Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pizza Quiz

Just in case anybody is wondering, my favorite pizza is Hawaiian, with onions if possible, with a nice, thick crust and extra cheese. Of course I don't get it that way very often, but in my dream world where calories don't count, that's what I'd choose every time.

What Your Pizza Reveals

Your appetite is pretty average. You don't go overboard - but you don't deprive yourself either.

You consider pizza to be bread... very good bread. You fit in best in the Midwest part of the US.

You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.

You are generous, outgoing, and considerate with your choices.

You are carefree and friendly. You should consider traveling to Hawaii.

The stereotype that best fits you is emo. You think you're special... and you kind of are.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sailing Around My World

Julie Coulter Bellon over at Six LDS Writers and a Frog spoke today about how sometimes the inspiration hits and as badly as we want to write, life just won't give us time to write it down. I feel like that's been the story of my life for the last six months. Ever since I had surgery back at the end of March I've really struggled to find the time and energy to do any of the writing things that are so important to me. Today has been another one of those days.

After such a successful editing day yesterday, I yearned to have repeat success, but it wasn't meant to be. I've done what I can, despite work, doctor appointments, soccer practice, disobedient children, and all the homework woes, but the little I've done seems so measly when standing next to yesterday's success.

Why is that? Why are we never happy unless we've topped our previous success? Julie Wright and James Dashner have talked about it, how we always want more. First the goal is to get a book written, and we do it. Then it doesn't seem enough, so we try to get it published. Sometimes we do. Then it's wanting a New York Times Bestseller, and then a Newbery - when does it end? Why can't having written the book be a stand alone success in and of itself? Why can't eighty pages be celebrated as loudly as a hundred and sixty-six?

I posted a quote previously that seems rather appropriate today, so I'm going to post it again in the body of the blog, as I've been thinking about it a lot today. It says:

"Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world." - Tom Clancy

Let's think about that for a second. How many people say they want to write a book and never get past the first few chapters? How many people in this world actually FINISH the books they start, let alone go back and edit, and re-edit them? So, I say, let's celebrate every chapter written or edited. Let's celebrate every line of gorgeous prose and touching dialogue. Let's celebrate each and every word that's poured from our hearts and souls, every paragraph we've tortured ourselves over, and the poems we've discovered in the shower or on the road.

For today, just for today, I want it to not only be okay to have edited eighty pages, I want it to be AWESOME! What a success! I sailed single-handed around the world of my book, and today I went back for a visit. How cool is that?

Quote of the Day: "Never give up! Never Surrender!" - From Galaxy Quest, the movie

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

dancing baby

Editing Again

I took myself away from the house again today after desperately trying yesterday (with little success) to get my edits done. Well, I've got to say I feel like celebrating. Not only did I get some editing done, I did 166 pages! That's a little over 1/3 of the book! Woo Hoo! And you know something cool I discovered? Ready for it? Now don't laugh--

My book is AWESOME!!! (Okay, you can laugh now. I am.)

It's not a bragging thing. I think we should all love our books. After all, they are our babies, and doesn't every parent think their baby is cuter than all the others? (Now I'm really laughing. I can't help it! It must be the high from being back on track. That's Track not Crack! I know what you were thinking--)

So, I just wanted to share the news and invite ya'll to do the happy dance with me. Woo-hoo!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ode to Pepsi

As a seventeen-year-old night owl going to early morning seminary, I found myself falling asleep in class on a repeated basis. After a particularly embarrassing moment of waking up in biology thirty minutes after class had ended, I found a quick, simple, and tasty way to avoid falling asleep: Pepsi. I've been addicted for nineteen years now and have decided it's time to give it up. So, as a final farewell to my Pepsi drinking days, I'm posting a poem I wrote a couple years ago. It's called . . . .

Ode to Pepsi

Oh, Pepsi, friend
thou dost lift me up
and send great bursts of life
through sluggish veins
that waken mine eyes
and quicken my step
so that I might finish the day
I have begun.

Oh, fiendish friend,
thy taste is acid to my gut
though sweetened tongue
and dependant blood
doth cause me to partke of thee
time and time again
despite the burning heart
and shaking hands.

