17 August 2006

High school meme!

Sheesh, I can't believe I'm doing this meme. Oh well, first time for everything.

1. Who was your best friend?
Probably Kelly Neel. We didn't talk a whole lot but I really liked her and she was so nice to me. I didn't really have a best best friend since I was so self-conscious and afraid of rejection.

2. What sports did you play?
Ha ha! Jumping to conclusions.

3. What kind of car did you drive?
A 1976 Toyota Corolla station wagon, but being a Toyota it was a short one.

4. It's Friday night, where were you?
At home trying to write something, or listening to the radio. I never went out. Or practicing hymns at church, or figuring out new registrations for the organ and figuring out how to play it.

5. Were you a party animal?
Ha ha! No.

6. Were you considered a flirt?
Like I talked to people!

7. Ever skip school?
Nope. I was scared that something terrible would happen if I did and I would be banned for life, or some damn thing.

9. Were you a nerd?
I was too shy and quiet to be a nerd. But I was a band geek, playing bass clarinet, piano, tenor sax (briefly), and singing alto. Does that count?

10. Ever get suspended/expelled?
No. I did get into a fight with a girl in the library once, though. She was saying mean things to me, and I think I was leaving, but then this troublemaker kid threw gum in my hair, and I thought she did it, so I rushed her and the next thing I knew I was in a headlock. But I didn't get suspended, probably because I had no record.

11. Can you sing the Alma mater?
Yes, all of it.

12. Who was your favorite teacher?
Mrs. Tucker, my English teacher. She'd read my stories and share Tennyson and other good writers with me. She always had time to talk. So maybe she was my best friend.

13. Favorite class?
Band. Also English Lit was fun. I could recite the beginning of Canterbury Tales in Middle English (I'd recorded Garrison Keillor reciting it on "A Prairie Home Companion" during one of his monologues and got the text and learned how to do it.). And lit was just my thing.

14. What was your school's full name?
Savannah High School

15. School mascot?
A Savage. (Sorry.)

16. Did you go to Prom?
No. Like I'd go to a dance, or go out with boys. And paying MONEY to go to a dance? Are you kidding? What's the big deal about prom, anyway? I didn't miss it. I was like a nun or something.

17. If you could go back and do it over, would you?
You know, I say no, but then again, I want to, because I'd like to know how much I'm getting right about myself as a high schooler in my stories and where I'm off the mark. I feel like there's so much I'm forgetting about being a high schooler, and I wish I could go back and relive it. But then I'd be violating the Prime Directive and changing everything based on what I've learned since then. Shoot, I could go back and shout down those girls who used to give me hell in gym class, and I'd go to the people who wanted friends and befriend them and start a writer's group, and I'd come right out and tell my man that I was really interested in him, but I'd still write him letters. So hell yeah I'd go back!

18. What do you remember most about graduation?
When the class went to their seats, my friend and I got in the wrong row, but while everybody had their heads bowed for the prayer, we ran over to the right spots.

19. Favorite memory of your Senior Year?
Running around with the crazy guys in the school play. That was fun. Everybody would tickle Dexter behind the knees until he fell down laughing and I'd wade into the crowd to protect him. Making songlists and sound effects for the play. The pizza party we had afterward.

20. Were you ever posted up on the senior wall?
What's that?

21. Did you have a job?
I delivered the newspaper every morning to the residents of Nodaway. About 16 people. I did that since 1983-4. Senior year I got a job at the greenhouse, planting marigolds, tomatoes, and petunias and watering stuff.

22. Whom did you date?
I didn't date anybody, not until I started college. But I did fall in love with a few people. But I fell in love with this one guy on 31 March 1988, just before he graduated, so I visited him at Wal-Mart and wrote him letters. Finally he got a clue. We got married in 1995, so that worked out.

