Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why do I Write?

I was invited by fellow author, Blogger, Twitterer and MLB fan, Ellen Mulholland to discuss why I write.

I find it a difficult question to answer without sounding too much like a beauty pageant contestant asking for world peace and inner tranquility, but there's a lot of truth to that under the cheese.

I'm pretty busy. I have four kids aged 8 through almost 12 and a husband who acts like a kid. My are bright, funny, athletic and social and a great deal of my existence is invested in their development into professional athletes, politicians, musicians or socialites. It'll pay off, I'm sure, when they buy me that summer home on the ocean. Even though Steve's a very 'hands on' dad, there's still twice as many of them as there are of us... we're sorely out numbered.

I'm also an SLP. My paid job is rewarding. I work with fantastic families who want the best for their children and I love being a part of reaching those potentials. But it's not a job where I can leave work at the office. Even if I don't do paperwork, I spend time after hours problem solving, worrying, thinking about 'my kids' and how we can get another step closer to a goal.

I try to be community minded. I coach the kids when I think I know something about the sport (so baseball, not hockey). I try to participate in boards and committees and organizing of things that are worthwhile.

So my life is quite the hamster wheel. And please, don't misunderstand, I love it that way. I hate missing a game or practice, I hate not driving a kid somewhere and I don't miss if I can help it. I'm not a homebody, I like to be on the go. I'm terrible for multitasking... I can't tell you the last time I watched a movie without also plucking away at my computer and/or listening to a ballgame or something. But without balance, even though I love the hectic pace, it can get to be too much.

Writing forces me to stop.

It stops the frantic multitasking. It stops the thousand thoughts going a thousand different directions. It stops the worrying, the supposing, the brooding over things I can't change.

It helps me focus on the experiences and the feelings I've had, the things I've learned. It helps me process and understand what they mean and how they relate to the rest of the world. It helps me appreciate the uniqueness of what I have, who I am, who I'm blessed to be around.

Writing lets me ask 'what if' and explore other possibilities without giving up the awesome reality I live.

It makes me feel better, calmer, stronger, more still in the way I imagine exercise does for others. (I wish writing made me skinnier too, sadly it does not). I love writing way more than exercising anyway.

When I've spent time writing I'm a more conscious reader and a more thorough thinker. I'm a better mom and wife and a better friend. And I want world peace. :)


Monday, August 25, 2014


Hear that?


Neither do I.

The girls are at their g'parents until later this afternoon. The boys are in their summer camps (E in hockey, Jack in 'climbing and leadership'). This is the first day since school was let out that I have time alone to write.

By alone I'm conceding that the dog will want to go out 47 times and come back in, that the kitten will do nutty stuff like jump at the sliding door as she is now, and the geriatric cat will choose my lap or my chest (depending on my level of reclination) as the perfect spot to sit for 30 seconds at a time. "Alone" is relative.

I actually got several good chunks of time over the past few days with my chicklets away and no baseball, hockey, basketball or soccer (save one game on Sunday) to run between. I finished up my manuscript and sent it off to a publisher... scary stuff I tell you. I thought having a book published would prove something but it only sets me up to be the only thing worse than a 'never was' and that's a fluke or a fraud. I wonder what it'll take for me not to be terrified by the whole submission process? A string of best sellers and a six digit royalty check? Dunno but I'd sure like to try ;)

Anyways, enough procrastination. I'm off to edit a secret weapon story. Not a story about a concealed gun but a story that is a secret bonus linked to Game Plan that I'm excited about.

Happy Monday!


PS if you google "image for silence" the results are very creepy. Who knew?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Diary of Anne Frank

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I read these books written by people involved with the family of Anne Frank. Of course I read Anne Frank's diary as a teenager, but reading the other memoirs made me want to re-read her story to see if I could draw the connections - looking at the same story from different points of view. 

Is it okay to dislike a 12 year old persecuted child? Probably not, eh? Okay I admit it, I wasn't a fan of Anne Frank at the beginning of her diary. For the first third of the book I was worried by my opinion of her - snotty, conceited, ungrateful child... but aren't all children at some point? 

I think the power of this story is the growth of the girl, in spite of (or because of?) her circumstances. As she grows and writes her perception of herself, of her family and others hiding with her, of her circumstances grows and becomes so well thought out, so well articulated, it reminded me of the uni course I took studying the Transcendentalists. This child, who was so real and authentic that she still complained about the inequities of being a teenager, also wrote about spirituality, sexuality, politics, societal interactions, truth and justice and peace. It makes me wonder who she would have become had she been given the chance.  It is truly a gem of history. 


Friday, August 15, 2014

It's like a sore in the mouth...

That's all I can come with. It's like a sore in my mouth, that kinda twinges and I'm compelled to touch my tongue to it to see if it's still there and that's when it hurts. Forgive me if I sound melodramatic, I mean, I never knew the man, right? And people have much bigger tragedies, much bigger struggles that are real to life. Here I am grappling with the death of a man who didn't know I existed. But when I remember that he's dead, and more so that he chose to be that way, it's like thrusting my tongue against a canker - it hits me all over again.

