Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Take a Breath

You know what I haven't blogged about in a while? Writing. Kind of ironic, since this is a writer's blog and all.

Here I am, in the home stretch of my big rewrite project. I'm about three chapters from the end, and I'm starting to feel a case of the "good enoughs" coming on. When I'm working on a project, with the end in sight and my energy flagging, I have a tendency to think things are just fine and dandy the way they are. Wall painting is a great example. A few drops on the woodwork? A few thin spots near the ceiling? Who'll notice? If I can live with it, so can everyone else, right?

Sometimes, that's true. But sometimes, the patches the drips and the streaks bother me.

And I'm not asking anyone to pay me for being a wall painter.

So, right now, it's taking all of my will power not to declare the last three chapters good enough and quit. I know they aren't, just like I know my painting skills leave a lot to be desired. There is improvement to be made in nearly every sentence and slacking on the ending will only serve to haunt me.

Let's say I get a request for a full manuscript from an agent. Let's say I get rejected. If I don't give the ending the attention it deserves, I'll always have to wonder if that was the reason for rejection.

It's time to take a deep breath and do what I'm supposed to do. No matter how much I want to get to the next step.

Which begs the question: In writing, when is enough enough?

- Liz

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Interview? Me?

The lovely and talented Dorothy Dreyer was kind enough to interview me for her blog, We Do Write, where she interviews aspiring authors.

It was a ton of fun and I hope you'll take a moment to stop by.

- Liz

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mysteries of Children's Entertainment

I spend a lot of time watching preschool television and reading children's book to my son. If you just suspend disbelief a lot of it is palatable, and even cute. (Big shout out to Jack's Big Music Show and Maggie and the Ferocious Beast.)

But some of it is just too much for my psyche. I can't even talk about why adults think children like clowns. Clowns are just...never mind, I can't talk about it. I need to sleep tonight.

So, without further ado, I present:


1. Where the hell are Max & Ruby's parents?

2. Why is Caillou bald? For that matter, what kind of name is Caillou?

3. Why does Mickey wear shorts and Donald a shirt? Why do some cartoons wear clothes at all, while others wear none?

4. How did
this creepy guy get a televisions show?

5. Why does Franklin (and the rest of his family) have names, but all his friends are named Bear, Skunk, Goose, and so on?

6. Why are all puppets not created by Jim Henson so creepy?

7. Why is there only one female Smurf? Do Smurfs reproduce like bees, with all the males serving one great queen?

8. Why is paranoid 1950s propaganda scare-fest Harold's Trip to the Sky still in print? And why does my son like it so much?

9. Why hasn't someone knocked Wow Wow Wubbzy out with a mallet, tied him up in a bag and tossed it into the nearest river?

10. If Dora has two perfectly good parents, why do they let her go wandering through the jungle alone all the time?

I know I'm just touching the tip of the iceberg.

What bugs you in children's entertainment?

- Liz

You Should See My...

I think most writers have a tendency to self-efface. Maybe I'm a masochist, but I find it easier to receive constructive criticism than praise. Even to the extent that I don't believe people who only offer praise. ("Oh, she'll read anything," "They're just saying that so I'll read they're stuff.")

In my family, the tendency is practically a personality trait. Talent seems to flow like a river through my gene pool, and although none of us believe we ourselves are talented, we are more than willing to tell you about other people in the family.

So, today, that's what I'm going to do. (This sort of counts as More About Me Monday, right?) Okay, then.

I have at least three aunts or uncles, and one cousin who have supported themselves as freelance artists. The rest of them (and there are eight, including my mom) can only draw well enough to get scholarships to art programs, reproduce famous art flawlessly, or give you a Bart Simpson tattoo if the need arises. As any of them, and they'll say, "Yeah, but you should see my _________." Fill in the blank with your choice: brother, sister, nephew....

My mom is a seamstress extraordinaire. I could go on about the Halloween costumes and beautiful dresses she made me as a child, but the real proof is in the fact that she has made wedding dresses for about a dozen of the young women I know, mine included. You don't hand over your wedding dress to just anyone with a sewing machine.

My grandfather, my aunt, and another cousin are all poets so talented you'd wonder why they haven't been named editors of poetry journals--oh, except they'd never submit their work for that sort of thing, because they'll all tell you they aren't as good as __________. (Sidenote: one of them--I won't say who for his/her sanity's sake--has originated the Twitter trend #almostpoetry, in which s/he tweaks famous poetry for hilarious results. My attempts are not so hot, but if you want a good snort now and again, follow @borogroves)

All of which brings me to my point today: My cousin has started a blog and etsy store for her amazing paper crafts. Knowing full well that I could not and would not ever create a scrapbook for my son when he was born, she made me a blank scrap book that only required me to drop in the 4x6 photos. It was the hit of my baby shower, and I think these pictures will show you why:

** try not to be distracted by the cuteness of my son. I know, it's hard, but you're looking at the pages people!

She, however, is convinced that anyone's interest in her work could only be a sign of the coming apocalypse because she is so clearly not deserving of anyone's admiration. The way she sees it, her talent is about a -1 on the scale of 0-10, 0 being "can walk and chew gum at the same time" and 10 being "sings, dances, paints, writes poetry and does competent small engine repair."

This is my public objection to her self-depricating nonsense. Wanna help me? Heart her store, if you're an etsy shopkeeper, follow her blog if you're a frenzied parent, or follow her on Twitter if you're neither of those things.

And, in return, I promise not to pimp out my family to you anymore.

Do you, as a writer, or whatever you might be, suffer from "Yeah, But You Should See My _______" Disease, too?

