Fortune Cookie Friday
Your dreams will become your reality, in odd ways.
Until my early twenties, I dreamed of becoming a politician--a big one. I would be Governor of Ohio, or a U.S Senator or perhaps an ambassador to an exotic locale.
After years of government work jaded me beyond interest in politics, I am exploring the presidency through writing. I wish I could poll everyone here: what do you want in a President? What traits should forever prohibit someone from earning the office? How can we preserve the integrity of the office while maintaining the coveted title of Most Powerful in the World?
I love exploring this. Once again, my worlds collide.
Not only did our family’s relaxing summer begin this week, but other awesome stuff is happening--and it’s only Wednesday!
A friend offered me her copy of Jessica Khoury’s debut novel, Origin, which isn’t due out until early September. Yes, please! I’ll report back.
McSweeney’s ran a funny article, Jamie and Jeff’s Birth Plan, which will sing to anyone who’s ever expected a natural birth (or who knows anyone who’s ever expected a natural birth):http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/jamie-and-jeffs-birth-plan
Folks at Harvard identified an anti-aging protein in mice that might have similar effects on humans:http://www.livescience.com/18593-anti-aging-protein-extends-life-span.html
I missed that the first time around, and with good reason. I’m not sure anti-aging appeals. I wear my grey hair proudly and yes, those were my knees popping.
The gymnastics Olympic trials begin tomorrow, which excites our house to (almost) no end. This week, 2008 has declared that she will be a gymnasticker [sic] when she grows up.
We’re finally easing back into our normal family routines, and everyone is sleeping. (This is rare in my house. Cross your fingers that the trend continues.)
Inspiration struck again, and I am off and writing. I couldn’t be happier.
Let the Summer Begin
I’m a stickler for accuracy. So, while kids’ summer begins the day school ends, and while meteorological summer begins on June first, I celebrate on the solstice. . .because that’s what solstice is.
This year, all of that was moot. Shortly after school ended, we embarked on a long and exhausting road trip to see family and friends. Immediately upon our return (yet still before the solstice,) more family visited us here in Illinois.
I was too busy to recognize solstice.
Today, we bid sad adieus to 1977’s sister and our niece, and tonight I feel that summer is finally about to begin. Lazy days of summer, when we have nothing we have to do and nowhere we have to be, suit us perfectly.
Welcome, summer! (And, half-Christmas. Where’s the cake?)
I spend hours--days, even--explaining to 2008 what is real and what is pretend.
I thought she might blow a gasket when National Geographic confirmed that lava is real. Photosynthesis really blew her mind. Dialysis seemed cool.
Today, though, for the first time, she thought I was lying. Her grandfather received a liver transplant in the 90s, and again within the last six years. I explained how it worked, and she thought I had made up the whole thing.
Now, I’ll admit that it seems a little sci-fi, in the way that growing a fetus in your body is a little sci-fi. Short of taking her to surgery, I couldn’t prove to her that it was real. Many other things from youtube were just pretend, so that was hardly an option. She cannot yet read. None of our doctor friends were available, so what was I to do?
This is why I think it’s important to never lie to my children. In the end, I looked her in the eyes and promised this was the truth. Someone else’s organs now live inside her Grampa. I promised I wasn’t pretending.
Her answer: that’s ridiculous.
Fortune Cookie. . .Wednesday*
You needn’t worry about your writing.
Now back from our mammoth vacation, I realize I shouldn’t have worried about writing. I’ve mentioned before that I freak out without time to write. Turns out, if I’m solo parenting on a really long road trip, and if I’m sleeping with the kids every night, and if lots of other kids and their moms are involved, I’ll be too tired to write.
That’s a new one for me. I was too tired to WORRY about not writing. And I returned with lots of new ideas. Who knew?
*Fortune Cookies are migrating to Friday, because Fortune Cookie Friday sounds better.
I often think about the pivotal moments that changed the course of my life forever. This bench represents one.
When I lived in Columbus, Ohio, I spent many hours writing, reading, pondering and dreaming on this bench. One afternoon, a woman sat next to me and confided that the bench was dedicated to her daughter, a mother of two young children, who died in a tragic accident at 35.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I was ready to leave Columbus for a promising nonprofit job in my (then) favorite state of Maine. Between Christmas and Near Year’s Eve, the decision to move sat uncomfortably in my gut.
Sitting on my bench that last week off the year, I noticed that Mary Alice Hanover-vonLunen died on January 17th. My movers were booked for January 17th; it was a sign.
Now, I don’t believe in signs, but the fact that I was searching--desperately--for a sign suggested I didn’t want to move. I called off the movers, bailed on my new apartment lease and rescinded my acceptance of that job.
These days, I wonder what my life might have been in Maine. Would I still be working in the nonprofit sector? Would I have returned to writing sooner? Would I have a different spouse and (gulp) different children?
I think of Mary Alice often. I think of her children, who are now adults. I hope they are well and happy. I am well and happy, thanks to her.
[Other stops in Columbus this week included Buckeye Donuts, Cap City Diner and Graeter’s. Yes, I was hungry. Yes, there is a slice of Seriously Big Chocolate Cake in my cooler.]
Write What You Know
“Write what you know.” As a writer, I have heard that countless times.
I think it’s total crap. I write what I know, yes, but there are whole swathes of science and literature and medicine and human psychology that I do not know. My job is to learn it.
I tend to immerse myself in my characters and their stories. When I am writing YA, I dig deep into that (cringe-worthy) box in my memory vault marked “high school: proceed with caution.” I join everything I know with everything I can learn about whatever drives my protagonist.
It works for me. I read YA while I’m writing YA. This week, oddly, I also am reading Dave Cullen’s Columbine. Now, that is something I do not know.
And it’s not research.
I had been reading it from a parent’s perspective, though I was nearing the end of college when it happened. Somehow, reading this heartbreaking chronicle has ripped my chest wide open. I am feeling deeply for the students.
In an awkward way, I feel more in touch with high school unease and angst than I have for years. I wouldn’t call it serendipity, but what an unlikely coincidence.
Fortune Cookie Monday
You will wake in Balasana at 2 a.m.
Commonly called child’s pose, Balasana is a yoga position in which the body is face-down, knees tucked to chest in a modified fetal position. It is supposed to be restful.
Our family is anything but restful these days. 2010 is waking three or more times in the night for songs and love and rocking and ME. Her little nest is on the floor at present, so as I sang her ten billion songs last night, I curled on the floor in Balasana and rested my head next to hers.
It was not restful. I woke some time later, very uncomfortable and very cold. I’m a yogi, but I am too old to sleep like that. My whole body aches this morning, and I can’t wait to go to bed.
Mind your age, folks.
Happy Birthday to Me
Not really. My birthday is six months hence.
BUT, my children’s babysitter is having a birthday, which means birthday cake in our house. And, really, any time there’s birthday cake, I feel as if it’s my own. Is that wrong?
Some women want a big fancy wedding dress. Some want thousands of dollars of flowers. I wanted cake, so we had an awesome cake when we married.
I believe quite firmly that cake can improve any situation. Wrestling with query letters? Cake. Rough days ahead? Have some cake. No time to get to the gym? Cake is a good substitute. Baby not sleeping? Cake for you.
So, happy birthday, Maddie. I’ll be your cake twin.
Full disclosure: that is not the birthday cake. Birthday Cake is not carrot.
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: