Thursday, January 31, 2013

When the well runs dry

In December I was full of column ideas.  I almost couldn't write them down fast enough.  But this month?  All the idea arteries in my brain have hardened.  LIKE CONCRETE.

HOWEVER!   I have deadlines.  DEADLINES!  What to do, what to do?

I look back at the week I just had and identify a moment when I was feeling something--anything!--strongly.  And then I see if I can turn that moment into some kind of narrative.  This week I was extremely annoyed when a driver nearly ran me off the road because he didn't see me.  Why didn't he see me?  Because he hadn't scraped the snow off his windows.

A small moment, I know.  But still.  I got a rant out of it.  Wrote it down.  E-mailed it to Editor Lisa.  Waiting to hear from her now.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This Week's Prompt

Last night I told my fabulous class at the Alta Club that I would share the weekly prompts the North Carolinians are sending me and Ken so that we can (somewhat painlessly) write our life stories.  This way they can use the prompts, too.

See how awesome and generous I am?

Okay--this week's prompt:  "What is your earliest memory?"

This one's easy--the day they brought my brother John home from the hospital.  I was 2 1/2 and the Belle of the Baby Ball at our house.  But I was completely upstaged by this skinny red new sibling who commanded everyone's attention from the moment he walked onto the family stage.

I can remember looking at him on his little blanket with smoldering resentment  as everyone crowded around, taking pictures.  NOT OF ME.  I almost felt contempt for my dad, who was busy making goofy faces for the baby.

Okay.  Maybe not contempt.  Sympathetic embarrassment--the kind of embarrassment you feel for someone who apparently isn't feeling embarrassed for himself.  So I decided to run away.

First I ran away and hid in the basement.  No one came looking for me.

Then I ran away outside and stood underneath the crabapple tree in our front yard.   No one came looking for me.

So then I went back inside and began the process of resigning myself to my fate, much as Soviet dissidents resigned themselves to one way trips to some distant archipelago . . .

(Don't worry.  I didn't hurt him.  Very much, anyway.  And we're friends now that he's a lot bigger than I am.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Now HERE'S something that can really make me mad . . .

So today I took my two year-old granddaughter, Bean, (not her real name) to buy cupcakes at Mini's.  (I read her the sign out front that says, "Cupcakes make you happy," to which she responded, "But food makes you sad."  I will make it my life's work to change her mind about this, you can be sure.)

Anyway.  I bought a blue cupcake for her and a pink cupcake for me, which I took home and put way, way, WAY up high so that certain dogs in this house could not get it.  And I thought all was well until I heard an ominous crash.    I charged downstairs and found Zora (aka "Sasquatch") with the cupcake box in her mouth, and really my eyeballs exploded out of my head I was seeing so much red.   RED!  DO YOU HEAR ME?

Big dog eating tiny cupcakes?  Yeah.  That'll make me come unglued every single time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

An update on what I am reading now

I remember Becky once told me she just felt better in every way when she had something to read.  I've been trying to up my game on the reading front lately, because I think the same holds true for me.  Here's a list of books I've finished in the last six weeks.  By way of disclaimer--some I read closely, others I just skimmed.

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson.  The newest title in her YA Shades of London series.  I like the voice in these books--Johnson is always a pleasure to read--but this book felt a little like the second movie in the Back to the Future movies, its primary purpose being to set up the next installment.  I kinda resent that as a reader.

(Which, btw, I could go on and on and on right now about how it feels like the stand-alone novel is a dying breed in the world of children's publishing.  Correct me if I'm wrong. I would, in fact, love to be wrong.)

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.  I wanted to love this book, as it turned out I only liked it.  Not quite sure why.  For me the book was most interesting when he discussed the books he and his mother read together.  I liked that they had such a broad range of tastes, especially given the fact that both of them were/are so highly literate.

Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky.  I always feel obliged to say this--lots of language in this book, so if that's not your thing, be forewarned.  Read this book and you'll see the whole "hospitality industry" in a completely different light.  Brash and breezy.

Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander.  Louise and Tom gave me this book for Christmas, and I read it pretty much in a single setting.  Not sure it would make a believer out of a non-believer, but I felt very comfortable with his experience and the way he described.  The fact that he's a brain doctor gives him some cred.

