Friday, February 29, 2008
More than a week ago, I started an SSRI. I've been on them before and will maybe, some day, try them again.
One week ago, I went batshit crazy insane--quietly. I didn't wake anyone up as I lay on the floor counting off half hours until I called 911 to save me from my own brain. "if it's worse in a half hour, I'll call"
I didn't call, but I did go off that SSRI cold turkey. Yowza--turns out I don't mind standard depression and panic so much after all.
I've never had an experience like that before and I have no interest in having another, ever again. Despair and fear is familiar territory (I imagine it is for almost anyone who makes it to adolescence) this was quite another place and I'd rather not visit again.
It's taking a while to recover from the utter lunatic batshirtiness. But today I went to a school event, and I wrote a page that won't be deleted probably. And I got new shoes.
These are very comfy running shoes from a not-at-all glitzy store where you run on a treadmill and they videotape you and tell you what's wrong with your feet. Pronating! PRONATING!
So I'm back to embracing life and I'm spending money--same thing in some wealthier corners of the world.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
He needs a name for me that expresses disdain but doesn't cross my line into Trouble. Maybe some word for female parental unit in a language that sounds hostile. FPU has an obscene ring but he might not be taking suggestions from me.
Also the boys have been wondering if gay people are turned on by their own bodies. It seemed like a fair question even if it was first raised by a character on a sit-com and caused all the other characters to groan and howl.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
corn dog. Appreciating corn dog and anyone else who threatens the boogie men with weapons.
Any of you watch the debates? Me neither. However I did read this sort-of transcript and so I know what I missed. Who knew politicians use the word fucktard so often?
Sunday, February 24, 2008
It is a matter of embraaaaaaaaaacing life more and that means getting off the computer more often. All the angst and worry and panic--I'm talking horrible symptoms--and I think they all add up to Turn off the computer and go look at actual members of your own species. Or maybe some other monkeys.
Friday, February 22, 2008
But eventually the whole thing peters out, right? And is it better to go with a bang (or even a small pop) and a cheerio or wait until the only person reading the blog was doing a search for "naked monkey sex" (yes really that's what he was looking for. Nasty of me to assume "he")
My sister thinks that the phrase there is no growth without pain is bullshit. But I sometimes think the only permanent internal growth can come from pain. Reward is too easy to take for granted and not as memorable as pain. Yeah, I presume the world experiences are all divided into carrot and stick and that's bull. A lot is life just standing around munching the grass waiting for the driver to make up his mind. No carrots, not sticks, just you the mule (or is it an ass in that expression?) and some dull grass.
If I wasn't blathering (blah blah blah), and writing books, what the hell would I do instead? It's like unrequited love with a passive-aggressive or just pathetically indifferent lover. The only way to end it is to leave. You want to do that before you kill him/her (or yourself) or get too pathetic.
All those Barenaked Ladies songs about people who don't do much of anything, don't take leaps. At least I took my leap. Half-hearted and not particularly far, but it was a leap.
So that just leaves my greatest fear, which, after watching the 'rents, is outliving my life. It haunts me more than failure. So when do you know that's done? I bet you don't know and neither do I. No outside judges can decide--unless, of course, there aren't any brain waves happening.
It's getting old.
I wish it was spring so I could fret about tomato seedlings instead. The onions didn't cut it. (heh. onion humor. Cut onions. Get it? And you'll have to look up the doggie onion danger** yourself. Oh, never mind. all right. Here. Read.)
Anyway. Even my dreams contain whiny failure motifs: I dreamed I was on the 30 Metrobus from Georgetown, flirting with a man. He laughed his azz off when it became clear I was interested in him, so of course I had to pretend I was just kidding. I got off the bus early just to show I didn't care. It was a long walk.
Updated: Also MACADAMIA NUTS. No! bad dog.
That's all moan whine kvetch whimper complain fret rail grumble
in other words, nothing new, nothing, nothing new inside or out (except truly outside there's a lot of snow which is a PITA for picking up Aya).
One big question on our minds:
why are onions bad for dogs or perhaps Alton Brown is full of baloney?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Six Unimportant Facts About Me
The rules are:
- 1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry.
5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.
six boring things about me:
1. My house smells bad. Granted, with three teen /pre-teen boys on board, the place never smells like a sweet meadow. Today is particularly gruesome.
2. My dog sneezes and scratches all the time. She's probably in need of exercise.
3. I finished another book the other day (writing it, I mean) and did nothing to celebrate except check my email. I no longer mark milestones--I think it's some sort of superstition. I don't even stop to eat chocolate.
