Ta-Da!

ta-daNow that I’m finally getting used to the fact that (1) I’m home from my holiday travels, (2) there’s lots of snow on the ground and cold, cold temperatures, and (3) I need to catch up on my blog reading as I work to finish my novel, I find that I’ve been nominated for an award by the fabulous ReGi McClain over at ReGi McClain’s Fortnight Stories. This award is the Ta-Da Award. Thank you, ReGi.

I had a pretty quiet year, so my answers aren’t exactly of the earth-shattering, ta-da category. The buck stops here though, since I didn’t nominate anyone else, but thought I’d at least answer the questions. I can’t blame you if you’re bored to death with my answers. (If you actually die of boredom while reading this, well, I guess you can’t sue. I’ll try to make up better ones next time.)

1. What was the best experience you had on purpose last year? I can’t think of one single best thing. Anytime I hung out with friends or family was a good time. (By the way, I highly recommend the Angry Birds card game.)

Angry_birds_card_game2. What was the best experience you stumbled into last year? The writer retreat I was invited to attend in Utah. Such a wonderful experience. Just being out in the fresh air with good friends, watching turkeys trot by the cabin was very rejuvenating.

photo73. What was your greatest intentional accomplishment last year? Starting this blog, probably, though I never thought I would keep up a blog. My brother and another guy shamed me into doing so. I’m glad I did, though I haven’t posted much in the last two weeks (see first paragraph for the reason why). Blogging has enabled me to interview some fantastic writers and to meet other fascinating people. Other accomplishments: finishing a novel, ghostwriting a book, and almost finishing a second novel. I’ve tried to be very intentional about my writing and my chocolate consumption.
4. What was your greatest unplanned accomplishment last year? Um, I’ll get back to you on that. . . . There’s gotta be something better than buying new tires for my car or discovering that Belted Galloway cows exist. (I never get tired of looking at this photo.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5. Did you spend some time with someone you adore last year? Yes. Family and friends in various places—usually restaurants and movie theaters.
6. Were you nice to someone you don’t like last year? Um, maybe? I didn’t give in to road rage, so that’s being nice, right?
7. What was the most amazing thing you learned last year? That I can get up after being knocked down by rejection.
8. Who did you teach last year and what (G-rated thing) did you teach them? I taught seven- to nine-year-olds in Sunday school. I think they taught me more than I taught them. Besides the obvious things you learn in Sunday school, I taught them that videogames didn’t always exist. I’m very proud of myself for disillusioning them.
9. What events did you attend last year? I attended some SCBWI meetings. I went to my niece’s baptism in Ohio. I became an international spy and went for black ops training. Now, you can guess which is the false event. I’m sure you’ll know it when you see it.
10. Did you travel anywhere? Even just downtown? Utah, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. I ate quite a bit wherever I stayed.

Answering those questions tempts me to take up skydiving or something else that sounds dangerous and exciting. Not because I really want to (well, maybe I could skydive)—only so I will appear less boring. That attitude—or fear—reminds me of the way I write stories sometimes. As I write, I fall back on plottiness. That’s what one of my advisors at VCFA used to chide me about. It sounds like a disease or a personality flaw, doesn’t it? By that I mean I sometimes add scenes I think will spice up my existing plot so a reader won’t close the book in disgust. Usually, when I get those ideas, my mind is not on character, but on a reader’s perceived reaction—which may or may not take place. It also means I’ve abdicated control of the story to someone else. Not a good place to be.

So there you have it. My life in all of its mundane glory. As with my story, it needs a firm, confident hand—but not contrived events to make it seem “full.” Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back to watching the extended version of The Hobbit. There’s nothing like hot dwarves on a cold night. 😀

       Thorin-Oakenshield-richard-armitage-33615803-381-500 download

Thorin, Kili,

The-Hobbit-Fili

and Fili—make me glad I’m alive.

Angry birds card game image from angrybirds.wikia.com. Cow image from Wikipedia. Richard Armitage as Thorin from fanpop.com. Aidan Turner as Kili from somewhere on the Internet. Dean O’Gorman as Fili at moviecultists.com.