Tag: NaNoWriMo

Nanowrimo Day 21: A Love Story Within a Love Story

nanowrimo2013

So how are all my Nanowrimo peeps doing?  I’m basically finished my story and I’ve wanted to post a section but honestly I don’t feel like any of it is that strong so I was hesitant to do so.  I’ve posted a few of them but it was my first time writing fiction and controlling the voices once they had switched places was very difficult.

I’m still mulling over and will do for some time.  I plan on using it as a concept and then writing more based on the idea and characters I created.  I’ve certainly learned a lot from creating an entire story.

One interesting thing about writing is you can start writing a character that is an aside and the longer you get in the story the bigger the character gets (and smaller in some cases).  Has anyone else seen this in your writing?  Well, I did.  I could end up writing a whole new book about a side character that I ended up bonding with.

The two main characters of my story are 2 women, Marnie and Becca, one is married, Becca, and the other, Marnie, is single.  I wanted to create a love interest for Marnie and as any rom-com will show you nothing is cuter than a single widower.  I don’t know if that is true in real life but ever since Sleepless in Seattle it’s pretty much a mainstay.

Finally, I ended up with a man named Josh.  He’s a single Dad who comes to the rescue of Becca who has kids the same age as his son Ben.  Eventually he gets to know both Marnie and Becca and becomes a friend to both and Santa does a little matchmaking!  At the end of the book he finally tells both girls about his late wife Mary, and their story together.

It kind of ended up being a love story within a love story and I enjoyed writing it.  It’s a tragic love story you might say but I don’t know if any love story is truly tragic.  Love gives hope and a complete human experience or at least so I am told.  I have yet to experience it myself.

There is also something inherently corny about romance.  You listen to anyone’s love story and it seems pretty cheesy but it’s also endearing and joyful, and a Christmas story definitely needs lots of joy!

So, Josh’s love story came together and I’ve decided to share it with you.  As a nanowrimo story it is very, very rough so please be nice.  I’m not sharing it for critique but more to keep you aware of what I’ve been working on.

Here it is

Josh and Mary’s Romance

“If you don’t mind my asking what happened with your wife” said Becca

“Yes, what happened? Can you talk about it?” said Marnie.  She started to talk but Josh was looking at Marnie while listening to her.  She started to tear up and that made Becca cry and Josh as he began to tell the story.

“Well, we met at a coffee shop.  It was about 2 blocks away from both of our jobs. She worked as a secretary for a big wig CEO downtown and I was in the mailroom at an office building- the one with the triangle top and like 20 floors.

It was quite the job making sure everything got where they needed to go.  Sometimes the basement where we would sort the mail would be so hot I would step out to get coffee just to have a break and cool down.

I know sounds funny cooling off getting coffee but that’s what I did. On the other side, Mary was constantly given chores and errands by her boss.  She’d get the dry cleaning, pick up her kids from school, even work at the soup kitchen for her boss and sometimes she ended up as hot and bothered as me at work.

Fortunately her boss sent her to get coffee often at the same time I was taking my breaks and I started to notice her.  She was pretty with black hair and blue eyes that sparkled like sapphires (I know that is cheesy but it is true) and a great smile.

Sometimes she would wear bright red lipstick and it would make her whole face pop out and I found myself thinking of those red lips all day long.

At the time she seemed way out of my league, like someone from a fairytale or the pretty girl in high school who only dated the captain of the football team”

“So how’d you get the courage to ask her out?” Marnie asked..  Just then I came into the room and Josh smiled as he saw me.

“That’s the funny thing is I never could quite do it.  I always worried that she would think I was so forward to ask a girl on a date he had just seen at the coffee shop.  Plus, she always seemed very busy so it was hard for me to catch a moment to talk and smooth into it.

  However, sometimes I would catch her looking at me and she’d smile and nod.  Finally one day she came up to me and said ‘what kind of coffee did you get?’ ‘tall low fat cappuccino with nutmeg and cinnamon.  I actually hate nutmeg and cinnamon but my boss likes it so that’s what I have to get’.

I said ‘why don’t you just get something else for yourself and something for your boss?’

She sighed and said that her boss was a real tool and if she didn’t taste the coffee first and make sure it was up to par there would be hell to pay.

I told her that I had worked at a place like that and it was the worst.  Then we bonded over our bad work stories.  Before you knew it we had talked for 20 minutes and her phone rang.  It was her boss and I could tell she was getting chewed out for taking so long.  ‘I’m sorry.  I will be right there’ she said into the phone.

You could see the weight off a job she hated on her shoulders.  It was like a black cloud had settled over the coffee shop.  I wanted to make things better for her but before I could offer help she looked at me with a sigh and said “hey would you like to go to dinner sometime.  I have a good feeling about you and would like to chat more with you”

“Sure” I said.  “I’d love that.  Tonight?’  I didn’t want to miss a moment to get to know this person and I’d sat enough times in a coffee shop to know that it was a once in a million girl.  It was my chance to make my life happen.

I know I never thought I would feel that way again but lately I’ve been allowing myself to have new experiences and have a window in my heart open for love again.  It’s hard because I don’t want to replace her because nobody will but I know she wants me to love.  She wants me to be happy.  She always did.”

Both Marnie and Becca can’t help but blush at his speech.  After all , he was talking about both of them but he kept looking at Marnie so I felt confident that the idea of having both of them in the room for the date was a good idea.

“So we went on our first date and then dated for a 2 months but too be honest we didn’t even need to wait that long.  We knew it was right.  There was no doubt.

I told my Dad that I wanted to ask her to marry me and he thought I was crazy but he said ‘if you know you know and you have to go for it.  We will certainly be behind you.  At the time I was a poor guy in the mailroom so I couldn’t afford much of a ring.

I was watching the home shopping network and they had some cubic zarchonia rings and I thought they looked pretty nice and I could pay for one, so I bought it and took her to the coffee shop where we had met.  She had the red lips that I loved so much.  At first I got really nervous because I knew she could say no and I couldn’t bear it.

When I got nervous she thought that I was going to break up with her.  She started to tear up and I thought she was breaking up with me and she said “just spit it out.  Just say it!”

I looked at her with surprise and wondered what she was talking about.  Figuring I had nothing else to loose I pulled the ring box out of my pocket and showed it to her.  ‘Mary, this is the place we met and I remember looking at you and your red lips and thinking I could never get a girl like you.

And then one day you talked to me and we vented about our crazy bosses and it was like you weren’t just the pretty girl but your heart was big and you were funny, everything I could have hoped for.” I told her ‘I love you and I will love you forever.  Will you marry me?’  To my surprise she started to cry and took out the ring.

“It’s not a real diamond.  I couldn’t afford it.  I am sorry.  I hope you are not disappointed” I said with hope in my heart that maybe these were tears of joy not ‘I’m going to break up with you tears’ then she smiled, smiled with her red lips and said ‘I couldn’t love it more if it was real diamonds because I love you and yes, I will marry you’.”