4. Sometimes I can't read new books and just reread the ones on my keeper shelf. I'm going through one of those phases again. Did a Diane Farr glom. But now I'm going to read Middlesex.
5. I hate flossing my teeth and once had a nightmare about flossing.
6. I floss anyway because I hate lectures from the dentist more. I have a lecture-prone dentist, but he's a truly good person, so I take any scolding like a man. (that is, I just try to tune it out.)
I like reading what other people write, but I think it's probably been around a lot. I'm skipping five and six.
Today is the other big day in our schedule. The big white trucks are out front. They are in our sewers. They are sending us notices, several, actually:
construction notice sanitary sewer rehabilitation and sanitary sewer lining.
followed by a long explanation of how great it'll be when they're done. Notices include suggestions on how to respond such as fill the trap on all drains to reduce the likelihood of odors caused by the pipe lining process. In the unlikely event** that you experience this problem, please open windows until the odor disappears.
umm. It's February?
at the very bottom of all the notice, handwritten in big block letters: PLEASE LEAVE TOILET LIDS DOWN.
As soon as I figure out how to put water in a trap, we're out of here. Bye.
**updated: 30 minutes into the process and our house smells like old burnt sewage. "Unlikely" my arse. Lucky for us it's not a horribly strong smell. Yet. It seems to be making the dog sneeze continuously, or maybe she's just bored and doing that for entertainment.
Monday, February 18, 2008
I got four? (Thanks, Sam)
For pity's sake, people, go on! Go say something about the weather. Describe your daughter's birthday party. Talk about the worst book you read, as long as it's not one of mine.
You can also win some fun stuff.
You know you don't want me to launch into yet another self-pity party. You tell yourself, no problem--you can just avoid MY blog, but don't forget I can still come and whine over to yours. I know where many of you live.
I'm on the edge, dudes. Two more rejections pushed me close, closer, closest to the Edge of Whine. Yet another full-out whiny rant. Save yourself.
Anyway, I'm at two blogs today. I wonder if I can convince Beth either of them are SBDs. I apparently feel my obligation to the universe isn't fulfilled if I don't have an SBD. Kinda like a religion, only without a lot of guidelines on how to lead a virtuous life.
Blog one. Firefly and fundraising. Not connected though.
Damn, I love Firefly.
Blog two. Jennifer's again. I don't know how I rated two days with her. I feel like Jennifer is a gift sent from the gods to rioters, prolly the SBD gods.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Boy 1's English assignment: write a bad love poem.
This took him minutes and minutes to create, so be nice. I hope the formating on that second to last (my favorite) verse shoes up. ...er, shows up, too.
Happy Valentine's Day.
The Split Personality Sonnet
Oh most Beloved and Adored,
I hang upon your every word,
And when thine lips do part I listen,
As out from your mouth words do glisten
And as you rant and spew forth drivel,
I sit and sob and quickly shrivel,
For your harpy’s screech pierces my ears,
So I must down twelve cans of beers
And when your heavenly visage appears
Before my eyes I’m moved to tears
At your hygiene and your devotion
As deep and dark as the blue ocean
O the very thought of you
Makes the sky seem far less blue
You are ugly and stupid and cheap
You molded, putrid, rotting heap
Ah Cupid’s arrow hath struck home
The seeds of Love planted in my loam
I sit and wait beside my phone
To hear your beautiful dulcet tone
Sometimes I wish I’d killed myself
Rather than waste my mental health
On a beast as beastly as you
I long to start my life anew
Ah Blessed Gods on clouds above
Oh Aphrodite Goddess of love
I thank them on my bended knee
For their gift to me of thee
And when I think and dwell on Hell
My happy heart does beat and swell
As Hell doth mean our separation
I cannot wait for the occasion
Oh BeaVer moOse and pachYderM
Hinky dinky pinky Slurm
I’ll peEl bAnanAs with my fEet
AND then I’ll eat them QUick and NeaT
I’ve taken your lover to a nut house
Search for a new one beneath the moon
As this one’s crazy as a loon.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
It makes me nervous and that's why I love using it. wheeze wheeze blip blip wheeze blip. Ooo, it's an adventure.
How I make our staple bread:
I boil a couple of peeled potatoes then let them cool in their water some.
IN the mixer's bowl, I mix two tablespoons yeast in one cup warm potato water. Along with some sugar. Maybe 1/4 cup or more. Meantime I heat up two cups milk with a slab of butter in the microwave.
I go into another room and forget about it all.
