Darling Patrons: An Open Letter To the People Who Read My Stuff. Otherwise known as a blog post.

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I have lovely news, but I keep getting interrupted by other stuff.

Other stuff:

  1. Children. Small children. They NEED things. Even when they don’t they really like to carry on conversations with you. Case in point: This morning Red was coming out of the bathroom, sauntered past me, and asked, “Mom, do you like sausages?” I had no idea how to respond, really. It was the whole juxtaposition of the bathroom*, the nonchalance, and my inability to talk without coffee. I was flummoxed. But, yes, actually, I DO like sausages. Italian and summer are my favorite.
  2. *Just don’t dwell on it too much and it won’t get icky.

3. A furry white cat that was on death’s door a week ago. But more on that later.

4. Laundry. See #1.

I know the other stuff is normal (except for Steve, the cat but more on that later) but the older I get the harder it is to multi-task. It’s like my synapses just freak out and say, “Hey! Everybody! She’s trying to do that multi-tasking thing again! Take COVER!”” And there’s general running about and firing of synapses all over the place and waving of synapsey arms and mayhem.

I was trying to get (shove) my two boys out the door this morning for VBS, hoping for an hour to work on the lovely news, when I noticed that Red’s bed looked like he had piled every single one of his stuffed animals on it. It looked like this because, as I asked him for verification, “Mom, I piled every one of my stuffed animals on it! I have a kaJILLION!”

And that’s when I started in on Mom Lecture #3445, Clean Up Your Stuff Or It Will Go Away And You Will Have to Play with Sticks. 

Me: Red, you KNOW you are to MAKE YOUR BED every morning, and this is a MESS and-

Red: But, Mom-

Me: Hold on dear, I’m not to the sub points of the lecture. And FIRST OF ALL-

Red: But, MOM-

Me: One minute. FIRST OF ALL, it’s important to be RESPONSIBLE-

Red: MOM. MOMMY.

Me: AND ANOTHER THING-

Red: MOM THEY ASKED US TO BUILD THE WALL OF JERICHO IN VBS. IT WAS OUR HOMEWORK. AND I DID. WITH MY STUFFED ANIMALS. STRAIGHT UP BIBLE ACTIVITY ALL UP IN THERE.

Me: Oh. That’s adorable. And, they gave you homework? This VBS is hardcore.

Jesus and Red = 1 Mom = 0

 

Anyhow. I am now writing my little fingers off to tell you about THIS:IMG_6550.png

I’m working on another book. The publishing company actually wanted me to write another book. ANOTHER ONE.

Which, as you  know, means I am really a big deal.

Also, it’s possible I have had the worst case of writer’s block known to all writers in the universe (no hyperbole here) because FOLLOW UP IS SO NOT MY THING.

I’ll keep you posted. But, in fact, I won’t keep you posted as much as I would like because every stray minute that dangles in front of me is utilized in eeking out another painful sentence on this second-book thing. I am serious. Last night I wrote a sentence. Then stared off into space. Then deleted the sentence. More staring. Wept a little. Repeat. This must be what snails feel like all the time.

Poor snails.

I tell you this, so you will feel sorry for me. Just a teensy weensy bit? I always did like sympathy. I’m so not like those people who are all, “I don’t want your sympathy!”

I DO. I REALLY DO WANT IT.

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See?! This writing thing? It’s really hard! (To be honest, I think George might want to consider counseling.)

But, if not sympathy, then your prayers. My family and me need to survive together until the manuscript is done, and this morning I asked Blonde to provide me with a synonym for “glass” and he answered “Um, donkey?” and I just nodded and carried on.

Never ask an eight year old with bad hearing for synonyms.

I’m gonna try and stick with the donkey-half-full ideology that a second book is wonderful and exciting and such a blessing. And, it is happening because of YOU guys. So, I thank you from the bottom of my synapse-misfiring little heart.
I do love you so.

I lift my donkey of grape juice to you.

This book is gonna be so good, can’t you tell?

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Friday Movie Night. This is the Story of a Snail with a Dream.

No, really. It is.

Children’s movies these days have run quite the gamut in leading heroes. There’s mice and moose and, of course, scrappy hamsters, rats, and sponges.

If it can cutified and has a mouth (yes, who knew? Sponges have ’em. Unfortunately.) it can be made into a movie and a whole barge full of McDonald’s merchandise will follow.

Anyhow.

I have to tell you… When Turbo showed up on my Netflix stream, I added it to my children’s cue, and then forgot about it. We were busily ensconced in Thomas the Train and his Escapades in Not Listening, and I was quite happy with that. I like the music. I can’t help it. It has a rad beat.

