Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Commenting on Christine Fonseca's Blog

Today, I made a comment to Christine Fonseca's blog post. The comment turned into more of a blog post itself and in my own frenetic way, going from the topic of P.O.V. and writing tense, to Jonathan Franzen's writing style, I thought it a great example of a Manic Meandering:
When I am reading a novel I prefer past tense. Present tense to me, is for story pitches like for a screenplay or a TV script, etc. –just the pitch, mind you, not the actual material. I remember us talking about this when Temecula Valley Writer Group was more active –a lot of YA books are present tense and it has to do with building suspense because you can’t know whether the character is going to die or not since it is all happening as you read it. If the story is told in first person, I can see this, though I feel like there can still be plenty of suspense even when told in first person past tense –the reader may know that the narrator isn’t going to die (unless they are speaking from the great beyond…) but there are plenty of other characters who could die. (yay!)
However, if a story is being told third person, past tense, ANYONE can die! The main character, ANYONE! So I am still unsure why it is so popular for YA novels to be in first person present tense.
In Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Poisonwood Bible,” the story is told in first person by several different characters. ***SPOILER ALERT*** one of these characters dies, so this character is simply not a narrator anymore, and the others go on with the rest of the story.
I have no preference between first person or third person when I am reading a novel. It depends on which fits better with the story and I really have no rules about that. I don’t recall reading something and thinking, “This would have been better in third person…this would have been better in first person.” I have heard there is some “literary rule” that says that it is better to write a story in third person unless you are a very experienced writer. I’m not sure why that is (maybe if I was a more experienced writer, I would know…), but I try to follow it anyway: Perhaps because of my lack of college education, and my lack of ever getting paid for writing anything, I tend to cast aspersions on my own writing experience. Oddly enough, some of my favorite novels have either been in first person: Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and the above mentioned “Poisonwood Bible,” Or they have been in letter format: Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Everything is Illuminated” and Stephan Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which has the feel of first person because the people in the letters ARE speaking in first person.
How do I decide whether to tell a story in first or third person? If it is my OWN story about something that happened to ME, first person (I guess that’s kind of obvious) –unless I want to fictionalize it, then third person. If I started to write a novel or short story in third person and it seemed like telling it from one or more character’s first person P.O.V. then I will go back and re-write/write it that way.
I like to tell a story in third person from the P.O.V. of many different characters. I either dedicate an entire chapter to a new P.O.V. or I will make a page break if the P.O.V. changes in the middle of a chapter. Either way, I want it to be clear –unlike Jonathan Franzen’s “The Twenty-Seventh City,” where he has character P.O.V. and location changes right in the middle of a paragraph with little to no segues! I swear, if I had been reading the paperback version and not from my Nook, I would have thrown that book across the room several times! Fortunately, (for him and for us) Franzen’s style has improved over the years.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blog Party!

I am "meeting" so many writers today! A writer, Carolina Valdez Miller in my friend's (Christine Fonseca) blog chain just signed with an agent!! There is a long list of blogging writers who are helping her to celebrate by giving away a bunch of great swag! Visit Carolina's site or Christine's site to learn more.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Busy reading the Bar Karma website and thinking about helping develop an episode. Www.currenttv.barkarma.com

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Just Stuff

Watching Bobby Flay's Ireland. Makes me want to go to cooking school. In Ireland. We had stir-fry tonight. Amanda made it under duress.  She didn't put enough veggies in it. Like barely any. Ugh. The flavor was good though. She did a good job with the chow mien noodles. A Kohl's commercial is on. I feel like they are a more expensive version of Mervyn's. I miss Mervyn's.  I wish it would come back, but it won't. It has gone the way of The Broadway, Bullock's, Robinson's, May Company. At our mall we only have J.C. Penny, Sears and Macy's. The Macy's Men, Children and Home store is where our original Macy's was and the Macy's Women is where our Robinson's May Co. used to be.

This woman is boiling the potatoes in sea water!

Awww, he brought his 14-year-old daughter, Sophie.  He just made her eat some blood pudding. She was like, "Eww!" She tried it though --she nibbled it, but was not impressed.

Charley is making a big project out of cleaning out Nick's room. Getting things in boxes for him, etc. He has found a lot of things we all thought were long lost--like a lot of his tools and dishes, cups, mugs, flatware...

After I post this, I will probably either go back to playing mahjongg online while watching Bobby Flay, or maybe I'll knit while watching Bobby Flay.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Late But Ontime

Another late post. Posting from my phone so it won't have a title till i get online in the morning. My youngest was home sick with a high fever and had been throwing up in the early morning hours. I've been spending most of the day working on a hat for my sis-in-law. Kind of a complicated pattern so it's been frustrating at times. Watching "Fringe" now.


