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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Feeling Post-Book Blues #Allegiant

Ever since I decided to change the voice of my novel-in-progress to a young adult protagonist, I have been trying to devour any Young Adult book I can, especially teen dystopian novels (like Hunger Games). But none have grabbed my attention quite the same way as Hunger Games did.

Until I read Divergent by Veronica Roth. Roth’s writing style is different than Collins’ but I am not going to critique that here because, quite frankly, 20-something Roth has done way more than 30-something me so there is no room for my critique. Plus, Roth did something in her Divergent series that even literary geniuses have trouble doing – she gave  us a story that propels us through each book and characters that we love and root for. (And, also, I have decided I like Veronica Roth so any holes I may find in her writing are immediately forgiven).

Sunday night I finished the third and final book in the series, Allegiant, and I am still feeling the post-book blues. Yes, my heart is breaking because of the way that it ended (no spoiler here, sob sob). But I am also feeling empty inside because I will no longer be part of Tris and Four’s world. You know a book has something when two days after finishing it, you still feel the loss! At least the first movie is due out in March, and I have that to look forward to… (And, I checked, the actor playing Four is 29 years old so it is not at all creepy for me to have a crush on him).

Of course, in preparation for NaNoWriMo I came up with an entirely new novel idea so am shelving the teen dystopian novel for now. (NaNoWriMo WHAT? – Stay tuned).  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Week That Wasn’t

Apparently Fall is emerging all around me: the temperature is dropping; the trees are changing colors; and Halloween is fast approaching. Last week I missed Fall unfolding itself right in front of me because I was in my own world. A world where corporations suspend production, where hundreds of jobs are lost, where resumes are updated, and words like “relocation” are thrown around. This is a world I had no intention of being in but there I was – life is fun like that.

I tell myself not to stress about things I can’t control. I tell myself things will work out the way they are supposed to. And I believe it, too. I know that our family will survive the closing of my husband’s workplace. That he will find another job in the area quickly and we won’t have to move. Or, maybe, there will be a company that swoops in at the last second to purchase the plant and continue production.

There is nothing I can do, really, except help my husband update his resume.  My life pretty much stays the same for the moment – I still have the same chores, the same laundry, and the same ever-surmounting to-do list. Therefore, the only logical thing for me to do with my time is to imagine how things will play out. To research the state, the city, the school district, the neighborhood, and the very house that we could live in.

So while things were piling up all around me like the fall leaves outside, I was busy playing with the Realtor app on my phone. Not the best use of my time, but it was cathartic and kind of fun….

It was almost like last week didn't even exist. Last week was the week that wasn't. So, back to reality this week! Back to using my time productively (or at least trying to). Back to using my imagination to write stories (since that’s my goal, right?)! Failing that, I have a new book to read – Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy)comes out today – yay!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Daily Tribute Through Reading

My family is big on reading. Take a trip with any member of my family, and you'd better bring several books because that is what we will be doing: Reading. I think my grandmother was the driving force behind our love of books. She was the one who gave us many of the books that we cherish today. She was the one who introduced me to so many books -- books like the Secret Garden or Jane Eyre I read because of her energetic descriptions of them. As I grew up, I loved to discuss books with her even though we didn't always agree (she being conservative and me being, well, not). And try as she might I never got into Wind in the Willows or Little House on the Prairie but did pass these books along to my children.

When I was pregnant with my first child, my grandmom gave me the book, The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease -- lauding this book as essential to my child's upbringing. I read this book and refereed to it often while my daughter was little -- reading many of the recommended titles including Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little to her when she was just three years old. Reading aloud to our children continues to be a cherished part of our daily routines. We have read The Little House on the Prairie; The Wind in the Willows; The Secret Garden; Heidi; Anne of Green Gables; numerous Beverly Cleary books; Roald Dahl; almost the entire Magic Tree House Series; The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; and recently we've begun the Harry Potter series.

My grandmother passed away a year ago but when I see the love of reading that my 9 year-old daughter has, I feel my grandmom. That spark was started by her and lives on in my family every day. It lives on when I can't get my daughter to do anything because she can't/won't put her book down. It lives on when the last thing my daughter sees at night are the words in a book and the first thing she does in the morning is pick up her book. My daughter makes a little tribute to my grandmother everyday through her love of reading.

Thanks GGMom for being a wonderful example to your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. We miss you and think of you daily when we pick up a book!

(If you haven't read The Read Aloud Handbook I highly recommend it, link below:)

The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Enjoying The Small Things, Soccer Mom Style

We are in full fall swing -- school, scouts, soccer, choir, dance, karate, playgroups, back-to-school nights, open houses, etc. Not to mention the fun stuff you just have to squeeze in with the family: hayrides, apple picking, pumpkin patches, fall fests, jumping in leaves, bonfires, etc. Then there are the big chores to attend to: switching over closets, fall cleaning (if you still do that), yard work, etc. on top of the usual chores. Plus all those "back-to-school" resolutions that may have already been forgotten like my resolutions here which top of my list continues to be WRITE MORE.

For a self-deprecating excuse-airing person like me, fall means I have a lot to beat myself up over like not writing enough. But I am going to spare you the boring blog of whine whine whine, promise to change, then whine whine whine some more (lucky you).


Between all those moments of rushing around too much. Between stacks of dishes and loads of laundry. Between trips back and forth from the soccer complex. I have managed to relax and take a breath. I have managed to stop and enjoy the small things. I have sat back at karate and read. I have enjoyed one on one time with my preschooler. I have watched the sun set over the soccer field. I have stayed up too late with my daughter reading Harry Potter. I vegged on my sofa with my husband and watched useless TV. I spent a Sunday afternoon watching a movie with the kids.

Taking a moment to do these things is no small feat when there is so much to accomplish. I may never be completely on top of the housework. I may never be the perfect mom. I may never cook entirely from scratch. I may never meet daily word counts. And I may continue to meet submission deadlines. But I am enjoying the small things, soccer mom style. Maybe one day all the rest will come.

Sunset on the soccer field