Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sportin' a 'Tude

Have you heard the phrase, "Sportin' a 'Tude"?

In our household, this phrase is particularly apt right now for two completely unrelated reasons...and in both cases, the reasons are, I'm here to say from the get-go, not genetic.

Let's start with the whole sportin' thang. See, I'm not really a sporty kind of guy. Generally speaking, if you made me choose between watching a Superbowl game on television, or having a cavity filled at the dentist, I'd be hard-pressed to pick the Superbowl game. I just don't like to watch sports on television unless it involves being timed to some sort of music. And gymnastics. I like to watch gymnastics...although, perhaps that still counts, since many of the events in gymnastics are, in fact, timed to some sort of music.

Anyhow, my boys have seemed not to inherit my distaste for televised sports, and so last night, while my wife and I were out in the living room watching House, MD, my three sons were all cozy on our bed watching football. And when the football game ended, they watched basketball. As I headed off to bed, I had to kick them out, to which they protested, telling me the game wasn't over.


But, alas, they were absorbed into it. (I still kicked them out, however. It was late and they needed to be in bed. Or at least I needed to be.)


Now, the 'Tude part involves our daughter, who recently arrived at the tender age of three. And, in due form, threw the biggest tantrum I've ever seen any of our children ever throw in their lives. Tantrums just aren't part of my parenting experience, really. Yet, there's my daughter, so upset because I wouldn't let her play Polly Pockets in our bedroom that she refused to move. I gave her a warning: come out, or go into your crib.

The next twenty-five minutes she spent screaming from her crib, so loudly that every time I saw tail lights passing by outside our living room window, I was sure it would be followed by two police officers knocking at our door.

Fortunately, she gave up, and I got her out, and she was sad and made me hold her and play Polly Pockets with her, and I had one of those pathetic parenting moments where I thought that maybe I had done the wrong thing, just see how upset she was, yada yada yada. Until she started Sportin' a 'Tude again a few minutes later, quickly quelled by a threat of going back to her crib. She seemed much happier after that.

A 'tude.

And this morning, I went to make myself breakfast, and there sat my family at the table, family room television tuned to basketball highlights, my daughter all upset because no one was getting her a drink.

Sportin' a 'tude, indeed.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'm Thankful...Really.

I'm a dweeb. Or else I'm just busy. Not sure which it is, actually. But definitely one of those.

Why? Well, because a week ago I posted how I was going to spend all of last week talking about being thankful. And a week later, I have not made a single new post.

So I'm a dweeb.

But I really am thankful. I'm thankful for my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my dog. Okay, not my dog. I don't have a dog. But I used to have a dog, and I used to love that dog, and he was a constant companion that I could turn to anytime I needed a listening ear. So I'm thankful that I used to have a dog.

Mostly, I'm thankful for a God to loves and much to overlook my dweeb-ness and offer forgiveness and salvation anyhow. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be thankful to Him, and for the ability to praise Him. I'm thankful for the ways he has guided my life, my decisions, and even bonked me on the head (spiritually speaking, of course) during a time when I wasn't talking to my wife (well, before she was my wife) and told me to get back together with her. He's a smart guy, God. Turns out, my wife is the most wonderful person in the world, and I wouldn't trade her for anything, and she completes me as a person like no one else could. I'd be a complete dweeb if it weren't for her, but because I married her, now I'm only an occasional dweeb.

I'm thankful for life's lessons, for unexpected directions, and directions very much expected and appreciated. I'm thankful that, even though my wife ended up in the E.R. overnight a few days ago fearing she was having a heart attack or something, that it turned out to only "potentially" be something worse, but ended up being relatively minor. (Well, minor in the grand scheme. To call excruciating pain "minor" when you're in the throes of it would probably result in her calling me a dweeb or something, so I feel I should clarify that.) So, wife's fine and her heart is in good shape.