I’ve always thought that life was made up of moments, like a collage that we piece together with hopefully enough happiness to make it all worth it.  You don’t know how many times in the last few years I’ve thought of those happy moments and they have made it worthwhile.  I certainly would never take it back, even knowing the pain that would come.  Never”

“So, then you had Ben? Were you nervous about having a baby? How long had you been married?”

“We had been married 2 years and had almost finished our degrees.  Mary had 1 quarter left and found out she was pregnant.  We were so excited but she was determined to finish school out, pregnant or not.

I’ll never forget her crossing that graduation podium pregnant and glowing, for reason than one.  2 months later she went into labor and we had our beautiful baby boy.

She was the one who thought of the name Ben because she had loved the old Benji movies from the 80s with the loyal, kind dog.  After seeing what she went through I told her she could pick any name she wanted as long as it wasn’t something weird like Nature or Canyon.  Thank goodness she had more sense than that.”

“When Ben was about 6 months she took Ben in for his check-up.  Things had been hard but we were managing to stay afloat.  She was doing some tutoring and bookkeeping on the side and I was a marketing clerk at a prestigious graphic design firm downtown.

I knew that Mary had been feeling tired and a little pale lately but I saw all my other friends with babies and they seemed to be going through something similar.  I thought in a few months the worst of it would be over and we would be ok.”

“Then Mary told the doctor what she had been feeling and said that there was a pain in her abdomen that wouldn’t go away.  She was a tough cookie and hadn’t wanted to make a big deal of it but now that it had lasted months she was worried and asked him what he thought it was.  He sent her to a specialist to get some tests and turns out it was uterine cancer, stage 4, untreatable.

We had 6 months to a year to live and so we all the sudden had mere months to enjoy our baby and pile in all the memories we could, at least while her health remained strong enough to do anything.  We went bungie jumping and traveled to New York and saw a fashion show.

It was her dream but when we got home from the trip she went downhill fast and in a matter of 2 weeks she was gone.  When she was in the hospital she had her red lipstick on and she kissed Ben and left an imprint with lipstick on his bald head.  I have the picture here. “

Josh pulled out a photo from his suitcoat and it was a beautiful woman with red lipstick in a hospital gown. She was glowing and holding up her baby with big red lips on the top of his head.  It was priceless.

Nanowrimo Day 9- Girl Tax

WritingGirl.MR_Before I start.  We got the 300th follower on the blog today.  It is very exciting!  Thank you to everyone that reads.  Please don’t forget to comment and add into the discussion which I try to start.  I love my readers!

So today I did the Nanothon which is a day of writing.  After I got back from volleyball I wrote for 5-6 hours straight and got over 5k added to the story.  I have had repeated requests on twitter and this blog to share a bit of what I am writing.  I am hesitant to do so because I’m not 100% in love with my story.  Plus it is very, very rough (how can something you write in 30 days be anything but rough?)

But I’ve gotten enough requests that here is a section.  We are introducing the single character who grew up with a single Mom who felt that romance was a fairy tale and that life was going to be hard so you better be prepared.

She told her daughter about something called ‘The Girl Tax’.  This meant that any woman was going to have to work twice as hard as a man for success  because they are a woman.  She wants her daughter to prepare for the hard work and to not expect anything in life to be handed to her, especially a big ring on her finger.

I feel like there is potential in this dynamic.  I know people who feel there is a ‘girl tax’ or at least there certainly was and I can picture a weary single mom giving such advice to her only daughter.  Like I said, this is just my initial thoughts so don’t be too tough on it but the concept for a character is there.  Enjoy and I’ll keep sharing with you!

===================

Girl Tax-

This wasn’t the way life was supposed to turn out.  Growing up in a home with a single Mom Marnie knew that as a woman she would probably have to make her own way in the world. In fact, she hadn’t spent much time with men.  Aside from Becca’s husband she didn’t know her father and never bonded with male teachers or neighbors.  They were like a foreign oddity.

Her mother hadn’t helped with this either.  She would start her speeches with a give away about ‘saying I’m sure you will meet someone great who will love you but you need to make sure you are protected and can stand on your own.  A few people are happy  with men but most of us get a harder handout in life.

She would always end her speeches saying ‘nobody is going to hand you anything.  You better be ready to pay the girl tax”

“The girl tax?” marnie would ask.

“Yes, any woman is going to have to work twice as hard for everything as a man and don’t trust a man anyway.  They have the luxury of a world that expects them to lie and cheat and be successful.  It’s a man’s way in this world and life will not give you any favors” she says with more than a hint of bitterness.  It had been a hard life.

Marnie had seen her mother go through men like candy and a few of them were great.  There was one named Randy who would give her candy and take her to the movies.  Unfortunately he only stayed around for a couple of months.  Another nice one was named Sam who showed her how to bake bread.

It was amazing to see the yeast bubble and then punch down the dough as it blew up like a balloon.  The smells while it was baking was intoxicating and there is nothing better than hot bread with butter and honey.

Sometimes the speech would varied with men being “scumbags” and “disapointments” depending on the romantic entanglement of the moment.   That was why Marnie had moved so much.  Different men with all the same outstanding character traits of laziness and apathy.  Luckily none of them had hurt her but she couldn’t say the same for her mother.

Really the only constant was the playhouse her friend Becca and her shared at a field behind their homes (former home for Marnie but she was close).  It was beautiful, quiet and perfect.  This was the type of home she wanted.

One thing is for sure she would have a different life than her mother.  She wanted a career where she could support herself, a husband who loved her and kids that knew they were protected and supported.

She wanted love from more than just a mother who took care of her, fed and bathed her.  She knew that her mother loved her as much as she could but she also knew that she resented her for the life she could have led.  A life without a little girl to tie her down.

High school was the worst time of all.  She didn’t fit in with any of the clicks and all of the classes seemed so boring.  She wanted to be active, and busy not sticking her nose in a book.  That wasn’t the life that would work for her.  Fortunately she had her best friend Becca who stood by her no matter how many ear piercing or nose rings she got .  She had even thought about getting a tattoo at one point but Becca had talked her out of it.

Thank goodness for that because she’d still have a four leaf clover on her arm from a guy named Mike that she thought was her lucky charm.   For that act alone Becca was a lifetime friend but as long as she had been alive she had known that she had a friend in Becca.

So off to college she’d gone and so had Becca.  They spent every minute together but the boys were more taken with Becca than Marnie.  It was unclear exactly why but it wasn’t long before Becca was pairing up on dates with different men and eventually one stuck named Scott.  He was a handsome man with dreams of a career in the army.

