Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Each river has its own easy assignment. It has no concerns or questions about speed or destination. It's job is easy and when it deposits into that great ocean, well - then it's the ocean's responsibility to deal with misplaced sticks or stubborn boulders.
Lately, I feel as though this is my life with one main exception. I am the ocean. And, the process works backwards.
I feel as if somehow each role I play in this life is one of the feeding rivers, except I cannot just sit back and allow them to rush over me, sustaining my momentum and creating new pathways. No, in this aquatic metaphor, the ocean feeds the rivers working against the current, if you will, like a salmon in search of a mate.
Here are my rivers:
My home: its general cleanliness and state of calm
My family: that they may feel equally important as all the rest of my endeavors
My book: enough said - writing means everything to me
My online family: that connections may strengthen and new ones create
Share Southern Vermont: its conception, the memory walk, and the quest for 501 (c) 3 status
My interpreting career: that I finish my testing process and get to work!
Myself - (and don't be concerned that this is last, be glad it's on the list at all. A few years ago it wouldn't have been) That exercise, meditation, and yoga continue to effect me in such a postive way.
I am the ocean swaying from one small mouth to the other, consciencly choosing which path needs me more today, to be fed, to be lifted up by inspiration, to be given direction with full understanding that something else may fall short.
This is not my optimal lifestyle. This is 'biting off more than one can chew' as they say. However, I do not think this ocean force-feeds rivers phenomona would feel so overwhelming if my endeavours were related, in just the slightest of ways. But each, so independent of the other, requires countless hours of research and training, none of which can be overlayed into the path of another.
Perhaps I am not the ocean. Perhaps I am a boat on that ocean; an indecisive vessel unable to commit to the quest of land, or treasure, or pirating, or searching for my one true love. I spin in endless, untraceable circles within my vast watery abode with no bearing of finality.
No, that cannot be entirely true either, for I know what I envision for that final moment. It is the space in time when all rivers have their marching orders. When each current has been set and flows independent of me, to me, without my constant attention.
When my family feels so settled in their home that we work as a team, sharing every experience, negotiating every conflict to a viable solution.
When Share Southern Vermont has multiple trained volunteers working with families in crisis and running groups.
When my book is published, touching and inspiring others in their time of desperation.
When my weekly schedule is planned out by job site and client, knowing I will be - once again - consistently using my American Sign Language skills.
And Yes - When I feel one with this life, ready to meet any experience that presents itself with perpsective and grace...
That's when the tide will turn.
Eight years ago you couldn't have convinced me that life had the ability to inspire again.
Today, it's bursting with Emma's name and the promise that when I am able to stop, admire, and take a breath; no doubt I'll invent a few more rivers.
Friday, April 24, 2009
And so, we finally had to tell Sally-Mama that they had to come downstairs if Ms. Comedian was ever going to get a good nights sleep again!
She wasn't thrilled...but we kept like-smelling objects with them. They now reside in the office and so the clickity-clack of my laptop keys melds with the 'meeeeew - meeeeeeoooowww' of confined three week old kittys all.day.long.
It is funny really, considering the yo-yo of animal presence and activity in this house over the past year - click HERE for a rundown, to think that we are crazy about these five kittens - even if they do think we are jailers.
And- they truly think we have unduly confined them. Just watch!
FYI - Butterscotch is a confirmed boy and named after that runaway little devil from my youth. IF we manage to place any of these little felines in homes, the big -B is ours...for the keeping!!!
Sorry for the darkness...bad lighting in their room!
Oh - and an UPDATE for those of you who have followed the hatching of the New Year's Chickens...10 hatched, the one sick one - survived, but only 3 are hens! Yup - 7 (um, SEVEN) roosters cock-a-stinking-doodle-doo every morning. Word on the street is three eggs a day...*sigh* - gonna have to do it all over!!!
Check out the other Show and Tell's HERE!
Anyway - do you remember this recent post of Mel's? Yeah the one with the near midnight euphoria at holding a copy of her very own book - published - and everything!
And, do you also recall her big news that the release date has been moved up - to May 1st!
Well - imagine my surprise when I checked my email about three minutes ago and saw this:
"Greetings from Amazon.com.We thought you'd like to know that we shipped your items, and that this completes your order....
1 Navigating the Land of If:... Shipped via USPS"
Yuppers - it's on its way to my hot little hands!!! And, may potentiall arrive BEFORE May 1st!!
Hey - Mel - Congrats, again. Your hard work, 'fitting your job around the needs of your family' has paid off, big time.
** UPDATED TO ADD THAT I JUST BUSTED THROUGH 50 ICLW POSTS...*WHEW* YOU ALL HAVE SOME EXCITING STUFF GOING ON!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
PART 1 IS HERE
PART 2 IS HERE
PART 3 IS HERE
This is Part Four: The Finale
And that - my friends - is where the fairytale took a sharp right hand turn and slammed into a tree. Have you ever seen an enchanted carriage crippled by branches?? Not pretty.
There was work to be done - a lot of work, to the manuscript that had flowed out of me like sap on a warm day in March. The first 'noted' draft I received from my agent had more red slashed through it, virtual red - but same difference, than I had ever seen. And the 'necessary revisions' on the book proposal?? Too many to recall.
Sure, I hadn't aced every paper I'd ever written. I had seen some 'suggestions for improvement' and even some criticism in the past, but on the whole writing came easy and needed little revision. Heck - I was that gal who wrote unassigned reports...say on, oh - I don't know, canoeing - during her summer vacation ... just because.
I reeled. Staring at my manuscript hacked and slashed was a first. I guess the clock had struck midnight when I wasn't listening.
I am big enought to admit that I mourned my 'failure' for a few days. I moped, just a little - but enough to cause my husband to ask me, "what the heck is wrong?" Getting derailed like that was traumatic, to a degree, but then I snapped to and realized - No! What happened eight and half years ago was traumatic. That was devestating, life altering, and persona changing.
This? Well, it was just a roadblock. A potential for growth. An opportunity to learn something even more about myself and my style as a writer.
Once I picked up the remenance of the broken carriage and collected myself, it was obvious why many writers - and good ones - never get their stuff published. They refuse to budge from their 'best' stuff for anyone. They let their ego get in the way of finding something really spectacular within their minds and their words.
"I will not be one of those writers." I said to my husband those few days later, "I will write and re-write and edit and re-edit this until it truly is my best work." Only then will I go to bat for my story. I will know when I have reached that point.
And I did. But that's not all I did, for as often happens when someone is on the right path during the right time of their life - all forces converge to open lots of doors and make.good.stuff.happen!
Teaming with my agent was a good start - but it wasn't enough. I had to connect with the writing world, hence - writers; and furthermore - readers...
I started this blog, then another, then another...it was adicting, this writing thing - every day creating something that others might actually enjoy reading.
I happened upon a short blurb in the LFCA, announcing an idea for a infertility / loss magazine. That idea has become a tremendous reality - Exhale is thriving and I am so proud to have been one of the first to jump on board!
I talked my husband into starting a non-profit corporation to support other families who lived and will live the tragedy we did years ago. It has completed me in a way I never knew I needed completing.
And still - I wrote, for the book is what pulled me, challenged me to grow and recognize where my grief journey has taken me, and it is not to the side of the road picking up pieces of a wrecked carriage while wearing the same forlorn clothes and expression I did all those years ago.
I entitled this series -Versary, mostly because I didn't have a good prefice to put there. But it makes perfect sense to me now. For each section of this year, a quarterly accomplishment, if you will - signifies something magical for me.
Three Months...was my fairytale in action
Six Months...brought me to the blogworld, the world of magazines and support systems and life long friends based on words and shared experiences.
Nine Months ... taught me that growth isn't always pretty. In fact, it can be pretty ugly before its true beauty is revealed.
