Monday, June 27, 2016

Why I Love Libraries

So I'm in the library, a stack of too many books in my hands, and my wild children skipping around while clutching their latest (manga for the Boy Child, Ella Enchanted for my Girl, and a monster picture book for my littlest monster.) I'm trying to remind them that libraries are for quiet, but they heard me squeal as I walked in, so that ship has sailed.

We go to the library every week. Usually on Mondays, unless my inner introvert takes over. But every time I walk into that beautiful building, I see all those books, and book people, and my heart warms, and my pulse lifts, and I think I NEED TO READ ALL THE BOOKS, and a squeal happens. I can't help it.

The best part of the library though, other than THE BOOKS, is that after we check out the eleven or so books I think I can read in a week (I can't, but I'll die trying) is we get home and all settle on my giant sectional couch and we read books together. My house is quiet. My heart and lap are full. My TBR shelf groans.

It's happy town.

Today we brought along one of the neighbor girls. She's my daughter's BFF (a thing she explains to me even though I'm pretty sure my generation invented it) and we love her to pieces.

It's her first time. She's lived next to us for over a year, and she's never been taken to the library.

You know in the big picture, it's not a big deal. She's been fed, clothed. She's safe. The first time she came over to our house, she walked past our bookshelves, and out of nowhere, she told me she didn't want to go to college, because school was boring and there wasn't a point for a girl like her.  She's eight, and she knows how to flat iron her hair, loves to put makeup on, and she tries to be the Bratz doll she used to carry around.

I've seen her at 8:00 in the morning--her arms shaking, her skin pale, and her eyes glazed, because the night before the police took her step dad away-- and she was shipped out of her house for the free babysitting of school. She's seen more than I have, more violence, and heartache, and cold shoulders then an eight year old with narrow shoulders and soft eyes should. She knows she's welcome at our house, and she takes that welcome and she lives here some days. She parrots the words she's been taught to my daughter, and sometimes I need to correct them. Sometimes I just love her.

But we're leaving the library, and today she casts a gaze over her shoulder, holding a picture book story of the Beauty and the Beast that my daughter read in kindergarten. Looking back at all those books, she makes a little noise. She's not like me. She doesn't see all those books, and feel an ache inside that she needs to read them all.

It's a softer sound then my squeal.

It's the beginning of a want. A hope she suppresses.

"We'll come back next week," I tell her. "You are welcome to come along, if it's okay with your mother."

Those were the wrong words to say. At the mention of her mother she glances down at the book she's hugging to her chest and drops it down by the side, like a leash she's holding. "Nah. Libraries are boring."

We dump the books on the library shelf when we get home, and all settle into my cozy sectional. My four year old settles in on my lap, the boy child and my girl crash into pillows and then open their books. My daughter pats on the couch next to her, and my little neighbor sits down, her posture stiff, as she opens the book.

I start to read the picture book, making crazy monster sounds while my four year-old giggles. She leans back against the overstuffed cushions and turns the page of her own book.

Happy town.

And she has a visitor's pass.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Long Awaited Beyonce Post

*reposted from theprosers June 2012

I've been challenged by my friend Maurine to write more honestly, and from the heart. 

So here goes.

I'm secretly BeyoncĂ©.

Same Person

Several years ago, in the first official Proser post, I mentioned how I think I'm like Queen Bey, and it wasn't a joke. I hear her music, and it's like our brains are the same brain. I close my eyes, (and my curtains), and I get to booty-shaking.

Yes, my kids do laugh at me, (how'd you know?).  They don't see what's happening in my head. In my mind, I'm wearing a leotard, and the spotlights are bright and trained on me, and everyone watching is thinking, "Dang, that girl is talented."

The difficulties come when I'm in my car, and one of Beyonce's songs come on the radio. There are no curtains in my minivan, and I can't listen to Beyonce without singing along. I shake my hair, and shimmy my shoulders, so every car around me gets a free Beyonce show.

Aren't they lucky?

But the other drivers aren't grateful for the Grammy Award quality show that's going on in my head. No, there is sometimes laughing and pointing, and I suddenly realize that I am a white girl/ mom/ driving a minivan/ making a fool out of myself.

My Hero Lucille Ball.

It makes me feel like Lucy Ricardo.  Lucy wants, more than anything, to be in show business. The problem is, she's not a good singer, or dancer, or actor. She is all desire, and ambition, and light on talent.

I feel like that.

 I want to be a writer, more than anything. I've always been this way. I started my first novel in fifth grade for crying out loud. I'm trying. I write almost every day. I submit my stories, and my novels. I'm doing everything I can.

But most of the time, I feel like I'm putting on a costume, and looking ridiculous, as I stand with my heart on my sleeve, and every drop of talent I have don't have on display.  People laugh. People ignore me. I make a fool out of myself. I fail, even though I want so hard to succeed. 

I can't stop, because I believe in myself to the point of delusion. In my head, I think that everyone who reads my stuff will think, "Dang, that girl is talented."

But that's not what happens.  I realize occasionally that I'm ignoring my children/house/ reality, so I can look foolish.

My soul sister knows what I'm talking about.

Sweet Dreams.

My guilty pleasure, I ain't going no where

Baby long as you're here I'll be floating on air

'Cause you're my

You can be a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare

Either way I don't wanna wake up from you
(Turn the lights on)

I mention you when I say my prayers
I wrap you around all of my thoughts
Boy you're my temporary high

I wish that when I wake up you're there
To wrap your arms around me for real
And tell me you'll stay by side

Clouds filled with stars cover the skies
And I hope it rains, you're the perfect lullaby
What kinda dream is this?