Oh, Pepsi,
thou who dost masquerade thyself
as friend, when thou art in truth
a parasite that gives me bursts of life,
but takes it from me again,
and I am forced to drink thy acid
once again, or resign myself to a nap
-- and I,
fool that I am,
would rather poison myself than sleep.

I shall poison myself no more! Pepsi - we're done. Adios, amigo.

Quote of the Day: "I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, 'To hell with you.' " - Saul Bellow

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wonder Woman

Call me cheesy, but Wonder Woman has always been one of my favorite shows. Maybe it was the beauty of Linda Carter or the comic book superhero aspect of it, but I was a faithful and devoted watcher during its 3 original years on television and through the re-runs of my teenage years. I say this so that you understand how meaningful the following is.

Tristi Pinkston gave me The Wonder Woman Award over on her blog, and it's my first blog award! Pretty nifty to be put in the same league as Linda Carter, though I'm not about to run around in a bathing suit and boots saving the day. I'll settle for juggling my little family and serving where I can.

As for those I think are Wonder Women, first would be my mother, of course, raising my brother and I alone after my father passed away when we were 4 and 2, and she did a darn good job of it, if you ask me! Then there is my friend and neighbor, Shari, and my friend Jenica (who used to be in my ward). There is Shanna for her board breaking abilities while going to school full time, and Michelle who juggles six kids (I think) and is in the process of selling her house. That's all I can really think of right now, though I'm sure there are TONS more out there waiting for this award.

Thanks, Tristi!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Book Tag

Candace Salima tagged me with a new book quiz thingie, and I'm ALL about books, so here I go!

1. My Reading - My favorite genres are fantasy, science-fiction, and mystery/suspense, though I've been known to read an occasional biography and romance, and it doesn't matter to me if it's written for adults or for kids. I love it all.

2. Total Number of Books Owned ∙ I counted 1,195, but I'm NOT counting all the kids books I have (since they're for the kids and I dont' read them - that would add another 200, at least), nor am I counting all of the textbooks my husband fills his den with (same excuse as above). I've also got a few out on loan and you never know what books will turn up when you go looking.

3. Last Book Bought ∙ I spent two hundred dollars on books this last trip, (Yeah, I know, don't say it, I'm addicted) so it's hard to pick just one. The only fiction book I was the new Shannon Hale one, Book of a Thousand Days, and one of the non-fiction books was The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, by Gary Chapman. I haven't had the chance to finish either yet, though I have started The Five Love Languages, and find it a wonderful read.

4. Last Book Read ∙ Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. I'm in the middle of New Moon now.

5. Five Meaningful Books ∙ Okay, here is where this little quiz gets a bit tricky. I'd love to have a list of spiritual books like Candace, but, sadly to say, I'm not nearly as well read as she is, and have only recently started to expand beyond my standard mystery and fantasy. I'll try to explain why they were meaningful to me.

  1. The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creatvitity, by Julia Cameron. This book taught me how to let go of the garbage and fears that were holding me down and express myself with writing again. It was one of those books that changed my life.

  2. The Book of Mormon - This book of scripture opened my heart to the power of God and his infinite love and atonement for us.

  3. There is a book whose title I cannot remember that was published in the early eighties, I believe (and if anybody knows what it is, PLEASE tell me in the comments!). It was written by a twelve-year-old boy about his adventures in school. There was one follow-up book that I know of. When I read that book at thirteen was the first time I realized I could actually be a writer. If he could do it, why couldn't I?

  4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'engle (who passed away last week) was one of the first fantasy books I read. I opened whole new worlds for me and directed my passion for reading and writing in this direction.

  5. Are You My Mother? by Dr. Seuss was the book that made me want to read. I had four short years with my Daddy before he passed away, and every evening when he came home from work he would sit me on his lap and read to me until bedtime. He swore he'd have me reading before I started kindergarten and if he'd lived longer, he would have. I was so close. So this book, more than any other has influenced my love of reading because of the sweet memories it brings back of my father and his passion for the written word.

