Sunday, February 22, 2009
My worries are small.

Sitting in a quiet cafe this afternoon, I sipped decaf and caught up with Summer. It has been months since we've visited - and in that time, jobs have been lost, MRI's have been had, domestic scuffles have occurred, proposals have been made.

None of which involved me.

My life moves more slowly than hers. My husband and I are comfortable, our daily routines are safe and our children are home or in the homes of people that we trust. I worry still, of course. That I yell too much, or that I snap too quickly. I worry that I say no more often than yes, or that I might forget to fulfill a promise made the night before in the midst of a busy day.

I worry about being a liar or a hypocrite, or about spending more time explaining what they do wrong than encouraging them for what they do right. I worry, as a mother does, about the ratio of chicken nuggets to broccoli that remains on their plates at the end of dinner. Or how many glasses of juice did they drink in a day, versus how much milk. Silly, really.

Summer worries that her children might be emotionally scarred for life, from things that are out of her control. Because of custody laws and regulations and because the system is backlogged with cases that would be considered more severe than her own, she sends her children - sobbing and fussing - to a house where they don't feel safe. Where she knows that they witness things that are frightening and damaging to small eyes and ears. Where her little girls are told to get their filthy selves outside and they come home feeling worthless.

She told me this over the lip of a giant mug of chai, milk foam spilling of the top. With watering eyes, she asked if I had any words of wisdom, any advice - because she's asking anyone and everyone. What's a mother to do?

I swirled the watery remnants of my black coffee in the bottom of my mug and was without words. Somehow milk to juice or chicken nuggets to broccoli ratios seem silly. Worrying over whether or not I might forget to fulfill my word that I will give my children cake tomorrow - it all seems like air. Light and easy and why do I worry so much when I'm not drowning? When there's a whole world out there, where these sorts of things happen. Where small, delicate hearts and spirits are broken.

Helpless as I am, all I can do is put worry to rest and pray.

Saturday, February 14, 2009
The Boss peeked into our room this morning, smiling brown eyes. He jumped in place and slapped his knees and said, "C'mon, Momma, I have a surprise for you!"

And so I found my first Valentine of the day, in more of an Easter Egg Hunt sort of fashion, with my son pointing and jumping and telling me to reach above the books on the tallest shelf in our living room. Glitter and marker and "Way to Go!" stickers et al, my son's name scrawled in giant letters. It's beautiful.

Lila came out, sleep still in her eyes, to see what all the commotion was about. Before I could bend down to kiss her good morning, The Boss was quick to point out, "Uh, Bean didn't make you one."

I explained that I still wanted to give her a kiss. That construction paper hearts aren't the only way to show someone we care. (Though they are pretty fancy...)

The rest of my Valentine's Day will consist of buying a new toaster, cutting and coloring fifteen little cards for my son's Sunday School luncheon tomorrow, baking cookies and buying sandwich things for said luncheon, baking a Valentine's Day cake to frost and sprinkle as a special project with the kiddo's (who love to be beside me in the kitchen), and then somehow attempting to make a delicious feast of Filet Mignon and Salmon for Vin and I. I may have purchased some fringe ingredients, sorts of things I've seen used on Food Network and such, but that I have no idea how to actually incorporate into recipes. Tonight, we experiment.

Another note from this morning - I received a comment on my writerly blog, letting me know that the first review of The Simplest of Acts is up at Self-Publishing Review.

He noticed the same spacial issues that I had with putting the collection together - the indentation of the paragraphs and the blank pages, which were in part by design and in part because I'm not a book maker by trade. But, overall, it is a fine review and I'm happy that I submitted it for consideration.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Ghosts of Writing Past
Long story short - I am screwed.

I made the mistake of submitting a manuscript that's not entirely ready for submitting, to a publishing house that expressly says in their guidelines "DO NOT SUBMIT INCOMPLETE MANUSCRIPTS" - but I figured, if they asked for the next three chapters (as it says they will in their guidelines, if they're interested) - it would take them about another 6-8 weeks to get back to me (again, per their guidelines) - which would give me enough time to finish up what I need to finish.


Or something like that.

My plan was working so well, until I wound up emailing back and forth with the managing editor tonight, who read my first chapter (of the novel I started and never finished, which some of you may it had a blog by the same name...) and then decided that rather than ask for the first three chapter's, he really likes it and wants to read the whole thing.


Except that because I'd only sent it to him, um, tonight, it's not quite finished yet.

So, I tell him that I'll clean it up and send it along, but it might take a 'short while' as I work Monday-Friday and all that jazz.

He writes back again, within a ten minute time frame, to say 'your writing is already very clean, I wouldn't worry too much. Take your time, but not too much. Thank you again for a very entertaining first chapter.

I'm going to be living in the past for the next few nights. Hopefully it will all turn out brilliantly and they'll actually want to publish it.