I’m reading more than usual and researching unfamiliar authors (Hi, agents!) It’s quite an exercise, actually. Years ago I might have spent hours perusing the library shelves before toting home an armload of books in my genre, reminiscent of my writerly voice and in the same thematic vein as the manuscript I’m sending to a targeted list of agents.
Not today. I can easily find time to write, but finding time alone during library hours is nearly out of the question. I’m doing the full-court press thing here, so I ran to the library, excel spreadsheet in hand, and checked out everything on it.
In 55 minutes I checked out 49 books. This was particularly difficult given the lack of reusable bags in the car. (Thanks, 1977!)
It took three trips to haul them to the trunk, and now I’m reading.
Now, I am not yet an author, but I do consider myself a full-fledged writer. It’s what I do. It’s who I am. But can I judge another author? (Hint: I’m about to.)
These authors are CRAZY. The last four books I’ve read have included chapter titles. It took me months to paste a title on my manuscript, and some authors are crazy enough to find the (often perfect) title for each chapter? In a book of three dozen chapters?
Crazy or brilliant? I cannot decide. Either way, my hat’s off to them.
(Full-court press aside, this querying process has brought several brilliant new authors to my shelves. Om, nom, nom.)
A woman who read my last manuscript said, “I had no idea you were an artist!” Over my vociferous objections, she reiterated, “You’re an artist.”
I am not an artist.
I am a writer. In my world, an artist paints or sculpts or creates beauty with his hands. Writing is a skill--perhaps a talent--but not an art. Not for me.
I can spin a tale and turn a phrase. At times I’m witty or hilarious (note: rare on the hilarity) I have a LOT to say and several manuscripts in the queue waiting to speak. Yes, I have thousands of notes, dozens of plot outlines and spreadsheets bulging with details, but I can’t really make art.
Last week, 2008 had many questions about the uterus. Here is what I drew:
On the left is a child’s body with a uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. On the right is a woman’s body (see the hips?) with a tiny baby that will grow and grow. Obviously the picture is not to scale.
I swear to you, that was my best effort. As I said: not an artist. I will stick to words.
Last week, my brilliant and creative friend Heather hosted space camp for a slew of preschoolers and their toddler siblings.
After we had launched rockets, experimented with dry ice, compared moon dust to Mars dust and eaten planetary pizzas, the children ran amok in the yard searching for asteroids we had hidden.
Lounging across from my spouse, I realized there were nine little girls rushing through the grass and trying to climb trees. No boys.
Among my book club ladies, we have 11 children, two of whom are boys.
My best friends have girls. Between 1977, me, and our sisters, we have only girls.
This baffles me. Who is having the boys, and where are they? Research suggests the ratio hovers at 1:1, but that certainly is not the case in my life. (And yes, Dear 1977, I know “data” is not the plural form of “anecdote.” I remain baffled.)
Are there pockets of your life where all the children are male?
I grew up in a family where sloppiness was shunned, untidy clothing was frowned upon and laziness was damned. To this day, I cringe if I suspect my activities are slothful.
Cue 1977, who was raised in a calm house where tranquility reigned and naps were revered. When we lived in the city and visited for dinner, 1977 sometimes spent an hour of those visits napping. Or reading. Or otherwise not engaging his parents in conversation. His presence was enough.
Now, in my late 30s, I finally realize that things will get done.
Or they won’t.
But pushing through exhaustion isn’t doing my (second trimester) body any favors. I never received my plaque for productivity, though surely I earned it.
These days, when 2010 naps, I nap right along with her. And I feel refreshed. And I feel less beaten down by the person we’re now referring to as 2013. And this manuscript is still plugging along, so everything is fine.
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: