I wrote the following for a class I took a few years ago. It’s a bit rough and still unedited, but I’m posting it here because (a) it’s been a while, and (b) it goes hand-in-hand with the upcoming March edition of the Yet-to-be-Named Newsletter for the Chico Writers Group.
I’ve always said to my husband when asked for a gift list that I prefer things with careful thought and consideration, home/handmade for instance. He’s caused himself immense amount of pain trying to come up with any satisfactory ideas and winds up having to rely upon the “can’t go wrong” list I grudgingly supply him with.
I know, I know. This from the very same man who manages to make me laugh (even though I grouse about his teasing that can go overboard and me, Miss Sensitivity on a rather frequent basis, overreacts – shhh… that’s our little secret), has created some pretty interesting ways to Topsy-Turvy our tomato plants, did a fair job at reupholstering the boat seats during the short 4 months or so we actually owned a boat. I was pretty surprised myself he couldn’t come up with anything.
In his defense, I must say that he was pretty good about involving the kids in coming up with some thoughtful, personal creations; such as the ceramic plate they put their handprints on and then painted, had it fired and presented it to me when they were about five or the beautiful beaded necklace and bracelets they created and gave to me for Mother’s Day a few years ago (ones that I still get raving comments about whenever I wear them and can proudly say “my sons made these for me”).
But then, something truly amazing happened. Oh, I won’t just tell you, how about I show you? Let’s take a gander:
After unwrapping this very heavy box, I see that it’s a case of the only diet soda I can drink, Pepsi One, because it has Splenda in it (I can’t drink saccharine or aspartame because it gives me an instant migraine that shuts me down for several hours). Nice. But then I break it open and find that it already was opened once before. Inside, each individual can is wrapped with Press-n-Seal plastic wrap with a Dutch Bros. $1 gift certificate underneath. Twenty-four (he gave me the remaining 6 after I got them all off the cans.
This was a few years after I’d found these (see below) in my Easter basket from him…
Which was seven months before I opened this…
a photo album with printed copies of all the digital pictures we’d taken over the past year, with…
you guessed it, Dutch Bros. certificates tucked into several (about 19 in total not including the one in the front pocket) of the sleeves. But that one I figured out already because they had been in such a hurry to get the gift assembled and then out the door to go play a round of golf before sunset and forgot to clean up after themselves. The only trick was, trying to figure out how they “hid” the certificates.
This particular gift, a table-top Lazy Susan style rack of seasonings, was more-or-less regifted. I’d bought my husband, a master chef (well, more or less, he’s one mean tri-tip griller among other things) a similar rack but several of the lids were broken and so he took it back. There weren’t any more left and then along came my birthday, so, voila! Anyway, this was the hardest one the boys and he put together for me. They wrapped the bottles with the certificates and then put them back inside the rack. The problem was, the paper kept uncoiling and sliding down the center. I was completely surprised, though!
And finally, the recreated picture of the very first time he did this little project and presented it to me. He bought $20 worth of certificates and then pushed each one into a paperclip strung through the end of a zip-tie to create a colorful bouquet and then used a travel mug as the vase. I burst out into tears when he gave that to me, it was so very moving. It’s now become a joke to see (a) if he can outdo the previous gifts he’s given me and (b) if he can surprise me with the new creation.
Does this mean I’m cheap? That I can be easy with a mere $20 worth of coffee certificates? Oh, I won’t answer that one! Only he gets to know that answer! ;0)
NaNoWriMo 2008 Day Two
So, tell me, do emails, blog posts and Flash fiction exercises during writer’s workshop count towards the NaNo word count? Believe it or not, that is a question that’s asked and sorry, but unless you’re incorporating all that into your story, no. If you are adding that to the story, make sure you don’t publish it without checking the copyright and privacy laws so you don’t inadvertently cross a line!
I didn’t spend as much time as I liked to have on writing today and while I did do some more transcribing it wasn’t enough to bog down the servers at NaNo to post for that lovely progress meter that shows up in a number of places. I’ll worry about that tomorrow when I can get some serious writing done.
I think I had some dialog added, courtesy Z-dude. Think I can work this into the new tale?
Me: When are you going to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around the back-seat there, dude?
Z-Dude: Oh. Think I can move up to the front seat, then?
Time to call it a day.
NaNoWriMo Day One: I got off to a good start last night and spent the morning, after a short rest from last night’s burst of inspiration, transcribing my longhand over to the word processor during a write-in (where fellow writer’s gather at a public place, preferably one that serves coffee and like beverages and has relatively decent restrooms). By midnight I hit the word count and had 4,706 words typed up. Truth? I have several more pages yet to transcribe, so yeah, I’ve done pretty darn good!
This year is very different for me for a number of reasons. First, the writer’s workshop has been instrumental in identifying areas that are gray or are in need of improvement. Better, they’ve helped me approach writing in a more finite manner. Point-of-view (POV) is one of the aspects that I’ve started to get a better handle on as my inner-editor comes out and stops me from make the fatal flaw of not determining whose point of view I’m writing from before I get tangled in a mass of meaningless words.
A trick I learned was instituted by a co-writer who I hold in high regard. She’s been patient, gentle and has enticed me to aspire to my greatness. I better stop now before either of us gets a big head! Recently she had me write a “back of the book blurb.” That helped get another piece up off the floor and rolling again. So this time, I started there and then moved on to determine the all mighty POV. It worked, apparently. I just hope by this time next week I can still sing the same songs of praise and lusty hope!
Interested in the back of the book blurb? Here you go, starting with the title:
The Haunting of Mira Beck
After sixteen years of marriage which produced two beautiful, spirited children, Mira Beck has come to the crossroads and is faced with a difficult decision. Taking a break from the constant tug-o-war on the home front, she embarks upon a fun-filled quest with her son, Logan, and daughter, Alex, as they traipse throughout Oregon hunting ghosts.
Rejuvenated from their five-day adventure, Mira returns home with hopes of salvaging her marriage, only there’s a bigger problem. One that threatens more than just her marriage and it’s unworldly in every sense of the word.
Fellow NaNoians, how are you fairing? Report in! Leave your word count, a blurb, obstacles you’re facing or hurdles you’ve managed to climb over! And don’t forget to leave your URL that goes to your author page at NaNo so you can be added as a writing buddy (if’n, of course, you wish!).