I return to find a buttery surface on congealing milk in microwave (some of it on the microwave floor because the milk's boiled over), and yeast in water frothing and foaming in mixer bowl.
I smoosh the potatos into the milk stuff, add some dry milk powder (extra protein) and oil (because I usually haven't put in enough butter) to the milk/potato mix, and then, if it's cool enough, I add a couple of eggs because the kids eat a lot of bread and I figure protein! PROTEIN! Plus wheat germ and some of that fiber stuff if I remember it. If I try to sneak in too much nutrition, they won't eat the bread and that's a PITA because I make big batches.
If it's no longer boiling hot, I add the milk/potato stuff to the now very happy yeast. Then I remember I forgot the salt, add a bit and maybe a splish of vinegar because I forgot that too. (It sort of makes the milk like buttermilk)
My mixer with its cool bread hook tries to deal with this as I add the many cups of flour (whole wheat and regular) but this is a lot of dough.
I eventually give up and knead it by hand. Flour is everywhere because I always forget to add it gradually in the mixer.
I put it in a greased bowl which isn't large enough because I don't have one that big, and cover it with plastic wrap.
An hour later someone goes into the kitchen and yells Oooooo LOOK!.
I scrape up the dough that's crawled out of the bowl, punch it down, put it in three or four bread pans. It rises and sometimes falls and rises again and then I bake it at 375, usually not long enough.
It makes enough bread for my family for a couple of days. Maybe two days. My kids eat a lot of bread.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
So okay what about this one:
You can tell how humane editors and agents are by how they treat the uninteresting people who submit to them.**
No one should expect personalized rejections. These people are busy and don't have a lot of time to send along reasons why they don't want our stuff. I'm happy when they do, don't get me wrong. But these days? I'm grateful for a simple goddamn rejection.
There are a whole bunch who Don't Even Bother. They can't bring themselves to do these simple steps:
1, hit return.Yes, yes, YES, I know they don't ask for the damned queries. (although it could be argued that the words "will read unsolicited queries" is sort of asking for 'em.) The professionals aren't responsible for the thousands of people they aren't going to work with who contact them.
2. type "sorry not for me"
3, hit send.
But that's the point, isn't it.
It's not how you treat the people you depend upon for your success, or the people you find interesting. It's how you treat the rest of us. Tchah, no, silly person--I don't mean they're supposed to be encouraging hope or boosting egos. That's beyond the call of polite duty. I'm talking about the simple courtesy of acknowledging our existence.
There is no reason they should take the time to answer--even if those pathetic types are sort of hanging around waiting for some response--beyond the fact that it's a good person thing to do. Just like there's no reason to take the time to be polite to anyone.
I've been doing this submitting and getting rejection thing for years and years and I've gotten that silent treatment for years and years and years, even from editors who begged me to send them material.****
I've even sat in a couple of offices and watched harried editors delete all the queries. So I know it's a pain in the ass for them. I know it's some time out of their already overbusy days.
All of the sudden . . .
It's really bugging the shit out of me. I haven't even gotten a rejection lately so I have no idea why this rant rose up inside me...
Maybe it's because I haven't gotten one and I'm about due? Now that's pathetic.
Anyway, here I am, undermining what's left of my career by whining about the people I hope to work with.
Not to mention there's the whole professional image thing.....naw, that's nothing new on the hopeless front.
**although I have to say that one of my favorite people in the world doesn't answer any unsolicited note of any sort and I still love her. And I still adore Hilary--who usually ignores me--and I will lurve her for the rest of my life. But still. It's an argument and at the moment I'm buying it.
****Seriously, I met an editor at a conference who'd actually heard of me. She said," oh, you're Kate Rothwell? I read Somebody Wonderful. You're great! Submit to me, please!"
Oh boy! Of course I will!
I did and then ....
I did again and then....
Monday, February 11, 2008
Romance plus Christmas
sugar with sugar on top and a healthy sprinkle of sugar.
I was in the mood and had just read something worthwhile and therefore depressing.
But oh, Lordy, it turns out I should look at the copyright page and not just the publication date of 2007.
It happened again.
Even though other people warned us about this, I got suckered.
They slap together some old stories and call it something new. Every last one had be published previously
Damn you publishers!
Damn you for not buying my manuscripts!
Damn you for not buying new stuff from the authors I want to read!
