Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ivory, Not Pearl


Why is it exactly that blogging inspiration hits me when I'm in the laundry room, devoid of paper and pen?

The world may never know, but I can assure you if I had the presence of mind to put pen and paper in the laundry room, I'd never get another flash of an idea whilst moving the wet clothes from the washer to the dryer.

You know I'm writing a novel, right? Well, I'm still threatening to write about writing, but for now I want to tell you that my children will use any and every opportunity to commit some act of soul-sucking sibling rivalry. I bring this misery onto my own head, of course. It's all my fault. You see, when they ask if I love them more than the others, I've simply taken the easy route. "Yes, but don't tell the others," I'd coo at them.

Bad idea.

So last night Nathan and Sophia wanted me to read them the parts of the story that contain characters based on them. So I did. And do you know that turned into a fight about who was depicted in a better light? I kid you not. To cut through the ensuing bickering, I sent Sophia out of the room to finish her homework. Nate stayed behind, alternately rolling around on the floor like a puppy and running on the elliptical that sits, disapprovingly, next to my desk. We talked some about the story and I asked him for some of his expertise on a particular issue. He was glad to oblige.

Sophia, who had apparently been skulking about in the hallway instead of doing the homework she'd been assigned, took great umbrage at the fact that Nate was helping me with some details and brainstorming ideas for a particular scene in the story. She pouted into the room and was sent out again with an admonishment for what included, but was not limited to, eavesdropping, not doing her homework, pettiness, poutiness and being an all around bad sport about things.

For my part, I thanked Nate and busied myself by going back to work on the story. At this point, MathMan got involved, trying like hell to give Sophia some solace in the knowledge that her inclusion in the story mattered just as much as Nate's. He learned, however, that was not what was eating her. She'd become incensed that I'd asked Nate specific questions about General George S. Patton. Quick thinker that he is, MathMan instructed Sophia to show just how much she knew about Patton by producing a three paragraph essay. She came back to him in under thirty minutes and presented him with a titled, by-lined and perfectly typed three paragraph biography on Gen. Patton. I believe it employed the correct Strunk and White style.

The intense competition amongst our children continues. Even Chloe gets in on the act by leaving snarky comments about her siblings on Facebook. I can see it now, they'll all three be together, taking care of the arduous duty of scattering my ashes and there will be some conflab about who gets to carry the urn. Next thing you know, I'll be scatterd all over the parking lot of some Taco Bell where they've stopped before carrying out their solemn task. MathMan and his young wife will find their vacation on Aruba interrupted by a panicked call from Sophia while they can hear Nathan and Chloe nearly coming to blows in the background. MathMan's beautiful, interesting and unmarred by motherhood young wife will take the phone from his hand, tell the three adult hellions to solve the issue themselves and then, purring something sweet into MathMan's ear, will toss his cellphone into the ocean and hand him his fancy glass of some tropical, rummy drink.

Where the hell was I before I died? Oh yes. Taunting you with the threat of writing about writing.

One of the most delightful sensations I've had lately, was the magic I felt when I finally and for the first time printed off what I have thus far written as my novel. 13,000 words. (and growing!) I printed it yesterday so I could take it with me to edit as I waited for MathMan who was in a meeting. Holding that forty-six pages of black letters on white paper that told a story of my own making was magic. All the sudden, it became real. No longer was it something I was going to do - it was something that I'm doing, I've done and I continue to do. I held that stack of papers in my hands and just looked at them for a few seconds to savor that feeling. The last time I held my own writing in my hands like that was in 1981 when I used to write horror stories in spiral bound notebooks. Since then, most of my writing has been on the computer and has never materialized from screen to paper.

Right now I'm writing about another kind of magic - the time that I lived and went to school in France is still one of my fondest memories. I loved being there and didn't want to leave. Nevertheless, the decision to come home to the U.S. and finish my degree created twists and turns in my life that I would have never imagined back in 1987.

One of the ways that I get in the proper frame of mind to write about a specific event or place or time is to listen to the music that was part of my life then. Here's a brief sampling of the songs of that time. I am not declaring them good, just, um.....representative of that time.



Man, remember how you used to love when I sang this song with hand gestures and everything, MathMan? I know, so much fun! How could you forget?

Until next Wednesday,

Lisa

32 comments:

  1. I can't hardly get past the middle of most stories. I have a hard time getting them finished. How do you make a resolution not anti-climactic? If you figure that out, please do tell.

    You look gorgeous in that photo, by the way. Weird 80's music or no.

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  2. So excited you're making progress on the novel.

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  3. Thanks Lisa. I was having withdrawals.

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  4. My sides are hurting from laughing. How did you manage to kill yourself off, MathMan remarry, and ashes in Taco Bells parking lot? That is a story in itself. I hope to be close to the front of the line to purchase your first venture into the literary world. :)

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  5. Damn you are gorgeous :)

    And I am so having a time warp with that Communards song....holy crap....:)))

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  6. That's what you get for putting kids in your stories; and basing them on your own? You'd think you'd have learned after all these years, but nooooo.

    When the audiobook version of your tale is released, it's not going to contain those weird 80s tunes, is it?

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  7. I'm so happy for your progress on the book..........you can do it, your lovely head is full of wonderful words that only you can weave in that way.
    I have the same scary visions of my kids battling over my ashes, only I've never envisioned Kevin on a beach with some hot babe..stop, he's going with me!

