Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Checking in.

Sorry I haven't been around; again, I am super busy trying to write about 4,000 words a day to catch up on my NaNoWriMo project. It comes in fits and starts, but I am still trying to get the requisite amount of words in a day, so needless to say there is a bit of stringing along/fluff that will probably be heavily edited in the next draft. But on I go. Anyway, I had better get going since I still have most of today's writing to do.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rolling along.

So, because I am pretty much writing my brains out on my Nano project, I will pretty much just be coming in here a couple times a week to reaffirm that I am surviving. Sorry about that. On a good note, I figured out the other day that if I wrote 4,000 words a day for the final ten days of the challenge, I will come through with some words to spare. The last two days I have met my goal, so hurrah!

In other news, when I ask my son where one of his toys is, he will find it and say "There it is!" He will also say "there you go," when I ask him to give me something. So cute.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm alive.

Just writing (or trying to) my NaNoWriMo project. I'm giving in to useless distractions in the name of "thinking" way too often. It makes me sad that I've been up till midnight the last few nights and haven't gotten more written. My husband looked at me a few hours ago and said, "You know you're not going to get that done this month, right?" It's sad but probably basic hope would just be that this would kick my butt and guilt me into writing more of what I had in my head. It has done that. But I do want to get at LEAST halfway to the 50,000 word goal by month's end...I guess we'll see how I can do. I just need to focus.

Also, because of my crazy writing focus, I'll probably just put the poetry challenge and analysis on hiatus until the end of the month. Sorry about that, but I really don't have time to maintain both. I may not post as often either, but I'll try for a few times a week.

Word Count: 7,418/50,000

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Writing is hard.

I took a few hours this evening to try and make a dent in my ridiculous NaNoWriMo goal. When you take on the challenge, you're supposed to write 50,000 words by the end of the month of November. Given that I started nine days late, I am already at a bit of a disadvantage. But I am struggling now with how to give coherent form to my "bag of ideas" that I started with. I had a main character with a big idea for him, and a bunch of ideas for incidental characters, but no way to really unite them all. So, I am starting to wing stuff here and there. It's a bit like taking a leap off of a cliff. I'm afraid I'll end up crumpled in a heap somewhere, so my brain starts to try to freeze instead of letting things flow. Plus every little thing starts to distract you. You know, like when you get an assignment for school and you try to find all kinds of things to get out of doing it. Oh, the irony! I'm doing this because I want to, yet I'm procrastinating when I'm already behind?? Ugh. I am going to try and work more on it during the day starting tomorrow. I'm afraid my blog will have to come second for the rest of the month; I am not doing haiku news today to attempt to get enough sleep tonight, and I'm postponing the poem analysis until at least next week. Sorry, folks!!

Word Count: 5,123/50,000 (1/10th of the way!!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans' Day.

Thanks to social networking, I was reminded today that my college choir invites former members back to visit today. I wish I lived nearer my alma mater so I could have participated. As it is, I hope my old choir buddies had fun catching up.

I was struck this morning after getting the boy dressed that his shirt seemed awfully tight. It was one I hadn't put him in before, and it seemed like the sleeves were terribly short as well. When I checked the label, it was a 6 month size shirt!! I can't believe I got it over his (rather large) head. He currently wears 2Ts, so that was pretty funny. I'm glad he accepted it, since I needed to do his laundry and he had no other clean shirts.

Full disclosure: I have yet to write anything for my novel today, so I will leave my update of it until tomorrow when hopefully I'll have more to show for it.

Haiku News

Wearing fake medals
is not only in poor taste,
also illegal.

Quick thinking by teen
saved him from a death sentence
when set on fire.

Mike Tyson detained
at airport after scuffle
with photographer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My birthday.

As much as I am grateful to have another birthday (it is better than the alternative!), I think it is much more fun when they fall on weekends, particularly when my husband has to work. At least the boy was charming and wonderful all day, and even took an extra-long nap to give me more time to play in the afternoon. I had some really yummy hot chocolate from the bakery on the corner and ordered in breakfast for dinner. I'll have my birthday-red velvet cupcake in a little while. The hubby has more plans this weekend, when his family will come to town to babysit.

