Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Que Sera, Sera

Okay, I don't know if I spelled that title correctly, but let's just go with it.

I'm not quite midway through the latest draft (they're overlapping now. Let's call it #47) of my coming-of-age romance -- yes, romance -- for young adults. And it has changed so much from my original version -- or should I say vision -- for this book that I almost don't recognize it sometimes. It used to be pretty dark, filled with angst and flashbacks and depression. Now it's moving forward, developing minor character arcs, finding a bit of humor, and allowing the romance to blossom at a more believable pace. Yet with all these improvements I'm wondering if I'm losing something. Or gaining something. Or selling out. Or buying in. Or getting better. Or making it worse. Or... losing some sort of grip on reality.

I have to keep in mind who my audience is. Young adults. Teens. And, since I live with one, this should be easy. And as I write this, I realize that, as a mom, sometimes I feel the same way about my daughter growing up before my eyes as I do about this novel. It's a painful growing process--sometimes for both of us (although I think more for me. But I'm biased.) I'm pretty sure the ABBA song, "Slipping Through My Fingers" (for a more recent version, pull out your Mamma Mia! soundtrack. Oh, admit it already. You own it!) is a daily refrain in my subconscious. Time is passing so quickly! Am I losing her? Or gaining new depth to our relationship? Am I selling out or buying in? Am I doing right by her? How often will the words "MY MOTHER" be spoken within the context of therapy when she's in her thirties???? Am I becoming a better mom, or just turning into a fuddy duddy who disses her music choices? (I'm sorry, but the Biebs sounds like a girl. He does.) Oh, dear. I am turning into one of those moms. I wanted to be the cool mom! Am I helping her establish a firm foothold for when she goes out into the world on her own, all too soon? Am I losing my grip on reality, or just my grip on my kid?

I've always said that fiction, well, good fiction, mirrors truth. But I'm learning that the process of creating -- or birthing, rather -- that product has much in common with child-rearing.

My daughter and I, and my manuscript and I, are both navigating the uncharted realms of adolescence. Their voices will change. Their form might too, and though I hate to admit it, I am sometimes little more than a spectator to this blossoming process.

But I was also the one who changed the diapers, walked around smelling like baby-urp, and cheered their first steps into the world. Even in this new phase of development, for my daughter and my book, there are still messes to clean up. Sometimes all it takes is a phrase, spoken at the right time. Sometimes more drastic measures are called for. And sometimes I'm the one who needs a time-out to get a grip on reality and to loosen my hold on my babies so they can earn their own wings.

It's a learning process. It's moving toward abundance for one, excellence for the other. It's gaining. Yes, it's gaining.

But it's a gain that rips out a mommy's heart sometimes.

"Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning. Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile..."

lyric quoted from "Slipping Through My Fingers" by Andersson/Ulvaeus

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Voyage to the Ugly Heart of Me -- and back.

I haven't seen the newly released film version of C.S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader yet.


I know, right?

The truth is, I'm scared of it. This is my favorite book in the series. What if they mess it up? What if they downplay the reality of THE LION's role in Eustace's transformation? What if they skip an island or two? What if I can't smell the lilies??????????

Oooh. I just had a random thought: I hope Disney does a Dawn Treader ride at DisneyWorld. That would be soooo awesome. Like the Pirates of the Carribbean ride except with dragons and a LION and children as heroes and the scent of lilies at the end and the mist in your face all along. Oooh. I really hope they do that.

Anyone who's been to Disney World will tell you how utterly transported you are to other worlds via the Imagineers. They use sight, scent, sound, mist, light, film, motion, and, I think, a few generous pinches of pixie dust to make multiple worlds come alive in one magical kingdom.

And to think: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is right down the road at Universal Studios Orlando. It would be a little like studying Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon, except much less stuffy and with better weather. It would be so awesome: the mirror-world realization of two of the 20th Century's literary greats (Okay, Rowling crossed the millenium with her series) only a couple of miles from each other. Wouldn't that be the theme-park trip extravaganza of all time???? One day you're in Narnia via Disney, the next day you head over to Hogwarts via Universal.


So, Disney Imagineers, please, please, please get on this.

But back to my original thought -- I haven't seen the movie yet. I only hope that next weekend (when the wind chill factor is in a more human-friendly zone and my emotions are stabilized enough to handle the fear of epic disappointment) that I am awed by the cinematic interpretation of one of my favorite books of all time -- my favorite of all The Chronicles of Narnia. When I read/see Eustace Clarence Scrubb in the ways C.S. Lewis created him, I see myself, my own dragon scales getting ripped off by the claws of the LION who loves me enough to bathe me with his rough pink tongue and make me clean.

Some of you may know that I have dabbled in the world of songwriting. In fact the music business was my chosen career path when I moved to Nashville and entered Belmont University's Music Business program in 1991. Moving to Iowa put a bit of a kabosh on my career plans, but I couldn't stop writing lyrics. This musical penchant has helped me as a writer, to feel the rhythm of prose, the musicality of story, as I try to create that which moves the emotion of a reader.

Some of you also know (because I have blogged about it before) that for most of my reading life I have tried to read through the complete Chronicles of Narnia every 2 years or so, to see how much bigger the Lion seems based on my own growth (see my old post Countdown to Prince Caspian, or another one: Lions & Chiggers & Dragons, oh my!) After one such re-entry into Narnia (in 2006) I penned the following lyric, entitled "Eustace's Daughter", based loosely on another lyric I had created in college many years before, again, after reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I still hope to someday put it to music -- but the right melody hasn't revealed itself yet; the lyric itself needs revision. But due to the release of the film it seemed appropriate to share the lyric here, even in its imperfect state. And, who knows, maybe some other music-writing Narnia-lover will be interested in contacting me (leave a comment in the comments form) about the possibility of co-writing a melody for this song someday. In any case, here it is, unedited & unrefined, like me. Because, unfortunately, I still must seek the rough pink tongue of a LION regularly.
--my apologies for the weird formatting -- I've been fighting with it to make it more uniform, but it isn't translating from the "new post" page to this page accurately. Go with it. ----

Eustace’s Daughter

words by Shawna R. Van Ness

Thick scales

a dragon’s tail

the heaviness in my soul

is like a man drowning in gold

Scalding tears

breathing fear

Your presence shocks the fire from my eyes

I know just who You are to my surprise

Layer by layer by layer you bid me

My own strength is spent but yet you still bid me

Sir, your vicious mercy scores my skin

Dig deep enough to gut the soul within

Wound to heal me with that golden claw

Wash me with the tender sting of love

Treasure cave, a dooming grave

the shame caused by my greed

hangs like mist below the trees

My golden lair, His burning stare

Your beauty puts the brightest gem to shame

You see me as I am and douse my flame

Layer by layer by layer you bid me

My own strength is spent but yet you still bid me

Sir, your vicious mercy scores my skin

Dig deep enough to gut the soul within

Wound to heal me with that golden claw

Wash me with the tender sting of love

Naked and raw in the water

I step in like Eustace’s daughter

and I scream -- oh, the sting....

