Friday, November 18, 2011

Almost Ready

I am in the final editing process of the book titled Seriously God, How Do I Sit on the Toilet? I love that title. Wow, it really does take time to work up a good title. I have been through so many as evidenced by the number of revisions with different names all in the same folder marked 'Memoir.'

I emailed the manuscript to a good friend. I know that my writing style is casual. I think that can be forgiven. The difficult part though is the frequent switching between today and the past. The chapters are inconsistent in size as well. I hope that it is considered quirky -- which is a good word to describe myself. She hasn't responded yet but that could be good news. Perhaps she has the flu and not up to reading this incredible literary masterpiece. HAHAHAHAH Or perhaps she is filed in the circular file. Either way, I am moving ahead on the assumption that the work is good. Yes, I know what they say about assumptions but what the heck.

I joined Writer's Market and began the process of finding a publisher and/or literary agent. I am leaning toward agent. Perhaps that is the route I need to take this time. They all take email submissions now. Much easier than my last book with the reams of paper and stamps. Now you receive immediate rejection via an impersonal email.

I will let you know how it goes.

But here is my first paragraph to my query letter. I think I may have nailed it:

As a cancer survivor, mother of an autistic child and woman of faith, I experienced life from the critical to the hilarious. In my 145,000 word inspirational memoir with the proposed title, Seriously God, How Do I Sit on the Toilet?, I chronicle my survival of cancer using the lessons taught my autistic son.

The experts all want copy that could be on the back of the book. Concise, smart and a reflection of the work. I hope I got it right!

Keep you posted!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yes, It has been three months . . .

I was recently asked to give a witness to the church's youth group about the meaning of motherhood. Before I accepted the challenge, I verified that they wanted me. I am not a traditional mother. Never wanted to be. I am a stay at home mom by default. But they said it was OK. They still wanted me to give the talk. I am not sure who was crazier -- them or me.

I did give a witness. I spoke about the unconditional sacrifice of motherhood. Just like Jesus gave the unconditional sacrifice of his life. I felt it went pretty well.

The upside (pun intended) was that it reinforced that the decisions I have made were the right decisions at that time. I do not regret staying home for Adam. And I am grateful for the time I have at home now.

Not so grateful though that I don't need a break. I asked, and Jim gave, for a week away by myself. I am really excited! After the the good (but stressful) news from MSKCC in August; sending Megan off to college and just the everyday grind of being home; I really need some time to myself. 24 hours a day, seven days a week of just me making my own decisions. Heaven.

I am still writing. Actually, plan to finish the book on my trip and then prep it for submission. I am very close to being done. Yipee!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

When not writing

I imagine creativity as ebb and flow. When the creativite energy flows you can barely contain the ideas. When the energy is low, you are drained and unable to focus. At least that is how it works for me.

I have a great deal of creativity energy but it is often used in ways that I can not control. Such as reviewing my child's IEP; helping my daughter analyze Shakespeare; plotting the map for vacation or working on anew recipe. If I am not careful then I can use all that energy up and there is nothing left for my own creative projects.

Years ago I took the Myers Brig test. One of the questions was where do you get your energy? Do you get energy from being by yourself or with others? I was clearly in the self category. I know that if I don't spend some alone time I will crash and burn like an alcohol coming off a night on the town.

So lately I have spending alone time. And the ideas are coming so fast I can't react quick enough.

I am uploading one of my projects that is beyond writing. I have been working with gourds. Bleaching, carving, painting and making fairy houses.

Yup, fairy houses. I created a two story house, village shop and playground. I hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Still Writing

I have been writing daily since I last posted. So far there are 15,000 words. Only I don't know if what I am writing is worthy. I suppose that is every writers nightmare or fear or angst or whatever you call it.

So I did ask a friend to read the first three chapters. Now I know that a friend may not give me the feedback I need -- but I'm pretty sure that she will give me the feedback I want. No, I'm kidding. She is actually the perfect reflection of my projected audience. She is also scrupulously honest. If if does not meet her standards, then I know I should scrap the project or start again.

In the meantime, Writer's Digest has sent a notice for submissions for their annual contest. I am considering submitting part of my manuscript. I have some time to prepare a submission so here is hoping.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Light of the World

Yesterdays Godspell, Matthew 5: 13-16, is one of my favorite passages. The salt of the earth and light of the world immediately inspires the song from the musical Godspell. Which immediately leads to other Godspell songs and then of course, Jesus Christ Superstar songs. Today, of course, those songs are burrowing through my brain like a worm.

While I have written about my faith here, I am hesitant to write too much. I have never been comfortable proclaiming my Christianity. I have many friends who are evanglicals and every conversation is another discussion of their faith.

I have felt that my faith should be present in word but more present in action. I am fascinated by other religions and their traditions. I have a margin of error in my soul that perhaps they are onto something as well. If they follow the tenants of the ten commandments in their own way, then isn't there a chance for them in heaven as well? I truly don't know but I do know that preaching to them is not what works for me.

