Friday, August 21, 2009

Random Updatey Stuff

Because I am supposed to be packing up to go back to school. (2 days! Eep!)

The Great Purge was, I think, a success. It's kind of hard to tell because I only cleaned out the last corner of my closet (I really don't have a very big closet, but you'd be surprised at my junk-cramming skills) a day or two ago so the post-purge clean feeling was usurped by the pre-packing chaos feeling. And now my room is in shambles because I am packing. Or should be.

Yesterday morning I was on about page 150 of 350 on Brideshead Revisited and starting to despair of finishing. However, BR has that old-book tendency of picking up the pace about halfway through. I got to page 250 in fits and starts throughout the day, and then after I was ready for bed I flopped down on my bed and took the last 100 pages at a hard gallop, finishing just after 11. It was rather invigorating; I felt like a 16-year-old again. I'm not entirely sure I liked the book, though; I must ponder it for a while.

And I really do plan on writing some more posts for my lovely readers. Right after I finish packing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Enchanted 15: Writing for Others


Part 5 in an ongoing series based on Jen's Enchanted 15 workshop.

There isn't necessarily a contradiction between writing for yourself and writing for others, but there is a difference. And you need others in order to be a good writer.

One day, the summer after I turned 14, I sat at a picnic table in a park eating a sandwich and told a 16-year-old girl that I liked to write stories.

"Really?" she replied. "I do too, but usually when I tell people that they think I'm weird."

Five years later Dernhelm and I are very close, despite the fact that she left for college 3 years ago and I left a year after that. I don't think I'm off the mark to say that it was writing that brought us together. There was a year or two of my life when I spent just about every second of free time either writing or emailing Dernhelm about what I was writing. (Once I told the Cobbler that Dernhelm and I used to email each other sometimes 2 or 3 times a day and he said that we abused email by forcing it to be what the telephone is for most teenage girls.) If you looked you could probably still see Dernhelm's fingerprints all over my works-in-progress. And in turn I sent her pages and pages of suggestions for her novels. (Seriously. She once said that I was more enthusiastic about her work than she was.) And despite our admiration for each other we can both be frank when it happens that a particular passage is not quite up to par and needs rewritten or scrapped entirely.

Now I also have a few other good writerly friends, and the Cobbler is among them. One of the first conversations we ever had was about writing, and he listens to me chatter about my novels as patiently as Dernhelm does. He sent me the first chapter of one of his novels once, and I obligingly laid into it. Then one day he read the beginning of one of my novels and said, "Would it be better if you did this?" and I said, "Oooohhh, now I'm going to have to rewrite the whole thing!" Because of course he was right. A few months later I'm still working on rewriting the whole thing. The Cobbler has this uncanny knack of finding exactly what dissatisfies me most about my work and pointing it out so that I can no longer pretend that the reader won't care and I can just ignore the flaws.

Friends who write are amazing. Find them. And the ones who irritate you the most are probably going to be the ones who do you the most good.
[here I pause in thought]
Now that I think about it, Writing for Others is really the reason I'm doing this whole Enchanted 15 thing. Because one of my favorite bloggers suddenly started saying, "Hey, you should write every day." And I fail epicly at that, but I do at least come back here every week or two or three and say, "Here I am, writing about writing, at least that's a start, right?" And one of these days the knowledge that you all know about my novels is going to motivate me to do something with them, lest all five of you start harassing me no end. (That's how my sister got me to finish my first novel; she asked me if I was done yet Every. Single. Day.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I read half a book today

...about 200 pages all told, of somewhat fluffy Christian fiction (still working on Brideshead Revisited). Of course, that's nothing when you think about how back in the day I could be doing schoolwork most of the day and still knock down a 500-page novel before dinner--and my first thought upon finishing would be, "I sure hope I have another book around here somewhere so I can read before bed." Still, it's as enthusiastic as I've felt about reading in a long time and it's good to feel that way again. Someday I'll get back to those days of getting a huge stack of books at the library and having them finished in a matter of days. Just need to warm up the old reading muscles a bit more.

Now, I'm off to find a good before-bed book.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm back

I'm hopefully going to put up lots of content in the next few days but right now I'm still trying to remember what day of the week it is.

Nobody missed me, apparently

Nonetheless, I am a girl of my word.

So.

I am still more-or-less alive. Our regular irregular posting will resume shortly.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Next Thing

Earlier today I was at Mass with two of my household sisters at one's home parish before the other two of us set out on the last legs home. (We had all three been at another sister's wedding.) The pastor gave a lovely homily on St. Lawrence and love of the poor, and I found myself suddenly caught up in longing to live in a shack somewhere and own nothing and use every talent I have to give to the poor.

Then I got home and I read two posts. The first was about daughters becoming Sisters--and the beauty of it grabbed me. How can you not feel a little longing to read of someone becoming a bride of Christ?

But I had also read a post about Duty Before Happiness, which linked to a post at Conversion Diary about Duty Before Holiness.

And so I started writing this post, and then got stuck because I didn't know where to go. I didn't know where these two ideas connected to make something that made sense.

Then the Cobbler mentioned a particular aspiration he has (which I won't detail because one does not share one's beloved's dreams on the internet) and I realized: nothing is ever ordinary. Nothing is every really small.

You start out feeding one starving person and you end up with your name known the world over. Because you simply did the next thing--fed one starving person after another. You start out with the slowly-dawning realization that you might just be in love with that geeky boy who can always make you laugh, and you go on to get the dawning realization that your life will never be boring, and that you might just end up accidentally doing something extraordinary because you followed, step-by-step, the path God laid out for you.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I really am leaving soon

Mom: "Eek!"

Me: "What?"

Mom: "Oh, it's just an eager/anxious thing. Would you be anxious to try new foods?"

Me: "Yes."

Mom: "Okay, would most people?"

Sunday, August 2, 2009

As if I post regularly anyway

You probably won't even miss me, dear readers, but I wanted to let you know that I'm going to be offline for the next week (until the 10th). I'll post on the 11th even if it's just to let you know that I'm still more-or-less alive.

Comment moderation will be on. Comment all you like but it won't show up for a while.

Have a lovely week, all of you, and pray for me and my associates if you get the chance.

The road goes ever on and on...

Yesterday the family went halfway across Ohio to visit my grandma (Dad's mom). LP wasn't sure about her at first but by the end of dinner she was sitting in Grandma's lap drinking her iced tea. (Unsweetened iced tea, no less. I often say that LP is going to be the only 3-year-old girl with real tea at her tea parties.)

We got back from dinner to find that my dad's younger brother (who lives nearby) had come over, and so we also got to catch up with him. LP warmed up to him even faster after her initial coolness. My theory is that she likes him because he looks so much like Dad. (Though almost three years apart, they look like twins, to the point where if you look at old photos wherein they had similar hairstyles even Mom has a hard time remembering which one is her husband.)

I have a funny story to relate from that visit, but it would take up too much room now. The real purpose of this post is to let you all know that I am going to be gone for the next week and will have very little internet access, so no blogging until at least Tuesday August 11. When I do get back you'll get that funny story, a book review, and news of my doings this coming week.