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Friday Five

I remembered!

I have book club this weekend! Book Club always makes me happy. We read Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow. And I won't say anything else.

I was able to do a little more than just walk this week. Trust me, it's nothing like my presurgery workouts...but it's more than a 20 minute walk that is so slow my body can't even consider breaking a sweat. I sweated. Wooohooo!

So this week I am cheating. I am using two spots in the top five for So You Think You Can Dance. I was shocked by the judges decision to send home Jasmine H. But I can't say I was upset about Jade exiting. The following two dances were my favorite. Take a look.

I did some more writing. I officially have 11,000 words. Not sure how that happened, but I will accept it graciously. Can't wait to see 50,000. It's all about baby steps. So, this is my tease of the week...

I smile. I always knew Reece wanted to do better in school. This is proof. I lean back; the warmth from the wood bench presses against me, soothing my aching muscles. Each word I read makes me realize just how much I miss my sister, how much I've missed my sister. Not just over the past two months. No, I've missed her for years, since before--. On these pages, I hear echoes of the Reece I used to know. The one who would sneak into my room because she was scared and then beg me to tell her a ghost story. The one who smiled and laughed recklessly. The one who loved life. The one who looked at our father like he hung the moon each night and set the sun in motion each morning. Yes. Reece before . . . He died. She died . . . slowly. I can see it, now. Clearly. On the pages she is present and in life she is absent.
I worked 8 hours everyday this week. (It's exhausting. But I know it will get better with time.)

I started reading a book I've been dying to get to: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers. It's the second book in the His Heir Assassins series. I mean, how can you NOT love a series that has nuns, who train the heirs of Death to be assassins?

I plan to go to church for the first time in 8 weeks. (I've been watching the services on line.)

So You Think You Can Dance had some really good dances this week. I find myself debating between two for the top spot in my heart. I'm going to go with . . . (Yes, they are blindfolded. The dance is about how love is blind.)

Yep, some more writing on Whispers. I worked on my little ghost stories three days. Read . . .

This is worse.
This is personal.
The elevator stops, and I take a deep breath. It’s hard to believe that less than two minutes ago, I thought this was a good idea but now . . .
The door glides open and I clench my fist, fighting the urge to push the down button. I know I need to talk to Dad. Every fiber in my being vibrates with the need to talk to him. The uncertainty of what to say keeps my tongue heavy and thick in my mouth. This is so not like me. I’m usually the first and last person to speak . . . unless Dad’s around. And I typically know what to say and how to say it. Come on! I convince the dead that the light (or dark) is better than here. I can handle this.
But that’s just it.
It’s never been about me; it’s never been personal.
What happened . . . in my house . . . to me . . . to Mom . . .
I feel like someone abducted me and dumped me in the middle of the desert at high noon. I don’t know how to trudge through this landscape of no words.
I take a deep breath. Just do it.
I step forward.

Hugs & Encouragement and DFTBA...


I heard this asked yesterday on the radio and I was FLOORED by the answers. F.L.O.O.R.E.D!

If an alien came to this planet and said, "For every pound of weight you lose permanently you have to give up one IQ points permanently. Would you do it? If yes, how many points are you willing to sacrifice?"

So...LJ, what is your answer. (I'm saving mine...I don't want to bias people.)


Friday Five

I remembered! (Of course, I meant to do at least one more blog this week and that didn't happen. Oh well! Next week is another opportunity.)

So the five top things of the week . . .

I had dinner with a good friend this week. The dinner was not so good, but the conversation was great.

I was able to work longer hours this week. Still recovering.

Discovered a lovely new recipe: Smore bars. UH-MAZE-ING! (And simple.) And I will drop this little bit of useless information because it involves chocolate and Smores have chocolate. Apparently there was a study that showed that the "females like chocolate" statement is actually backed by biology. If a pregnant woman eats chocolate, her female fetus will become active. Male fetuses show little or no arousal. So . . . this justifies my purchasing of chocolate. Clearly it is a NEED.

It is that time of year again...So You Think You Can Dance. You know what that means! One of my favorite dances this week was the Top Ten Guys...

I added more to my story. Wooohooo! Check it out...

