Four Funerals and a Wedding

Well, these last few days have been quite thrilling.

Why, you may be asking, is your life so filled with thrill? Is it the fresh wainscoting that Dylan applied behind the stove? Are you elated by that random guy on a four wheeler who is driving through all of the snowdrifts on your residential road? Could it be that you bought new soap and now your hands smell nice?

NO.

(Well, my hands do smell nice. Like apple and cloves. Thanks, new soap.)

But here’s the good news: I had a poem accepted by Highlights High Five!

I took my New Year’s resolution of writing for children quite seriously, and since January I’ve sent out many, many stories, poems, rebuses, and action rhymes to various children’s publications. This acceptance followed four swift rejections, right when I was beginning to think that I should probably just cut my losses and become an accountant.

I’m so relieved that A. my writing is worthwhile, and B. I don’t have to be responsible for anyone’s finances. I mean, I can barely handle my own finances. A few weeks ago, I found a five dollar bill on a walk and spent it on a container of no-spill bubbles.

In any case, I’ll keep you updated on my poem. It’s been purchased, but I have no guarantee of publication date, so it could be ages before I see it in print.

I’m a patient person, though. After all, I waited a full week before deciding to buy those bubbles.

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P.S. I have never seen Four Weddings and a Funeral, but the reversing of the title worked for my rejection/acceptance metaphor (on a surface level, anyway). I probably shouldn’t draw comparisons between my writing and movies I’ve never watched, but what can I say? I like to live dangerously. That’s why I’ll be having TWO pieces of cake for lunch.

Acceptance

I haven’t written in quite some time.

Actually, that’s not true. I have written anything for this blog in quite some time.  I started it as a way to document my writing progress, and in doing so, I boxed myself into a space where I felt like I needed to have something to share in order to…you know. Share.

Mostly, that means that when I miss Thanksgiving dinner (two of them!) because I’m evacuating from every possible orifice, it doesn’t warrant a blog entry. It does, however, warrant 3,000 texts to my parents to make sure that I’m not dying. (Spoiler: I didn’t.)

The things that would fit this blog — NaNoWriMo, cool poems that I’ve been reading, the words of friends and family, the story idea that I came up with in the shower — are done so quietly that most people aren’t aware that they’re happening at all.

So here’s what I’ve been doing lately. Loud and proud.

  1. I’ve been reading a lot. A LOT. It’s wonderful! Poetry, short stories, old YA favorites, WebMD articles on Norovirus…you know. All of the good, inspiring stuff.
  2. I completed my seventh NaNoWriMo attempt. This year was a little different, though. Rather than writing my own novel, I was reworking my mother’s very first NaNoWriMo novel, a story about Salem, Massachusetts, men lost in time, perfume, and strange cats. It was an interesting experience, one that I’m no where near completing, but it was also a welcome respite from forcing myself to pound out 1,667 words of ORIGINAL writing each day.
  3. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry and short stories. While my big goal has always been to have a novel published, shorter works are my heart. I can’t break away from them. In the moments where my son isn’t sticking his fingers in my nose and the dishes aren’t spilling out onto the counters, I sit and I write poems and stories about howling and hot dogs and water and birthday cards.

None of this seemed worth sharing, though. The act of writing is sometimes a quiet one, one that I mostly share with Dylan (“Hey, will you read this entire novel? And then give me feedback? Even though I’m rewriting it? Even though the majority of what you’d read wouldn’t end up as part of the new plot?”) and my parents. (“Hey, will you read this short story? And then give me feedback? Even though I don’t always take constructive criticism well?”)

Today, however, I’m sharing.

When I first began to post my writing online, I primarily submitted my work to DeviantArt, where I found a lot of like-minded writers. I also submitted a piece or two to random publications, just for the sake of it. Now that I’m looking to get my work out there again, Submittable has become king.

Honestly, it’s all a little overwhelming. I feel somewhat out of element whenever I’m browsing places to submit my work, like that one elderly neighbor (you know the one) who tries to send emails through Microsoft Word. Sharing your writing is scary stuff, man. People look at it. They READ it. They judge it. Sometimes they delight in it. (Sometimes not so much.)

Sometimes, they accept your poem for their website. 

Keep an eye out on December 21st, everyone. This is just the beginning.

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The Healing Power of Corn and Poetry

It’s been a rough month. Like, really rough. Not only have I been plagued with a runny nose, sore throat, violent cough, and conjunctivitis (twice!), but I was cursed with a package of Skittles that only had one red. ONE. Honestly, what’s the point of even eating Skittles if you’re only going to get one red?!

(Hint: there isn’t one. Don’t bother. Life is meaningless.)

Thanks to my son’s underdeveloped infant immune system, I’ve been playing host to a veritable menagerie of viruses and infections instead of writing epic narrative poetry and planning for NaNoWriMo. Since Typhoid Mary couldn’t attend daycare with a fever of 103 and a nose full of shockingly chartreuse snot, the blocks of time that I typically dedicate to writing were unceremoniously snatched away so that I keep him home and cough on him. (Though, to be fair, he coughed on me, too.)

The upshot of everything was that, by the time I convinced the baby to go to bed at the end of each day, I was far too tired to stay up and write. Then, to add insult to injury, I was so busy coughing up my phlegm-filled lungs that I didn’t go to the Virginia Children’s Book Festival, which I’d planned on attending with a writer friend.

I pouted, guys. Like full-on petulant lower-lip pouting. I may have laid on the floor and cursed at the ceiling. I waved things around in a dramatic fashion and coughed some more. I was tired, I was cranky, and I felt like I was never going to write again. It seemed that every time I blew my nose, I was leaking inspiration.

I’ve never been one of those brave souls who don’t want pity. Quite the opposite, actually. I want pity. I demand it. PITY ME.  My family is pretty good about pitying me when asked, but they’re also really good at helping me forget to feel sorry for myself. (Also, they don’t mind if I cough on them.) That’s how I found myself lost in the corn with them this past weekend.

By then, the cough was mostly gone and I felt well enough to walk through the endless maze and make several corn related puns. This alone was enough to perk me up, but it was when I drove home, my husband and son both sleeping peacefully in the backseat, that the first line of a poem winged its way into my head.

That night I sat down and wrote, and my other pack of Skittles had six reds.
If that’s not the meaning of life, I don’t know what is.

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