So, that's my list. Thanks for tagging me, Candace. It's been an interesting journey answering these questions. I am going to tag my writers group. Shanna at Shanna's Life, Stories, and General Ramblings, Wendy at Interregnum, Paulette at 700 Blank Pages, and Michelle at My Life in a Laptop.

Quote of the Day: "The writer who is a real writer is a rebel who never stops." - William Saroyan

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Young Writers Workshop

A few months back I was out walking with my best friend and ran an idea past her. "What do you think about doing a writing workshop for teenagers?" She thought it was a great idea, having several talented young writers in her house, and encouraged me to pursue it. Before I knew it, I'd asked my writers group if they'd be interested in helping to sponsor something like that and it was a unanimous affirmative.

It has been total inspiration - for me. I have never been so sure I was doing the right thing in my life. I've always wanted to work with teens. I connect with them on a different level than I do adults. I fit there, though whether it's because I'm a big kid, or I just understand what it's like, I don't know. We reserved a room at the library and started spreading the word, then came up with a game plan on what to teach.

Tonight was our first class. Of the 14 girls who originally showed interest, 11 came. It was amazing. They were excited and wanted to be there and they know SO MUCH! I am in awe of these young women, none of them over 15, who have written books and stories, who know what plot and characterization are. They got it. I could see their eyes light up when a concept finally came clear in how to construct a story.

I'm flying so high tonight, I don't know how I'll ever sleep, and the gratitude I feel is overwhelming - humbling. I am so proud of these kids, and so very grateful that I can have a small part in giving them something I always longed for and never had at their age - the knowledge of how to put a great story together.

Today I can honestly say: "I love my life!"

Quote of the Day: "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." -- Bill Cosby

Monday, September 17, 2007

Poetry Obsessed

It feels so good to be writing poems again. Everywhere I look I'm inspired with phrases popping into my head from nowhere. I feel alive again in ways I haven't for too long. I've never been one to parade my poetry around. I always wrote it for me and was rather embarrassed to admit that poetry was my first love, and now I find myself posting my lines for the world to see - and I am perfectly okay with that. There is still a part of me that wonders if people will get bored if I post so much poetry, that they will wander away, but another part stands up and says, "Hey, it's my blog, and I can post poetry if I darn well want to!"

So here I am again with a poem inspired while up the canyon the other day. I mentioned in a previous blog that I watched a family of deer for about ten minutes. Well, it was no exaggeration, and they were the primary topic of this poem. I call it . . . .

A Place of Solace

I've found a new place of solace
in the whispering band of trees,
who put on a fashion show of autumn leaves
and fading summer green.
The music of the breeze sets tree trunk legs
to dance with a bow and sway,
then the trees put their heads together and whisper,
whisper their secrets,
and I am finally allowed to see.
A doe and her two fawns
tiptoe within sight to stand in stillness
and watch me, too frozen in awe to move.
Finally, unthreatened, Mother Doe moves closer
to drink from a stream at my feet.
Her back leg reaches up to scratch -
like a dog she hoofs at her cheek, then rests.
For ten long minutes I saw their secret,
saw the deer live among "my" trees
before they darted back to the hiding place
wherever the deer call home,
like fairies retreating to their ring,
and I sat alone again,
a little wiser,
in my new place of solace.

Quote of the Day: "Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world." - Tom Clancy

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Middle Name Meme

Julie Wright tagged me with the middle name thing. I'm not positive, but I think I'm supposed to use the letters of my name to describe myself. This might take a while as my middle name is a bit long, but I'll give it a shot. I was named after my grandmother, Elizabeth Elder Sipe, but she went by Betty. She was an amazing woman and I couldn't be more proud to carry her name, though it wasn't always so. She was funny, super strong willed, and very spiritual. I miss her.

E - Eccentric. I like a strange mix of all kinds of things, though I'm not the funny hat lady or anything. Oh, wait, yes I am! I like hats, but I don't think they look funny. Back to the point - I like music of all mixes: classical, rock, country, new age, and most everything in between. I play the flute with passion and built myself a den. I like animals and hate bugs. Love sweet and salty together, only like chocolate or brownies if they have nuts, and then I LOVE them. I have a lot of likes that are total opposites. Does that make me eccentric?

