Wednesday, January 18, 2012


So tell me what you think of this brilliant idea. When an airline loses your luggage I think they need to suck it up and admit they messed up. Publicly. What I’d like to see them do is give you a t-shirt for starters – you know so you at least have pajamas or something to wear to your sister’s wedding. Now if they’re a fun airline it could say something awesome like, “I don’t normally dress like this, but JET BLUE lost my luggage!”  If they really want to make customers happy the back of the shirt could say “I’m getting frequent flier miles for every mile my luggage travels WITHOUT ME!  GO JET BLUE!”  Face it, you’d want your luggage to take the long way home.

A complimentary toiletry bag would be super nice too – deodorant, toothbrush and paste, a comb. Surely a great marketing plan could be hatched to provide samples of new products, while supplying travelers with some basics necessities for when they end up on the other coast at 3:00 a.m. with only the clothes on their back. Maybe the airlines could even have one or two meetings with the Fed Ex people and get some pointers on, “When it absolutely has to be there overnight.”  Right?

Really I’m not down on air travel at all, it rocks. Of course there are inevitable delays, storms and volcanoes do exactly what they want and we deal. Yes, I’d prefer a Stargate or being Beamed Up, but in the meantime, I’ll take flying even if my luggage goes inexplicably to Tampa when I’m flying from NYC to the west coast.

As a random Being, I enjoy the beauty of precision, and there is a whole lot of air traffic getting where it needs to go and I find that impressive. I adore Jet Blue too – that extra leg room is priceless. Even sans luggage I’d fly them on any long flight. Once, on a USAir red-eye with seats the size of kindergarten chairs, I slept physically wedged between a corporate attorney on one side (he clutched his folder of legal briefs all night) and some guy who snored on my shoulder (he had onions for dinner), on the other. The tall guy behind me literally put his legs under my seat and they were jutting out below it, so I kept trying to stealthily move my legs into my seat-mates airspace. None of us spoke a word to each other the entire trip, and when we finally landed we all avoided eye contact but I felt like I should probably go to confession or something.

There is that saying, "Life is a journey, not a destination..." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson/Aerosmith. I don't think that it necessarily applies to airline travel - face it, would you want to fly the airline that adopted that motto? However, it is pretty much the journeys that stick in my head.  Why is that?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Life is Good

After rolling out of bed in the morning I always put on my workout clothes, this tells me that I will be running today. I believe me, but I’m gullible. Sitting in my editing cave in January, moving fingers over a keyboard is apparently not the type of workout those clothes were designed for. Eventually a pair of warm socks, an odd scarf and one of hubby’s cozy hunting shirts completes the wayward ensemble. My husband told me I looked like a writer today. I’ll leave out the preceding adjectives and take that as a compliment thank you very much.
Then he bent to kiss me goodbye and pulled back. “What’s all over your face?”
“It’s January. There’s an ice-storm outside. You haven’t left this cave for a week.”
“It’s a preemptive strike against premature aging. Your shirt doesn’t match those pants. You look like an engineer.”

Instead of a kiss I got the stink eye. Despite that I still plan to protect him from wolves when we hike The Grand Canyon, mostly because according to Wikipedia there aren’t any. This edit slogs on, and I’m truthfully not complaining, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing as I sit here hunched over the keyboard with a wicked stitch between my shoulder blades. Repairing fragmented sentences, rearranging commas until I completely forget all grammar rules and have to go look everything up again. Deleting scenes, adding scenes, reading and rereading, flossing my teeth a whole lot – I’m kind of OCD about flossing. Chasing family members down, cornering/tackling them (that counts as running, right?) and reading them the scenes with emphasis on the new comma placement. Yep. Life is good.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Edit This

