Evening Plans

Since it looks like the rain has no intention of going away, I have a feeling the kiddo won't have baseball practice tonight. This means I should be able to get some stuff done around the house. It also means I should be able to indulge in Alison Kent's new release, No Limits. Since school starts on Monday, I really want to indulge a little bit!

Of course, there's pesky laundry that needs to be done. And, since it's the hubby's bowling night, I'll probably have to figure out something for dinner. Not that I'm opposed to cereal.

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Welcome to my Mini-Break

Final project has been turned in. For the next 6 days I am done with school. No homework, no deadlines.

Of course, if I were smart, I'd probably start reading the Fitzgerald short stories and looking into my first presentation. But I never claimed to be smart.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I've owned up to copious amounts of procrastination and laziness.

Nope. I plan on avoiding anything that even resembles homework for the next few days. I'm going to finish Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and watch a lot of television. I'm going to indulge in a whole lot of nothing and I'm going to enjoy it!

A Useful and Productive Critique



I would love to make a few people I know watch this...

Scrapbooking

My weekend...



I got 22 pages done and not a single one had anything to do a family vacation! I worked on whatever inspired me at that moment. It was liberating.

I ate too much and had more than a few drinks Saturday night. We even managed to find a place to dance (no small thing when you're in the sticks!).

Ying and Yang

This is the reason I had to leave work today. As the doctor's office was already closed, we're going to have to wait for x-rays until tomorrow. For now, he's reclining against my headboard, munching on popcorn while his foot is being iced down.



But, on a brighter note, this is what I found in the mailbox when I got home from the kidlet's school!


Thanks to Alison Kent's twitter challenge, I got a free copy of her book, No Limits. Can't wait to dive right in. It's certainly good incentive to get my final paper done, don't you think? What a wonderful reward!

Then there's Netflix. Oh, how I love Netflix.

And last but not least, the pictures I ordered from Snapfish! I definitely have enough pictures to keep me busy this weekend while I'm off scrapbooking with friends and family.

Ours

The First Shot


These are my Dad's twelve grandchildren.
Of the twelve, eleven of them are my mother's grandchildren.
Of the twelve, ten of them are my nieces and nephews.
Of the twelve, two of them are mine (the ones in the black jackets)

Making things harder than they have to be.

One final project to go. It shouldn't take that long. It shouldn't be difficult or contrary to write. I've done the research and have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do and where I'm going to go. Why, then, am I struggling to put the words on the paper?

I told my husband yesterday that I have a habit of making things more difficult than they need to be. It's so annoying! I should be done with this project and basking in a few weeks of freedom already!

Gage -ism

We're driving by the little country cemetery on our way home from Easter dinner Sunday and from the backseat of the car we hear:

"That's where all the dead people live."

Oh, Gage. That's almost as funny as your insistence that every deer in the world was a reindeer. I was sad to see that little Gage-ism disappear, which is why I recorded this one for prosperity.

Oh My...I Love This



Stumbled across this at Grammar Girl. Just had to share it with my handful of visitors.

My New Writing Group

Last night I drove through my old neighborhood. I caught a glimpse of the first house my husband and I had bought together; it still has the goose mailbox affixed to the front porch steps and I could see the fresh green sprouts of spring in the flower beds under the living room window. A couple minutes later I was paused a the stop light in front of the Kroger's we used to shop. It looked exactly the same. Even the parking lot had not changed - cracks and potholes aplenty.

I don't normally have a reason to point my car in this direction. My daily work commute may whisk me by the old neighborhood, but the expressway leaves little time for reflection or even recognition. A quick glimpse of our old rooftop and siding is about as much as I ever see, and that's only if I'm paying attention.

Last night, though, I had a reason to drive through this once familiar territory. A few weeks ago one of my instructors sent me an e-mail asking if I knew of anyone who might be interested in assisting with a creative writing workshop at the city shelter. The group is for 4th - 12th graders who are staying or living in the shelter. The young woman who currently runs the program plans on graduating in May and may be leaving the area as she pursues a career or additional education. Did I have any ideas on who might be interested in assisting and possibly taking over in the future?

Now I've often considered trying to start a writing group in my little hometown. I've considered trying to use my Church, the community center, or even the high school cafeteria as a meeting place. I've thought about posting flyers and contacting the high school English teachers to see if they have any kids they think may be interested. However, I live in a very small, rural community. Even if there were enough interest to make a writing group work, what was the likelihood that the interested parties would be available or have transportation? When I was a kid I wouldn't have been able to get into town for weekly or biweekly meetings. It was too far to walk or ride my bike, and my parents certainly wouldn't have wanted to chauffeur me back and forth. These thoughts and others like them defeated my ambition before it had even fully developed.

Now there was a chance to get in on something similiar to what I had envisioned. The location wasn't convenient, but it wasn't impossible, either. After all, I work in the city. Certainly my husband and I could drive separately once a week, right? But then there was school. Most of my graduate classes have been in the evening, which already forces us to drive separately at least once a week. But, hey, at least gas is no longer $4 a gallon, right?

After talking to my hubby and checking my school schedule, I figured out I could work with the kids at the shelter. So I contacted the young woman in charge and let her know I'd love to participate, but I'd have to wait until after my last class meeting of the semester.

