Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summertime and I'm Feeling Lazy

As you've probably gathered from my last several posts, this blogger has been a little lazy and lax about posting. I wish I could say my laziness was limited to blogging, but the truth is I've been slacking off on just about everything but reading a good book under the apple tree, puttering in the yard and hanging out. Instead of feeling guilty about it, which is what I normally do if I'm not going a million miles an hour at all times, I've decided to just enjoy it while it lasts and do what I feel like doing it, when I feel like it.

I will contradict myself a little to say that I got some writing done this weekend and with a little help from my friends, I may have worked through some issues I've been having that have been giving me problems with The Foundling Wheel. I've been struggling with the direction of the story for weeks, struggling with how to structure the time shifts, and struggling with some of the early choices I made that appeared to limit things going forward.

This weeks epiphany has been that whether you plot and outline up front or take off with no direction, the pound of flesh is due eventually. I suspect that a more seasoned writer could handle a complete seat of the pants approach a little more easily than I've done it. Most of you have heard this a dozen times already, but I'll recap anyway. When I started the Dickens Challenge in December and decided to commit to drafting a chapter a week, I began without a plot, a premise or much of anything but the inspiration for an event. That got me through eleven chapters and about a hundred pages. At that point, there were things I'd done early on that I wished I hadn't and I had no idea how to move forward and end the story. I've since gotten most of this figured out and thanks to some great feedback and advice from my beautiful friend Kristin, I was excited and happy when I was writing today.

Vesper tagged me for this meme last week and although this is probably more information about me than anybody would ever want to know, it does give me something to post about that doesn't require any research or heavy thought and I'm into that the last couple of weeks. So here goes.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Ten years ago I was thirty-six, getting ready to turn thirty-seven and I was living in Colorado Springs in the first house I owned (I'm on number four now). I was married to my former husband and my stepson was living with us and getting ready to start his senior year in high school. I had a civil service job and I worked about ten miles east of Colorado Springs at Schriever Air Force Base. I think my job title was commercial communications manager. We had a little sixteen foot fish and ski boat with an outboard motor. Back then on most weekends we went camping and boating and we dragged the boat out on a lot of weeknights too. Back then I started and kept journals every now and then, but I wasn’t doing much writing at all.

Five things on your to-do list for today

These are really five things for tomorrow’s to-do list. It’s a work day, so that will keep me busy until sometime between five and six. I’ll be optimistic and add a few other things I’ll probably manage to do:

1. Get Scott to help me take down the oversized painting in the living room so we can put something else up

2. Call the sprinkler repair man to replace a couple of bad heads in the back yard

3. Send Larissa a check for the beautiful necklace I just ordered from her at Unravelled

4. Keep working on Chapter 12 of The Foundling Wheel

5. Email Lighthouse Writers Workshop with my workshop choices for the retreat next month (woohoo)

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

Who among us hasn’t spent lots of time having this fantasy? Of course I’d make sure that all of my and Scott’s loved ones were set up with whatever they needed to be happy and secure for the rest of their lives. For the younger ones, this would be more along the lines of taking care of college and setting them up to find their own way in the world. I wouldn’t arbitrarily toss money at anybody under forty because I don’t think they recognize the value of it yet and I don’t think having an endless supply of cash is necessarily a good gift unless you’re old enough to use it wisely.

Since a billionaire has more money than she can possibly use or spend, figuring out philanthropic ways to spend it effectively would be important. I’d like to contribute to or start organizations that would help abused and neglected animals and children, to provide medical care to those who can’t afford it, to provide the opportunity for college and job training for people who can’t afford it, which would include single mothers and the homeless. So many worthy causes!

I’d love to award grants to writers and painters so that they could take the time to write or paint full time. I’d maybe want to create one or two retreat locations that artists and writers could use to do their things. I’d love to own two or three places to live so I could go there anytime . The houses would be nice, but reasonably sized and green and I’d create a program so that when we’re not living in the houses, writers could act as caretakers and earn a small income so they could write and not have to work.

Candidate locations for the houses would be places like northern California, Martha’s Vinyard or Nantucket, Mexico and probably someplace here in Colorado.

Needless to say, I would primarily spend my time writing and hanging out with Scott and enjoying life. Billions would be somewhat wasted on me because there isn’t anything in particular that I want that you need to be wealthy to have. As long as I could travel, write and have someplace comfortable to come home to with Scott, I’d be very happy.

