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The Graduate

gradThat picture, minus the date, is how I felt when I sat for hours watching the graduating class of my sons’ take their diploma and walk away into the night. A group of young adults, weathering the tests, classes, and teachers for the past 13 years…out in the real world now. It was surreal. My baby boy. The one who cried so hard when I left him at the little church preschool when he was 4 years old…now a graduate. I remember not being able to take hearing him cry. I called my husband from the parking lot and told him he would be taking him from now on. He couldn’t do it either. So I called my mother to drop him off. Eventually it got better. He acclimated to the other children and settled in. But boy was it tough.

He never gave me any trouble in school. Always a straight ‘A’ student, very conscious of his GPA, and rarely ever missing a day. I had it easy being his mom. And then the night came to see it end. No more seeing him pulling his hair at the counter, trying to squeeze out another page to his already 7 page long paper. No more having him ride the bus for the 45 minutes it took to get to the school. No more curfew to get the bed so he could wake up at 5 in order to ride the bus! He is now officially in limbo until he finds a job and waits to go to college in the fall.

So how do I feel about it all? Old. I no longer can say I have 5 in school. I have four in school and one going to college. Ahh…it gives me shivers. One is out. OUT, I tell you. Out among the other responsible citizens of the world. Able to vote, able to work, go to jail if he’s bad. (although I highly doubt it…still, he could go) I’ve got an adult on my hands. No, I won’t say it too often in my mind. I can’t. To admit it means I’ve lost a little bit of the world I’ve lived in for so long a time. I prefer denial. When I see him meandering in the hall after all the others have gone to school, I simply say to myself he’s just out for the day. It gets me through it. Don’t ask me what I’ll do when fall really comes and I have to leave him at that college. I think he may have to call my mom to take me home because he can’t take the crying! 🙂

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Writer’s Block Denial

writers-blockSo for about a month, I haven’t really written. Okay…maybe a few pages. But even those felt forced. And don’t they, whoever ‘they’ are, say that you should write every day, whether you want to or not?

Perhaps the reason I couldn’t write was because of all my release things going on. Perhaps it was because my chair felt uncomfortable, I had too many clothes to wash, the moon wasn’t out…I don’t know. Whatever it was, it wasn’t happening when I lit up the ‘Word’ function of my keyboard.

Let’s face it, you can’t force inspiration. It’s either there or it isn’t. Specifically, I’m writing the third and final installment of my Amy series. I marvel that I finished the second one. It’s such a relief to know it’s finished. It even passed the beta reader tests. Two thumbs up, they said.

I know what it is! It’s the pressure to get it right again. Look at “Fifty Shades of Grey.” That girl has got to feel the pressure. Incidentally, I’ve heard not so rave things about the second book. I mean, once you did it amazingly right the first time…    And “Harry Potter”? Didn’t she write the next book unaffiliated with it, under a different pen name? Did she feel the pressure, too?

Not saying that “Waking Amy” is all that. But, I felt strained to do the second one. Albeit, it’s over with and I like it more than the first…but then I have a third one to contrive. I need this one to be the best of all three. End with a bang. Shrimps on the Barbie!, if you know what I mean. Maybe it’s a series thing. I don’t feel this pressure for writing standalones.

Whatever the reason, I identify myself with being a supreme procrastinator. (see previous blog post on this problem) I have to have someone breathing down my neck, a gun pointed to my piggy toe…just to get it moving.

But good news! I wrote an outstanding 7,000 words today. And it wasn’t that difficult. Once I get all the imaginary people in one room, they tend to start talking. Then the buzzer rings, and I have to put the dinner on the table! Oh well, I’ll start again tomorrow. Hopefully, Amy will remember where we left off, and the lines she’s supposed to be saying. 🙂

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Deadlines and What they do to Me

DEADLINEI officially have deadlines. For so long I’ve written on my own timetable. Edited when I felt like it, developed characters when I took walks, and proofread only on days I had time. Now it seems it’s going to change.

As I look at the 300 page manuscript glaring back at me, I laugh. Not the Joker kind of laugh, but a timid little mouse laugh. Edged with a sense of denial. “Yeah, that thing’s due soon, but whatever … I’ve got time.”          Three weeks later I’m looking at the computer monitor with Scotch-taped open eyes, a huge Mocha Frappuccino, and shaky fingers … the clock chiming, 1:00 a.m.  Why do I do this? It’s seriously something wrong with the wiring in my head. My daughter gets a school assignment for two weeks out, and it’s finished that night before the ink is dry on the instructions.

Maybe I feel like I’m holding the work for later. Letting the idea marinade that it’s something to be done. Maybe I do my best when a gun is cocked to my head. Who knows. As I type this very blog, I glance over to my massive pile of paper and deny it’s there … ticking like a bomb. Whatever, I’ll get to it. Right after I fill the birdfeeders and water my plants. Then I know I’ll be ready:)

On a most happy note, I just signed a contract with a new publisher for another book. It’s due out next summer and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Having my work in the hands of readers is unlike anything. Of course, if they’re mean in reviews, I’ll hide under a rock. But I’ll cross that denial bridge when I come to it. For now, it’s a dreamy-eyed notion that I’m going to be published again. It’s just the beginning!!!!

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