I'm also thankful that with each passing year, I'm simultaneously becoming less and less a dweeb in many areas, and more and more a dweeb in others. Ah well. I guess I should be thankful for that, because it means I have opportunities for growth still ahead of me. It would be boring if I had "arrived" and was completely dweeb-free.

So, this post is to let you know that I'm thankful...really. I just was busy last week.

Or I was a dweeb.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Give Thanks Where Thanks Is Due

For those of us in the United States, we are just a few days from Thanksgiving Day. So, I thought it would be a good time to, you know, be thankful and stuff.

So this week I'm going to talk about things I'm thankful for...even those things that aren't easy to be thankful about. But before I begin, I was thinking about the act of being thankful, and how it requires that there is a receiving end. I mean, what point is there in thankfulness if there is no one to thank.

I might say that I'm thankful for having a house. But really, what did the house have to do with anything? It isn't really about the house. It is about all the opportunities I had growing up where I learned, got a good education, eventually a job and income to pay for the house. It is about all the people who buy cars who need the parts that my company makes, which gives me a job.

I might say I'm thankful for my wife. But what that really means is I'm thankful for all the effort my wife puts into being my wife, for loving me, loving my children, even when I'm acting like a doofus. It means I'm thankful for the parents who raised her to become the person she is today, as well as all the other people who helped shape her.

I might say I'm thankful for living in this great, free nation. But that means I'm thankful for the men and women who died to not only protect this country, but for the men and women who didn't die, as well as those who had the intelligence and vision to draft our constitution, etc.

I could say I'm thankful for my diabetes, because my life has grown out of that part of me. I am who I am because of a disease. But the disease isn't something worthy of thankfulness. And perhaps I'm not thankful for the disease at all, but to a God who helped me to grow strong in the adversity that diabetes brought me.

I guess the point is to give credit where credit where credit is due. Give thanks where thanks is due. Think about the things, people, and circumstances you are thankful for...but don't leave it there. Think about those who made those things, people, and circumstances possible.

I'll have more thanks to share tomorrow.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Why I Write, Part Two

So you have this idea. This really great idea. But you know, like all great ideas, unless you do something with it, it will eventually be forgotten...until someone else comes along and actually does something with the same or similar idea, at which point you are hitting yourself over the head for not having done anything with the idea when it was your own!

Did you follow that?

I get ideas all the time. Once, when I worked at a Little Caesars pizza place, Little Caesars decided to introduce flavored crust. So, they shipped these giant rolls of stickers with the letters C, B, S, and P on them. When someone wanted, say, poppy seed on their crust, you stuck a little "P" sticker on their ticket so the person making the pizza would notice.

Thing is, there were four giant rolls, and we often had four people answering phones at the same time, and the stickers would end up unraveling, getting in the way, or we'd lose one of the sticker rolls or something. So, one evening when business was slow I started tearing apart a cardboard box and folding it this way and that, stapling it here and there, until I had created a dispenser that held all four rolls of stickers very neatly.

One of my co-workers was in awe. "How do you come up with ideas like that?"

(Honestly, it was no big deal.)

But that question seems to be a common one to authors.

"Where do you get your ideas?"

Well, you see, there's this idea factory... Okay, okay. Who knows? Ideas just come. Some times they come by purposeful observation of the world around you, and sometimes they just sort of pop into the head out of nowhere. I think everyone has ideas. But what makes an author an author is that they don't just brush off the idea. They file it away, or nurture it, and grow it until you have an entire garden of ideas to draw from.

And if an idea is strong enough, it doesn't leave you alone, and you either have to ignore it, or write it down.

I think any writer will also tell you that not all ideas that they write down are necessarily good ones. I have a folder on my computer full of short stories with ideas that I thought were good, but when I bothered to write them down, they were rather disappointing. Of course, I keep those files around in case someday I wish to revisit the idea, maybe placing a new twist on it.