Mr. Penumbra's Twenty-Four Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.  The thing I love most about this book is that Geoffrey gave it to me for Christmas.  I always enjoy the books Geoff gives me.  I think I mentioned earlier that this is kind of a cross between The DaVinci Code and The Name of the Rose but funnier and more likable than either of those books.  I LOVED,LOVED, LOVED the first half but grew a little impatient with it the second half.  Sometimes I think this kind of book has a hard time bearing the weight of its own suspense.

(Side note and personal:  my own personal favorite of my books is THE LOSER'S GUIDE TO LIFE AND LOVE, a book that plenty of people have dismissed as being lightweight.  I don't see it that way at all--I see the tone and treatment as being light-hearted, which is a different thing.  After reading Penumbra, though, I sort of understood that criticism of my own book a little better.  So I FORGIVE ALL YOU CRITICS OF MY BOOK.  I GET IT NOW.)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blogging every day, 2013

So far I've made it.  And I am enjoying it.  A LOT.

I was going to do a proper post tonight, but I've got The Sick again--a cold and cough thing this time.  Hoping it's not the influenza bug.

Anyway.  This is by way of explanation re today's shabby post.

Hope you're all well and warm.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Column Alert!

I've been posting these on Sunday, but I'm going to take a little time tomorrow and do something Ken Baker tagged me on.  So here's this week's column.

Have a good weekend, all.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Prompt Journal

Son Numero Tres and his bonita esposa gave Ken and me a lovely gift this Christmas--journals in which we write our life stories using prompts.  This week the prompt was about our names and how we got them.

Of course I know where my middle name, Louise, came from.  It's a family name--TRQ and my grandmother share it, too.  And I've always liked that it means "warrior maiden."  YES!  WATCH ME TAKE OUT MY SWORD AND HEW OFF SOME ARMS!

When I was younger, however, I was massively disappointed in my first name.  Ann.  Ann without an "e."  So boring.  So vanilla.  So not memorable.  When I was in the sixth grade I used to pretend it was short for Angelique.  Not just Angelique.  Angelique Dawn.

So yeah.  Apparently I was a frilly girl in the sixth grade.

Anyway, I asked TRQ last night why she selected that name and she couldn't remember other than the fact that it wasn't a "cutesy" name.  She didn't want me to be named "Tiffany" like all the other girls my age.

Okay.  I can totally promise you there were hardly any girls in the 50's being named "Tiffany."  We had to wait until the 70's for that particular crop of babies.  But I got her point.  And the older I've gotten the more I've appreciated the simplicity, the directness of the name she chose for me.

Well done, TRQ!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Unicorn haiku!

My friend Anne Holman gave me a magnetic unicorn poetry kit for Christmas, and yesterday I was in the mood for some unicorn haiku.  You know how it is.  Some days you just wake up and say to yourself, "Damn, I'm in the mood for some good unicorn haikus.  And also a slice of key lime pie, which I neglected to buy yesterday at Niche."

Anyway.  I'm pleased with this.  I like virgin moons a lot.  I also think that last line is moving.  High five, me!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A (spoken) word of advice

I've said this before and I'll say it again--one of the most important things you can do to improve your writing is to read ALOUD what you've written.  Better yet, get someone else to read what you've written ALOUD to you.  It's just amazing the things you'll pick up--repetition, diction issues, pacing problems, all manner of howlers.

I just read this aloud, and I think it's good to go!

Now I am going to give some serious thought to buying a piece of key lime pie from Niche this afternoon.  Take out, of course.  I don't feel like dressing up today.  Not even for key lime pie.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A tale of two neck sides

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times . .

That's all I could think of today when I was buying clam chowder at Market Street this morning.  I was helped by a guy with tats, and (as always) I asked if getting the tats hurt.  I don't feel the least bit embarrassed or hesitant to ask this question, because I have learned over the years that guys with tats like to talk about their tats, and so I oblige them.  Because yeah.  I am weirdly interested in stuff like why people choose the images they do.

(Once when Becky and I were eating at a cafe here in town, I asked our server why he had pumpkins and skeletons and tombstones all over his arm and he said, "In honor of my dead girlfriend."  So that night I said to Ken, "Don't get tombstone tats on your arm when I die, okay?  Unless, of course, you want you.")

Anyway, when I asked my helper at Market Street today if the tats hurt, he pointed to the left side of his neck and said, "I fell asleep when they did this one."  Then he pointed to the right side of his neck and said, "I cried like a little girl when they did this one."

Same tats.

