Thursday, June 30, 2011

Writing on Thursday

It's Not Always Easy
Maybe it's not something I should admit to, this fact that I can pull entirely away from my writing.
It's just that life happens so heavily at times, and how can I devote myself to fiction when reality is so big and in-my-face significant?
It happened that way last year when my dad was diagnosed with stage IV bone cancer. When we were first reeling from the prognosis, and watching through his (short-lived) treatments, and then struggling through the two-month decline before he passed away. Two months, that was all we had him after the doctor told us that day, because he'd already had multiple sclerosis for twenty years, and his body didn't have a chance.
photo found at hubpages
Writing did not come easy for me then.
Sometimes we hear of those writers who are driven by problems and hurt and they throw themselves into their work, making it richer and deeper and better. I only wish I were that kind of writer.
My writing has been suffering again of late, because more big life is happening. In the way life happens, I suppose.
...I'll be telling you about it soon, in an upcoming Keep It Real Tuesday post...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Keep It Real Tuesday

Finding Outside

I've never been an outdoorsy girl. Because you can't control the air out there. There's the brightness and heat of the sun. And bugs. Bugs! Especially spiders. Ew. And there's never anything to do, I was always so sure.

I didn't suspect all my thoughts about it would change with this job I took recently.

Remember I mentioned it back in the spring? I couldn't say much then, but I'll say more now.

I'm an odor monitor for a local study. I won't get into the science of it, but basically our team gathers certain types of data, with our noses and various instruments, to be used as seen fit by whomever in the future.

And we sit. We sit a lot. In the sun, in the rain, in the wind, in the heat. In the outdoors. It is our job.

I've come to like it. A whole bunch. The warmth of the sun, the feel of the breezes. I like to stand strong, whatever the element. I like the smell of rain, the sounds of the birds. I've a favorite, even: The Eastern Meadowlark. Such a beautiful song. And my least favorite, a killdeer. I love how they protect their eggs, but they're loud and paranoid and naggy.
And it turns out there's lots to do outside. The peace of it is so nice.

If I'm not visiting with my co-workers, I'm reading. Or writing. Or even just sitting, being. I love to sit and think. To contemplate my depths, who it is I am, and what it is I need in this life. What I have to offer.

It turns out that, in finding the outdoors, I've begun finding me. And it's proving to be a significant experience.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Change is Coming to SSW

Clearer focus, truer themes. Better content.

Keep It Real Tuesdays will be personal. What's going on in life? What are my struggles and experiences? What vulnerabilities (and strengths) can I show? And through what can we relate? Live this human condition with me.

Writing on Thursdays will be dedicated to the craft, and will include posts about projects and works-in-progress, author features, book reviews, successes and failures, and all that writerly jazz.

Inspire Me Sundays will have thought-stirring quotes, simple motivations, and inspiring sentiments. Let's consider who we are, what we're doing in this place, and where we want to go.

It all starts here tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5 Easy Questions

Friend and fellow writer, fabulous snacker (she likes M&M's!) and fantastic mom Jill Kemerer, has interviewed me for her Wednesday series, 5 Easy Questions. To read the Q&A visit her blog, and leave a comment here or there. I so appreciate her having me!

And while you're visiting Jill, who writes sweet, emotional, sparkling inspirational romance novels, and is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency, be sure to peruse her sidebar chock-full of helpful tidbits for writers (and readers).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


That old saying goes, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."

I don't like lemonade, actually.

So I'm going to slice that lemon up into real fine slivers, and drop them into a glass of iced tea, slightly sweetened.

That's how I do what's best for me, not what is expected.

Dealing with some lemons of life right now, but everything's going to turn out alright.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Thought You Should Know...

There's a pretty awesome new blog, thought up and maintained by my friend Amy Nathan, for writers and readers of women's fiction. It is aptly named Women's Fiction Writers, and on it Amy talks about struggles in the craft, offers encouragement we all need, and features interviews with big hitters, which (so far) include Cathy Lamb (who is listed in my sidebar here) and, yes, THE Jennifer Weiner.

If you have a moment, please check it out. Search the archives (check out those interviews!), and say hello.

And tell Amy I sent you. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We Like Our Junk Food... And It's Okay!

Last night on Facebook, with visions of other, better have-it-together women sitting down to wholesome, filling meals across the land, I posted this as my status:

Will it be okay if I just have Oreos and milk for dinner?

I felt sort of bashful about it, and didn't think I'd get much response, but I did. I did! And the comments culminated in a resounding YES.

There were comparable confessions. Two had ice cream for a meal. One, cereal straight out of the box. And my mom (she's on Facebook, because isn't that the way of things now?) said sure, she'd had pie. One friend said, "I'll write you a note saying it's okay." Another said, "I say you go for it [because] life is short." A third said, "Such a sad day when we question our most pure and wonderful urges." Just this morning yet another friend had a Nestle Crunch bar for breakfast, and let it be known that she's my kinda girl.

You know what? I say we own it. OWN it, ladies.

Here's the thing. Most times I would rather have a Big Mac and fries than a salad. I like fat hunks of chocolate, and salt-and-vinegar potato chips (not together, actually, but now that I think about it...). Why not get something fried to perfection? (Dill pickles? Yes, please.) Why can't I stand at the edge of the kitchen and snarf down a bowl of cereal with itty-bitty fake marshmallows? And I know, up in the smart part of my brain, that carbonation and caffeine aren't good for my body, but dangitall I just love a fountain Dr Pepper, okay?

Here's the other thing. I know as well as the next woman that it's about balance. There are things we have to eat for our well-being. I happen to love steamed broccoli and sauteed carrots and grilled asparagus, blueberries and strawberries (but not raspberries), almonds, yogurt, things with those all-powerful anti-oxidants, (some) protein-packed meats, fish and rice, and I enjoy baking (and eating) breads and muffins with wheat germ and milled flax seed. And I'm pretty decent about drinking water.

I like to have it all, baby.

It's just I think we shouldn't deny ourselves. It's about portion control, and, I'll say it again, balance. I think if I'm hormonal and want a whole "sharing size" pack of Peanut M&M's for myself (or, say, Oreos and milk for dinner), then that's exactly what I need to eat. I say if, once in a while, I don't have the energy to cook a five-food-group meal (who does that, anyway?) then I'm alright serving up bowls of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (as long as it's spirals). [Although okay, I confess, guilt gets the best of me and I serve canned fruit, too. That just feels better.]

It's not about just health, it's about happiness. I wouldn't be happy eating only greens and grilled chicken with eight servings of fresh fruit all the time. There is something deeply satisfying about the Arby's drive-through, and have you ever anticipated the first bite of a brownie explosion with hot fudge and vanilla ice cream?, and I really dig greasy Mexican food. (Fortunately I'm blessed with good genes and a high metabolism.)

It is the small (delicious) things that make life worth living.

And that lead to the need for exercise. I gained five pounds writing this post, so I'm going to go take a walk. While I'm out, answer any or all of these questions:

Do you have allergies, intolerances or health limitations that affect your diet?
What is a "splurge" for you?
Do you indulge in your wicked desires? (I'm just talking food here, so let's walk away from TMI.)
How often do you make a meal out of something not mealish?
Do you exercise regularly?
Is there guilt?
Will you come over for milk and cookies?

How do you feel about the things I've talked about here?