But regardless, exploring those ideas is really a huge part of why I write. It is asking, "What if?" and then playing it out, seeing if it can reveal something unique, or entertaining, or profound. Often it doesn't. But sometimes it does.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why I Write

I once read somewhere that in order to be a good children's writer, you have to still be a child at heart. The idea stuck with me, because in many ways that's true. I still find myself drawn to the things of my youth...yet at the same time, I definitely see how some of that childhood has eluded me as I've aged. It helps to have children of my own, though.

My wife once noted how when a little girl asks to play Barbies with an adult, for the adult it pretty much amounts to bouncing the Barbie-doll around in front of the child while she plays along, acting everything out. It's true, too. In fact, it made me self-conscious of the fact that I tend to do the same thing with my own daughter now. I guess grown-ups have a harder time getting into the roll of Barbie and really playing it out.

Yet, when I was a kid, my friends and I would spend hours with our Matchbox cars, which it seemed could talk to each other...except that we knew that it was the little people inside the cars talking to each other, despite the fact that there weren't any little people inside the cars. Imagination.

All this is leading somewhere. Because I thought I'd share a moment from my childhood.

When I was a kid, as I wrote in a previous blog entry, I was fairly obsessed with superheroes. My next-door neighbor, Shelley, was also my best friend, and we played superheroes practically daily. (Either that, or "kidnapper", for some reason.)

Anyhow, there was a time period where the two of us tried to convince the other that our superheroes were real. Not just constructs of our minds, but real, in-the-flesh people. It started innocently enough, having our imaginary super-friend that we, of course, could only see. But it grew from there. I remember once going into the bathroom and having this conversation, loud enough for her to hear, with myself. Of course, I disguised my voice, which I'm certain fooled her into believing my superhero was with me. Soon, she did the same thing.

And then, there were the infamous "Autograph books". Do you remember those? It seemed that everyone had one...expensive books with nothing but a bunch of blank colored pages to have your friends (or famous people, I suppose, if you knew any) sign. So, my superhero signed my autograph book. I disguised my handwriting, of course. So there it was...proof of the existence of my superhero.

Except she didn't believe I had to sneak and swipe her autograph book and sign it using the same disguised writing, never letting on that I had gotten my hands on it.

This whole thing went on for an entire summer. Neither of us would budge, and both of us became increasingly clever at how we were trying to prove how our superhero existed. I revealed facts and secrets about him that of course only a friend of a superhero would know. She did the same.

And finally, the day of revelation...the day we both fessed up and admitted it was all a hoax, which we both already knew anyhow. Yet we believed that we had made the other believe it all.

Isn't that so typical of childhood imagination? Not just the worlds and situations we imagine...but the self-delusional things as well. Truly believing that we have convinced someone that something is true (in this case).

Sometimes I miss that...because I think that it is a power far greater than super-strength or being able to fly. It is the power to exist in a whole other world.

And that is why, today, I write.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Heroes, of the Super Kind

From the time I was six years old, I've been fairly obsessed with superheroes. It started with Superman and Wonder Woman and Batman, of course. I mean, how could it not? I even watched some of those old black-and-white Superman reruns where the guy is filmed laying on a table with a fan blowing his cape, and made to look like he was really flying. Of course, to the eyes of a six-year-old...he really was flying.

And a year later, my next-door neighbor and best friend and I moved one to creating our own superheroes. (Actually, you can read more about that on my website under "About".) But my love for superheroes that weren't my own creation never waned, and I was drawn to not just superheroes as people, but superheroes as in vehicles. Lemme see, there was Airwolf and Knight Rider and Street Hawk and Blue Thunder and, of course, the Transformers. Oh yeah...and this weird cartoon about this teenager who accidentally drove into this beam of light some scientist was working on that made it so that he and the car sort of became one and he could transform from human to car and back anytime he wanted. As stupid as it sounds, I really loved that show. Nevermind, I have no idea what it was called.

Anyhow, as I grew up, I never lost that love, and to this day, I rarely get more excited for a new movie than one involving superheroes. Even bad ones, like the recent version of The Fantastic Four. (Sorry...but come one can do better!)