I spit on your new covers--which, incidentally, are just as wretched as the old ones--designed to deceive us and I say faugh upon your cheap selves for recycling stories. **
The only way to regain my trust and forgiveness:
Buy one or more of my historical manuscripts. I got quite a collection of those unpubbed puppies now. Yo, I know you're trembling in fear at my wrath, and this'll get you off the hook. When do you want to look at these stories? I promise, no spit on any of their pages.
(I've been waiting for an agent to come galloping into my life and take over the selling part of my rioting job. I think that's probably as ridiculously hopeful and delusional as waiting for a new collection of new Christmas stories.)
** I added my wailing, whining review to the others, and "reprints" to the tags for the book. Maybe that will save the next poor sucker. What about the actual stories? Hey, they were okay and I don't actually remember most of them...but it's the principle of the thing, dammit.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
"Hey," the boy said when I turned on the car radio. "I've heard this song. It's all about Rommel's march, huh. 'I've led some raids down in Africa.'"
He claims he was being a smart ass, a definite possibility. But you have to love mondegreens. They're often better than the real thing.
My middle boy is fifteen today. I'm making this cake for him again. It's just as absurd as it was last year.
His gifts that are in the mail didn't show up, but my author copies of the dragon anthology did. I'm not giving him that for his birthday even if he wanted it, which he so very much doesn't.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
If you go to conferences, you'll hear a fair number of inspiring speeches (because rioters are feeling defensive about the genre. [Screw that]) from writers all about the nurturing quality of romance.
They tell stories about letters from fans who talk about how romance helped them through horrid times. Diane Farr would have gotten one of those letters from me if I'd gotten off my lazy ass and written it.
And then I found another of her books (Fair Game) and loved it, and then another that I loved. She's on my autobuy list, and every time I make lists of favorites or moaning about Authors who should write more, more, more, she's on them. So okay? Are we getting this?
I have an altar set up dedicated to her. She can do the short Regency and she can do the longer Regency set, too. Only one of her books isn't on my keeper shelf, but I still liked it and was glad I bought it. Well, so? Get it???
Diane. Farr. Rocks.
(another from my keeper shelf: Fortune Hunter--a redeemed rake book that I actually believed.)
THIRTEEN THINGS YOU (PROBABLY) DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT DIANE FARR: (written by DF)
1. Diane is only a second-generation American on her mother’s side, so if she bothered to fill out the proper paperwork she could officially become a citizen of Ireland. Or so her cousins tell her.
2. She can’t swim. I guess that proves she’s not a witch.
3. Her first love was acting, not writing. In fact, if she hadn’t let her union membership lapse when she left L.A., that other Diane Farr … the TV star one … would have had to choose another name, because the acting unions don’t allow more one than person to “own” a name. Alas, she did let her membership lapse, and is now the reluctant recipient of way too much fan mail not intended for her.
4. When she was twelve, the Library Association published one of her poems in its monthly magazine … without attributing it to “Diane Farr, age 12.” In other words, they didn’t realize the poem had been written by a kid. In her darkest moments of self-doubt, she reminds herself of this.
5. Jobs Diane has held: Shakespearian actress, truck driver, Hollywood production assistant, newspaper columnist, community theater director, legal secretary, playwright, bank teller, lyricist, voiceover artist, employment counselor, tag announcer, shipping clerk, switchboard operator, proofreader, cookware salesperson, knife demonstrator, member of a traveling theatrical troupe, member of another traveling theatrical troupe, member of way too many traveling theatrical troupes, contact lens beveller and – oh yeah – novelist.
6. Diane drinks way too much coffee, especially when writing.
7. Coffee – or even tea – drunk after 3:00 p.m. prevents Diane from sleeping at night. However, no amount of coffee – or tea – can keep her from napping in the afternoon if she has a chance. Go figure.
8. Diane is the world’s worst housekeeper, but her bathtub is always clean.
9. She suffers from permanent and debilitating writer’s block. That she manages to produce anything at all, let alone full-length books (eventually), is a minor miracle. Often she sits and stares at her computer screen for hours on end, drinking coffee and swearing under her breath. Then she goes off and takes a nap. When she wakes up, she is either able to write … or she isn’t. If she isn’t, she takes a bath: hot, with bubbles. When she emerges, she is either able to write … or she isn’t. If she isn’t, she goes for a walk in the woods near her house. When she returns, she is either able to write … or she isn’t. And so on.
10. Diane took the Myers-Briggs personality test online (yeah, okay, she was bored) and learned that she is an INFP. This meant absolutely nothing to her, so she clicked on the link for “suggested careers for INFP types” (or words to that effect). Career suggestion number one was “novelist.” Career suggestion number two was “actor.” This spooked her so badly that she hasn’t returned to the site since.