L - Lazy? lol I admit it, I'm a bit of a couch potato. My idea of heaven is to lay out under the stars and do absolutely nothing, and failing that, a mountain side in a reclining chair so I can watch the clouds go by.

I - Idealistic - I'm an optimistic dreamer.

Z - Zombie. It seems I'm always tired, probably because I'm such a night owl and am forced to get up in the morning. I hate mornings. Let me say that again. I hate mornings!

A - Aware. Let me clarify this because it applies on several levels. First, I am one of those people that is hyper-aware of everything going on around me. I can tell what my kids are doing by the sounds they create (they truly believe I have eyes in the back of my head! They even asked me how I slept, because it would mean my eyes were squashed in my pillow. Kids!) . It's one of the reasons I have to use earplugs when I write. Every little sound distracts me, unless the sound is so loud it becomes a buzz, and then I can discard it to background noise. Second, I'm also one of those who tends to be very in tune with what kinds of energy other people are putting out. I guess I'm a bit of an empath. Not in a sci-fi kind of way - I just can tell what other people are feeling a lot and it makes me very aware of how to communicate with them. It's easy to climb into other people's shoes.

B - Batty? Full of bologna? Boring? No, I'd have to go with "Brainy" on this one. It's not that I'm super smart or anything, I just like to learn things. Stuff fascinates me, so I study it. My brother calls it being the "Queen of useless trivia". That's me!

E - Embracing. Again, this applies on multiple levels. First, I've become a very huggy kind of person as I've gotten older. There's just something about connecting with somebody with a hug that I can never get enough of. Second, I'm one who tries to embrace life, though some days I succeed better than others. I'm not afraid to try new things and truly believe I can do them.

T - Talented. Okay, I feel a little weird putting that down, because I am so NOT a prideful kind of person. I just happened to be very blessed to be good at a lot of different things. As a teenager it frustrated me because I couldn't decide what I wanted to grow up and be. I knew, quite literally, that I could be almost anything. That came from my mother. She always told me I could do anything I wanted to if I wanted it bad enough. I believed her with all my heart and still do to this day. That's how I can build a den, or a bookcase, or any of the other numerous things I've tried.

H - Heartfelt. I'm a pretty sincere gal. What you see is what you get. I don't give compliments unless I mean them, and I never try to pretend to be something I'm not. I feel things very deeply and try to live what I believe.

So that's me in so many words. Of course there are more layers, but I'll have to save those for another challenge. I guess it's time to pass on the torch. I think I'll tag Shanna and Paulette.

Quote of the Day: "When I don't write, I feel my world shrink. I lose my fire, my color." - Anais Nin

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Burning Mountain

As I drove home alone from Salt Lake last night, I rounded the bend to find darkness rising from the Stansbury mountains. The air was thick with smoke, even from so far a distance.

The first line of the following poem popped into my head, so I grabbed notebook and pen and jotted my thoughts down as I drove. I wouldn't recommend doing that, by the way, it's definitely not safe, but I had to grab the inspiration when it struck.

The poem is as of yet untitled, so if anyone has any ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments trail.

The mountain's on fire again.
Smoke smears the valley
like brimstone remnants from Satan's pit.
Three times now it's caught aflame,
thrice in a single season,
as if Hades' rose from the depths of earth
to settle on her slope.
It's eerie how the orange glow
only shows itself in the darkness,
and during daylight hours the purple stain
of smoke dirties pristine skies.
The acrid stench of ash and char
poisons air perfumed
with summer flowers and alfalfa fields,
until a single breath feels dirty.
The glorious sunset turns an angry red,
filtered through the smokey clouds -
My sunset gone awry
as the mountain burns.

Quote of the Day: "Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go." - E. L. Doctorow

Friday, September 14, 2007

Nature's Distraction

I discovered something about myself today- I will do anything I can to get out of editing. I went up a different canyon today hoping that the new sights would inspire me and get me back on the page. Well, it inspired me all right - so much so that I sat in my chair for two and a half hours and did almost nothing. I looked at the beautiful leaves; I wrote my morning pages; I watched a doe and her two fawns for about ten minutes; I watched some cows and batted at a lot of flies. I read my scriptures, prayed, and looked at the leaves some more. Then I left because it's almost time to pick up the kids.