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on the show Heroes. You know. "Save the Cheerleader. Save the world." Now, I had seen some ads for the show, but I never realized it was about superheroes, and so I felt a bit put out that I missed the first six episodes as a result. But I tuned in to the last two and I'm really really enjoying it.

But, I'm also really really hating it. Because I swear the writers of this show are stealing my ideas. I've now had no fewer than 4 specific ideas that I either have used or plan to use in my own books. What's up with that? And by the time my book is published (eh-hem...and of course it will be published one day...I hope), people are gonna go, "Oh, he's just copying that show Heroes." But really, I'm not. Because I started working on this thing like three years ago.

My story is my story, however, and so I must swallow my pride and except the fact that I'm not entirely original in everything I do. *Sigh* So, I'll sit back and enjoy Heroes, and hope that the seeming popularity of the the superhero genre will be a boon to my book. I hope.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Visiting Heaven

Several years ago, my wife and I splurged and bought ourselves a new, king-sized bed. It was wonderful having a decent mattress, for once.

And by "decent", what that really means is, it was relatively cheap. We got a great deal on it, going to this little mattress shop that insisted that their mattresses are identical to the big-name mattresses, only cheaper. The folks were friendly, and so, I mean I...I decided to go ahead and buy from them.

A few years later, of course, we learned the hard lesson that you get what you pay for. This finally came to a head last week. See, my wife hasn't really slept in our bed for quite a while. It is too painful. I've tolerated the bed, but even I was waking up throughout the night having to take ibuprofen. It was getting ridiculous. So, we took a trip to a real furniture store. One that sells real beds made by brands you've heard of before, like "Sealy" and "Simmons" and "King Coil".

Now, I must interject here that prior to visiting said furniture store, my wife and I did some internet research. And you know what? It turns out it is really hard to come to any firm conclusions on any given mattress. A mattress that one person loves another hates. Take the Sleep Number Bed. You know, the bed advertised by Lindsay Wagner? I've heard a few people say how they love theirs. Then I check into more reviews, and it seems to be almost universally loathed by others. Fine, check that one off the list.

Then we looked into the Tempurpedic "memory foam" beds. Good reviews, bad reviews, and not to mention prohibitively expensive. Traditional beds? Same thing.

Fortunately, we got to actually try out the beds in the store. We even got to try out this cool computerized contraption that you lay on which measures your personal pressure points and figures out which bed would be best for your body. My wife and I were analyzed, and we found an absolutely wonderful bed.

But then, we tried a natural latex foam mattress by King Koil. Wow. It was like visiting heaven. The bed sort of just enveloped you in luxury. Of course, the salesman declared that he just convinced his own parents to buy that very mattress. Sure...and had we chosen the Sealy Posturpedic, he probably would have told us how his brother just bought that one. Regardless, it was an incredible mattress, well beyond our price range. So, of course, we bought it. Delivery in a week!

The hope is, of course, that my wife and I will be able to sleep comfortably for years to come. So, watch this space in about 20 years and we'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Curse of the Vocal Cords

Sometimes I think I've been cursed. And I don't even believe in curses.

See, next Wednesday, our church is having its annual all-church Thanksgiving dinner. And part of the evening includes a concert presented by the ensemble group I sing in. And two of the solos in the concert are mine.

I love to sing. I even had vocal training from my very own brother, who is a professional vocal instructor. And, as this concert approached, I felt a tad nervous. Why? I'll tell you why. Because it seems that every time I'm scheduled to sing anything at church, be it a concert on Thanksgiving or special music on Sunday morning...I seem to come down with a cold.

So, what do you think happened to me starting two days ago? Yeppers! I came down with a cold. And, with advice from my wife, I started popping Cold-Eeez right away. Yet, this morning, I woke up able to sing so low that humans can't even hear it. This wouldn't be a problem if I were a bass. But I'm not a bass. I'm a tenor. Tenor mean I sing high, not low.

I tried to squeak out one of the songs I'm scheduled to sing during my drive in to work today. It sounded an awful lot like Peter Brady when the Brady Kids sang, "A Time for Change."