Anyhow. During the Time of Sickness at our house, we leaned in on our Netflix account. We went all Sheryl Sandberg on that thing. We abandoned our Thomas and even his lowly stepbrother, Chuggington. We left the nutball baldness and primary colors of Caillou’s house.

We were at the end of our rope. We needed new material, ya’ll.

And so, along came Turbo, The SNAIL WITH A DREAM.

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Here’s a list of reasons why I love this movie:

1. Paul Giamatti. He plays Chet, the brother of the main character. Yes, he is a snail. He has a total insecurity complex and is phobic about nearly everything. He does NOT have a dream. He is afraid of his own snail shadow. I am pretty sure if he knew about his snail trail he would gross himself out and insist on hand sanitizer for everyone. ‘Course, that would probably kill him. I didn’t say he was the smartest. He’s just the most neurotic.

Which means… I LOVE HIM.

Because.. me! Me TOO. I, TOO, AM THE MOST NEUROTIC! Twinsies!

2. Samuel Jackson. He basically plays the same character he plays in every movie: crazy, Die Hard-ish, left of center. Kinda ready to snap at any moment. But, yes, also a snail.

3. “White Shadowwww.” I am not going to explain. You just have to see it. He is an enigma.

4.  Paul Hader. He plays the annoying French guy, Guy (pronounced Gee. No, not ‘jee,’ but GEE. Stay with me.)

5. And of course, Turbo. The SNAIL WITH A DREAM.

 

Let me circle back to reason #1 here. Chet, it seems, has a longing for safety and security. He is a snail, after all. Shell on back. Fear of salt. It’s his thing.

I too, am a bit of a security lover. I have a hard time paying our utility bills, for Pete’s sake. I get out the checkbook, and immediately think we’re all gonna end up in a van down by the river.

I too, fear salt. Heart attacks, ya’ll.

I don’t like dreams. Dreams are scary. They cause change. Change can be about as comfortable as a polyester thong after you’ve gained a few pounds.

So, as I watched Chet harangue his brother for daring to enter the Indianapolis 500 (What? So? He’s a snail, so what? It’s an animated movie. Snails can be speedy. They also can have great teeth and talk a lot. It’s OK) I could identify. I really could. It’s so much easier to just stay home, stay in your shell, and avoid the crows.

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I’m wondering if you can tell which snail is the Chet? The neurotic one? The Dream Killer? Small hint: He’s on the right.

 

I won’t tell you the ending. I know you are all rather intelligent readers, so you’re probably guessing that Turbo does not get eaten by a crow in a bloody, snail trail. That would be a whole different type of movie.

This movie made me laugh. It also, just for a minute, just a skotch of a minute, it made my eyes fill with tears.

 

Dreams. Scary things. But sometimes, with a lot of hard work, friends, and a firm belief in yourself, dreams can be realized.

 

PS. My book is supposed to be heading to the printers in May.

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To Every Thing There is a Season’s Greetings

 

I have been working hard on the book.

Do you have any idea how cool that is to say?  A book! And, this week, my friends, it is DUE. This Friday I am going to send it all, over two hundred pages of mah big crazy story, to my editor.

My editor, incidentally, is awesome.

Do you have any idea how cool it is to say THAT?

She is. She is kind and patient and has told me, repeatedly, “Yes, this is actually real, Dana,” with the air of someone spoon-feeding someone in the home…

Anyhow, I won’t be around this week. I get up at five am, I write when they boys are at school. I write in the tiny pockets of time that are awarded to me when both boys are playing kindly (a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!) and then I think about all that writing while I am doing other things, which, you know, is all of the OTHER time. This is just a season of extra busy-ness for me, right now. And when it’s over, what in the world will I do then?

So, last night, as I was making spaghetti sauce and trying to help Blonde spell “Christmas” and make sure Henry actually washes AND flushes, I ended up adding two more chapters in my head.

Because, sureTo+Survive+-+You+Must+Tell+Stories+Quote, I’VE GOT THE TIME.

This week, I probably won’t be around much.

Or, if I obsessively tweet pictures of kitties in Santa hats, you’ll know I might be going a little nutty. (The lawyer would like to interject here that the term “going” and “gone” are verrrrrry close and all that. Oh, he’s clever. I would like to interject about coal and stockings and Grinching yourself into a giftless corner, and all that.)

At any rate, I realize this post has absolutely no purpose except to share with you the progress on my book. And to also tell you, I am so grateful. The book is a gift; this blog is a gift; as I sit and write when it’s still dark outside and glance over at my glowing Christmas tree, I am just so thankful. I had a life once that was all walls and sharp corners and bitterness and despair. And now? Well, it’s certainly not all unicorns and rainbows, but the Big Book talks about “happy, joyous, and free” and it’s true.

As Ebenezer said,  “I don’t deserve to be so happy. (laughing) But, I can’t help it. I just can’t help it.”