Layer by layer by layer you bid me

My own strength is spent but yet you still bid me

Sir, your vicious mercy scores my skin

Dig deep enough to gut the soul within

Wound to heal me with that golden claw

Wash me with the tender sting of love

The water turns sweet on my skin

You've washed away all of my sin

In your view

I am new….

copyright 2006 Shawna R. Van Ness

fiction mirrors truth.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Book review: ROOMS by James L. Rubart

I just finished reading through someone's soul.

Rooms, a novel by James L. Rubart, begins with protagonist Micah Taylor inheriting a 9000 square foot home in Cannon Beach, Oregon from a mysterious (and unknown) great-uncle. This teaser alone was enough for me to want to read the book. The Oregon Coast is on my short list of hopeful vacation destinations and, honestly who hasn't fantasized about living in house on the beach -- or receiving a rockin' inheritance from some old dude you never met but had the good fortune of being the depository of his wealth?

Premise interesting --sold!-- and the hook-you quote on the cover promises some Lewis-like God-stuff? Cool.

So I dove in.

A software mogul in Seattle, Micah Taylor is happy with his surface relationships, bulging bank accounts, and the savvy girlfriend he's not-quite-ready to commit to. He has achieved fame, fortune, and, he thinks, purpose. Micah's journey to (and through) his newly inherited mansion on the beach, however, forces his perspective to shift.

The more time he spends in this mysteriously changing house, the more swiftly he morphs between ever-shifting alternate realities. The house itself changes almost daily. The better Micah comes to understand his house, the less he understands the domino-effect-like happenings within his software company and life in Seattle. He begins to question his sanity.

A wise new friend and a Godly new love inject truth and hope into Micah's coming-of-age-at-thirty-ish tale. An enemy of new acquaintance also informs his new life. Each choice Micah makes sends ripples of change through the universe, some good, some bad, and each often masquerading as the other. His perspective on these changes is poisoned and/or refreshed by other characters' input into his life. That is what makes this story believable -- because we've all been in Micah's shoes: getting advice that seems good and true, only to realize later that the action taken was the exact opposite of what we should have done. This universal experience, albeit shown in a supernaturally-charged setting, allows the reader to suspend her disbelief and enjoy the show.

What was missing for me? Not a lot, although I felt there were a couple of loose ends. One relational forgiveness issue (remember, I try very hard not to put spoilers in my reviews!) seemed to right itself a little too neatly -- it upset the tempo of the story a bit for me -- and a great loss in a younger Micah's life was not dealt with as well as I thought it could have (there seemed a lack of closure there for me, though Micah seemed okay with it.) There were a couple of head-hopping chapters centered on other character's points of view that I felt were not consistent enough throughout the work to really add to the overall flow of the book. The book was a little heavy on the exposition, a little light on the snappy conversation. But a tisket, a taskit, even though Micah thinks he should weave a basket. (that's a lame joke about Micah's propensity to wonder about his sanity throughout the book. Go with me. Laugh. Go ahead. It's okay to laugh at lame jokes to make someone feel better.)

Rooms is a good read. I would give it nearly 4 stars (out of 5). I didn't laugh much (at all? --but it's not really that kind of book.), but I did cry a couple of times due to touching, heart-rending scenes, or a line or two of explosive Truth that really captured my heart.

The cover of this novel features Robert Liparulo's recommendation of this "extraordinary read", calling Rubart's Rooms "part The Screwtape Letters and part The Shack." I can see touches of both works in it-- Liparulo's is a valid observation. The publisher's choice of putting that quote on the cover, however, was, for me at least, a bit of a "spoiler." DRAT THOSE MARKETING PEOPLE!!! The quote and its comparison to Lewis & Young's supernatural tales made it too easy for the reader (me) to correctly identify the inhabitant of one particular "room" of Micah's beach house (aka: Micah's soul) and, because of that (I think) it seemed like it took an extraordinarily long time for Micah to pull his head out of his bahoinky and figure it out for himself.

Without a doubt, James L. Rubart's Rooms is a mind-bending, imagination inflaming, and soul-searing read; a worthy novel which will challenge you to examine your own heart, your own choices, and your own reality. So follow Micah Taylor to Cannon Beach and maybe, in one of the tide pools near Haystack Rock, you could see your own reflection in his tale.

Because Fiction Mirrors Truth.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Brevity is the soul of... excruciating amputation and necessary lipo

I've read that "brevity is the soul of wit" (William Shakespeare, Hamlet, spoken by Polonius -- read it.) and, apparently it is also the core of good writing. Jane Friedman over at Writer Unboxed has a great post up on the subject.

This is another bloody lesson I am learning through the painfully slow processing of writing the third draft (or second-and three quarters?) of my first coming-of-age novel for Young Adults.

I have a tendency to get caught up in a beautiful turn of phrase and then... bludgeon it to death by going overboard on the inclusion of sensory information. Sigh. So this is why God made editors. (a heartfelt thank you to mine, who is making me better!)

When I get these edits back, with entire paragraphs suffering from the editor's RED LINES OF DOOM, it feels like my precious pages have been sprayed by an arterial bleed because, after all, a leg or arm has just been severed. But although amputation can be both tragic and life-altering, it can also be life-saving. But still. It feel harsh at the time. So, choosing to think of this surgery as a positive action, I am choosing to call it something prettier. I'm calling it liposuction. Cuz it's cutting the fat.

Now if only I could apply those same principles to my waistline....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Write. Pray. Love. (or at least try.) Sigh.

I've read a lot of fantasy fiction that plays up the idea of the power of a person's real name. "If they discover your true name," the hero is warned --usually by some old dude in a robe, "they can hold power over you."

