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joy remembered


It occurred to me yesterday that life doesn't have to be hard. There are things that suck and funks to go through but that's okay. I mean, you don't have to try to change that fact about life. And somehow knowing that, remembering it, leaves you open to more joy.

I'm not sure if I was in some kind of delayed post-partum deal or what but I'm feeling more balanced and more like me. It helps that I'm sleeping more- thank you God, Sam and Dr.K - and also that I'm back to working on my book again. I need to figure out how to keep working on it while on deadline for other projects.

Last week when Sam's sleep shenanigans came to head I was totally out of my mind. Matt asked me when I last worked on my book. While his timing is suspect, he nailed it. Creative writing is more than a hobby for me. It's like right up there with sleep and oxygen

Time for a change

I'm thinking it's time to change some of my writing habits. I used to work really well on "deadline mode." In fact, the pressure of a deadline used to be more motivating than stressful.

But that was back when I could literally check out and ignore everything and everyone until I was officially done. Now that there's this unpredictable little human being counting on me to keep him alive. While Matt is fully capable of fending for himself, Sam? Not so much. I was so cranky trying to meet my column deadline I could hardly stand myself. I'm surprised Sam didn't sleep more just to avoid listening to me read him another draft in a sing-song voice.

In order to not have Sam equate working mommy with mean mommy, I'm going to tweak this waiting till the last minute habit so I'm not frantic when things go sideways.

I have a little down time before gearing up for the next project to catch up on chores, sleep and blogging. Do you guys have a zillion half-written posts in your drafts box, too?

Why I married an English Teacher

Dscf0247 Careful readers of my blog know I suck at grammar. Luckily, I married a red-pen wielding smarty pants who actually knows what he's talking about when discussing dangling participles and ending sentences with prepositions.

Me: "But that's my style," I protest.

Matt: "No, honey. That's not style, it's just wrong."

Me: "Okay, whatever."

Matt:"Babe! You asked me to edit this."


After having that conversation about a million times we've developed a few ground rules. Matt doesn't marvel - out loud - at how I got my degree with my inability to grasp the concept of a comma splice and I don't pick apart his corrections with lame excuses like "Well, that's AP Style." We're still working on the "no hovering" rule. It's just that I can't stand the waiting while someone is reading my work.

"I can feel you looking at me." I hear him say. Well, okay, I watch him say it because, well, busted.

Have I mentioned that I hate editing? I mean, like, I hate it. I get totally attached to my favorite quotes and can't stand to cut them. But, of course, must. I had an editor who used to beg me to just "start with the condensed version already."

When my last column was due, I had Matt glance over it before submitting it on my way out of town.

"B-." Was all he said, with his "kinda" kidding smile.

"B minus?! What are you talking about? It's due, like, now!"

"Sorry. Continuity issues," he shrugged. He saw me starting to stress out and reached for his trusty red pen. "Here. This is how you fix it." And damn if his suggestions weren't spot on. Most of them. Being cool with me passing on his helpful advice is another one of those rules. 

How lucky am I, though, to have an ex-English teacher in the house? Sam, I'm sure, will be just delighted to have his papers corrected at home and at school.

As Matt handed me back my final draft of the Poets & Writes piece he shakes his head and sighs.

"I wish you'd taken my English class." I laugh and tell him it's okay, I know my grave stone will have a comma splice or two on it. He shakes his head again. "Not if you die first."

Who knew?

An amazing thing happened today. I got some work done. A lot of work actually. Who knew how helpful the ability to concentrate could be? I went from (computer) files of notes and no draft to a draft that's already 1,500 words over the 2,500 word limit. So, it turns out, Christina (the amazing Writer Mama) is right, I can concentrate. And whenever I got the urge to distract myself with chores, calling a friend or paying bills, all I had to do was remember I was paying someone else to watch Sam so I could work. Sam, by the way, seemed relatively happy to see me when I came to pick him up but looked like he could've stayed and played with his new friends for a few more hours.

I was surprised and delighted this morning by seeing I got a Gold Star over on Writer Mama's blog for my Deadline Mommy post. Which I am eager to report, I am once again. This time, though, it is a little less stressful since Matt, our neighbor/Sam's God Mother Loretta and Ms. B. are helping take the pressure off of me to feel like I have to be and do everything all at once.

I'd say I'm a good half-way done. Still a little behind but confident I'll catch up. Stupid croup.

