Date Night

In the queue: Jimmy Eat World and All-American Rejects with a dash of Adele in the mix.

Words written: zero. (I thought it’d look better spelled out … I was wrong.) But I did make it through about 10K first draft edits, so that’s something.

Moving on!

I’ve been a wee bit stressed, and my hubby has been TDY more often than not the last few months. In fact, after being home a whole week, he’s deserting us again on Monday. So last night, after the twins were in bed and my mini-men returned from karate, I experienced first hand the rare and often elusive date night.

It does exist, and man, it was awesome.

Honestly, we just grabbed a quick bite and caught a late movie, but yeah … heaven! And since we were the only irresponsible adults out late on a weeknight at the beginning of the school year, we got a private screening.

The hubs has already seen The Guardians of the Galaxy three times, so we chose The Giver, which is the actual reason for this post for those of you wondering. I went into the theater, expecting nothing but a quiet, dark room with nobody “MOM!”ing me, and then discovered the flick is an adaptation of the 1994 book by Lois Lowry. I’ve never read the book –and now I won’t because I liked the movie– but I couldn’t help but notice similarities to a few other movies in the past twenty years. Actually, my hubby couldn’t help pointing out each and every similarity. (The downsides to being alone in the theater: I couldn’t shush him without being more rude, thus losing the courteous high ground, and if I gave into the temptation to strangle him,  there were no suspicious chaps about to blame or even create a little reasonable doubt.)

***Spoiler Alert***

The Giver: Matrix style, starring Meryl Strep as Agent Smith.  The giver-in-training is like a less flexible Neo: he does what no one else can do by getting info uploaded directly into his brain.  But  Jeff  Bridges as Morpheus is where this one falls apart.

What about The Village? I mean, you have the all-knowing, all-concealing council of elders, a town secluded from the rest of the world, and a hero who has to leave the boundaries of his world, which he thought was perfect mere days ago, in order to save a life. 

But Equilibrium was the most obvious comparison that came to mind. First of all, the citizens get meds that take away their emotions, everyone is the same, no artwork or music, no color to life. There’s one scene in particular when both main characters basically get their emotions back and start seeing color again. Maybe the scenes standout because they’re so touching–the restoration of something so vital and  essential to what makes us human–but I still got that deja vu  vibe.

And within the first ten minutes of the movie, I exclaimed, “Oh! This is like Matched!”

If imitation is the truest form of flattery, then surely Lois Lowry has been inundated  with Facebook pokes,  #Friday follows, and Be Mine, frilly pink hearts filled with chocolate caramel clusters for years. But accepting that there’s nothing new under the sun, (Yep, I just went all Biblical on y’all.) where is the line between inspiration and imitation?

This is the question I will be pondering when I should be doing something productive tomorrow.

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Just what can I eat?!

Tonight’s forecast: Happiness!!! Beware of gratuitous exclamation points.

Playing on the dock: Pharrell. How apropos…

Since I’ve begun my gluten free journey, you won’t be the least bit surprised to know that I’ve whined. Like, a lot. A smidgeon of wailing and gnashing of pearly whites may have also been spotted… I couldn’t say for sure. And while searching my stockpile pantry, the most whined question has been, “Just what can I eat?!”

The short answer: Fruits, vegetables, and meat that has not been breaded or marinated. Unfortunately, none of these lovely items were what I’ve been mourning the loss of. My muse requires nothing less than sugary caloric deprivation to be at her best. Last time I tried to snack on celery and carrots while writing, she filibustered my writing time for an entire week with ridiculous plot bunnies, excessive adverbs, and a sudden desire to look at cat pictures.

But tonight — oh, tonight! — I’m doing a fancy, muscle-pulling jig on Cloud 11. My happy-vator paused at the 9th cloud when I discovered I can still indulge in my beloved Dr. Pepper without damaging my health (any more than usual), and just kept on going up, up, and away when my hubby produced a bag of Skittles!

 

SKITTLES!!! The chosen nectar of persnickety, sugar-craven muses everywhere! (Well, at least in the vicinity of my laptop…)

Now I’m off to write! Wish me luck.

Oh! I’m also compiling a list of links to articles, people, and places I find who do gluten-free way better than me. Yes, the list will be extensive as it’ll include anything remotely helpful and informative. If you have any resources to add, drop me a line!

Dietary Mourning

The labs came back Monday. I’ve got celiac disease. It’s not the end of the world, but going gluten free is going to be quite an adjustment.

Last night, I was bemoaning the fact that everything I was cooking for dinner had been infected with gluten cooties. So my loving husband hugged me and said, “I’m sorry you’re having a rough time. Here, have a cupcake. I know they’re your favorite.” And they are! You know, the cream filled ones topped with the chocolate ganache and finished off with the trademark white swirls.

While my deepest desire was to respond like this:

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My oozie brassiere was in the wash. Meh, I don’t really have the figure to do the move justice anyway.

The rest of my week  night went more like this:

 

 

Nevertheless, I have come to value my colon, and as the old saying goes, I’m sick and tired of being… well, you get the idea. So I will suck it up, mourn my unrestricted diet, and try to brave this new world where everything is contaminated with the glutes. I swear, it’s horrifying!  Like the first time I saw a hotel room under a black light…

But I digress.

Farewell, sweet Taco Bell. I shall miss your chalupas and nacho bellgrandes and cinnamon twisties. To be fair, I can partake of their sour cream, salsa, and most of their fountain drinks, so not all is lost.

I’m going to go watch Dirty Dancing and have a good cry now.

sad pony

Takeaways from the Writer’s Digest Conference NYC ’14

So, I was a bit leery about spending so much money to attend the 2014 Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC last weekend, but the stars aligned, my hubby’s leave was approved, and I was off. Honestly, with 5 kiddos at home, I figured it’d be a vacation if nothing else.
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But I must say the conference was simply amazing! It left me on information overload in the best possible way. The keynote speakers were obviously chosen with care. At least twice during each of their speeches, I felt like they were talking about or to me. I could gush copiously and wax all poetic about each and every one of these fine literary paragons!  But I won’t.

At least not online…

On this website…

At least, not tonight… But I am going to hit some of the highlights and my personal takeaways from my incredible weekend.

1. According to Dani Shapiro, even if I get traditionally published, make the New York Times bestseller list, or receive that coveted call from Oprah, I will still never feel secure enough to call myself a writer. And now that I know I’m not alone, that’s ok.

2. I will forever more remember Harlen Coben quoting Cher and Mary Higgins-Clark in the same sentence. (FYI: Mary Higgins-Clark is an amazing woman. Period.)

3.Even with all of the marketing, publicity, and publishing business that is essential and time-consuming for any successful author, writers write. It sounds like a no brainer, but after days of listening to the business end of things, it’s nice to be reminded.

4. Have a little faith, a lot of patience, and be willing to work your ass off.

5. Agents really are just people. Sure, they’re people who can help you reach your dreams or crush your every hope beneath their French tips, but they’re people. And the ones I nervously pitched my story to were unfailingly kind.

6. In this digital age, there are many ways to get your work into the hands of your readers. You can self-publish, go the traditional route, or go with a newer hybrid method. No matter which method you choose, do it right. Take the time to present your work to the best of your abilities. And if your abilities are lacking (I know mine are in several areas), hire people to bridge the gap.

7. Chuck Sambuchino is hilarious and really helpful when it comes to advice for pitching to agents.

8. Last but certainly not least, “Don’t be a douchebag.” A direct quote from Central Keynote Saturday: The Rules of Writing and When to Break Them with Harlen Coben.

eyebrow photo: raise eyebrow tumblr_lfwhoezERj1qdwjb5o1_500.gif