I always liked the concept. The idea that somewhere within me is a name that, perhaps, I don't even know but a name which truly defines my character, my heart of hearts. (Think Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, especially the book Brisingr.) I believe there is some Biblical basis for this concept (something about God having a personal name for you, I think), but I couldn't tell you what it is. (feel free to leave references if you know them....) It's a cool thought, that my "true name" -- your true name -- is out there waiting for us to take ownership of it -- but in the meantime we are stuck with whatever moniker our parents gave us or we were lucky enough (in my case!) to marry into.

On the subject of names, however, I'm struggling today with living up to another Biblical thought: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) You see, a little over a year ago, I was the victim of a major (but anonymous) hack on two social networking sites (one big, one little). The hack went viral thanks to a copy/paste function used in a discussion forum for graphic novel fans, the website of a famous graphic novelist, and some pretty sick puppies who thought ruining someone's name (and attaching her photo to it) was a really sweet time. It wasn't sweet for me. And 15 months later, though I'm sure their momentary entertainment is all but forgotten, the resulting defamation of my name is far from over for me, thanks to the beauty of the Search Engine which has become a Proper Verb.

(for those of you out of the loop: a graphic novel is a novel with art and onomatopoeic inserts. A little like a comic book.)

So I went to a movie over the weekend with my husband, a movie I'd been really looking forward to seeing. But in the opening credits, unfortunately, I recognized a name and my blood ran cold. Seeing that name completely ruined the movie for me. "Based on the graphic novels of---" insert name of the above mentioned author. (Notice I'm not mentioning any names. On purpose.)

I paid to see that movie. I paid him. The one who gathered the crowd to watch the murder of my name.

Disgust washed over me as surely as if I'd just placed the coin into the bony hand at the river Styx. It made me absolutely sick. I had just put money into the pocket of one of the key players of a victimization that, for me as a writer, just will not go away. (No, I don't believe this author to be the author of the hack, just the main carrier of it to the international audience of sickos.)

Now, thanks to this guy, who toured the world in support of the movie, (and the sales of his graphic novels, no doubt) and whose fame is sure to grow, I'm forced to kiss my name goodbye. But, I have to remind myself, as Papa Eric used to say when someone wronged him, "It won't do him any good."

But still. As I'm readying a YA novel for hopeful publication I, who was lucky enough to marry into an AWESOME last name (thanks, honey!) I am forced to ditch it and use a pen name. My name (not the S.R. -- my actual first and last names) is not an option. And let me tell you why:

As a parent (or publisher), if I Googled the author name on the book my daughter was reading (or wanted to read) and read that said author used PCP, engaged in satanic rituals, and had no problem with patricide, I would say: "No freaking way are you reading that book!" even if the title, cover art, and blurb looked completely harmless. If necessary, I would repeat myself (sometimes teens just don't hear you the first time) and said book would end up in le can. Oh, sure, perhaps it might slip my attention that said author was the victim of a vicious internet attack. It might not matter to me that everything that appeared in the #4 spot of my Google search (and beyond) was a vile work of fiction. The fact is, the person portrayed in that #4 link is getting no where NEAR my kid.

But it's me. Well, my name and picture, anyway.

My name, my photographed image, has been defamed worldwide. Defamed. That sounds so... nice. So neatsy. So much more clinical that what it is. I have been violated. Violated. Swish that one around in your mouth and swallow it.

I hate being a victim with no recourse. I've had a guy in a ski-masked point a loaded gun at me. (Prison term, CHECK!) I've had a former boyfriend stalk my apartment and threaten me. (Stopped.) But this victimization beats them all. Because this is my name. My career.

My life.

Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.

What seemed easy on Sunday when the shaking stopped, is a little bit harder today.

Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Try to pick out a great pen name for YA readership and....

And -- and as much as I love watching that particular action hero-- I hope there's no sequel in the works. if there is, well... my dollars will stay in my pocket.

Maybe the next YA book will feature a cyber crime. Who knows? Fiction so often drips from the pen as a mirror of truth.

And sometimes there's a jagged edge tinged in red.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Great Writer -- I think.

I put down a really good book this weekend because it made me sick.

Justin Cronin's The Passage. Like Dean Koontz, Cronin combines drama, science, government conspiracy theory, and fantasy with an evocative sense of character and place. His prose makes me, as a writer, drool. But... I put it down.

Several great authors --( and I don't use that term lightly. Cronin has skills. He's going to be huge.) -- have used their considerable gifts for creating believable characters and inserted me, the reader, into the mindsets of these characters with dexterous ease and a blinding sense of being there. So much so, that I want to scream: "Stop it!"

Because, truly, I don't want to see into the mind of a sexual deviant. I don't. Koontz has done it to me, King, among others, and now, Cronin. The writing is good. The story engaging and creative and deep. But I just don't want to go there. I don't want to wonder "just how did you dream up this scene? How did you do your research? How much of this character, dear author, is within you?"

URGH! I'm ashamed to admit it, but I must. I've wondered. I know it's not fair. It's just how it is. I'm sure Monsiurs Cronin, King, and Koontz (among others) are truly lovely men who walk their dogs and help old ladies across the street, and teach orphans in Uganda how to knit or something. But while I'm reading that deeply-entrenched-in-a-sicko-freak's-brain scene, I wonder, "But what if....?" Like I said. It's not fair to the author. And it makes me mad that I think that.

But I'm a mom, dangit. And every time I'm reminded that there ARE these sicko freaks out there in the world, it makes the mama-bear within me roar.

But I'm also writer, so I'm torn. I don't want to question the wonder of imagination -- of sheer writing talent -- just because a character makes me say "ew" and shiver, and check the back seat before I lock my car doors. And warn my daughters about staying 2o feet away from vans and to never, ever, help anyone look for their puppy. Because there is evil in the world. Evil. And they are innocent and I want to protect them!

I want to see good conquer evil and truth stomp injustice and.... Sigh. In the end, I guess I just want a fairytale. Where the villain is the villain. And the hero is the hero. Maybe my problem with reading such true-to-life sicko characters is that I don't want to find anything redeeming in someone whose behavior is so vile, but because these authors are so freaking good at what they do, I find a tiny part of myself feeling sympathy for Mr. Sicko. And that makes me uncomfortable.