Suicide is terrifying. And disturbing. I told my kids why I was crying - that Robin Williams had died - and Jack asked how? I said he was sick and left it at that. Naive. He googled him the next day and read the truth. I can't even imagine how scary and lonely and desperate someone must feel to get to that point. I wanted my kids to be too young to know about that.

I don't even know the point of this post. It's taken me twenty minutes two write those two paragraphs; neither a complete thought and one having little to do with the other. But writing helps me process things, my thoughts and my emotions and so I hoped plucking away something here would help me step forward.

This tribute helps too... in his voice, though not his words. From one of my favourite movies, Jack. Quite hauntingly appropriate now, and quite the challenge.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Oh Captain, my Captain!

I first remember seeing Robin Williams in Dead Poets' Society and have loved him since.  O Captain, My Captain, is the Walt Whitman poem famously quoted in that movie. 

But in the poem the Captain is dead.

The tributes list his greatest movie roles in Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam but my favourites were the lesser known - One Hour Photo, Jack, Patch Adams, Awakenings and What Dreams May Come. I even named my son, Jack, after him. I actually thought I was unusual to claim Robin Williams as my favourite - not the bigger names like Tom Hanks or Robert de Niro or Jack Nicholson, but the short, funny zany guy who probably had more panned movies than hits. But from the reaction to yesterday's news, it seems everybody loved him. If only he knew. 

 I suspect people in the spotlight struggle to balance what they share and what they keep to themselves. Obviously in hindsight Mr. Williams kept his demons to himself. I mean, he shared his struggles - he was open about his addictions and rehab efforts, but no one must have known how dark it was for him to make the choice he ultimately did. But I always felt he was sincere, generous of his talent, his humour, his money, his position. He stepped up and helped out, with the veterans overseas, with the homeless at home. I loved to watch him on talk shows because it amused me that the camera men can't keep up - he seemed to put all of his energy, all of himself into any moment where he knew people were watching.
Everyone is commenting on how funny Robin Williams was, and I have to agree, he was hilarious, witty and crude and shocking. But have you seen some of his serious roles? He must have had a phenomenal understanding of human emotion to tone down his crazy to play a heartbroken father or a twelve year old boy or a fragile lonely man.  Maybe he let us see more than it seemed?

The world is a less funny place today.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Why is there a snorkel on the coffee table?

These are the questions you just can't make up.

I spent my writing morning doing tax-stuff and cleaning the house. (Well, cleaning is a strong word). Real life sucks sometimes. I received my feedback eval from my super cool editor guy with some really great points and some direction that leaves me bursting with ideas of how to fix it. I've a self imposed deadline of end of August for submission of the MS. But this morning mundane responsibilities like tax-stuff and house cleaning took over.

I've got a conundrum I need to solve. My story presents the idea that 'truth' changes with perspective... the end of the story leaves us with four unavailable narrators and I want the reader to realize that those four know a truth that the greater community don't realize in the sensationalized news. Trying to figure out how to get that side across.

This afternoon the half-sized peeps and I are headed to a friend's barn to visit horses. PJ has asked me every fifteen minutes if it's time yet.


Saturday, August 02, 2014

Multiple Perspectives and Super Powers

In the past couple of months I've read these three books:


The Book Thief I discussed in my review here. The second and third are memoirs written by women who knew Anne Frank. Reading them were like looking at a single sculpture from different sides, different angles. And next I'm going to reread Anne Frank's diary itself.

Some books are important as escapes, some drive the imagination, some make us think or make us laugh. I think these are important as reminders, as humans to empathize and realize. When Gies is talking about her struggles to find food for her family, walking hours under fear of detection for a few potatoes or beets, I was thinking about my Tim's drive through trip for my hot sausage and cheese on a biscuit, the expired food in my fridge that just went bad because we were too busy to eat it this week.

And it's not outdated. We can read these books and gasp at the unimaginable atrocities, wonder how it's possible it could have happened and forget it's still happening now. Words have power, and written stories give their writers a super power Long after the Germans surrendered and pulled out of Holland these stories remain. The way time passes, the people who died would have been old enough now to have passed even if they had survived... but these stories can still be shared and can still have impact. Their super power is immortality, maybe.


Friday, August 01, 2014

Lazy Days

During the summer I try to plan 'Adventures' for the kids and I to do when I'm off work. It gets us out of the house, active and learning something about NS. Nothing grand, just little day trips. Today I had a few ideas, the waterfront, Uniake house, a beach, the Oval... but in the end we had a lazy day at home. I tried to peck out a few words on my cantankerous WIP, the kids invited their fiends over and have bounced around from the garage to the basement to their bedrooms to the lake (so I had to go lifeguard and read)... I prepped supper and am watching the clock until we have to leave for hockey (if you thought hockey was a winter sport, you didn't know about SUMMER hockey for the obsessed and crazy Canucks). Rookie is snoring at my feet. Sometimes it's great just to stay home.


To prove the point made above, it took me six tries and several minutes to get this 'casual' snapshot.

#GoodDay Reviews

Charlie's Story on Wattpad

Game Plan on Wattpad

Nine on Wattpad

My other Distraction