It was briefly thrilling and exciting, but then the consequences appeared. I’m not referring to those lovely dark chocolate covered pomegranates and my previously baggy jeans – though that is a good analogy – I’m speaking of reaching “The End” of my latest story. It’s the one I’ve been working on for longer than I care to publicly admit, that has been rewritten so many times that off hand, I’m not even certain what that number would be.
Like the cat slinking up the hallway in the dark, it snuck up on me, batting at me with soft paws to announce, “Bet you didn’t see this coming!”  Just like that half feral pet, I knew the ending was somewhere close by, but I had no idea it was so close. After all those long rewrites, I hadn’t expected that ending to just flow, I’d expected to need pliers and possibly professional help to extract it.
Nope, the sun peeked through the clouds just like it should, and I had my ending. Admittedly I danced in circles a bit, and then I plowed right on into The Edit. If you don’t write, an edit is kind of like this:  Take last year, now go through it a day at a time and fix it. Hopefully you want it to end just like it did (if not, that’s called a rewrite) you just have to polish up the dialogue, check your spelling and punctuation. It’s best if all the drama hits around October and you wrap it up by mid-December and be sure that you tie up all those endings neatly by New Year’s Eve.
Yesterday I edited my way through July. Today I reread a whole lot, dug a piece of cold chicken out of the fridge and plunked down in front of a movie about a couple trapped in the Grand Canyon. For starters I am officially the worst vegetarian ever, and I paid the price when the lady in the movie had to cut off her husband’s foot. I watched the last 2/3rds of the movie nauseous and standing in the doorway pretending to head back towards my edit. The price for watching that tale? It will be paid in full come March when I’m scheduled to hike down into the canyon with my hubby. I’m all over fighting off wolves for him, but he’s gonna have to cut off his own foot. Procrastination has its own price, doesn’t it? 
With Both Feet at the Top of The Canyon

Monday, January 9, 2012

Doggone It

Have you ever read Dog Stories by James Herriot?  It’s a collection of canine tales by a Vet, from heart-warming to heart-breaking with a smattering of hysterical ones too. Judging by the success of John Grogan’s book Marley & Me, I’m not the only one who enjoys really rotten bad-dog stories. My BFF’s dog, let’s call him Sprocket, glued his teeth together. Chasing a mouse frantically through the garage, he cornered it inside a box. Ferociously eating his way through the box, that apparently had been assembled with glue, bits of the cardboard got jammed between his teeth. The bits combined with his saliva and re-hydrated the glue, and voila!  Find Sprocket foaming at the mouth, thrashing wildly through the house and try to catch him and figure out why. Unfortunately for him, Sprocket is getting on in years (though he hasn’t noticed yet) and has a terminal illness (though he hasn’t noticed yet) and Dad took him to the Vet. No worries, there were children involved. Dad shelled out and the Vet made everything right. Well as right as a Jack Russell can ever be. Shortly after that he got sprayed by a skunk, while he was inside the house. Chasing the little critter from window to window and barking enthusiastically, apparently the skunk got fed up.

My sister has a lively, spirited dog with mismatched eyes. Let’s call her Yipper (I’m referring to the dog of course). Yipper bounds everywhere, basically keeping all four legs rigid she just – boing-boing-boings through life. She has varying speeds and heights. There is the just woke up and we’re all still alive boing-boing-boing that goes to about knee level, if there is food involved we’ll be reaching hip level, if you left and came back – say from the bathroom with an absence of maybe fifteen seconds – about waist-high which makes it easier for her to leap into your arms and tongue your face whether you like it or not. Stranger at the door?  Definitely chest high. People tend to take her exuberance personally, “Wow, she really likes me,” says the UPS guy. It is super cute, for about an hour. I’ve watched her before, and I’ll tell you, by about day three…  You’re starting to think about things you’ve seen done in a rodeo.