It's an interesting commentary on the state of my own soul, isn't it? As a Believer in Christ, what do I really believe about the possibility of redemption for all people? About definitive sin as being without weight or measure, but equal under the shadow of the Cross? Hmm.... Is it a comment on the hypocrisy of my grace-based faith, or is it maybe that I'm just grossed out by some stuff? Stuff that should gross me out because it is the very definition of "sick and wrong."

I can't not recommend Justin Cronin's book. But I'll do so with the fair warning that "thar be some icky within." From what I've read, Cronin is a true artist. A creative wordsmith of the first order.

But I don't think I can finish that novel any time soon.

Am I missing out? Maybe. I'd love to see how the story is fleshed out... but I just don't want to see into the mind of a convicted sex offender, even if he is a minor character. And that is my choice. To take the book back to the library, unfinished.

Fiction is born of imagination, but fiction mirrors truth, as we say here. And sometimes it's just a little bit too real -- a little too clearly portrayed. And it creeps me out.

I hope the next novel from Justin Cronin doesn't go "there" into the mind and, lets face it, sympathy, of a sexual deviant. I'd love to see more from him -- and maybe, someday, in a different mindset, I'll pick up The Passage again, and skim over those portions I now find so creeptacularly icky.

Time will tell.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Little Sabbath, and a Little Sin

Is it a sin to pretend you're not home when the Schwan's man comes by? I guess it probably goes under "lying", eh? Darn it.

Seriously. I forgot it was his week to stop. And I hadn't even brushed my teeth yet. The past week's writing activities sapped my strength. I was literally unable to perform basic hygiene prior to 11am today. Okay, maybe not literally, but.... The girls went out the door, I finished the last 2 pages of the book I was reading, and crawled back in bed until almost 10. I was asleep in like, 2 breaths and a sigh of "oh, how I love this pillow."

But alas, I awoke, chugged another cup of coffee and some chocolate, oh, and a few pretzels. I channel surfed a bit, folded a load of laundry and -- "ding dong!" So, I flipped the tv off faster than you can say, "Oh, I guess no one's home." Thankfully, the curtains were drawn and there were no lights on in the front half of the house, so... I tiptoed down the hall to brushed my teeth and washed my face. I'd only been dressed for about 10 min. at this point, so....

I kind of hope he comes back later. The Schwan's man, I mean. I'm still tired and, I hate meal planning even when I'm well-rested. I'm thinking I'd rather heat up something premade (though expensive) rather than have to dig around in my freezer and cupboards to concoct something homemade....

I still feel sort of fried from my weeks of insanity, I cleaned house literally all day yesterday (until the bug man came to spray for spiders at 3 and I had to take my dog out to the farm for safety -- from the spray, not the spiders, although, considering the size of some of the eight-legged monstrosities I've seen, it's entirely conceivable that my 60 pound dog could use some protection....) But most of my house (the upstairs, anyway) is seriously clean. I even washed the windows outside. And I haven't done that in.... well, that's my little secret, but I'll admit it's a time measured in years.

I'm a little sleepy. I might just take a nap. Seriously. I'm that tired. It's one of those tireds where you feel like if you don't just stop and REST your body will stop you with illness. Therefore, listen to your body, Shawna. Be lazy today. But don't forget about the laundry. And get an order ready for the Schwan's man, just in case he comes back.(Bless his heart.) And go rent a movie or something for tonight so you can just put up your feet and relax. Yes, take a nap.

Take. A. Nap.

Oh-- but did I? No. I polished a magazine query letter, and did the final edits on the article to go with it. After folding a load of whites I stripped my bed and washed the sheets, moved them to the dryer, and now...

BZZZZZZZZ, it would seem it's time to move my lovey sweet down comforter (which I love nearly as much as my memory foam pillow) into the dryer (yes, it's the washable kind. And now it will smell like cuddly little whitish bear with a funny voice. You know what I'm talking about!)

I didn't get my nap. and the Schwan's man didn't come back. Sigh. But I got a little rest this morning and it will go a long way.

I hope the Schwan's man forgives me. I really don't like to cook.

Check out Tracy Krauss's blog, Expression Express -- that sweet gal recently gave me The Versatile Blogger award! What a sweetheart! And her blog is always fun to read. Here's the nice award she gave me:
Stop on by and tell Tracy that I sent you over.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Surgery & Story

It's finished. It's done. I'm doing a happy happy happy dance. A jig really.


I finished the first draft of Intermission, my first young adult, coming of age novel and sent if off to my editor. Now I can --.


Did you hear that? Was that the voice of my editor, opening the file and calling for The BIG RED PEN OF DOOM?

Probably. You see, that's the beauty of a first draft. The blood. The guts. The gore. The slashing, the trimming, the slicing, the dicing. And this is my first opportunity to have my brand new baby novel gored by an honest-to-goodness professional. (Where's that Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom narrator guy when you need him? Oh. right.Likely dead. He was old when I was a kid watching the show on Sunday mornings in my PJs. And that was at least ten (and twenty) years ago. )

So, about the upcoming gore-fest. Am I scared? You bet.

Am I chicken?

Okay, a little. But the sky isn't falling, just probably, my ego a bit. I mean, I LOVE this story. I lu-u-uvv it. I birthed it. And it was agony. It was bliss.

I imagine that when I get that manuscript returned to me in a week or two I'm going to read it, read all the hashmarks and x'd out sections, the bubble comments, the suggestions, and then take about a 48-hour bubble bath (complete with copious amounts of Dr. Pepper and Chocolate!) before my ego recovers.

Yes, I'm that insecure. That prideful. That... obsessed with Dr. Pepper and chocolate. In fact, I'm getting a little thirsty right now....

Eventually, I will leave my bubbly, fizzy, chocolatey cocoon and raise my gloves at the manuscript for Round Two. DING! DING! DING! And then I will remember why I love this part. I love the editing/rewriting phrase. I love falling in love with my story all over again. It'll be soooo, so good.

Editing toward excellence. That is my mantra. Dang it, though, it's a lame-o sort of mantra. Give me time, I'll come up with something catchy. After all, it's what I do.

I imagine by the time I get to the end of Round Two the process will have imparted the same feeling one gets upon stepping on the scale and realizing, "Oh my gosh! I lost 60 pounds! I look like Catherine Zeta-Jones!"

