The Ghost of the Mill Girl

One of my takeaways from Sara Pennypacker (who has an awesome wardrobe) was something to the effect of  “we write stories to right injustices”.

One injustice was that of little Lalar Blanton. When I was her age, the bane of my existence being pushed into every team sport under the sun, the mean girl at school (who just so happened to be my teacher) and algebra homework. She had to work in a cotton mill probably not unlike the factories where much of our “stuff” is made today.

The crazy thing to me is, that was considered OK, possibly the moral high ground, in her day. As a 21st century mom whose kids better not leave school until they have a Master’s, that blows my mind.  It also makes me wonder what was done to me when I was a kid, what we do to our kids today, that will horrify future generations.

My money is on wild rice and CCD.

Vision Board


Because if I’m going to be a published author, I need to get into some hippy-dippy stuff like the Law of Attraction. Though I’m not by any means convinced it’s bunk; it’s just hard to maintain when I’m by nature a snarky cynic.

For example, I’m right now wondering if I hang this next to my bed,
1. Will Dino go Matisse with a Sharpie on it next time I blink;
2. Will the husband finally agree to paint the wall a color,any color, besides Bore Me to Tears White?

Time will tell. At least, my first thought in the morning could be my vision board and not,
“Expletive alarm clock! Now where’s the French press?”

It would be a better way to start my day.

If I were a Mommy Blogger

… My posts would read more like:

I woke up at 4AM to find myself lashed to the bed. Layers upon layers of Rainbow Loom chain shackled my arms and legs, ensuring I’d petrify before I could break free.

“This will teach you to make us eat vegetables!” screeched the caped crusader Dino from his perch on my pillow. “Crime never pays, wicked Mommy!” Then he farted in my face and  roared with laughter as he fanned the stench of carrot-tainted methane to my burning nostrils.

“Yeah!” sneered his hench-baby Taz from the master bathroom.  She’d colored all the grout between the tiles just the perfect shade of lime green sharpie, and was rappelling down the shower wall anchored by the designer jeans that looked great on me before I had kids.

“Is that my cold cream in your hair?” I asked. I had to admit, it looked better with $20 an ounce Burts’ Bees royal jelly than her usual Desitin pomade.

“EVERYTHING YOU OWN IS OURS!” screeched my little darlings in stereo.

My husband snoozed.

Then, just as suddenly as they’d turned on me, Dino and Taz ran at me for hugs. Dino barked and licked my face like the puppy he thinks I’m going to get him (not before he grows up and moves out). Taz blew her nose on the sleeve of my new pajamas and gave me that glorious smile that always melts my heart.

All was right with the world.


Writing Inspiration Thursday #1

The Backstory behind these Abandoned Places

I was fascinated this weekend with – well everything about SCBWI and the amazing geekery that was the steampunk-themed Miami conference in general – but specifically Lois Duncan’s workshop where we ran with basic character/goal/obstacle cards.  My classmates (workshop mates?) got everything from a story about a cheerleader who secretly wants to be a mathlete, to a mentally unstable ostrich looking to gain magical powers and fly.  I, ahem, wonder what weirdo came up with the latter?

The real topic of both those storylines, would’ve been self-acceptance. In other words, the same seed that becomes a state of the art in 2079, jumbo jet “smart” plane in one writer’s mind, becomes a phosphorescent, 12-legged octopus in another’s. That was one of my takeaways from the amazing Lois. And that’s what makes writing so addicting; we’re our own little gods in the universes of our laptops and minds.

If nothing else, these pictures plus time to let my/your imagination run wild, have got to make for some amazing writing fodder.

How did these places get abandoned? (I reject whatever logical explanation, I’m “out there” and an aspiring fiction writer) Why? There’s a book or ten in here somewhere…

And yeah, you read that right – I MET LOIS DUNCAN!

The worst blogger in the world.

So much has happened since last updating, which I guess is to be expected for a year and a half.
I’ll share the good: Our beautiful daughter joined us, we got a beautiful new home in a neighborhood that’s better for our family, I began working at a fantastic digital ad agency. I took the amazing Joyce Sweeney’s online class, met some really cool people (local to me, no less!) and began another book.
But most recent, I got a bite on #Pitchmas!  For my “first” book, the one many authors never sell. To be honest, I’m sweating it a bit – as a completely unpublished writer (I don’t even have any teaching creds, or more than 3 college English credits!) is some publisher going to buy me writing a multiracial character?  I’m racking my brain. Do I just let the agent read the first 50 and see she’s dealing with a multi-cultural, multi-racial character, or do I mention outright in the pitch letter, metaphorically waving my non-melanin-challenged children like a badge of how worldly and sophisticated I am while screaming, “See? Look!  My kids are the same mix as the main character! I know all about diversity!”?   Time will tell what works and what doesn’t.

I’m not sure the etiquette here, but I’ll err on the side of keeping this very cool-sounding lady’s name secret. So here we go again.