Saturday, January 21, 2012

Return of the Muse

For what seems like eons my characters have been quiet.  The chatter inside my head had subsided and my writers block turned into a writing hiatus.  As terribly crazy as it sounds I am so happy because the voices in my head are slowly trickling back to life!  Their return has been quiet and slow, but steady progress is being made.  I feel a little like a deer in headlights.  I'm afraid to move too quickly and scare them away, but I don't want them to think that I am ignoring them either.  I feel the need to write write write, but I wonder will I overwork them will my finicky inner muse go silent if I push her too hard? 

I have reflected endlessly on my character's silence and my muses vacation.  This is what I have come up with, and it is no doubt a common understanding among more seasoned writers and artists but it is something that I think that each artist must come to terms with independently.  Anyway, I think I lost my confidence.  And as many writers I'm sure will agree losing ones confidence is crippling.  Feeling as if your story is common or insignificant can be a crushing blow that will stop creativity in its tracks.  I don't want to dwell on those feelings however, I want to focus on the slow return of my confidence.

It occurred to me during Nano when one of the ML's handed me a sticker during a write-in.  The sticker said, "You're story matters."  After that I started to realize that my story did matter that no matter how many other people write in your genre, your story is unique and only you can tell it.  After I accepted that everything started falling back into place.  Reading a friends first published novel, the talented Hope Collier's novel The Willows: Haven has helped to inspire me.  Continuing to write reviews for the awesome book blogger Stacey O'Neale and her site YA Fantasy Guide has also contributed to the return of my muse.  Working with a critique group has sparked an excitement in my writing.  Listening to the writings of others has really had a profound effect on my desire to write, I am excited to share with them and hear their critiques to become a better writer myself.  I have things to say and stories to tell and no matter what anyone else thinks my stories and thoughts are important and I need to share them if only for me.  I had forgotten for awhile that I am reason enough to write.  I think that every writer at some point must reach a point where they have to remind themselves that their words and stories matter.  No one is insignificant, no story unimportant, no craft that is not worth sharpening.  YOU are important and your story matters!  Don't forget that!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Wicked Queen Reigns

Sometimes you ask for something and even though you know that you won't like the answer or the outcome you ask for it anyway.  My step-tween daughter and I are going through what I am starting to call the impish elven elevens, but thankfully they are almost over. My aunt says that if the two of us can make it to her twelfth birthday that things will work out alright...That's less than a month away so I am crossing my fingers that we both still have a full head of hair and I don't have TOO many more wrinkles.

One of the biggest challenges that we are dealing with right now is following directions and staying on task.  As parents my husband and I have tried to find ways to provide her with structure while still allowing her to be a kid, but it's really hard.  She pretty much has a 100% track record of taking  three miles of liberty when she's given two inches.  It's really really really frustrating.

We have created a list of specific consequences for specific actions so that there isn't any confusion about what will happen when she isn't doing what she is supposed to be doing.  Lately it feels like she is living in a constant state of consequences and I finally understand why my parents said it really hurt them to have to give us kids consequences and punishments.  It SUCKS!  It makes me sad and angry and frustrated because it's not just about being exhausted from trying to teach her I feel like I never get to have fun with her.  If I let my guard down for just a minute she's five miles down the road and I'm coughing up her dust.

Anyway, I've gotten off track.  One of our consequences is to have her write sentences or even a reflective essay of  usually just a page or two.  Last night we/I had to dole out yet another consequence and since sentences and essays were boring me and seemingly ineffectual I took a risk that I actually knew I would regret but I did it anyway.  I told her to write me a story, the only thing that I required of the story was that it be about a girl who didn't like to follow directions.  I told her it could be funny or sad or whatever she wanted other than the one thing that I asked of her.

I did this knowing that I was risking being painted as a real "Wicked Stepmother" and that I needed to steel myself to whatever she came up with, it was after all my idea.  She did not disappoint the story that came back had her dad as the loving father who calls her princess and dotes on her morning noon and night.  I on the other hand came back as the heavy handed and mean step-mom who was always punishing the girl.  She might as well have been princess Cinderella and I may as well have been an unfeeling evil queen.  Like I said I expected it, but I didn't expect it to hurt as much as it did.  It's hard not to take it all personally to wonder why she doesn't remember the way that I try to tell her I love her even when I'm having to set her straight.  I know that I can't think of it that way, but my heart feels differently.  It hurts and there's really no way around that.

Being a full time step parent sucks sometimes.  I miss the days when I was vacation step-mom.  We got to do all of the fun stuff together before the real life kicked in.  I try to tell myself to see the bigger picture, but it still doesn't make my heart hurt any less.

I don't regret giving her the opportunity to write the story or really even what she presented to me, in some way I think it was good for her all kids need to vent their frustrations and a step parent can be an easy scape goat, especially when the step parent is a stay at home parent and the one enforcing most of the punishments. 

I know that no matter what I can't let her see that she hurt my feelings.  I have to let her have this and I have to move on, but you guys....I really hate being a Wicked Step-Mother sometimes, it looks like my heart is the one going in the box today.

In need of a fairy godmother~


Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Tricky Mistress

Time is a tricky mistress.  You think it's moving along at a normal pace, and then suddenly it feels as if the fast forward button was hit and your find yourself three weeks ahead of where you started.  It makes the mind reel.  And then there are the moments, hours and days when it feels as if time is standing still, frozen or locked in cement.  You struggle to get out of a situation until your exhausted but time just won't budge. 

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by time, the way it feels all around me.  I was in 8th grade yesterday and now I'm at what was then the unthinkable age of 34 and my little step-tween thinks as I once did, "My parents just don't understand what it's like to be me and my age."

I keep thinking that I have all of my ducks lined up, that I'm making time for everything, but inevitably things fall by the wayside.  Time seems to be even more present in my life than usual during my convalescence.  I'm not working so I must have ample amount of time to accomplish all that I want, and yet 3 weeks have passed and although I have kept myself busy, I still feel like I'm two weeks behind on everything that I want to do.

I'm sure that organization is a pretty big key to manipulating time to my advantage, but somehow I keep falling short.  Mostly I blame my penchant for sleeping in, but I swear sometimes my eyes just don't want to open!!

What's your time weakness and how do you solve it?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Just like everyone else

I'm just like everyone else.  I'm no different.  I just want to make this year better.  Not that last year was bad, but I want more from my life and I'm prepared to participate in the time honored tradition of these next few calendar days of making strong statements and commitments about the year ahead.

I want to be different.  I want to succeed where others, myself included have fallen short and given up.  I want to come out of the unforseen challenges still moving ahead.

I'm with you, we stand together in anticipation of all of the joys, pitfalls and accomplishments of this pristine New Year  of Two Thousand and Twelve.  I'm just like you and I want to be different, which ironically probably makes us even more alike.  I hope we are standing together at the end of 2012 and I hope that we are still the alike, that we never gave up, that we achieved all that we set out to accomplish and that we can look each other in the eye with pride and know that this time being just like everyone else helped us to be the best I, Me, and you that any of us could possibly be!

Loving the company I keep...


Here's to our bright futures!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Conversations with my steppies...

Me: Copper is a weird dog.

Ri (11y/o): I know sometimes he sits on my head and his butt's in my face.

Cade (7y/o): He's just saying hello.

I'm laughing so hard remembering this conversation that I can't even remember my own commentary ... not that this interaction needs any.

Happy 2012 from Copper and Zoe!