Friday, October 30, 2009

The de facto writing exercise I happened to amuse myself with this morning

So, I'm sure you've all heard of FML. It's an anonymous gripe board for when your life just seems like one ridiculous (possibly ironic) mishap after another. Well. This morning, my husband sent me a link to MLIA--My Life Is Average. But as I read, I found that the stories were not average at all. Many of them, in fact, were tales of unusually humorous or strange situations. For example:

"Today, the woman's rugby team I am on was traveling to Texas for a game. Our van stopped at McDonald's to get something to eat. As 10 girls order their food, a man approaches our male coach. The guy looks at all us girls then at our coach then asks, 'Are all of these your daughters?' My coach, without missing a beat, says, 'No. They're my wives.' The look on that man's face was priceless. MLIA"

The complete non-averageness of this exchange disturbed me. So I took it upon myself to rewrite it to make it actually average (except for the spelling and grammar, upon which I improved). To wit:

Today, the women's rugby team I am on was traveling to Texas for a game. Our van stopped at McDonald's to get something to eat. As 10 girls are ordering their food, a man approaches our coach. The guy looks at all of us girls, then at our coach, and asks, "Is this a field hockey team?" My coach, without missing a beat, says, "No. It's a rugby team." Then we ate our food. MLIA

Now that's average!

Here's another one from the site:

"Today, I was walking across campus near the end of the day. I look out over the lawn to see two HUGE leaf piles. When I got closer to see what was going on, I see my History teacher hiding behind one of the piles with a water gun about to attack my English teacher in the other pile. They were having a war. I feel like I chose the right school. MLIA."

What? How is a water fight between teachers average in any way? That seems downright unusual, to me. Here's how I would write it:

Today, I was walking across campus near the end of the day. I look out over the lawn to see two huge leaf piles. When I got closer to see what was going on, I saw two groundsworkers raking the leaves. MLIA.

Much better.

Ok, one twisted my arm. From the site:

"Today, I was waiting at a main bus stop with a few other people. A man started to smoke and a young boy fell to the ground and crawled away on his hands and knees. His mother asked what he was doing and he pointed to the man and yelled 'Smoke is bad! Get down low and go go go!' I hope he still acts this way when he's in his late teens. MLIA"

And my take:

Today, I was waiting at a main bus stop with a few other people. A man started to smoke and he got a few dirty looks from the other people at the stop. He had to put the cigarette out when it was about halfway done because the bus came. Then we got on. MLIA.

I thought I would share that with you, in case you were bored at work or something on this lovely pre-Halloween Friday. The link is can make your own fun!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Real Live Writer

I found this link just in time! I can enjoy it with the knowing nod of an insider, having just received my first real rejection.

In addition to a line regarding the personal thing I wrote to the agent, here it is:

"I regret to say that I don’t feel that I’m the most appropriate agent for your work.

However, opinions vary considerably in this business, and I wish you the best of luck in your search for representation."

It's not so scary or bad, and I have to say that I'm not really depressed about it at all. Every good novel gets rejected at least once. And really, the idea is to get someone who will be passionate about my work...if he's not the guy for the job, then he's not the guy for the job. I hope I find someone who is!

I also hope I'm this sunny after rejection #18.

In other putting-myself-out-there writing news, I did enter that screenwriting contest. I wrote my scene, sent it in, and never heard back. Yep. That's right. The score they promised never showed up. I sent an extremely polite e-mail about it to their customer service address (which apparently they never check). Then today, I got an e-mail from the competition that basically said, "mea culpa, if you never got a score, e-mail me personally at the following address." So, I sent another extremely polite e-mail (excerpted from the last one, actually) and am hoping--enfin--for a response. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Waving Goodbye

All right...we're closer to having a band name now!

Anyway, have a listen to this one and let me know what you think!

Waving Goodbye

If anyone knows how to get a player embedded in a Blogger blog, let me know!

Things have been suitably busy around here. Pat's play opened this weekend. He's doing The Laramie Project at Rockville Little Theater. The direction is wonderful, the cast is quite talented, and the story is beautifully told and completely raw with emotion. The information can be found here, if you'll be in the neighborhood next weekend:

My rabble-rouser of a husband decided to let the good folks at the Westboro Baptist Church (I refuse to link to them) know that he's doing the play, especially because there was an equality march this weekend that they were coming to protest. But as far as I know, they didn't show up at the theater, and nobody had to tell anybody to eat a bag of dicks. I'm sorry, was that crass? It's hard for me to find love for people whose primary message is that God hates certain people (you can guess which ones, based on context, if you haven't seen these clowns before). It doesn't even make sense. I'm no religious scholar, to be sure, but why would an omniscient and omnipotent being create something that he/she hated? The thing about this world is that even the ugly things have something beautiful about them. Even the Westboro Baptists think that their hate is somehow helping people go to heaven. That's completely asinine, of course, but the thought is there, right? QED, God loves everyone.

I didn't mean this to become a mini-treatise on religion, but it's a big theme in the play, and I've seen it twice, now. Yes, I do go to Pat's plays more than once. I'm a good wife. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of the story about Pat's doing Antigone in college. I went a lot, even though it was during finals. Between finals and seeing Antigone over and over again, I just about wanted to off myself. So...uhh...The Laramie Project. Yeah.

Anyway, I apologize if you've gotten this blog post emailed to you a number of times before it was filled with content. I kept trying to get the embedded player to work, which it didn't.

Hope you enjoy your Columbus Day!

Sunday, October 04, 2009


I had a really bad day at work on Friday. I know it's not the best idea to discuss specifics and such on a blog, so I won't. I tried to write about it in generalities, but that didn't work, either. Suffice it to say, I did nothing wrong, but I keep replaying everything in my head to figure out how I could have done it better. Any solution I can come up with clearly falls into the category of "not my job." Now, I really just don't want to go to work tomorrow, as I'm dreading facing this ridiculous bullshit all over again. But other people are counting on me to be there, so I'm gonna put on my big girl suit and haul arse out of bed tomorrow morning like everyone else.

Maybe someday I'll hit it big--sell my book (and the next one) and then write full time. I bet it'd only take me 6 months to finish a book, instead of a year! At least I'm seeing the light at the end of this one. I can't believe NaNoWriMo is coming up again. I signed up, and I've heard tell that there may be a little writing group starting up for November.

The book I'll be writing is the first in a four-book series. That's a bit ambitious, I know, but all (except the last one) can stand alone. I don't want to spoil it (for me or anyone else!), but I can at least tell you the tag line: "Love, war, and cupcakes at the end of the world."

My October is already looking crammed...not only do I have to finish the edits on this book, but I have to get my query letter ready to go and send it out. Then I have to start seriously planning the next book. I have the generalities down, but I need a little more of a plot outline before I'll feel comfortable writing in November.

I'll also be practicing extra hard this month for next month's concert. I survived the last rehearsal for the sole reason that my ear is not terrible. We had to play this ridiculously high passage by ourselves, and I actually did it (maybe not as confidently as I might have liked, but hey) and didn't make a fool of myself. By our next rehearsal (in two weeks), I intend to know all that music cold. you have any advice for navigating office situations that seem more like "The Office" or "Office Space" than they should? Or, conversely, can you distract me with your tales of excellent projects on your horizons?