“I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.”
Frank Lloyd Wright

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

When they talked about Easy Street I had no idea they meant Gillette, Wyoming
I keep having the urge to hug it. I mean, it exists. It is a thing that happened.
a dramatic rebuttal to the demons of doubt who live rent-free in my head
Mon 2014-07-21 23:20:26 (single post)

Today was all the tired. The pre-lunch session at the farm was weeding crop beds thick with bindweed; the post-lunch session was pruning tomato plants. I came home with a blister from the hula hoe, my arms neon yellow to the elbow from tomato foliage, and the small of my back sunburned quite dramatically from the sagging waistline of my Carhartts utility jeans.

And this the day after we got home from the weekend. Oh, Wyoming. You are so vast, so sunny and hot, so very without shade. Driving across you very nearly made my brain melt and our car overheat. That latter isn't hyperbole; we stopped to change drivers in Wheatland and discovered our radiator fluid was boiling over. That was special.

Saturday morning was relaxing, though. The joy of away bouts is, I'm not responsible for helping set up the track. I'm not expected to help tear down the track and reassemble it on Sunday at our practice location. So I got to sleep late, have a leisurely breakfast, and even take a little reconnaissance walk from the hotel to the afterparty location just to make sure I was familiar with it before I tried it at night, post-bout and post-alcohol. Walking from the Days Inn to Mingles, I went one block too far and found myself at the corner of Wyoming and E-Z Street. I had no idea that Easy Street was in Wyoming. That, also, is special.

You are probably antsy to know how the bout went. I will tell you. We won! The score was 323 to 70, which doesn't begin to tell the play-by-play story. The thing about roller derby bouts is, no matter what the score, every single jam feels like the game depends on it. Every single time you're out there, the intensity is high and the heat is on. Besides, the bout was at an ice hockey venue, using a hockey scoreboard, and there is no hundreds digit on a hockey scoreboard. I had no idea what the score was until it was all over.

("The score is always zero to zero," as my coach will tell you. "Don't even look at the scoreboard until the game is over.")

Also, the track was super slick. We were skating on the polished concrete surface that holds up the ice when the ice rink exists. It made it harder to stop, harder to slow, harder to turn around, and harder for our jammers to push on walls of blockers. Slick floors make for sloppy skating, which makes for more penalties too. Which means each jam was even more of a struggle for dominance, no matter what the scoreboard said.

Now, understand, we're the B travel team that went to Gillette this weekend. Our league's travel teams are filled by twice-yearly try-outs. At try-outs, we're each scored on our skills according to specific metrics. The skaters with the highest scores fill the slots on the "All Stars" A team (our WFTDA charter roster, who, by the way, are going to Division 2 Playoffs in August, and you have the power to help them get there). The next bunch get slotted onto the "Bombshells" B team. Once that fills up, everyone else is placed on the Shrap Nellies C team. At least, that's my understanding of how it works--I don't get to see the scores or the numbers, I just go to try-outs and then practice where they tell me.

I'm explaining this so you'll understand that I was, by actual objective standards, nowhere near the best skater on the track. Our roster included A/B crossover skaters--skaters who skate for both the All Stars and the Bombshells. Our roster included skaters who used to be A/B crossovers but are now full-on All Stars, but who came with us because a week simply isn't enough time to get the new post-try-outs roster ready to bout. I was often on the track with a line-up full of All Stars, and I'm more grateful for it than I can adequately express, because they have taught me so much about how to work with my line and how to communicate and how to hold the jammer and how to be immovable, stable and strong. I've learned so much from them, and I still have so much to learn.

The point is, when the bout is over and the teams come out of their post-bout huddle and announce who they've decided to give the Most Valued Player awards to, when the opposing team says, "And we'd like to give the MVP Blocker award to..." I do not expect to hear my name.

Which is why I stood there like a fool, eyes wide, asking, "You mean me?" And then there were hugs, and congratulations, and pictures, and me crying a little on John's shoulder because I was so stunned and delighted. ("Don't worry," he said. "No one can tell those are tears. You're too full of sweat.") And, oddly, relieved.