11. She has a list of places she wants to visit before she dies, each destination written on its own index card. Every so often she takes the cards out, shuffles them, and tries to calculate how many places she’ll have to visit this year in order to meet her goal. Then she looks at her budget. Then she decides she’s going to have to live longer.
12. Diane’s favorite foods: crème brulee, French toast, her sister Linda’s peach cobbler, her sister Doreen’s pecan pie, and the crab and macadamia nut wontons at the Hula Grill in Ka’anapali Beach, Maui.
13. She is DEEPLY AND SINCERELY GRATEFUL to each and every person who has ever bought one of her books. Especially those who, having done so, urged others to do the same. And most especially those who purchased her books new … since if everyone patronized used bookstores, authors would eventually wither up and blow away (Diane among them).
AFTER: The laptop works, but I've completely lost interest in taking pictures of myself, so you don't get the huge numbers of shots for the after. Poor you.
Also, I think my face is in a bad mood. I didn't sleep a lot last night. If I could just get the hair, that would be good.
Later on Thirteen about One of My Favorite Authors, now it's work time.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
This is Perfection, Summer's first book and the second Summer book night owl's reviewed in the last couple of weeks. This one got 5 out of 5 heart rating. And they gave me another pretty little icon thingy. I like it!
--I now have 28 inches of hair in a plastic bag to donate to locks of love.
No, I won't bother with the debit column today. Mark this as a red letter day: I'm kinda sick of whining.
and tomorrow.....Oh, hey, tomorrow I'll have one of my Those Writers.
We all have Those Writers. For whatever reason the stars line up, the life experiences are matched, time hits the right second. You read a book and you clasp it to your bosom with cries of ecstasy. And then you read another book by the same author and you love it almost as much --or maybe even more.
Combined force of reader and writer coming together for a perfect experience. I have had a dozen or so writers like that** (sometimes they come and go depending on the life stage. For instance I think I'm over Salinger.).
Anyway, I hounded one of my Those Writers until she said yes.
**or more. A dozen romance writers, let's say.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
and what Laura Kinsale writes in response. Go on, read it. I declare it to be required reading for rioters.
I commented then asked TM to dump my fly-buzzing, cheery-but-brainless comments. Sometimes those are fine, but not there.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Wait, they say I gotta let them watch a couple of minutes of puppies to cheer them up. "ooo it's getting nippy out there."
Best to watch the puppy bowl with the sound down unless you've had a dose or two of mind-altering drugs.
Doug, in previous comments asks: "What's the best ebook for really kinky, raunchy sex?" He claims I know what he likes ... but in truth, I don't know from much KRS. Titles for Doug, anyone?
Back on track: Get it yet? To make myself read what promised to be a bland print book, I'd promise myself an ebook at the other side.
The point at last:
I am turning into an ebook snob.
Never mind the fact that only a few of those print books were dreary and the others were just fine. The truth is only one was great as the ebooks I read over the same period and none took risks or stuck in my brain cells the same way. And as I picked up each of the books I thought "I can always go back to the zombies or assassins if this is another paint-by-numbers."
I was a print book snob for years and years. It's gone way over the other way. Way, way.
Obviously I've found plenty of ebook writers I like--it's easy to do with so many releases every week. With my long list, I can download books I know will at least have interesting characters.
Even with their worst work, my favorites have something great glimmering in their stories. If not the plot, then the people. If not the people, then one particularly memorable scene.
After only a few years of ebook reading, I'm sliding into deep snobbery mode.
I look over at my bookshelves to prove how wrong I am. Yo, Kate. Look at those wonderful keepers!
The first book I see on my shelf is Shadowheart. Excuse me? Know any ebook writers who can beat Laura Kinsale for something new in Romancelandia? Any FNV who'll take the risks and out-write her?
Silence and then...No. And ...
yo, back at you, Kate. It's not actually a competition. You're done with contests, remember? [I don't fight fair with myself.]
Even when I look at my shelves of good stuff, I can't escape the fact that in general, while I might be able to count on the print books for consistency, I count on the ebooks for flashes of brilliance or unpredictable fun. I just don't expect to find that in print books any more.
Time to buy a pornographic paranormal (since that's all the rage and whatever is the rage always has to worst new stuff. A few years ago it would have been chicklit) ebook --there are plenty out there.
I think it's important rebalance the scales and if the excellent stuff loaded on the print side won't do it, I'll have to load something bad on the other, eh? I'll wade through something entirely derivative, likely