I happened to be perusing my former poetry professor's blog earlier today and thought you all would enjoy this poem on poetry that he wrote. I got a kick out of it.

I appreciate Cicely's efforts in a five-part haiku invective against fall, despite my disagreement with it; you can read her work here. I did receive a request to extend the deadline for this challenge, however, and because of that (and because I'll be grateful for the extra time with which to continue writing my novel), I will extend last week's challenge for another week. You can read my five-part poem and get the link for the project details here.

Word count: 3,397/50,000

Haiku News

Surprising: Brazil
coed causes quite a stir
with a short red dress.

seeks to dismiss his charges;
two months till judge rules.

Monday, November 9, 2009


So, I can't believe I almost forgot again. The month of November, at least for the last few years, is known to nerdy parts of the blogosphere as "NaNoWriMo," or National Novel Writing Month. There is a whole website devoted to the challenge of trying to write a 175 page (roughly 50,000-word) novel in that 30 day period. They focus more on quantity than quality to produce such volume in such a short time, but that practice can get a writer out of the vicious cycle of write a couple pages, then tweak and pick at them forever (or, as I have done, ignore them while percolating ideas in my head). I think I'm going to do something crazy here and try to complete it this month, not waiting for next year. I mean, if I have my way, I will have two children by this time next year, and one will be very small, noisy and demanding at this point, so I really had better get cracking before that if I want to have a real chance at it. Right? Is anyone going to do this with me? They even have sections for ideas if you don't have a plot! Seriously, check it out, especially if you've ever wanted to write a novel but just didn't have the motivation/self-confidence/etc. To keep myself accountable I will keep a running tally of my page count at the bottom of my blog each day so people can see my (hopefully not lack of) progress.

Also, if no one ventures to try the five-part poem that I did last week for Poetry Challenge, I will extend it by one week. I think it is too valuable an exercise to abandon, so please, someone, try it out. I promise it's fun!! Check my finished product out, as well, if you have a chance.

Word count: 2,301/50,000

Haiku News

We can all learn from
residents of Charlotte Street:
slum became a home.

I would like to know
just what Hasan will say when
asked why he went nuts.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Picture Day.

We went to Sears this afternoon to get some family portraits done. I had very few expectations, as an almost-two-year-old doesn't have a very long attention span, and that was made even shorter by having a few vaccinations the other day. Amazingly, he pulled through excellently well. I was hoping for maybe one good picture, and we actually had quite a few to choose from.

Haiku News

"Tough woman" cop hailed
as a hero at Fort Hood;
she shot the gunman.

Only time will tell
whether Congress can back up
health care words with deeds.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Poem Analysis #4

Before we get started, please do look at the analysis from last week, here.

My apologies for not posting this yesterday; it totally slipped my mind. Cicely's post earlier in the week reminded me of this excellent Frost poem, so I thought I would use it here.

Mending Wall
by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'

I love how Frost uses very simple language to really make his readers think. I also love the image of the speaker's neighbor with a stone in each hand as a savage about to kill with the stones. I wonder if Frost was initially inspired to write this poem because of the saying repeated twice in the poem itself; "good fences make good neighbors." I'll leave you all to discuss more.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Title goes here.

Hmm. I can't really think of something specific to say about today. Except that I love when my little boy says "Ky" when he means "sky." LOVE it. And he's started to try and say "hello," ends up sounding like "ha-oh".

Haiku News

Military must
address mental needs of staff;
too many shootings.

Mother of the year:
woman gives aunt her baby,
who hides her in chest?!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Big boy.

I took the boy to get his hair cut again, since we are doing a family portrait session this weekend, and my husband noted when he got home from work that he doesn't look SO much older when we get his hair cut anymore. This may have resulted from it only being a month or so from the last time we got his hair cut instead of six weeks, but it could also be because he has simply gotten older looking anyway. Sigh, he is growing up so fast! As much as I am looking forward to it, I still think it might be the last remnant of his babyhood gone when he finally starts talking in longer sentences. It will be bittersweet for sure.

Haiku News

Amanda Knox hopes
that jury believes defense
claim evidence botched.

