Random Writerly Thoughts

I had a great time in Houston. The reception the Honors College put together was one of the nicest experiences I’ve ever had as a writer, and I think it was for a couple of reasons. One, it was fun and I was introduced by a great friend of mine, Dr. Jesse Rainbow, who was hilarious and set a great tone for the evening. And two, the questions that the students (it was mostly attended by writing students) had were, for the most part, phenomenal. It’s a pure pleasure to talk with young people who are receptive, thoughtful, and curious. They asked great questions, and I have no doubt in my mind that I will be seeing some of their names on the front of great books in the future. I wish I’d had time to talk to more one-on-one. There was a student who came up to me at […]

My Son’s Room

I love my son’s room. I love going in at the end of the day to put him to bed and seeing the artifacts of his life gathered around him. I love seeing what he thinks is valuable and what isn’t. What deserves a place of honor on his dresser, and what gets thrown in the closet. He’s a bit of a collector, my kid, which is not really like me. He’s more sentimental about objects. But I enjoy seeing that, too. I like seeing the ways that he is uniquely himself and nothing like me or his dad. People are interesting. No, really, they are. If you don’t think so, you’re not looking hard enough. Every person has a story, even an eight year old boy who lives with his mom and dog and collects LEGOs and stuffed snakes and rocks with cool patterns on them. Are you looking?

Stories, Artifacts, and Boxes in the Garage

I haven’t mentioned it much on the blog, but my husband and I separated in the spring. It was not somewhere I had ever wanted to be, even though I think it was necessary and right at the end, and we have remained, above all other differences, our son’s parents first and finally. So I moved. And I left things behind and came back to the place where I grew up and have a plethora of family that can help a single mother. But I left things behind. My son’s father delivered a trailer of some of those things a couple of weeks ago. He was kind enough to pack them up and send them north along with some of our furniture, so I’ve spent the past couple of weeks sifting through books and artifacts, some from when we were first married, some toward the end when our tastes were […]

Getaways, Back to School, and a Free Book in the Kindle Store!

So, I’m going to brag a little. I got to take a vacation. Well, a mini-one, which is something I haven’t done in a LONG time, but SmallBoy and I joined my very large and crazy clan camping in the Sierra backcountry for a long weekend before school starts. It was fun, dirty, and so incredibly beautiful. Best of all, I was forced to leave my computer behind and there was no cel phone access at all. So no checking email or rankings or any of the little things that eat up time. Speaking of back-to-school, SmallBoy starts his first year of conventional schooling tomorrow. Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I home-schooled him for the last three years, but life changes unexpectedly sometimes, and a conventional classroom became necessary. He got to meet his teacher last night and his classroom has […]

Five Things I Loved about Brave

I saw Brave last week with my mother, sister, son, two nieces, and nephew. It was a fairly wild crew, but fun. Much like Merida’s family in Brave, we all have our moments. I’ve actually read mixed reviews of the movie, which surprised me. I think people have come to have such an exalted view of Pixar that nothing but perfection will do for some. I loved Brave. Was it perfect? Probably not, but I’m having a hard time pin-pointing things I didn’t like. The plot was compelling, the characters—particularly Merida and Elinor—were relatable, and it was technically brilliant. So, without further ado, here are Five Things I Love about Brave: The hair. Call me shallow, but I’m a curly girl. I’ve had curls sprouting from my head since I was a baby. Not tame, soft curls. We’re talking mane-like thick curls with a mind of their own. Straightening works… […]

My child is a reader now.

Watching my son learn to read is a revelation. For a lifelong reader, there is very little that equals the thrill of watching your child learn to read. It’s as if the world opens up to them. They discover a magic code in the air that is suddenly and permanently decipherable. They start to recognize words all around and, if you’re watching, you can see the wonder of it. You begin to realize just how much language surrounds us. Signs, t-shirts, instructions, advertising, labels. They start to read it all. And you become aware of something that you thought you knew—especially if you’re a writer—but it drills it home because this time it is your child and their world and everything is new. Words, which we toss around like careless things too often, have weight. And for the rest of their lives, the child that has learned to read will […]

“Tell your story walking”

“tell a lie sometimes, tell the truth when it suits you, and when you’ve lost your way tell a story.” I’ve been thinking a lot about storytelling lately. Not just writing. Storytelling. Humans have been telling stories as long as we’ve been able to talk. We wrote them on walls. We drew them in sand and dust. It’s part of how our brains work, a vital part of the human situation which I’ve talked about in the past. Stories inform. Transmit vital knowledge, morality, and cultural tradition. We tell them. We write them. We sing them. We draw them. In a very real sense, all art is a story. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” What about a sculpture? A symphony? It’s all part of the ongoing conversation that we take part in as members of the human race. Why am I talking about this? I think, because of […]

Publishing News and a Fantastic Fundraiser! (with prizes, people)

Ah, Life, you never bore me. Wanted to post today about a few things on different fronts. WRITING: Well, people, I’ll be honest. I haven’t been able to write much lately, which makes me sad and irritable, as my family will probably attest. Between finish editing on The Genius and the Muse, more editing for A Fall of Water, the fourth Elementals book, and moving back to Central California unexpectedly (which is a Good Thing, but has been rather complicated), writing on new projects has been almost non-existent. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things next month. Until then, my focus is on… PUBLISHING: Yay! Finally, for those who have been waiting, the release date for The Genius and the Muse will be May 2nd, which is just around the corner. In fact, it’s just a week from today! You can read the very first advanced review for […]

A part in “The Conversation”

I hold that it is none of my business what people think of me.  -Ashley Judd (Many thanks to the lovely Shea MacLeod for her post “The Conversation” this morning, which led to the inspiration for this blog post.) This is the old avi I used when I first started blogging. I like this picture of myself. I don’t know why. I’m not wearing any fancy clothes. I don’t think I even have any makeup on. It was taken by the camera on my laptop one night when I finally decided to put a face to my online presence. I snapped the pic, tweaked it so you didn’t notice my messy kitchen so much, then put it up for the world. Looking at that picture now, I think I like it because it captures a lot of my personality. I’m not a stunning classical beauty; I never have been, and […]