I am beginning to agree with Edna Ferber where editing is concerned. She said "The ideal view for daily writing, hour on hour, is the blank brick wall of a cold-storage warehouse. Failing this, a stretch of sky will do, cloudless if possible."

Honestly, the most productive place I can go when editing is the library. If I'm home, I check e-mail and my blog every ten minutes or less. If I'm at a cafe or restaurant, I watch the people, and you already know what I do when I'm up the canyon. It's a great place to be when I need creative ideas, for the WRITING part of a story, but it really sucks when I need to do something I have no desire to do.

I guess it's back to the library for me, and even better if somebody can drop me off there so I don't have a car to leave. I get REALLY productive that way because I know the sooner I finish, the sooner I can call for a ride and go home.

My kids are spending the night at my in-laws tonight, and my husband works night shift, so I'll be home all alone. I could get some editing done then (since that's usually my mosts productive time), but I have to work in the morning and can't afford to stay up all night. I guess I could go to bed really early and wake up early, but knowing me I'd just take the time to catch up on my sleep. *sigh*

Anyone know of a good, cheap writer's retreat? Oh, wait, that puts me back in nature again. Never mind.

Like I said, back to the library.

Quote of the Day: "The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them." ~ Raymond Chandler

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I find it interesting that my e-mail adddress states that I "luv2writepoems", and yet I haven't written but a few in the past two years. It really got me thinking as to why that was, and the conclusion I came to is this: poetry makes me dig deep and doing so has just been too darn painful. I won't go into a chronicle of all the heartache the last two years has offered, but I will say it has been the two hardest years of my life.

Over the years, my self analization has brought me to the understanding that emotionally, I'm a stuffer, which has resulted in many an explosion of nervous-breakdown proportions. So, to battle this tendency to stuff, I had to do the opposite: express myself - and how better to do that than in a beautiful, poetic form? Poetry turns pain into art. I chronicled the lives of my boys from the day I found out we were going to be able to adopt, to their terrors in the neighborhood, and I discoved that it helped me find humor and joy in their progress. So why now, when I need it so terribly, have I found it hard to express myself in a form I love so much?

The answer is that writing got in the way. I know that sounds a little funny, but I think I made a mistake when I joined a poetry group. All of a sudden I found myself comparing my poetry to theirs, which is nothing like what they write, and it just didn't measure up.

I stopped writing.

Instead of allowing myself to be plain old me, I fell into the pit of comparison and couldn't find a way out. I rationalized that it was okay, that maybe poetry wasn't my thing after all, that novels were my TRUE calling, but I forgot one thing: I never wrote poetry for anybody else. I wrote it for me. By no longer expressing myself poetically, I let myself down.

Well, once I realized this, and being the stubborn, contrary person that I am, I decided I was going to write a poem, even if I had to pry it from my screaming heart one word at a time. And you know what? It worked. Sure, it's not the best poem I've written, but I felt like it at least captured the essence of the place I was, and that's what I wanted - but most importantly, it finally freed my heart to express itself again.

So, I'll share my poem here. Not for praise, or glory, but because I need to share the fact that my soul is awakening and learning to speak once more. I need to share it so that I know the world hears the voice crying from inside of me. I need to share because I love the music of the words.

Settlement Canyon

Mustard moss on twisted bark.
A maze of spindly branches and leafy fans.
Sharp rocks jut from the hillside
and a fallen tree with still green leaves, broken.
Bare wood points skyward - accusing fingers
not sure who to blame for the pain.
Blinding sun plays peek-a-boo,
one minute harsh and painful,
the next offering welcome warmth.
Crickets sing in the middle of the day.
A crisp, autumn breeze cuts
through a narrow ravine while a jet
streaks overhead.
An occasional whooperwhil sounds.
A chipmunk explores left-behind food.
Flies and bees come to see the bright cans
and shampooed smells-like-a-flower girl.
Tick-tick-tick the locust start their song,
while the ash-powder dirt stirs in the breeze.
The usual green leaves are painted now-
half up the mountain's side
freckles of orangy-red change the view,
and here the girl sits to write,
here the woman comes to find peace.

