The “SHORTS” page on this site is updated–each month I’ll rotate a featured short story or essay. I started it off with a historical called “Midsummer Ado”, a nod to my Scandinavian heritage. Be sure to check out the story and feel free to share the link.
The past week has been full of finishing up our official homeschool year as well as battling germs. Need I say more about why I haven’t blogged? No, didn’t think so.
There’s one new tidbit, though it’s only a “Coming Soon” feature for now. I created a tab on the website (look at the top menu bar) called “SHORTS” so keep an eye on that page. I’ll do my best to update with a short story every month or two.
Hope summer is off to a good start for you and yours. We’re hitting the road for a brief spell in the near future so I’ll share a few adventures from that later this month. Here’s a picture from our last family trip, too many years ago.
• What books inspired you as a child?
Most of my favorite books had elements of fantasy, such as the Narnia series and the Mary Poppins series. I also inhaled all the Nancy Drew books. As I got into my teens I was into Dragon Lance and The Forgotten Realms.
• Do you have any strange rituals that help you get in the mood to work?
No rituals, but it needs to be quiet. I’m not the type to write with music playing.
• Coming from a mother of three kids; how do you achieve quiet at your house? Enquiring minds want to know!
It is not often. Sometimes I skip dinner and evening TV and write while dad keeps the kids occupied. Other times I try to squeeze in some while the youngest is at preschool. If I’m desperate I lock the bedroom door and tell the older kids to watch the younger kids. I’m not a writer that sits down to write every day, so I go with the flow.
• Which writer would you travel back in time and spy on, if you could? I’d like to spy on Jane Austen. I love her quirky sense of humor and am inspired that she wrote such amazing books during a time when women were not thought of as authors.
• Who is your favorite Austen character?
I have to stick with Pride and Prejudice and say Elizabeth, but honestly, it is Jane’s writing and all her slights that get me laughing.
• At this point in your life, is there a genre or style of writing that you are afraid to attempt?
I’ve always been afraid to attempt romance. I can come up with a great story line, but I have no clue how to put intimate parts on paper. Also, I don’t like horror, period. I don’t want to have nightmares, and as a writer, you always think about your stories over and over. Yuck. Not going there.
Thanks for chatting, Dorine. I enjoyed your book and hope others do, too!
Yesterday I attended my first autism conference. I’ve gone to workshops and support group meetings, but never a large event. It was three days, but I could only make it to one. I chose the final day because John Elder Robison was a presenter. Yes, that means I missed the iconic Temple Grandin, but I was not disappointed. Not in Mr. Robison anyway. He redeemed the emotions and interest that the first speaker lacked/lost.
Back to the beginning… I started off early and drove to The University of West Florida, just me and my iPod with the “Wonder Rock” playlist on shuffle. (Translation: lots of Europe, Boston, and Mitch Malloy with a sprinkling of other assorted rockers prominently from the 1970s-1990s.) The campus—sprawling with space between buildings and acres of natural landscape left in tack—was lovely and the fact that their logo has a nautilus was, in my mind, a nod of serendipity to my adventure.
Mr. Robison was hilarious and thought provoking. His passion for sharing his stories (Hello, three books!) shined as well as his social quirks—like pacing around the stage when his family was doing their Q&A. And his family was great, too! Lots of insight and they answered a question for me: What’s the value of getting an Asperger’s diagnosis as an adult? (Which now, with the new DSM-V manual, would be “autism” since the Asperger’s label was removed and it doesn’t differentiate between the levels on the spectrum.)
I’m leaning toward Mr. Robison’ practical response, though greater peer acceptance and an official credential would be nice. The liability/cost of medical/life insurance when you are diagnosed is greater. Let’s hear it for logical thinkers!
One tool that Mr. Robison recommended was an Autism-Spectrum Quotient test that was posted by Wired magazine many years back. I took it and tested forty-two. No surprise to me. My husband scored seventeen—we’re a case study in opposites attract.
