Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Anyone want a churro?



We are currently in interim housing as we wait for our house in Georgia to sell (anyone want to buy a house?) so we can buy a house here. Because of that, most of our stuff is in storage. Our apartment is quite small so we only brought what was necessary. 


Yesterday I had the bright idea to make churros. Yum. Good idea, huh?   

I didn’t have my thermometer so I had to guess on oil temperature. And I don’t have any piping tips, but shape isn’t what’s most important about churros, right? I’ll just cut a corner on a Ziploc bag and do little bite size churro poppers. 

Well, it worked. Sort of.   

Some of them were burned on the outside and raw inside. As I adjusted the temperature others came out more even, but my thoughts of little round churro poppers were way off. They looked more like funnel cakes. Which are good. And these were okay. My kids liked them. But they weren’t Churros. They weren't what I had hoped for. I don’t think I’ll be trying to make them again until we have a permanent residence with all my kitchen tools.

Sometimes, when writing, I try to make things work. I might be tempted to just patch something together or put in a sentence or two to avoid rewriting the scene, but there’s no replacing having the correct writing tools in our toolbox. Whether those tools are an understanding of characterization, of world building, grammar, determination, attention to details, or just having the proper computer or notebook. 

Those tools make things better. They help us do things right.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What do you think?

Most people view their events and the people they meet through the veil of their own experiences. Wouldn't you agree? It's hard to completely disassociate yourself from your past enough to be a truly blank canvas. But as writers isn't that what we strive for? To present things with no veil, no preconceived notions for the reader to interpret?

I've read books where the author was a little too pushy about how they wanted the reader to read, react and interpret the events of the novel. It was upsetting, as if she was trying to take my agency, my perceptions away. It felt as if she didn't trust me, and overall the experience was a bad one. I didn't like feeling forced or pigeonholed.

I've also read books that presented the most horrible things in such an accepted way that I was disturbed. There are somethings that are not open to interpretation as to whether or not they're good or bad. The fact that the author went to so much trouble to try and make the most reprehensible things seem up for personal choice felt wrong. It made it difficult to trust the author. I didn't know if they would truly support something lke that or if they had done it purely for sensational purposes.

I guess it's a fine line to walk, and the line will vary a bit for everyone, as, once again, our perceptions color how we view things.

And maybe that's what an author owes his readers, honesty.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Shelves

I went through a stage where I wanted to get my PhD. Not so much because I loved school, which I did, but because I wanted an office with lots of bookshelves.

I love bookshelves. I love seeing other people's shelves. Sometimes, when I'm looking at pictures on the internet, I see pictures of peoples homes. In every picture there are shelves, because everyone has shelves. But usually those shelves don't have books on them. A few nicknacks, some pictures, lots of empty space.

It's a cry for help.

I want to teach these people about reading and books. I know ebooks have changed the book world and maybe these people have large digital libraries. I can hope, right? And I'm a big fan of memories and pictures celebrating life. I really shouldn't say anything, as all my books and shelves are in storage right now. But, still, my heart breaks a little with each unused bookshelf.

How do you use shelves?




Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Libraries



One of the first things I do when I move is find the libraries at the new location. My finances can’t support my reading habit alone. Also, since we moved into a tiny cramped apartment as interim housing, a library is essential. I need to have somewhere to take my kids once or twice a week.

The children’s area in our library in Georgia was nice. Our librarian was better. In all honesty it was hard to leave her. She prepared awesome story times, my kids loved her. She remembered not only them, but their names, and their reading habits. When there was a new book in my son’s favorite series she checked it out and hid it under the desk until we came in so he could have it first. Having a librarian friend is awesome!

I was a little nervous about what the children’s sections would be like here at our new home, but I’ve been hesitantly pleased. The children’s area is impressive. Not only are there plenty of books there are lots of computers, toys, and a fish tank. My kids love it there. We don’t know the librarians very well but they seem nice. Maybe we’ll be able to create friendships with them, too.

The first time we went, they were signing people up for the summer reading program. As part of the sign up they gave all the kids a free book! They had a huge bookshelf full and the kids each got to choose their own. Mini Engineer, who likes setting goals and living up to them, gets the kitchen timer and will read all afternoon, fifteen minutes at a time so he can cross off another bubble on his reading sheet.

I haven’t been able to spend much time in the grown up section (I tried, but my three year old threw a knock down, screaming tantrum. Hopefully they’ll let me back in) but as long as I can teach my kids to love reading I can live with anything.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Gave me the world

One of my favorite movies is While You Were Sleeping. It came out my sophomore year of college and my room mates and watched it several times in the theaters. Maybe I shouldn't admit that. If you're familiar with the movie you may remember the beginning, when she's talking about her father giving her mother the world in the form of a globe. Then it ends with Jack, giving Lucy the world in the form of a stamp on her passport. This is a great example of coming full circle and seeing the end from the beginning but that's a whole other craft post.


Two weeks ago our house was packed up and we drove across the country. We got to our teeny, tiny, apartment a week ago. The internet that came with our apartment was unusable. Truly, horribly, bad. We signed up with a company and were supposed to have everything ready for internet last Thursday. All day long Thursday I chanted, "I'm going to get internet, I'm going to get internet". In my head, of course. Out loud would have been crazy. The Engineer finally comes home from work and starts hooking everything up, but it doesn't work. He calls tech support and they say it looks as if there's a wire not plugged in somewhere and they'll get someone out to look at it. On Tuesday.

I almost cried.

I tried to hide it. I don't think I managed well. My sweet, sweet computer geek of a husband came home Friday, went outside and found where the wire had been cut. It was only about a foot from where it entered our apartment. Being the nerd that he is, he not only had the knowledge to do it, but the tools and supplies needed when most of our stuff is still in storage. So he just capped the wire and spliced it together, hooked it up, plugged it in. I don't know, pick whichever situation is correct, and I had internet. Finally. After a whole week without it. Now, before you all hold an intervention, I can live without the internet. But that's where all my finances, work, friends, family, and research are. I missed it and I'm glad to be back.

I love my computer nerd engineer. He gave me the world in the form of the internet.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Moving


In 1.3 hours my computer is being dismantled in preparation for a cross country move. (if anyone wants to buy a house in Macon GA I’ve got a good one) I will have access on my tablet but won’t be available for much blogging as I get the family uprooted, across the country and settled into a new home.  I’ll be down for about two weeks but then hope to be back more consistently as things settle down.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Be

I was sitting at church yesterday and somebody hit me with this little gem.

We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.

I do not know if this is their quote or if they were quoting someone else, but credit goes to whomever said it.

This quote reminded me of something my grandfather always said, "You dress for the job you want, not the job you have."

Each of these quotes seem to be saying that we can become what we want to be, just by pretending to already be whatever it is we want. Or maybe not pretending, but striving, living the goal. So, if you want to be a writer, you write. If you want to be a dancer, you dance, If you want to be a doctor or lawyer or chef, start now, practice now, take classes now. Live it to become it.

You know the old adage "Practice makes Perfect".

You'll never reach your goal by sitting on the couch and dreaming.

One of the things I liked about the first quote was "each day". Writing one story, one paragraph, isn't enough. You need to keep doing it, keep improving, keep living it consistently. I'm not a stanch believer in the 'you have to write EVERY DAY to be a writer or you'll never succeed' mentality. Sometimes life interferes. And sometimes a field needs to lie fallow so it doesn't get overtaxed and loose all creativity. But you must  be consistent to whatever schedule you devise. You must make time. Start now, or your dreams will pass you by without you becoming what you want to be.