And so, the curse strikes again.

Fortunately, in almost every case, I recovered just in time to sing, although once I had to modify part of the song in order to hit the notes. But usually the cold hits about two weeks before when I'm going to sing. This time, I only have a week. A week! Even if I can get over my cold, I usually need a few days to strengthen my voice.

And so right now I'm wondering if I can convince the rest of the ensemble to lower the songs a couple octaves...

Monday, November 06, 2006

For Best Results: Drive With Eyes Open!

This post is about me. And I should start out saying that I was, in fact, driving with my eyes open...technically.

Okay. Let me back up a bit. I'm in this singing group at my church called OneVoice. There are eight of us, and we're doing a concert on November 15. This year is a concert all about praise. So, as you can imagine, most of our songs are either praise songs to God or about praising God.

For the past few months, I've been listening to the CD in my car that has all the songs we're performing in order to learn the lyrics. I'm horrible about memorizing words. Music? No problemo. But lyrics take me forever.

Anyhow, now that we are a couple weeks away, I have the songs mostly learned. Flash forward to this morning. I was driving along, singing along with the CD. I pulled up to a stop light. And that is where things got messy. Because I have this horrible habit of closing my eyes when I'm singing. See, when I sing, I'm singing to God. I don't like distractions, so I tend to close my eyes when I'm praising Him. Now, when I'm driving, I obviously must keep my eyes open. But here I was, stopped at a stop light, and so what did I do? I closed my eyes and started singing. I'm not sure how long passed, but next thing I know, the light is green in front of me, and there are cars behind me pulling around me.

None of them honked at me. At least, I don't think they did. But the cars that were in front of me at the stop light were long gone, and even the left-turn traffic from the opposite direction was taking advantage of me just sitting there.

So, I guess the only thing worse than a driver distracted by talking on the cell phone is a driving distracted by talking to God. Or singing to God, in this case.

Lesson learned here. For best results, drive with your eyes open. I'm sure your fellow drivers appreciate it.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Top Ten Disappointing Moments

My post yesterday where I revealed that I'm still bitter about Misfits of Science going off the air got me to thinking about disappointing moments you experience in your childhood. So, I thought I'd do a bit of Letterman here and list my top-ten list of disappointing moments experienced as a child. And, of course, in true Letterman form...just being I call them my top ten doesn't really mean they are my top ten. Just a random list of ten.

