Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Old Guy in the White Shirt

I am irresponsible with library books. I check out way too many. I don't limit myself. Or my kids. Mostly, I just like to surround myself with books, even if I don't read them. I actually find it comforting to have a big stack of shiny library books next to my bed. I know that I can't get to all of then...but, just knowing that they're there if I need them...okay, it's a problem. I admit it.

But that's not my only problem. Apparently I'm terrible at renewing these masses of books I check out. I thought I had a 9 dollar library fine. When I went to check out more books today, the librarian told me I had, in fact, a 16 dollar fine. I had actually returned several books to the outside library box earlier that day, but they hadn't gone through yet. She said she'd just renew them for me...and well, now I owe 22 dollars. I wasn't sure how that computed, and I was frustrated. It was my second time to the library that day because I didn't realize it didn't open up until noon on Tuesdays.

I was annoyed about the steep library fine, but I was ready to pay just so that we could check out the books we'd come for. Only...they don't accept debit, just cash or check. Which I didn't have. This interchange lasted a few minutes. My daughter kept running away from me. When I told my son we could not check out books today, he started to throw one of his awesome public fits. The library was not my happy place just then. And that old guy in the white shirt waiting patiently for me to finish so that he could talk to the librarian? Well, I was sure he wasn't happy with me just then.

Just before my son lost it, my daughter decided to jet to the other end of the library. I gathered her up, grabbed my wallet she had placed on a random book shelf, and returned to the front desk. The librarian told me that I now owed $2.90, and I could check out my books.

What? I just assumed she was tired of our conversation and lowered it for me. So I thanked her. She told me that I didn't have to thank her. Then it kind of all came together for me. "Did someone pay my fine for me?" She nodded yes. The only person I could think of was the old guy in the white shirt. "Was it him?" It was. He paid my library fine down, she said, because he felt bad that my kids wouldn't have their books.

I couldn't believe it. Some stranger. I'll never know who he was. He paid my fine while I went to catch my daughter, and then he left. So I determined two things just then: 1) I'd never have a library fine again and 2) One day, when I have a chance to pay it forward, I won't hesitate.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


So, I mentioned my WAKE UP AND WRITE blogfest idea a couple days ago. (Wake up an hour early for one week to write.) A few of you were interested. And Candice is going to cheer us from the sidelines. Now to get this thing going. At first I considered next week....but that's much too fast.

Then after next week, there is November...which is also NaNo. But oh that first week in November! Halloween and up all night and children on sugar highs! Who wants to start a WAKE UP AND WRITE blogfest like that?

What about the second week of November? Some of us may be coming down from the very-beginning-of-NaNo high and need that extra boost. (I don't plan on doing NaNo. I'm not a NaNo person, just like some of you aren't morning people.) And it gives us a couple weeks between now...and then.

If I were really cool I'd do a link list and a button. But I'm not that cool. (Mostly because I don't know how.) (And because I don't think my link list would be very long.) (Maybe next time.)

Those of you interested, let me know if the second week of November works for you.

Update: Wake Up and Write Blogfest is the THIRD week of November (November 14 to 18), and I even figured out how to do a link list!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How is My Morning Experiment Going?

If you recall, about three weeks ago I declared I was going to wake up before my children and write. So how is it going?

Week 1: I woke up 3 times before my kids that week. My muse would go right to work and write 800+ words in an hour. I wrote a lot. I finished outlining my book, and I was happy.

Week 2: My children, namely my daughter, met secretly and decided to start waking up earlier so that I could not write. I woke early a few times that week and tried to write, but I had company.

Week 3: I didn't wake up early last week. Mostly I was grumpy. Very little writing got done. Enough said.

Week 4: My children aren't waking up early anymore, and I've gotten up to write this week. My brain isn't quite as prolific as it was a few weeks ago (is it me or is it the scene?) but I really feel that this Waking Up Early business is how I'm going to make my writing work to for me.

When I declared my morning intentions, a couple of you mentioned the desire to do it yourselves. So I started thinking that maybe I could start a WAKE UP AND WRITE blogfest, setting aside one week to wake up an hour ahead of schedule to write. Sort of a jumpstart to NaNo. (By the way, for me this means going to bed one hour earlier. Otherwise, I'm a mess.)

It's not practical for everyone. Some of us just are not morning people. If everyone says, "not for me" that's okay, too. What do you think?

And one more thing! There is a first 20 pages critique giveaway over at Dear Editor. You have until tomorrow to enter.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The End of the World Might Look Like This

The other day I decided to stop by a Borders. I figured I'd be at the tail-end of their going-out-of-business sale, and that I'd find quality books for 90 percent off. (Okay, that's me being sarcastic because we know the good ones get picked over early on, but still...they're books!)

However, I'd come too late. The parking lot was empty. The signs were down. The bookshelves were empty. I half-expected to see tumbleweed blow by. I was sad, not because I couldn't get my cheap books...but because no one was left. Once, people read there and bought the written word and felt it in their hands there. And that's all going away, leaving places like this Borders abandoned and forsaken.

I know, a little melodramatic. I mean, I want an e-reader. I'm excited about the possibilities of carrying a whole library in my purse. (If only I can digitize the diapers and wipes.) But for a moment I saw the post-apocalypse of the book world.

Um, now that I got that out...hello, $79 Kindle! Or Kindle Fire? I'm so fickle.

Monday, October 3, 2011


High school musical auditions. My senior year. I sat among friends laughing, talking, and looking very much an upperclassman. Oh those poor insecure freshmen sitting alone...or perhaps with their one middle school friend they'd dragged along to the auditions.

I looked forward to my third year as a chorus member. (Dancing and I were enemies. Singing and I were barely friends.) Yes, another year in a chorus with friends that made me smile. With a director I always secretly laughed at because she thought she was a rock star. With boys who had nice voices which made them cute even if they weren't.

I had practiced a song of my choice: I'm in Love with A Wonderful Guy from South Pacific. It was fun and catchy. It didn't have any of those CRAZY high notes that made me look ridiculous.

I wasn't the first to audition. There were others that went before me including some of those poor, unfortunate freshmen. They were so scared, so unexperienced. Remembering my own freshman audition, I sent them sympathetic smiles.

I watched as yet one more freshman girl stood to deliver her performance. And then...

I expect everyone of my crowd to make fun
Of my proud protestations of faith in romance

She was singing my song! And she was REALLY good. What's a girl who's in love with a wonderful guy to do?! I couldn't very well scream, "No, you are not corny as Kansas in August! I am. I am as normal as blueberry pie. Not you!"

So instead I waited patiently. Then when it was my turn, I stood. I handed my music to the pianist, who probably thought she was experiencing de ja vu. I sang my song and when I got to the chorus I sang...nay, I belted...

I'm in love. I'm in love. I'm in love. I'm in love. I'm in love with a MORE wonderful guy.

Then we all laughed. I got a chorus role. Talented freshman girl got a leading role. And we lived happily ever after as all high school stories go.