February 22, 2008

Gosh, I’m tired this morning.  I stayed up too late last night, between the good book I couldn’t put down and the fact that even when I did, the joint pain was bad enough it would keep me awake anyway.  (By the way, it got better for a few days, so I figured it was okay.  Then we got some rain the other day and it’s been bad ever since.)  Then both boys woke up at the same time this morning.  It was really a reasonable time, especially since it was BabyN’s first feeding in over twelve hours, but less reasonable when you consider how late I fell asleep.

Maybe I’ll get a nap when the boys go down for one.  I can always hope, right?

In other news, recently we decided to drop a big chunk of money on a new computer for M.  It’s really nice; I particularly love his monitor.  We decided that there was no need to get rid of his old computer either, as we didn’t need the money and it still works great.  That has become my desktop–and I still have the laptop for blogging, etc.  We are so lucky!  The problem is that when we rearranged our study to accommodate two desktop computers, something about the new configuration has rendered our old computer’s wireless card ineffective.  In fact, the whole computer seems unstable now.  I can’t play around on it for more than a few minutes without the wireless signal disappearing or the whole thing crashing.  M’s ordered a new, better wireless card for it, but it’s kind of a pain in the butt until then.  We got a couple of good laughs out of the situation, joking that the computer just missed him and didn’t like me.  Why else would it suddenly start freaking out for only me?

There’s not much else to talk about today.  I’m starting to get the writing bug again, so if I disappear for a few days, it’s because I’m focusing on writing silly stuff for me again.  I wish I could tell you this stuff is good and going to be published someday, but it makes for a good hobby if nothing else.  At least I know it’s not really good and haven’t set my hopes on it or anything.

And yay.  It’s Friday.  It may have been a short week, but I am so ready for the weekend.

Why I Haven’t Given Up Yet

November 5, 2006

Last night, after I blogged I still couldn’t sleep right away. M was still awake, too, but in another room playing on his computer. I decided since I had some privacy, I would take some time to write while he was still awake. Up until then, I had always written on my book after he had gone to sleep. For a time I was even keeping it a secret that I was writing anything. I was too embarrassed to let him know about it because I was worried he would want to read it.

When he read my blog the other day, though, he discovered I had started writing. He wasn’t upset that I hadn’t told him because he understood how self-conscious I am about it. At the time he sounded encouraging about the fact that I was giving it a shot, but he didn’t push me one way or another. And he didn’t ask to see what I had written. It was nice, but it didn’t exactly help me get over my self-consciousness about it.

Then last night while I was writing, he came back into the bedroom to find me typing. He assumed I was blogging; I seem to be doing that constantly these days after all. I think he was relieved when I told him that wasn’t the case (at least I wasn’t writing more about him, I’m sure he thought). His next question was whether I was writing.

I blushed as I nodded that I was. The biggest grin spread across his face. He was actually proud of me that I was writing, and that I was comfortable enough to do so while he was awake and around! That totally made my day. It validated my ideas that maybe my hankering to write isn’t total and utter crap. He even helped me search for the perfect word several times when I was stuck.

He still hasn’t read any of it, or asked to, but we’ve discussed that aspect of it. He knows I will always be too self-conscious to ask him to read it, but if he chooses to read it of his own accord, he knows where to find it. I’m certain that if he does read it and give me any feedback, it will all be encouraging. He thinks of it as a great hobby for me.

I know it’s quite the reach to think of it as anything more than that, but a part of me, deep down inside, wants it to be more than a hobby. I keep thinking how great it would be if this was the solution for his repeated nagging about “when you go back to work.” If this was my work, if I could make money doing what I already want to be doing, my life would be made.

Ack! The Pressure!

November 3, 2006

It suddenly hit me a few minutes ago as I tried vainly again to fall asleep at a reasonable hour that my other, public blog is beginning to accrue quite the readership. I don’t know why I’d never given it any thought before, but as I began to list the readers I knew of, whether or not they comment, it began to develop into a lot of pressure.

I know I’ve mentioned before one of the main problems of having such a diverse readership. I’ve found it difficult to censor what I write so that I don’t offend any number of people, especially the ones I’m forced to continue interacting with in real life. I hate sacrificing the true integrity of it, but I’m getting used to evaluating what NOT to write before I ever start typing. Only occasionally do I spark dramas of the sort that happened last week.