I've often said, there are few joys greater than getting to do what you love, than getting better at doing what you love. But I don't always feel like I've got a handle on how much I've improved, or whether I've improved at all. Despite knowing that I can now execute maneuvers I couldn't do last year, and that I'm more stable and have better pack awareness than I used to, there's still doubt. Mistakes often stand out more than triumphs in my head, not least because few of the mistakes go without comment from coaches or teammates. So there's always this half-conscious fear that I'll never be better than mediocre at the game, despite how much I love playing.

But I didn't really understand the extent of all that until Saturday night, when my interior reaction to the award was a huge, overwhelming, and unexpected sense of relief. "Oh, wow, I really am getting better, I really do have the potential to excel at this sport I love playing. Oh, thank goodness." Only then did I realize how much constant background noise of doubt and insecurity I'd been living with.

I'll be attending make-up try-outs this week, having been out of town on the original try-outs date of the 13th. As usual I'll be going into it nervous, aware that I'm capable of screwing it up, and holding no higher expectation than that I simply demonstrate improvement over my results from six months ago.

But maybe this time I'll go into it with somewhat less self-doubt.

a drabble where you can read it; also, revising away some story problems
Fri 2014-07-18 00:20:24 (single post)

I'm pleased to announce that as of today you can read my drabble, "Priesthood Has Its Privileges," on SpeckLit. The other drabble that SpeckLit acquired will appear on the site in September, so stay tuned for that announcement then.

A drabble is a work of fiction that is exactly 100 words long. They are compact and easy to digest, a nutritious part of your daily breakfast. Bookmark SpeckLit to add a new drabble to your diet every other day.

I'm less than pleased to announce that today I was... not as respectful, shall we say, as one should be, of the sharpness of the edge of the scissors blade I was cleaning off. The result is merely a flesh-wound, but there is nothing "merely" about that when it's across your index fingertip and you're trying to type. You ever heard a typo referred to as a "fat finger" incident? Bandaged fingertips are literal fat fingers, hitting two keys where one will do and generally wrecking one's wpms.

Thankfully, this flesh-wound came after a solid session of story revision today. It was solid not only as measured by the formula "butt + chair x time," but also from the standpoint of story problems solved, or at least brought closer to solved. To wit:

1) Raise the stakes. The story has an "OMG shit just got real" moment about halfway through, but I think the draft my friends read suffered from a bit of stall-out after that. The narrator gets home from encountering the "OMG" moment--and almost immediately forgets about it, or at least stops mentioning it, while she listens to some voice mail from her chatty and insufficiently worried friend. So with this revision I'm trying to keep the tension high by correcting both of those oversights. If I've done my job right, I've corrected them both in a single edit to do with what's in the phone message and how the narrator reacts to it.

Wow. That paragraph is a great example of why talking about writing is sometimes not the greatest idea. Trying to discuss a particular edit in generalities rather than specific detail results in hella confusion cum circumlocution. Well, I'm-a leave it up there, let it fend for itself, 'cause I know what I mean, and one day, publishers willing and the markets don't flop, you will too.

2) Everyone's got a story. There is a character in this story more talked about than talking, and it finally occurred to me I have to give him something to do. He's away in a ski resort with the chatty friend, which is to say, they're in what's basically a fancy hotel suite. I visualize it as a kitchen/living room, a bedroom, and a bathroom. That's it. Yet the chatty friend manages to leave our narrator phone messages that this other character in the room is not overhearing. How did I solve that problem in recent drafts? Well, apparently I had him taking a lot of naps. This... is not ideal. He is not meant to be the Amazing Hibernating Man. So with this draft I tried to figure out, well, what does he do while they're in the resort? Especially considering the special role he plays in the development of the plot? And how can I then reveal what he's doing such that it lays groundwork for later revelations?

So now he spends a lot of time sitting on the balcony out in the snow, oblivious to the cold, staring out into the storm. Which doesn't sound like much of an improvement, but in my head there is a reason. I just have to figure out how to make that reason more clear.

