Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Are you really an author?

Okay, so you may just say "no," and--good job, you know yourself! But if you like writing, and you write things sometimes, these are some pretty awesome questions that can tell you if you are officially an author. I think the guilt question is highest on my mind right now: I'm very dedicated to my writing routine, and running through the potatoes on our trip to Idaho distracted me. Plus my one-year-old turned two, and my husband turned older than two, all within the past four days. So...pretty much, I'm a writer. I answered yes to pretty much every question (I must admit that I like pens and notebooks more than stationary, but that's quibbling). And I DID write today (yay!) which feels so much better than not writing.

So take the test! Also, here is a pretty pen. I like to imagine it came from a raven. Oh, and I need to learn calligraphy some time, methinks...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Back and sunburnt and ready to recover!

Well, we weren't gone long, but I managed to get a minor sunburn, so that means the water park was fun. But! I need new books to read! Books that will be at the library, not at a bookstore. I am not picky about genre (although I love me some YA and MG fantasy), and if you give me suggestions I will make a list and feel gratitude to you forever.

(Here is a clip from the Legend of Korra finale showing her sad and then all glowing and stuff. If you've never watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, you really, really should (the animated one, not the horrible live-action one). Then you should watch Korra. Because good stories make us all happy, right? Hooray!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Packing time

Tomorrow I must teach in the morning, then drive with small children all afternoon. To Idaho, where the potatoes are ever-watching. I got our car all clean (and vacuumed! which is astounding if you know me), but I have not yet packed.

In the interest of having clean socks and shirts and snacks for our boys, I think I shall leave you with this lovely video:

I think her real-life achievements include awesome (blacksmithing?!). So yay!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Excuses and Oatmeal

We had five kids on Friday, so I was a naughty blogger and didn't post. I'm back now, though! And I'm going to link to this situation. I love The Oatmeal's comics on grammar and commonly-misused words (if I had a permanent classroom I would need his posters--as it stands I just almost-need them for my library-writing room). It's worth reading all four posts about the situation, starting with the first, but the gist of it is that a miffed lawyer is suing charities because of a situation that started with posting-without-permission violations of creative works by a humor-rehashing website.

It's crazy.

I can understand getting upset about the whole mother-seducing-a-bear picture, even if it is pretty funny. But suing cancer research? And wildlife foundations? Wow. That takes petty vindication to a whole new level.

What do you think? Have you been following this whole debacle? I'm amazed at The Oatmeal's poise, honestly. I'd have shown more annoyance than he did, and the charity idea is brilliant and kind.

This actually has nothing to do with The Oatmeal, but it does look tasty. You can find his comics, though. They are here. Some of them may not be work safe, but all of them are authored by a person with a pseudonym that matches this delicious breakfast food!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tagged forever ago!

I was tagged forever and a day ago by the wonderful Mama over at Mama Diaries, and I am finally not-crazy enough to answer 11 questions! So, without further ado, here they are:

1. Favorite Book? Gah! So hard right at the start! Okay. I love Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. And all the Night Watch books by Terry Pratchett. Oh! And my first loves were the Dorrie picture books by Patricia Coombs, then Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. I could go on forever. I will stop now, though.

2. Favorite color? Dark green, maybe? I'm sort of in a favorite color transition phase, I think.

3. Sweet/salty food? Sweet. I love sugar WAY more than I should.

4. Gift someone gave me that I'll always remember? My little sister hid a pickle card in my suitcase the birthday after I got married, and I love it still. And my husband planned a surprise trip to Lagoon (an amusement park) once, which was super fun!

5. What is my favorite blog post? Um...the one with my four-year-old's current favorite video. Which right now is a Star Wars R-2 rescue one. It makes for a good bribe.

6. What annoys me? Judgmental people. The silent treatment. And hands rubbing on carpet...something about that friction always makes me creeped out.

7. Truth or dare (depends is not an option)? Truth. I'm pretty open to most questions. But there's dares I wouldn't survive, I'm sure.

 8. Did I collect anything as a kid? Yup. Rocks, My Little Ponies, those scary-looking troll toys, cats, and books. I still collect books.

9. Bath or shower? Bath! You can put in bubbles, and read...mmmm...

10. Would you ever use gel pens? Yes. Yes, I would.

11. What makes you happy? My family and all the people I love.

Yay for questions! If you have any you want to add, feel free to stick 'em in the comments. And if you want a free blog post, consider yourself tagged (I thought about bugging Sophie again, but I'd rather her write on her WIP so I can read it, so I won't!).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Draft Zero?

I do not plot my books. I like to see characters develop. I like to be surprised. On my best days, I like to discover a big plot twist at the same time a reader would. My theory is that my subconscious mind is rather brilliant, while my conscious mind is easily distracted, so sometimes it's a good thing to let my subconscious drive a little.

The worst thing about making stuff up as you go along is that your endings stink on first drafts. Or mine do. I came up with some great plotting in my last book towards the end, but the actual climax? It involved a blender. You should trust me that it was terrible. I knew it was terrible as I wrote it.

I also knew I could make all the terrible better in draft two, and draft three, and draft four. And I did.

Book Three is a new adventure for me. Middle Grade. And this time my first draft is...episodic. It has flashes of greatness, but I've decided to lovingly call it Draft Zero. It gave me stuff to work with, and some names, but it doesn't count. Now I've plotted out Draft One, and I have to say that I'm excited. Finally things will make sense! And tie together! And be tense/scary/funny if I can do them right!

Maybe someday I should try plotting. If you want, I'd love to hear your first/zero-draft method--it's one thing I think is worth careful consideration!

I do take notes in a notebook after my first draft. I write my drafts on the computer, though. And my pens are not this cool.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tired babies, pill bugs, and happiness

Did you know pill bugs are crustaceans? Also, did you know that our baby, who is actually almost two, is now collapsed into a puddle of sadness because we will not let him go outside and run down the street? This is a common occurrence, over the past few days. Poor droopy little puddle.

So here is my connection: knowing about pill bugs makes me happy. Running makes my toddler happy. What sorts of things do other adults do, when they feel like collapsing into a miserable heap? Because adults don't collapse into heaps often, and babies do. How do adults cope?

Maybe it's reading. Reading helps me. My baby can't read yet, and he keeps flopping out of my arms. Coincidence?

This is not my baby. He is a puddle of misery at the moment. But he will get better. I hope this is him soon!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury

I've read everything he ever wrote--or at least everything I could find. I particularly love Something Wicked This Way Comes and the way he connected his short stories with a tattooed body in The Illustrated Man. I hope he is happy. He's made me happy.

This isn't the best quality video, and it cuts off, but I think it captures how he made people laugh, and how he thought people should be happy. I will miss him.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Calvin and Hobbes!

I've been a bad blogger. But my three weeks of two overlapping jobs are over! So I can link you to cool stuff like this, which makes me want to re-read all my Calvin and Hobbes books. Yay for Monday!

I saved my toys, and pulling out my old dinosaurs made my four-year-old SO HAPPY...