- Liz

Thursday, May 13, 2010

LOST Predictions - You Heard it Here First

I have a long and proud history of being obsessed with television shows. When I like a show, I see every episode, often twice. From Northern Exposure to Friends, The X-Files to Big Bang Theory, if you catch my interest, I will be a loyal fan of the highest order.

So it has been with LOST since the very first episode. The opening scenes were enough to get me wide-eyed and fluttery-hearted. I turned to my husband at the first commercial break and said, "I love this show." I wasn't lying.

Now, it's almost over. Two episodes left. When I'm not busy planning my mourning attire for the big day, I think about how it will end. This is pretty much the main hobby of anyone who watches the show.

So, today, before these precious last two episodes air, I am putting down my predictions in public so that if I am right, no one will think I just made it up after. And if I'm wrong, well, by God, I'm going down in flames. Publicly. The American way. Or something.

The final scene of the show will feature the classic, slow LOST theme (dun-da-dun da-da-da-dun da-dun...) and we'll watch as, alive and well, all the Lostaways disembark from Oceanic Flight 815 at LAX. As scheduled, and on-time. But not to any flash sideways this time, although to an alternate future where all of the events of the past have been assimilated into the passengers. Therefore all our happy couples get their happily ever after. (That last part might be wishful thinking on my part.)

The only difference? Jacob's replacement won't be there.

And I think Jacob's replacement is Jack. BUT, I think Kate will be trapped on the island forever, too.

Here, I have two possible outcomes. Both of them make me want to cry a little, but they came from my own head so I have no one to blame but myself.

In the first, I think Jack will be the new guardian, but Sawyer will be the new Man in Black. And somehow, poor, caught-in-the-middle Kate will get stuck there. An eternal love triangle. I freaking HATE love triangles. That one would really kill me.

In the second, I still have Jack as guardian, but he has to choose between letting Kate die and letting her become the new Man in Black. Being Jack, he will of course choose to save her, pitting them against each other on the island for all eternity.

My brain is pretty twisted, eh?

So, there you have it. My big predictions. I hope I'm wrong in a way, because those endings, while appropriate would be pretty darn frustrating. On the other hand...I do so love to be right about things.

*sobs* I need a new obsession! LOST, what will I do without you?

(In a more rational post, perhaps we can talk about the long arc storytelling the writers of LOST used and how incredibly innovative that was.)

(On second thought, I'll probably be too busy crying quietly at the mere mention of the show for a few years. Hmm...)

If you're not a fan, my apologies. If you are--well, by all means, tell me what you think!

- Liz

Monday, May 10, 2010

In Which I Confess To My Own Grossness

In the last few days I've had reason to acknowledge a couple of my weirder quirks. Unfortunately, they've all been ones that are kind of gross.

Since it's More About Me Monday, and I know how a good dose of Schadenfreude* can get the week started off right, I'm going to let you all in on a few of my secret disgusting habits.

1. I prefer to drink room temperature water. So much so, that when I pour a glass from the in-door dispenser on the refrigerator, I let it sit out for a while so it warms up a bit.

2. I bite my nails. Yes, I am capable of stopping. Yes, I'm aware that it looks gross. Yes, I know that it makes me look like an eight-year-old. I don't care. I don't know why I do other than the fact that they're there.

3. I love Taco Bell mild sauce so much that if I have packets left over after appropriately saucing my food, I will tear the ends off and suck the sauce out directly.

4. When I have a specific craving for a kind of food, I will often settle for eating just that food. Even if that means I'm licking mustard off a spoon.

5. I don't sweat much. Or really at all. This is a documented medical fact. Therefore, I wear my jeans so many times they are nearly sentient when they go to the washing machine. They could probably walk there if I gave them a map.

Bless me Blogger, for I have sinned...nah, forget that, I don't intend to enter rehab for any of these proclivities.

So now you just have to live with knowing these things about me.

Anyone brave enough to share one of their own? Hmm...? Anyone? Anyone...? Bueller?

- Liz

* I know, this isn't precisely a case of Schadenfreude, but it's close. See, you're enjoying the fact that you're better than me because you like ice, don't consider condiments a snack, have a French manicure and clean pants. That sound you hear is me sticking my tongue out at you.

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...No, it's SuperLiz!

I probably spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about super powers.

I want to have them.

I have a big fat crush on Batman, although Superman is pretty darn swell, too. If a new superhero movie is coming out, I want to see it. From Hancock to Iron Man, X-Men to Watchmen, I love them all.

And after giving it some serious thought, I've decided what superpower I would like to have most of all. Are you ready for it?

TELEPORTATION!!! *swoons, faints*

*comes to*

Sure, flying and super strength would be great. Laser eyes, controlling the weather, making fire, ice, or even paperclips would be a great party trick. But teleportation is where it's at.

Now let me be specific--I want the kind of teleportation that we saw in the movie Jumper. I want to go anywhere in the world, arrive in my clothes without a hair out of place, and be able to take other people and things with me. And I don't want it to hurt like Harry Potter describes Apparation. Just dress appropriately, choose the destination and voila!

I would never have to drive to work again. I could sleep until 5 minutes before I had to be at the conference table for report. I could go on vacation and never get a hotel room--I'd just come home every night. My own bed, all my clothes, and my favorite shampoo and conditioner just waiting for me with no packing hassles.

Got a few extra hours? How about dinner in Paris? How about lunch with a friend in Texas, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, or even Dublin, Ireland? (Note: Love you, Slingers. *kiss, kiss*) Moving truck? Forget that, I'll just sit on the couch and zap it to my new house. I'd never go through airport security again, I'd never be late for anything, I'd never forget an ingredient at the grocery store...

I'm getting all swoony again. I have to stop talking about this or I'll just be depressed.

So, what would you choose as YOUR superpower?

- Liz