I liked Bernita’s idea. I’d give each of you $100,000 (you being the people who comment on this post of course).

At least once or twice a week I'd like to head out and find ways to anonymously slip strangers cash, pay for their groceries or meals or just do surprise cool things like that.

What are three of your bad habits?

1. Occasional morning crankiness

2. Procrastination about work and writing

3. Outright laziness when it comes to exercise

What are some snacks you enjoy?

1. Kettle chips, especially salt and vinegar or salt and ground black pepper

2. Milk Duds

3. Fresh fruit

What were the last five books you read?

I’ll write more on these when I do my “Books I Read in June 2008” post, but the last five I finished were:

1. The Eleventh Draft, edited by Frank Conroy, which was a great recommendation from Tim Hallinan.

2. Rose’s Garden, by Carrie Brown, which was a great recommendation and gift from the lovely and talented Jennifer Duncan.

3. The House on Fortune Street, by Margot Livesey. This one is a brand new release and Margot Livesey’s essay in The Eleventh Draft motivated me to read her. She is wonderful.

4. Simon Says, by Kathryn Eastburn. I read this one because it’s the tragic true account of a triple murder that was planned and carried out by four Colorado Springs teenagers. My interest in juveniles serving long or life sentences led me to this one.

5. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger was one I reluctantly read after so many people had recommended it. I say reluctantly because I admit I am a total ass and since so many people loved it I figured it couldn’t possibly be anything I’d like. I was wrong. I consumed this fairly long book over the weekend and was captivated the entire time. Maybe I need to finally break down and read Water for Elephants too.

What are five jobs you have had?

These all go back a very long way, but they are the five most unconventional jobs I’ve had.

1. Vacuum cleaner salesman for Kirby

2. Factory worker in a metal stamping plant

3. Short order cook in a bowling alley

4. Bank teller

5. Cashier in a mom and pop grocery store

What are five places where you have lived?

1. Massachusetts

2. New Hampshire

3. Connecticut

4. New Jersey

5. England

6. California

7. Germany

8. Colorado

I know that’s more than five, but it only took eight to list all states and countries. I did attend a total of 13 different schools by the time I graduated from high school – and I went back and forth between some of them more than once.

I always have mixed emotions about tagging people since I’m never sure who has already done which meme and who likes doing them and who doesn’t. I’m going to try something different and tag five male bloggers. I think we (women bloggers) assume they don’t want to do these, but I suspect that’s not always the case. So gentlemen, you’re tagged if you feel like doing this and if you don’t feel like it, that’s totally cool.

Steve Wylder

Steve Malley

Charles Gramlich

Tim Hallinan

Billy Hammett


kristenspina said...

Okay, since there's a slight chance I'm going to get $100,000 for posting a comment, I'd just like to say--short order cook in a bowling alley??? Now if that's not a short story, I don't know what is.

By the way, I've been that same kind of lazy lately. Isn't it nice to just go with it, rather than feel all guilty about it? It's summer. Reading under the apple tree sounds like a great way to spend the day.

steve said...

I'm honored, I think. It may take a while for me to do the meme. Ten years ago. A whole different world.

Just got back from Hanover (Indiana, not Germany) for an orientation program at Hanover College for my son.

While I know, or think I know where my WIP is going, I'm still at a loss on some of the details.

The Foundling Wheel has so much potential. I'll be looking forward to the next chapter.

Charles Gramlich said...

I like these memes in that I get to learn more about my blogging friends. Since I was looking for something to post today I think I'll give it a try.

I'm glad to hear your embracing a bit of laziness this summer. I took the whole weekend off myself except for a bit of blogging.

Patti said...

i am a big fan of kettle chips too. my fav lately is cracked black pepper. they make me happy when i eat them so i eat them frequently.

i am also a fan, big big fan, of the summer lazies. when i step outside and here the buzz of the cicadas, it's enough to lull me into laying in the grass and watching the clouds.

and your comment about my insanity of late and your surprise at it made husband chime in "i can't believe it either." so it got me to thinking and i have figured it out. and not much of it is about the dress. as usual.

Lisa said...

Kristen, It was the single most disgusting, greasy job I've ever had and I SUCKED at it. I took it as a part time job in Germany (on base) to earn some extra cash. There was the stingy German manager who was constantly popping up and yelling at me "too much fries! that's too much fries!", the moronic customer's who'd be yelling from the shoe counter at me and who couldn't understand why I couldn't just run over there between flipping burgers and handle their disgusting bowling shoes and the juke box that played Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" so often that anytime I hear that song I go into a Frank Sinatra "Manchurian Candidate" trance -- I didn't last too long :)

Steve, I've quit guessing when I'll have it done, but it may finally be pretty soon. Glad you got through your son's orientation program ok and back home.