(This is the imagining part. I've never actually experienced that feeling, but I have daydreamed about it. I've also dreamed about winning the Oscar for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture while clutching the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Black dress, of course. Or a bronzy brown? Michael Cors? Jimmy Choo, for sure. Harry Winston or Cartier? Hmm. What were we talking about again????)

So... fiction mirrors truth. Yes, it does. And this newest novel is no exception. (This is me, hoping to give you desire to read this book when it is published) But the truth hurts sometimes, even fictionalized. Examining our own weaknesses, our own areas of pride, our own blindness, our pain, and our own sin and then curving it, shaping it, pounding it, and sculpting it into into something new and fresh -- and without the possibility of a libel suit, har, har. -- results in creating richer, more believable characters and a deeper, more compelling story.

And that is why I welcome the scalpel. Why I'm willing to hand that sharp object to my editor myself, knowing how accident prone I tend to be.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To Ease A Friend's Mind -- A Post by Shawna

So Jodie tells me to post something. I've been busy writing! I tell her. I don't have time to blog!

Post something! She insists. So here it is: a question inspired by some reading I've been doing late at night.

What is the difference between
(wait for it....) LIVING ON PURPOSE

I'm interested to hear your take on it so, as always, I welcome your comments.

And, just in case you aren't interested in my little philosophical dabbling, here is a short list of funny words you can try to throw into your conversations today:

Harpoon (thanks, Jodie.)
and in honor of my last post: Gerund.

If you can combine them all in one nonsensical but funny paragraph, I will be a fan. If you can do it and actually make it make sense, I'll be a... double fan. With a shot of espresso.

And speaking of which....
Oh my goodness I haven't had my coffee yet today!!!!! What was I thinking????????

Now go read a book or something!
Need a recommendation? How about Susan Meissner's novel: The Shape of Mercy. The cover promises "exquisite prose" and I'd have to agree.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rules for Usage--OR--Furry Little Gerunds

With school and its various scheduled activities back in session, family dinners have become something of a rarity as we try to get back into a routine. At one of these recent gatherings, however, the topic was "parts of speech."

Now, before you roll your eyes and, in your best Dana-Carvey-as-The-Church-Lady voice, say: "Gee, I wonder who started that conversation--the writer, maybe?" I will admit that, yes, I was the poser of the question, the main discusser of the possible answers and the person who laughed and said, "Gee, that sounds like something for a blog post."

So here we are and here we go. Here's the question:

Is there such a thing as a Proper Verb?

We've all heard of Proper Nouns, but by all accounts our language is still developing. The word in question (wait for it....!) is a Proper Noun, but when modified by an appropriate suffix, such as "ed" or used in a particular way within a sentence, it becomes a word of action. (Or, at the very least, a word of procrastination.)

Are you rubbing your chin and furrowing your brow in excitement yet? Are you drooling with the anticipation of a heretofore unclassified species of linguistical wonder?

If so, perhaps you need a hobby.

The word, my boredom-challenged friends, is: "Google"

GOOGLE is the name of a company which makes it a Proper Noun. Therefore it should be given the appropriate capitalization.

But wait! There's more to this seemingly simple Proper Noun!!
When used in a sentence as a verb, such as in "Why don't you just Google it?" the Proper Noun "Google" becomes a verb--a verb referencing an action in regard to a proper noun. So, I assumed, it must be capitalized. After all, if, say, my husband was a renowned expert on repairing antique tractors and his name became with synonymous with tractor repair, it might be cool to hear some old guy say to his buddy, "Why don't you just Dave it?" And Dave would still need to be capitalized.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Google is both a Proper Noun AND a Proper Verb.

Now. I know what you English teachers are thinking. And I know your fingers are just itching to type in a response to this post which claims, without a doubt that, "It's a gerund! It's a gerund!" But I've never been comfortable with the whole "it's a gerund" concept; and I think most people outside the English department staff probably feel the same way. Gerund. Say it with me now: Gerund. It sounds more like something we should learn about in biology class than in Language Arts.

I'm pretty sure we maybe used to raise gerunds on our farm in Iowa. Aren't gerunds sort of fuzzy, busy little love buckets who look like a cross between a rabbit and a hamster and a pygmy marmoset?

What?!? They're not? Too bad. It sounds like a cool pet. Just imagine:

"Hey guys! I got a new gerund! I named him Insomnia cuz that little guy just never quits moving!"

(There's a joke in there for the English Lit/Lang.Arts audience, but you might have to look for it. Maybe if you put on your MP3-player and go for a RUN you'll catch it.)

So if gerunds belong in the Language Arts text instead of the Biology text I suppose there is no such thing as a Proper Verb then, is there.

But maybe there should be. And if ever there was a prime example of the need, it would be the word, Google.

Besides, Proper Verb sounds a whole lot better than Proper Gerund.

Plus, you don't have to feed it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Correction: Last Stop on the ECFL Summer Blog Tour is Tomorrow!

When I posted for the ECFL Blog Tour last Sunday I ended my post with a directive to visit Donna Fletcher Crow's blog on Wednesday for the final stop on the tour. But I had the date wrong!

My BAD! Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.

Please stop by Donna Fletcher Crow's blog tomorrow (Sunday, August 29) to read about Spiritual Authenticity in Fiction. Really. It'll be there. I promise.

(here's a note: the post is already up, so this time, I know I've got it right!)

A special thanks to everyone who participated in the tour in any way! Have a great rest of your weekend--I'm off to spend the evening listening to an ABBA Tribute group at the park. (yes, the Swedish singers--and, no. Not the real ones. Now if only an Elvis impersonator would show up in Mepotown....)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Intrusion of the Real World

Sometimes reality takes on a surreal quality. You're quietly going along about the comfortable predictability of your life and then... the phone rings.

This week we received word that a former colleague took his own life. He leaves behind a wife, two college-aged sons, a sixth grade daughter, and a ten year old son. Their lives will never be the same.

Suddenly all that seems mundane and ordinary is viewed through a clearer lens. Yesterday a moment in which we might have seen as little more than boredom's resting place has a serene and infinite beauty. Knowledge is powerful and one thing I know:

But for the grace of God, there go I.