So, the moral of my story is this: Be true to yourself. Write what is in you, and don't you dare judge it. Express it. Let it be what it is. Learn. Grow. But most of all, allow yourself to speak. Be who you are and love it with everything you've got, because it's precious -more precious than you know.

Quote of the Day: "You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." - Jack London

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What is your Power Bird?

I haven't done one of these for a while and thought it would be fun to post this one. I love the things these quizes say about me. *big grin*

Your Power Bird is a Dove
Deep and emotional, you can connect well with almost any living creature.You bring hope and optimism to any dire situation.You are both gentle and affectionate with everyone you love.Truly nurturing, most people consider you to be a mother figure.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Scary Monster Goes Bye-Bye

As per Tristi's request, I am posting a new blog so that the big, scary monster can go away.


Okay, so, I took several bits of advice from the wonderful people who responded to my last post and gave myself a break today. I had my husband drop me off up the canyon 10 minutes from our house, with the intention of writing, and I did write - just not what I expected to.

I got a bunch of edits done at the concert on Saturday (10 chapters worth) and then realized there were a few things I still needed to add for some later things to make sense. Anyway, I had planned to do that today, but when I got up there, it was so beautiful and quiet that I found myself writing what I call "Ramblings" instead. Basically, I ramble on the page, whatever pops into my mind.

Today was a healing ramble. I started writing about my story but found myself turning inward and just went with it. I wrote ten pages, long hand, and just purged out all the garbage that's been festering inside. All the stress of the last twelve years came pouring out onto paper and I couldn't stop. It felt wonderful! Kind of a one-on-one therapy session with my inner self. Very good stuff.

Anyway, it was so wonderful I feel really good tonight, even with kids homework struggles and my other normal, everyday challenges. They're not bugging me like they usually do. I don't feel overwhelmed or frustrated. I feel . . . peaceful. Free. Lighter. It's amazing.

So, thank you so much, my dear friends, for your kind words of encouragement and advice. It went a long way in helping me today. I finally felt what I've known all along: I've got to fill my own well before I have anything to dip from. You guys helped me find my well.

Thank you.

Quote of the Day: "Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." ~E.L. Doctorow

Friday, September 7, 2007

Time Monsters

I'm not sure what it is, but it seems that every time I take my writing seriously and schedule time to get it done, the world conspires against me to do everything it can to prevent it. Am I alone in this?

Every day for the past week and a half I've been desperately trying to work on line edits. Last week was a bust between my son getting suspended from school for fighting (he's in 3rd grade, for heaven's sake!), friend and family meltdowns, my own near-nervous breakdown, a death in the family, and numerous other things.

This week I got called to the principal's office AGAIN for the same son taking a knife to school, had my mother's birthday, a musical presentation in my son's class, and ANOTHER meltdown (mine this time). I know life has to come first, but when is there ever time to write? I work at 4:30 in the morning, so it's not like I can stay up half the night like I used to, and yet that seems to be the only time I can find.

I had expected to get my whole book done by tomorrow evening and I'm only on chapter 3. Now, instead of spending the day working on it like I'd planned, I've got a soccer game for my other son and an all day concert at Thanksgiving Point. I finally decided to just take my laptop and earplugs with me to mute the sound a bit and I'll see what I can get done at the concert, I'm that desperate. Any advice from all you experts out there? It's not like these are things I can say no to. Where can I find some time? Am I expecting too much of myself here?

Okay, done whining now, though any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Quote of the Day: "Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it's so hurtful to think about writing." Heather Armstrong, Keynote Speech, SXSW 2006

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Found Family

I had a cool experience today. My little brother called and said he'd found something he wanted me to confirm for him. After IM-ing me a link, I followed it to find a picture of a man who has to be my brother.

See, my daddy died when I was only four. He'd been married before and was significantly older than my mother, so he had two sons from his first marriage that were almost my mom's age. I haven't seen or heard from either one of them since he passed away, and much as we've tried to find them over the years, they've just seemed to disappear - until today.

Today we found one.