Charles, I like the memes for the same reason and they are a good, easy post -- in the spirit of my summer laziness, which I really am just going with.

Patti,Aha! See? It's never JUST about the dress ;)

Travis Erwin said...

Now you got me craving Milk Duds.

Barrie said...

Oh, how very good that you've got your story sorted out. I'm impressed that you wrote 100 pages based on an idea. I'm kind of a outlining geek. :)

Always glad to hear of another potato chip lover!

Lisa said...

Travis, Milk Duds are my total weakness. It's the caramel -- I can walk away from chocolate but never caramel.

Barrie, I wouldn't be too impressed! I have a feeling that by the time I figure out what the hell I'm doing, a good portion of that won't survive. I am really fumbling my way through this, but I look at it all as a learning experience. I guess I'd have to or I'd go nuts ;)

Chips -- my very favorite. I'm a big fan of the salty, crunchy snacks.

Larramie said...

Kudos, Lisa, for finally tagging male bloggers. And you make me LOL at your surprise in enjoying THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE. It's true there are some popular and commercial novels that are incredibly well-done.

Yogamum said...

I was surprised to like _The Time Traveler's Wife_ too. I loved _Water for Elephants_ -- although, I listened to it on audio and I think the voices added a lot as well.

Lisa said...

Larramie, The male bloggers are good sports about it too! Now I feel bad for not tagging them sooner :)

I admit I'm always suspicious of anything that's popular, which is kind of dumb really. Like I said, I'm kind of an ass that way.

Yogamum, See? Then it's not just me. Only I had sort of the opposite reaction. I was reading and getting into all of the musical references and following Henry's bad boy club persona and it didn't surprise me that I liked it, but I was thinking, "I can't believe so many other people liked this".

I'm sure that says something telling about me, but I have no idea what it is ;)

Tim said...

Lisa --

What a rich post -- so much to comment on. (And thanks for tagging me, a mere male blogger.)

First, I inadvertently deleted your most recent comment on my site. It was in the middle of a bunch of people who wanted to sell me Viagra in Russian and googling for "America's Next Top Model" and wondering whether I'd like to check out perversions I can't even visualize. So I pushed the button, but DON'T buy another copy for Scott -- share it with him. Or I'll give him one when I come. I THINK I'll be at Murder By the Book on August 7, time TBD.

Second, I'm so impressed with your progress on FOUNDLING WHEEL and I'm announcing my intention to resuscitate COUNTERCLOCKWISE as soon as I finish MISDIRECTION and to be really punctilious about rejoining the group, it you'll still have me.

Third, I'm glad you liked THE ELEVENTH DRAFT. It knocked me out.

One meme, coming up.

Lisa said...

Tim, I'm glad you're game for the meme!

I have not been to a signing at Murder by the Book, but they are supposed to be great. They always have a cake from a specialty bakery with an exact duplicate of the book cover, which is really cool.

I'll let Scott read my copy (or maybe my ARE, since I have one of those). You see how what a powerful connection music is? Scott is now a big huge Tim Hallinan fan, primarily because he has such respect for your taste in music :)

I think almost all of us who started the Dickens Challenge have really slowed down or even come to a halt, but just about everyone seems ready to get back into it again. We probably need some kind of a pep rally or a new exercise or deadline to get us reinvigorated and ready to roll again.

THE ELEVENTH DRAFT was really incredible. There's another blogger named Gunter (who has a fantastic blog) who stops here now and then and commented that he had the book checked out of the library for two years!

Steve Malley said...

I like memes. I accept your challenge!

Lisa said...

Steve, That's terrific! I'm so glad you guys are all so receptive.

debra said...

Blogger has eaten my comments twice:-(
Here's round 3 (shorter and less articulate each time)
I would surmise that you are, rather that slacking, turning your energies inward. Relaxing is good---so is
Interesting meme---it's kind of neat to look at how we've changes over the past 10 years. For me--it's another life time!

Melissa Marsh said...

Wow. You're so lucky to have lived so many different places! I've only lived in Nebraska. Sad, isn't it? I'm trying to convince hubby that we need that cottage in England, but so far, no go. ;-)

Sustenance Scout said...