So, here goes:
  1. It's summer, and your favorite television show is on at 8:00. Captain America! (Okay, I have this thing for superheroes.) So, you're out playing with your friends and then it starts to get dark. You hurry inside, check the clock and discover it is now 10:00! You played through your favorite show! You were out having fun when you could have been a vegetable in front of the television! And, since the summer months are all reruns, it means you won't get to see the rerun at all!
  2. For a month, the family has been planning a trip to Cedar Point. There is nothing more that you look forward to. Then, you wake up early, ready to go...and it is pouring down rain. You click on The Weather Channel, hoping the rain hasn't hit Sandusky, OH...but alas, it has. You try to convince your folks that maybe it'll stop raining. Maybe by the time you get there it will be clear. But they don't listen. They never listen. And so, you have to wait another week. (Which, since the rain lingers for the next four days, turns out to be a wise decision on your parents part...but you'll never admit it to their face.)
  3. You studied for your upcoming math/science/English/history test, and know the material backwards and forwards. This is the time you're gonna ace the test. This is gonna pull your grade up into A territory, keeping your GPA high enough to remain on the Honor Roll. You sit down to take the test, and nothing makes if you studied the wrong subject or something. You get your test back the next day, and it is a B-minus. A B-minus! Suddenly, your hopes of getting into your favorite college are dashed, and you know you're destined to wallow in mediocrity the rest of your life.
  4. Finally, after months of bugging your mother to death, you convince her to buy you that box of Honey Combs cereal, because now is the time they have free bike license plates inside the box. The next morning, you race down to the kitchen and see a grin on your older brother's face because he already dug out the license plate for himself.
  5. Lasers! There is nothing cooler than to think that you can own a real-live set of laser guns! The game? Laser Tag...and it is the top item on your Birthday list. You review the list with your folks, and they seem to get it. If they get you only one gift that year, you want Laser Tag! Then your Birthday arrives, and there is a big box there. Just the right size! You know what it is. You start to open it, and sure enough, there are the guns...then you peel away the rest of the Scooby-Doo wrapping paper, and find it isn't Laser Tag, but the "Laser Light Game Set." A cheap knock off. It barely works, and it doesn't even use lasers. And the next year, when you ask for Laser Tag again, your parents say, "But you never played with the one we bought you last year!" So, instead, they buy you a new pair of jeans.
  6. The newspaper is holding a Thanksgiving Day Parade coloring contest. The best submissions will be displayed on live television during the airing of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. So, you sharpen your crayons, buy several copies of the newspaper for that day and start coloring. You pick your best one. It is incredible. You've never colored better in your life. Rudolph's nose is the perfect shade of red, and you really believe that Santa's belly is made from a bowl full of jelly. You send off you entry, and then sit watching the television screen, never even getting up to use the bathroom. But when they announce the winner, it is a pathetic-looking entry that only won because the kid who colored it has been a quadrapelegic for most of her life. Come isn't your fault you aren't paralyzed from the neck down!
  7. You sit down to watch Misfits of Science. But it isn't on. Week after week, you wait for its return. But three years later you try to accept the fact that it is off the air for good. Fortunately, I still had MacGyver to watch. (This disappointment was repeated several times with such great shows as Probe and The Whiz Kids.)
  8. You sit down for family dinner and discover it is Pepper Steak night...again! (Which means spending the first ten minutes picking out each and every pepper by hand.)
  9. Worse, you sit down for family dinner and discover that the menu includes sauerkraut.
  10. You go to the doctor's office, your mother telling you that you probably have a bladder infection. This, because during the drive home from Florida the previous week, you literally stopped off at every single rest area between Michigan and a few stops alongside the edge of the pee. Bladder infection. Just get some antibiotics and go. Until they inform you that you have been diagnosed with a disease. Diabetes! And, as any intelligent nine-year-old can tell you, having a disease means you are going to die a horrible death in a matter of days...or a few weeks at best! And then the truly horrible news: you won't be allowed to eat sweets any more!
Go ahead and share some of your disappointing childhood moments!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tag, I'm It

Have you played tag recently? Actually, I did. With my kids, a few weeks ago. It was a very bad idea. I was sore for a few days afterwards. Apparently, running around when you're 33 isn't the same as running around when you're 10.

But, here I am, playing tag again. Fortunately, the only thing I have to exercise this time is my fingers, since it is Blog Tag. (Actually, giving my recent RSI to my hand, perhaps it isn't so fortunate.) I was tagged by Nichole.

Rules are (apparently) that I must reveal five typically unknown facts about myself, and then tag five other people. First part is easy. It's all about me! Second part is harder, because I don't got no friends! Let's give it a whirl.