The conference was educational/life affirming. Lots of Aspies to hear from and several things were reinforced to me about what I can do to encourage my ASD son in his growth. What, you ask? Never give up because learning and development continues into adulthood and let him follow his passions/obsessions. Plus, I got two books autographed but I was too shy to ask for a photo.
I’ll diffidently go to another event where any of the Robisons are featured speakers. The day was well spent but I’m curious to see how my friends score on the AQ test. Leave your number in the comments if you’re feeling brave.
Last week’s tidal extremes have leveled out—and that’s a good thing. Each day’s not as emotionally draining, so there’s more energy for the rest of life.
First, I’ll share what literary news I do have. I passed thirty thousand words with FORTITUDE last night. I’m still trying to finish this draft by the end of the month, but I’m not going to stress if I don’t. That whole “don’t let your fortitude get corroded” thing will keep me from being too hard on myself.
I did celebrate a birthday last week. I kept mum about it, but I want to share a gift I received that has ties to this blog.
Yes, a fern terrarium to help me keep my dreams alive. One of my first thoughts was to name the fern on the tree “Corroded” and the terrarium “Fortitude” but my slightly superstitious mind then thought that if one died, there goes that novels chance in the world. And to reinforce that my initial idea wasn’t a good one, I spotted another fern beginning in a bed of moss on a different tree in the yard.
No way I’m ready for a third project!
On a personal note, I’m finishing up the last month of homeschooling with my kids before we break for several weeks in June. A break for us just means no paperwork. We’re forever learning and exploring—together and separately.
For the new readers (hello out there!) you can keep up with what books I’m devouring and other fun tidbits on my Facebook page and Twitter. Also, I’ve updated the look of my website, so if you’re reading this via e-mail, take the time to click over the site and let me know what you think.
A writing life is full of its own highs and lows and this week, though it’s just beginning, has both.
How do I know?
I’ve already experienced the spectrum of emotions.
Good news first: I passed twenty-five thousand words on the first draft of FORTITUDE. Most days I’m making myself write first thing in the morning and then again at night. That helps me stay focused on the storyline and keeps the characters fresh in my head.
Not so great news: my first rejection from a full manuscript submission. The publishing company gave me the opportunity to resubmit after the a few issues are beefed up and praised my quality of writing, but CORRODED is still looking for a home.
Also on the horizon this week is conducting my final meeting as president of Mobile Writers Guild. (I’ll let you decide where that scores on the spectrum.) Members vote for the new officers at the Thursday night meeting. It’s been a learning experience during the two terms I served and I’m ready to pass the mantel on to the next president.
Through it all, I’m working to keep my fortitude noncorrosive. And, yes, the fern on the oak is still alive.
What do things look like in your life?
Did you catch my post earlier this month about ferns? I didn’t have to wait for the summer heat to test me or the fern.
This past Sunday I had a minor freak-out about my writing goal—finishing the first draft of FORTITUDE—while I’m in my seventh month of waiting to hear back from publishers about CORRODED.
First draft goals can be hair-pulling. Waiting to hear back from the publishing industry, also nerve-racking. The two together equals fighting for sanity on at least a weekly basis.
While venting my concerns to MeLeesea Swann via chat room, she gave me the little “you can do it” and “don’t stress the numbers” and “it will happen” friendly feedback that can be easy to dismiss during epic stress moments. But then she hit me with something that made me laugh so loud I scared my kids.
DON’T LET YOUR FORTITUDE GET CORRODED.
Personalized prospective was all I needed. I shared the quote with family and our other writing friends. I even printed out copies of it on purple paper and hung them up around the house to remind me.
Then Monday morning happened.
I went outside to finish up some weeding. When I passed my little fern on the water oak, it looked like this:
ARGH! My little plant of hope, though surrounded in soft, green moss was withering away. If the fern couldn’t make it, then I might be able to keep my goals. Then I thought of fortitude being corroded and grabbed the hose. I soaked that thing and went on with my other yard work.
An hour later, no change.
Two hours, nothing.
Three hours, it looked slightly better.
About five hours later, it was back to this.
What can you do to keep your dreams alive? Be sure to involve a support system.