Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I Love My Wal-Mart Babies

Back before Christmas, my SweetPea's grandmother asked her if she wanted to look at the American Girl catalog. She had designs on purchasing a Bitty Baby doll for my baby doll devotee. SP surveyed the offerings and shook her head. "I yuv my walmart babies," She said and hustled off to play with her dolls.

I thought about that a lot recently.

See, the Fish Sticks are total Walmart Babies. Not fancy, not rarefied or even highly prized by others. They're common, in their way. Poor and troubled and defiant and sometimes brilliant and heartbreakingly sweet.

I have a colleague who, because of parents' ability to make teacher-choice each year, regularly gets children dressed in head to toe Under Armour or Matilda Jane outfits, who bring their iPad minis and iPods to school to play with at recess, who have huge remote control helicopters and an abundance of American Girl dolls for show and tell. For the Christmas party, she had a fruit tray brought in that would have done an upscale bridal shower proud. Her gifts under the classroom tree ranged from Yankee Candles to Olive Garden gift cards. Her students get better grades than my students. Their handwriting is neater and they turn in their homework and their parents volunteer for parties.

My students come oftentimes in the sweatpants they slept in or a pair of too-tight last year's jeans or a weather-inappropriate easter dress that's too small. They have fights over hooks in the closet, they have meltdowns and drop the f-bomb if someone marks on their paper, they have a million excuses why it's someone else's fault. For Christmas, we had the cookies I baked and the juice boxes I bought. My gift under the tree was a picture a student drew for me. Their handwriting is messy, they announce "I can't do this" before they've even looked at a math page, their parents show up only to yell at me and homework is no longer something I bother to assign--I just give class time and help with it.

I wouldn't trade. I love my WalMart babies the best.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

By The Seat of My Pants

Ever since July when I started ghosting romance, I've been an outliner. I was never a plotter. Oh, sure I had a vague idea that Y and Z needed to happen before the end of a story but that was in some esoteric way off in the distance. I would then skip through meadows of quippy dialogue without much direction or purpose.

Once writing became equated with income, I straightened up and started thinking about pacing and plot points. So when I had a window of time in December to write for just myself, I dutifully tapped out an outline. For a stand-alone YA contemporary romance of about 30K words.

I am now 35K words in to a paranormal YA romance that has morphed into something unrecognizable because i made an outline and then went with my gut. My gut doesn't know crap about pacing or events, by the way. My gut likes cutesy banter and some emotional angst and a truckload of directionless meandering that an editor once told me is acronymed as NOGAS as in "no one gives a shit".  Yeah, that should be my new nickname.

I'm floundering under the weight of this hot mess of a story. I can already see the temptation to double back and fix some stuff in the beginning from before I realized it was going to be paranormal...the fact that I 'realized' it would be paranormal instead of planning it shows a certain ignorance, does it not? I'm plowing on to the end but I'm discouraged. It's formless, yet bowing under its own weight.

I thought that writing a few hundred thousand words for money had improved my technique but I've fallen back into old bad habits.

So, what are your bad writing habits? Favorite pitfalls?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Year's Eve Memo

Dear 2014,

You were, in many ways, a real bitch.

The Dh lost his job and took a pay cut and a three hour round trip commute that has played hell with the Casa Diva finances and Casa Diva schedule.

The SP has yet to do anything resembling a consistent potty use therefore will be using pull ups well into middle school at this rate.

Family drama has had my Diva ass for eleven months so far.

The Fish Sticks are a class from a wee bit south of heaven, to say the least.

There was good stuff, of course, but let this be a lesson to 2015. Just as the evil that men do lives after them whilst the good is oft interred with their let it be with years.

I expect far better from the one to come.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dear Santa

I'm officially on holiday break! For two whole weeks, I'll get to be with the SP instead of with the Demon Sticks..I mean the Fish Sticks.  And DH is off for the same two weeks! All those days. Together. At home. The good news is we are in so much a better place than we were last year (emotionally, not financially) so this doesn't fill me with "Oh Gawd" like it would have once upon a time.

The point is, now I have time to recall that I used to have a  blog. Hey look, I'm back! (cue the cheers).

I thought I'd share with you some lists because I love lists.  The SP dictated hers to me as follows:

a toy sheep
a toy pig
a flyswatter (because Rabbit in the Pooh Christmas wants one and we've seen the DVD way too often)
a baby doll
a thomas train table (if she potty trains, this is a proviso I cleared with Mr. Claus himself and the man with the bag has agreed to no panties, no train table which is really a good policy for all of us)

The Diva has two lists. The real one and the fantasy one. 

The Fantasy One:

A dining table (this one in black)
all of Rainbow Rowell's books (I'm reading Eleanor & Park and love it so hard but it's gonna be sad as hell but I love it!)
a vacation (Puerto Rico, NYC, Disney, anything)
ridiculously expensive boots

The Real One:

a dust buster for spills and messes (like when I dumped a whole packet of active dry yeast on the floor this week)
a new bathroom scale (ours is broken)
socks (Tucker has eaten a lot of mine)

So, what's on YOUR list this year?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sweet Pea Cuteness

Blogging has been backburnered lately, I know. Apologies. I've been ghostwriting whilst trying to manage what I have privately (and with greatest affection of course) nicknamed Satan's Class. And, yeah, it CAN be that bad.

Back to the happy place, now, cause I have lots to be grateful for anyhow.

Last night, SP was watching a video about Mars with DH on his computer and I looked up from writing when she squealed, "THERE IS A OCEAN IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM? I WOULD NOT BEE_YEEVE THAT!" and clapped her hands with great excitement about the water on one of Mars' moons or something. 

The night before that, she insisted on a PBJ at 8:20 pm after not eating her supper so I made her a sandwich, let her use the cookie cutter on it and asked where she wanted to eat it. 
On my trike, She told me.

So there she is, in the kitchen, sitting on her trike eating a sandwich and I notice my paperback of Eat Pray Love is sticking out the back trunk compartment on the trike.

I asked her why she had the book.

"Tha's my spell book. I casting SPELLS WIV IT." She informed me haughtily.

i enjoyed the hell out of that I can tell you.
Here she is giving me her annoyed look.

Think it's cute? Go buy some Plexus right now. It'll make you healthier and have more energy, plus I'll get paid so Santa can come. Guilt? Me? NEVER!