Monday, February 28, 2011


I'm unplugging from the internet this week, so as to focus on my novel-in-progress with no (or fewer, anyway) distractions.

Have you ever given yourself time to disconnect? How did it work for you?

Have a great week, all. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Parents Taught Me to Share

Today I share links! And virtual hugs. Because who doesn't love hugs?

Author and speaker Kathi Lipp's new book, THE ME PROJECT, a how-to for living the life you desire, is newly released. Visit my other blog, Pursuing Life, to read my review and get the low-down. (You may remember my review of THE MARRIAGE PROJECT from last year. This is part of the same successful series!)

My latest An Army of Ermas column is up today, and don't say I didn't warn you: I've revealed a disturbing secret about my five-year-old...

If you missed my post (here on Something She Wrote) from yesterday, please take a minute to check it out. I'd really love to know your thoughts on life balance.

And, because I don't want to bore you of me with this post, check these out, too!

How do you feel about Random Acts of Kindness? Go here for inspiration.

Check out this AWESOME gal (and her team) who takes RAK's to a whole new, life-changing level... Secret Agent L

Follow the bread crumbs to Your Best You here.

And last, but possibly coolest, Word Hippo. You know you wanna check it out. (Especially if you're particularly wordish.)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Last week we had a warm day, didn't quite feel like February in our wintery locale, and I took my girls to the park. While I read, they pumped on the swings, and tried to butt-bump each other down the slide. Too, they spent time on the teeter totter, and I'm thinking back to their balance. Or lack of.
There's a 2.5-year age difference, height and weight variances. My older daughter can easily sink low and hold herself, while her little sister happily flies high. That is, until they both tire and wish things were a bit more balanced. Something must change, they realize. Do they try harder, use more (or less) force? Hop down and walk away? And are they just taking a break, or moving on entirely?
I often wish my own personal, existensial seesaw--life as a wife and mom at home on one side, work as a determined writer on the other--were more balanced. Typically one seems so much heavier, pressing its need at me, while the other lifts away, suspended, just out of reach.
Pick a day and I'm perched on one side. Mom and wife. Errands, housework (laundry, dishes, vacuuming, cleaning my bedroom--which I thought wasn't an issue once you turned adult), phone calls, school functions, meals. Ack! And the next day I've climbed to the opposite end, writer. Blogging and networking and reading and studying and writing (and doubting and pep-talking).
There are days I can't juggle all the tasks being a writer demands. Visiting friends' blogs (I'm sorry, friends) and finding new, relevant, relatable ones, or updating my own, or editing that last chapter, or squeaking out an assignment that isn't due quite yet.
And then there are the days writing takes all my attention. It's the bill-paying I delay, calling on that volunteer project, loading the dishwasher, putting away the mounds of clean clothes (really, I'd rather just walk away entirely).
What gets me is that I'm leaving something undone. Always, there is something undone.
This balance thing is so tough. But I think about the example of my kids on the teeter totter, and how if they altered their positions, or pushed with a deeper effort, it may level-out better. Is that a lesson for me? For us?
There are days I understand it's okay to leave the laundry. I understand that my family will not cease to function because there are no clean forks. Likewise, there are days I can rationalize to myself that it's not too likely I'll lose a blog reader because I haven't posted in five days, or that somewhere a red mark will appear next to my name because I procrastinated with an assignment.
Maybe the balance is in my head. In what I tell myself, in the concessions I make, in weighing the heaviest side and choosing what holds the most at any given moment. Then again, maybe I have too much weight. Maybe I've pulled too much to one side.
How does one know? How do you know? How do you balance?
I think I'm going to closely study that teeter totter next time we're at the park. There has to be some way to figure it out.

Friday, February 18, 2011


This week I read ROOM by Emma Donoghue. Everything about it captivated me, from the author's brilliant presentation to the voice of the narrator, five-year-old Jack, who has spent his entire life in an eleven-by-eleven space.