I sit down, hard, knees pulled to my chest, and arms wrapped around myself. A chill has settled over me, seeping into my skin. I know this chill. It speaks of a darker time in my life. A time I with blurry lines and out of focus images.

My thoughts seem . . . slippery. Darkness creeps toward me, expands. I shiver, teeth rattle. I push against this invisible cloak that I know too well.

I’m not crazy.

I can keep it together.

Hugs & Encouragement...DFTBA

Friday Five

I know, I know…I dropped off again. It’s been a crazy few weeks. But we’ll focus on this week.

I returned to work. Part time. I’m glad it’s a slow return. Four hours does me in.

I received my season’s ticket for the theater this past week. The upcoming year I will be seeing Wicked, Chicago, Sister Act, etc. So excited.

My mother sent me a lovely summer dress. (Sure it’s made for someone four inches taller than I. It’s the thought that counts.)

I wrote three days this week. Proof…
I stare at the torn manila envelope on the floor, the carefully written address, my name in capital letters. There’s no return address.
When did she send it? How long did it wait in my school mailbox until it was rescued by my roommate?

Hugs & Encouragement . . . DFTBA

Friday Five

Well, the most obvious great thing is...

I and my friends survived an EF5 tornado. God is great!

I continue to show signs of recovery from my surgery.

My friend made me a fabulous salad that I consumed in rapid speed.

I started watching the Veronica Mars series. (I know...I know. I was in graduate school when it came on television.)

I have decided to start a new story idea. Hopefully next week I will have a teaser for you.

Hugs, Encouragement and DFTBA!

Where to Start...

Well, first, I am physically unharmed.

I don't think I can find the words to correctly capture the utter devastation my community feels. The devastation I feel. I will try to capture it in words, but I know that I will fail to capture the overwhelming sadness, devastation, shock, and exhaustion I and many others feel. For those of you unfamiliar with tornadoes, they are a literal force to be reckoned with. Oklahoma is in the middle of Tornado Alley. The University of Oklahoma has a nationally recognized Meteorology program. The National Weather System is two miles west of my home. Oklahoman KNOWS tornadoes. Meteorologist tell us days, often a week, in advance that there will be conditions favorable for tornadoes. They tell you streets, intersections, directions, time lines....anything you need to know to be safe.

Sunday morning, people in my area knew that around 3:00 PM the weather would turn treacherous. We knew. I knew. My friends knew. By 4:30 PM I was taken to my friends house. (I still have not been cleared to drive since my surgery.) My friend has an underground shelter. (You need one if you live in Oklahoma.) By 5:30 PM sirens were going off in my city, warning us that a tornado was either seen or forming in the area. There were TWO. They hovered over our city. Neither touched down...in my city. One continued east to Shawnee, Oklahoma. I have a friend who lives in the area. She and her family are fine. Her town...

As I watched the coverage of the aftermath of the tornado, I felt grateful that my city was spared, but enormous sadness for those who lost so much. When I saw the devastation of a trailer park, I thought about when I helped with clean up a couple of years ago. A trailer park was leveled by a tornado and the owner of the property needed help cleaning up the neighboring field. The pictures you see on television and the internet and the newspaper...SEVERELY FAIL at capturing the significance of the loss. When you are standing in a field and you are surrounded by baby pictures, baby clothes, letters, bills, toys, clothes, family pictures, etc, you KNOW you are seeing people's lives...their memories. It was a humbling experience.

So I went to bed Sunday night feeling sad...grateful...and aware that Monday would be a repeat.

Initially, the thought was the storms would come through around the same time Sunday's storm hit. That changed. And THAT change, made a HUGE difference. It made things VERY SCARY. I want to stress that at 2:00 PM, there were NO storms in the state of Oklahoma. At noon, meteorologists said they would be issuing a Severe Weather Warning at 1:00 PM or 1:30 PM, depending on when the sun appeared and warmed the atmosphere to a point of instability. One of my friends lives in the Newcastle area. The school staff called parents that morning and told parents they either needed to pick up their kids by 1:00 PM or the children would be taken to a storm shelter. The District feared the instability could spin tornadoes similar to Sunday's storms, which by Monday, we knew the tornadoes were EF4 tornadoes. (Tornado scale is EF1 to EF5 based on wind speed and damage). Tornadoes of the EF4 and EF5 variety make up less than 1% of tornadoes. Sunday produced TWO.

