Realizations

I’m not sure what possessed me to dig out my novel that has been stored in my hard drive for going on a year now…. but I did.  Maybe I was just overwhelmed at the task that lied ahead.  I had poured as much creativity that I could into 80,000 words and written, what I believe, to be a very unique and empowering story.  I struggled with the ending, as I understand many do… but after submerging into George RR Martin’s, Game of Thrones series – I emerged from it pretty enlightened.  One of the things I liked about the way he writes, was that he didn’t number the chapters, he simply titled it after whichever character the chapter was mostly about.  I found it to be a superb tactic for character development… the plot will always take care of itself if your characters are fully developed.  Since I’ve had many exercises in this very department, I wanted to see how his influence affected my novel through these new-found editing eyes.

Since I abandoned my original voice, and have begun a massive edit to change that voice and narrative… I’m happy with the progress I’m making.  I’ve only just begun, and I will definitely need a full read, instead of broken by chapters to see how my new glasses are shaping my stagnant novel before it’s ready to be shared.   But I am happy to be optimistic about it… Time will tell.

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There is no cure for a year in the mortgage business……

I have a Texas sized headache.  It’s not a headache that can be cured with meds, or your modality of choice.  The only cure for my headache, was resignation.  I went back to work last year, literally abandoning normalcy, to close mortgage loans and try to be a career mom.  15 pounds and 68 gray hairs later, I’ve quit…. I just can’t do it anymore.  It started out with me trying to work part-time from home – but that turned into me injecting the stress of the back end of the mortgage industry directly into my house.  I’ve got a lot of apologizing and making up to do if I’m going to counter any of the resentment billowing through these four walls.  I’ve been fortunate enough to read a few novels while abandoning my own and they’ve at least kept the romance of creativity within reach (that or my mind is playing a cruel trick on me… either way, I suppose it doesn’t matter everything is an illusion these days). Now it’s time to start de-cluttering from being absent for the past 12 months and get some order in this house.  The new School Year is right around the corner and the babies are still under my full-time care.  The play/class room needs some order, the excess clothes downsized, broken toys thrown out/recycled,  and some sort of schedule put in place so that when I say this domicile is organized chaos… I won’t by lying.

So THIS is what grown ups do?

On December 10, 2010 – butterflies filled my stomach as my husband and I ventured into the Hill Country.  A true “adults only” weekend  with the love of my life.  I could not, and still cannot, believe how beautiful the drive was.  I took out the directions to the log cabin we rented and navigated my husband perfectly through the thick smell of cedar.  As we approached our destination through the winding narrow street, my heart pounded with excitement.  Finally, we were there… a jewel box in the middle of nowhere.

The cabin was no more than 400 square feet, and we were immediately infatuated with its charm.  The wooden floors creaked beneath us as we tiptoed respectfully from room to room.  We fit nicely on the oversized furniture.   On the leather ottoman, I found a spiral journal that had been placed there with purpose.  As I paged through the entries, I was taking in the experiences of those that stayed before me.

 

I took so many beautiful sunset pictures.... this one is the dreamiest, so after much consideration, it was chosen for this post.

There were recommendations for dining, shopping and leisure activities.  I was so grateful that other travelers had taken the time to record their experiences.  That night, after a gorgeous sunset, we hit the Brookshire Brothers and stocked the tiny fridge with breakfast staples and a couple of juicy steaks that we had plans to grill the following night.  We went to dinner at the Cypress Creek Cafe, and I was pleasantly surprised at the eclectic menu.  My husband got comfort food (chicken fried chicken) and I got a Neptune burger with sweet potato fries.  The burger was a righteous 8 ounce mahi steak with an interesting creole sauce.  I loved it.

We spent the evening in the hot tub under a blanket of stars.  It was absolutely divine.

This picture does not do this massive piece of wood justice. Yes, that is a full grown tree behind it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following day, we traveled about 12 miles west to Driftwood Vineyards and quickly became aware that the name was aptly suited to the environment.   We went into their tasting room and sampled 5 different wines for $10 and we got a souvenir wine glass.  We bought the Lone Star Cab to go with our steaks, then stood near a rock wall and took in the sensational view.  I felt warm inside from the wine and found the place to be just what my soul needed.  After about an hour, we headed into town.

View from the Vineyard

 

The shopping in Wimberley is not for the weak stomached.  There are literally shops upon shops upon shops.  Every corner you round, you find more shops.  I got an early Christmas present, and we ate fried pickles and drank cold beer at Ino’z Brew and Chew.  Definitely recommend the place if you’re ever in the area.

