Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rants and Things

Is there anything cuter than watching my son sit in a moving box, coloring the inside with markers?

Is there anything more annoying than having moving boxes in my house for reasons other than entertaining my son...that is, MOVING. While only moving a few miles away, I still have to pack things up and then (oh dread) unpack them. Blah.

Why do I feel like I am carrying around 50 extra pounds, not just 20? I am growing in places besides my belly, and while much curvier than before, it's obnoxious. You know all those pretty pregnant people? I'm not one of them. My face is fat.

Oh boy, my son just stood up with marker all over his face and hands...and Thomas pajamas. Time for a bath, after I finish this post.

I am 9000 words into my book. And I've hit the wall where I think my book is no good. I know where I want it to be, but I don't know how to get there. And maybe I've taken a detour because it's awful. BUT I have committed to finishing it, and so I will. (My sister did laugh out loud a few times while reading. That was a pick me up.)

And why does this housing market have to be so terrible? If it wasn't terrible then we could sell our house that we don't live in but rent out. My Latin Litigating Lover and I stayed up late last night drafting a lease. Now I am very well versed in contract language. So much that I kept trying to tell my husband things like "No, 'heretofore' sounds MUCH better than 'herein.'"

Now my son is climbing on me. Time to go.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Is This Too Contrived?" I ask.


How to make it sound as real as possible? I hate reading books in which the dialogue sounds too contrived. Too fake. You know, where you kind of wrinkle your nose in disgust and think, No one talks like that. (I just used internal dialogue to further my rant against contrived dialogue which hopefully doesn't sound too contrived.)

The best example that comes to mind isn't a book, but a TV show most are probably familiar with-Gilmore Girls. I enjoyed Gilmore Girls sometimes, but that constant witty banter kind of ruined it for me because who is that witty all the time?

But there is a fine balance between too contrived and too real. Because face it, we don't talk as well as we write. If I transcribed my daily dialogue it would sound something like this.

"Do you want begeela or bebeela for breakfast?"

"No, not begeela. I go pee-pee in my diaper now."

"Do you want to go pee-pee in the potty?"

"No. I play fireman house now. Play wid me."

"Mommy is too tired. Baby in Mommy's tummy makes mommy tired."

Hmmm, and I even dressed that up too by removing some of my own baby-talk, like how I say "brefast" instead of "breakfast" and how my son's spoken sentence structure is far better than mine.

I think dialogue that reads too fake reminds me of plays I watched in high school with kids that couldn't act. You just can't believe the play or the characters. (But you stay because Algernon is so cute.) Dialogue can really affect the believability of your characters. And my characters want to be believed.

P.S. It's a girl.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Perfection, Confessions, and My Savior

I have not posted lately because I have been too busy achieving perfection. And I would like to announce that after almost thirty years it has been done.

What is a perfect Jessie?

- I retire every night at ten o'clock, and wake up at 4:00 AM because I only need six hours of sleep. I never get tired during the day. Not even pregnant tired. Never.

- I usually take the first few hours before the household awakes to write 5,000 words of my almost completed novel, do thirty minutes of Namaste yoga, do my hair and makeup, and whip up a small breakfast feast for my family.

- I have a full year's worth of food storage, attend the temple weekly (even though the nearest temple is in Omaha), plan and conduct weekly Family Home Evenings, and my visiting teaching record is 100%. (A little cryptic if you don't go to my church, but you get the point.)

- I budget montly and never overspend, not even to buy books. Not that a budget is really important. We are filthy rich. People send me money just because they like me.

- I plan and cook healthy meals for my family nightly and still stay within aforementioned budget. My family loves, praises, and eats all of said meals. And my husband (who happens to be perfect, too) never pours hot sauce over his salmon to disguise its taste. He loves fish. All kinds.

- I don't speed. Ever. Not even 5 over. Not even when I am late. But oh yeah, I'm perfect. So, I am always on time.

- I've trained my son well. He always goes down at the same time every night. He never wakes up in the middle of the night, or tries to get in bed with us. He enjoys sleeping. It's his favorite thing.

- My house is always clean. There are no dishes in my sink. There are no sugar crystals on my kitchen floor from making chocolate cookies with my son. And there are definitely not lipstick marks on my white comforter from my son's artistic outbursts.

Well, I could go on, but I don't want to boast because perfect people don't boast.

But really, how hard are you on yourself for not being perfect, for not attaining what you think would make you a better you?

- Because I wake up when my son wakes up, and then I try to convince him that it is still nighttime-even though the sun is streaming through the window.