They would excitedly tell the story to anyone who would listen about meeting at the ROTC on campus and how Becca helped him register for class and how she had sworn off dating.  For some reason that whole sworn off dating thing worked better for Becca than it ever had for Marnie.  In fact, dating at all wasn’t her thing.  She couldn’t figure it out.

“A man in uniform” she remembered Becca saying with a sigh.   “That is the life”

Now a marriage and 4 kids later Marnie’s best friend seemed to have gotten everything in life.  A handsome husband, beautiful kids and a house in the suburbs and what did Marnie have to show for her life?

She had gone into hospitality and then on to the culinary institute to become a chef.  Food had always been a fascinating thing for her and was a way she could make her mother happy on her long days of working in a factory making wheel barings  or waiting tables.  Food was love and she learned early h ow to make stews, sauces and pastries.  A specialty of hers is called Indian fry bread and it is fried dough that puffs up into a cloud and covered with powdered sugar.  Marnie and her mother would make it and get powdered sugar all over their noses and take photos of their sugar whiskers.

Sadly her mother was now gone.  She’d worked hard till the end and had a stroke 2 years ago.  Becca had been there for Marnie but she still felt so alone.  She hadn’t been able to give her Mother any grandbabies or show her what a great life she had gotten for herself.

Why Nanowrimo is Important

nanowrimo1Recently I got turned on to an old but rather grumpy piece by Laura Miller in Salon.com where she rails against the Nanowrimo project.  According to her it is simply flooding the world with ‘crappy novels’ and that the “the cultural spaces once dedicated to the selfless art of reading are being taken over by the narcissistic commerce of writing”

My response to that is ‘wah, wah, wah, wah’.  Some people find a reason to complain about everything.  A friend of mine recently posted an article in the New York Times about the number of cupcake stores were depressing the writer as she rode the subway home from work.  I can think of a lot of worse sites that were probably along that subway route in years passed most starting with the letter x in it.  It’s cupcakes people.  I don’t understand how that can possibly offend anyone!

The rest of Miller’s article advocates reading novels over writing them and she claims there is a ‘shortage of readers out there’.  Perhaps this is true with men but I can’t think of a single adult woman that I know who doesn’t read for pleasure on occasion.  Maybe they don’t read the highfalutin depressing snob-books I’m sure Miss Miller is a fan of but they read.

And since when did writing and reading become mutually exclusive concepts?  I am confident that most of the people who dedicate a month to  nanowrimo are spending a great deal of the year dedicated to reading.  (She claims that people often say to her ‘Oh, I don’t have time to read. I’m just concentrating on my writing.’  I don’t know who she is spending time with because I can’t think of a single writer, or even blogger for that matter, that does not have a book they are currently reading.)

So let me just give a few defenses for why Nanowrimo is a good idea.

1. Nanowrimo gets you to finish an entire story.  Most people when they begin to write get caught up in the details of a character or story arc and then either abandon the project or become frustrated and don’t move on to other details that might come more quickly.  There is value in producing an entire book instead of pieces of a plot that you think might be fun someday.  Even this year on a book I’m not thrilled with I will have a finished story and that is certainly worth more than a bunch of starts scribbled down and set aside.

2. Nanowrimo gets you to write every day.  Some of us are super self-motivated and can exercise every day with out a team, sing for the pure love of music, and write diligently on our own.  Some of us are also like me and days go by without doing any of those things, even though I love them.  There is something about having a goal outside of myself whether it be an open water swim, a voice recital or nanowrimo that makes me work hard every day.  Scripture says “the natural man is an enemy to God” and I think that can go for writing, reading, swimming or anything else.  Human nature is lazy or maybe that’s just me…

3. Nanowrimo gets you in touch with others stories.  In just the 2 years I have done nanowrimo I have made a lot of friends and enjoyed reading their stories.  This includes a writing group, blogging/twitter friends, and local writers.  I attended a writers conference in April that was both engaging and enriching and none of that would have happened without nanowrimo, so at the worst I made new friends and had a lot of fun and isn’t that what a hobby should do? I don’t see why Nanowrimo is any more hurtful than fishing, scrapbooking, embroidery or any other kind of hobby.  I am sorry if editors have to read more ‘crappy novels’ because of Nanowrimo (a point Miller belabors. Poor, sad editors).  That’s your job. I make spreadsheets all day and that’s not very exciting. Deal.

4. Nanowrimo helps the writer think about their own story.  Are they telling the right story in his or her life?  This was especially true for me last year as I used my life for the inspiration of my book.  However, even this year there have been moments in my characters story arcs that have made me think about how I balance my time, what kind of friend I am, and how I can make Christmas more special.  I just don’t see how that kind of introspection can be bad?

5. Nanowrimo allows me to finish something. This kind of goes along with #1 but I want to make a slightly different point.  In my life, and the life of most adults, we do the same thing over and over again.  That is certainly true with accounting and parenting and most other jobs I can think of.  Even a really creative job like painting or sculpting in the end boils down to a certain routine repeated each day.  I remember when I was in college and I would look at the syllabus and think ‘how am I ever going to do all of that’ and then the end of the semester would come and I had done it, and done pretty well at it.  I almost never get that sensation any more and Nanowrimo gives that to me, and I think that is important.

So keep writing my friends and people like Laura Miller may think you are a narcissist but in the words of the king of narcissism, keep writing:

“Creating – that is the great salvation from suffering.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Nanowrimo Update: Day 8

shut up

So as you all know I have been working on my nanowrimo book for the last 8 days and I am happy to report I just finished my 27,350th word.  That means I am over half way done and it is just day 8.  I am really proud of my dedication and hard work and can’t wait until it is finished.

That’s the good part…

The bad part is I am not loving my book.  I really don’t want anyone in my writing group to read it and haven’t wanted to post new sections because I know it isn’t great.  It certainly isn’t nearly as good as last year’s book and I’m not saying that was some kind of masterpiece.  Then again it is the first time I have ever written fiction so maybe I am being too hard on myself?

Have any of you guys had this happen when you are writing nanowrimo, where you just become kind of disillusioned with your story?  It is a bit hard to sit down and write everyday  but I set a goal and I am going to finish.  I really think my story will be better as a screenplay because you can more easily show a person talking in another person’s body.  That is really hard to do in a novel.  It’s too bad Script Frenzy ended last year 😦  I do much better when I have a group challenge and am not just dependent on myself for motivation.

I couldn’t even find a section that I wanted to show you, which is certainly different than last year.  This is the best I could come up with.  A single and married woman have switched places and find themselves frustrated with living the other’s life instead of their own.  This becomes particularly so when the married woman’s back goes out and the single woman has to deal with all the pain.  Eventually she goes to the hospital and they give her a shot for the pain.  This makes her kind of nutty and she starts spilling the beans about the switch but nobody will believe her:

After about 10 minutes in the hospital Marnie could feel the shot start to kick in.  She could move her back and neck but now the problem was she couldn’t think clearly.  Everything was muddled and cloudy inside and the world felt like it was spinning.  She didn’t know where she was, who’s body she was in or what she was doing.