Sadly, both my own award-winning bad dogs went to the happy hunting grounds this past year. All the baby bunnies in the forest rejoiced, but my family still mourns. I used to race them, to the mailbox and back, to the barn and back. I luved it when they cheated, taking a head-start, they hated to lose to a two-legger. They liked to sneak into the garden and eat tomatoes until they were so bloated there was no way to hide the crime. Not that dogs can ever lie effectively anyway, I mean does any creature look as guilty as a dog?  Their eyes confess to crimes they didn’t even commit, you just have to ask, “What’d you do?”  Mine were all over making restitution though, like trotting confidently into the house with a live shrew held gently in their muzzle, dropping it at my feet and smiling up at me. I have a friend whose dog once dragged home an entire dead emu. She said he backed into the yard, heaving and pulling, glowing with pride from a successful hunt. Then there are those gifts all dog owners are familiar with, like when you’re woken up in the morning with, “Mom!  The dog left you a present.”   Whatever that might consist of, it surely does not make you boing-boing-boing out of bed in the morning.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

On Second Thought

It seemed like a good idea at the time. If months were to have mantra’s, I think that would be January’s. The month of regret for the sins of December. Did you use real butter in all your holiday baking?  Or better yet, did your awesome friends use it in theirs?  As I try to get comfortable in coach, for a nice long flight, I always rethink those Christmas cookies. Did you decide to experiment with new styles of clothing at those spectacular post-holiday sales?  You really can’t color code tie-dye in your closet. Or wear it in public much. It seemed like a good idea at the time would make an excellent name for a boat, a bumper-sticker for a parachute, maybe even a tattoo.
It seemed like a good idea at the time would also be an appropriate working title for my current WIP. As a writer whose idea of planning and plotting a novel consists of sharpening my pencil, I am in the painful throes and thrashes of pasting together dozens and dozens of scenes for my work in progress. I’m a pantser who doesn’t hesitate to write an extra 100,000 or so words only to have to chop them out later, I like to explore possibilities. The problem is that math stuff, I mean I might only be able to keep writing sixty or seventy years and there are an awful lot of stories to get out in that time. Time’s a wastin’!
Just like those people in rows 27 through 56 who are anxious to deplane while you search overhead bins for your carry-on items, my next story has been shoving to get out. You’d think it was going to miss its connection. So I’ve been plotting it out. Yes. Stand back, I have a plan. In the meantime I faithfully continue onward with my glue sticks, snub-nosed scissors and scotch tape on my current story. I owe it to these people, we’ve been through a lot together. We’re starting to plan a bit of a celebration for whoever survives. It will involve butter cookies and tie-dye clothing, maybe even resulting in an upgrade to business class (doubt coach will fit after those additional cookies). The party could start at any time, all we’re waiting for is the perfect time to whisper those sweet, sweet, words we’re so desperately longing to hear. The End.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Heroines in a Sentence

Raised in an all female household, from a young age I’ve borne witness to real heroines and have been blessed with continued inspiration from that place we like to call the real world, by witnessing heroines that don’t fall when chased by villains or monsters (and when that happens in a movie doesn’t it just make you crazy?  Who does that?  Just once I’d like to see the hero – or anyone else, for that matter – backtrack to look down on the ninny laying there looking like a supermodel posing – wide-eyed with feigned helplessness – and have them say, “Huh-uh, I don’t think so!  You are so pathetic that we are firing the writers AND feeding you to the monster with ketchup *snap* who’s in charge of condiments in this place?  Just dump it on her – I ain’t playin’!”)  it is my personal opinion that real heroines think outside the box, they chase the bad guys and make them cry at least a little bit, they love hard and unashamedly, have their own likes and interests that have absolutely nothing to do with the hero’s antique car collection (which just makes them roll their eyes) they order two desserts and an appetizer, pick up snakes, kill their own spiders, never apologize for their size – and you better believe they have big feet (with awesomely painted toenails of course) and they say what they mean and mean what they say and despite whatever drivel pop-culture is spewing about pore-less, laugh-line free anatomically impossible females, real heroines NEVER do anything demure because simply attempting it will make them snort with laughter and ruin the effect anyway – and I won’t hesitate to state firmly that Photo Shop and a mall chock full of the secrets of Victoria have absolutely nothing on the timeless beauty of a real heroine, and I’d like to see more of them - both in and out of books.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dangerously Verbose