At 2:00 PM, shortly after a friend left my house, heading north, (through Moore) meteorologist announced three storms that suddenly popped up on radar. All three storms showed signs of possible rotation. One of the storms was south of my city, one was in west of Newcastle, one was west of North Oklahoma City. By 2:10 it was clear the one near Newcastle was developing RAPIDLY. It was estimated it would hit Moore by 2:50 PM. If you don't know about severe weather, it is extremely rare to go from nothing to a significant storm within 45 minutes. At 2:10 the only thing we knew for sure was that there were strong winds up to 60 mph and hail. There was a hook, suggesting more could develop...I called my friend who just left and told her what to expect. Moore, Oklahoma is 6 miles north of my city. My friend who has a shelter came to get me. By 2:30 PM, the storm had a rotation and it was about to drop on Newcastle. At the time I did not know that my friend, who lives in the Newcastle area had picked up her children and had decided to go to a house with a shelter. I called to tell her about the storm, fearing her children, who attend Newcastle schools, would be in harms way. When I got no response, I was concerned. When I saw the tornado, and the meteorologists described its power, I panicked. My friend did call. She and her children were physically unharmed. The friends who provided shelter were physically unharmed. My friend described her experience and then said, "I will have nightmares. And we are getting a storm shelter. We will have one."

Around 2:45 PM it was believed that the tornado that had hit Newcastle was gaining strength and was headed toward Moore, Oklahoma and the northern part of my city. The meteorologist started mentioning streets and landmarks. Streets and landmarks I see on a regular basis. I just saw Iron Man 3 at Warren Theater on Saturday. Two weeks ago, I spent three days in Moore Medical Center...and I have a doctor's appointment on Thursday in that building. (Correction, just got a phone call. It is cancelled and will be rescheduled. My doctor has to find some place to see patients.) Both places were believed to be in the tornado's path. My friends, SEVERAL friends, live on the streets mentioned. The schools mentioned, are schools I have worked with faculty and children. At 2:45 the sirens in my city sounded. Meteorologists reported the tornado was at least a mile wide. The tornado was being described as a monster. Then we lost power. Four adults and three children without power, knowing that a monstrous storm was headed in our general direction. Three IPhones and none of them could get information.

Fifteen minutes later we got a storm radio working. The information we heard was DEVASTATING.A large portion of Moore, Oklahoma was leveled. At one point, the tornado with its debris band measured 2.25 miles wide. Schools were leveled. Neighborhoods demolished. Businesses gone. Daycares gone. Not just some places. PLACES I KNOW. PLACES I GO. PEOPLE I KNOW. This feels very personal. This is an ache I can't describe. And I didn't lose my house, or my car, or a child. But I know people who experienced loss. And every time they talk about the schools...and the children...I don't have children, but I have spent a large portion of my life working with children. Most of my friends have children. I LOVE children. I cannot even begin to imagine what I would feel if I heard my child's school was leveled by a tornado. I can't....

Understand, at one point the meteorologists said over and over, "You will not survive this storm if you are above ground. You will not survive. This storm is eating up everything in its path."

I just...


At 9:00 PM my power and cable were restored and I finally saw the devastation. I just...

If you want to help...If you can help, text "Redcross' to 90999 and that is a $10 donation.

If you can't donate, pray for Oklahoma. Four of our communities have been devastated. Lives have been forever changed.

If prayer is or is not your thing, send positive energy.

If positive energy is or is not your thing, learn to listen to weather warnings so you can be safe should you be in a similar situation one day.

Take Care!



Friday Five

I know...I know. It's been FOREVER! One word-LIFE.

but I don't want to keep you waiting any longer. Here are my TOP FIVE great things this week.

1) Monday I sat outside on my patio. The sun was beautiful. The temperature perfect. Geese were feeding their young, I did my daily devotional...it was a day that made you appreciate life in all its beauty and simplicity. So often I'm running from one place to the other I don't get so see ALL the great things around me.

