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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Caught Between the Urge to Do Cartwheels and Run for the Toilet

Nearly six months ago, I submitted a story for a contest. The contest features amateur writers (up to and including people that know next to nothing about publication or writing) and offers a weekly winning prizes of $100 to a Grand Prize of $2500 and the possibility of publication. For a short story.

Something that is completely unheard of in the industry I am in. Just to put it in perspective, getting published in an anthology MIGHT get you $50 and a couple copies of the book-- if you are lucky.

I sent the story in for the summer contest and quickly learned that they had been overwhelmed with submittals. By the end of the contest I hadn't heard anything... except that they were going to hold another one in the fall. They also noted that the submitted stories were going to be held over for the new contest. However, in between that time, they made a couple changes, one that included reducing the word count. Since my word count was just over 3300 and they reduced it to 3000 or fewer, my hopes plummeted.

But today, I received the email I've been wishing and hoping and crossing all available digits for-- the "Your story is good and we'd like to feature it" email. Yea!!

The contest ends in February and the email stated that they are going to run it sometime in January. They will also be providing a link to where all my friends can go to vote (one vote is allowed from one computer-- so you could vote from work and home, but not from home on all three computers since they all have the same ISP).

That my friends can vote for me is awesome, but it brings me to this huge DILEMMA. I could hail all of my friends and family and ask them to vote, but what if my story is not the best? What if there is a better one alongside mine? Isn't that cheating?

Or, do I take the side of knowing that the other authors have sent their supporters and beg for the same of all of you?

What is appropriate... and what isn't?

And while all of this is going through my head, I have the ever-present butterfly tummy that says, "Wow! This is EXCITING!" battling the butterfly tummy that says, "I don't think I can handle the rejection!" (In a very Marty McFly tone of voice, I might add.)

One wants cartwheels. The other, the toilet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Short Person and the Magic of Dr. Seuss

Since our family's Christmas presents this year are to be based on books, I rushed to the library. Ten minutes until it closed, I didn't care what I grabbed off of the shelf to bring home, just so long as I could carry it and just so long as that stack included Dr Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham".

The book is great. Not only did I think I could use it somehow, but I was really looking forward to sharing it with Short Person. I love the rhythm and intonation that is found in the words. The way you can play your voice to dramatize the stanzas and bring the pages to life.

I got it home and Short Person and I spent about an hour reading and looking through the stack of 25 books I had managed to wrangle off the shelves and bring home. We ended the story-telling adventure with "Green Eggs", and I delighted in the moments when she'd laugh or scrunch up her face, or roll her eyes.

When we finished, I went back to work and she went into her room to play. After about 15 minutes, I could hear her reading a book to herself. It was one she had memorized, "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed". Over and over she'd read it, each line different as she played with her voice and emphasized different stanzas. Over and over she'd recite the sentences, playing with the rhythm and pitch.

Sometimes the big things can be found in the little things.

It seems weird to say that I'm proud of that moment, but I am. It's one of those times where the things that are deeply entrenched in my genes surfaces in Short Person and I stare in wonder at the magic of it. Knowing that I had a small part in bringing it to the surface and letting it play. Knowing that pieces of a creation generations ago still live, dominantly in the new... it's enchanting.

Today, in a small way, I showed her voice. Voice in more than just what it means to talk and make sound, but voice in a way that can make words breathe.

Tonight she told me that she wanted to be on stage. She wanted to know why Miley Cyrus could do it and she couldn't. I told her that the only thing holding her back was the fact that she was only 4 and that as long as she practiced, I didn't see any reason why she shouldn't.

I wonder, when I grow up... what will she be?

Friday, November 21, 2008

LJS's Birthday Redux

I knew when I married him that he wasn't an "outgoing" kind of guy, but it still makes it hard sometimes. There are things I want to go and do that he just... doesn't.

Celebrating his 40th birthday seems to be at the top of the list right now. At least, celebrating with a crowd, anyway.

So, even though there is a little voice in the back of my head saying what a horrible person I am for not going BIG for his birthday, I am going to save myself and my family funeral preparations by giving him what he wants. A night at home doing nothing.

Nothing. lol

Yeah, for those of you that know me all too well, that will probably not occur. I will at least do his favorite meal, a cake, find a babysitter, and engage in an attempt at a "Shock and Awe" attack.

Shock and Awe. There's a line from one of the last episodes of the West Wing. President-Elect Santos and his wife Helen are getting ready for another full day of transition into the West Wing and Helen wants to know if her husband has time for an "invasion". He wanted to know what she had in mind and Helen responds that she had in mind a little "shock and awe". To which PE Santos replied...

"Honey, after 15 years of marriage, I'd be shocked if you were awed."

There were a lot of REALLY good lines on that show, but that one has to be somewhere near the top of the list, simply for its humor quotient.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

LJS and the Big 4-0

I don't know what to do.

My phantom, make-believe husband-- you know... that guy I talk about a lot, but no one ever seems to see? Well, he is turning 40 at the end of the year and I have no idea how to celebrate it.

As shy as he is, or anti-social, or freaked out by large groups of people, has threatened me with certain death if I throw a party. In clear terms, he doesn't want one.

But, it is his 40th. I can't let it slide without a celebration... can I?

I started thinking that if I were going to throw him a surprise party, I might be able to come out of it alive if it was really low-key. Pizza or burgers. Someplace family-friendly and entertaining. Someplace where he didn't need to feel like the center of attention because there were other attractions.

Unfortunately, with that, there are problems. How to get him there was a big one. I mean, he's going to know something is up if I say, "Hey, we're going out for pizza today and we need to be there at 2pm." Plus, what if I schedule it for Ye Oldes and he wants Abby's? Major relocation crisis.

I thought for awhile about ways that I could get around that, like having a limo pick him up at work (so he has no choice but to get in) and deliver him to a suitable restaurant somewhere near his place of employment... but that, added with food, blows my budget miles out of the water. Even trying it creatively with coupons and gift certificates. Plus, it is so close to New Year's Eve that there is no guarantee that I could get enough people to show up to constitute a party.

So, I changed my mind. Maybe a limo and a nice hotel room in Downtown Portland where we can have lots of sex. I don't see him arguing with that. But then, I've just left out anyone and everyone that might want to celebrate his birthday.

I keep going around and around and around. I keep changing things. Maybe no limo and a hotel with some sort of event. Course, he's not big on events, so even a Blazer game is out of the question. A nice dinner? Well, then people should be able to join us...

And suddenly, you are back at square one. And even if I could get him in the car and to a restaurant, we are back at the budget thing again. Especially now that I've thrown in a hotel for sex in the mix.

So, my question to you is... what do YOU think? Any creative ideas? Any ideas on how to go big on a budget? Is a town car tacky if I cut corners that way? Do you know of a nice hotel that isn't $200 a night? How about a nice one that rents by the hour? (LMAO)

Time is running out for me.