Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Laundry, Lice and Writing

The universe played a joke upon me. A couple of days after that post on doing laundry, I've been doing practically nonstop laundry. Why you ask? Not because I love it that much. No, the answer is lice.

Yes, those awful parasites that suck your blood, and multiply. Ick. I kept my kiddos home for a couple of days so that I could de-louse, de-egg and de-nit them completely. Thankfully, it was sunshiny, so we sat outside to do this task. I scraped their poor little scalps so hard, skin flakes were falling onto the books they were reading. But by Sat. the kids were free of these parasites. Just thinking about them makes my head itch. I was surprised that I never came across a single louse.

I remember from my days as a schoolgirl in India that we routinely got lice and we didn't have nice-smelling pesticide shampoos like we have here. Nope. We had industrial soap that left our skin raw. And once I think my mom rubbed kerosene in our hair to kill the critters. Ugh. We would go through each other's heads. I didn't mind popping eggs, but I remember my revulsion at having to squash lice in-between my thumbnails. Double ick.

Needless to say, it's been very busy around here. But after all that's been said and done, I'm finally penning the first chapters of my new book. Woo-hoo! I hardly write more than 2-4 pages a day, but yesterday managed to write a whopping ten. This is very unusual for me because I revise and edit as I go and it's a terrible habit because there are some days I end up deleting everything I've written. This time, I'm going to let my exploratory draft be just that ... a place to explore everything, even though I'm scared half the time to go places.

Such is the writing life at times. They say when life hands you a lemon, you should make lemonade. But what can you make from lice?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Laundry, Liturgy and Women's Work

It's been a balmy couple of days. I'm sure the rains are on their way, but how I love to hang out my clothes every chance I get. I confess that I actually enjoy doing laundry and most "women's work" -- the caring of children, cooking. Even cleaning can give me a sense of restoring order in the home. And my heart is at home. Oh, to be sure, the sheer routine can throw me in a funk, especially when it seems that I'll never, ever catch up. And when that happens, I take a break. But for the most part, it's the very dailiness that keeps me grounded, both in life and in writing.

Nancy Butts, my wonderful ICL Book Course instructor, introduced me to a new author -- Kathleen Norris. I found her slim book: Laundry, Liturgy and Women's Work a work of art. It resonated with me because she sees the spiritual even in humble tasks. I highly recommend this book.

Many of my short poems and stories are about our daily life with young children. Highlights published a poem: April Snow. Ladybug published Matching Socks. Yes, doing laundry has been good for me.

I hope you will all find solace and inspiration in the little things of life.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Lemonade Award

Bish kindly awarded me lemons -- I think to make lemonade -- and it reminded me of my childhood when we stored lemonade in large glass barrels. A small child could fit in one. I don't remember how we acquired these two barrels.

One year, we made the lemonade, and let the barrels sit out in the sun. Perhaps it was the way I had moved these barrels, but the bottom cracked without my knowledge. I remember running off to play with my friends. In those hot summer days, once our chores were done, we were free of adult supervision. I came back in time for supper and to my horror, the lemonade was more than half gone. Wherever the lemonade touched the cement, it was clean. I almost wanted to wash the entire cement path with the remaining lemonade, but we couldn't even manage to save the remaining lemonade. All our hard work, squeezing hundreds of lemons ... down the cement path and into the ground.

I have never forgotten the look of lemonade-cleaned cement. It's sparkly. Unlike Bish, who has lovely pictures, I have none. In fact, there is only one baby picture of me, and it isn't very attractive. On the other hand, both my brother and sister have very cute baby pictures that my parents took. I remember asking my mother why there are no baby pictures of me save that of me at two weeks, where I was scrunching up my nose and probably crying, and she said that I was the fourth kid and all babies look the same and besides, the cost of film had gone up.

There you go ... from lemonade to baby pictures to the feeling of chopped liver.

If you have a lemonade story, please share.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

SCBWI Seattle Writing-for-Hire / Agents

I haven't been here in ages and missed you all. So, if folks are in the Seattle area, please come and join us Wed. Apr. 8th at Seattle Pacific University - Demaray Hall, Room 150 at 7:00 pm. Please do say hello if you come.

I will be speaking along with two of my critique partners about writing-for-hire. It's an excellent way to keep writing and getting some cash flow. I have updated my website to add my handouts. See:

Here's the blurb from the website:

April 8, 2009 Mini-Session: WHOSE BOOK IS IT? THE PROS, CONS, AND HOW-TOS OF WRITING WORK FOR HIRE with panelists Molly Blaisdell, Vijaya Bodach, and Allyson Schrier. A publisher has a topic, a concept, maybe even a title. Now all they need is a writer. How can that writer be you? Our three panelists, who have written over 70 work-for-hire books in total, will share their collective insight in cracking this fun and lucrative market. When you can write to specifications and on tight deadlines, the results can include beautiful fiction and nonfiction books that children read, a real paycheck, and the boost of confidence that comes from being published.

Main Program: HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE: LANDING THE AGENT OF YOUR DREAMS with Holly Cupala. Think getting an agent is a waste of time? Impossible? How do you find the right agent for you? Holly decided to find out the hard way, the easy way, and every way in between before receiving two offers of representation. She’ll spill her secrets to help you find an agent, too. Holly wrote and illustrated many stories, articles, and crafts for publication before turning to writing for young adults. Her first novel received an SCBWI Work-in-Progress grant, and her dream agent sold it in a two-book pre-empt deal to HarperCollins for publication in 2010.