Is it too late to post for it to count?? Yikes. I just now remembered!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Starting this at 11:14pm on March 9! It suddenly occurred to me I hadn't posted anything for today. Last night --actually, early this morning around 1am, I was tossing my cookies. About 4 separate times. Still felt shaky most of today, but gradually worked my way up the food chain throughout the day so I'm hopeful that I'll feel better tomorrow. I guess we'll see...

I'll let you know!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


The only comment I have for today is that I am tired of my cat lying here all day passing silent but deadlies.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Charlie Sheen Is Awesome!

I really like Charlie Sheen. I'm not a CS worshiper or anything. I have no aspirations to become one of his goddesses by any stretch of the imagination. I have my own Charley for whom I am a goddess. I do think that Sheen is a frustrated gifted adult who at one time was a gifted child. At least that is what I see in him when I watch his interviews and his live streaming TV program on the internet. Sure, he comes off as a bit self absorbed, but so what? He's being real, being himself, not pretending to be something he isn't just to win over public appeal. I love watching him mess with the media people. I'm staying tuned to see how this all plays out. 

On another related note --his book of poetry, A Peace of My Mind came out way back in 1999. I remember him on a talk show reading from it and I thought, "Wow, that's actually quite good! I'm going to pick up a copy of that."  And then I never got around to it.  Now that he is promoting it again, I want to pick it up, but now if I go out and get it, I'm worried I'm going to be perceived as only now jumping on the bandwagon. Maybe I should take a cue from Charlie and just get it because I want it and forget about what other people think.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Cool Tunes

Just got back from a friend's anniversary party and enjoyed some good music! Ron and Kathy Kempton were the honorees and Ron was the main vocalist and lead guitar. Devon Eisenbarger from Soul Missive is the female vocalist and guitarist. I don't know the name of the guy on the left. The video was taken by my husband using my Motorola Flipside, so sorry for the shakiness and the poor picture quality.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Can't Write Right Now

I can't write right now. I want to, but I can't. It's not that I don't have anything to say, I mean I loved the writing prompts at CHPerc, but here I am, sitting on my bed, typing away at the computer. I look up and there is a giant wall mirror facing me. We have an "open" room design so there is just this archway that separates the main part of the master bedroom from the bathroom area. I look up and see myself and I see my husband leaning back on the bed. He is closing his eyes, but I know he is wondering if we are going to have our appointment tonight or not. So I'm kind of feeling the pressure of that and it's making it hard to concentrate on writing. 

As I was typing out that last bit, he got up and got out his laptop and now he is getting on his computer, so I guess some of the pressure is off. It isn't that I don't want to fulfill our appointment, it's just that I want to get my writing in. I really wanted to write a little fiction piece that would incorporate one of the prompts from today. Now that he is on his computer, all I can think about is getting back to my book....it's a collection of essays by Jonathan Franzen.  It's called, "How to be Alone." I just started reading it on my Nook. After I read "The Corrections," I was going to take a break from Franzen and read "Fight Club," but I ended up loving it so much that I wanted to read more of his work. Maybe I'll just finish all the Franzen in my library before I move on to "Fight Club."

I was finishing up with reading "The Corrections" all day today which is why I didn't post anything earlier --when I would have been able to concentrate better --although, come to think of it, maybe I'd just be thinking about how I want to finish my book and not be able to concentrate on writing anyway.   Once I finished it, it was time to go to the movies. My older daughter and her boyfriend took my younger daughter and her friend to see "Rango." My husband and I went to see "The Adjustment Bureau" which was amazing! And then at the end of the film it says that it was based on a short story called "The Adjustment Team" by Philip K. Dick! I love him! Now I must read that story!

I am getting itchy to read the postings in my CHPercolators group, so see ya tomorrow!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Too Tired To Write

I am just freewriting at the moment. Too tired to come up with a story to write and wanting too much to continue reading my Jonathan Franzen novel (no, not "Freedom," "The Corrections").  My youngest is having a friend over for the weekend two rowdy, silly 10-year-old girls.  Over the weekend, the plan is to see "Rango" (for the girls) and "The Adjustment Bureau" for my husband and me.  Laundry must me done, but my tennis elbow says "No!"  Also, we have an anniversary party to attend that I really don't want to attend. Maybe I'll get a migraine? No, I guess not. I'm just having a surge of my "agoraphobia" I guess.  I'm feeling very impatient about writing at the moment. I can't wait to stop and either get back to the book I'm reading or get back to playing Mahjongg online.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

No Worries

"Adelaide Simpson?" The petite dark-haired woman carried a clipboard and looked around the room for movement.