23. Where did you go most often for lunch?
I'd eat real fast in the cafeteria, then run over to the library and read.

24. Have you gained weight since then?
Duh! About 20 or 30 pounds!

25. What did you do after graduation?
Went to NWMSU, pined away for my sweetie, got into a relationship with the wrong guy, he flunked out of college, I started going out with my sweetie, got a house to rent in Nodaway, got a cat.

26. Who was your crush?
I had a crush on several guys over the years. One was a exchange student from Sweden, one was a nice ag student, one was my man, one was a nice dark-haired guy.

27. When did you graduate?
1989! Fool.

Working woman!

Well, I'm now a working stiff. I took the proofreading job, though I regretted turning down the school jobs. The paycheck won me over: all three jobs paid approximately the same, but with the school jobs, I wouldn't be paid over the summer, and that freaked me out.

So now I look over sales listings for Angus cattle all day, which actually is kind of peaceful and quiet work, though I have to be careful not to strain my eyes. There are one or two few freaky things about the cattle industry, the freakiest being this constant mention of scrotal measurements and, um, semen. But keep in mind that if I were writing something directed toward rose breeders, they'd be talking about pollen constantly. These guys are just really into increasing their live stock. REALLY into it.

In other news, Symphonians has increased its characters of color -- including the main love interest, Noel. And Yvonne's Asian, and Roderick is part Spanish. It ain't much, but it's a start.

I have 36 pages left to revise before I send it off to one of my critique partners to critique. The way things have been going, that 36 pages is probably going to stretch out to close to 50 by the time I get done with them. The novel's already 336 pages long, and it's got me a little worried.

I'm getting off the computer before my eyeballs fall out.

10 August 2006

Maybe too good.

So me and the kid are heading down the aisles at Wal-Mart, picking up some mandarin oranges when my cell starts singing its song. I answer: It's the lady at the staffing agency. I'd been passed over for a proofreading job just a few days ago. Now they've decided to hire two people instead of one; could I start tomorrow or Monday? It's full time.

I chose Monday so I can get things ("things" being the kid) lined out tomorrow. But I'm a little torn. I'd like the HS paraprofessional job except this "you don't get paid all summer" thing is scary, and the HS job pays less than the proofreading job.

But I love to work with HS kids -- I get good story ideas from them. Proofreading would not be as good for my story -- stare at a computer all day and see how thrilled you are about sitting down at a computer when you get home.

And another worry ... this is a temp position. What if, after 90 days, they say, "Okay, things have leveled out now, we don't need two people filling this position" and then they let me go. School will have started by then, so no para position to fall into. Aiee!

I'll be asking a lot of questions and keeping the radar up, but I'll take the proofreading job. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ... it looks like those storms they're having around Topeka are heading this way. We could use the rain! But gaah, you need gills to breathe outside, humidity feels like it's almost 100 percent. God bless air conditioning.

09 August 2006

MUCH better now.

Finally got hired for a paraprofessional position over at Lafayette HS. And the very same day I got an e-mail from somebody asking if I'd be interested in writing some articles for a horticultural business. So now I'm breathing more easily. I'm still a little on edge -- I still can't quite shake the feeling that I'm going to somehow get the rug pulled out from under my feet again -- but I'm hoping that as I get details ironed out that the feeling will subside.

In the meantime, I'm making good progress with Symphonians. I'm on the second-to-last chapter, which is somewhere around the 300-word mark (the novel at this time is 320 words long -- I'm going to need to cut stuff).

It just struck me that I've sped up the pacing in this last bit. Like I'm getting close to the end, and the closer I get, the more I go, "Hurry up, let's finish it!" and the scenes move faster than they should because of that.

I was also wondering if I should drop a lot of money and have Eileen at Firstpages give me an overview of the MS. To have her expertise would help. But I keep telling myself, "Why spend all that money if I can do it myself?" Or I could send it back to FSG and get another reader's report for free, though it would take a while. And I want so badly to move on to another novel. I'm sitting on so many stories I'd like to work on. And there' s one story I want to get started on.