I kid you not here:
woman had mind-blowing sex:
she got amnesia.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Poetry Challenge #20: Poetry Mini-Challenge

Before we get started, please check out the excellent dramatic monologues submitted over the last week here.

For today's challenge, I happened upon this prompt from an excellent website, and I am taking their challenge and invite you to join me. Feel free to link to your post here in a post to their website as well if you want!

You can read all about the prompt at the link above, but the gist of it is to pick a theme or subject and write one part of a poem about it per day for five days. So today I'll write the first part, tomorrow the second part, and so on until I'm finished on November 8. To avoid confusion about where to find them, though, I will just continually edit my post to add the new section each day. Here goes.

They make it look so easy.
I try and try
but every time
I can't make them
really hear me.

I know
what I want to say,
but when I open my mouth,
what comes out
is unexpected.

Just once
I'd love her to hear
what I say
and do exactly
what I asked.

Small wonder
I feel like screaming
at seemingly-random times.
How would you like it
if no one could hear you?

Each morning
I retreat to the bathroom,
my stomach betraying
the nerves I try not to show.

My brain is under control.
I have nothing to fear
inside the classroom.
It’s outside it I dread.

People wonder why
I hide my face
behind the cover
of a dog-eared book.

When you’re afraid
of human nature,
literature is solace
in a cruel world.

On my own for the first time,
I thought I’d be okay.
I knew who I was and where
I was going.

It only took a few blows--
my roommate’s abandonment,
an insincere relationship--
to shake my foundations.

How quickly I faltered
on promises I made myself.
I had become a person
I neither knew nor liked.

But blessings came
with new humility:
my truest friends
as well as my true love.

If someone told me
just five years ago
that I would be a runner,
I would have laughed.

Now I can’t go two days
without having a run;
it’s an indispensable part
of my daily routine.

While I started slow
and still am not fast,
I just keep putting
one foot in front of the other.

I just cruise along
for miles and miles,
not even breathing hard.

When I first found out
you were on your way,
I wondered if I would
be good enough for you.

See, I’m the youngest.
I only even baby-sat
one time, for my nieces.
Never changed a diaper.

But when I saw your face
for the first time,
all the doubt and fear
melted entirely away.

I knew that what I didn’t know
didn’t matter at all.
What I did know
was that I love you, forever.

I have to say, I wasn't sure quite where this poem would lead me but the journey turned out to be very rewarding. Where will it take you? C'mon, join me!!

A little conversation.

"Yes, baby?"
"Daddy's downstairs, sweetie."
"Yes, what is it?"
"Daddy said goodnight to you, honey."
"Mommy mommy mommy."
"I love you, baby."

Haiku News

Iran reformists
warned on anniversary
of revolution.

How did this happen?
Three coeds found dead, car in
stock pond for cattle.

Ten bodies unearthed
at convicted rapist's home;
how many more there?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Nerd's delight.

I was happy to be able to take the boy to the park today--both that it was good enough weather and that we could get there before it got dark. That time change sure makes it get dark early around here. He walked up and down the two shallow steps there about five times, and when he finally decided to stay up, he clapped for himself. He has started to play a funny game with himself while I change his diapers--he will lightly pinch his own hand and say "ow, ow, ow." Strange little man.

I received my new, texting-friendly phone today, and as I suspected, I love having a full keyboard at my disposal. Now that I actually have several people I like to text message with, I can see it being more useful. That probably makes me a nerd, but hey, if you didn't know I was a nerd by now, you really don't know me very well at all. :)

Cicely has submitted her entry in the dramatic monologue challenge--you can read her effort here.

Haiku News

Hope you're happy, Dad;
now your "too-Western" daughter
is dead; you're in jail.

Iraqi widows
forced to risk long prison terms,
become prostitutes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Saints' Day.

Today at church, I admired the large bouquet of long-stemmed red roses in front of the altar in memory of members' loved ones, and wished there were one in there for Rory. I thought about it, but because we haven't told anyone at church about about it, I decided not to risk someone asking a question about it. I hope I will be cradling a new little one while admiring Rory's rose next year.

Haiku News

First time in twenty-
five years an American

CIT files for
fifth-largest bankruptcy, but
debtholders approve.