Same neck.

Different experience.

Isn't the human being an interesting thing?

Monday, January 21, 2013

The kindness of grownups in California, pt. 1

This weekend while I was in Anaheim, I was filled with memories of previous California visits--especially the first when I was nine years old because that's when I first (naturally) saw the ocean.

The way I remember it is this:  we came up over a hill and suddenly this mammoth gray-blue beast (aka "the Pacific") came into view, its scaly back sparkling in a late afternoon sun.  In what was truly a wonderful family moment, my parents decided we'd get out of the car right then and there.  No waiting. My dad parked on the side of the road, we climbed over a guardrail (at least this is how I remember it), and my brother John and I went whooping down to the water while peeling off our clothes.  Or most of them anyway.

There could have been other people around.  It seems likely, right?  It was a beach.  In southern California.  But as far as I knew there was only us and an endless horizon.  I can still remember how the moving water felt, curling up and foaming around my little girl ankles.

This weekend I sent brainwaves to my parents in freezing cold Provo, thanking them for jumping all over an idea that presented itself spontaneously and for not saying (as I probably would have when my kids were little), "We'll do that another time."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

This week's column, kids!

Got back from Anaheim tonight.  My daughter-in-law and I had a FAB time running (through Disneyland) for the Tinker Bell Half.  All in all a satisfying weekend--I especially enjoyed our trip to Newport yesterday.  Drove past The Crab Cooker and loved the sign outside:  "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

I think that will be my life motto for a few days.

Meanwhile!  Column!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I'm in So Cal tonight, getting ready to run the Tinker Bell Half tomorrow morning.  Should be interesting, given the fact I haven't run much since the marathon.  But it's been nice to feel the sun on my face and to eat pasta like it was my job.

Bad wifi connection.  More tomorrow.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Something I love about January

The fact that two of my boys were born during the month thereof.

Today is Number Four's birthday.  Monday belonged to Number Three.  (I am calling them by numbers btw because occasionally I try to respect family members' privacy, although some days I apparently don't care.)

Anyway.  I am not making it up when I say that the days I gave birth were the best days of my life.  When Number Three was born, the air all around was filled with a soft and quiet snow, and I could feel peace settle like a quilt.  And when Number Four was born I thought I had never seen such perfect little hands, all delicate and alive.

Hey, boys!  I love you.  Thank you for the all of it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cold Mountain

I realize that title could describe where I'm living right now.  A damn cold mountain in Utah.

HOWEVER.  The title refers to the novel published in the late 90's, which everyone I knew read except for me.  I see now that I can't blame my kids' contrariness on their father alone.  I, too, have the Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) going on, which is why I never seem to read popular books while they're burning up the charts.

Anyway.  I'm listening to the audiobook now, which leads me to make these observations:

1.  I've said this before, but there's a real pleasure in having someone read to you.  It's like being in the sixth grade all over again when you came in from recess and lay your sweaty little head down on your desk and listened to Mrs. Jugant read A WRINKLE IN TIME to the class.

2.  The book moves at a slow pace.  But in this case I am grateful for it, because the pace does afford me the opportunity to absorb the language which is truly wonderful without being overly self-conscious the way language can be in contemporary literary novels.

3.  The Civil War was one of the great American tragedies.  Just . . . wow.

(Memo to Jake:  You see how I am making an effort to comment on what I'm reading?)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

And here's how columns get written sometimes

For some reason during the months of November and December, I knew well ahead of time what I was going to write about.  In fact, I had the columns blocked out on my snazzy white board.  And I thought to myself, "Hey!  I'm in the groove here!  Ideas will just come pouring out of me from now on!"

Then?   January.  And my brain froze.  It turned into a big old chunk of brain ice.  Nothing flowing through that thing.

I write my columns on Wednesdays, and by yesterday I was seriously alarmed.  NO IDEAS!  NO IDEAS!  Until I saw Ken thumb through a phone book, and I thought to myself, "Only old people like me and Ken use phone books."  And suddenly an idea was born . . .

I say this over and over again, but it bears repeating:  have a little faith in the process, people.  Believe that ideas will come.  And they will.

Especially when you have a deadline.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

Tonight Ken and I both had obligations at the Alta Club.  But whereas I only had myself to transport, Ken had two others.  So he found me there in in the library, and we traded keys so he could have the bigger car.

