Slow Your Roll

I don’t know about you, but I usually like to get where I’m going as fast as possible. Why drive a Civic if you can’t drive fast? Okay, I hear you mumbling out there, since I admitted in a previous post that I had a bad year when speeding tickets followed me like crows. (Yes, that was an oblique Lord of the Rings reference.) But that’s not important now. What is important is that I get where I’m going quickly.

Today was one of those days where I hit every red light. No matter how fast I sped up, I still couldn’t make the yellow. And even when I reached home and was about to turn in my driveway, there was a little kid, his thin, shaky legs pedaling a bike with training wheels. So, I sat watching him, realizing that this was God’s way of saying, “Slow your roll, girl.”

SN1212SD-Detail-Parking

Another way is through the wait for agents. Those of you on the search know the drill: you query and wait. And wait. And wait. And no amount of blowing or pacing will speed up the response. Trust me on this: I feel your pain. I’m in the middle of that myself.

Perhaps you’ll appreciate the irony of this: I was a manuscript reader for a publisher for almost nine years. (I won’t say which one, so please don’t ask.) Thousands of manuscripts arrived each year. As aslush pile reader, I had to weed through the dreams. With the publisher’s 98% rejection rate, I knew most of those dreams would be quashed until another querying session revived the flame again. (Believe me, saying no to someone is not easy. I never relished the task.)

Anyway, I’ve received a few rejections from agents in recent months. (Go on. Say it with me: “Slow your roll, girl.”) With each rejection, I had to take a step back and rework and cut and cry and try again.

As I considered the daunting task of reworking my WIP yet one more time, one stanza of a poem that I wrote for an exercise came to mind. Since you’re already here, I’ll share it with you, even if you run away screaming.

screaming-person

To Hope
Keats talks of ethereal bursts of hope
And sky-bound drifts of inspiring thought.
I feel earth-bound, on a bus, dreaming of
Clear skies, blue and crisp like fresh washed sheets
and ice cream clouds on a picnic, scattered wide.

Slow your roll—what do the words mean to you? Like me, are you waiting for a response to your literary baby? Are you battling an illness? (I had my share last week.) Facing a decision that tempts you to leap before you look? Tempted to write an angry text or email that could have long-lasting repercussions?

You know what to do. Slow your roll.

P. S. I don’t think I properly thanked Patty at Petite Magique for nominating me for another Sunshine Award and Kristen Mazzola for nominating me for another Liebster Award. So kind!!! Thanks, Patty and Kristen. Had to slow my roll to remember to do that!!!

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Photo from thejanedough.com.

Leapin’ Liebster!

LIEBSTER-BLOG-AWARDWhen I began blogging (not long ago), I had no idea if anyone but my family, friends, and strangers I goaded into reading my blog (“Please. Just read it at least once and I’ll leave you alone. I promise”) would actually read the posts. So when I set out on this journey, I little imagined that I would ever be nominated for an award! But Kristen Mazzola (kind-hearted person that she is) at Kristen Mazzola: Everyone has a story; this is mine nominated me for the Liebster Award. If you haven’t seen her blog and read her wonderful poetry and prose, please stop right now and do so by clicking on her name or blog name.

This nomination, I understand, comes with stipulations. I’m following them, but anyone I nominate is under no obligation to accept. Sometimes just knowing you were nominated is lovely enough, right? That’s what the Academy Award nominees always say, anyway.

Here are the rules:
First is to accept the award, post the picture of the Liebster Award on the top of post and say who nominated you for the award and list their blog site.
Rule number 1 is to list 11 random facts about me.
Rule number 2 is to nominate 11 other bloggers for the Liebster Award and list their blog sites.
Rule number 3 is to notify the bloggers of their award.
Rule number 4 is to ask the award winners 11 questions to answer when they accept their Liebster Award.
Rule number 5 is you don’t talk about the Liebster Award.
Rule number 6 you realize I just made up rule number 5 and 6 to be funny and you hopefully get the reference and laugh.
Rule number 7 is I answer the questions left for me by the blogger who gave me the award.

Eleven Random Facts
1. I once received three speeding tickets in one year. Good times!
2. I’m right handed, but I try to use my left hand also. I’m weird that way.
3. I spent part of a summer teaching middle grade kids in China.
4. I met Sharon Creech and Maggie Stiefvater on the same day and just about died of giddiness.
5. I once climbed a waterfall in Ocho Rios.
6. I’m very inept at tennis.
7. I sat and watched the first season of Heroes for six straight hours.
8. I sometimes wear socks that don’t match. Hey, whatever I can grab in a hurry.
9. I once put over 80,000 miles on my car in one year.
10. When I see a male cardinal (bird), my heart swells.
11. My favorite set of movie soundtracks: Lord of the Rings

Here are the questions I was asked by Kristen, along with my answers:
1. What without fail always makes you laugh?
The movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the movie title The Boogens—a movie that I think only about three people in the world saw. Even I didn’t see it. But my younger brother and a good friend of his saw it, and told me the whole plot.
2. What is your favorite adaptation of a book to a movie?
Lord of the Rings
3. Why did you start your blog?
My younger brother kept after me about starting one and a guy at church shamed me for not having one.
4. What moment did you realize you enjoyed your job or that you were good at your job?
Ha ha! I’m still waiting for the moment where I actually think I’m good at what I do. But I wake up every morning thinking, I can’t believe I sometimes get paid to do what I enjoy.
5. Do you have any poem committed to memory? If so, what is it?
Ha ha! Sadly no, other than the first stanza of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. Let me see if I can write it here without cheating and looking up the words on the Internet (and I have no idea whether the following words are spelled correctly):

Twas brillig and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe
All mimsy were the borogoves
And the momeraths outgrabe

6. What song defines your life?
“We Are the Champions”
7. What is your first memory?
I was sitting at the kitchen table facing my father, who wore a white shirt and a dark tie. I assume we were eating dinner. I don’t quite remember what was happening, but I know I was about three, because we weren’t living in the house in which I grew up. We moved to that house when I was three.
8. What color comes to mind right now?
Red. It’s my favorite color.
9. Do you think that we all have a bigger purpose? If so, what do you think yours is?
Well, I can’t speak for all, but my purpose is to use the gifts God gave me and honor him with my life. The way I do that is to write and encourage others through my writing.
10. What time of day do you like to write?
Morning, afternoon, and evening
11. Are you happy right now?
Sometimes, yes. Basically, I’m content.

Those to whom I am passing on this award are wonderful, versatile writers dedicated to their craft. Their words inspire me. In no particular order, they are
http://meatandpotatoesoflife.wordpress.com/
http://www.lynmillerlachmann.com/blog/
http://cityjackdaw.wordpress.com/
http://lindaktaylor.wordpress.com/
http://lauriemorrison.wordpress.com/
http://shawnalenore.wordpress.com/
http://skvanzandt.wordpress.com/
http://labyrneblog.wordpress.com/
http://bmoreenergy.wordpress.com/
http://disregardtheprologue.wordpress.com/
http://laurasibson.com/

Here are my questions for my nominees:
1. What is one thing you want to do to help change the world?
2. What is your favorite adaptation of a book to a movie?
3. Why did you start your blog?
4. When did you first discover that you wanted to write?
5. Most inspiring outdoor place? Why?
6. Do you have a life slogan? If so, what is it?
7. Name one person who has influenced the way you see life right now. Why?
8. Who is one of your favorite authors? Why?
9. One piece of advice you would give to a middle schooler or an older teen is . . .
10. A goal you have now is to . . .
11. A favorite statement a family member or friend has said to you recently about your writing is . . .