Both my husband and I have seen some pretty dark times. We know what it feels like to have the flicker of a floundering faith be the only dim light of hope in our hearts. Depression. Anxiety. Worry. Defeat. Illness. Loss. They have touched us both at one time or another and we've let the darkness sink its claws into our hearts. We've wondered if our family would be better off without us, gladder for a life insurance settlement than having to deal with our depression for one day more. And we've been weak enough to admit (later) that our thoughts took that road.

But that flicker, as dim as it seems, has always been bright enough to let in just enough hope to get up and turn our face toward whatever warmth there may be.

I've found myself able to achieve a certain sort power in depression--in settling into the mud of my own wallow. The energy found there is entirely negative and self-propagating. When I am depressed I am selfish. Focused inward. Seeing every interaction through a lens of personal pronouns. My loss. My defeat. My illness. My anxiety. Nobody could possibly understand what I am going through. No one really knows me.

When I eventually come up for air--usually because somehow I've noticed and been called to attend the immediate need of someone else--there is a series of moments in which my spirit vacillates between cowering in shame... and lifting my countenance to praise the God of light and peace. I've entertained the darkness, but never have I reached a moment of finality in which it blocked out every discernible pinprick of light.

And, but for the grace of God, there go I.

I know only a little of the situation which may have precipitated this man's descent into the realms of hopelessness. It seems that many layers, over several months... years, even... piled up around the windows of his soul to the point that he no longer had a mechanism available to let in that thin sliver of light.

It is sobering to be reminded through another's tragedy that there is so much to be thankful for. I have my life. I have my husband. My children. My hope. My raggedy faith. Only when we cling to gratitude can we sustain our finger hold on the thickest curtains--and pull back the dim edge to reveal the sun.

If you are moved so today, please lift the Haught family in your prayers.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cheese and the Lactose Intolerant Editor

When I was younger (much, much younger) I drank milk like a baby calf. (This is to say that I drank a lot of milk, not that I stuck my head under a cow's belly and pretended it was rush week at the tri-Delt's favorite tap.) When I was pregnant with my second child, however, dairy became my enemy. I became lactose intolerant. And I still am, as is Ellerie, the child who made me thus.

But I am an undisciplined sort of gal and dairy is freaking everywhere. Have you ever tried to make a decent casserole without cheese, milk, or cream-of-something soup? Have you given up ice cream, yogurt, and Culver's Chocolate Malts?

Me neither. At least not for long stretches at a time. But I am reminded today, after consuming a lunch of leftover tuna casserole (can you really call Velveeta cheese?--but oh, there was that cream of celery soup in it, too....) and topping it off with one Lactaid pill and an ice cream sandwich (okay, so it wasn't exactly a healthy meal. Sue me. I'm writing today and in a hurry to get back to a story!) I am reminded that cutting out dairy from my diet is so I don't have to cut the proverbial cheese quite so frequently.

Nothing like a little discussion of the bodily functions of the lactose intolerant to brighten up your day, eh?

Anyway.... So as I sit at my desk, my gut expanding with leaden bubbles, my innards gurgling, and my brain screaming, "You idiot!" I am reminded that there is, quite possibly, a lot of cheese biding its time within both my works in progress and my finished novels. It's the sort of purple prose and misdirected metaphor that fills the body of the work with air and lets off a sort of aroma which makes a publisher wary. And, one way or another, that useless gas has to come out. It's a metaphor turned upside down, because in the way of the editorial scalpel, you must cut the cheese to avoid making the book stink.

Aside from the soupy Harlequin-type romances (poor girl meets rich boy, overcomes obstacles and his mamma in order to marry rich boy and live happily ever after) I think professional editors are largely lactose intolerant. They want the good stuff, the clear, dairy-free writing that doesn't leave a film on your throat or a sick feeling in your stomach. They want to be filled with excessively digestible prose and tasty morsels which do not sour in the sun.

So that is the goal for the day: to cut the cheese.

I'll understand if you keep your distance.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Please note: I’ve recommended authors and provided links to their websites. Just click on the author’s name (after you’ve read this post in its entirety, of course!) And, if you leave a comment at another author’s site, please mention that you got there by way of Fiction Mirrors Truth!

According to The American Heritage College Dictionary, the word relevant is derived from the Latin, relevāre, which means: to relieve, raise up.

Although I’m not an artist, this makes me think of an art done in reliefwhere the images are lifted up off the surface to give clarity, dimension, and definition. So… cultural relevance could be interpreted as an accurate definition of a particular branch of society—or—a set of details which bring attention to dimension within a specific culture. It's like a 3-D image for the imagination, delivered in High Def resolution. So... to place that definition of "relief" upon fictional characters we could say:

A culturally relevant character is a character whose behavior, attitudes, and way of expression reflects (or contrasts against) the behaviors, attitudes, and expressions of the culture in which he/she lives.

That sounds simple enough, but when it comes to placing culturally relevant characters within marketable Christian fiction, the concept gets a little muddy.

It's important to note that when speaking of Christian Fiction, even Edgy Christian Fiction, we need to remember that our audience, by definition, is mainly filled with Christian people. I think we have a tendency to lose sight of this from time to time. The Christian culture is just that: its own culture; a unique people group with its own language, customs, mores, and behavioral expectations; a culture filled with numerous and diverse sub-cultures within the larger group (can you say "denomination"?) But, and this is very important, we also need to recognize that these Christians within our reading audience do not live in the bubble-like sanctuary of Christendom. (Hopefully.) They live, work, and interact within a larger cultural sphere; within a society that is often at war against the very mores, behaviors, and expectations they hold dear. Meanwhile, forces within the church could be fostering an "us against them" mentality in regards to the world we've been called to engage. (whew. insert deep breath here....) Therefore, to make characters culturally relevant to a Christian audience we have to respect and honestly relieve, or raise up, that juxtaposition with believable conflicts--and reactions to those conflicts--that clearly show both parts of our characters' (and our readers') worlds.

As an anthropologically astute author you have to study the applicable culture and subculture(s) of your fictional characters as well as the psychographic profile(s) of your intended audience. This means that, as writers of Christian fiction, we must step out of the safety of the church-bubble we so often find ourselves gravitating toward in our daily lives and open ourselves up to experience a friendship with The World and Its Inhabitants. A scary thought indeed. (note the sarcasm, please.) But a necessary step if we want to accurately write about those living apart from Christ, be they believers or unbelievers. Yes, I said believers. Characters living apart from Christ can even be—gasp!—Christians. Saved ain't perfect. You've seen the bumper sticker.