"That's me," a heavy-set woman with fair skin used her arms as leverage on the arm rests of the chair to push herself out of her seat. She hooked her arm through the handles of her purse, then did the same with a different purse that had yarn and knitting needles peeking out of the top. Finally, she looked around and under her seat, picked up a water bottle that still had chunks of ice in it and beads of condensation all over and walked toward the woman with the clipboard.

"My office is just down this hallway and around the corner here," said the woman with the clipboard, "Oh, and I'm Muriel Farmer," Muriel held out her hand as she continued down the hall. Adelaide gave a small congenial smile, switch her bags to her left arm and met her handshake. "Just have a seat anywhere," as they entered the office, Muriel nodded her head toward a couch and a couple of chairs on the left. Muriel sat behind the standard metal office desk on the right and looked over the intake form on the clipboard that Adelaide had filled out when she arrived. Muriel smiled pleasantly and looked up at the woman sitting across from her on the chair, "So how did you hear about us?"

"My friend, Sandy Mirkel recommended it to me when I told her about my situation."

"That name doesn't ring a bell with me, but perhaps she worked with one of our other specialists. I see here, your husband's name is Jeff and he works at Downey and Downey, LLC?"

"Yes, he's up for partner review in the spring." 

Muriel raised her eyebrows, "I see. So if he makes partner, I assume he'll be spending more time at work?"

"Well, actually, he'll get two weeks off before he starts as a partner. He says he should actually be able to spend more time at home since he'll be able to delegate work to the associates and the paralegals…" Adelaide's voice trailed off.

"But you have your doubts?"

"I just keep thinking he'll continue to find reasons to stay away from the house or lock himself in our office at home until late at night and then he leaves before the sun is up. I don't know how he seems to get by on so little sleep."

"In your intake form here, you only checked `Irons his own clothes' for what he does to help around the house."

"He says I don't do it the way he likes it, so he has to do that himself."

"Okay…he doesn't work in the yard? Or do you not have a yard?"

"We have a guy that comes by once a week and mows the grass and trims and stuff like that."

"And have you asked him to help more around the house?"

"Sometimes I've asked him to help with dishes or help me fold laundry on the weekends, but he just says that since he works so many hours during the week, he wants to relax when he gets home and that I should be able to take care of all that since I'm home with the kids all day."

"I think I have the basic idea. It looks like you've filled out the forms completely. I just have some papers for you to sign and then we'll be done here." Muriel opened her file drawer and pulled out three forms. "Just sign at the places indicated."

Adelaide skimmed over the papers, signed all three and handed them back. Muriel stood up and held out her hand. "Thank you very much for coming in Mrs. Simpson. We have a 30-day money back guarantee and you should expect to see results by the end of the week unless any unforseen occurrences arise, in which case, we will contact you immediately."

Adelaide stood up uncertainly. "That's it? You don't need any more information than that?"

"That's it. You gave us everything we need and our specialists will do the rest. You won't have to worry about it."

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bad Kitty

(My nine-year-old daughter drew this in Paint.)

We have two 10-year-old cats. Actually, they might be 11 by now. Snickers, the Bombay is soft and black and used to look like a miniature panther in her younger years. She has a condition where her hips dislocate which makes her limp along and not want to get as much exercise as she used to. As I type this, she trying to soften up my Nook case so she can use it as a pillow. She is the good kitty --unless she decides the the cat box is optional when it comes time for her to remove the solid waste from her bowels. Recently, we purchased a "self-cleaning" cat box so this has been much less of an issue. Now one might think that finding cat poop in places other than the cat box would be worse than finding cat pee in places other than the cat box. One would be so very, very wrong.

This brings me to Max. Max is a gray and brown tabby. In recent years he gradually decided that the cat box was only for bowel movements, but the rest of the house, especially clothing was the best place to urinate. Now Max had long since been neutered so it wasn't an issue of him needing to spray every where. At first, we tried to make sure the litter box was pristine, and even then it wasn't so bad because he was mainly going on dirty laundry that hadn't made it to the hamper, so we could simply wash the clothes, throwing in a splash of Pine-sol for odor control.

We gave him some leeway since he was getting older and he didn't have that same spring in his step that he used to have when he was younger. I could go into more detail about how our house always seemed to smell slightly of cat pee due to our wall to wall carpeting (except in the kitchen and a small section of the bathrooms). The cat box was kept in the office, but sometimes they would slightly miss and, well, you know.