Anyway.  I finished before he did.  So yea verily I went out into the frigid night to the parking lot across the street and began searching for Ken's car.  I searched and searched and searched.  And the longer I searched, the more frozen I became.  In fact, I began to feel like an ill-fated one-person handcart company out there in the aching night.

Still.  I could NOT find the car.  Even though it's a sports car.  The kind which definitely does NOT hide its light beneath a barrel.  Or bushel.  (Or is it a basket?)  Or whatever it is that lights typically hide under.

FINALLY I called Ken because we can do that now.  We have cell phones in America.  And he said, "Oops.  I forgot to tell you.  I didn't park in the parking lot."

This all put me in mind of my man J.R.R. Tolkien who famously said, "Not all who wander are lost."  But the truth is that sometimes we just are.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mary, Mary

First, thanks for the help with the animal idioms.  You guys rock.

Second, I feel compelled to start today's post by mentioning a recent conversation I had at TKE.  My friend and co-worker said she'd just begun to understand something fundamental about me:  "You have a higher opinion of men than you should."

Here's the deal.  I've been unusually blessed to be surrounded by good and decent men, which has made it easy for me to think well of the species in general.  You should keep this in mind given what I'm going to say next.  This weekend I packed up a box for our missionary and as per instructions, I stuck Virgin Mary stickers all over it, because supposedly this protects the package from your would-be thieves, although if I were a thief in Chile I would go YAY!  VIRGIN MARY STICKERS!  THAT MEANS THIS IS A BOX WORTH STEALING!

But whatever.  That's not the point.

The point is this.  As I put those lovely stickers on the box I thought about how much I always like images of Mary and how I wish we'd had a few more of them while I was growing up.  Okay.  I am VERY happy being a Mormon.  It's a good fit for me, and I think much of the good stuff about me comes from my Mormon upbringing, not in spite of it.

Still, when I was a girl I was always a little dismayed that there wasn't more female-ness in the public arena going on.  Even though I never felt oppressed in any way by the patriarchy on a personal level--and honestly I think Mormon culture can grow truly admirable men--I always wanted there to be more institutional images of women.  You know.  Like Mary.

Maybe things are better now?  But growing up in the 60's and 70's, not so much.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday is a special day--it's the day when I link to my column!

The good thing about writing a column involving dogs is that you're pretty much guaranteed to get a response.  Even when responders tell you to feel guilty for making your dog fat.

And speaking of animals--can you help me think of phrases and idioms featuring animals--curiosity killed the cat, when pigs fly, etc.

Thank you!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cat watching snow

I snapped this yesterday.  What you can't see is the snow falling, although that's what Enzo was watching.  I like to think he was as taken by the magic of it all as I was.  Because you know how cats are.  They just sit there in the window thinking, "I am taken by the magic of it all."

It was a satisfying day, all in all.  I never left the house, except to shovel sidewalks occasionally.  I knit, read (Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore which is sort of a 21st century Name of the Rose) and worked on a novel which I somehow seem loathe to finish.   And all around me was the quiet, quiet, quiet of snow.

Friday, January 11, 2013


TRQ and the Coach are crazy about each other.  They also drive each other crazy.  So yeah.  We've always got a little bit of The Crazy going on.

The Current Crazy involves germs.  TRQ tends to see germs everywhere--lurking in the jungle like Sandinista rebels, waiting to take you (and also the Nicaraguan government) DOWN.  The Coach, on the other hand, barely believes in germs.

Anyway, last Saturday when I went to my aunt's funeral, I apparently infected my mother with The Sick that laid me low for most of the week.  She took to her bed yesterday, but not until she gave my father a surgeon's mask to wear so he wouldn't get sick next.  (She is--and rightly so--anxious to keep him well as he recovers from the open heart thing.)  Apparently he even wore the mask.  Except that instead of wearing it over his mouth, he wore it around his neck.

You know.   To prevent the spread of neck germs.


Thursday, January 10, 2013


I like to keep track of "worsts."  Worst haircuts I ever had.  Worst dates I ever went on.  Worst novels I ever read.  Worst jobs I ever had.  Worst motel rooms I ever stayed in.  Stuff like that.

One of my Worst Lists is called "Worst Drive Home" and it looks like this.
1.  That drive Ken and I made over Soldier Summit in January.
2.  That trip Phil and I made from Provo to Salt Lake after I taught a night class at BYU.
3.  That time I had a blow out on a snow-packed 1-15 at the point of the mountain (thankfully Marvin the Tow Truck Guy showed up and offered to "satisfy me").
4.  That evening the kids and I drove down to St. George for the Presidents' Day holiday.


