Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cracking the Whip

Ok... I am writing. the creative juices are flowing and I'm going to work on rewriting chapter one of The Novel. Instead of producing brilliantly clever and creative posts on my blog (yeah right, they're are neither of those to begin with), my goal is to write, write, write.

I'll be back after I've completed my task.

And maybe share a peak into my novel? Perhaps.


 
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I'll leave you with a picture of an old building in the historic downtown of Rock Springs, Wyoming. Who knew Rock Springs even had a downtown, let alone a historic one?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Nitty Gritty

I'm a writer. Always have been, and I hope I always will be. A huge part of being a writer is hoping that I'll be a writer who publishes her novels. In pursuit of the actual publishing part of that dream, I attended several writing conferences this spring. It was enlightening, inspiring, and well, honestly, it was a bit terrifying.

Seeing so many desperate writers out there, sure that their novel or memoir or book of poetry is the best thing since Hemingway was a bit overwhelming. When I pitch to an agent or query a publisher, I have to make my work stand out apart from the horde of writers.

One very positive thing I learned at the conferences was the importance of networking, and since then I've been frequenting writing blogs, agents' blogs, publishing blogs, corresponding and responding to other writers via the Internet. Agent Jessica Faust of BookEnds Literary Agency writes an almost daily post on her blog about publishing and trying to get published. If your interested in writing, check it out.

Jessica's post today was about whether or not a writer is ready to query an agent about her book. Jessica's advice, and the advice of every other agent or editor I've ever talked to is always, always, always query only when your novel is as finished, revised, and polished as much as you can make it. Only when its truly finished can you query.

I agree with her, and with my Novel One, I am at that step. The story has been told, and it now lives on paper, but it's not finished yet. I need to revise, edit, and really rewrite much of the story for consistency.

"Editing is not always the best part of the job and it’s certainly not the prettiest, but I think editing that book is more important than writing it." -- Jessica Faust



Writing is all about the rewriting, the editing, the changing. One thing I always tell my students in Freshman Composition is to stand back from the manuscript. To remove yourself from it to create enough distance to actually look at your writing objectively. I teach that, but it is often so hard to take my own advice! I have a fourth draft finished of a novel, but have been resistant to actually being ruthlessly objective and revising it instead of line edits to polish it up. I need to really get in there and rewrite massive parts of it.

Which is my goal current goal. No simple line editing. I need to do total reconstructive surgery on it.

(weary sigh).

I'll start today.

Lovin' Rhubarb

Some days you discover something you lost. Or thought you lost. Or discovered some random gift. Like finding a five dollar bill in a pocket of that pair of pants you hardly ever wear. It perks up my day just thinking about it! I remember in college, one the the best random surprises I ever got was when my roommate cleaned the whole apartment by herself, just because she felt like it. Or the free HBO or Cinemax weekends are on tv, so you can watch the premium movie channels and not have to worry about paying for them.

What inspires this random post about random acts of goodness?

This:
 


At some point, someone who lived in our house planted rhubarb in our garden. We didn't know it was there at all. Then as I was preparing the garden for the spring planting, I discovered this huge weed with large leaves that I couldn't pull up, no matter what.

I struggled with it, contemplated just rototillering it under.

And then I showed the Chef who upon spotting the leafy mound, began giggling in glee.
"Hold on." He said, and dashed into the kitchen for his trusty knife.

 


"It's Rhubarb!"


I have very fond memories of Grandma Margie making rhubarb strawberry pies, tarts, etc. I love that sweet and sour combination. Rhubarb was one plant that I couldn't wait to have when we owned a house, since buying rhubarb in the store is often pricey.

And here's my random surprise gift. We have a giant rhubarb plant growing in our very own backyard. I can have rhubarb pie whenever I want it now, all I have to do is go outside the kitchen, pluck a few stalks of the the leafy goodness, cook, and enjoy.
 
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P.S. Rhubarb leaves are toxic. Don't eat the leaves, or let your neighbor's dog eat the leaves. The stalks are fine. But the leaves if you eat enough will cause your throat to constrict and you could be very sick. Or you could kill your neighbor's dog. (Not that I did that, but well... I'll tell the story another time.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Beginning Gardening: Climbing Roses (Part Deux)

With gardening and home ownership I've learned that you always want more. As I planted our garden this spring, I kept wanting to run to the store and buy more seeds, buy more fertilizer, buy more stuff. Despite temptation, (and all of the research I did last fall on climbing roses) I didn't buy roses this spring.