Today - a year later - as I pull some of that early work for a sentence here or a topic there, it's inadequacy is obvious. It was beginning work. A good beginning, but a novel start to be sure. Even here, in this blog - my space, I can go back to the start and see a shift in my style.
And the book? Oh has it shifted - but each re-write was a step I had to take. Each edit opened my eyes to new outlines and structures that seamlessly blend what I need to say with what the reader needs to hear.
And the proposal? It's been re-worked a few times too. But I truly believe that the propsal, as it exists now - is the product I have been working towards.
Every journey has it's potholes. They are there for a good reason. I am ready to step up to the plate - and swing - big.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Ok, I'm feeling a little guilty for taunting with the totally rockin' and sure to be a finalist pic of my Knocked Down Hunk from my show and tell post...
So, here's a pic - and NO - it's not my entry!
But it is a clear indicator that appearances can be deceiving. I am an only child, and have long since let go of the, 'if I had a brother or a sister would they have looked anything like me...' line of thinking.
And, as the mother to Bear and Comedian their visual dissimarities seem to somewhat answer the question...somewhat...although I still beat around the mushy rain-logged tennis ball of 'would Emma have looked like one of them...' every once and a while.
But here you have my hubby (left) and his only sibling who not even I would pick out of a five man line-up.
And it makes me think...alot...about creation and life and family and would we have picked them if they hadn't also popped out of our mother's womb, and how chosen friends can become family, and what is the defining balance of Nature vs. Nurture *in our lives...and a host of other wild cosmic questions.
But - those musings are a post for another day. For today...an apologetic offering - so you know who to look for in the KDH contest...of course!!!
*This book a great read - and, for me anyway - invaluable to understanding my children...
Saturday, April 18, 2009
By association you must know about Monica, the totally off-color, hysterically funny, and self proclaimed 'abnormal' editor of the mag.
Well, she has done it again! She's dreamed up contest that could only come from the mind spinning she was doing, no doubt - when she was supposed to be grading papers or something.
And - she even made this tag - with a pink flower on it!
I have GOT to figure out how to do that! The tag part - not the flower part, necessarily. (The PAL Group Weekend Discussion button STILL doesn't exist...that's a passive agressive techy shout out for HELP by the way!)
So what is a Knocked Down Hunk??? Well, in simple terms - it is a man who fathered a lost baby, at any stage of the game...but pretty please, click on the tag icon and read Monica's description for it is sure to make you smile.
AND - it will tell you how to enter YOUR knocked down hunk (KDH).
AND - you will notice at the very bottom of the post that she, much like a school teacher without any volunteers, pointed virtual fingers at a great many of us that she probably assumed would volunteer anyway.
AND - it just so happened that about 45 minutes before I read her post I had unknowingly taken the PERFECT picture of my KDH!
So - In Review... Click Over, Laugh and Blush, then email her YOUR entry!!!
There's my TELL - but I can't SHOW yet. You can click back to see what the rest of the class is showing though...
See you at the polls ladies....
Friday, April 17, 2009
For a non-grower the sight of these two shoots (still - have no idea what they are...sorry) send a burst of love through me.
I don't recall how many she planted - but two is enough, especially since they will bloom right next to her angel.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
TO CATCH UP:
PART 1 IS HERE
PART 2 IS HERE
THIS IS PART THREE:
Sometimes what you think you need isn't what will make the difference.
Sometimes you need to keep your eyes open to other possibilities...
I paced the isle in B.arn.es and N.ob.le for the fifth time, sure that this time the book highlighted on my 'must get to take my next step' list would just pop out at me, miraclously appearing where before nothing had stood.
But, no - nothing, again.
"It's not here" I said alound, accepting the trip as fruitless. Moving slowly now, as the last whisps of frantic steam had just dissapated, I turned - and saw the book. No, not the one I thought I needed, but another with a title speaking directly to my mission...Jeff Herman's Guide To Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents 2008: Who They Are! What They Want! How To Win Them Over!
I carried it to the counter with humble apologizing fingers stroaking it's spine, like a protaganist in the mist of her epiphany my actions said, I'm sorry for not realizing that you were the book, all along.