This blog post has been brought to you by a somewhat out of date bottle of New-Skin (R) Antiseptic Liquid Bandage. Protects small cuts without all that bandaged fingertip awkwardness! I think I'll go put on a second coat now. And buy a new, not-out-of-date bottle tomorrow.

select all, copy, paste, send
Fri 2014-06-20 23:45:13 (single post)
  • 6,270 wds. long

So, this story. This story that I began trying to write seriously since at least midway through 2011. This story that began with a dream from some undocumented time long before that, at least as early as May 2004. (At least, that's the date on the story's oldest draft.) This story that has been through multiple false starts and aborted attempts over the years to achieve a publishable revision of that original dream-scribble. This Gods-damned story.

It's finally finished.

That is, a respectable draft of sufficient quality to put before other readers' eyes--in this case, a small handful of friends who have been kind enough to volunteer to read it--is finished and has been sent off for their critique.

I will probably have another "Oh my Gods it's finally done!" moment when I finish the (probably post-critique) draft and submit the story to a market, mind you. (And that will probably be next week.) But just getting it to this point is huge. Once a story reaches the critique-ready stage, anything is possible.

(Just shut up about all the stories that have been through one or more critiques and still haven't reached the submittable stage. I'm getting to those, OK?)

So, huzzah and hallelujah! Io evohe and stuff! And also thunk. (That's the sound of me falling over in triumphant exhaustion. But you knew that.)

See you after the weekend.

STANDBY for drabble debut
Wed 2014-06-18 17:16:39 (single post)

Tomorrow we will return you to your regularly scheduled whining about the revision process. Today, we take a break for the happy dance.

About three months ago, I started writing drabbles so I could submit some to the all drabble, all the time market SpeckLit. For about two weeks or so, that's what I did during the half hour that I normally allotted to freewriting. It was a lot like freewriting--I used a prompt (usually the previous day's string-of-ten) to come up with an idea, and I ran with that idea for 25 minutes. Only difference was, I added a bit of whittling down and polishing up, so that when I was done I had a fresh new 100-word short story.

After those few weeks, I had a portfolio of eight that I was pleased with, and I submitted them.

Early this morning, the editor responded to my submission with an offer to publish two of them in the upcoming third quarter of the year, and a contract for me to sign should my answer be Yes. Why, yes!

When I know more--like, precisely when they'll go up, for instance, and whether the editor would prefer me not announce the titles before SpeckLit does--I will tell you more.

I do love acceptance letters. I love them all the more when they have the compassionate timing to arrive alongside rejection letters (yesterday I crossed another potential market for "Blackbird" off my list, and I intend to send it on a looooooong journey tomorrow). I love them any time they choose to pay me a visit. They should visit me more often.

(I wouldn't have whined very much. Today's revision session was actually rather enjoyable.)

got it written. next: get it right
Fri 2014-06-13 20:43:44 (single post)
  • 6,434 wds. long

My goal was to finish this draft of "Caroline's Wake" by the end of the working week, i.e. Friday evening. I'm pleased to say I have achieved my goal. It involved less stress than anticipated, too. I got to the end of the scene that was driving me nuts yesterday; the final scene fell into place today easily and naturally, as a denouement should. Ta-da!

To be painstakingly honest, I did not meet my entire goal, which was the have the draft done and ready for critique. As I worked on it yesterday and today, as I babbled to myself about it in today's edition of the Morning Pages, I discovered some small slight issues I'd like to clean up before letting other people's eyes take a gander. The "hot and heavy" part of the seduction scene needs some cleaning up, as the same energy that made it effective and effortless to write has undoubtedly also weighted it a little on the self-indulgent side. (Please feel free to insert whatever innuendo you want there. Far be it from me to spoil your fun and tell you to get your mind out of the gutter. You're obviously having a lot of fun down there.) And given that the story plays around the edges of some taboo/squick boundaries, it's important that the reader realize, or at least suspect, that the main characters are Goddesses. I need to make the hints about that a lot less subtle. Oh, it sounds unsubtle here on the blog where I'm all THIS IS A PERSEPHONE AND DEMETER STORY, GET IT, GET IT? But things are more ambiguous on the page. Which means that certain things a reader would kind of let fly because Oh, We're In Mythology Headspace, It's OK might instead make the reader go What? No. Just NO.