In June of last year I inherited some money from my grandma. We decided ("we," meaning, "me.") That we would use the money to re-paint and re-floor our almost eleven year old house that had not seen a new coat of paint or new flooring since it was built in 1999. Now, not only do we no longer have a single white wall in the house, but every last bit of floor with the exception of the office has vinyl plank flooring which looks like dark stained wood flooring. The office now has commercial carpeting and is a cat-free zone. We hoped the lack of carpet would dissuade Max from peeing outside the box, but it did not. At least now when he missed it was on the much easier to clean vinyl floor.

Then we got new furniture for the family room. An over sized rocker-recliner, a love seat that reclines in both seats and a sofa that doesn't recline, but it can used for reclining ;-) All in matching dark brown micro fiber that has a suede look to it. We were fools. Because Max had not peed on the sectional sofa we used to have in the family room, we thought we were safe. Sadly, Max felt the need to christen the sofa the very
first night we got it. We bought special odor control cleaner from the pet store and that seemed to help. We were still giving Max some leeway because we figured he probably peed there because he had already been up there sleeping and was too stiff to jump down and walk to the cat box.

Then one day, my husband was out in family room as he watched Max jump up on the sofa and the jump to the top of the back rest of the sofa. He didn't think much about it at first because Max often liked to drape himself across the backs of couches and large stuffed chairs. Then he realized Max wasn't lying down. Max was peeing on the top of the couch! He actually made a special deliberate attempt to get to the top of the couch so he could relieve himself right there! That was the day when Max went from being a parttime outdoor cat to being a full time outdoor cat. He now has his own catbox and food and water set up in our garage, along with two different "hidey-hole" places for him to sleep. During the day we keep the garage door open a crack so he can come and go as he pleases.

He isn't allowed in the house unless he is under very close supervision. Today, I came home from helping out in my younger daughter's 4th grade class, went to my room and turned around to find that Snickers had snuck up behind me and was standing by her water bowl that we keep in our bathroom giving me "that look." So I refilled her water bowl and continued to go about my business when I suddenly realized there was another "cat presence" nearby. I peeked through the crack of my almost closed bedroom door, and
there was Max, just sitting there, looking up at me. I opened the door wider and said, "Max, what are you doing in here?"

"Nevermind that," Max replied, "I need to show you something! Come on! Follow me!"

So I followed him down the hall toward the kitchen.

"Are you coming? Come on!"

"I'm coming! Yeesh!"

Max stopped in front of the food and water dish that was now supposed to be solely for Snickers and said, "Look at this! There is hardly any food in this bowl and NONE of it is canned food! Also, the water bowl could use a bit of refreshing as I noticed there is a microscopic speck of dust in it." He then proceeded to make his eyes become rounder and larger than normal so that my abilty to pick him up and put him back outside would be hampered. Because of this tactic, I was forced to refill the food bowl with dry cat food and then found another bowl and poured some of his wet food into it, which he greatly appreciated.

I refilled the water bowl and while he was busy eating I did some detective work to try and figure out how Max managed to get inside. After a little bit of texting, I found out that my 19 year old daughter had forgotten to let the cat out (I didn't even know she had let him in) before she left for her environmental science class.

Since Max was still busy eating, I decided I'd better keep an eye on him, so I grabbed my water bottle, my Nook, and my phone and sat down on the family room couch. I ended up using my phone to post this because I didn't want to bring my computer out here. As I am typing this, Max is currently curled up
on the recliner looking very content.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

NaBloPoMo and Percopotomus

In my Yahoo! Group writing group, Coffee House Percolators which is an offshoot of www.coffeehouseforwriters.com, we are doing a ten day writing marathon which we have named "Percopotomus." It began on February 22.  I am also participating in National Blog Posting Month. Again. I am hoping that the momentum I built up participating in Percopotomus will help me to finally write something all thirty-one days in March.

One of the writing prompts for today was: The humble bumble bee. So I wrote a somewhat lame poem:

Yeah, I know some of the rhyming is a bit of stretch...

Trumble the humble bumble bee
Buzzed from flower to flower by the sea

Whether it was cloudy or it was sunny
So he could make some first rate honey

Then one day
To his dismay

He found a flower with no pollen
Leaving Trumble quite crest-fallen

He did not know it was made of plastic
Which Susie MacDougal thought was fantastic

Because they helped her allergies
by not sneezing from flowers nor getting stung by bees.