We have a new addition to our family

Spook’s kitten

Yep, I finally did it.  Finally got Spook a kitten…not that she’s all that fond of her yet.  But it’s so funny to watch this little fearless kitten run out at Spook and Spook hiss and arch her back…really Spook, that kitten is about a fourth your size, okay maybe a third…but still.  I intended to keep them separated for a few days, but the kitten had other ideas and escaped from the room where I was keeping her.

I haven’t come up with a name for her yet…they had named her DeeDee at the shelter, but I don’t like that so I’m just going to see what strikes my fancy as I get to know her personality.  She is extremely active (well, she is a kitten), but she also fell asleep in my lap…sweet.

I hope she’s able to get Spook to warm up to her soon…I really want to see them cuddling and keeping each other company while I’m at work..so we’ll see how that works out!

ER

English: Emergency Room NYC

English: Emergency Room NYC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ahh, yes…the ER..the place we all love to visit and then can’t seem to manage to escape in a reasonable amount of time!!  That’s where I spent the night last night.  Wait, wait…not for any emergency for myself, but for a friend.  I remember it as though it were just last night (that’s because it was)…

I had gone to bed early since my vacation was over and I had to be at work at 7 am.  The phone rang at 11:33 pm.  Don’t you hate it when the phone startles you from a sound sleep?  It’s never good news…no one is calling you to tell you that you’ve won a million dollars, or that your latest book just hit #1 on the New York Times best sellers list, or to ask if you want to accompany that hot,  sexy guy on a trip to the Bahamas.  Nope, a phone call in the middle of the night is never good news.  And last night was no different.

When I groggily answered the phone, I was greeted with, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”  Those words are pretty much guaranteed to wake you right up.  My wonderfully alert response was, “Paul, is that you?”  Hey, you can’t pull one over on me even in the middle of the night.

It was indeed Paul and he repeated that he thought he was having a heart attack.  Then he asked, “Do you think you could come over?”  Okay, I am so not a doctor, not a nurse, not a paramedic, I don’t even do medical transcription…so the thought did occur to me, what the heck does he think I can do?  I was pretty proud of myself that I didn’t scream that out though.  Instead, I very calmly asked, “Don’t you think you should maybe call an ambulance?  Like maybe 911?”

Well, no.  He didn’t want to call an ambulance (Paul, if you’re reading this, I love you…but this probably wasn’t your finest moment)…what if he wasn’t having a heart attack?  He didn’t want to be embarrassed.  This is when I threw my hands in the air and yelled, “But what if you are having a heart attack and we’re arguing about whether or not you should call 911?”

Then of course, I hear, “Please, please, couldn’t you just come over?”  Aww…jeez…are you kidding me?  You better really be sick, buddy or I’m going to have to hurt you!  Did I say that?  Of course not, not me.  I said, “Let me get dressed, I’ll be right there.”  Then I made him promise to call 911 if it got worse.  As I’m putting my contacts in (believe me, I probably would have caused an accident had I not done that), I’m wondering what I should wear…wait!  What?  Like there’s some kind of proper attire for a possible heart attack???  Alright, alright…throw whatever on, grab my purse and keys, and high tail it over there.

I walk in and he’s half sitting, half lying on the couch…not looking so good, kind of sweaty, chest hurting.  So I say, “Paul, you don’t look all that good.  How about we make a little trip to the emergency room?”

And then I have to listen to, “I don’t really want to go to the emergency room.  I’ll be there forever.”

Uh..dude, listen to me.  I don’t want to sit here and watch you die…the paperwork on that one would be unbelievable.  So, I finally convince him to let me drive him over there…insurance card?  ID?  Medical info?  Shoes?  Let’s go.

And then we walk in…do you have any idea how many people there are in the ER in the middle of the night?  Yeah, I didn’t either.  Just take my word for it, there are a lot of folks hanging out there.  When they find out he’s possibly having a heart attack, they jump him to the front of the line….in front of the chick with the cut finger (seriously, girl?  Slap a band-aid on that.  Don’t be wasting everyone’s time with that piddly thing.), in front of the guy with the cold (yeah…really), even in front of the elderly guy who seemed to not know who he was.  Of course, while he’s in there with doctors and nurses, I’m left out there with all of these sick people…fun times!!