So there's still a lot of "get it right" work to do next week. But that's OK, because the "get it written" part is solidly done. And that's a huge relief.

Meanwhile--hooray weekend! And it's a weekend with no roller derby practice, because the league observes Father's Day as a holiday. Much as I love derby, it's nice to get a Sunday off and relax. But it will not be an entirely non-skating weekend, because I'll be rolling around during the G'Knight Ride festivities. Wanna come eat good food, drink a beer, jam to some great local music, and watch a roller derby mini-bout? It'll be in Roosevelt Park, in Longmont, 900 Longs Peak Avenue. The demo bout will be at 4 PM, Saturday the 14th, on the Roosevelt Pavillion. See you there!

maybe it really is that simple
Wed 2014-05-21 23:05:53 (single post)

Today I am all about libraries. I have one book checked out from the Boulder Public Library (Riggs, Ransom, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children), several from the Longmont Public Library (including the Riggs sequel, Hollow City), a couple of paperbacks bought for 50 cents each off the Longmont "Friends of the Library" book sale shelf (Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and Tamora Pierce's Magic Steps), and three more books I'm requesting holds for so I can pick them up at the brand new NoBo (North Boulder) Corner Library and hopefully read them in time to cast an informed vote for the Best Novel Hugo (the Stross, Leckie, and Grant. No, I have no interest in Larry "Sad Puppy" Correia or The Wheel Of Time: A Novel In 14 Parts. But thanks for asking!).

Me and libraries. We're like this, y'all. I wuv me some library.

I also get writing done at libraries, it would appear. And also at lunch. And also early enough in the morning that I'm still squinting. And sometimes even late at night after derby, in between mouthfuls of "hey, this is carbs too, right? So it's OK if I eat it? How about this?" (Did you know that a suggested serving of Haribo "Happy Cola" contains 3 grams of protein and 30 grams carbohydrates? That totally makes it a derby recovery snack.)

I am not sure exactly how today went better than yesterday in terms of Getting The Work Done, or honestly why I'm sure it did go better than yesterday. Seems like I did about the same amount of writing tasks and had the same amount of interruptions keeping me from them. But I feel a lot better about today than yesterday.

I'm not sure the answer is roller derby, since I was feeling pretty good about the day well before I went to practice. But it didn't hurt. Had a fantastic last team practice before the bout (y'all are gonna come watch us play Saturday, right?). We did a ton of drills that reminded us of all the awesome and absurdly effective tools that we've got in our toolbox. Also, it was New Recruit Night. Knowing that a handful of potential new derby skaters on the couches in the corner were watching us practice, it kind of put me in happy cheerful show-off mode. I want those gals to go home saying, "I got to watch the Bombshells practice! It was amazing! I want to learn how to do all the fantastic things they were doing!"

Definitely, roller derby helped. And going to Longmont early to visit the library, check out books, and write for another hour, that helped too. Also the bit about not having the painting project hanging over my head all day, that was nice.

But I think what really set the tone was--surprise!--getting up on time. Last night's hypothesis was, "In case of not enough time, add hours." So I did. I added about two of 'em. I got out of bed when John did (he has a daily 8:30 AM telemeeting with his geographically diverse coworkers) rather than sleeping in. And dang if I didn't use those hours for all sorts of shit. Grocery run, McGuckin's (hardware and housewares) run, going out to lunch with John and taking our time in leisurely conversation before settling down to our respective work-a-day tasks, taking my Wednesday volunteer reading at an unhurried pace and playing Puzzle Pirates while I recorded it... And, um, writing. I think I really will hit the 5-hour mark today. It's amazing how adding two more hours in the morning can add stretch to the whole day!

Note to self: Sleeping late is almost never as rewarding as adding two more hours to my morning is. Can we do more of this? I want to do more of this.

