavily by my own junior year in high school, but it is not an autobiography.
And, of course, I’ve been reading. This is my list from the past month:
A Joan Bauer kick. I read Hope was Here about a year ago and loved it. Found these books on the bargain tables at Books-A-Million over the past several months and decided to read them all back-to-back. Her books are thoughtful, beautifully simple coming of age novels. Everything I hope my own stories can be.

Then I moved on to a new writer friend’s debut novel. I met Israel through a neighbor of his who I’m friends with when she sent him in the direction of the Mobile Writers Guild. The Anne Marie is a great story for readers, especially dog-lovers, ages ten and up.

Yesterday I finished another MWG member’s book. It’s out of my normal reading genre—adult romantic comedy—but the characters were multidimensional and the information about trichotillomania was interesting. Joyceand I have been in critique groups together the past two years, so I’ve read her WIPs as well as one of her other published novels. Write on, Comma Queen!