As I work on this YA manuscript, I've been thinking about how teenaged love is different than, say, love in my mid-30s.
Here's what I've come up with: love in high school is just tough. First off, it is not a level playing field: some people are lip virgins, and others aren't virgins in any sense of the word. And for the former, there's so much scary territory that is simultaneously tempting and utterly terrifying.
What's more, you've known most of your classmates forever, and it's hard to imagine dating John [last name redacted] who walked out of the kindergarten bathroom with his pants down, or Timmy [last name redacted] who vomited all over his grade school desk, or Chad [last name redacted] who called me "dream boat" starting in the third grade.
Those boys knew (many of) my secrets and had seen me at my absolute worst. We were like extended family, and no one wants to date their pimply cousin whose mother is constantly imploring him to wipe after a bowel movement.
For the past two weeks, my brain has been basking in (mostly cringe-worthy) memories of high school. The letters from friends and notes from boyfriends (oh yes, I kept them. ALL.) are very helpful, and I'm injecting some of my own angst into my protagonist.
He's a boy, though, so it's a little different. We're embarking into this virgin territory together.
My current project is YA, and as I work on that first draft, my contemporary (adult) fiction is in the hands of my early readers.
I love this, sort of. I love the part when they all send me feedback and are eager to discuss the draft with me, but I hate the waiting. Three of my readers have seen this manuscript before, so they understand the story arches and characters well enough. Four of my readers are new to this manuscript, and I have no idea how they will receive it.
Or, I had no idea. Within the past 24 hours, one reader complimented a new scene, one reader said she'd finished the whole draft (in 10 days) and another reader called to curse my existence. She started the draft yesterday and has only 15 pages to go, which means in the last 24 hours she has finished nothing else.
I love that part. The positive feedback is great, and it will hold me until I receive all their real comments.
I can be patient. I can be patient. I can be patient.
Your baby will enjoy her longest naps when you have a sitter.
She knows you are out of the house, and no sitter is as fun as Mom, so why not sleep the afternoon away?
Note: this will never happen when your plan for naptime is to clean the house, write a blog post, organize the basement, catch up with an old friend, or prep a complicated dinner.
Somewhere among the preschool clutter, our fridge holds a list of people who accept baked goods.
I love baking. Cookies, brownies, pies, cakes, truffles, whatever strikes my fancy. But I don't so much enjoy the eating. Rather, I don't appreciate the effects of the eating, so I am constantly dumping sweet treats on friends.
Every few weeks, I blast FaceBook: "I need to bake. Who wants something?"
I eat the raw dough, my kids lick the beaters, I have the satisfaction of baking, thousands of calories leave my house via post, and my first responder receives baked goods.
Today, I'm baking bread, but I'm waiting on an address. If I don't have RM's address within the week, I'm baking pain au chocolate for someone else. Any takers?
I've lived in the western suburbs for nearly five years. I miss Chicago's food. I would pay big bucks for Art of Pizza or Hema's Kitchen to open restaurants out here. Orange, too. I miss our friends and the lake. I long for the parks and museums.
Most of all, I envy our former neighbors, who can walk to Harold Washington Library at a moment's notice. We lived so close that my arms never tired on the way home, even in winter. A few steps from Harold was a bookstore where we spent many a date night.
And then we moved to the suburbs.
In 2011, my suburb lost our last book store. How does that happen? Sure, there's Amazon (and yes, we're Prime members, so my books arrive within 48 hours of my purchase,) but I love wandering the aisles of a bookstore, looking for new friends to take home.
Our closest indie book store is twenty minutes away. And a big, big Barnes & Noble is just a bit further. But what does it say about my community that we no longer have a place to buy books?
Four years after you start nursing, you will have to throw away your trusty nursing pillow.*
*This is your fault, by the way.
Always, ALWAYS clean up the vomit starting with unwashable items. Yes, the nursing pillow cover goes in the washer, but the pillow itself does not. And that vomit is stinky. And black. And foul. The chair will be there in an hour, as will the floor. Before you deal with the pile of barfy laundry, peel the cover off your nursing pillow and try to save it.
Every time I rock 2010 to sleep, I fall in love with her all over again.
How awesome is life as a baby? Some loving person is at your beck and call. Someone rocks you after lunch every day and puts you down for a sizable, cozy nap.
Play all day. Read millions of books! Swing to your heart's content.
People carry you around all day, and the whole world is new all the time. Everything is interesting. Trucks are exciting! Some big things are trees, and some are dogs, and until they move, you don't know which.
Everyone wants to be your friend. Everyone thinks you're adorable. Family lavishes praise on you for the tiniest things, and everything is funny.
I would give up my adult privileges for one day to be held and nuzzled and rocked and entertained all day.
I blog rarely, because I'm busy writing books. When I do blog, I focus on writing, friendship, family, and books. Because my family's best nicknames are private, I use their birth years for shorthand: