Recently I have been reading quite a few articles that are, quite frankly, just hating on Dan Brown and his writing. Mostly it’s because of the liberties he took with the life events of certain religious/ historical figures and other facts. This leaves me perplexed. When I pick up a book knowing that it is a work of fiction, I expect to be intrigued. I certainly don’t expect all of it to be true. I really enjoyed all of his novels so far. It didn’t matter to me that he was making stuff up when he wrote them. Isn’t that what a fiction writer does? I fail to understand why religious accuracy has anything to do with it. Nowhere in his writing does he claim that he is stating facts. All he did was pose an alternative reality. If people insist on believing that everything he wrote about the Louvre, for example, is true and then are disappointed when they go there and find out otherwise, well then they will fall apart when they travel to Forks and realize that the vampiric Cullens do not actually live there.
This Mother’s Day I dragged two big plastic totes out of my closet. They held photographs, tangible proof of the last eighteen years that I have been a mother. The other proof is in my mind, so when I close my eyes, the memories come flooding back. They are memories of countless trips to the park and the grocery store, where we would hold on tight to each other’s hands so that no one got lost. If I concentrate I can still hear their high pitched voices as they ask endless questions about everything. This Mother’s Day my girls and I went to the mall. We didn’t hold hands and at one point we split up because we wanted to go to different stores. Then we went to the movies. My daughters told me to go get us seats while they bought the tickets and popcorn. As I sat between them, my eighteen and fourteen year old, I felt that I must be the luckiest person alive. Life just didn’t get any better. But then my younger one reached out to hold my hand. After a while I reached out to hold my older one’s hand. We watched the movie like that and I realized that nothing had changed even though everything was different. My girls are all grown up and independent. As they discover their world, I stand on the sidelines watching them make important decisions on their own. When I look at old photographs, I see birthdays and recitals and trips all documented to preserve the important memories. But I know that the most precious ones will live in my mind forever. All I have to do is close my eyes.
So my first day at the gym went off well, no harm, no foul. My friend and I decided to do a 30-minute class. I did it because I didn’t want to look like a moron wrestling with the weight machines that were neatly placed in a circle around the main floor, convenient for the entertainment of the other patrons, but not so flattering for me, as I tried to figure out where to place my limbs. The instructor was great, immediately identifying me as the newbie, no doubt by the look of panic on my face as I realized that if I wanted to get a piece of equipment, I would have to shove aside the elderly, rather buxom lady who had planted herself firmly next to the treadmill. Luckily I didn’t have to resort to such under-handed tactics, as the instructor, seeing that her class was about to erupt in chaos, decided to assign equipment to each person. In the kerfuffle, I lost my friend, who ended up several machines away from me, thus rendering her unable to help me other than with worried looks from across the room. I climbed up on the treadmill I had been assigned and got started. It would have been fine, I’m sure, had it not been for the setting on the machine. Apparently the person who had used it before me fancied herself to be the energizer bunny, because once that thing got going, the only thing that saved me from falling off in pretzel pose was that the instructor rushed over to me. I’m sure it was less to save me from embarrassing myself and more to avoid potential liability issues if I broke my face in the first ten minutes at the gym. Nevertheless she calmly informed me that the treadmill was controlled by my feet. Well, duh. But who would control my feet? Anyway, I survived that monster with my dignity intact and everything was going well until it was my turn to sit on a contraption apparently designed to work the muscles in your back. Well I wish that someone had told me, because when I sat down and put my arms and legs in the appropriate position, nothing happened. Trying to look as if I knew exactly what I was doing, I pulled this way and that but nothing happened. The lady next to me, the one I had contemplating shoving out of the way earlier, must have been a mind reader, because I could have sworn I saw her smirk when I turned to her looking for help. She mumbled something unintelligible, probably that I should watch my back next time I came to the gym. Luckily the 45 seconds allotted to each machine was over. The next few were alright, but when the instructor came to remind me to keep my toes up on the leg curls, I got distracted by her nipples which were staring at me condescendingly through her shirt. I must say that despite my misgivings I enjoyed the class and will definitely be going back.