Facts about Ryan you probably never wanted to know:
  1. To this day, I am bitter that the television show Misfits of Science was taken off the air. It was, of course, a clever take on the superhero genre. At least, I thought so. Apparently the viewing public disagreed.
  2. I didn't attend my own Prom. I didn't even want to attend my own Prom. Instead, I worked for double-time at Little Caesars. And despite the warnings from my friends that I would someday regret not going to my Prom, thus far I have yet to experience even the slightest tinge of regret.
  3. I've dated exactly two people in my life. My wife, sure. But there was also this horrible moment during a time my wife (well, before she was my wife) and I weren't talking and this girl asked me to take her to Meijer (doesn't sound like a date...but it was definitely intended to be a date). I originally said no, but my parents told me I needed to go out, so I called her back and said yes and had one of the worst evenings of my life. We spent 45 minutes at Meijer, most of the time yelling at the store manager for the service charge of one penny by utilizing their mailing servies. I was so embarrassed. I'm glad I got back together with my wife, believe me.
  4. In Junior High School, three years running, I won the "Standing Long Jump" competition at this annual class competition. Basically, there were various sport-related events such as wheel-barrelling each other across the gym, trying to knock down the most plastic bowling pins with a bean bag, etc. I was on the team specifically for my frog-like legs, and I usually outdid the other teams' best efforts by at least a foot. It was a proud moment, indeed.
  5. I once sprained my ankle. (Actually, twice.) But it wasn't for anything noble, like scoring the winning kick in a soccer game or anything. No, instead, my friends and I were taking terms jumping off the roof of their wood-shed, seeing who could jump the farthest. It was about twelve feet high, and we had this nice three by three cushion to land on. We would move it out a foot at a time until it was somewhere between ten and twenty feet out. We'd run, jump, and land on the cushion. But then, one last attempt, I missed the cushion, slightly off center, and landed one foot on, one foot off. I ended up with crutches for several days, and a weak ankle for years.
So, there you have it.

As to five people to tag? Uh...let me think on that and get back to you. I'll edit this post later...

Okay...updated. Here are the people I'm tagging...ready or not!
  1. Sandra Miller, A Shot in the Dark,
  2. Scott Johnson, Scott's Diabetes Journal,
  3. Kerri, Six Until Me,
  4. Martha O'Connor,
  5. Kristin Nelson, Pub Rants,
Now, Kristin probably is a long-shot. She's a busy literary agent...but I LOVE her blog, so I figure the worst that can happen is some of you might head over there and check her out! Many others I would have tagged appear to already have been tagged. That's fine...although, I think that means I'm one of the last in my social network to be tagged, which is kind of like being picked last by the captains of the baseball teams back in my school days. (Sniff, sniff.) It's okay. I'll get over it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Something New...Kind Of

Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month? See, several years ago, a small group of folks set up this idea of trying to finish a draft of a novel in a month. Tall task. The point wasn't to have something ready to be published, but to have something, period.

The movement has grown, and this year I know several fine writers participating in the event. Me? No way. Minimum word count is 50,000 words. There is no way I could write 50,000 words in a month...particularly a month like November when I'm busy with my singing group, and choirs, and Thanksgiving...not to mention all the other stuff that entails being a husband and father of four.

I do wish luck to those attempting the task. But I am participating in another sense. I've just about finished up my last round of edits to Mindburst, and so I'm jumping back into writing. I have two other projects in the works, but another that I decided I'm going to start. Something new. Kind of.

See, it all started several years ago while I was busy directing my choir and writing diabetes-related software. I had this epiphany of sorts for a novel. I have ideas all the time, and usually if I ignore the idea, it goes away. But this one didn't, and pretty soon, I had conceived the story line for three interconnected novels spanning about 200 years.

I did a bit of writing, but time prohibited me from doing much work on it until I dropped choir and finished working on my software. I started writing, and got about 15,000 words in when I came up with this great idea about kids with mental powers living trapped inside this asylum. So, I shifted gears and wrote Mindburst.

Along the way, I decided that I wanted to write for the young adult audience, which means my fabulous idea spanning 200 years was on hold, indefinitely. Flash forward a couple years to several months ago, and I figured out an entirely new story that utilizes some of the ideas from that original trilogy, but does it in a way that is aimed at young adults. A lot has changed, but I'm excited about it and so I've decided, after much indicision on the matter, to go ahead with it.

So, November, for me, is the start of Lockdown (working title). I won't get 50,000 words written. I'm not sure I'll get even close to my goal of 20,000 words. But it is always fun to jump into a whole new world and see what happens. (Actually, I know what happens...but that's beside the point.)

Anyhow, if you've always had some inkling of a novel rummaging inside your head, this is the month to sit down and just write!

(In the meantime, as my blog post from yesterday points out, you can read chapter one of my novel Mindburst on my website now. Go check it out!)