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  8. Ashes in Taco Bell... Well better than a friend of mine who's sister threw her first husband's ashes in the garbage (OK they had been separated for years before he died). She was just tired of them.
    I do expect a signed fist edition of all your novels.

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  9. Lisa, you're so brilliant! I am so happy you are on this journey!

    You make me laugh like almost no one else these days. Thanks for bringing us along.

    I can't wait to read the book!

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  10. You are an inspiration! I would love to write a real novel too - haven't even tried yet. I keep thinking maybe I should take a course on writing or something. But considering I've been reading since I was, like, 6, wouldn't you think I'd know how to do it by now? I can't wait to see what you have written - I'm sure you will be a published author very soon!

    That's hilarious - yet expected - that the Spawn would argue over their roles. I think Sophia should write a biography of Patton and she too could become a published author!

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  11. You are an inspiration! I would love to write a real novel too - haven't even tried yet. I keep thinking maybe I should take a course on writing or something. But considering I've been reading since I was, like, 6, wouldn't you think I'd know how to do it by now? I can't wait to see what you have written - I'm sure you will be a published author very soon!

    That's hilarious - yet expected - that the Spawn would argue over their roles. I think Sophia should write a biography of Patton and she too could become a published author!

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  12. You do realize the Spawn are going to sue you as soon as you sell the movie rights, don't you?

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  13. You've gotten farther along the path than I ever could. I wish you continued inspiration and the best sort of muses.

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  14. I was afraid you were going to carry through on your threat to shut the blog down. I would have had to resort to extreme measures . . .

    Why is it women fantasize their men will remarry someone younger, should a separation/death/disappearance occur? My wife insists that I would do so.

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  15. Of COURSE they are fighting about who is depicted in a better light. I'd have done the same with my brother, no question.

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  16. God I love that song! When you sell the book to a publisher, or publish yourself, I want a copy!!! I will even pay for it. ;)

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  17. I also had a competition going with my brother (3 years older.) Ugly and painful. 35 years later, he's realized that I really was the preferred sibling, and now we're good friends.

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  18. I am SO excited for you...writing a novel has to be exciting--at least at times! :)

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  19. Congratulations on your progress. I hope you include parenting tips. I don't have kids (and don't plan on having any), but they always make me laugh.

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  20. Glad to hear you're moving along with your book, and eager to read it when it's finished.

    My mom's nearly finished with her memoirs and it looks like much of my childhood will be read and remembered by total strangers as of next year. It's a strange feeling. I'm delighted she's doing it--the old girl's lived quite the life--but not so delighted at the same time.

    About a month ago she sent over her first draft to see what I thought. I've made every imaginable excuse why I've not looked at it yet and it sits here on my desktop, an icon of guilty trepidation.

    So tell the kids all children of talented mothers have to deal with this. They're braver than I--at least they had the gumption to find out what you wrote.

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  21. I cannot wait to read a draft. And I have seen the Facebook snark of which you speak!

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  22. And yes you are beautiful - that pic is precursor of how fantastic you are now.

    Adding fiction to you blog... shocking. What would I being doing in Aruba? I would be in Arazona or Florida watching baseball.

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  23. You've already proved you can be enormously entertaining writing about anything you turn your attention to and your digressions are absolutely, wonderfully hilarious. Yes, I laughed out loud at the picture of your ashes spread around the parking lot of the Taco Bell. How apt a resting place for so many of our fellow citizens and a brilliant dig all on its own.

    I promise to buy a copy.
    I'm already imagining a series.

    Do you require an illustrator? Oh, never mind. It might turn out I'm writing my own :-)

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  24. 13,000 words and 45 pages [i hope i carried that memory with me as i laughed and chuckled at the thought of taco bell and your urn of ashes in the center of the parking lot...you have a wonderful way of writing about the most absurd situations, i do hope you know that...

    so life is getting on in this writing is it? I am so very happy for you and must say that since we "met", I have not heard you happier or more content....and your tale of mathman's younger wife not marred by the birthing of three lovely children? hysterical of course....and probably completely on target for what would happen...I mean it WOULD happen JUST LIKE THAT wouldn't it? yes, it would!
    :)
    xox

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  25. Congratulations on your rapid progress!

    I can't wait until we can all read it!

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  26. I am proud of you. I'm going to do NaNoWriMo this year because editing kills me. I want to write past it. I have 3 first chapters, 2 seconds and then I just rewrite nearly the same thing. I read over there, that's what such a writing blast can combat. So, the only advice I have is, "Don't start over," as I prepare and am excited to again start over at the first of November.

    (Kick your disapproving elliptical for me, k? That one d-word cracked me up.)

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  27. Congratulations darling. You're really doing it!

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  28. You keep going, gurl! I am so stoked to see you achieve your dream. (Hell; I can't even find the where-with-all to get out of bed in the morning!)

    I'll live through you for now: soon I will embark on a "journey" of my own. I have your example to spur me along!

    In the meantime; I need to work on the pipes!

    ;)

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  29. Hi Lisa-
    Congratulations on the 13k! You are so totally "doing it" and hearing you are inspires me to get back to "doing it." Thank you!
    Stephanie

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  30. that is where you are going to make your money honey!

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  31. I miss you. Too long between Wednesdays. Good-bye for now and don't forget to write.

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  32. I'm so happy that you are writing and that you already have a lovely big stack of words!

    The Communards song is spinning me down my own memory lane . . .

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