Mantra, Nature, Art, Writing

Well, my birthday came and went and I did not finish re-editing my draft like I said I would. There are many excuses, including the fact that I sit in front of a screen nine hours a day and have deadlines five days a week and sometimes just don’t feel like doing any more writing when I get home. (Same excuse for being such a sporadic blogger.) But the fact of the matter is, if I want anything to happen with this book, I need to deal with it. More on this later.

Mantra

BFF Dianna asked if I had a mantra, and I decided on “Deal With It.” It applies to everything. If I don’t feel like doing something? If I am intimidated by something? If I’m feeling emotional? Deal with it, deal with it, deal with it. Then I got this bracelet in the mail:

Deal With It

It’s perfect. I wear it every day and it totally motivates me. Thanks, Dianna!

Bonus photo I found at my parents’ house last weekend:

Dianna (right) and I hanging out in the tree my parents' front yard, circa 1992-ish. Check me out... writing!

Me (left) and Dianna hanging out in the tree my parents’ front yard, circa 1992-ish. Check me out… writing!

Nature

Last month I joined my sister, aunt and aunt’s sister at Government Canyon State Natural Area for a workshop called Mandalas in the Park. If you follow this blog, you know about us and mandalas. For this, we could only use items found in nature, and only items native to the area. Here are some photos:

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A photographer from Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine was shooting our stuff, so we may be featured in the May issue. Cool!

Art

It’s Fiesta time in San Antonio, and so far I’ve visited the Fiesta Arts Fair — my favorite event. I try not to go insane and buy everything I see (especially because it’s all pricey), but I tend to get a couple of things every year. This year I gave myself a budget, which I was adhering to beautifully until I saw the print of the woman. Budget, shmudget. I had to have her:

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Support these artists: Lorena Angulo, Rick Loudermilk, Dolan Geiman.

Support ALL artists!

Writing

So, I may not have met my birthday deadline, but I am slowly but surely working on the book. I spent six hours on Chapter 2 yesterday. I’ll get there, y’all. Deal with it.

Apologies and a lunch haiku

As you may or may not have noticed, I totally dropped the ball last week. I posted on Monday and then did nothing on Wednesday or Friday. I feel bad about it. 😦

There are a lot of excuses I could give, including 1) my Monday post freaked me out quite a bit so I needed a breather, 2) when I came up from the breather it was Wednesday morning and I was already at work and they frown upon (read: would be ticked if  I did some) non-work blogging at the office, 3) I didn’t come up with anything good to write and why force it? and 4) I’m up to my eyeballs in this last round of edits.

All of those things are true, but I promised y’all 3 posts a week and last week I failed. I’m sorry.

To make it up to you I will share this photo of delicious food and write a haiku to go with it:

Do not feel guilty

For macaroni and cheese

If you have some green

My BFF Dianna emailed the recipe for this macaroni and cheese, which is delish. I made it using whole wheat pasta and low-fat versions of the rest of the ingredients, if I could find them. And I figure if I eat broccoli with it, it’s slightly better than if I ate it without broccoli at all. (This is totally untrue. It’s just as bad with the broccoli, but at least I feel better about it.) This is Dianna’s traditional Thanksgiving side dish, so if she wants to share the recipe with all of you, I’ll let her do it in the comments. Thanks, Dianna! 🙂

What are y’all having for lunch? Haiku answers, please.

September in Review

This month was a blur. I’m about halfway done with final edits on “There With You” and the rest of the time was spent prepping for my dream trip. As you read this, I am on my way to Rome! I won’t tell you about the near panic attacks I had (I hate flying). Let’s all just imagine me sleeping peacefully and comfortably on the 9-ish hour flights, shall we?

Aside from that stuff, here’s what else went on:

Books

A friend loaned me “The Chaperone” by Laura Moriarty, and I’m so glad she did. The story is about a woman named Cora Carlisle, who escorts a teenage Louise Brooks from their hometown of Wichita, Kansas to New York City. In real life, Louise became a silent movie star in the ’20s and is the woman credited with popularizing the bob haircut at that time. That happens in the book, too, but the story is really Cora’s — she agrees to be the chaperone because she wants to investigate her past, which she doesn’t remember much of other than that she was brought up in an orphanage in NYC. Poor Cora lives a false life, so it’s very rewarding (and sometimes heartbreaking) to learn the truth with her. The story really makes you think about how people can change, and why, and the truth that we never really know what’s happening behind closed doors.

BBCE’s selection this month was “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach. It sounds like a story about baseball (and the main characters do play the game), but it’s really a larger metaphor for just figuring out how to handle the crap that life sends your way. The action takes place at Westish College in Minnesota, and all the major characters — three guys on the baseball team, the college’s president and his daughter — go through big crises. Most make it to the other side, but they are very different people when they do. It’s a coming-of-age story about and for people who, in theory, should have already come of age. And that, I think, is the whole point: You never know what’s going to happen, and it’s okay to stop and try to figure it out all over again.

Movies

The first time I saw the trailer for “The Words,” I knew I wanted to see it because the story reminded me so much of “The History of Love,” a book which I loved. The premise is that a struggling writer finds an unpublished manuscript and claims it as his own work, which makes him the next big literary thing. And then the true author comes forward and confronts him about it. So there’s the story within the story… but wait! All of THAT is within a story, too. The movie’s thesis is “You have to choose between life and fiction.” Maybe because I’m a writer and understand how easy it would be to get lost in fiction, but that concept really resonated with me. Y’all might want to wait to Netflix this (in fact, it might not even be in theaters anymore) but I think it’s worth a watch.

I’m pretty sure the reason I wanted to see “Trouble With the Curve” was because it uses that Phillip Phillips song that I love in the trailer. But if I’m being honest, it’s also because I really like movies that involve sports, I like Amy Adams and I think Justin Timberlake can do no wrong. And John Goodman is in it! Shout out to Dan Connor. Anyway, the idea behind this movie isn’t bad: a crusty old baseball scout is aging out of the sport as well as losing his eyesight, and his estranged daughter shows up to help him out/work on their relationship. Unfortunately this idea was forced down the audience’s throat in a variety of ways. We get it, they’re different. They have issues. We get it, the flashy, high-tech sports agent doesn’t have the soul that the veteran has. Same goes for the recruit who is in the game for superficial reasons, not for the love of playing. We get it. The movie would have been a million times better if it had given the audience credit for being able to understand it in its simplicity.

Internet Highlights

This conversation between Rainn Wilson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes me very happy.

All of these bookshelves are cool, but I really want the “Has been read; Will be read” one. The USA map one is kind of awesome, too.

Loquacious really is a fun word. Here are 14 more than writers like a lot.

Just in time for election season: 200 years of presidential campaign poster art.

Closer to home, McAllen, Texas, turned a vacant Wal-Mart into a library. More of this, please!

Why authors need exercise. Yay for me being consistent about going to the Y.

The cut-paper illustrations in this edition of “Romeo and Juliet” are gorgeous. I want!

If J.K. Rowling says it, it’s basically gospel. Her and others’ thoughts on why failure is a key to success.

Fact: Rainn Wilson continues to be awesome. (See what I did there?)

How to flirt in a bookstore, you say? Worth a shot.

Coming up in October

I’m going to post quotes while I’m out of town, so the next big post will be on Oct. 6. It will be full of Italian goodness. My self-imposed Halloween deadline is still in place, which means I’m going to have to hustle to finish editing, putting the edits in and composing a kick ass query letter to send to lit agents. Plenty of time. As always, thanks for reading. Ciao!