It was the best money I ever spent and time - for I combed the literary agent section with fervor, then dissected every entry: who the person was, what they liked to represent, how they preferred to be contacted, if they wanted just the query letter or part of the proposal as well. By the end of July, 2008 that book had more astericks, circles, and x's pockmarked throughout it's pages than a well-read bible. But I had done it. I had narrowed my possible agent selections to the top 12 - the ladies I felt would be most receptive to the kind of book I was writing.
And then, I made my favorite thing in the whole world, a spreadsheet; achievement and affirmation running through me with each checkmark I made representing the moment I hit ENTER, effectively sending my request through the phantom ethers that is my email.
I held my breath, unsure it was real. Had I made all this up? Could it truly be possible that three months ago I had an idea, and today I stood with 12 query letters submitted to literary agents and a 100 page proposal ready at a moments notice for those who wanted to read it?
Within 24 hours she responded.
Within weeks I signed the agency agreement.
I found her and she's perfect: honest and direct, dedicated and supportive. Like the glass slipper she fit seamlessly. My Cinderella story rolled on...
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
What? No! The mere act of doing laundry isn't the shocking part! Well - it could be, but today I'm washing snowpants, and then - putting them away for the season!
And then I saw this:
Buds on my Emma's bush mean she's serious - mother nature I mean. But, just in case you were planning another quick trip...listen up - CANCEL THAT RETURN TRIP TICKET AND STAY PUT!
Happy Spring Everyone - Wherever you are!!!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
What is PAL? - Parenting or Pregnancy After Loss
Where are the Forums? HERE!
Who Started the Ballroom? Mel, of course...who else?
Why? So our internet support family can stay connected on Saturday and Sunday, when the LFCA doesn't publish.
How do you join? - Just click that yummy looking pomegranate on the sidebar...it will lead you where you need to go.
So, Cara - how are you involved? Hey, thanks for asking!
Well - I started a group - Parenting / Preganancy After Loss - and if you fit that description I really want you to join so we can navigate these complicated waters together. I mean, did you read that conversation I had with Bear the other day? We need each other - for sure!
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
...And there it sat, radiating accomplishment which I soaked up like the hot sun beaming through the adjacant window. I allowed it to be enough, for about a week - while my family waded in tide pools and dined out at small cape resturants eating far too much clam chowder.
But the next step? What was that? It was, I quickly discovered, something called a query letter.
A one page synopsis of the hefty, maximum weight limit for a carry on proposal that still possessed a special glow? One page? I begged page 52 of How To Write A Query Letter, "but ...but..."I stammered, "how could I possibly?"
And then it hit me.
He could help me - that awe-inspiring writer who had unknowingly set me down this road. A few quick clicks and his website sat before me. I leaned back in my chair and took it in, the tanzinite hues, the classic, easy to read writing, and the sub-headings. One called out to me: Writer's Corner it said affirming the seed of belief within me, that yes - 'writer' was a title I owned. It felt homey, like sitting with a mentor who merely smiles as you babble on and on, disecting and solving your own issues - as he, mute, continues smiling and nodding - affirming.
And behold - there it was... a sample query letter, no - his sample query letter. The first one he ever wrote for the first book he ever sold - Th.e Not.ebook. (note: it sold for one million dollars, yeah - his first book *whew*)
I salivated as I read it the first time daydreaming of the words streaming from me without effort, stringing themselves together in a magical way, producing the perfect query letter in one take. Forcing myself to focus I shook the last whisps of fantasy away and slowed down. I analyzed every word as I read it again, and there they were: The hook, the story summary, market, author background and more...IN ONE PAGE!
Each time I re-read the well crafted paragraphs before me my silent mentor said something like this, just write it - then write it again, and again, and again and again until...it feels right. It was then the words jumped out at me, "I wrote sixteen drafts over two weeks". Um, 16? Like ten then six more? Ok.
