Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Poem: Christmas Came too Fast

I struggle to write poetry and fiction at the same time. The last few months have been saturated with fiction and some creative non-fiction, but no poems. This morning, I tried to pen a verse during the sermon, something I used to do every week without fail. I'm not sure I love the result, and there will be a more clearly expressed blog post for Middle Places next week. But I am trying...

In Bethlehem, we waited.
We waited inside stone walls,
surrounded by columns and ancient
art. We waited, and we
were hungry and tired and nothing
was as we expected it to be.

That day, in Bethlehem,
my feet hurt, and I
was distracted by
the grey wall, so high,
the wall that would keep Mary
and Joseph from entering
the very place God intended
them to be, if they were 
to come today.

Inside that overwhelming wall,
my heart was broken and my legs
were aching and my focus
was shattered
long before the star appeared.

Christmas flashed
before my eyes,
my fingers barely grasping
the hope that I was

I knelt, confused,
by the marble manger,
and I left with my soul
cracked in frustrating pieces.

I didn't understand
the things I thought
I understood.

The prison wall and the mosque,
the gun towers and the
olive wood cross
in my pocket...
The chanting in a tongue
Jesus used to whisper,
"Mama, can I?"
"Mama, will you?"
"Mama, why?"

"Mama, why?"

I didn't feel
what I expected to feel.
I felt empty, and I wonder
if Mary felt that too.

Did Mary hold a king in her arms
and feel the home inside of her,
hollow without Him?
Her child, her son, her Savior,
already leaving her behind
even as the angels sang
and the shepherds came
and the greatest story ever told
hovered in her hands,
nursing at her breast,
knowing no other love than the love
His mother taught Him.

Christmas came too fast
that day in Bethlehem.


Saturday, November 29, 2014


I won NaNoWriMo 2014.

That's my second NaNo win. The first was in 2011, when I dove in with the true "no plot, no problem" spirit and wrote a complete first draft of a young YA/upper MG novel called Truth or Dair: A Liar's Tale. I really should revise that book. I know some ways to fix it now, things I have learned in the last three years.

This time, I plotted first. I'd had my premise for a while, but I was scared to write it. I was scared because...

  • It's from a boy's point of view, and I have never written as a boy before.
  • It deals with Tourette's, and I didn't want to mess that up.
  • The premise calls for a lot of kissing. A. Lot. Of. Kissing. And, yeah, romance is a weakness for me, as a writer.

My friend and fellow Middle Sister, Sasha, was doing NaNo, and I was so excited for her. I've heard about her book for a couple of years. It sounds so good in my head, like The Book Thief meets Inkheart maybe. I'm just going on her talking about it, because I haven't read the draft yet. The point? I really wanted to support Sasha doing this. I remember how it felt to finish my first rough draft. I know how it feels every time I finish a first draft. It is glorious.

It isn't glorious because of the draft itself. Let's be honest; there is a dang good reason no one publishes first drafts. But once I have a draft, I can turn it into a novel. I can play with it. It's like I have created Legos from scratch and it feels as if no one ever in the history of the world ever thought of Legos before. But now I have them, and I am going to build.

I am going to build... a BOOK!

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So, yeah... I wanted that for my friend. And I needed a kick in the tail to start my new story. I have learned to find accountability, because I NEED accountability.

Making a public declaration that I was doing NaNo was my accountability this month. I have a lot of pride sometimes. Too much in certain areas, I'm sure. So I wasn't about to admit defeat. Between the specter of public failure and the need to encourage Sasha, I was kept on track, and I have 50,000 words now. It isn't a complete draft, but it covers the first two plot points and is in way better shape than my first NaNo novel from 2011. So I'm calling it a win.

To celebrate, I have watched a bazillion episodes of New Girl and prettified my fingernails.

Happy NaNoWriMo friends!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Happy Gif-alicious Post

I started my week with a Monday morning disappointment.

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But it has only gotten better and better from there, so I am not complaining.

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Tomorrow, I hit the road for a girls' weekend, and I am so ready to see my friends and share some happy and definitely go to Target (because my town still doesn't have one of those, and I am still not done complaining about it, even if it does lump me in with the stereotypical white suburban housewife clique).

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Today I hit 23,000 words in my NaNo novel. Most of those words were written with a cat draped across my right arm while I typed. He is currently trying to also take over my left arm. Yup. There he goes. He wins. I am now typing with a cat pinning my arms to the keyboard.

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I know this post is entirely too gif-heavy. It will probably make me motion-sick just to proofread it, but it is a gif-filled kind of day.

Y'all have a lovely weekend.

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Currently: When Leaves Turned and Fruit Ripened

Current Books: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is my fun read. With my coffee in the mornings, I am reading Seeking Allah Finding Jesus, and before bed I have a volume of poems by Mary Oliver. Also, my 7th grader has to read Night for his English project this semester, so I am re-reading that. It is heavy stuff and I want to be able to talk over what he read. Though, mostly, when I ask, he just says, "It's sad."

Current Playlist: For my current book, I need to think like a 16-year-old boy, so I made iTunes radio channels based on Eminem and Blink 182.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: soda

Current Colors: Hot pink on my fingernails right now. I needed something bright.

Current Food: Chili Cheese Fritos dipped in sour cream.  Don't judge me.

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Current Drink: Peach Nehi

Current Favorite Favorite: Girlfriend time. I got to spend some time at the lake with friends recently and next week I get to spend another three days with another set of friends. Heavenly.

Current Wishlist:  This Kentucky shirt, this dress in a medium, this blanket

Current Needs: Two dental crowns

Current Triumphs: Pitch Wars has ended and I got 8 requests in the agent round. *grins*

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Current Bane-of-my-Existence: Housework

Current Indulgence: Peach soda and Twizzlers while I write

Current Mood: Really good. I am writing everyday, and that always betters my mental state.

Current Outfit: Jeans, baseball sweatshirt and my black boots

Current #1 Blessing: My husband. He was just honored in a really awesome way, and he deserves it. He rocks.

Current Quote: “What I really do is take real plums and put them in an imaginary cake.” ― Mary McCarthy

Current Photo:

Title taken from:  “She looked like autumn, when leaves turned and fruit ripened.” ― Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells

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