Just because a character is culturally relevant, however, doesn't mean they live within your readers' culture. Creating characters who are both relevant to their time in history as well as to your contemporary audience is, in my opinion, a daunting task; but one which can (and is being) done with excellence by many authors. In Historical and Biblical fiction some edgy authors, such as Jamie Carie (Wind Dancer, among others) and Tosca Lee (Havah: The Story of Eve), have masterfully overcome the challenges of historical accuracy and cultural relevance, creating beautifully wrought plots and characters who are timeless, but placed within a specific time. (Bravo!)

As a writer I must know to whom I write. But in all honesty sometimes I don't have a clue to whom I'm writing until I'm already deeply into the first (or fiftieth) draft. And I must admit that I write largely to... myself. Though it's often a bloody proposition, writing is cheaper than therapy, after all. But when it comes to putting the proposal together for a submission, I need a bigger book-buying audience than that face in the mirror. So... I must ask myself some pretty tough questions.

Will my story appeal to a conservative Christian audience, an evangelical Christian audience, or a post-modern reader who claims allegiance to Christ? And if only one of those, how can I change it to encompass them all--and do I want to? Does my story recognize the uglier aspects of the humanity within individuals within a body of faith? Am I willing to honestly show the traits and behaviors of Christians which are contrary to the Gospel? Am I willing to show SIN within CHRISTIANS--and juxtapose it against the morality within the unsaved?

If so, then I might be creating some culturally relevant characters.

Most writers (and publishers) of conventional Christian fiction would tell you that there are specific parameters which must be followed in order to avoid offending a Christian audience. The overall message of these traditional books, regardless of setting, is this: "Everything just falls into place when we come to Jesus, honey." Which, to me, is a little bit like greeting my fellow Christian with the shocking exclamation of, "Dude, what's wrong with you? You're still struggling with sin? Yeesh. Get it together, man!" In the end of those elder-board approved, traditional Christian stories everyone is happy and everyone gets saved. Just like in real life.


It amazes me that we can sell so much of this crap to Christians. Oh, I get it. Christians like to be comfortable in their faith and that sort of writing sells well to the well-churched masses. And don't get me wrong--I love to see people come to Christ. But why are we selling evangelistic messages to people who've already walked the aisle? While I can believe that readers can be entertained by such fiction, I can't believe it resonates within their hearts and lives--because it is not relevant to their situation. Even if the salvation message is well delivered I probably wouldn't loan a book like that to an unsaved friend because it's (often) written in such a goody-goody style that I have to scrape sugar off the cover just to avoid attracting ants to my bookshelf! Anyone who's been a Christian five-minutes past the "glow period" of salvation knows that the Christian life is fraught with temptation and pain which we can (and often do not) avoid. Propagating goody-goody happy-happy Christian fiction--irrelevant Christian fiction--only serves to insulate the reader from the possibility--and beautiful agony --of transformative revelation.

Kool-aid doesn't kill cancer cells, but chemo does. And you can't get chemo while admiring a bed of roses from the backseat of a buggy in Lancaster County.

Yes, I'll admit that there is entertaiment value--yes VALUE--in irrelevant fiction. There can be a beautiful thing called escapism found in the entertaining fluff of a perfect world, and that will always keep "that sort of fiction" viable within the Christian marketplace. I will not deny that there is a time and place for insulation. (see previous post) But there is also a time to swan dive right off the steeple and spill some honest ink upon the page. That's why we need to create culturally relevant characters. And that's why edgy authors are emerging within the Christian culture as a force to be reckoned with.

Edgy authors realize that Christians have a lot of junk--and the power of a culturally relevant character's story can help to sort it out.

A few mainstream pubbers are getting the message, but so far the e-book industry is where we are more likely to come across these authors . E-book publishers and other small "presses" are more willing to take risks with "edgy" Christian authors than the big boys who earn their bread and butter among the bonnets and buggies and fluffy meringue. The authors who are taking risks--taking their writing to the edge (and sometimes past it!) of the line-in-the-sand drawn by traditional CBA expectations have discovered that culturally relevant characters can be found across time and setting and worldscape. A story can be sweet and light romance or sassy chic lit and still have culturally relevant characters (read Sandra Byrd’s French TwistTrilogy or the novels of Camy Tang.) The story can take place in another world (Jeffrey Overstreet’s Auralia’s Colors), another time (Liz Curtis Higgs’s Lowlands of Scotland series), or even another planet (Kathy Tyers’s Firebird Trilogy) and still have culturally relevant characters.

Cultural relevance is about honesty, transparency, vulnerability, and sometimes has a little stank on it--but it's a familiar aroma if it's relevant. Cultural relevance leaves a little bit of fat on the bone when it tosses the meat on the table because that's where the flavor's at. It doesn't necessarily have to be deep and life-changing (though I love when it is), it just has to be real... in a fictional sort of way.

Actions. Consequences. Sin. Mercy. Risks. Rewards.


Sometimes my characters (both Christian and non-Christian) use “bad” language, behave in deplorable ways, break vows, break commandments, and live in denial about it all. And so do their friends. Does that sound familiar? Sometimes life stinks, and we stink, and our faith walk absolutely reeks with hypocrisy and disingenuiness. And it can be quite painfull--though sometimes pretty fun--to eek that stink out upon the page.

To make nicey-nice out of ugly issues or to insulate a Christian character within a Christians-only society is to portray a human creature in a way that denigrates their God-given free will (and the consequences of that free will) as well as the Great Commission. Some edgy authors I’ve found who portray morally conflicted characters honestly (and with excellence) in a contemporary setting are Kristen Heitzmann (The Michelli Family series is a favorite of mine),Tosca Lee (Demon: A Memoir), and Christa Parrish (Home Another Way.)

Regardless of the time period, sub-genre, or setting of a novel, an edgy author of Christian fiction will avoid allowing her characters to tip-toe around the pristine exterior edges of Christendom and, instead, make those characters stomp or crawl through the sanctuary with muddy and blood-soaked boots.

Or turn around and walk the other way.

Anyone who has approached the throne of mercy can tell you that the way to the altar is not a bright, smooth pathway paved in doilies with little birdies singing “Oh, How I Love Jesus” from the lofty rafters. No, the mercy path is a shadowy, rutted alleyway littered with shards of shattered stained glass--and the only music playing is the frantic rhythm of your own filthy heart.