So back to work I went, writing and re-writing, laying off whole sentences, then words - picking them off one at a time, measuring their meaning against each other as I searched for just the right balance of hook, storyline, author background and market potential.
For me, the magic number was fourteen. I re-read it for well past the fourteenth time, aloud - for that is how I best assess the quality of my work, and just as my wise leader had said - it felt right. There wasn't one phrase, word, or syllable I felt compelled to change.
I had written my first query letter. It was still July...
Watch For -Part 3 How I Found My Agent...coming soon
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Late September I Showed and Tell-ed about it, in the process reccomending a book that I truly feel everyone can take something from. (sorry - you'll have to click over to see :)
What did I take? Well - last April on a drippy Friday night I read the last page, closed the book and uncurled my legs from their frozen, almost-prickling position. This book, this writer, it threw me back, way back. I allowed the tears to stream, expecting to plummet over the far too familiar waterfall. Instead, a surprise emotion appeared in the water. Inspiration attached itself, following the current of tears, leading me gently downstream ...to my computer.
One year ago I began my book, this manuscript that has provided me pause on more than one occasion. But not in the beginning. From the onset my new idea blasted down the track like a steam engine out of control. I was working full time, waitressing, studying for my upcoming interpreter exam, - but I wrote. Oh, how I wrote long hours into the night without a care for time which melted away with the clattering sound of the keys leaving me in a meditative-like state.
Story poured out of me, memory by vision, some - first time recollections finally pushing their way through the filtered barrier built eight years ago. Emma sat with me. I could feel her smile, encouraging me to tell the whole truth, "be authentic" I heard as another day began and my fingers slowed, "this book is for your healing - and others".
And then, there was the research. Book writing was one thing, but book selling was quite another. As the summer approached I became a collector of all books writing related: How to write a book proposal, Finding The Perfect Agent for You, Non-Fiction at it's best...and so on. I devoured library's memoir sections for comparisons. I struggled with the "Author Background" section for it should really be headlined: "Self-Promotion", but I did it. I sifted through statistics for marketing, I presented my most creative ideas for the actual promotion section and rallied my friends to help me think of notable, strong women who had been through a loss and may be willing to review the book.
And there it was - a 100 page book proposal - as thick and heavy as a nice warm blanket resting on my dining room table, in July...
Three months, a third of a pregnancy, and I had the makings of a book...
TO BE CONTINUTED...SOON
Sunday, April 5, 2009
It hangs on my bedroom wall, to the left of our bed. She is with us all the time - she always is, but this helps. And I often find myself thinking about how putting Emma's name and birthday was supposed to be a joyous time. It would mean that she was here, finally - the first grandchild, a most wanted child.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
In this space I spoke of Share.
Sara emailed me and connected me to Charlotte's Mama.
She was a wealth of information and connceted me to this group.
Through the group I found the hood-spa to start our own group and in the process met the very talented Birdie's Mama and put her sweet girl on The Wall of Angels.
Last week I received this email from her.
"Charlotte's Mama and myself are going to be working on a book, a book that will be for the young siblings of babylost parents, a book that talks about the baby who is not there but is talked about and cherished.
However, we are looking for an illustrator, and I would like to find either a babylost Mama or Papa to be that person. If you can, would you mind putting the word out to your SHARE group, or by another means of getting the word out?
I have not had any luck in my calls for such an illustrator, and it seems so important to have the whole book be made by babylost parents."
A book like this is so needed. PLEASE...contact her if you feel like your talent might match their vision.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Analyst of child behavior
Determined to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids in spite of the world we live in...TIME
Activist for Change
Share Chapter Leader
Motivated to Make a Difference
Heartbroken for myself - for others - for countless others...
Working with my Agent...TIME
Sign Language Interpreter
Letters of recomendation, Deaf Community- TIME
"A full life is a life led by intrinisic passion. It meets the critera of Fulfilling, Rewarding and Joyful. It matters little what you get back, but only what you give - the mark that you made."
- Me, I say that.
Apparently, regardless of what my bank account ledger says, I lead a full live - a very full one.