Tonight.  Coming home from Lisa B.'s house.  Things were fine at first.  Briefly.  And then POW!  The snow hit, and you know what I thought?  Thank goodness I have a coat, because if I die tonight, at least Ken can't say I died because I didn't have a coat.

I am glad to be home.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I know therapists tell people not to "catatstrophize," but where's the fun in that?   I ask you!  Immediately  turning to a worst-case scenario makes your life feel so much more interesting, like you're Secret Agent Man.  Remember the old Johnny Rivers lyrics?

There's a man who leads a life of danger
To everyone he meets he stays a stranger
With every move he makes another chance he takes
Odds are he won't live to see tomorrow.

I come from a long line of catastrophizers on TRQ's side, and Ken is no slouch on the Lurking Dangers front either.  The other night when our 27 year-old son left the house without a coat on, he did this pretty great riff on how Finns think Americans are so stupid because they don't wear coats when it's cold and don't we know we could be in cars that break down and that if we don't have coats on in freezing cars WE COULD DIE?

So please, people, for the love of all that is sacred and holy, wear your coats when you leave the house.  Otherwise you may die.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A thing to cherish

One of the coach's seven sisters died last week, and I spent Saturday at her funeral.  TRQ and I sat by Uncle Lew and behind Aunt Ruby who, at 90-plus, still sports fiery red hair and great makeup.  The funeral was a funeral--equal parts tender and sad and funny.  I watched with great pleasure as Lew would periodically nudge Ruby during the proceedings to share some private joke.  He'd whisper something, and she'd laugh.

Here's the deal about my dad and his brothers.  I never ever met people who enjoyed their little jokes, their small asides like they do.  I remember watching them at family reunions, standing in a semi-circle like they were getting ready to bless a baby in church.  Except that instead of praying they were listening to each other tell stories.  And when whichever brother got to the punchline, the others would squint, grin, and finally roar out a laugh.

Half of those siblings have died now.  But their love of the gently absurd lives on.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The sadness of the bunk beds

Did you like that title?  It's because I'm reading THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG right now, and so I keep turning my life into titles modeled on that one.

(BTW I am intrigued by the book but not loving it as much as I want to.  I assume this a problem with me rather than with the book.)

Anyway.  I woke up this morning feeling kinda sad.  But why I asked myself.  Is it that the bunk beds are gone now?  We happily let Lawyer Son and his family take them this weekend.  They've just moved into a great little bungalow, and they're starting out their lives just like Ken and I were thirty years ago--looking forward to a bunch of stuff including more kids in bunk beds, which is awesome.

But having those bunk beds leave our house means that yup.  That part of our life is d.o.n.e. done.  I'm still adjusting to the fact.  So maybe that's why I'm sad.

Or maybe I'm sad because I have the stomach flu this morning and don't feel like eating the rest of the Magleby's chocolate cake in our cupboard.  That isn't just sad--that's tragic.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Thank you, Blogspot!

I've said this here before, but one of the good things about blogging for me personally is that I can often take quickly conceived blog entries and turn them into columns.  I did it this week!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

It's v. true that parting is such sweet sorrow

We said good-bye to the Northa Carolinas yesterday before dawn at a crazy cold airport curbside.  They're home safe and sound now, and although they had a good time here, they're happy to be in their own nest.  And that's exactly how things should be.

I just want to say how much I enjoyed them.

I loved my granddaughter's coy looks, determined efforts to put oversized nickels into a plastic piggy bank, delight in the snow, and interest in the petting zoo that is our house.  Seriously, she's so!  cute!

I loved my daughter-in-law's willingness to laugh long and hard and to join in all the reindeer games, her appreciation of all things beautiful including a splendid chocolate peppermint cake from Tulie Bakery, her patience with a baby who didn't always feel well, and her kindness to the cast of a thousand in-laws (it's like an  Italian movie around here).

I loved my son's ability to recite awesome lines from every movie he's ever seen, his desire to make things (board games, excursions, meals) happen, his loyalty to the sixth sons, and especially his deep devotion to his girls.  What a good man he is!