Been there. Done that. Will do it again and again, I’m sure.

The author who strives to be culturally relevant in his/her writing of Christian fiction knows this and works to portray his/her characters in such a way that the reader identifies with the characters—cuz sometimes she smells the same stink on herself. And, also, the same perfume of hope. That is where fiction mirrors truth.

To state it simply, creating culturally relevant characters shows that Christians still need Christ.


By creating these characters within our fiction we can work together with the Holy Spirit to lessen the human-inflicted distance between those in need of mercy-- and the Cross where they can find it.

Thanks for stopping by this 2nd-to-last stop on the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers Summer Blog Tour 2010. I welcome your comments!

Don't forget to stop by Donna Fletcher's blog on Wednesday for the final stop on the tour!

Now go read a book or something!

**an additional note: Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010: Just found a blogger fluke! I saved the first draft of this post on Wednesday and, for some reason when I posted it at 6:30 am this morning (Sunday), it posted for last Wednesday, with any number of odd posts in between, so my apologies to anyone who visited earlier today and did not find the post in the correct place! And my apologies to those of you who, in looking further down my blog, find it repeated under last Wednesday's date! It was posted for the first time this morning around 6:30a.m.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Boot to the Bahoinky

Chip MacGregor (I seem to be mentioning his blog a lot lately) shipped a great post to my inbox today. It's a well-thought out delineation of the Christian Market and the "secular" market and added to my conviction (thanks, Joyce Meyer) about all the complaining I've been doing about traditional CBA publishing. I guess my butt needed kicking. Again.

I'm probably going to need a softer chair soon.

Drop by Chip's blog and see what this experienced literary professional has to say. It might just open your mind a bit (as it did mine.)

Stay tuned, boys and girls: tomorrow YOURS TRULY is the featured author on the ECFL Summer Blog Tour. Come back and see us, won't ya?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2 Text or not 2 Text. That is the ?

Tonight was the all-school open house extravaganza. Okay, it was low on the "extravaganza"--but heavy on the "open." Tonight was the night we unpacked the bursting backpacks into the freshly sanitized (we hope) desks and lockers and greeted all those long-lost friends we hadn't seen since... well, since we'd gone to the pool earlier this afternoon.

Ah, back to school. It's a sacred time. A beautiful time when the notebooks are doodle and problem free, the pencils are sharp and unchewed, the erasers haven't yet shaled off those pesky rubber hairs that you just can't wipe off your desk, and the gym smells....

Well, the gym smells. But that's a gym for you.

There's a certain excitement which accompanies back-to-school shopping for a writer. I'm not kidding you when I say my heartbeat quickens when I see notebooks on sale for 15 cents a piece and highlighters in fun new colors. I imagine most of my fellow shoppers at Wal-mart assumed I had about twelve other kids at home by the sheer volume of notebooks I stacked into my cart. I let my kids pick out the colors they liked and then just started grabbing handfuls of them. Sure, I reasoned that they would run out of paper before Halloween and need new notebooks, but they knew the truth. Those extra notebooks are for me.

I have notebooks in the car, beside my bed, near the TV, in the kitchen.... I've got a whole box of filled notebooks sitting in the closet of my writing cave. Sometimes I just pull one out at random to see what kind of ideas were so very immediate that they had to be written down in the dark (the penmanship could rival that of a kindergartner on crack), on the sly while I was teaching The Odyssey to a group of high school freshmen (so much fodder for fantasy writing found within Greek mythology!), and, since we're all about honesty here, while, gulp, driving.

Texting while driving is illegal in Iowa. I can live with that. Literally. But if they take away my shiny new notebook....

Yes, it's terrible. I know. But the actual penning of the idea isn't nearly so bad as when I can't find the notebook. Look out! I'm driving with one hand and scouring my purse for a receipt, a napkin, anything on which to place the glittering pixie dust of the vehicular muse, with the other.

And where's the blooming pen????

I've written ideas, lines, snarkisms, and such in lipstick and eyeliner. I've used the backs of receipts, old grocery lists, deposit slips, used napkins, and questionable kleenexes. Gross. Sorry. Writing's a messy business.

But rarely do I abbreviate. I don't do symbols in place of words. I love words. I live for words. I breathe words. That's why it's called inspiration.

and that's why I grimace every time I text.

Oh, I appreciate the convenience of texting. I do. It's like email on speed. It's Dragnet gone techno. "Just the facts, ma'am." Without the inconvenience or pressure of having to make small talk. I can arrange a sleepover for my daughter in about 2.5 seconds, reply included. Yeah, I can text pretty fast. I've got the querty keyboard and everything on my razzley-dazzly smart phone. But just because I can doesn't mean it doesn't bother me on some deep, traditionalist and philosophical level.

You see, I've got a little bit of a hang-up, no pun intended, with text lingo. I get a primo gut-sink every time I replace the word "to" with the number 2. And if I need to use "too" in a sentence? Well, doggone it, I'm typing that sucker out. It's cringe-worthy enough when I see that usage screwed up in daily life writing--I will not allow myself to use the number when a second "o" is needed for clarity of meaning. I won't I won't I won't.

Okay, I might.

And don't get me started on the evolution of the letter "b." Two years ago, when substitute teaching an English class, I received a worksheet to check with a sentence--yes, a sentence--where the answer was correct... except that it was written in TEXT! I let the red-pen of justice take care of that one for me.

My thirteen-year-old daughter is saving up for her own texting plan. Am I wrong for wanting to put specific grammatical requirements on her airtime usage?


And that's a bmr, 2. I mean, too. Call me old fashioned, but there's this little grammar teacher rapping my thumb knuckles with a ruler every time I abbreviate with what is coming to be known as proper texting vernacular.

And the past tense verb form of text? Texted. As in, "I texted him."

That just makes me shudder.

My friend Cristy lives in Alabama. Every once in a while, Cristy sends me a handwritten letter. She writes out all the words and everything. I love Cristy's letters. And I love that she's my age and still appreciates the art of communication. That girl was raised up right.

Maybe I'll text her later and tell her how much I appreciate her friendship. Now how would that go?


On second thought, maybe I ought to pull one of those shiny new notebooks....

Until L8R, folks. GdNt!