And then tonight I realized that I have a responsibility in determining what I DO post as well. If I have all these readers, I must have written something interesting enough or thought-provoking enough to bring them back again. Some, like close relatives and friends, will read out of devotion to me, or simply because they’re curious about the updates and pictures of PJ. But what about all those other readers? The Internet friends I’ve never met (thank you to those of you who made it here too!), the friends of friends of friends, mere work acquaintances of M, anonymous people with whom neither I nor Matt has ever interacted?

I have a responsibility to keep these people entertained, the ones who keep coming back for more. I’m fully aware of my limitations as a writer, and it’s almost too much pressure to bear. It wasn’t a big deal as long as I wasn’t aware of the situation. I wrote for me, what I felt was interesting, and just kept out the things I supposed might offend. If people read it, great; if they didn’t, I never knew. If I chased some anonymous person off because I was “just another mommy blog,” it didn’t bother me one bit.

Now that I’m aware of this responsibility, however, I want to make myself a better writer so that I can better entertain my readers. Please don’t think I’m some popular blogger or anything, and I hate using that word “responsibility,” as though I have some grand delusions about my blog. But I’m eager to please, and I’m terribly afraid one of these days I’ll fail to please someone in a mediocre post.

Hey, who am I kidding. They’re all just there to bask in the cuteness that is PJ. I’m betting the easiest way to relieve myself of this misplaced sense of responsibility is to stop posting pictures of PJ. My readership will dwindle faster than he grows up.

Just curious, but do any others of you bloggers ever get distracted from what you want to write by a feeling of responsibility to your readers? That you’d better not post your real thoughts because you think your readers don’t want to hear it or that they’re more interested in something else entirely?


October 29, 2006

I just finished the last of my new books, and it wasn’t soon enough. I don’t know that I could ever be prepared for the story of a young girl fighting and losing a battle against leukemia. I predicted the outcome within the first fifty pages, yet I continued to read anyway. I guess it’s my fault after all that I’m a bit depressed and upset now.

I hate it when books do that to me. I keep reminding myself it’s fiction, but that doesn’t change the fact that even though this exact story didn’t happen in real life, very similar stories do. All the time.

I hope and pray that never happens in my family. I don’t think I would have the strength to bear it.

I really want to go to sleep now, but I’m afraid my mind is racing too fast to relax. Of course, it would have been even worse if I had made myself stop reading sooner. The book was too painful to drag out. I just had to rush through the ending, like ripping off a Band-aid.

A week ago when I finished all the books I had that could stand a re-reading, I was eager to run out and buy more. Now I welcome the respite from reading. I definitely need a break after that last one.

Along those same lines, I finally started writing that book that’s been running through my mind for years. It’s a sad attempt, but I’ll feel better getting it down on paper. I think that’s probably how I’ll spend my time for the next few days, instead of reading. The change of pace will do me good.


October 22, 2006

It’s Saturday night. There’s crap on TV. My son is asleep. My husband just left to go to Wal-Mart–sexy Saturday evening excursion, huh? I’m all alone and bored to tears.

The worst part is that I just finished reading a book…a series really. I’ve invested much of my last week or so in reading this series, so it feels like I’ve lost a friend now that the series is over. I can’t believe how involved I get in these fictional people’s lives.

I would start a new book, or ideally another series, but I don’t have any books I haven’t read recently that are calling my name. I could probably settle with something, but after that last series, I don’t want to settle.

So I find myself floundering without the friendly book in my hands, or at least taunting me from the coffee table. What shall I do with my time? How can I stay entertained? Maybe this is a good opportunity to start writing that book I mentioned several weeks back. After all, I should be inspired after that wonderful series I just finished.

Maybe that is what I’ll do…just as soon as I finish folding this load of laundry. Duty first, after all.

A Pet Peeve

October 16, 2006

You know one of the weird things that bothers me to no end? Movies made from books. I’m watching one now that I recorded off the Hallmark channel weeks ago. I’d just finished reading the book and didn’t even realize they’d made a movie of it, so I thought it was a neat coincidence and recorded it. I’m finally getting around to watching it today.