The nurse came in to check on her and Marnie pulled her aside and said “My friend stole my body and gave me her bad back instead.  That wasn’t very nice was it?  I feel all lose inside like an eel.  How do you feel?”

“Uhhh…no that doesn’t sound nice and I’m doing just fine” said the nurse inching away and chuckling.

“She also gave me her 4 children and took my quiet apartment and especially at Christmas.  Why did we have to be switched at Christmas? Isn’t that mean? I could keep the kid (they really were quite cute kids and she felt like she could talk to all of them, deal with them), but I miss my cat.  Her name is Pepper.  Do you have a cat doctor?” she says with a bit of drool coming out of her mouth.

“I’m not the doctor but do you need me to get him” said the nurse  “So you say your friend gave you her four children?  Why would she do that?”

“Because I told you silly- she took my body and gave me her children” with that Marnie began to get off of the exam table.  “I took her body but it has a bad back.  Otherwise I like it just fine and she doesn’t have to go to work but gets to spend time doing something important. “ she says with a slur.

“But I really love her and she’s my best friend.  Did you know we have been friends since I was 7 years old.  That is longer than I’ve known anyone, oh but my mother.  My Mother is dead.  Did you know that”

The nurse nods.  :That’s too bad.  Now please try and relax.  That I the only way your back is going to get better is if you relax”

“But what about the children.?  They are JT, Julie, Callie and the youngest.  Oh yeah Addie. Who is going to take care of them if Becca is in my body . They need their mother”

“I am sure they do.  Mrs.  Phillips, we need you to relax and take some deep breaths.  Everything will work out.”

“That’s what everyone says but then nothing ever does.  My whole life I’ve been waiting for things to work out and they don’t. Aside from meeting Becca I have had the worst string of luck. I get a chance at the promotion and I’m in someone’s body.  I meet a great guy and I can’t go on the date with him because I’m Becca Phillips not Marnie.  I just want to have my body back and I want Becca to have hers.  I promise I will support her more and help more with the kids.  Please give me my body back” Marnie grabs the nurse’s sleeve and puts her hands together as if to be begging.  “Please help me”

The nurse gives up trying to talk to her and looks at me.  “Sir, can you take responsibility for Mrs.  Phillips and make sure she gets home”

“Of course he can” she says “he’s Santa.  He can do whatever he wants.   What do you want for Christmas? You should ask him now why you have the chance.  Did you know that Rudolph actually has a red nose and flies? I’m tired.  I feel like you are made of glue and all clear inside.  Am I clear like that?”  Marnie interrupts.

“Honestly I want a night off to relax” says the nurse.

“Well, take a step back because you may get what you want.  Do you have a best friend? What is her body like? You better make sure you like it because you may end up in it for next Christmas.  Is she pretty?  Maybe I can swap with that? Becca is very pretty but her back hurts.  That’s why I had to get a shot and now I feel funny”

“Is that so?”  The nurse looks truly mystified even for someone on a muscle relaxant shot this is unusual.  Not wanting things to get any  more out of hand I jump in.

“Ok.  Sweetie.  I will get the nurse her night off.  Let’s go.  Put your head on my shoulder and let’s walk to the car”

“All right but we need to make sure that she gets the right body because I’m Marnie and I was born in 1981 and my best friend is Becca”

“Ok.  Let’s go” I can’t help but laugh at the half dazed conversation attempts made by poor Marnie.  This really was a new side of her that I don’t think anyone had seen.

“Are we going to go on the reindeer?” she asked.  “I want to see Rudolph’s red nose and meet Spencer the elf”

“How did you know about Spencer the elf?” I say with surprise.

————

Why go on, you ask?  Well, I finish what I start and nanowrimo is no different.  Plus I read this pep talk from Malinda Lo and I found it very encouraging.  Here is a segment: ”

That’s what inspiration is. It’s seductive and thrilling, but you can’t depend on it to call you. It doesn’t work that way. The good thing is, inspiration is irrelevant to whether or not you finish your book. The only thing that determines that is your own sense of discipline.

Here’s what happens when I sit down to write. First, I turn off my access to the internet by engaging Freedom. (The internet is the number-one killer of writer productivity!) Second, I open Scrivener. (Substitute whatever word-processing program works for you.) Third, I force myself to sit there with my work-in-progress until Freedom says I’m done. (I always set it for at least one hour, and often three.) I don’t allow myself to get up to make endless cups of tea (one will do). I just sit there. That’s all.

How often am I filled with inspiration before I start writing? Pretty much never. Instead, I usually stare at my work-in-progress with a vague sense of doom. I often think to myself: What the hell am I doing in this scene? I don’t understand how to get my characters from Point A to Point B! I really want to check Twitter!

The trick is this: As long as I sit there with my work-in-progress, at some point I will write something, because there’s nothing else to do.

Whatever I write may not be any good, but that doesn’t matter. When you’re writing a first draft—which most of you are doing this month—the most important thing is to keep moving forward. Your first try will be riddled with mistakes, but that’s what revision is for. Right now, you only have to put those ugly, wrong words on the page so you can fix them later.

So, inspiration isn’t what gets your book written. Discipline is. However, inspiration does sometimes pop by for an unexpected visit.”

——————————-

“The trick is to write something”.  I really like that and it is exactly what I am doing.  I am writing something and I will make it better and work on my 1st book even more because believe me it had much  more inspiration.  I know it isn’t the greatest book ever but I sincerely love it and want to make it as good as I possibly can.  22650 words left and I’ll be done! So excited.

How are you guys doing on nanowrimo and what do you do when you stop loving your manuscript?  Do you just give up on it or finish? Thanks in advance for your insight.

So

Nanowrimo- The Switcheroo

So I’m working on my novel.  I’ve now described Santa, the Elves, Becca the stay at home mom and Marnie the single working sous chef.  Both women see each other at a mall and wish they could have each other’s Christmas just once.  Santa is worried he is going to lose them and decides to enact the old Shanghai Switch.  This is something he tried successfully switching an emperor and peasant back in the day.  He has worked hard to keep these girls as believers and this seems like the only way to save Christmas and more importantly their friendship.

christmas-stress

So, he sends down his head Elves Spencer and Mortimer to give them magic snowglobes.  When shaken the girls magically switch places and are in each others bodies.  It is a tough scene to write because I have to capture the emotion for both women while having Santa as the narrator.

This is what I have come up with today.  I am now on word 5,824.  This is right on target. I realize the grammar may not be up to par so if you can focus feedback more on the content that would be great.  I may not get to it until next month when I do my major editing but it will all be helpful.