Finally, after what seemed like about two days, but was really only a few hours, Paul comes back out from behind the curtain (I couldn’t resist that imagery…it was really a door, but a curtain just seemed so much more ER like), heart attack free.  I’m not sure whether to be relieved that he didn’t have a heart attack or mad that he got me out in the middle of the night on a false alarm.  Okay, okay…I’m relieved…really.

I take him home, we sit there for a while talking.  I pull a promise from him…he will call his doctor in the morning and get an appointment so they can find out exactly what did happen.  Yeah, it wasn’t a heart attack, but it was something, right?  I finally make it back home at about 4:45 am…think about how I have to be at work at 7 am and debate with myself whether or not to call in.  Finally, the exhausted, emotionally drained part of me wins out and I call my poor boss to let him know that I’m going to take a personal day.  Got a kind of funny response from him when I told him I’d spent the night in the ER…

Camp NaNo, day 17

Aparelho de ar condicionado

Aparelho de ar condicionado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holy moly, it’s way too hot around here to be camping.  If I can’t have air conditioning, then I don’t want to go.  And who wants to cook hotdogs around a campfire when it’s in the 90s?  I’ll take that icy cold smoothie today, thank you very much. Thank goodness this is just a virtual camp!  I went out early this morning to buy groceries for the week (ugh…I have to go back to work tomorrow…darn, darn, darn!!) and my hair was just drenched by the time I finished carrying things into the house.  Then I went out back and fed the birds, watered plants (I have a tomato turning red!!) and filled the bird bath.  The humidity is horrid!! So I pretty much stayed in the rest of the day.  Read the newspaper, got a little housecleaning done, some filing completed, a little reading for pleasure, petting the cat (when she wasn’t asleep under the comforter on my bed, what’s up with that?  Spook, it’s hot!!  You’re going to suffocate.), and yes, some more writing for Camp NaNoWriMo…another 2137 words today~  I’ve got a total of 35,042 words written now.

I’m serious, over 35,000 words.  And today, the beginning of what I wrote was pretty good and the ending of what I wrote has some potential…funny how your best writing happens when you’re in the zone, isn’t it?  The beginning and the ending of today’s writing session just flowed while I really struggled with the middle…and that’s the part that isn’t particularly good.  Hmm…not sure what the lesson is in that, but I’m sure there’s a lesson somewhere.

I’m having kind of a problem with this writing my novel in 30 days thing though.  There’s no way I’m going to be able to tell the entire story in this first 30 days.  So, am I writing a series here?  Because if I am, then I have to figure out where to end the first book.  I sure don’t want to write a 1000 page first novel and I’m afraid that’s where this would be headed unless I go for a series.  What do you think?  Personally, I enjoy reading a series, so…hey, why not?

Book ideas

"Books are weapons in the war of ideas&qu...

“Books are weapons in the war of ideas” – NARA – 513575 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, as most of you know, I’m writing a book.  This book has  been running around in my head for years, so I feel like I haven’t had to do a lot of planning, outlining, character building, etc.  Seems like that has all been done over the years as I’ve thought about every aspect of this story.  So good…that makes it, well not exactly easier, but not quite as difficult as it might otherwise be.

But today, all of a sudden, an idea for a new book hit me.  I had to grab paper and a pen to start making notes.  Within just a few minutes, I had three pages filled with notes, questions, thoughts…all the who, why, where, what, when, and how things that make a story a story.  It was exciting to have a new story forming in front of me.  To think about these new characters and what made them who they are.  To plot out the path the tale will take. Locale, personalities, and, of course, the plot twist.

So, for all of you writers out there, is that how your new stories take shape?  Do they just smack you upside the head and say, “Write me!”?  Because that’s sure how this felt today.  Which is…um…well..pretty cool!

Camp NaNo, day 15

NaNoWriMo Stats

NaNoWriMo Stats (Photo credit: elkit)

I really thought I’d manage to write more while I’ve been on vacation this week…but I haven’t managed to do that much more writing.  Today I ran around all morning, not really doing much of anything.  Yesterday I went to one of the local parks, walked and took pictures.  I guess that’s kind of what vacation is about…taking the time to do something enjoyable, right?  I think I’ll hit the farmers market tomorrow morning.  I haven’t been to it at all this year, so this would be a treat.