(Well, I did buy those three roses at Lowes that were on the clearance rack, but since they were under $5 for all, they don't really count).

I was holding out. No roses this year. Too expensive. Too tricky. I would just wait until next year to buy them.




And then I got an email from David Austin Roses about a rose sale. Since it was late in the year (almost June) they were selling some of their overstocked inventory for 50% off!

Oh, and a little peek into my phsyique, I can't say no to a bargain!

I ordered my lovely roses, at a huge discount, and then plopped them into the ground when they arrived. I've been babying my new roses along, whispering sweet nothings at them while I water them.

Since its so late in the year, I don't expect them to bloom this year, but I'm hoping that next year I'll have a bank of roses blanketing the front of my house.



And if you're curious, I bought 6 New Dawn Climbing roses, and 1 Generous Gardener climbing rose. The New Dawn rose is: "Medium sized, with silvery blush-pink flowers, deepening towards the centre, produced in clusters. The forerunner of the modern perpetual-flowering climbers, and still one of the best and most vigorous of this class. Healthy glossy foliage. Fresh, fruity fragrance. 10-15 ft."

Color me pink with excitement!
PS. Read Climbing Roses: Part One and Climbing Roses Part Three: Success!
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Running, running... and gasping for breath

I am on a roll.

Yesterday I ran 3 miles on the treadmill at the school gym.

Today my brother and I huffed out 3.6 miles before breakfast. I am not yet "a runner" but maybe I've moved out of the hater category into the "wannabe a runner" category.

 
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As a wannabe, this is the scenery I get to look at while I run around our neighborhood.

I love Colorado.

And keep your fingers crossed that I finish my 6 mile run on Saturday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trusting in Him... with everything, even gardens

I am often amazed by God's perfect timing. I was really struggling that last few weeks because all I wanted to do was put in my new vegetable garden. But it seemed like everything was conspiring against me. First the weather, it rained and rained... but only on weekends when I was home and was ready to garden. When I was at work the sun was out bright and shining. Then I threw out my back, and couldn't garden on Memorial Day. Everything was wrong, and I didn't get my garden planted until last week, about two and a half weeks later than I originally wanted it done.


This weekend, it seems life makes sense. God didn't want me to plant the garden when I wanted to plant it. Why? Not just to teach me patience (which I still desperately am trying to learn), not just to teach me to not trust in my plans, but to trust in his plans. God didn't want me to plant the garden three weeks ago, because this weekend, this happened.




Along with golf ball sized hail.


If I had done everything according to my plans, my garden and freshly sprouted, tender plants would have been ripped to shreds.




(This picture was not taken by me, and was not really in my neighborhood, but in a suburb of Denver further east, so don't worry. But the hail was still there, and would have killed my baby plants.)

God is good.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

3 years ago today...

I married my best friend.


“Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps… perhaps… love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.” --- Anne of Avonlea, L.M. Montgomery




All precious things discovered late
To those that seek them issue forth,
For Love in sequel works with Fate,
And draws the veil from hidden worth.
---Tennyson



“They walked home together in the dusk, crowned king and queen in the bridal realm of love, along winding paths fringed with the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed, and over haunted meadows where winds of hope and memory blew.” ---Anne of the Island, by L.M. Montgomery

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wedding Weekend

Last weekend was full of family and joy as my Grandpa Dan married his lovely Connie.



Most of the extended family on my dad's side were able to attend, first celebrating my cousin Kendall's high school graduation, then celebrating the wedding the next day! Grandpa and Connie wanted a low key wedding, and so decided to get married in my aunt Tammy's back yard, and have my cousin Zane, the minister of a local church there in Salt Lake, marry them. It was so sweet. I cried all of the way through it. And then Grandpa Dan sang two songs...

(I'm sending a link to one of the songs, "I Love You Truely" here: I hope it works, I couldn't embed it in the text).

It was a wonderful weekend, and I am very excited to welcome Connie to the family!

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