The Switch

Before you know it I can see Spencer and Mortimer at the mall on my screen.   Blending in with the staff they smile at the kids and make their way to the top of the line.  Marnie is still watching Becca’s photos being taken and she spots Mortimer.   As Becca and the kids leave Becca see’s Spencer.

“Don’t forget your parting gift”  the elves whisper to both girls.  This is for our 400 and 401st customers.  Merry Christmas and enjoy the miracle of the season”

“Thank you” both girls say and they hug and head their separate ways.

As they get in their cars Spencer and Mortimer return to the switchboard.

“The target has been successfully launched”

Both Becca and Marnie climb into their cars and fiddle with the radio trying to find the Christmas music.  As t they hear the old Bing Crosby White Christmas they think of the snow globes.  Getting them out they sparkle and which makes both girls smile.  Then the playhouse catches their attention.  It has purple walls and blue curtains.  It even has a cat that looks remarkably like Marnie’s cat Pepper.  It must be some kind of coincidence made by the snow globe providers.  Amazing.

With a nostalgic sigh they shake the snow globes and the white fluff goes everywhere.  Suddenly the world starts spinning around them.  Marnie can see Becca and Becca can see Marnie, but its like they are floating over each other.  Then there are firecrackers and pops of light and sound.  Pow! Bang! Bzzz! SSSSSS

Becca wakes up first, and lets out a yawn.  What a day.  It was so hot in that mall and the kids were so difficult.  She must have blacked out for a second.  What was going on?  Then she noticed the quiet.  Where are the kids?  Looking around she sees she’s in Marnie’s car.  It’s a lot nicer than her car and there are no gobs of chewing gum on the dashboard or French fries stuck in the slot for the seatbelt.

Did Marnie take the kids?  What’s going on?

Meanwhile…

The fireworks are popping for Marnie and she feels like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz.  In fact, she can almost see Mrs.  Gulch riding her bike in the tornado.  It is scary but oddly peaceful.

“Mom, can we go to the library now?”  Callie is pulling on her winter coat.   Marnie looks down at Callie.

“I’m sure your Mom will take you later in the day” she says looking for Becca in the old minivan but not seeing her.

“What did you say Mommy?”  Callie asks

Addie is getting upset in her carseat and the twins are fighting in the back.

“Where did your mother go?”  Marnie asks.

“You’re going nuts Mom.  Let’s go home.”  Says JT.   Leaning forward Marnie accidently presses the horn which makes Addie jump and smile.

As Marnie grabs the steering wheel she notices her hands don’t have the normal scars from the kitchen.  They are dry and don’t smell like the rose water perfume she normally wears.    Looking at her jeans she can see the elastic band and grey belt .

Wait a minute she didn’t wear a grey belt? Pulling down the mirror above the windshield she lets out a gasp when she see’s her reflection.

“I look like Becca!”

Picking up Becca’s phone she calls the number marked Marnie and waits.   Then she hears a familiar voice coming from the phone.

“Hello, Marnie what is going on?  Are the kids with you?

“Yes, they are all fine.  I don’t know what’s up!  Come over by me and let’s figure it out”

Soon the girls cars are next to each other and I can see them staring at each other in disbelief.  They both try to talk but can’t believe when their voices are not their own.

“Holy crap!  What happened!”  says Marnie. “How did I end up in you and you end up in me?  This isn’t possible . It can’t be”

Becca doesn’t know what to do so she lets out a little yell and runs over to the van.  The kids smile at her and look puzzled.

“Mom?  What’s wrong with Auntie Marnie?”

“She’s a little confused at the moment” say both women out of sheer instinct.

Huddling together next to the car they  both say at the same time “What are we going to do?”

“I’ll go home with my kids and you go home to your house”

“We can’t do that.  I have to be at work tomorrow and not you me but me me.  Didn’t you hear me tell you about the promotion?  If I lose this it could be my only chance.  They won’t give Becca the mom a chance at executive chef” says Marnie.

“Well, are you saying you want to go home with the kids?” says Becca.

“At this point I don’t think we have any other choice.  We will have to figure this all out later.”

“I guess but call me as soon as you get home.  Promise”

“Promise” says Marnie.

“I promised my boss I’d be back at 6 to give the update on the Santa and my ideas for comfort food for the food.  Tell him smoked salmon, 6 cheese penne, green pea caviar and cheesecake ice cream made with liquid nitrogen.”

“I can’t remember all that!  What am I supposed to do in a professional kitchen” says Becca.

“Please! I can’t lose this job.  I’ve been paying the girl tax for too long.  Please help me out.   Here I’ve written it down for you”

“I guess but I’m sorry if I can’t make the sale”

“Bye kids.  I will see you all in the morning” says Becca and they all light up.  They love their aunt Marnie.

“Ok.  Let’s go” Marnie says and they give a grumble.  “I wish we could have Christmas with Marnie” Julie grumbles

“Don’t worry.  You will be seeing a lot more of her than you bargained for.  Now sit down.  Let’s go”

Nanowrimo: Writing a Mom

frazzled mom

So for the month of November I am going to be posting sections of my book so hopefully I can edit a little along the way.  As I have previously said on the blog there are 2 main characters, Marnie and Becca.  Becca is a stay at home Mom, army wife with 4 kids.

I want to share with you my introduction to Becca.  As I’ve never been a stay at home Mom can all of you give me some feedback?  I’d really appreciate it.  You can message me if you feel more comfortable.  Don’t worry about offending me.  I’ve got very thick skin.

I haven’t had a chance to go over grammar so this is mainly on character and realism of the scene.

I will also be posting my introductory scene of Marnie probably tomorrow.  Fun!

So here goes, Becca:

Becca introduction

“Sir take a look at the scene?” Spencer says as he shows me the human view screen.  I can see Marnie and Becca.   They both look like they have been run over by a horse.  Tired, haggard, worn out.

Becca is at her home surrounded  by her four kids.  “Mommy,  TJ won’t leave me alone.  He’s bothering me”

“That’s not true.  Julie won’t stop bothering me” says JT

“Ugh.  Would you both stop bothering me!  Geesh.  Could the 2 of you get along for one second!”  Becca says with a hint of sarcasm.

“Mom, I have a book on hold at the library.  Can we go pick it up?” Callie her 8 year old was brilliant but very persistent when she had a request.  “Can we?  Can we?”

“I don’t know.  Cal.  I will try.  Can you go with a friend?  I have to make dinner?”

“Wa, wa, wa, wa”  The baby Addie falls and bangs her head as she crawls into the kitchen.

“Mom, can we go.  Can we go?”

“Callie if you ask me one more time we are never going”

“What.  That’s not fair”  Callie begins to cry and storms off.   Grabbing the baby  Becca tries to calm her and kiss her forehead.

“Poor thing.  Here’s some kisses”

“JT pulled my hair”  Julie yelled pulling at Becca’s skirt.