The book was really good. That was the third time I’d read it, and I loved how intricately the plot was woven together. The characters were unique and likeable, despite their flaws. And the movie is nothing like it.

So far a couple of the major plot points and characterizations are staying true to the book, but most of it is completely different on screen. If the plot of the book wasn’t good enough, dramatic enough for a movie, then why did they bother in the first place? Why mess up the author’s carefully-created book and then name it the same? This is the fourth Hallmark movie I’ve seen that claims to be a theatrical version of the book. None of them was even close to the book.

I suppose the movies might be really good (for a Hallmark movie) if I hadn’t read the books already. But not only are the movies treading on my imagination’s version of the setting, etc., but the black-and-white facts as well. I’m too much of a stickler for the facts. I spend the whole movie being annoyed at how it differs from the book instead of enjoying the movie for itself.

Oh, my goodness. I just had to roll my eyes at that. How remarkably over-dramatic and over-emotional. I may not even be able to make it through this movie after that scene. Let’s make it good and clear it’s a Hallmark movie. No wonder I prefer books. They’re never as cheesy in my imagination as the movie-makers seem to want to make them.


October 4, 2006

Thanks for the comments on the last post. I was beginning to wonder whether anybody read this anymore. They were encouraging, too, which is what I needed.

One reply to your comment, though, Heather. I know from experience that although writers write, not everyone who writes is a writer. I’ve graded a few too many horrific English papers to believe that to be the truth. That means that if I truly want to be a writer, I have to write. I can’t be a writer without it. But just because I start writing, that does not automatically mean I will be a writer. I still have the hurdle of my own skills to conquer before that can happen. If I really want to be a writer, though, I need to attack that hurdle by writing. Now if I can just find the time…

Now how about a funny story to make everyone entirely uncomfortable?

Several years ago at my sister’s wedding, my entire extended family got involved in a rousing game of Family Truth or Dare (without any actual dares). My grandma, aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, and siblings all answered different questions–both mundane and humiliating. Among the highlights, we learned that at least three out of my aunt’s five miracle children were conceived while visiting my family. Ewwww. My mom hesitated to answer the same question in front of her children, but finally admitted we were all conceived at home.

A few days later, my brother, whose mind already works like this, named the bed my parents had all through our childhood years “The Conception Bed.” The name grossed us all out at first because we had each slept there from time to time, and it was disgusting to think about what activities had taken place there for years.

But the name stuck. The bed was moved into one of the guest rooms at my parents’ new house after we all moved out officially. We needed names for each of the rooms since they no longer had owners to name them after, and that room became the Conception Bed Room. Even all of our spouses flippantly call the room that now. The family joke has become so commonplace that we don’t even think about it any longer.

The bed has somehow earned a reputation since being named, though. When I got pregnant before I was married, that room was always my room when I/we visited. None of my siblings were ready to become parents yet, so I was the only “safe” one to stay in that room. About the time I got married and the pregnancy became public, my older brother and SIL were trying. Since then, they have always ended up in that room. I have to give my mom credit; she acts as though we can choose our own rooms when we visit as long as we work it out with any siblings also visiting for the weekend, but somehow the “safe” couple or the couple trying always seem to end up in the Conception Bed Room.

M and I are visiting this weekend for PJ’s first birthday. Ages ago I told my mom that we were thinking about trying again once he turned one. I updated her again a few weeks ago to confirm that, yes, that was most likely going to happen. (I tell my mom everything.) I wonder which room we’ll end up in this weekend?

Actually, I can already see my mom’s explanation. A day or two after my mom found out our plans to try for a second, suddenly my sister and BIL decided to visit for the weekend as well. Before, they had been too busy to come. My mom knew that M and I would opt for his favorite room, the Queen Bed room, if all the rooms were open. That is also the most comfortable fit for my BIL, who is a good foot taller than the rest of us. He doesn’t fit into the Conception Bed well at all (although I bet he suddenly will once they decide to start a family). PJ usually stays in the other guest room when its bed isn’t needed, so my mom will encourage us to stay in the Conception Bed to leave the big bed open for Tall BIL.

I think someone wants more grandchildren.