Later that evening we shared a technology-absent evening with our steaks and wine, then wrapped in each other’s arms the way we did 10 years ago in a bed all to ourselves (we jokingly call our bed, the family bed…it fits two toddlers, two 40 year olds, and an 8 year old rather nicely).  I considered it a late Anniversary present, since that day seemed to uneventfully come and go.   I did find creative inspiration everywhere I looked, and am glad that I took the camera along to capture it.  Sometimes I wish I could just put it in a bottle and spray it around the room when I’m finding myself incapable of positivity or creativity.  In my experience, you have to have one in order to have the other.

Oops, I did it again….

Well, here we are.  Brand new year, and I’ve started it off soul searching… just like I have every year prior to this.  I began writing an exceptional recollection of my awesome getaway with my husband just before Christmas (that is like many other projects… not done) and then started to dust off the novel and finish my rewrite in 3rd person (also not done).  Then it happened.  I fell off the wagon, and went to vitriolic websites that I know damn well I should NOT be browsing and got irritated enough to join the fray of meaningless bashing.   Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

Now I could easily go back and continue to argue with someone incapable of reasoning… but I’m not.  Then I told myself that at least I was writing.  Funny how humans justify juvenile behavior to make themselves feel better.   The media frenzy surrounding a very personal topic for me (that shall forever remain nameless here) just got the better of me and I couldn’t take it anymore.  I tried to interject reason, and was met with endless psychiatric profiles of my psyche by people who don’t even know me.  Well…. SCREW. THEM.  They don’t deserve my attention.  And with that, I’m erasing this mishap from the history books and moving on….

I am reading a fabulous book.  It’s called, The Dirty Life, by Kristin Kimball.  It’s about a freelance writer in New York City that gave up everything she knew and entered the (then) foreign world of farming.  She, along with her husband Mark, run a CSA in Essex, New York.  The story of its birth and their relationship has warmed my heart and given me hope that a farm may some day find me (people who know me, know that I long for this).  The mental exhaustion endured by my profession has taken a toll on my livelihood.  I guess only I can change that. 

Happy New Year!

Plain Worn Out

Man.  I’m tired.

Today, I counted the days from the last time my husband and I had a day off together… sadly, this took me all the way back to the end of May.  He works the weekends, so wherever we do end up on the weekends, it’s always after work.  His “weekends” are Thursday and Friday while I’m working like other folks.  He also works on the major holidays that normal citizens have off… Memorial Day.  Fourth of July.  Labor Day.  He will be off on Thanksgiving though, and I’m hoping I’ll get the Friday after off, giving us two whole days together.  With family of course, but that’s what Thanksgiving is all about and I can’t wait to spend two whole days grazing in front of a turkey watching football.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the time we use to spend exclusively before our professional and domestic lives took over minds and bodies, though.  Today, I decided to fix that.

On December 10th, we’ll be getting away all by ourselves for two whole nights.  Two whole nights of a bed all to ourselves and two whole nights of adult conversation without picking up after anyone or waiting on anyone.  I decided to journal The Road Trip, and hopefully chronicle a few of them if we can decide that it’s worth it to do so (you know the answer to that…hopefully we do too).   Since I also dabble in photography, perhaps the muse in me will muster together enough creativity to actually write something thoughtful about the trip while managing to visually capture it at the same time?

To Write or Not To Write….that is the question

Either I will make time for it, despite life’s trying curve balls, or I will not.  I’m having trouble balancing the tasks involved with being a career mom and janitor caregiver, while still finding time for the only thing that makes me feel really, really good.  I watched my daughter fall into another Young Adult series (after being ineligible for band after failing geometry at the 6 weeks mark… she’s got a test Friday to determine if she’ll pass the 9 week grading period) and she’s passed them on to me – and I’m finding them to be just what I need in order to see that with the right story, and the right voice, you can capture readers and involve them in the lives of your characters in the very same way you’ve become attached to them yourself.  This time, it’s Lauren Kate’s Fallen series.  She has tuned in to teenagers very, very well.  Her simplistic, yet descriptive writing is very easy to read and you become very easily wrapped up in her story.  My only complaints, were that I had a hard time picturing some of her characters because I didn’t think they had been fully developed.  Perhaps this unveils more in her books in the series yet to be published, I guess we’ll see.  All in all, it was a nice escape from my daily grind… and it’s actually stirred up something inside so for that, I give thanks.  My mind is far away from work at the moment, as I steal a few moments to post this blog entry and I can’t seem to stop thinking about my failed attempt at my novel.  Or has it failed?  I only sent one query… I guess the answer to that is no.  It’s just not done, and it needed to rest.