“Look you go to your room, and you go to your room” pointing at JT and Julie.  “I need you to think of how lucky you are to be a part of a family.  Your father is counting on you to keep our family going while he’s away”

Becca’s husband is in the army and was on the tail end of a service deployment sent to help at Hurricane Teresa in Mississippi.  While grateful that her husband had the chance to serve other people and the country sometimes she wished he could serve her more.  Being a single Mom was hard.

“Look everyone the babysitter is coming and I am going to come in an hour and you are all to be on your best behavior. You’ve got it?”

Seemingly right on cue the phone rings.  “Mom” “JT says.  It’s for you!”

“Hi Mrs.  Richmond it’s Claire and I’ve got a temperature and don’t think I can make it tonight.  I’m sorry”

Becca’s heart sunk “What?  How come you didn’t’ call sooner? Now it will be too late to get anyone else?”

“I’m sorry but I kept hoping I would feel better.  I really am sorry”  Claire says with a cough into the phone.

“That’s Ok.  I hope you feel better.  Take care.  Bye”

“Bye”

Becca didn’t know if she was going to cry or scream.  Tonight was to be her night off.  Her night off to spend with her friend Marnie, her best friend from the time she was 8 years old.  Lately it had seemed like they were living such different lives and they hadn’t seen each other for months.  Something like this would always happen.

As she began to call Marnie’s number Addie pulled at the phone and began to cry.  Babies seemed to know when they were just being held and not the center of attention.  Everything was a mess.  Everyone in the house basically hated her at the moment and her long anticipated relief was going down the tubes it was almost too much.

“Hi Marnie.  I have bad news”

Chapter 3

“Bad news?”  Marnie would like to say she was surprised by Becca’s call but she’d learned to never buy tickets in advance for anything with her best friend.  Reliable was not her middle name.

“You have to be kidding!”

“No.  The babysitter called and she’s sick.  There isn’t time to find anyone else.  The kids are all upset and I have to make dinner.  I’m really sorry”

“This is the 3rd time you have canceled on me.  It’s not easy for me to free up time in my schedule” Marnie begins to say and then changes her tone not wanting to cause a scene “It’s ok.  I understand”

“Let’s keep trying”  Becca said in an exasperated tone.

“Ok.  Love ya”

“Love ya back”

Nanowrimo Pep Talk

nanowrimo

I am up late waiting for nanowrimo to start  so I can write the first chapter of my book.   They had this great pep talk by James Patterson on the nanowrimo page that I thought I’d share with all of you.  It is so true for life and writing.  Enjoy

So Writer, you’re trying to write a novel in 30 days. Has anyone told you you’re crazy yet?

You’re not crazy. I promise. I know because I’ve written a novel in a couple of months. And yes, I’m a human being (just ask my editor, or my wife) and I do sleep. The book even got published. So anyone who tells you it’s impossible is wrong and you should probably stop taking their advice. Unless it’s your mom. Then just stop taking her advice about writing (you should still floss once a day).

There’s no getting around the fact that it’s hard, though, is there? By now you know that better than anyone. Maybe you should give up on this whole novel business and go relax. Or work at a paying job. But I say, keep at it. Because, like I said, it’s possible. And as you must suspect, it’s a pretty fantastic feeling to have written a book.

So how do you do it? Here are some tips on making it to December 1 without going crazy or giving up. (Though if you have to do one of them, I’ve always found sanity overrated.)

Outline. If you already have: gold star; proceed to the next piece of advice. If you didn’t, don’t worry, because it’s never too late to go back and make an outline. An outline isn’t something to be scared of, it’s just a chapter-by-chapter description of the scenes that, lined-up together, make your book. On the count of three, tell me the story that unfolds in your novel. All the way to the last chapter. Now write that down. There’s your outline. Easy, right?

Lie to yourself. Honesty is a great quality, but we’re writing fiction here, so you’d better get used to a little light lying. Tell yourself you can do this. Tell yourself your book will be great. The world will love it and you’ll be the next J.K. Rowling, J.D. Salinger, Art Spiegelman, or whatever flavor of author you hope to become.

Get into a writing routine. Think it’s hard to write every day during NaNo? Most professional writers keep this kind of pace all year round. Holidays, birthdays, vacations—you name it, we’re writing. The trick is making writing into a daily habit. Same time. Same place. Same hot beverage of choice. Every. Single. Day. Again. And. Again.

Don’t do it alone. If you live with somebody, tell them to be unpleasant to you if they see you doing anything else during your writing time. Buy them a water gun. If you live alone, have friends call and check on you. And if you have no friends, you will have no trouble writing a book in 30 days. What else do you have to do? (I’m not knocking friendless people. We’ve all been there.)

Don’t stress. I don’t mean to undermine the above, but remember this is one month, not your entire writing career. Try hard, learn from it, and if you don’t get to 50,000 words, figure out what you did wrong so you can get there next time.

Stop reading this. Start writing. Now. (Or at midnight your time.)

James

So I got the first 2478 words done (about 3 chapters and I’m really excited about it).  Here is my first paragraphs:

Trading Christmas:

“Mr Kringle the alarm is going off again” Spencer yells across.

Elf’s you see are worriers.  It could be something as seemingly small as a gear on a truck that isn’t quite right or a color of hair on a doll that seems slightly off but it will capture their attention for weeks and weeks.  You will literally see them pacing the halls of the Kringle castle muttering to themselves

“What to do?  What to do?”

A few top level worrier Elf’s are given the special assignment as high human concern liaison.   This is an elite team that watches the human need switchboards and reports to me, Santa Claus when things are looking bad.  There is a large switchboard that monitors human activity, gauging present wish lists, childhood belief levels and human crisis intervention needs.  When a man or woman, boy or girl, calls out to Santa or makes  a wish they are notified  by a blinking light, quickly a team interviews and assess the situation and then notifies me of the best course of action.

On this particular Sunday Spencer found me at the North Pole fitness center getting my pre-cookie body into shape.  You see I can’t fit down all those chimneys singing Christmas carols and you try eating  6 billion cookies in one night and see how rosy and trim your figure is?  It’s a busy time as you might expect and sometimes the gym is the one moment of peace I have for months.  Sadly today was not going to be such a day

 

Memoirs of a Utah Girl

So sometimes this blog makes people uncomfortable or even upset.  It can be upsetting for me to write, but I think there is value in sharing my life story, all of that story, with the world.  I decided long ago if I was going to do this I was going to do it right.  I’ve done 718 posts, for 6 years and managed to walk the line most of the time but I knew it would happen eventually.

I remember hearing Haven Kimmel speak in Provo last year and I asked her if she regretted writing her very personal book ‘A Girl Named Zippy.   She kind of surprised me by saying that if she could do it all over again she wouldn’t do a memoir and that family members and members of her community do not speak to her any more.   This especially surprised me because I was so moved by her story, so grateful for its existence.  She did write flawed characters, especially her mother who is bipolar and father who is lazy with a heart of gold.

