Wednesday, September 30, 2009

If you don't use it... lose it.

I've been thinking a lot about all the things I used to be decent at. I used to be pretty good at math. I used to play the clarinet fairly proficiently and was a moderate vocalist as well. I also used to be able to do an arial cartwheel and the splits. Now I need a calculator to tell me pi beyond 3.14, I try not to torture people with my musical ineptness, and I'm lucky if I can do a summersault.

Writing, like so many other things, needs cultivation. I need to be doing more of it on a regular basis. Last summer was such a great experience for me--I was able to do more writing more frequently than ever before. Now I don't have a writing class, as much free time or a story eating away at my brain. I've let work, responsibilities and too many other things get in the way of what's important to me.

I need to use my passion for writing more often before I lose my ability to complete another manuscript. This week's goal: send out another agent letter and write 10 pages in my current manuscript. I'd better get on is hump day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Raining Books

It was more raining actual rain today, but books reigned the day. I have never been to the National Book Festival before, but I sure do plan on going again. I got a couple of books signed, spoke to a few authors and stood in line to stand in line. It was like the DMV only with a better pay-off in the end.

Seriously, this line had more switch-backs than the Appalachian Mountains (nine, to be precise), but I ended up with Mo Willems new pop-up book Big Frog Can't Fit In and Sue Monk Kidd's new memoir she cowrote with her daughter Traveling with Pomegranates.

And waiting in line has never been more fun when the time is spent talking about your favorite picture books with bird-brains like these three sisters who couldn't wait to meet the creator of Pigeon himself.

And braving the rain and the crowds to hear Sharon Creech read from her new book The Unfinished Angel was well worth the damp shoes the frizzy hair. And who said teens don't read? This tent full of short people proves that smart kids get way excited for books. Wow, I must be a smart kid, too.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Where did that muscle come from?

I spent the weekend at a camp in Maryland for a church retreat and had tons of fun not showering, smoking out the mosquitoes, getting sunburned on half my face while taking a nap. No really, all of those things actually were fun. Singing around the campfire, roughing it (as much as this city girl will anyway), playing games and spending time with some great people.

There is a baseball diamond at the camp, so I brought along my glove (I'm left-handed and play infield, so I always have to have my own glove). I was excited to find out a couple other people all totally into baseball and was looking forward to participating in a pick-up game or two. That is, until I found out who I would be playing with:

1. A guy in decent shape who played ball in high school
2. Another guy who coached his company team to a league championship this summer
3. An all-state fast-pitch catcher from Texas who throws like a pro
4. A guy who's being scouted by Denver because of his 93 mph fast-ball

Yeah, way out of my league. Not only am I totally out of shape, but I also (a) haven't played a full game for almost six years, (b) was in a roll-over car accident five years ago that messed up my rotator cuffs, (c) haven't played on a regular team for more than 10 years and (d) wasn't that great to begin with.

So we just tossed around the ball for a couple hours to get back into practice, but mostly I think they were just taking pity on me and didn't want me to embarrass myself by picking up a bat. And now both my arms hurt, my shoulders are stiff, my hand is bruised and I think I pulled a muscle in my thigh.

Conclusion: I make a much better bleacher bum than wannabe player.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gwen, Gwen, Gwen, Gwen

My sister Gwen was upset that I didn't include her name (Gwen) in my last post. So I figured I should let you all know that my sister's name is Gwen, and Gwen basically supported me while I was looking for a job last summer/fall. So thank you, Gwen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Better than ice cream

I can't believe it. Seriously, I can't. When I woke up this morning, I wasn't expecting to find something I love better than ice cream. I mean, what could be better than that cold, creamy goodness that is the most amazing substance on earth? Unless, of course, that cold, creamy goodness comes in a form that includes chocolate and ice cream. Mmmm...

But I digress.

When Sara sent me an email congratulating me, I had no idea what she was congratulating me for. But apparently, I am one of 13 recipients of an SCBWI Work-In-Progress Grant Letter of Merit. I have never even entered a writing competition before, and now to have received a Letter of Merit from such an amazing organization...I honestly don't even care that I didn't get the grant.

This might not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but to me, this is like being nominated for an Academy Award. While the nominees don't get to give an acceptance speech, I at least get to post some thank-you's here on my blog.

There were so many people who encouraged me to apply for this grant. Sara, Ann Dee, Tammy, Janessa and Chris read the error-riddled pages of the first draft of the first chapter and encouraged me to keep going with it, Sydney helped me revamp my first page to get it noticed, Laurie kicked my butt into gear to actually join SCBWI, my sister literally kept food in my mouth while I finished writing the entire novel and looked for a job after graduation, the Tammy, Sarah and Corrina did the first read-through and gave me an honest reaction, and Corrina helped me get the grant application together in the first place.

Who knew that so many people went into a Letter of Merit. Many of you probably have no idea how much you influence and encourage me. You all deserve your own Letter of Merit. Thank you!

Now I get to start working on my application for next year. After all, a Letter of Merit means I still have a chance at winning the grant itself. Oh yeah, and there's still that little issue of finding an agent and getting my novel published. I can't forget about that.