As far as Camp NaNoWriMo goes, I’m doing well…I wrote another 1826 words today which puts my total at 30,775…well beyond the halfway point!  Funny, yesterday I felt like I was just writing to be putting words out there, nothing that was worth anything.  Today, most of what I wrote felt like it really contributed to the story…so, we’ll see if that’s true or not when I go back through it later (like next month).

It just amazes me that, in a little over two weeks, I’ve managed to write over 30,000 words of this story that’s been begging to be written for years.  Ahh…finally…I’m doing this!

Making new words my own

English: So many words to keep track of!.

English: So many words to keep track of!. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a writer, words are my stock in trade.  So why do I continue using the same ones over and over again?  Yes, the writing style that I often employ is more folksy, the dialogue most often contains local dialect and idioms.  But does that then preclude my use of words I wouldn’t ordinarily use?  Well…it shouldn’t.  But, in rereading the novel I’ve been writing in Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve come to the realization that I have a tendency to overuse some words.  And I think that can cause readers to become bored with any book that they’re reading.

I don’t enjoy reading books in which the author appears to be throwing less common, multi-syllabic words out there as a demonstration of his or her intelligence, but I also don’t like reading the same few words and phrases over and over.  I think that ends up diminishing the work as well.  There are how many words in the English language?  Seriously, how many?  I don’t know…maybe that’s something to research for another blog.  Anyhow, with all of those words to choose from, I believe I should be able to come up with any number of words and combinations of words to better convey the scenes in my novel, to better describe my characters (and their foibles), to transform my novel from a flat, two-dimensional state to a colorful, fully formed work of art that manages to hold tight to the reader until the last page (and perhaps beyond?).

Is that too much to ask of myself?  Mmm…I don’t believe it is.  I view this as one more way to grow as a writer, discovering new words and making them my own.  So…it’s time to go upstairs and dig that dictionary out from the middle of that stack of books, to dust off that thesaurus, and put them both to good use.  It worked when I was a kid in school, why not now?

Camp NaNo, day 13

Each day a shadow onward cast

Each day a shadow onward cast (Photo credit: Duncan~)

Pretty  good writing day here.  Worked a little on my short story for the blog…did two sessions for camp NaNoWriMo (ended up with 2476 words for the day…and I think, one really good sentence!!  After I wrote that sentence, I reread it and thought, “Hmm…that actually sounds like something you might find in a real novel.”)…so, I find myself feeling some encouragement from that.

Funny, I woke up in the middle of the night and the first thing that popped into my head was, “Who am I trying to fool here?  What makes me think I can write anything that anyone would want to read?”  And then I went back to sleep…thank goodness!  So, where did that middle-of-the-night self-doubt come from?  Am I trying to avoid taking this risk?  Is it that pesky fear of failure?  Am I trying to convince myself to give up?  I suppose it could be any or all of these things…or something else entirely…or even nothing.

But the fact that I went ahead and wrote today, even after those questions in the dark, and that I wrote one good sentence…well, I think that’s what it’s all about.  Doing what I am not sure I can do, deciding to keep moving forward in the face of my self-doubts…those are major accomplishments for me.  Onward and upward with the stories!

Where are the children?

English: Griffy Woods, one of the properties o...

English: Griffy Woods, one of the properties of the Indiana University Research and Teaching Preserve An old railway embankment? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cheryl’s father picks up the phone and calls the nearest neighbors.  He explains that the kids are missing and they could use some help trying to find them.  Those neighbors call other neighbors who then call others until there are over forty men and women milling around the farm.  When the county deputy shows up,  he recognizes that somebody’s going to have to take charge and it looks like it’s going to have to be him.

He climbs up into the back of a pickup truck and shouts for everyone’s attention.  “Okay, listen up, folks!  We’ve got a little six-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy missing and it’s going to be dark before long.  We need to split up into teams and scour the woods and fields  hereabouts.  Let’s try to find ’em before it gets dark.”

