Saturday, October 30, 2010

The heat is on...

Wow.  I really don't know what I'm going to write about.  I'm kind of stressing out about it. 

Someone once said that you have to write like your parents are dead.  I suppose that applies to all family and friends really.  Writers tend to draw from their own experiences and sometimes that means characterizing someone close to you.  It may also mean revealing parts of yourself that you may not be comfortable sharing with Dear Old Aunt Suzie.  It's a fine line and one of the biggest problems I had with writing the novel last year for Nanowrimo-  telling the real story of my awakening was important to me... but it was just so personal! 

I've always wanted to explore the mother-daughter relationship (now more than ever as I'm about to have one of those relationships).  I want to tell it from a different perspectve- the one where the mother and daughter don't have to end up friends at the end.  Where they don't recognize and forgive their differences.  Because that does happen.  It's not the happy ending that most people want from a book, but it is reality.  The truth is, my mom and I never made peace.  And I can honestly admit that it would've taken some big changes on both our parts for that to happen if she were still here.  I am, however, at peace with the fact that we never reached some huggy-kissy-BFF kind of place.  That wasn't meant to be for us.

And I think it's true for many people.  But I've always shyed away from writing about it because, even fictionalized, I knew my mom's feelings would be hurt.  I knew she would read it as a commentary on our relationship, possibly even feel embarrassed.  And I didn't want to do that.  I would never want to embarrass her.  As I've said before, she loved me the best she could and I understood that. 

But now, I can write without the fear of hurting her.  I guess I've found my topic. 

Hopefully she can be proud.  Maybe this will be my story.  Maybe...

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's almost that time...

I really expected to be a lot more ready for National Novel Writing Month which begins in all of three days.  Back in January or February, I made the decision to try and do right by my mother's faith in my writing and get my novel done by the anniversary of her death (January 10th).  I was going to write in this blog daily- or close to daily- to get me inspired and used to writing again.  In doing that, my creative juices would start flowing and I would, by November, be ready to write the great American novel.

Or at least something novel-length.

But Nanowrimo begins in three days and, honestly, I got nuttin'.  I had a couple of ideas through this year but, after presenting a synopsis and introduction on another writing website- and having them shot down- I've abandoned them.  Personally, I've been reading Harry Potter for about six weeks now, and these books, while wonderful, haven't gotten me thinking anything except I wish I'd thought of that.  Which is not helpful.

Last year during Nanowrimo, I wrote 50,000 words about me.  It was meant to be MY story- the actual story of me transforming from who I was (lonely waitress, living in other people's houses, waiting for something) into who I am (wife, soon-to-be-mother, in love with her job and life).  But it was too personal and I wasn't ready.  I just ended up piecing together the funnier stories of life overseas...  I tried to fictionalize some parts to make it feel less intrusive.  It didn't really work.  I haven't even looked at it since October 31st of last year.  It probably stinks (Nanowrimo doesn't put pressure on you to write well- they just want you to reach the 50,000 mark).  But I had an idea and I was able to sit down almost every day and pound out the 1667 words I needed, usually with little effort.

Monday is November 1st.  I have no idea what I'm going to write.  But I WILL complete this task again, even if it doesn't make my mom as proud as I meant it to.

Maybe it's just still not time...

P.S. November 1st is also the beginning of Movember - It's a good thing I will hopefully be really busy writing because there will not be a lot of smooching in the Horner house for the next month if this picture (from last year) is any indication of what's to come.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fill it half-full...

I have never been what some would call an optimist.  I come by it naturally, that is for sure.  It's not like there's a specific memory to pinpoint, but it's difficult to recall Mom ever offering up encouragement before finding the 'half-empty' in any situation I presented to her.  My grades could be better, but they're okay (I got mostly A's, with a smattering of B's... let's not talk about the two C's- I blame the teachers for those).  If you lost some weight, you'd be happier.  A box of macaroni and cheese is not dinner... wait, that has nothing to do with being an optimist, I just still remember her saying that and being shocked because that couldn't possibly be true.

Like my Mom, it is easy for me to find the negative in any given moment.  I actually have to work to find the positive first.  It's a tough burden to overcome, but one that is necessary when teaching middle school.  You can't walk around all the time putting them down.  You have to notice that good thing first and follow it up with constructive criticism.  For example:

Me: Mid-sized Johnny- I really like how creative your story is.  Next time, could you read it loud enough so that I could actually hear you.
Mid-sized Johnny: Mmshdkguash

Or something along those lines.  I can't just say, "I couldn't hear you."  That could hurt his feelings.  That technique wouldn't have worked on me, I can tell you that.  I would've heard the first part- how creative I was- and hung on to that with every fiber of my being.  The 'talking louder' (like that could've EVER been a problem for me) would've flown right over my head and out the window.  But man, I would have written some great stories.

I bring this up because, at times, it's lonely here.  I've never really belonged to any particular 'group' in any school we've been in.  Dave and I seem to be the type of people that can hang out with anyone, but don't always get invited to things.  Even at 32, I feel that being-left-out-sting.  Those are the times I try to find the half-full in the situation.  Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't.  So for those times when I can't, I'm going to make a list of half-fulls... just so I don't forget.

1.  A wonderful husband
2.  Best friends, even if they're not close by (which includes a very adorable and wonderful little Sissypoo)
3.  A wiggly baby in my tummy
4.  A fantastic Daddy
5.  The two cutest dogs anyone has ever had
6.  A fun job in an interesting place
7.  Opportunities to travel
8.  A nice house
9.  A warm bed
10.  A creative spirit

There.  That should do it.  The next time it looks or feels half-empty, I'm going to remember the good things.  We can't be encouraged all the time- sometimes we have to struggle a little.  But with a half-full glass of water (or wine in a few months), maybe that struggle won't seem so hard.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gossip Girl

Alright, it's coming back to bite me in the butt.  I cannot tell a lie- I love gossip.  I love the drama of gossip, I love knowing gossip, I love spreading gossip.  Knowing something about someone else, especially if it's juicy, gives you a sense of power.  You choose whether to tell or keep it to yourself.  You can, if you're a good story teller, hold the rapt attention of an audience if you choose to divulge your knowledge.  At times, it can almost feel like your civic duty to continue to share the information that someone has passed onto you.  They trusted you to keep the telephone lines buzzing... unless they specifically told you not to.  And even then, they can't have meant you weren't supposed to tell anyone, right?

Before you start judging me and spreading gossip about what a horrible person I am, read on.  I like gossip, but I especially like it if it comes from me.  I really enjoy being in the midst of a good drama.  I love to tell my side and make sure you validate what I did or said.  Or at least what I told you I did or said, because, as I've mentioned, I'm not good at confrontation and rarely do or say most of what I said I did or said.  Got that?  I enjoy being wronged, having others rally to my defense to stand united against a real or imagined slight.  I do, I love it.

But I also know when to keep my mouth shut.  You might have a hard time believing that at this moment... or if you know me at all.  It is the truth, however.  I rarely pass along gossip that could hurt someone.  I don't enjoy spreading others' pain or misery.  I don't relish the idea of making someone look bad just so I can get some kicks.  I don't pass along damaging information just to get a laugh.  I am picky in what I choose to gossip about. 

Even if it IS about me.  There is so much that I could say right now, but I have chosen to bite my tongue.  And in biting my tongue, someone else is biting me in the ass.  And I probably deserve that on some level.

I wish it would teach me not to gossip, but it probably won't.  I will continue to be careful in what I say, however.

And I will pick my friends a little more carefully in the future.