- My yoga mat lies untouched and rolled up in my family room from a sudden surge several months ago that I would be fit and do yoga.

- See my word meter?

- Because if there was a natural disaster, I think we would survive for about five days on our food storage, and maybe we would only be eating biscuits.

- Budget? What's that? Can someone please tell me.

- (My husband hates fish.) And sometimes we eat pizza.

- I am always fifteen minutes late.

- Because my son didn't come with an instruction manual. He's not trained. The "Scaries" have been invading his sleep lately. He likes to kick one of us out of bed.

- And finally, my son, the pro-Imitator, sums up the state of my house by this picture.

When I was driving the other day I read a bumper sticker that read, "With Christ there are no limits." And I remembered that I can be perfected one day but not without Christ. And by then maybe I'll understand better that perfection isn't measured by how well I can do a sun salutation or by how clean my floors were.

"We will not attain a state of perfection in this life, but we can and should press forward with faith in Christ along the strait and narrow path and make steady progress toward our eternal destiny." David A Bednar

And that is hopeful.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Nondescript, Kansas

I spent the fourth of July weekend in Nondescript, Kansas among family. I'm sure you have a town like Nondescript in your life. Maybe your grandparents live there. Perhaps you'll recognize it.

In Nondescript, if you drive too far east you end up, not on the wrong side of the tracks, but the wrong side of the grain elevator.

The aforementioned grain elevator is the tallest building in town.

Nondescript has grown enough for Wal-mart. This Wal-mart has been affectionately termed Wally World by your relatives and serves as a source of amusement while visiting Nondescript.

Other sources of amusement: Grandma's front lawn. Even though Nondescript is hot as Hades in the summertime, you have yet to know someone with an actual pool. Instead you purchase a cheap children's pool, and while the kids splash you "hang out around the pool."

Since it is so flat in Nondescript and the city planners neglected to put in a very good drainage system fifty years ago, after a good rainfall the streets turn into shallow rivers and the children have something better than a pool to splash around in for awhile.

Nothing changes much in Nondescript. Change makes Grandma nervous. Too many things in her refrigerator make her nervous, and although she has been sitting most of the time you have been visiting, she finds the energy before you walk out the door into your loaded car to start emptying her refrigerator onto the kitchen table. She asks if you want to take any of it home.

The most oft watched channel in Nondescript? The weather. (Which brings me to another favorite pasttime particular to Nondescript, Kansas-Tornado chasing. I'm serious. My uncles' and my dad's favorite pasttime. Take the camera and the radio and hop in the car. Actually my dad asked me this year if he could use my Honda. I said, "Why my Honda? You have a perfectly good Honda and it's newer than mine." To which he responded, "But your Honda is already trashed. Can I use it?")

It is pretty relaxing in Nondescript. It's where you go to sleep in and make sense of your life that you left back at home. There are no such things as High Fructose Corn Syrup or Partially Hydrogenated Oils in Nondescript. Grandpa does the dishes. You take walks. You go fishing. You walk through the graveyard down the street, and it's not creepy. When you are old enough to bring your family, you revel in passing the beauty of Nondescript onto you children.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


The last couple of nights, rather than writing, I have been reminiscing. Yes, I have been reading my older, neglected work. And it has been bittersweet. I have said more than once and to more than one unfinished book, "Why did I abandon you? We could have created something great together!"

Maybe one day. Maybe one day I'll come back to you.

However, I drew up a tally of books I have begun since I started writing. This includes the small amount of time immediately after marriage that I wrote (but this didn't last long because I was working full-time and being a newlywed the rest of the time). And the tally is 7. It is kind of shameful because they are good ideas, but all undone.

There is an eighth book that I did complete, but it is a 1000 word text for a children's book. I want to have a 70K YA book to show for all of this want to write.

And so, I am taking a big step in this blog. I am posting a word-count meter.

I did start a new book since coming back from Europe, and it has been slow. But wait, I'm slow, but that's why I am hoping that publishing my word count will help to motivate me to finish this thing...and speed it up a little bit.

By the way, the Maya book I have previously posted about...I couldn't even go back and reminisce with that one. I couldn't even run the little cursor over the file on my desktop. It was a painful breakup. I can't talk about it anymore.

So, here is my new book. I have a title I like, but haven't quite reached THAT stage in my blog yet...where I actually name my book. I don't even name my family members. And we all know that a book is very like a family member. So it shall be called, The Book That Will Be Finished.