Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Devour Books Without Really Trying

Anyone who knows me knows I go through phases where I do things. I've been this way as long as I can remember.

By Bob AuBuchon
In the last 10 years or so, my activities usually have a revolution over the course of a year or so which include intensive times of writing/editing, reading, and some sort of craft (primarily crochet, but sewing and candle making have taken that spot as well.)

I'm in a weird spot right now where I'm actively pursuing all three activities with almost equal vigor.

And, I have my friend Juliet to thank for that.

A couple months ago, probably the last time I was physically at my local critique group, Juliet as well as one of the other ladies asked if I'd read a certain author. I'm like, "Who?" I'd never heard of Craig Johnson. They were going on and on about the books, then the fact the books were being made into a TV show on cable and how well it was done.

Well, Juliet insisted I read the first book, The Cold Dish. I'd hoped to have it from my library before going out of town a couple weeks later. (Didn't happen--apparently, they're very popular right now, probably because of the TV show!) It took me about 4 - 6 weeks to get it...

... and I couldn't put it, or its sequels down.


I've read the first 5 books of the series in the last 6 - 7 weeks, have yet to watch the TV show online (I don't have a working TV for broadcast or cable, so only catch stuff on Hulu when it's available). And, on top of that, I've started reading other books again. Like Robert B. Parker, Lisa Gardner, and I have a stack on my nightstand that includes Kathy Reichs and Diane Mott Davidson.

Going back to my opening statement, I get into grooves where I'm only pursuing one task. Writing and editing had really taken over my life for the first 5 - 6 months of the year. This usually means I won't read any books whatsoever--not even writing help books--except review books for CCBR. The longest non-children's item I may read is a news article or a lengthy blog.

But the last two months have been wonderful... I've been writing actively, and reading when I'm not writing, then about 2 weeks ago, added in a craft project--crocheting a cotton afghan for my son (it's going to be a belated birthday present.)

All because of Craig Johnson.

And Juliet of course.

If you write, do you find you can do all of your other interests in close proximity with each other? Or, do you usually divide up your time whether intentionally or inadvertently so you write during the course of a few days/weeks/months and do other things in a different time frame?

Until next time,

P.S., are you on GoodReads? If so, feel free to connect with me! LS

Monday, July 23, 2012

Two Years... and Counting...

Two years ago, my house was blessed to have the most precious (and I'm not biased in any way) little boy come into our home. His labor and delivery were brief (2 hours of labor, 3 minutes for delivery).

And when I saw him for the first time, I was stunned he was a boy (I'd really thought we were having a girl.) But, I thought he was perfect in every way.

I still cling to that thought every now and then. Now, I know he's not perfect (he's got the ornery streak to prove it!) And, I know he'll never be the same as other little boys--not just because God made him different, but because of what's different about him at a cellular level.

When I was growing up, I can't remember having birthday parties. Sure, I had a girlfriend over most every birthday, or went to spend the week of my birthday (which strangely almost always fell over spring break) at my grandparent's house in the Ozark's of Missouri. But, I never really had parties that I can remember.

With Alexander, we don't know how many years we're going to get with him. He may grow up, have a family, and get to raise his own children, see his grandchildren.

I pray this is the case.

But, I also am all too aware that every birthday he has may be his last one. And, as a mother, this chokes me up. As I'm writing this, I'm crying, even though I can hear him and his sister in the next room, playing.

You see, his condition, Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS), puts him at a high risk of developing leukemia. I've talked about that before. Right now, until he has his next biopsy next month, we know he's at an even more elevated risk.

And, should it come to it, and he requires a bone marrow transplant, I know he's got but a 50/50 shot. We saw it with another SDS family just in the last few weeks. Their son had a transplant, and sadly passed away a few days later. He wasn't much older than our little guy.

It scares me, more than I thought anything ever could.

So, on Saturday over the weekend, Alexander turned two. And, we celebrated, as we expect we'll be doing not just with him next year, but with his older sister when she turns four in October.

While both of them can drive me nuts, and some days I wonder if it's really worth it, something in the back of my mind reminds me that all of our days are numbered. Only God knows how many days we get. And even though writing my stories are important to me, blogging and social networking are fun and even important tools as I try to get the engine going on my writing career, there's things more important.

Until next time,


P.S. -- I should have mentioned this when it posted, but I guest blogged over on Linda Yezak's site about 10 days ago. Should you get a chance, go check it out.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Six Things I Learned From Looney Tunes

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were a core part of my growing up years, just as much as Nancy Drew was.

And, thanks to the magic of VHS tapes (yes, I sadly still own one of these machines), my kids are getting to know the Looney Tunes as well. For some reason, they have an affinity for Elmer Fudd... why, I'm not sure. But, c'est la vie.

As we've been rewatching cartoons that I've probably seen (and enjoyed) hundreds of times, I've come to the realization there's several important lessons you can learn from Porky, Wylie, Bugs, and the rest of the gang.

  • Know what hunting season it is.
    This could be crucial to your survival. Elmer Fudd was constantly being told it was duck season or rabbit season. Daffy Duck always wanted to trick poor Mr. Fudd into getting Bugs, and would take down the rabbit season signs.

  • When in doubt, ask the game warden.
    This should go without saying, but poor Mr. Fudd would've had a lot less headaches if he would have just asked a game warden! Of course, there was that one cartoon, where Bugs shows up dressed as a game warden, and Elmer laments, "Oh, Mr. Game Warden, I hope you can help me. I been told I can shoot wabbits and goats and pigeons and mongooses and dirty skunks and ducks. Could you tell me what season it weawy is?", to which Bugs replies, "Why certainly my boy! It's baseball season!!"

  • Pay attention to your words.
    Bugs Bunny was notorious for switching up during an argument over what hunting season it was. Bugs: "Duck Season!" Daffy: "
    Rabbit Season!" Bugs: "Rabbit season!" Daffy: "Duck! Fire!"

    Good way to get your beak blown off.

  • Everyone has an agenda.
    Daffy Duck liked to take advantage of a situation. Whether it was finding a cave full of treasure, or trying to trick Elmer Fudd into shooting Bugs Bunny, if it involved personal gain, he would do it.

  • Know when to declare war.
    Bugs Bunny, in my favorite cartoons featuring him, tended to be an innocent bystander... but in many ways, he wasn't. When faced with a cantankerous opera singer in "Long Haired Hare", he twice brushed off the singer's need for no other music first as the singer being a music and rabbit hater. When faced a third time by the singer's unpleasantness, he declares, "Of course you realize this means war."

  • Know when to give up.
    Wylie Coyote and the Roadrunner have many, many instances of knowing when to give up by Wylie Coyote. But my favorite instance is when Wylie and Bugs are going at each other in a battle of wits. After many attempts involving countless ACME products to get Bugs which always backfire, Wylie finally shows up at Bugs' "door" and states, "Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Mud."

So, tell me, do you have a favorite "lesson" from the Looney Tunes? Or from any cartoon for that matter?

Until next time,

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