My brother, Sean, is going to try and contact him. We're both a little nervous as we don't know what kind of reception we'll get, but there is no doubting he's my brother. He's the spitting image of my father, if a little thinner. He's got the Gillespie ears, forehead, and nose, not to mention the mustache and snow white hair. Yeah, I did say my daddy was a lot older than my mom, didn't I? He was 18 years older than she was, so that makes my newly found half-brother around 70. I know, we're kind of crazy that way. You should see the looks I get when I tell people my oldest brother is only four years younger than my mother! I used to tell people just to see their reaction.

So, if I can get this to work right, here are their pictures to compare. The first is my daddy, the second, the man we think is my brother:

Is it just me? Or do they look alike? It's strange seeing a man I barely remember and realizing he is most likely my brother. It's a strange mix of happy and sad and longing for what could have been. It's made me very thoughtful today about the past, full of memories and ghosts of the path my life has taken. It's been a nice day that way.

Here's hoping we get a positive response!

Quote of the Day: "Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon." -- E.L. Doctorow

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Literary Butt-kicking

The day was dark and dreary. The storm clouds spat their pebbles at the library windows, but Karen didn't care. She was lost in a world of fantasy and wonder, re-reading a favorite old book, when her quiet contemplation was disturbed by the appearance of several old friends.

James walked in first, his spurs and ten-gallon hat paired with a calculator protruding from the front of his western shirt. He spun his lasso 3 or 4 times before he settled it over Karen's shoulders with a flick of his wrist. Karen looked up, surprised, as he tightened the noose, her book dropping to the table with a loud thump.

"Ssshhh!" the librarian hissed as Tristi rounded the book-case, her fairy wings knocking books off the shelves that she immediately replaced with a wave of her magic wand.

Last came Julie in black biker leather. One gloved hand thwacked a thick pipe into the other with a repeated rhythm, as if she were about to burst into a song from "West Side Story" any moment.

"Hey, guys, what's up?" Karen asked, her voice shaking as she watched the menace in these people she thought were her friends.

"Well, now, we heard about you, Missy," James drawled in his sweet Georgia accent. "You've been messing around, reading them books when you should be working on that manuscript you've been asked for."

"Yes," Tristi-fairy said. "Some people are a tad disappointed with your behavior, Karen. Naughty-naughty." Triski tsked, her finger shaking at Karen as if she were her mother.

"It's time for some literary butt-kicking," Julie growled and stepped closer, her club thumping more vicously into her left hand.

"Ssssshhh!" the librarian hissed, a little louder this time.

Karen looked at the trio, panicked, her stomach tumbling like a load of boulders in a washing machine. "Wait, wait! I can do it. I - I - " she stuttered. "I'll have it finished by Saturday. Really. I will."

Julie snorted. Tristi rolled her eyes. James spat on the carpet.

All eyes followed the globule as it flew through the air and impacted the carpet. In a flash the librarian was there.

"Young man, we do NOT spit in the library!" The seventy-something woman took James by the ear and started to pull him toward the front door.

"Ow, OW! All right already!" he said, crouched over to follow the old woman. He dropped the lasso as he passed through the security gate, his hand to his ear.

Julie and Tristi turned back to Karen once James was outside, his face pressed to the glass, watching. Startling as it may sound, they looked more menacing without the tall cowboy hovering over them. Julie got in Karen's face. "You've got until Saturday, girl, then we settle this." Julie strolled out of the library. Tristi touched Karen's head with her wand, a flash of light blinding them both for a moment. Karen suddenly had the overwhelming urge to write until her fingers bled. She had to finish her book. She had to!

The librarian was back again. "No spells in the library!" She reached for Tristi's wand, but the fairy spun it over her own head and disappeared with a distinct 'pop'. The librarian grunted, then glared at Karen. "Anymore of your friends going to stop by today?"

Karen didn't answer. She had pulled her laptop forward and was lost in her book. Not a book that was between pages, oh no, this was her book, the book that lived in her mind, coming to life at last on the screen before her. It was time to finally get it done. Her friends had given her the butt-kicking she needed to move her back to the page.


This story is dedicated to James Dashner, Tristi Pinkston, and Julie Wright who are about the best butt-kickers around. Thanks, guys!