This leads me to believe that the reason I felt my novel was drowning, was certainly not because of my story… it was because of my voice.  It was because my characters needed further development.  It was because I could not find a suitable writing “place” in my (now) chaotic life and develop my craft for both professional and creative reasons. 

And now?  I’m disappointed.  So what’s it to be, to write, or not to write?  I say write.  I bought a nice hard covered journal and a fantastic gel pen set (perhaps writing in different colors may also spark a furor of creative energy too?) to strip it down to the basics again (I often perform very well with just paper and pen… all that’s missing is a candlestick instead of electricity).  Since I’ve already written my manuscript and it’s been stored away electronically on a flash drive just waiting for me, I say that now is the time to begin again.  It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me.

I miss my cat.

About a year ago, my outdoor tabby disappeared rather mysteriously.  I asked one pair of my older neighbors yelling driveway to driveway if he’d seen her, he said no… then I knocked on the door of the other.  When I asked the round, old man about my cat, his wife chimed from their kitchen table, “No, and my squirrels are sure happy!”

I recalled the day that the vermin truck pulled up outside a few weeks back and removed what looked like a squirrel from under their deck, and this wasn’t the first time.  I’d seen Ruby tango with many a squirrel, each of them losing to her after a vicious battle.  I don’t view squirrels as cute little critters that you want to cuddle with and become life-long pals.  I see them as the destructive rats with fluffy tails that they are.  They have destroyed the netting surrounding our trampoline.  The cushions in outdoor furniture.  The screens.  The electricity line from my house to the pole.  But my sixty something neighbor across the street?  She feeds them.

Don’t get me wrong, they are entitled to their quality of life, and if Ruby was impeding on that right – then  as her owner I am obligated to abate that nuisance.  The problem, is that the grumpy old man didn’t give me a chance to do that.  I could have re-homed her very easily and she would loved my parents house.  Instead of growing to the ripe old age she should have, her life was very likely ended traumatically and unfairly.  And I am to blame.

I’ve spent the last couple of days outside trying to give our front yard a bit of a facelift (a repurposed one of course, because I hate buying material if I can help it) and I’ve found myself missing her a lot. My eyes wander to the spots where she used to lay, and I find myself getting angry again.   Anger is a strange emotion for me, because it can spawn into different shapes and manifestations… some quickly, and some sort of evolve over time.  When I work in my yard, I become angry – because I miss my cat, and therefore do not want to work in the yard (that and it’s 100 degrees).  Today, I was not angry and I’m trying to figure out if I’ve possibly allowed myself to forgive myself… or them?  No (I think aloud), not them… otherwise I wouldn’t smile at the thought of them watching me shoot squirrels from my front porch.   So, I let my mind wander to my weekend and what could have brought on this change of heart.

On Friday, we started the day correctly – with love and light (more on this to come, I think I finally “get it”) from people I care about.  But I was a slave to my job the entire time I was off, partly from my own doing.  I feel like I should be available when people need me, as it’s the only way to build a solid client base.  But at the same time, if I can’t shut it off – then I am no good to those I am supposed to be spending time with because I am consumed with work.  So I told myself, “The job does not make the man.”  My children were patient, though visibly annoyed so I decided to take them to a movie, and promised not to look at my phone the entire time.  I chose Eat, Pray, Love – and told my kids that I had heard that the novel was really thoughtful and that the movie, while not as good as the novel, was uplifting and profound in a number of scenes.  It was.

One of the things that stuck with me from the film, was the “God” part, and the trip to India.  There were more than one aspects of this section of the story that has put me in a bit of a trance and possibly firing up a dormant part of my brain that might lead to some very noticeable growth, and I’ll start with “Selfless Acts”.   Julia Roberts plays Elizabeth Gilbert, the writer that takes off for a year after a painful divorce and travels to Italy, India, then Indonesia.  You have to like Julia Roberts to see this film… she’s in every frame.  She’s not my favorite, but I think she is a passionate actor and I love the way she laughs.  Sincere laughter is hard to find… so, I don’t mind her.   Anyway, when she gets to India, she is told to change in to work clothes so that she can do her selfless acts, and that they are required from everyone who stays there.   What a rudimentary concept of life that has been forgotten!  I recalled the years of struggle I’ve had to get the older kids to chip in and do their fair share around the house, and rearranging this principle in every form possible.  Then it hit me…why aren’t the people in my house being taught to perform selfless acts on a daily basis, and why has such a simple concept been so hard for me to find?   Who knows what kind of parent I might be if I could snap out of this full-time career-mom, no time for anything enriching, sort of spell that has been cast upon me.