Monday, April 24, 2006

Back in the Fast Lane: Plus, Mount Hermon part 1

Here I am, home again with a full plate and stuff spilling from the plate onto the table. We went to Austin for our anniversary this weekend. I bought a shirt (besides a pair of cute sandals, but that's not important to this post) that seems fitting right now. "Mrs. Incredible...Stretched to My Limits." A book due in about seven weeks with hmmm chapters left to go. I owe critiques to friends. I need to find mentors for writers and put people in critique groups. Oh, and shuttle kids places. My cousin-in-law, I've just found out, is an aspiring children's author who has some questions about writing so I'd like to help her find some resources. Tomorrow night, the local nursing home is hosting an appreciation dinner for its volunteers. I'm going. Not only do I volunteer, but I won't have to cook tomorrow night.

First, about Mount Hermon. If you want to write in the CBA market, go to Mount Hermon. The atmosphere is phenomenal. I had no pressure since I wasn't "trying" to meet anyone or sell anything, just go and have a good time. And I did. James Scott Bell's Fiction track was fabulous. If you didn't go, BUY the CDs. You won't be disappointed. He is an extremely gracious and entertaining speaker who packs a lot into his seminars.

One night at supper I sat at his table, and after we all introduced ourselves and what we wrote, someone asked him how he got through writer's block. He answered them, then looked at me (I guess he thought I was the junior published author).

"So, Lynette, what do you do about writer's block?"

Gulp. Who, me? I felt like the kid in A Christmas Story when Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas. Doh--doh--um..."A football?"

"I do like you do," I squeaked out, unsure if anyone heard. All eyes were fixed on me. "I spend time with my family, read a good book, or even write something for fun." What was he thinking, asking me, who still feels like a wet-behind-the-ears newbie?

This is what I also should have added:
When in the throes of writer's block, sometimes you have to just push through and write, no matter how bad you think it stinks. And pray. You can go back later and fix things when the mood lifts. Most of the time for me, it's a mood thing. If it's not, I pray and see if there's something about the story I've gotten wrong.

Also, I look at writing as my part-time job. When you have a job, you don't have worker's block. You have to work. Or the pay doesn't come, or worse, you lose your job.

I learned, too, that no matter where we are in our writer's journey, we have something to offer another writer who might not be in the know. I sometimes take for granted things I've known for years, not realizing that to another it might be a startling new revelation. And then, I realize how much I have yet to learn.

More on Mount Hermon reflections another time...gotta finish chapter hmmm...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Armand William Gagnon, 1920-2006

I was going to eventually post about my Mount Hermon experience, but I haven't been home 24 hours and I'm already planning to jet out again. This time, to the East Coast. To Boston.

Gramps passed away today, suddenly. He was 85. When I was little, he was tall and had the largest nose I'd ever seen. Shaggy brows and deepseat brown eyes, with a voice that could rattle the windows. And did, when he laughed. A cribbage fanatic, he tried to teach me. Once. I can still smell the sweet tang of his pipe in their den.

Gramps knew the value of hard work since the age of 12 when his father died. I never was quite sure about his formal education, but he was one of those people who knew a bit of everything about everything, combined with a generous heap of common sense. That propelled him to be a life insurance salesman for many years, and he planned well for his and Gram's future.

They spent a long retirement together, with Gram his only concern after she had a stroke nearly two years ago. But today, that ended. And it turned out he was in far worse shape than he would let on, even worse than her.

Gram is alone tonight after being married 60+ years. Not in an empty house. Two of her sons are there, plus the other two on their way. I expect I'll see them all soon. I'm still making plans. Part of me does not want to go. Part of me knows I must.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Do you know the way to San Jose...

Okay, I couldn't resist.

I'm typing this way too late, but had to slip a post in before I head out. I'm so glad I have such a cool family. Don't get me wrong, I'll miss them terribly but I'm grateful they let me pursue my dream, which is starting to have glimmers of reality in it.

Writers conferences can be funny things. But this one won't be stress-filled. I'm not trying to sell anything or get signed by an agent. I just want to learn and hang out with my writer friends.

I've never been to California, either, so that's pretty cool.

Sometimes the best part about leaving is coming home again. Maybe that's why my stomach's felt ishy off and on all day today. I'm going to pray tonight for a good sleep and I'll be rarin' to fly out in the morning.