2) Though I was trapped inside all day Wednesday because it was raining, I managed to keep myself entertained.

3) Book club meets on Saturday. We read Under the Never Sky by Rossi. It was...nope, I'll show you how I felt about the book.
I grabbed my phone, heart thumping as I dialed A's phone number. I had to tell her. It couldn't wait. "I just finished the book." "That's good," she said. "I was prepared to skip book club this week because I have friends comin in to town. But then I read the book...this book." She laughed. "Oh, I soooo need to talk about this book. I took notes. Notes!" "Wow." She laughed again. "So, I can either bring my friends with me or you and have to meet up to talk about the book. Either way, I need to process. I need to talk."

4) My friends from Texas will be here in...oh, about 4 hours. They are coming to help me as a recover from surgery. (Nothing life threatening. I'm fine. It was a surgery I knew was in my future the minute I turned 30. One word--Genetics.)

5) Okay, this is trypically where I add a writing teaser, but I'm not going to today. (Yes, I wrote some this week.) And sometimes I do a favorite song of the week. But not today. (Though I do have some favorites at the moment.) Today...I'm going shameless. Now, keep in mind, I RARELY watch TV. But since I am stuck at home for one month and can't read and write 24/7...my TV has been on a little more than usual. I saw this commercial and LOVED it. (If you've see it, you may enjoy another look). I actually buy this item...and not because of the commercial. (However, I may keep buying this item BECAUSE of the commercial. *wiggles eyebrows*)

Hugs, Encouragement, and DFTBA (Don't Forget to Be Awesome!)

Friday Five

Work has been a bit...crazy. Temperatures are high and patience is low. BUT...amazingly all the guys on my caseload are keeping it together for the most part. (Oh and one of them promised to buy me a car when he is released. Really? Really?)

The Olympics start!!!! Need I say more? I don't think so.

I love being surprised (in a good way) by a person. (It also means learning something about myself in the process.)

I think my brain is telling me it is time to get back to writing. next week the fun begins. Whispers, here I come.

You guys know I LOVE the Vlogbrothers (John and Hank Green...creaters of DFTBA) Well, Hank is producing a vlog adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. "A" from book club introduced me to this lovely gem. I spent one evening watching all the videos...now I watch them every Monday and Thursday. The first vlog is below.

Friday Five

Red took two independent steps this week. I didn’t see them, his mom told me. But I bet I get to see him walk on Saturday when I spend some time with him and sister Alli (who left me an adorable voicemail this week).

Despite being stressed this week about an issue at work, I did not attempt to find happiness in cupcakes, cake, cookies, or . . . well, anything sweet. I’ll admit that I baked some cookies, but I only ate one. I took the rest to work.

So You Think You Can Dance makes me soooo happy. This was my favorite dance of the week: Amelia and Will (dancers) and Sonia (choreographed) . . .

I don’t have anything to complain about.

I’m itching to get back to Whispers. August 1 is the day I begin. *bites nails* So excited!

Hugs & Encouragement (& DFTBA*)

*Don’t Forget to Be Awesome

When things go haywire, your best opening strategy might be to return--very carefully and consciously--to the habits and practices in play at the last time you felt good about your work. --pg 57, Bayles and Orland *

All artist reach a point in their project (often every project) in which the free-flow of ideas comes to a slow or screeching stop. Often times, this change in momentum gives way to such thoughts as: "Oh, this must not be a good idea," or "I used up all my good ideas already," or "Maybe I shouldn't be writing/painting/singing/_____ (fill in the blank) afterall." These thoughts are lies. BIG. LIES.

So what is the truth?

Well, more than likely, at some point you changed a technique, approach, or behavior that was serving you well. For example, I set writerly goals for myself and when I reach them, I have a celebratory cupcake. Some people can only create art at night, while others must create as the day begins. Some people need an outline or sketch. Others must begin with nothing more than an image or idea in their mind's eye. The point, there is something that you and I do that makes creating flow smoothly. Often times learning new rules or techniques or changes in our daily schedule or events in our daily life, throw us off. Add to this, we often don't realize we have a "thing" that is unique and linked to our creative process. I ask you to mentally process what you do before, during and after you create. What helps? What hinders?