Check it out! All done! Well, almost.
Before and after, conveniently juxtaposed in real time
some things get done. some things don't.
Fri 2014-05-02 23:23:38 (single post)
  • 747 wds. long

Hey, check it out! The entryway is done! So... maybe from this photo it's hard to tell how nice that gold crown molding looks, but trust me, it's glorious. Better yet, it's no longer that "rotten peaches and curdled cream" theme that the unit had when we moved in. See the second photo for comparison, showing where the dining area (done) meets the living room closet wall (not done).

Again, realize we bought the place in August of the year 2000. It feels so good to be finally picking up this project again. It feels really nice to walk into the house and see those newly painted walls that at last look the way we've wanted them to look all these years.

Except--argh!--the entryway isn't quite done yet. You can't see it from here, but the doorjamb is still cream, splashed with white from the new paint job. We'll paint that on Tuesday. Then we'll decide when to tackle the next piece of house waiting for its makeover. And what that next piece of house should be. Probably that central "hallway" where the doors to the bathroom and the two bedrooms let out just off the living room.

Meanwhile, in writing news... More argh. I'll just say that, when the next scene of a short story looks impossible to write, suddenly Examiner articles look really attractive. One of these things I know I can do. And its completion state is easy to define.

"Look," I tell myself, "you don't have to get the scene right in one go. All you have to do is set a timer for 25 minutes and babble to yourself about what needs to be in that scene. Freewriting mode, right? Freewriting is fun!"

To which myself tends to reply, "Sure. Yep. Totally. Except--right after this quick blog article about some writing events this weekend, OK? Sooner I publish that, more useful it is, right? Because it's timely, see?"

It's so very easy to convince myself that I have good reasons for avoiding the thing I want to avoid.

Argh.

Tomorrow's another day, and next week is another week. That's always comforting to remember, even if--once again--there's only two more "another weeks" to go before the deadline I'm trying to hit is here and gone.

forgiveness sometimes means giving up
Thu 2014-05-01 23:14:38 (single post)

Well, there's a depressing title. Only it's not meant to be. It's more about the forgiveness than about the giving up, after all. And the giving up is only temporary. It goes something like this:

"If I haven't gotten it done by 11:00 PM, I shouldn't beat myself up trying to get it done by 1:00 AM."

See? Forgiveness. Giving up on getting a thing done today isn't really giving up. It's just deferring. And deferring is better than hurting myself with stress and unrealistic expectations.

"Hurting myself" isn't entirely metaphorical, or solely emotional. I've been stressing myself into mouth ulcers again lately. Mouth ulcers make eating difficult, and eating is one of my favorite things, so that nonsense has really gotta stop.

This new epiphany goes triple on Wednesday and Thursday nights. If it's unlikely I'll get productive work done after 11:00 PM normally, it's extra special unlikely after roller derby practice or scrimmage. And I'm feeling particularly beat up after tonight's scrimmage. At some point during the night I took a skate wheel to my right calf. It might actually have been my own skate wheel. Now that sucker's so bruised and tender that the simple act of walking is a challenge. And I took one of those hard side-hits that makes you feel like your ribs are about to fold in on each other like the wings of a butterfly or maybe the legs of a card table. Ow ow ow ow.

(I was jamming. One of the opposing blockers, hearing me whimper and not stop whimpering, said, "Just fall down, Fleur, it's OK, we'll take a knee and call the jam off," and I was all "Nope! (ow) Two minutes (ow) have got to end (ow) sometime..." Then the jam ended and I drifted off to the team bench, still whimpering. Have I mentioned I'm not a jammer? I'm so not a jammer. I jam like the unsophisticated blocker that I am: brute force all the way, and no agility to fall back on when that doesn't work. *sigh*)

So basically I'm good for nothing right now except downing a couple ibuprofen and also the entire order of chicken egg fu yong from Golden Sun. Wheeeeee food coma. And maybe reading the rest of Seanan McGuire's online "Velveteen" stories. (I'm midway through "vs. The Eternal Halloween" at the moment.)

And apparently writing a blog post in which I whine about stuff. Hi.

So I'm just giving myself permission to go easy on myself now, and leave anything yet undone for tomorrow. And I'm thinking about how they came to remain undone, and learning from that, and identifying mistakes in time- and energy-management I shouldn't make tomorrow. So that's a good thing too.