This just took a turn for the sad,  (Beyonce will do that). I'm not trying to get sympathy, or support, or even adulation. That's annoying. I'm just trying to be honest as challenged.

See, that's part of the difficulties about having dreams. Not everyone who dreams will have their dream come true. Not everyone who dreams is good enough for it to happen. And you don't know which person you are, so you can't stop trying, just in case. Years pass, and there's no guarantee that all that effort will pay off.

Sometimes dreams are actually nightmares, dragging their victims around by their hopes.

Either way, I don't wanna wake up. Because in my's beautiful.

So I close the curtains so it's just me and the bright lights, (and occasionally a leotard,) and I get to booty-shaking. 

Talented or not, successful or not, I love to dance, and I love to write. Who cares about the destination anyway? I find joy in the dreaming.

I'm not gonna quit singing and dancing in my minivan when Single Ladies comes on, even though people may laugh. It might be the only time they laugh the whole day. Why on earth would I want to stop? 

I'm not gonna quit writing when the inspiration hits me either, because I write for me.

I don't need an ever after to be happy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dating Analogy for the Win!

Okay, so for this analogy, pretend I'm a young Brad Pitt. Take a good look at the picture on my right, and imagine the person talking is that guy.

MaryAnn, I think you looked at me just a little too long.


The Dating Analogy

Seriously, MaryAnn. My words are over here. 

When I tell people I'm a writer, the first thing they often ask is "Where do you get ideas?" 

The fact is, idea's are everywhere. Imagine that you are in a bar, ( which apparently is a place where you meet people...I don't know, I'm a Mormon.) or at a party, trying to fall in love. Ideas are like cute girls, and as a writer/ young Brad Pitt, it's my job to pick up any of these girls/ ideas and try to make things work. 

Ideas, like hot girls, can fall into a few categories. Please allow me to label you.

The Girl that is Too Hot For Me.

There are simply story idea's that are out of my league.  Now, I'm a young Brad Pitt of writers...obviously... but still. :) 

Some idea's I'm just not ready for/ would laugh in my face if I attempted to pick them up. I know this, so I don't choose them. No offence, hot idea. Maybe it'd work out, but I'm not gonna waste my time only to be rejected.

The Two Timing Girl

 This has happened to me more than I'd like to admit, but often I start writing an idea, and then I find out that the idea is currently dating another writer. Has this ever happened to you? You start writing a story, only to find out that someone else, often a smarter, more published writer has already climbed that hill. Doesn't work. Heartbreaking, but you got to move on.

 The Bad News Girl Who Won't Let Go

I knew this girl who dated a great guy for a while, and then they broke up, because they knew it wouldn't work out between them. It wasn't anyone's fault, they just weren't compatible. But they wouldn't stop hanging out, and she lost years... YEARS... on a guy she knew wouldn't work for her. 

I've seen this happen to writers too. Sometimes an idea just won't work, nothing wrong with the idea, nothing wrong with the writer, they just aren't compatible. But as the writer focuses on this bad news idea, there isn't room in their head or their schedule for any other idea. Walk away, girl. Walk away.

The I'm Not So Sure Girl

This is the relationship I'm in right now...writing wise. I have this idea. I like it. I like the dynamic between  the girl and they guy, the casual flirting, the history of pain. I like the system of magic. But it hasn't swept me off my feet. 

I keep writing it, asking questions, finding out more, spending time and energy trying to have a relationship with this idea. And you never know... I could get all the way to the end of this story without ever committing.  I guess you could say I'm settling for this idea until a better idea comes along. You could also say I'm a jerk.

I don't care. I'm a young Brad Pitt.

The Love At First Sight Girl

Our eyes meet across a crowded room. This is the one,  I  think. We start talking, and every expression, every second I'm with her is amazing. My heart starts racing. When I'm not with her, I constantly think about her. While I'm working, while I'm making breakfast, while I'm in the shower (...did I just loose my G rating?). A song will come on the radio, and I'll think of the girl. I have to tell everyone I meet about this girl; my mom, my friends, even complete strangers, all need to hear about this perfect beautiful girl. This is the girl I can commit to. 

See, writing a novel is a commitment. But when you can write something you love, it's not work. When the idea is right, writing is like falling in love.

Now, for fun, I'm going to label boys/writers. Super Fun!

The I Won't Ask Anyone Out Guy

You've met him. He's nice. He's not bad looking. He would be a great boyfriend/ husband/ father but he won't ask anyone out. Maybe he's spending too much time at work, or playing video games, but this guy just won't show up at the party. He might make an occasional appearance, click on Word, look around the blank screen, ignore the hot girls, and then go back to playing Zuma. This guy/ writer is wasting his time, and his good looks on video games/Facebook/ Pintrest.


The Big Talker

He talks a good game. He tells the girl how he wants to be in a committed relationship, the house, the kids, the publishing contract. But then after a couple of weeks( or chapters) he finds a reason to end things. And then he's back to talking big, about his goals, his dreams... Girls flock to him, but then nothing happens. He could even fall in love. Meet the girl of his dreams, complete a novel to the end, and then never pop the question/ submit a query.

Sad how much I resemble this jerk.

The Best Friend

This is the guy who has it right. He's trying. Honestly he's trying. He's there for the girl. He asks the right questions, submits to the right markets. But all that happens is the big fat rejection. It's scary being this guy. Putting his heart out there so often, waiting for the time it'll click. Soon, he might stop trying. Soon he might give up.

But then, he'll find a girl. Things will click, the right words will fall into place, the story will start making sense, and all of the heartbreak, all of the rejections, will prepare him to treat this girl right. 

Things work out in the end for the best friend, they always do.

You just can't give up.

What other comparisons can you come up with?