YOU Are NOT The Number On The Scale (Photo credit: Just Mary Designs)
My never-ending quest for permanent weight loss finally landed me kicking and screaming in a fitness club. Okay, so I wasn’t actually kicking or screaming, but it did take a lot of cajoling to get there. I love the people that work in these places (sarcasm intended). They are so transparent in their attempts to reel you in. The lady that was helping me was clearly new and throughout the whole process, she kept trying to convince me to get my husband to join too. Now I must point out that this was a women’s only gym, so of course I was perplexed. She did mention afterward that they had co-ed clubs as well, which did nothing to quell my irritation, seeing as we were there to talk about me. She then proceeded to tell me that I had to be assessed, so that I would know exactly what my fitness level was. And that I would have to pay for it. I could have told her that my fitness was negative on whatever scale they used. I could have told her that for free. But she insisted that they had to measure every inch of excess fat, and my body mass index and how much weight and how many inches I had to lose. I tried to tell her that if they did all that I would probably go home and kill myself and then how would they get their monthly dues. But the newbie was tenacious, she would not let go until I agreed. So now I have to come up with excuses to go and exercise on the sly, without having her hound me about my fitness assessment. Oh joy! Luckily my friend came with me and saved me from what might have been the first fitness club murder in my neck of the woods. She proceeded to show me how to use the menacing equipment that lined the walls. I’ve had nightmares in which I’m flying off those things in mid-stride with nothing to hold on to but the sports bra straps of the unsuspecting woman exercising furiously on the machine behind me. All in all, it was a morning unmarred by catastrophic events, but there’s still time. I plan to go back, so all I can say is watch out people.
Writer’s Block 1 (Photo credit: OkayCityNate)
Last week I suffered from a particularly virulent strain of Writer’s Block. To overcome my frustration I decided to do some research into home remedies. Here’s what I came up with:
- A Castle Marathon may not be what the doctor ordered, but what do doctors know. It gave me some awesome ideas.
- Dive into your work. I’m a tutor, so my teenage students are great fodder for YA dialogue.
-It’s okay to have a drink after work on a weekday,every day, as long as it’s for medicinal purposes.
-Incessantly messaging your friends on Facebook is legal if it generates ideas for your book. After all there are so many different characters in a novel, the voices have to come from somewhere.
-Telling everybody that you are suffering from Writer’s Block and that you need an evening out is a legitimate excuse to go out for a night of karaoke. A Karaoke bar is a veritable smorgasbord for characters.
And the research continues…
I’ve spent the last week not writing anything, due to a busy work season. Unfortunately that did not stop me from spending a great deal of time aimlessly browsing the Evil Internet. I came upon this nugget and felt the need to share. Enjoy:
There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the New Adult genre and it seems that there really isn’t a lot of clarity about this category. Is it just that the characters are older or is the content actually more graphic than the usual YA fare? It isn’t easy to find a definitive answer. Some feel that the New Adult category allows for more sexual content since the characters are between the ages of 18 and 24. Also, the readers of these books would be expecting a little more smut which is clearly something frowned upon in the YA category. My questions is this: if more sex and violence is included in a novel that would otherwise appeal to readers in the YA category, are we losing a big part of the audience? As someone about to self-publish a YA novel, this is particularly important to me. While I do want to target as large a readership as possible, I don’t want to compromise my character’s integrity by adding scenes that may cater more to the tastes of slightly older readers. Although my character was initially written as a fifteen year old, as I’m in the process of editing, I am tempted to make her a bit older. My reason for the change is not the NA vs YA issue, but rather how the character naturally developed as I wrote the novel. However, since I am toying with the idea anyway, I wonder if I should add a little more detail to the romantic scenes. If any writers or readers out there have suggestions or opinions on this, I would greatly appreciate any feedback.
frustrated (Photo credit: jonwatson)
Since I started blogging a few months ago I’ve noticed that a lot of the blogs I follow are written by moms who, like me, have to split their time between writing, family, as well as a job or a home business that demands their attention. Even on the best days, I feel that I come up short. Either I didn’t get around to editing as much as I needed or I didn’t get to spend as much time with my girls as I would have liked to. The guilt kills me, but try as I might, I am just not willing to give up any of the things that make my life great: my family, my work or my writing. Not that I think I should have to choose, but there has to be an easier way. So I thought I might ask you, the readers, to offer suggestions. Perhaps you have figured out a way to have it all, or at least have most of it minus the guilt. Either way I am desparate for ideas, because I have set a deadline for myself and I am afraid…I am very afraid that I am going to let myself down and that I will lose the drive to keep going.