I want to retell Dante's Vita Nuova from a different framework -- not the usual medieval European fantasy backdrop, but from a different worldview, like from a Native American view. Ages ago, there was a huge Mississippian city near where St. Louis is today. Why not set up a fantasy on this side of the ocean? But I'm going to mix up the mythological backgrounds somewhat, so I can play around with stuff more. And I'm going to make all the characters black or tan. I want to bust up all the fantasy cliches I can.

But boy, it's hard to write up a fantasy when you move outside the template. My mind keeps wanting brick buildings and narrow cobblestone streets like they have in Europe. And I'm like, No, I want to do it differently!

So we'll see how that goes.

04 August 2006

Not so good today, though.

The interesting thing about this depression is that my Symphonians novel is dealing with depression as well as symphony musicians, lovestruck shy people, responsibility, ethics, etc. And I'm seeing that the way I'm handling my depression now is different than the way I would have handled it back in high school and college.

Mainly it's the fact that I have my kid here. I must bestir myself and be sure she's fed, control my snappishness and irritablility, and not turn into a lump the way I'd like to. In the old days, I would have just given in to my sad mood and laid around and been mopy. But I also recognize, though virtue of past experience (!! should have been a college prof), that to be a lump all day is not getting anything done, is not good for me. But the kid's really been a motivating factor to get over this depression.

I can't hide it from her that I'm depressed; that would be stupid. It's kind of hard to miss that I'm depressed: I lay myhead on the table during suppertime and mumble a lot and I don't smile constantly as I usually do. So if I told my kid, "I'm fine!" that would not be keeping it real, as Carl Rogers says. Relationships must be honest, feelings must be acknowledged. I tell her I'm not feeling well, that I'm depressed, and that means I'm sad and mopy a lot, but I've seen the doctor and I'm doing the things she told me to do because I want to get better and get zany and smiley again.

Not to mention that depression is a general pain in the ass.

But I've been writing down how I feel in hopes that these feelings will be useful in the novel. Might as well get some good out of it.

03 August 2006

Getting better.

Got that Genesis song playing, "It's Gonna Get Better," and finally. Went to the doc today to get this depression taken care of, and now I'm starting to feel better. Also ran around with my husband today and we got some stuff done, and now I'm feeling like I want to run errands and get things done again. It's nice how something so simple can have such a big effect. But boy, I don't want to crash like that again, it's been ages since I felt that low.

Also on the bright side, I've been able to work a lot on the Symphonians story because of this depression. Concentrating on getting the words written, trying to visualize scenes, and making word choices has really helped me when my brain just wouldn't leave off. I have moved ahead so fast. I have left behind the omnipresent Chapter 16 (at last I realized that I needed to cut the last five pages and replaced them with a half-page of strong text and I was DONE with that) and now I'm working on Chapter, I don't know, 25 (I keep adding in chapters and switching chapters around so I don't know where the heck I am). Anyway, it's the third chapter from the end. Yay!

Anyway, more progress.

01 August 2006

I need an antidepressant.

Gloom, despair , and agony on me!
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery!
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.
Gloom, despair, and agony on me!

I hate when I don't win stuff. And I know it's the synopsis that got me. Remember how agent Regina Brooks told me, "Girl, your synopsis is confusing as heck!" I'm sure that's what happened here. Where's the bourbon!

And the job search sucks! And my old cat died and I still feel sad! And I can't figure out where $100 of my money went the other day! Not that I need it, ha ha! But on the bright side, my kid's over at her friend's house playing, and I can work. And my critique buddies Shevi and Angela won stuff. So that's nice. I'm really, really, really trying to be happy but I'm afraid that right now I'm in this Anne Lamott funk.

I just need to do a little primal scream therapy and then I'll feel better. And also find that $100.

Edit 10 minutes later -- The credit union just called -- they're going to fix it! They're going to credit my account! That's so nice of them!

So one thing is going right.