Anyway, I thought I would take a few moments and wrestle with those thoughts as I continue to work on my memoir. I am still not sure what the line is that I have to walk. I only know that inspiration is coming daily. I am sure that God will send me a message soon.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Finally Friday and I'm Ready for Monday

Three snow days in a row this week. Five people with cabin fever. Roads are finally passable and ice is still covering everything. Today I am sitting still and enjoying the quiet. There are no sounds of arguing; no TV noise; no Wii beeping. Just blissful quiet. I am so ready to pass by the weekend and move into Monday - some more days of quiet bliss!

On Monday I finished a substantial part of the book. I was able to craft an introduction. I found a workable method to weave the blogs together in a meaningful, humorous yet substantive way. I only hope that the time and order of blogs makes sense. I hope that the writing is meaningful and worthwhile.

I want this book to humorous, spiritual yet not trite or preachy. I hope that the book is not perceived a evangelical or preachy but quietly, dignified witness.

A fine line I need to walk and in the long run it will still be up to the reader to decide.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Not Again

Third snow day in a row. Enough said.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Balmy Night

3 am and I am walking around outside. This is how crazy our weather has been. 34 degrees and it feels balmy outside. I am in my pajamas with only a crochets shawl around my shoulders.
The world was covered in ice. What we couldn't figure out was the rain? I had opened a window and heard the pitter patter of rain. Yet I couldn't really see it against the street light. So outside I went with my husband for support. Don't forget I am still jerking all over.
The trees were frozen to the ground with the weight of the ice on their branches. Bushes were smashed and broken from the weight. The entire glittered like the inside of a snow globe. It was surreal experience. I felt I walking on a movie set and waiting for the director to yell cut.
The sound of the rain came from the melting ice on the trees. It was only 34 but of course freezing is 32. What we heard was the ice melting and hitting the frozen icy snow.
I had visions of the kids slipping and sliding outside the next day. The world a frozen Popsicle. Yet when I woke up a few hours later, it was all gone.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Legal Stuff

I was browsing articles on the Writer's Digest website when I was struck with a disturbing thought. Since this is a memoir, do I have to worry about legal stuff? Do I need to worry over writing about real people -- doctors, nurses, friends and even my family? Am I setting myself up for a lawsuit?

There are some tests for this that I can apply as a writer. First, am I writing about real people? Yes, I am writing about real people. In many cases, I don't even know their names. They are just people I sat next to in a waiting room. Or that faceless nurse in post op surgery. Or the priest hearing confession in NYC? I don't even remember the name of the parish. But essentially yes, they are real people.

Are they recognizable to readers? Probably not. In fact, I don't know if I would even recognize them again. Except for the surgeons. If you really were a creeper, you could find the surgeons online as they are very specialized. I can change the name but not always the description. I will need to step carefully there.

Am I spouting indisputable facts? Nah. Only opinions. Opinions influenced by drugs, pain and a warped sense of humor. I am sure that anyone could dispute that.

Are you disclosing private, possibly embarrassing information? Yup, absolutely. Very embarrassing. I believe I mention the anus a few times. Breasts. Moods. Tubes coming out of everywhere. Yup, very embarrassing. Who cares? It's only me being embarrassed. And anyone who has had any kind of surgery knows the embarrassment I'm talking about.

Disclosing a problem in the community or disclosing a crime? Unless you count the quality of thin hospital robes, nope.

So I guess I am 50/50 on the legal. I better do some more research.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Goal for the Week

Since my proclamation last week that I am looking into writing a memoir, I see the need to challenge myself. I need to make writing a priority. I need to write everyday like a job. I must get up in the morning and spend time writing.

With that in mind, I am challenging myself to write a daily blog this work week. Five blogs in a row. What about -- who knows?

Writing is a real issue for me at this time. When it is cold and I am fatigued, I shake. Not the teeth chattering shake but the cerebral palsy jerking. My speech also alters. Thoughts come into my head but I can't literally say them. Sort of a form of apraxia. It is a form of paraneoplastic syndrome. The white cancer cells from the metastasis attacked my nervous system. So I have permanent damage that comes and goes in cycles. Extreme cold is one of the triggers.

I am hoping that this writing exercise will keep me from loosing it mentally as my body jerks and shakes through the day. I need to convince myself that mind is still in this deteriorating body.

Hey, it must be working because an idea just popped into head for tomorrow's blog!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I feel compelled to write the story of the last decade. Even longer in fact. Yet I am puzzled with how to start. Should I jump around in time, go backwards or forward. Should I include only the cancer bits or should it be a story about building – building from fibro to now. How do I include the information on faith? Why am I hesitant to include the faith parts? Does that go back to a fundamental show don’t tell philosophy I grew up with?

Perhaps I should chronicle my writing on the blog. Write about how I make the decisions. Decisions like chronology, voice and truth. Talk about looking at the past and seeing it through a different filter. If I remember at all.

I like to write in short sentences. Language that is simple and direct. Rarely do my sentences follow the traditional noun plus verb format. I write like I speak. I write like I talk. Does that bring me closer to the reader? Is it a more intimate experience? Or just extremely juvenile and annoying?

Even by putting these sentences on paper, I am committing. That is the other fear. Committing. If I don’t tell you then I don’t feel compelled to follow through. Or if I fail, then you wouldn’t know because I never told you.

Big questions. I still don’t know the answers.