M and I have already discussed it. If several months pass without getting pregnant, we’ll book a trip to see my parents during the time I’m ovulating. Whether or not the Conception Bed is a superstition, it’s worth a try, right?

Blah Blog

October 2, 2006

I’ve been particularly blah about blogging this weekend. We’ll blame the malaise on my unwelcome monthly (or semi-monthly as the case may be) visitor. Truth be told, though, I’ve felt drawn to blog more, but I’ve had nothing remotely interesting to blog about. It’s been quite the mundane weekend with little to provide writing material. My funny teacher stories have been exhausted for the moment. And it’s been daunting to find something captivating enough to evoke a comment. Blogland has been so quiet this weekend. I know it happens every weekend, but it still catches me off guard when a whole weekend passes without my counter moving at all–except for all the hits I give it, checking to see if anybody else might have stopped by.

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I need affirmation from others about my writing, even when it’s just stupid stuff like recounting my stories of “entelligent” students? I never cared what other people thought of my writing when it was just journaling for myself or jotting down story ideas. As long as I never thought people would see it, it didn’t matter what people might think.

Which leads me to the only topic I can think to elaborate on tonight. This is very personal to me, and I’m incredibly sensitive about it, so please keep that in mind if you choose to make a comment. I just finished yet another book, and somehow this book more than many of the others I’ve read in the past few months has struck that writer’s nerve within me. A secret dream of mine has always been to be a writer (as so many bloggers claim), yet I always hesitate to try my hand at it. A few years ago, though, I took a crack at starting a novel. I had an idea that I somehow knew without a doubt was a winner. I got about fifty pages into it when I got stuck. I’d written in my head an outline of the rest of the novel, so I knew where I was going with it. But I couldn’t get myself past that stuck point to get to the rest of it. I abandoned it.

But the idea wouldn’t go away. Then my life unexpectedly took an interesting turn, one the main characters in my novel were grappling with just before I abandoned it. If the novel idea wouldn’t leave me before, you can be sure it has plagued me since. I understand much better how to write the story. I know what my characters would think, how they would act. I’ve honed the story itself in my mind, making it much more realistic. The novel is all but written.

I still have a problem, however. Even though nearly every word is written in my head, I can’t seem to put that first word to paper (or blank computer screen). It’s as though if I put even one word of the story in print, I would be forced to finish it or prove myself a failure yet again. And what if I do finish the story, but it’s not written to my satisfaction? I might as well be a failure in that situation too. That’s quite likely too; I have been proud of only a very few pieces I have ever written.

My biggest fear, though? I know where the story is going. If after writing that first little section, my life itself followed suit, it is possible my life could mirror the rest after it is written. The story is a powerful one, but one I only want fictional characters to ever have to experience. I don’t want to have to go through all the pain involved to fully understand the situations the characters go through. I don’t want this novel to end up in print and then turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I see books, writing itself, as cathartic. Books are written to impart some lesson, some truth about life. They teach these lessons to readers who are willing to glean them without having to live such tragic lives themselves. Doesn’t it defeat the purpose to be forced to live such a life in order to impart those lessons?

I’ll agree all this is simple paranoia. Someday I’ll defeat my fear of failure and give the writing thing a real shot. In the meantime, though, I’ll be praying that my life is not destined to follow the same path as the fictional characters writing the story of their lives in my head.

Quality Control

September 14, 2006

I didn’t blog at my usual time today. For the life of me, I couldn’t think of anything remotely interesting to discuss. I really still can’t, but I thought I’d at least let everyone know how hard I’m trying to spare you the boring, mundane details of my life. I’ve always hated reading blogs like that. You know the ones I’m talking about:

This morning I woke up to my alarm as always. I didn’t want to get up, but I finally rolled out of bed on the left side this morning…

And on and on and on like that. It’s not interesting reading for anyone! Do you think the authors of those boring blogs will even want to go back and read that in a few days? So keep in mind even when I have an off day that I’m doing the best I can to avoid putting you all to sleep, even if it means not blogging at all.

Speaking of sleep, I fell asleep on the couch last night at 9:30, just shortly after finishing the movie. I slept until noon. How on earth could I be so tired that I fell asleep on the couch? Something ain’t right. Sigh. Visiting a doctor is looking more and more inevitable every day.