By the way, the house painting continues. The entryway now finally looks like the living room, in that it not only has white walls rather than cream, but gold crown molding rather than pink. I laid down the first coat of gold this afternoon, and John put the second coat on while I was at derby. It looks awesome. Now all it needs is the finishing touch, the sponged-on application of a red-gold glaze. We'll do that tomorrow when we have daylight again. It's a process that requires natural light, and plenty of it, to decide how much sponging-on is enough.

Then we get to decide when we're going to attack the next piece of our house that still needs painting.

Here's a hint: it won't be tomorrow.

he ain't heavy, he just wants new reading material
Thu 2014-04-17 23:13:47 (single post)
  • 6,000 wds. long
  • 2,850 wds. long

One of the real treats of my visits back home is getting to hang out with my brother. As kids, we were your classic case of sibling rivalry: nothing in common, irritated by each other's very existence, fighting tooth and nail all the time. As adults, we've become friends.

There's a part of me can't quite believe it. Habits die hard, after all, and my childhood relationship with my brother lasted from roughly age 6, the age I was when he was born, to age 18, when I went away to college. I haven't yet firmed up the habit of our adult friendship, since I'm only home two or three times a year for about a week at a time. And I usually see him for about four or five hours during each visit, tops. Most of that occurs during that one evening during each visit that I set aside to linger late with a beer or two and my laptop at the bar where he works. (It doesn't hurt that he catches my tab while I'm there.) So hanging out with him isn't just enjoyable. It's also a reaffirmation that, yes, we hang out. We're friends now.

Now, certain wags--most of them family members or other people who have known us since our tooth-and-nail days--will say that the reason we're friends now is we're no longer living together. Then these wags will laugh a big knowing laugh, winking and nudging, inviting me to admit that if my brother and I were housemates now we'd be at each other's throats within the week. These wags are, to put it bluntly, wrong.

Well. I shouldn't be too quick to state too firmly what would or wouldn't happen. It is given to no one to know what would have happen, as a certain fictitious Lion taught me many years ago. But I can at least state that I know myself better than many of these wags do. A lot better than one might expect. A lot of times, it seems the people who were adults while I was a child didn't actually begin to know me until I grew up. It's not just that adult-me isn't child-me. It's that many adults don't take a child seriously when she says, "This is who I am." They often assume that the child doesn't know shit, being a child and all, so they dismiss the child's claims to self-knowledge. So the adult ends up knowing very well the imaginary version of the child in their head, but often doesn't know the child at all. They express great admiration for the competent adult the child grows into, but they don't see how the seeds of that adult were there all along.

I'm reminded of this every time my mother asks me, "Hey, do you remember that time when you were little and you said...?" And she'll laugh. And I'll remember that time, and I'll bite my tongue and burn inwardly with old indignation, because I do remember that time. I remember exactly what was going on in my head when I said it. I remember how frustrating it was that Mom saw it as entertainment, a cute kid creating a cute anecdote for her to tell, while I was trying to put together a sincere expression of who I was, what I believed, what I needed emotionally. And now Mom's asking me to join with her in finding the memory a cute anecdote, because grown-up me must surely agree with her that child-me was tiresomely precocious but sometimes hella entertaining, right?

Anyway. That my brother and I are friends now has less to do with absence making the heart grow fonder, and more to do with time making grown-ups of us both. We are both more tolerant of other people's differences--heck, if we weren't, my marriage would never work. We're also both more easy to tolerate, having learned better how to make room for others in our worlds. And we've found things in common. We share stories of concerts we've gone to, drinks we've enjoyed, video games we've played, friends we've made and sometimes lost along the way.

And then there's the way siblings sometimes develop a sort of gently conspiratorial relationship as they grow up. They have better perspective now on the family that raised them, and, having gone through that experience as equals, they can compare notes. They start to get into cahoots with each other about it. They help each other understand the past, and they help each other keep an eye on the present as their parents grow older too. At least, so it was with my Mom and her siblings. So it is with me and my brother.