Relaxation is good, reading is good (like I need to tell you that! You read TTTW in one weekend?!), looking back at where we've been and how far we've come is good, too.

Cake at every signing? I need to start reading mysteries! K.

Riss said...

Ok, So I'm going to steal this meme from you, even though i'm not a boy and have yet to be tagged so I can post about something (c: I'm curious to see what comes from thinking back. Ten years ago...well, at least I was alive. I can answer it...(c:

Secondly, Yaaaay for salt and vinegar chips. Awesome.

Thirdly, I disagree that you have to be 40 to appreciate money. So :P

Fourthly, I'm on someone's to do list! That's awesome. (c: I like that feeling hehe.

And lastly (I know, it should be fifthly) congrats on refocusing on The Foundling Wheel. I, whether anyone believes me or not, have been thinking mine over and over...and over...almost to death.

Tim said...

Lisa -- It's not just music in common as far as the bond between Scott and me is concerned; it's TRAFFIC in common. And there was nothing common about them. If it's true that certain professions are self-selecting, in the way that a high proportion of cosmologists will be good at grasping abstract concepts, then being a Traffic fan was also self-selecting: we were cooler than cool, and perhaps a bit smug about it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I enjoyed learning more about you.

CindyLV said...

Great post -- AGAIN!

Sometimes I inadvertently scramble a word and not even know it. For example, I always thought "lassisitude" was a word that meant something like "sweet laziness." The floaty, day-dreamy pre-writing phase where I love to drift and imagine the possibilities.

Imagine my surprise to discover the rest of you on the planet think the word is actually "lassitude" and that it means "a state of weariness, lethargy, laziness or lack of energy" or "indolence - a condition that is not actively spreading, as in lymphoma." Hmmm....I think I may submit my word to TPTB.

I wish you plenty of "lassisitude" this summer. Oh, the power of a single extra syllable!

Lana Gramlich said...

Interesting stuff--thanks for sharing! I love that painting up top, too. Very serene.

Lisa said...

Debra, Grrrr -- that's been happening to me too lately. Yeah, yeah, turning my energies inward, that's what it is (imagine Jon Lovitz and his Pathological Liar character's voice). I think I'll go with that.

Melissa, It's funny because I've always envied people who grew up in one place and who have known some of the same people since kindergarten. I guess there are pros and cons to doing it both ways, huh?

Karen, I know, cake every time! Well, I say we get the whole Denver contingent to Tim's signing on August 7th since we all love cake -- I mean Tim so much :)

Riss, It's not stealing! Everyone go and read Larissa's blog. It's sort of new and she does the best posts -- especially a recent one on defining home. I'm laughing about "you don't have to be 40 to appreciate money". Nope, I know you don't. I'm thinking of my 27 year old stepson and about how I'm not sure I'd be too confident that he'd use a boatload of $$$ wisely. But that's the maternal control freak part of me. I'd give you a bunch as long as you don't tell Josh :)

Tim, I want in too! I didn't ever get to see them, but I did have the album! Come on, I'm kind of cool and I'm definitely smug :)

Patti, I'm not sure any of it is very interesting, but there I am.

Cindy, You crack me up. I think I'm going to have to start using lassisitude! On the flip side of the coin, I don't know that I've ever used lassitude in conversation either, so I'm not even smart enough the mangle the word.

Lana, I'll tell Scott and boy, your new panel is BEAUTIFUL!

Riss said...

hehe. (c: I don't know about the best posts..they are usually somewhere between really long and somewhat scattered but I will take the compliment. And yes, all of you should read it. Alllll offf yooouu (puts on best Villians Voice she can muster). Anyway-thanks for the grandfathered tagging. I'd say no tag backs but I don't think it's the same game.

I won't tell anyone if you want to give me lots of money. And boys are stinky. I know lots of them well over 50 who can't not waste money (not to insult any of my potential new readers out there hehe) but yeah...all the money should go to the girls.

Tim said...

Well, your meme is up on my site and I had a terrific time doing it. I laughed all the way from Seattle to LA (um, I was on a plane) while the guy next to me kept trying to read it. Thanks for the opportunity.

And okay, you're in the Traffic club. If it's okay with Scott.

Vesper said...

I loved your answers, Lisa. It feels good to learn more about you. :-)

I'm glad you're finding answers and direction for The Foundling Wheel. I'm looking forward to reading more of it.

Subscribe Now: Feed Icon

Literary Quote

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.

Virginia Woolf