I’m grateful that she shared her story.  I hope that people feel that way about my story even if I do ruffle a few feathers from time to time.  I try my best to keep it as just my story but I don’t live in a vacuum, so sometimes aliases and fudgey details are required to keep the peace.  What makes it all worth it is comments like this:

“I needed to read this today! Thanks for posting, sometimes I feel like the only women dealing with this. You rock!”

I know that if I ever write a book I will tick a lot of people off, even a soft, seemingly fluffy book.  I apologize in advance.  I am not talented enough to create worlds of fantasy, far removed from every day life.  Those stories are not helpful to me, never have been.  Even if it is a silly romance novel I need to be able to use a story to make my life better.  That takes a lot of courage but isn’t the best writing the most courageous?

I hope if I do write a book for real someone will be able to say ‘I needed to read this today’.   Writing is an inherently bold occupation and if you aren’t willing to take a few stripes along with the praise you aren’t saying anything important.  And I would certainly rather be real than be safe.  That’s my theory at least.

To all the other nanowrimo writers- no regrets, write you heart and have a great time.  I can’t wait!

Memoirs21

Super Date- Nanowrimo

A super date from my novel
A super date from my novel

So I Nanowrimo is coming up and I thought it would be fun to post another section of my last book.  In the story the 2 characters have spent a lot of time together but have never actually been on a date, so the male character decides to set up what he calls the ‘superdate’.  This is an all day affair that tries to help the female character conquer her fears, make her feel bold and empowered.

Remember this is a romance and it is not supposed to be realistic. Dating can be anything but super but I thought it was fun and these stories require a little bit of fantasy so enjoy.

With lunch done there are a few more hours of work and then it is time for the big date.  Oliver comes up to me and is visibly excited and this makes me excited! 

“Let’s go!” I squeal with delight.

Oliver makes me close my eyes as we pull up to a big cement building. As he guides me inside like a blind person I feel anxious with anticipation. 

“Open your eyes!”  Oliver says.  I look and at first am disappointed when I see what looks like an old grimy gym.  “Where are we?”

“It’s called American Boxing.  You can do boxing, mixed martial arts, kickboxing, whatever” he says with enthusiasm.

I give him a skeptical look.  Sometimes I wondered if he saw me through some type of magic filter.  “I don’t know if I can punch and kick like that” I say pointing to the all of the boxers who seem to kick and punch so hard and high. 

“You don’t have to be like them but trust me you will love it.  I bet you’ll become addicted to it.  Give it a shot”.

“Ok.  Why not!”

The teacher is named Isabella and she is a stunning athlete with rich Latino features and a big smile.  I look at her and look at me in the mirror and then look at Oliver.  I don’t get it.  You could date her, I think, what are you doing with me? Anticipating my thoughts he gives my hand a little squeeze and a kiss on the cheek.  I melt a little bit. Whatever he wants me to do I will try!

“First you wrap your hands” he says handing me a long pink roll that looks like an ace bandage for an ankle or wrist.

This looks tricky but with his help I get them over my hands until I look like a pink mummy. Then the red boxing gloves come over the wrapped hands.  It feels heavy but not as awkward as I might have expected.

Isabella holds up 2 punching mitts and shows me how to do a basic jab, undercuts and round kicks.  At first I worry about punching Isabella in the face but she seems to catch everything I do.  After about 15 minutes of awkward kicks and punches I forget where I’m at and it all feels more natural.  Kick, jab, and kick, uppercut, jab, and kick.  Before I know it 30 minutes has come and gone and I’m gasping from the exertion.  I’ve even forgotten about Oliver for a second but I look over at him and his mouth is agape.  “Whoa!  You were awesome!  I think we have found your gift!”

“Really?  You really think so?”

“Yes, it was awesome!”  Isabella agrees.  “We will definitely have to get you in here again soon.  Let’s set it up!”  I can’t believe that anyone thinks I can be good at something like this and that maybe I am?  It’s just an activity I never even considered.  It is so exciting!

“All right.  Let’s set up another appointment.”  I grab my phone from my purse and schedule ‘Meet Isabel’ for later that week.

I’m so thrilled by my unexpected success that I give Oliver a big kiss in front of Isabella and everyone.  It feels exciting and passionate.  Perfect for a super date!

“Ready to move on to the next adventure?” Oliver asks me?

“What else could we be doing?  This was awesome!”

Back into the car we go and he makes me close my eyes again. 

“All right.  Phase 2 has begun.  Open your eyes”.  I look and it’s another cement building but after having so much fun the last time I decide to give Oliver the benefit of the doubt and head inside. 

‘We are going to learn how to shoot! This is something I’ve never done so I thought it would be fun for both of us” he says.

“I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that! This is awesome!” I say with delight.  I have always wanted to learn how to shoot.  Strange I know but true!

Our instructor Ray gives us the massive ear covers and teaches us how to aim, shoot and withstand the force of the shot.  Keeping the target relatively close I take aim and fire! The bullet goes in the posters shoulder. 

“That’s good for your first time” the Instructor says.  Oliver tries and has better luck closer to the heart.  Wet a couple rounds for each of us and honestly at the end my shoulder and arms are sore (especially after the boxing!). 

“That was awesome! I loved it!” Then I add “Thank you so much” I give Oliver another kiss. 

“You’re kind of cute with a gun.”  he says with a wink.

“Gosh I love you!” I say with a smile and give him another kiss. 

“I love you too!” he says and we head out of the building.  All it took was shooting and boxing but we had both said we loved each other.  The big L word!  This was definitely the best day of my life!  I can tell that he is thrilled with the moment also.  His smile says all the work on the super date was just made worthwhile!

“One more stop!” he says with excitement.

“What, no.  This is enough!” I protest.

“We’ve got to eat something! He says.

Again he gets me into the car and makes me close my eyes.  And again he tells me when to look. 

When I open my eyes I see another cement building.  At first I don’t get it and then I see it is Mel’s Wing House.  What on earth?

When we get seated Oliver will not let me order but places it at the front desk away from me.  The wings arrive and they look delicious but before I dive in Oliver gives me a warning.

“These are the fieriest wings they make.  You’ll love it!” 

With great trepidation I pick up a wing and take a bite.  “Oh my gosh!  That is so hot!”  I grab a drink of milk and Oliver laughs.  My eyes are watering and my mouth feels numb. 

“Try one more and here are some lighter ones as well but the spicy really does have a deeper flavor”

After about 3 of the spicy and a few of the mild I can start to appreciate the experience of eating the spicy wing.  It shocks you but that is part of the fun of it and eating above all things should be fun shouldn’t it?

“It’s delicious!  Thank you.  I’m so excited to know about this place.  It is totally the type of place that I would never have gone to on a date before but it’s delicious.”