If you're feeling stuck, take a moment to put the brakes on the Doomsday-thinking and get back to the basics.   

*Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

Friday Five

My goodness! So many great things are going on that I almost forgot I needed to post.

Last night I went out with a group of friends. We had spirited beverages and a conversation for adult ears only. It was great fun laughing and chatting in the summer heat with mysters making it all seem a bit surreal.

Tonight I get to spend time with a friend I have not seen in months. We always have a great time getting caught up. Plus, we're eating Italian food. You can't go wrong with that.

Tomorrow night is book club. We read Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. I shouldn't say anything about my thoughts or feelings, because I know some of the ladies read my blog...but I'm gonna say something anyway. (Yep, I'm living on the edge.) I really liked it! Actually listened to it and the narrators were great.

So You Think You Can Dance was on. I have a favorite dance...but don't have the time to find the video on YouTube.( Maybe later this weekend.) I think it is going to be a great season.

No news on the writing front. Don't fret. I remain excited about getting back to Whispers. But with all this socializing, who has time to write. Next week will be a bit more calm.

Until then...

Hugs & Encouragement  & (DFTBA*)

*DFTBA: Don't Forget to Be Awesome (A phrase coined by YA writer John Green.)

Art & Fear: Wide-eyed Passion . . .

Naïve passion, which promotes work done in ignorance of obstacles, becomes—with courage—informed passion, which promotes work done in full acceptance of those obstacles. – pg 50, Bayles & Orland*

I am soooo stuck in this . . . place, this land between ignorance and acceptance. Now, I want to be clear, when I completed my first book, I knew a first draft was just that, a draft. However, I didn’t really understand just how bad, flawed, seemingly hopeless, and embarrassing a first draft can be. I thought I understood around . . . oh, draft nine’ish. But when I wrote another story, completely unique in every way, that’s when got it: there’s knowing/ignorance . . . and there’s knowing/accepting. Think of it like this, you know when you put on jeans after the holidays, and you’re expecting them to be snug . . . but you’re not expecting to flop down on the bed . . . a white-knuckle grip on a pair of pliers . . . holding your breath . . . and wrestling the zipper up? But then you experience this situation and you can no longer deny that your holiday experience . . . changed you. See? Knowing/ignorance . . . Knowing/Accepting.

Well, unknowingly, all of my cutting away words and reshaping sentences and plots during revisions led me from ignorance to the precipice of acceptance, which allowed me to see my mistakes and have some ideas about how to fix them. Good, right? Yes. No. It’s complicated. I mean, knowing how to fix errors is great! (YAY!) BUT, wanting to fix them the second I saw them . . . (Booo!!!) AND in my mind, there should be no errors, if I’m really learning. (Dang ‘should’) My days of feverishly typing great ideas in draft one, became days of feverishly typing ideas in draft one. And knowing that, experiencing that while it happened . . . was hard and painful, to accept.

For many, (I’m in this group) the rift between ignorance and knowledge/acceptance appears mammoth, gargantuan, colossal . . . any word that means real freaking big. For many, the space appears so vast that when they attempt to traverse it, they lose site of their destination. They become lost. They drift away. Those who make it across are not special or superhuman. Yet, those who make it do possess something. Something rather basic. Look at the quote again. See it? The word is used twice. Passion. Without that, you got . . . well, probably not a long writing career. Passion makes the seemingly insurmountable suckitude of the first draft merely an obstacle designed to challenge and push you beyond your comfort zone. As I stare at my draft of my latest work in progress, I cling to my passion, see the obstacles . . . and now, I merely need to accept the challenge . . .


*Art of Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

Friday Five

Don't fret . . . I did not drop off LJ again. Wednesday was Independence Day for us Americans and I . . . well forgot to prepare my post. Well . . . it's more like I was doing something during the time I set aside to write my Wednesday post. This brings me to one of the items on my Friday Five . . .

I watched a prep-performance for an Organ Concert. Huh? One of my dear friends is friends with a VERY talented, Yale educated, Ph.D. having, organ player who is now (as of Thursday morning) in Germany. He is slowly making his way from cathedral to cathedral wowing the locals with his skill.