Publication day

My column comes out today. Waiting for the "thump" of the paper to hit my front door. Waiting for the sound of Lucy Baby going crazy as the paper carrier walks up our street. Waiting ... and trying not to puke. I know I do this on purpose. I know I love my job. But still. I get so nervous about what my articles look like in print. Will it read they way I meant it to? What changes will the editors make? Will people connect with what I wrote? I'll put up a link as soon as soon as it goes online. Until then, back to work.

If you haven't seen the Kelly Ripa commercial I refer to in the column click here.

Drum roll, please ...

I can't help but notice there's been a little dip in my visitor stats directly in correlation with my lack of posting while meeting my deadline. I, too, love seeing something new, even if it's a little thing, when I visit my favorites. So I have a dual announcement.

First, and it is all I can do to lay off the exclamation key, my query for "Getting your Green on for Writers" was accepted by Poets & Writers magazine. Hurray! It's due super fast so I am right back on deadline. I'll complain if you'll let me but it's truly a nice place to be.

Which brings me to my next announcement, the return of Dear Diary flashbacks. One of my long-term projects is typing up my old journals which I'm doing randomly. I'll start posting excerpts again. Eventually I'd like to publish them as a documentation of an ordinary life. How boring, right? Except that I think there is something valuable in finding that in the deepest part of ourselves we're more alike than not. This is achieved in hearing our fears, neurosis,and day-to-day details echoed in the experience of others.

Your thoughts?

Need to know basis - August 1997

Aug 6, 1997

worry list

  • math
  • outdoor center story
  • money
  • math
  • mess

Aug 30, 1997

i can't believe august is almost over! the older we get the more there is to do and the quicker the time passes.The hottest man just came in - wow. But I will date no more forever after my Monte experience. It's been proven that every one of my local girlfriends has had a freaky experience with guys named Monte. On my hell day at work last week a guy bought a stamp. I thought he could be cute but I didn't pay him much attention. He was nice. Right a closing he came in and said, "This may seem a bit bold but would you like to go out for coffee sometime?"

"Sure." What am I supposed to say and besides, it can't hurt to just meet a new person. Hah! So he says "how about tonight?"

me: "No, I'm sorry I have a meeting."

him: "Tomorrow?"

me: "No, I'm busy."

him: "How about Thursday?"

me: "Well, I'll be working but maybe."  So I worked until 2 and he didn't come in and by then I didn't want to go. I asked K. [my boss] if i could watch her close just to get the practice - so I came back and RIGHT at 6 as the lights went out, he comes strolling in and sits down and waits. I was MORTIFIED. I did not know his name. I didn't know how to explain him to K. and I didn't want her to think I came in to close as an excuse to meet this presumptuous person and he certainly was not attractive to me. Bad news bears. So what was I supposed to do? I closed and left. He followed us out and already had it all planned that we were going to Tony's [coffee shop]. Um, hi. How about consulting with me? but I went and not only did I go but I LET HIM DRIVE. I do not know why - he seemed nice enough but so did Ted Bundy. So at coffee I almost freaked out.

him: Do you know what C.A. is?

me: blank face

him: cocaine anonymous

me: Okay. I didn't need to know which support group he's in or that he's on the bandwagon or that his girlfriend in high school was killed in a drunk driving accident with him but that he still loves Jane. On a coffee date you're on a need to know basis and I didn't need to know any of those things.

September 20, 1997

So J. is married. It really happened. And I am really glad I didn't go. So many people went for insincere reasons. But, I just couldn't be a part of that. I know I was one of the "most important people to tell" list but if it was that important to J. he would've called ... Oh, man! I forgot to over-analyze the Monte situation. I HATE it when people make me be rude just to get an obvious hint. Like - I do NOT like you. I really don't even want to be friends with him! Anyway last week he came in and got a coffee and sat and STARED at me and made small talk. Then a few days later he parked in the lot and just sat in his car or an hour and a half. Today he came in and unfortunately it was very slow so I couldn't be distracted. He sat right across from me and just looked. He didn't even come in under the pretense of getting coffee. Just sat and told me all about this and that like I should care. K. pays me to work here, not to give a shit. Anyway, I tried to keep talking just to avoid the possibility of him asking me out and the silence - i hate how he just looks through me. and i hate how he talks - he's a little too old to use babytalk and to think the way he does. He's way too much like T. (who called me the other night). Anyway he was here for 45 minutes when he asked what I was doing today cause I ran out of things to say. I told him. Then he asked if I was doing anything tomorrow. I said, No. Not really.  but I hesitated so it should've been clear that even if I had nothing to do I'd rather do that then hang with him. And after a LONG and uncomfortable silence he asked i I wanted to do something with him. After a long silence during which he STARED I said, "No. Not really." He nodded like it was the end of the world. I just hope it was the end of Monte in my life.