“Why wouldn’t you have gone here on a date?” he asks

“Because it’s messy and unladylike.  I would have been afraid of spilling on my clothes.  I had about 3 items I could order on a date and most of them required a lot of cutting with a knife and fork.  No fingers.”

“I’m glad we met in the way we did.  You weren’t trying to impress anyone and neither was I.”

“Me too.  We could always be real with one another.  Once you are caught crying about your mother visiting it is hard to be not be real” I say with a smile. I had sauce all over my fingers and my lips felt fiery with all the heat.  When we kissed his lips felt spicy and it made my whole body tingle.  It was certainly clear to me why Oliver had picked this restaurant. 

As my body and mouth started to cool down I could feel the chili peppers in my stomach. I hope I didn’t get sick but luckily the wing place had frozen yogurt as well and that helped cool everything down.  It was all unforgettable!  The whole night was unforgettable.  It really was the super date.

“So you did it.  Best date in history! I only have one question for you…” I say with a flirty smile.

“What’s that?” he asks

“How are you going to top this?  Setting the bar pretty high for the first date don’t you think?”

“That’s how I intend to do things! Set the bar high and keep jumping over it”

“I have one more question for you” I say with a slight degree of awkwardness.  This is the big question.  “Why me?”  I couldn’t help for a second to think of Isabella at the gym.  “You could have anyone you want.  Why me?”

“I could ask the same thing of you.  Why would you a master’s graduate want to be with someone who is a college dropout?  Believe me I’m every bit as insecure about that as you are about your weight. “

“But that doesn’t matter to me at all” I say in amazement. 

“See, I feel the same way about you.  Will you finally believe me?” he says

I look into his eyes deep inside. I have to know for sure and I finally I know.  He is the real deal.  He really loves me as much as I love him.  Wow.  I still can’t believe it!  

“I meant what I said earlier.  I love you! I’ll never be perfectly secure but maybe if I am loved by someone as great as you it will get better. It’s been such a long year I don’t know what I think about myself.  On one hand I feel strong and the other it has been a very weak year. Panic attacks, anxiety and more”

Another kiss and I look down and ask one more question “What would you think if I still quit my job?”

He looked surprised but nodded “Even with all the changes Rich has installed you still want to change?”

“Yes, I just keep getting this feeling that God needs me somewhere else.  It won’t be right away but maybe at the end of the summer? Who knows why God wants us one place or another? I couldn’t tell you but I keep hearing the direction to ‘make a change’.  I’ve been hearing it for three years and I can only ignore it for so long.  Believe me I know what it feels like to push against what God wants you to do and it is not a pleasant experience.”

“If that is what God wants you to do than he will prepare a way for you to accomplish it? Go for it!” he said with more enthusiasm than I expected. 

“It seems crazy to quit a job with benefits and good pay in this economy but I’ll end up having another panic attack if I don’t follow what God has in line for me.”

“Who cares what other people think?  Your family and friends will support you and that’s what matters.” He says

“You are right.” I feel like this was the lesson I have to keep relearning again and again throughout my life.  “Don’t’ care so much about what other people think” my mother used to say.  Caring what others would think of me had caused my panic attack and yet I couldn’t quite get it out of my head.  Perhaps nobody can but I will try and do better at it.  I know my life would be a lot happier if I could figure out that one thing.

“I’m not sure when I will make the announcement but it will be such a crazy day.  I think I will talk it over with my Dad while he is here because the last thing I want to do is appear ungrateful”

“That’s that caring what other people think thing again…” he says.

“Oh yeah, darn it but it is good to be considerate of other people’s feelings” I say in response.

“True.  Just be cautious and don’t use other people’s opinions as validation for your own self-worth.  That is the most important thing.  God should tell you who you are and your value not any person, even me” he says.

“Do me one favor” he adds “give me a couple days heads notice when you are leaving.  That might be a good time for another super date!”

“Deal! If it’s anything like this night I am in for a treat.  It has honestly been the best night of my life!  Thank you so much!” I say with glee, giving him one longer, soft, still a little spicy kiss.

“By the way, I think it might be a good idea for us to implement a new rule, I will call it the 20 seconds in heaven rule.”

“What is that?” he asks with a questioning expression.

“It’s that we cannot kiss for more than 20 seconds especially when we are alone.”  I then explain that I made a promise to God years ago that I would remain morally pure until marriage and it’s just too darn fun and exciting to kiss him.  “I don’t want to risk breaking a promise to God.”

“That’s going to be hard but I agree. Most of the married couples I know who waited seem to have the best marriages.  I think if we work together on this we can do it.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever loved you more than at this moment.  Let’s do it!” and then we kiss maybe longer than 20 seconds.  It will take some getting used to!  At least we are heading in the right direction and on the same page.

“Life is certainly going to be interesting the next few months.  I’m curious to see how it all turns out” I say with a sigh.

“Me too.  Curious and excited!  Let’s go home.  I’m exhausted. “

So that was the end of the super date.  The great thing was each part of the date was repeating many times in the months to come.  I started going to the boxing gym at least twice a week and the wings joint became a regular favorite.  I would certainly never look at hot sauce the same way.  Probably the greatest blessing of the super date is I learned ways to release adrenalin, aggression and frustration in healthy productive ways.  It was so exciting and I was so grateful for Oliver to introducing me to every part.  My rapid heartbeat lessened with each balanced happy day and I became all the closer to being an anxious free, happy person.

Ah, the good a super date can be!

Married and Single Surveys

So I have an idea for my next nanowrimo that I think will be really fun.  I won’t give it all away but it has to do with a single and married woman, so I need some feedback (especially for the married woman).   Having never been married I’m not sure what its really like.  I only see it from an observer.

You can email me the questions below or use the following links.  There is one survey for single friends and one for married.  I would really appreciate your feedback.  Thanks tons!

Married Survey

Single Survey

Single Living
1. What is a benefit to being single?
2. Have you been married? Divorced? Widowed? Separated?
3. Do you want to be married and have children? Does it make you depressed to be single?
4. What’s the hardest part of your job? Greatest benefit?
5. How is being single in 30’s-40’s different than in your 20s?
6. How is your relationship with your family as a single person?
7. How is it managing relationships with married friends and friends with kids? Difficult?
8. How do you feel about dating? Online dating? Being set up?
9. If you could invent the perfect relationship what would it look like?
10. How do you manage your finances?
Married Life
1. What is the hardest and best part about being married?
2. What do you miss most about being single?
3. If you could trade lives with anyone who would it be and why?
4. How long have you been married?
5. Who is responsible for managing your finances? What kind of stress does that give?
6. On a day to day level what is the best and hardest part of being a parent?
7. What surprised you the most about married life and parenting?
8. What do you do to relax?
9. What is a goal you personally would like to accomplish?
10. How has your social life changed since you got married? How important are friendships vs family?