Wishing them health and happiness for the new year.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dear Christmas Tree,

Usually you make an exit on New Year's Day.  I developed this habit as a young mother who felt like she was about to go down the Rabbit Hole come January and wanted to make sure that at least the Christmas stuff was packed away before she did it.   I think I've mentioned here before that one year TRQ left our tree up forever so that the blue sateen balls were falling off and rolling around the floor and all my fifth-grade friends kept asking me why we still had a Christmas tree in the living room.  THE HUMILIATION!

When I grew up I realized that TRQ was struggling with a mighty depression that year and hence . . . the forgotten tree.  Still.  I didn't want a repeat of that experience in my own grownup house.

But this year, oh Christmas Tree of 2012, you're still up.  We've had company and surgeries and now the Oregon kids (back in town for good) are moving their stuff out this weekend, and I figured I'd wait for the take-down mess.

And guess what.  I'm enjoying you so this first week of January--your lingering scent and spirt.  You've comforted me with your lights and old ornaments and happy memories.  Who knew?   Anyhoo.  I'm glad you're still here.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

What I remembered yesterday at the bookstore

So I went up to TKE for a few hours yesterday morning to help with inventory.

You know.  Inventory.  That activity where you count what's on the shelves, then pull what hasn't sold to ship back to the publisher.  Did you know bookstores can do that?  Return books for credit against a balance?  I think that was one of the biggest revelations of all to me when I first started working at TKE--that a book could be returned if it didn't sell.

Anyhoo.  As I watched Viv pull books by a fabulous author (and human being) who has won several Newbery honors because her titles don't sell well now, it (re)-occurred to me how fickle taste is.  This is a woman who was the toast of the children's literature world awhile ago, and now her books aren't moving.  And yet those books are still so good.

The takeaway for writers is this, I think.  You should pay attention to the market, yes.  But in the end you should write what interests you, because the world of publishing can (and will) shift beneath your feet.   And you should also remember that even worthy books don't always make it.

I meant that to be encouraging.  Was it?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dear January

Dear January,

Here's something I realized this morning.  We stopped opening the mail at this house somewhere around the middle of December.  It just sat there on the table in the entryway--expanding like a bag of frozen Rhodes rolls that somebody forgot about and left in the trunk of a car with a bunch of other groceries on a warm day.  And then by the time somebody remembered . . . wow.  Mess!

I've spent the morning sorting through the mail, wondering how all this unopening happened.  And of course I know. December happened.  Not only did December happen, but then family stuff happened on top of the already crazy December stuff.  So the mail.  Well.  We just forgot about it.

Here's the other stuff we forgot about.  Dogs and how they do better if walked daily.  Calories and how they count.  Money and how it is a finite resource.   Sleep and how crappy you feel when you aren't getting it.

Anyway, I love the holidays.  And as you know, January, you and I have had a complicated relationship.  More accurately, the two of us have had a dysfunctional relationship.  But I received an e-mail from Louise this morning saying, "Whoever would believe that January is looking better than December?"

I agree.  Thank you, January, for the promise of routine.  Order.  Healthy soups.  Guiltless nights sitting in front of the TV watching The Good Wife or Person of Interest and possibly still a little Modern Family.

Best wishes,

Ann Cannon

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! And hey! How about a few goals?

Hey, hi.

I'm hoping your holiday was a satisfying one.  We had, of course, the unexpected detour to the hospital right before Christmas, but I am happy to report that the Coach is recovering nicely and driving TRQ crazy in the process.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the year ahead with much hope.  I'm eager to make progress on several fronts, including the writing front.  And to that end, I'm gonna make some general-ish goals, which include . . .

1.  Getting serious about sending the first few chapters of a YA mystery out there.

2.  Developing an idea for a middle grade series--and speaking of middle grade, maybe starting a novel suggested by an experience my friends and I had while walking Hadrian's Wall.

3.  Publishing something (things?) online and seeing where that takes me.

4.  Writing a column for the Trib every week and keeping it fresh.

5.  Developing one magazine story a month and seeing if I can sell it.

6.  Blogging every day for the year of 2013.

Okay.  About #6  I am stealing this idea from my good friend Lisa B. who just wrapped up a year of blogging.  Look at that final post of hers.  It should be required reading.  And it inspired me.  I have this sense that a bit of blogging (and that's what it will be--just a bit or two daily) would be good for me as a writer.  And fun, too.

That's what I want.  More fun.  So let's give it a try, shall we?

Here's to 2013.