It's one room with two who steal your heart. You have to read it.

What book would you recommend today?

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Mouse With Two Names

There were cartoon names like Bernard from The Rescuers Down Under and Stuart of the Littles. Fitting literary suggestions like Heathcliff, Clive (for the C in C.S. Lewis), Sawyer, Gatsby. Names from my novel-in-progress (how did you know?), which were Hank and Emerson, and then Samuel, a name I always wanted for a boy of my own (didn't have, probably won't, maybe a dog someday?).
Go here to see them all.
Well, it's official, and so now it's time to (re)introduce you to . . .
Mason Canyon said:
The name that popped in my head was Timothy. He would never be called Timmy or Tim, always Timothy. He would need his spectacles only for reading and the pipe would be filled with a cherry-flavored tobacco. He should also have a pocket watch with a chain so he can let you know when you've worked too long.
Also, Marie said (on Facebook):
Hmmmm... How 'bout Pip(squeak)? And I think he's British, by the way... He needs a tall dapper hat to go with his wee pair of spectacles, and he's an old soul. He's great with words, and writing poetry on rainy days. [Janna adds here: Plus, Pip is a character from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, so there's that literary tie-in. COOL BONUS.]
 How can you beat a name with all that personality? I adore it.

Thank you, girls! Mason, if you'd send your address to jannawritesATyahooDOTcom, I'll get your gift in the mail soon. Marie, I'll buy you lunch or somethin', okay? (Marie is a dear friend of mine.)
And thanks to everyone who participated or followed along. I had fun! I hope you did, too.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Help Rename My Mousey Muse!

He's from Starbucks.
This is Huxley. He's "The Mouse Writer." He's sort of posh in appearance, and debonair in presentation. I want to get a tiny pipe, a wee pair of spectacles, or maybe a teeny C.S. Lewis book, and put it in his vest pocket there.

"This might surprise you," he says (on the small card that accompanied him), "but I write stories with my tail. It just takes a bit of ink and some imagination, really."

He sits by my desk, and I see him everyday. He smiles at me, with encouragement, and has the warmest eyes. I'm not convinced the name Huxley fits him, though. I'd like Shane or Phillip or Bim or something like that, I think. Refined but not pretentious.

Want to help me decide what it should be?

It just takes some imagination, really.

Leave your idea(s) in the comment section of this post. By end-of-day this Sunday (02/13/11) I'll pick the suggestion I like most, and we'll have a winner--and a new mousey moniker!

If yours is the name I choose, you'll get a gift from me, as yet to be determined, and which will be (sorta) personalized to the best of my ability.

What name would you like him to have?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Writing's Appeal (repost)

This is a poem I wrote in July of 2009. I'd been feeling particularly sedentary, and am sure this made me feel a little better, like it justified my stillness a bit. I wanted to revisit it today, because so many of us are dealing with crummy winter weather and that silly cabin fever.

Here, then, is writing's appeal:

He writes to create.
She to storytell.
It's the call of the craft,
it's a love of the skill.

But I'll tell you a secret,
if you'll lean in real close:
I've got one reason
and I like it the most.

Should I be honest?
I suppose I can say:
See, when writing,
being lazy's okay.

You just sit at your desk;
it's the easiest work.
No exercise/exertion.
No way to get hurt.

What? Yeah, you're right,
but side effects are small.
A crick in the neck
or Carpal Tunnel, is all.

I can think of worse things.
I'll give you examples.
Like, would you spot check
those dentures of Grampa's?

Work outside in the yard
on sore, bended knee,
wearing shorts (and underwear
prone to wedgie)?

Bathe the fridge.
Oh, cripes, what is that?
I'll just close the door,
hide the mold in the back.

I could dust the shelves,
ABC all the books.
Make sure all my rugs
have been vacuumed and shook.

But none of that's fun.
Don't you agree?
I'd much rather sit, lazy,
and be writerly.