I only worked four days this week. That is always a lovely thing. And I was told by an offender, "If I saw you walking down the street, I would talk to you. You're cool." You heard it hear folks. I am cool. It's official. (Yes, I recognize this as flattery likely aimed at getting me to do something against prison policy for him later. Unfortunately for him...flattery will get him no where.)

I got to spend time with Red and Alli.

I can wear Banana Republic clothes again. Yay for weight loss.

I'm a bit behind on the MS critique...which means I am not starting Whispers like I had planned. But I will get there. No worries.

Hugs & Encouragement (& DFTBA)

Friday Five

For those curious folk: Yes, I really liked Brave. (If you remember, I was eager to see it last weekend.) And I really like this review of the movie by author Kiersten White. (She always makes me smile and laugh.) This review is a response to critics. I'll admit, I was surprised by the plot . . . how in the world did Pixar keep it secret? Or maybe I was just living under a rock. My suprise did NOT dampen my enjoyment one bit.

I have nothing planned this weekend!

The Top Twenty have been chosen on So You Think You Can Dance! Here is their first dance: (I LOVE Mia Michaels...she is brilliant!!)

Still losing weight. Technically, I only have 12 more pounds to get to my initial goal. BUT...I think I will be the overachiever that I am and lose15-20 more.

Still mentally working on Whispers.

Hugs & Encouragement (& DFTBA)

Acceptance means having your work counted as the real thing; approval means having people like it. --pg 45, Bayles & Orland*

Acceptance—feeling understood—is a hot commodity. Approval—being liked—is just as hot. The two words are often interchanged. But they are soooo not the same. It is easy to have one without the other. Think of the pop music one-hit wonders. The artists got approval, but no one really tried to dig deeper . . . or maybe the artist didn’t want to dig deeper. Either way, acceptance never happened. The publishing world has its fare share of one-hit wonders and authors who have a large following, but critics question the author’s literary talent. And, there are the authors who have undeniable literary acumen, but remain relatively unknown.

As a writer, I (and you) have to make peace with the possibility that acceptance and approval are not besties or traveling companions. I think this is definitely the case for beginning artist. It takes time and effort to truly understand someone, and even more time and effort to understand their art. Some artists achieve acceptance after a few pieces, some achieve it after death. Approval may be easier to come by because it often rests upon art work resonating with people on an emotional level. But, but there are no guarantees.

So what does this mean for me as I journey down the writing path? Well, it means I have to stay true to me. If I write what resonates with me, I allow others to see pieces of me. With time, some will understand what I am showing them, they will understand my worldview. Some will like it. Some will not. And that is okay. At the end of the day, my stories are what I create, they are what I do, they are one of the many ways I communicate with others . . . they are NOT me. Their acceptance or approval (or lack there of) does not define me, validate me, or take away from me.  

*Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards of Artmaking)

Friday Five

I get to babysit this weekend. It's all about Alli and Red for a couple of hours. I'm predicting a tea party with Micky Mouse as a guest.

I am at training on Friday. It's a bit of a break from the prison. And after my Thursday of juggling three crisis at one time...a little break is welcomed.

I've chatted with a few friends I've not emailed or talked to in a while.

I really want to see Brave this weekend. Fingers Crossed I can make it happen.

Still on a break from Whispers, but I'm itching to get back to it. I've got some good ideas for it. July 1st is the Start Draft Three date.

Art & Fear: Great Expectations

You need only look at the work clearly—without judgment, without need or fear, without wishes or hopes. Without emotional expectations. Ask your work what it needs, not what you need. Then set aside your fears and listen, the way a good parent listens to a child. —pg 36, Bayles & Orland*

I’m going to be honest . . . the above quote is hard to keep in a tight hold. The fact that I agree with it, doesn’t help my grip. The fact that I believe it intellectually, doesn’t help either. (I’ve said it countless times, “What a person knows intellectually and emotionally, can be separated by a universe.”) It seems that expectations always wedge themselves in between me and my work. And I’m not talking about the expectations that tangle around a lot of beginning writers--“This will be a best seller,” “I will get a big book and movie deal.” I think those expectations are easy to silence with a healthy dose of reality. Just walk into a bookstore. How many books are there? How many of those books are bestsellers? And how many of those bestsellers become movies? Ah, reality . . . ice cold water in the face. Now, this does not mean that I won’t experience such things. After all, no one can predict which story will grab people’s attention (Fifty Shades of Gray, anyone?) But I don’t expect to be a bestseller. What I do expect is to learn and improve. I expect to write a story that moves me on a number of levels. I expect to begin and end a novel within a year. All those expectations seem reasonable . . . until I hear Markus Zusak say he spent three years writing The Book Thief. Or listen to Maggie Stiefvater share her writing journey with The Scorpio Races, a book she had been trying to write for a decade. After she published five, yes, FIVE, books, several of which are best sellers, she finally felt she had the writing skill needed to tackle a story about water horses. (In my humble opinion, it is her best story.)

Expectations--seemingly reasonable or glaringly delusional--blur an artist’s judgment. And before you comment below, I’m not saying throw expectations out with the bathwater. You know me better than that if you’re on my flist. Expectations galvanize and motivate. Expectations keep me sitting in front of my computer. Expectations keep me pushing through each draft. What I am saying; however, is we (meaning you and me) must keep expectations and reality balanced. It is my imagination that generates the story. It is my expectations that help me realize the story. The common denominator is the story. The story is the guide.

*Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

Friday Five

What a week. Oklahoma Thunder is playing well. (I know the finals are tied . . . my optimism still says the Thunder will win.)

Work has gone well this week.

I get to see my dad for Father's Day. I also get to see my mom and some friends.

I continue to loose weight.

Still on break from Whispers, while I read a friend's MS. But I am thinking about the story. The story still doesn't feel like me. It just feels like a story. I want it to be more than a story, a ghost story...I want it to be powerful. One day at a time.

Hugs and Encouragement! (And DFTBA!)

Art & Fear: On Being Perfect . . .

“The seed of your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections (or mistakes, if you’re feeling particularly depressed about them today) are your guides—valuable, reliable, objective, non-judgmental guides—to matters you need to reconsider or develop further.”

--Bayles and Orland pg 31*

In 2000, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Armed only with the meager possessions of a graduate student, a tri-fold map of Atlanta, and a travel guide for the state of Georgia, I settled into my apartment. Curious about the town, I hopped into my car, ready to explore and to discover. I had mapped out a route on the map, but decided to venture off the path and follow a road…that led to an on ramp…that led to a toll road…that had no exit for several miles. I panicked. I had no money for a toll road. I had no idea where I was. I had no idea how to get found. It was clear I had made a BIG mistake. HUGE! Or so I thought. Eventually, I came to an exit—never passing a tollbooth--and managed to weave and meander my way to a street I had seen earlier. Now, the funny thing about that detour is that I had been about two miles away from home. (Go ahead and laugh . . . I did when I figure it out.) And that turn, that mistake, introduced me to the restaurants and shops I visited regularly while I lived in Atlanta. It also introduced me to a glorious, wonderful alternate route into downtown Atlanta.

I’m sure if I had stayed on my highlighted route, eventually, I would have found the shops and restaurants. I mean, I did have a map. I needed some of those stores, so I would have looked them up. But, who knows if I would have found the alternate route? I do know that I told many people about the route over the years. That mistake, introduced me to what I needed sooner. It introduced me things I would need. And most importantly, it showed me that feeling lost and being lost is not the same thing. (I was, after all, only two miles away from my apartment.)

When I am writing and I find myself searching for the perfect word, playing it safe, and fearing mistakes--in short, feeling paralyzed--I try to think about that day, that detour. That day I strayed away from the highlighted route, strayed away from the “perfect” route. And I was rewarded. **

*Art and Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, 2011.

**As I watched the NBA Finals on 6/12/2012, one of the commentators shared this quote from Scott Brooks, the Head Coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. This is in response to questions about the team’s poor performance their first year in the NBA. (They’re only four years old.): “We weren’t loosing, we were learning how to win.”



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