And that brings us to last night and my drive through the old neighborhood. I passed all the familiar landmarks I knew so well and pulled into the small parking lot next to the shelter right on time. I didn't know what to take with me, though, so I took nothing with me. No pen, no paper. Hands empty, I rang the doorbell and was buzzed in. A few seconds later I was ushered into the cafeteria area where there were four or five round tables. A small family sat at one of the tables and at another a college-aged girl all by herself. Seeing the notebooks and pens piled in front of her, I guessed correctly and introduced myself. Within mintues we were joined by three girls and two boys (ages indeterminate, but I'm assuming most of them were in middle or high school).

Once the introductions were over, I was given notebook paper and a pen and told to write. That's the group rule: everyone writes, even the newbies. Some of the kids wrote poetry, some wrote short stories, or at the least the beginnings of what could become a short story. We went around the table saying what we like about each other's writing. The kids were often off-topic and silly, but they were also charming and endearing.

It was an interesting experience and one I look forward to repeating.

Go Vote

I put up a flash fiction piece over on Great Hites. You can either listen to the podcast or read the entries right there on the screen. Either way, your votes would be appreciated. And, no, you don't have to vote for me, although I would be tickled if you did!

I know there are few writers who visit my blog. You should check out the weekly prompts to see if they spark off a short story! Jeff is always on the lookout for new talent.

Happy Easter...A Day Late


20090404_3608
Originally uploaded by Krheiser

I was going to post this yesterday, but either Blogger was being a pain again or my connection wasn't the best. Either way, late.

Hope you had a great weekend and a very happy Easter.

The End Is Near

School will be over in less than two weeks. I've got one major paper to put together, a few minor assignments to complete, and then I'm done! Done, done, done!

Until Spring semester starts. Then I'll be reading lots of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Last night as I stood looking at the pile of short story collections and novels I'll be reading in the near future, I couldn't help thinking of my Grandpa and Grandma Spencer. I don't know why really, but I think they'd have been proud to see these books added to my ever-expanding library. These are books Grandpa would have had an opinion on, I'm sure. Grandma probably would have had one as well, but she'd have sat quietly and listened to Grandpa.

Looking at those pile of books I wish my grandparents were still around. I wish I could sit down and talk to them about my reading experiences with Hemingway and Fitzgerald, that Grandpa and I could argue over our differences of opinions, of which I am sure there would be many. Our discussions could become rather intense and did on more than one occasion. Grandma, though, she'd just sit and listen, letting us find our own way. How I miss that.

One of Ten

Here's the first chapter of the book I wrote about yesterday. Let me know what you think!

Click here for the draft version of Chapter One of Endangering Destiny

Oh, and I set this Scribd document to not show on the main Scribd page, so let me know if you have any problems accessing it. This is a first time attempt at using the private feature.

Thanks!

Me? Annoying?

I've been thinking about this on and off all weekend. Friday night I made it to my writer's group biweekly meeting. I took an old but persistant story with me to read. This particular idea has been with me in one form or another since 2002. (That's seven years. Yikes!) Considering the number of years it's been rolling around inside my skull, I'd really like to get the rough draft hammered out. I'd like to finish it!

So I opened up the folder where I've stored all the bits and pieces. Research data, scene by scene outline, premise, character exercises, and several false starts. I probably have ten very different first chapters. I opened several of the false starts, debating on which one I should take. Finally I settled on the one that I thought did a fairly good job of introducing the worldbuilding I've done.

Then I read.

I got some great feedback. They brought up things I hadn't considered and should have, things I will be sure to incorporate into the story if the next incarnation calls for it. They made a few reader demands that I find frustrating but completely understandable. While my world may look like Ancient Egypt, it's not. This is fantasy, not alternative history. Grounding my reader in my world is an absolute necessity if the story is going to work.

So many of things they said, I agreed with, even if it meant starting over. Although, I really don't think it will because I'm pretty sure one of the other false starts might have done a better job of setting up the story and introducing my world.

You may be wondering why I think I'm annoying if I happen to agree with most everything they had to say. Well, I'm not very good at just saying thank you and nothing else. I like to talk about the story, about my decisions, and I felt not all of their information was 100% spot-on. So I let them have their say and then I raised a few points, which I'm beginning to believe they see as being argumentative, but I see as part of my process.

I think, though, if I'm going to stay with this group, I need to figure out how to stifle that urge.

Just Because He's So Cute


Cash
Originally uploaded by Krheiser

Feeling Overwhelmed

There are so many things I need to do, want to do, and should do. First and foremost, I need to get my act together and get some homework done. I'm almost done with Between the Flowers, but it's been slow going. Although it's not terrible, it's really not my kind of book. Too slow. Too descriptive. Too boring.

After this book is done and returned to the library (thank goodness I didn't buy it!), I need to take a good long look at my final project. I hope I can finish it on time. I'm seriously worried that I may not be able to complete all the reading and research necessary for this particular assignment. That freaks me the hell out.

I also need to go see my sister-in-law. I've been trying to give her some space because I know this surgery has been hell. I want to offer to take her kids for the night, but I know she's missed them and probably wants to spend time with them. Yet, I can't help thinking she needs rest and relaxation more than she needs to hear "Mom" every five seconds. But I know her. I know she'll want her kids close even if she's miserable. It's her modus operandi.

So, at least a visit. I'm going to make brownies and take over something in a crock pot, I think.

I also need to go see my Grandma, but I have a feeling I'm going to have to push that back yet another weekend. Poor Grandma, she must feel so unloved!

Then there are the things I want to do. There's a killer book sale at a nearby library this weekend. You know, the kind where books are anywhere from .50-.25 cents! Or, better yet, a dollar a bag. Be still my book-loving heart!

You'll notice I didn't mention housework. Funny how that works, isn't it?