There probably should be a rule about blogging in the middle of the night. I read last night’s work and found it a bit – cryptic…  Unfortunately I’m not feeling very cooperative today, so I can’t promise not to blog at 4:00 a.m. You’re all smart people, bet you can spot them. Go right ahead and feel free to post a critical “Up all night again?” comment when the spirit moves you. I can take it, and if you happen to notice somebody being dragged off to the gallows in one of my novels, with your name, it’ll just be a freaky coincidence.
Speaking of freaky coincidences the town I live in sends me my tax bill every year on New Year’s Eve and the fact that the town bears the exact same name as the forces of darkness in my short story entitled:  Atlinca and the Hamsters that Run It – is pure coincidence.
I keep a file of names to use in stories, it’s a bit of a hobby to collect them. For fun I also have a list with two columns, ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ – because names come in both categories. Before being entered into the main file, names spend time sitting on the list fermenting. I wait for a character to birth out of the names, it usually works that way. Not always, sometimes a story pops out so quickly I rush to find names for everyone. That is when the name file comes in handy. After everyone in the story is christened with a name, they graduate to a brand new file. The Story File. There we find maps, places, definitions, even food and games if the story is set in a world that demands it. It’s not that I forget the details of my stories if they’re not written down, it’s more like once the container starts to bulge and run over with information – I know I’ve got a novel’s worth and it is time to STOP inputting new details and focus on that plot thing.
Here, however, inside The Glitter Globe we get to live plot-free. Sans structure. Let freedom and verbosity reign. We’re just mutating characters tossing in the wind. There are no red pens. And we can start sentences anyway we want. Verbal Calvinball if you will. As a matter of fact, punctuation is entirely optional and most definitely fluid. Dangling participles are for decorative purposes, the music is always live. Critics are absolutely welcome here though, because we don’t want an empty evil column on the name’s list.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Revolution

Do you ever, ever dance like no one is watching?  Oh yes I do, it is just one reason my kids only dance with me in the privacy of our own house. Have you ever paid money so that you could purchase a plan or a product that was going to allow you to lose weight?  Sweet Pete me too, and what a SCAM every single contrived weight loss program I ever invested in was. Big, fat liars the whole lot of them. Here is my own big fat weight loss secret, and for a limited time offer it is free just for you. I’m magnanimous like that. Eat whatever the heck you want to eat, minus those things that make you not feel good AND be honest with yourself about it. What’d you expect?  The cookie, pizza diet?  Sorry, but it’s free and it works.
How about singing?  I adore singing, unfortunately no one else enjoys my skills beyond my immediate…  me. Then there is the fact that lyrics apparently live in the same area of the brain that controls the tune coming out of the mouth, let’s just say that this varies wildly in the human species. There is a solution to this dilemma, and I highly recommend investigating these possibilities if your singing, too, causes dolphins to swim in-land. No one wants to be responsible for beached marine mammals. You do not have to be condemned to only singing in the shower when you’re home alone. Check out these venues:  cars, sing-along pubs, dances with bands/DJs, rock concerts, churches in cities where no one knows you, motorcycles (bugs are protein) and outside during 40+ mph winds (being mindful of who is downwind of course).
As an adult do you talk to strangers?  Being a storyteller of course I do, and it’s rare that I regret it. This includes standing in lines, customer support and public transportation. It’s not just that I’m trolling for story fodder, it’s interesting. I’m sorry to be the bearer of sad tidings, but those seconds ticking away while you’re waiting silently are irretrievable. What’s the harm in starting a chat with a stranger?  You might learn something, you might share something, you might stare in wide-eyed wonder before backing away slowly when they adopt a fake European accent and ask you for a red Lamborghini, while telling you to make it snappy.
At any rate, you’re invited to join in my New Year’s Revolution. The plan is in pencil, as all good plans are. It involves more dancing, sharing, bad singing, storytelling, and at least one extreme sport. Maybe two. Also, a healthy dose of insubordination is included. There are no cookies planned, but there will be chocolate - of course, because like dancing the muse demands it.