Friday, September 19, 2008

Under Water................

Other than a bit of celebrating for our lovely friend, Ello, I’ve been largely absent from blogland the last week or so because I’ve been under water – figuratively and literally, I’m afraid – we flooded last Sunday.

First, I hope all of my bloggy friends who live in areas hardest hit are doing okay. Stacey, Ralph, and Travis, I’ve been thinking of you guys especially over the last week or so...

My case isn’t so bad, I keep telling myself how much worse it could be and how dare I even bemoan my own situation while so many people have been flooded out of homes and are dealing with devastation in their communities? But guilting myself into bucking up doesn’t seem to be working.

The actual damage here wasn’t so bad. I’ve lived in my house for eleven years and this is the first time we’ve gotten a drop of water... unfortunately, it was sewage... ewe, ewe, ewe... And, lovely as it is – I live in a bi-level... there are seven steps down to my family room/laundry room/etc... seven steps up to the bedrooms... so, the water came in through my downstairs shower and flooded into the laundry room... we got a handle on it pretty quick, but the flippin’ smell is killing me!!!!!

I have washed more laundry this week than I ever remember washing in my life.

I’ve bleached the floors, poured bleach down drains, and I think I bleached myself...

The carpet has about a one foot square in the doorway that got wet, despite my best efforts... I cannot get the flippin smell out.... I wet vacc’d, vacuumed, steam cleaned it... I steam cleaned again, sprayed Febreze – I think I have to tear it up and I can’t can’t can’t afford new carpet and that is our most used room so I can’t very well have the kids walking around on whatever the hell is underneath there....

Oh, and in the mad dash to move everything in the water’s way, and stop the rush, and put towels down to protect the carpet... I fell down the stairs – not once, but three flippin’ times! Partially because it was dripping with water... mostly because I’m a klutz... but I’m so bruised I look like a poster child for the abuse hotline and I’d really like a long hot bath... that lasts ten years or so...

Ah, better. There were already some personal issues going on that made this little added difficulty a bit harder to handle... I’m not getting into it here, but we’ll just say that my hands are too full to blog much. I’m sorry I haven’t been checking in on you all with regularity, but I hope you’ve all weathered the storms and are doing well...

For now, I’ll leave you with a poem. It’s one of my favorites, and it’s been making me feel a bit better lately:


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as a Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be,
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance,
My head is bloodied, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how straight the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

- William Ernest Henley

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The very lovely Ello has just signed for representation with Bill Contardi!!!

As a loyal blog reader, and very lucky beta reader, let me tell you, her talent is deserving of every success. I'm looking forward to announcing the amazing book deals that are sure to follow!

Pop on over to Ello's and offer your congratulations.

Yay, Ello!

Yay, Ello!

Shake your booty!

Yay, Ello!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Perspective and Pixie Dust

When I was little, young enough so that I had to stand on my tippy toes to look out the front door window, I can remember spending oodles of time in my front hall. It was a cavernous entryway, with a large wooden front door and the glass window had diamond shaped panes of glass that I later learned were called cottage windows. The floor was brown and white patterned ceramic tile, with two steps that led up to the entry of the front room, and there was an oil painted replica of Dali’s Christ of St. John Over the Water hanging perfectly at eye level with the door. I would sit on the top step, in the late afternoon, as the sun shone in streams through the panes of glass, and watch the dust dancing through the beams as if they were magic. I thought they were pixie dust – they were far too pretty to be every day dust, after all... and surely my mother would hate that I reiterated this here to you, if it was just her lax with the vacuum that filled my daydreams and not something far more magical.

Today, though we moved from my childhood house twenty years ago (oy, that sounds terrible... that I can say I did anything twenty years ago just sounds odd), but I know that room to be less than cavernous, probably a bare four feet from doorway to steps, and the arching door led straight into our front room... ah, my favorite part of Chicago homes, we have front room rather than living rooms or ‘Great Rooms’ or ‘Drawing Room’... what makes them great? Do you actually draw in them? Okay, well, I could probably get into that last one... but it’s one of the things that’s so a part of me, Chicago is low on its pretention, just the way I like it.

I went on a girls’ weekend this weekend, with two of my friends from high school... I may be posting more on that later – with pictures if I get their permission first, and have been waxing a bit philosophical about perspective, and the way things change with age. I don’t think dust is nearly as pretty these days and I kind of miss that mindset, that there’s something magical in dust – at my age it’s only another of life’s irritations you try to keep at bay, but can’t quite master.

I wonder if you guys can page back and remember what it felt like to look out at the world from tippy toes, to have to hop and pull yourself up to sit on your parents’ car trunk, to see snow about your head (though it’s only four feet)... I can remember that vividly. I remember the feel of bite on my cheeks that was so cold it felt hot and made my face glow a crimson candy apple red beneath my scarf and little red snow suit. I hear the laughter, loud vivacious guffaws, from the front porch where the adults sat while we ran under streetlights in the summer.

And I think, maybe that’s the allure of writing for children. That there are these things in my head that I still feel and see and understand... more keenly and more magical than any of my adult stories... maybe I’ll dive into those later, but those early days, the newness the heartbreak that you steel yourself against later – the things that lose their bite as your skin gets thicker... those are the things pulling me now, today...

How about you? Has your perspective changed in leaps and bounds? Can you still feel and see and smell things from other passages in your timeline? And do those things motivate you to write, or are there other things, pulling your fingers along the keyboard?