A bearded, gut-heavy man lifts his arm in the air, “Hey, Terry…over here!”

“I see ya, Willard.  What’s on yer mind?”

“I guess I’m just wondering why we don’t have blood hounds out here to help us?  Isn’t that the quickest way to find runaways?”

Terry takes his ball cap off, runs his hand over his bald pate, and then shakes his head.  “Willard, come on.  You know we don’t have blood hounds.  Where in the hell would we come up with money in the budget for blood hounds?  And nobody said anything about runaways.  Fact of the matter is, right now, we don’t know what’s happened to the kids.  Any number of scenarios could end up playing out, but for now, we’re assuming they just wandered off and got lost.  That’s usually what happens ’round these parts.  So nobody go makin’ this worse than it already is.  Ya hear?”

There’s a lot of mumbling and grumbling, some nodding of heads, some narrowed eyes studying the deputy.  Most of these folks remember the last time a couple of kids disappeared…not all that long ago.  And no one ever did turn up any kind of clues as to their whereabouts.  Who’s to say this time will be any different?  And who’s to say that one of these very folks who’ve shown up to help search isn’t responsible for the disappearance in the first place?

To write or not to write?

Insomnia smiley

Insomnia smiley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pretty darn original, huh?  You’ll have to forgive me, or at least I hope you’ll forgive me, but my first day of vacation wasn’t so hot.  I had another practically sleepless night (Hmm…what kinds of stories can I come up with using that as my storyline?  Sleepless in Bloomington?  Nah…In The Dark Of The Night?  Maybe…Wide Awake When All Around Me Sleep…???)Anyhow…headache from the insomnia…just not a productive day.I did get up and get out of the house fairly early and made the trip to WalMart that I meant to make a week or so ago.  Yeah, ’cause you know how much I love going to WalMart, right?  But it was early enough that there weren’t hordes of customers blocking the aisles and running me down.  On the other hand, it was early enough that the store stocking crew had pallets of merchandise blocking the drive aisle with no place to cross over.  There were a couple of things I needed on the other side of those pallets…ended up walking out of the store without them.  Ah well…planning to go to Kroger tomorrow anyhow…at least there they don’t make it impossible to get to the merchandise.

At 8 o’clock this evening, I’d just about decided not to write today.  I finally made a deal with myself to sit down and write at least 500 words (because we all know I can write 500 words with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back…the words may not make perfect sense, but still…).  So…my 500 word goal surpassed, I’d managed to hit my stride and ended up with 1862 words for the day (well, for the Camp NaNoWriMo day…several other writing endeavors with several hundred additional words would really bump that total up over 3500 words for the day, but I’m only counting the NaNo words…).  So…not too shabby after all.  And for those of you keeping track…my word count for Camp NaNo now stands at 24,434…whoa!

Now to get a good night’s sleep and tackle some of my items on my to-do list tomorrow.

There’s a song stuck in my head…

Lake Monroe

Lake Monroe (Photo credit: cindy47452)

…oh yeah, it’s “Vacation”!  That’s right, I’m on vacation (again, as someone reminded me…what?  Am I supposed to feel guilty that I have vacation time and am going to use it?  Ha!  Not in this life, girl.).  Let’s see, it started at 4:30 this afternoon and I already feel so much more relaxed and refreshed!

What am I going to do?  Hmm…well, I was planning a little road trip to Nashville, TN, but apparently my friend isn’t going to be able to go right now.  So, maybe on my next vacation?  I’ll still have one more before the summer is over, so there’s plenty of time.  But I’ve got a good friend in the Indy area so I think I’ll make a quick drive up there and do something fun.  And I’ve been thinking about going to the lake to cool off, walk on the beach (if that’s what you want to call it here in land-locked Indiana) and take some pictures.  Doesn’t that sound relaxing?  Oh yeah, and I’m planning to do some writing while I’m off too.

Speaking of writing, I managed to lay another 1776 words down tonight for my Camp NaNo writing gig…that brings the total up to 22572…yikes!  Almost halfway to 50000.  Is that crazy, or what?  Making some progress and trying to hone my craft…and lovin’ (almost) every minute of it!