There are ways in which I can talk with Mom and Dad now that I couldn't then, but there are ways my brother and I can talk in which I'll never be able to talk with Mom and Dad. They will never entirely get out of the habit of seeing me as less mature, less wise in the ways of the world, less likely to have insights that are new to them and yet still true. Less likely, should our opinions differ, for them to see my opinions as valid, or me as having a right to them. To some extent, they will always feel responsible for my current outlook on life, and so every place where my worldview differs is a place where they are in conflict: Look how independent she turned out to be! ...and look how I failed to instill my values.

This isn't a conflict my brother's going to have with me. He was never responsible for me.

If anything, I'm the one who's a little guilty, now and again, of perceiving him through a limiting filter. He was five and a half years younger than me. I made a childhood career of dismissing him, underestimating him, feeling superior to him, and avoiding him. Sometimes I slip up and do to him what Mom does to me: "Hey, do you remember when you were, like, four, and you said...? Wasn't that hysterical?"

And so today I'm constantly in awe of the grown-up he turned into. I really shouldn't be. That grown-up was there all along, the same way I was there all along. It's oak trees and acorns, isn't it?

In any case, the things he remembers about child-me constantly surprise me. When the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie came out in 2005, my brother suggested we go together, because he remembered me reading him the books when he was young. When I played him the video of Lindsey Stirling performing the theme from the Legend of Zelda,he said, "I remember that was the first video game you really got into. You were writing down every single room in every single dungeon, every single square, every place where a monster came out--you were obsessed!" I had forgotten all those graph paper charts until then. The deep satisfaction of mapping my way through the first Legend of Zelda game--the first Nintendo game where you could save your progress, that's why the cartridge was gold--came back to me anew.

So anyway, it's Sunday, April the 6th, and I'm hanging out at the bar. We're having one of those long, rambling, segmented conversations that takes place in between and around his customers and friends. And--I forget how we got here--he says, "That reminds me. Why don't I have a copy of the book with your story in it?"

My brother wanted a copy of my first pro sale. Just... sit with that for a moment.

I can't even begin to adequately express how proud that made me feel. I mean, proud like a child bringing home her class project to show her parents. Look, Mom, Dad, look what I did! My brother--my little brother--wanted to look at what I did. Asked to take a look, unprompted.

It was like being the Grinch on Christmas morning. My heart grew three sizes, just like that. And I didn't even know it had room to grow.

Anyway, my brother texted me today to let me know that the copy of Blood and Other Cravings that I mailed him has arrived safely. I told him to be on the lookout for the print copy of Nameless #3 that I ordered for him, too. "Will do," sez he.

Um. Pardon me. I think there's something in my eye.

that writer dude just made my day
Wed 2014-04-16 22:16:15 (single post)
  • 6,000 wds. long

Today was full of sucky things. There was waking up with the same sore throat I went to bed with and realizing that it had invited its friend, the runny nose, over to stay the week. There was that beautiful and completely legal hit to the sternum that I took during roller derby practice that had me asking myself that question no one ever likes to ask themselves, "Is it a bruised bone or is it a broken bone?" (When blocking backwards, always turn your shoulder in toward the incoming hit. I mean, I knew this, but apparently it takes damn near injury to drive the lesson home.)

And then there was that same roller derby practice called off early due to a fire less than a mile away. (Our first clue was all of the power in the building going out, leaving us in pitch dark. Our second was when we opened the garage door to let light in, and we saw the big column of smoke to the south and west of us. Apparently some railroad ties at 1st and Martin were ablaze, and the fire burned through the power lines.)

But today also had a very lovely thing in it. It's a review of NAMELESS #3 on Amazon. Apparently the reviewer thought highly enough of my story to include it with those he singled out for specific praise:

"Lambing Season" is a thriller that stands on its own two legs and is as original as I have read....nothing like that one out there!

Between the head cold and the very sore sternum (and also the waking up early tomorrow to take my sore sternum to someone who can answer the above question), I'm going to bed early tonight. But! As I do so, I'll be hugging that sentence like a teddy bear while I drift off into happy dreams.

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