Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Done

My eyes are welling up in tears as I type this. Such strange, beautiful emotions come from printing off a final draft. My first final draft. Tomorrow, I'm sending it to New York.

I am tempted to get back into the story and work out some things that I feel aren't quite there, but I really want to get it out. If I keep fitzing with it, it'll never get mailed.

Last night, I admitted to my husband that I have been looking forward to this moment more than any other, including getting married and having children. I don't mean that it's more important than those events, but when I was in second grade and first wanted to do this, I wasn't thinking of marriage or babies. I wanted to write.

Wish me luck and pray that the editors enjoy reading Rohana!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Next One

I'm on page 198 of my third draft, and I'm stuck. I've got to add a new scene, but whenever I look at the page, my mind wanders. I've only got maybe fifteen minutes left of nap time, so it's not worth getting bogged down anyway.

So the next-best thing is to start jotting down notes for my next book. I'm really excited about it! The Cold War, two teenaged math wizards, a math competition in London, and a CIA/KGB blowup---what could be more fun to write about? It's history, mystery, math (with help from Dad and Jim b/c I never got past Calculus), romance, war, and cultural confusion!

It will be quite a change to go from genocide to international math geeks, but I'm stoked. :-) Plus, those four years of Russian language, history, and culture I dealt with in college will finally pay off.

So...on to my notebook.

Do Svedanya!

Friday, January 25, 2008

When Daddy's Gone



Last month, we "trained" Elizabeth to go to sleep with her father instead of me. (She slept in our bed for 15 months, but after all-night-nursings began to drive me up the wall, we moved her to her own little bed in her own little room.)

The past few nights, Jim has been in Pensacola for work, and she has not been that happy about it. (Which means, neither have I.) She's fine with having me put her down for naps, but not at bedtime. Last night, she slept for an hour and then wouldn't go back to sleep until two, in my bed. She cried out for daddy, too. Tonight, it took me two hours to get her to stay asleep.

On the bright side, she says "oval" now. The scary thing, though, is that all of a sudden she has begun saying "no" for everything. Do you want yogurt? No. Do you want a cookie? No. Do you want milk? No. Do you want to go outside? No. Do you see a monkey on this page? No. (And there were two.) Is this a bird? No. (It was a parrot.)

It's cute and funny now, but will have me pulling my hair out in a few months, I'm sure.

Well, off to bed for me!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Jane's Hot Men

I am too tired for a longer post, so I'll just add in a link I found while lamenting my missing Northanger Abbey last night on PBS. So, here are: Jane Austen's Men.

I have to admit I voted on the third most popular... and I haven't even read that book or seen the movie yet.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snow and Rain, Rain and Snow...

...make ice! That's my weather report for today.



My reading report is that Megan Whalen Turner's book, The Thief, is really very good, and my book has a long way to go.

I finished up draft two on Tuesday and printed it out last night. I'm doing something different with this reading, however; I'm using a purple pen! (It's a little happier than red, at the moment.) It's amazing how you can write something yourself, read over it half a dozen times, and then on the Xth time, you suddenly realize that it's all wrong. Or that it's cheesy. Or cliche. Or just bland. That's what I keep finding, and although it's disappointing not to discover any brilliance in my novel, it's nice to know that I'm still as determined now to keep going as I was on day one. More so, in fact.

On the bright side, Elizabeth can say "snow" now. It sounds a bit like "s....no!" but she's got the right idea.

Monday, January 14, 2008

How many drafts does it take?

Yes, how many? I'm nearly complete with the second draft, but that does NOT mean it's ready for public (or even private!) viewing. *sigh*

I feel myself drawn into two internal camps. 1, I want to finish this book as quickly as possible, and 2, I want it to linger just a bit longer so I can relish the re-writing. Honestly, in some instances, it's more fun than the first draft. Not only do I have stuff to play around with, but I now have a novel. (Not a very good one yet, but it is, after all, a novel.)


One thing is for sure, though: when I am done, I will feel as victorious as this guy:



Ok, not really. This is a statue Tsar Nicholas I, who killed a lot of people (inevitable, when you're a Tsar of Russia). Incidentally, Nicholas I had Fyodor Dostoevsky sent off to Siberia for suspicious political antics. If Dostoevsky had not suffered so greatly as a young man, would the world be different for it? Would the best book ever have been written? (I am, of course, referring to Crime and Punishment.)

My mind has officially veered off my book. Time for me to go to bed and snuggle up with The Thief.

Oh, and I took that photo myself. Can you tell I found my long-lost CD of my Russian Experience?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Date



The boys spray-painted the wall outside my window years and years ago without knowing what they were doing. They didn't know about the girl who lived behind the double-paned window across the street. They didn't realize that the word Rapid would spend time in my dreams for years and years.

I shouldn't have stared at it before falling asleep on the couch each night. I should have ignored it each time it lit up behind my eyelids.

That summer, I was staying in the flat of an old man, in Russia. The only time I saw him was at dinner, where he'd serve me oily noodles and an inch-long cucumber as we watched news of Chechnya and passed a dictionary back and forth. He reminded me each night that my Russian was poor, and I shouldn't have come, but that he was glad he was getting the money from the Immersion Program. He hoped to retire to the county in a few years to be with his wife.
He wanted to get the money as rapidly as he could.

I wanted to let go of my English crutch as rapidly as I could. Not so that I could run amok in the city and play Smart Russian Chick but so that I could prove to him that I wasn't an idiot.

It was the same problem I first had in Japanese school, where the kids all thought I was stupid because I didn't understand them.

In both situations, I spent my time glancing out the window as I read a book in English.

After Russia, time passed and I continued to push harder at my life-long attempt to grow up and shed my training wheels. As I rushed through school, every so often a spray-painted image drifted across my dreams, prodding.

It's taken me years, since I first snapped the picture just before midnight on May 28th, 2001, to notice that I can't slow down. It's too late for me. I'll be seventy years old and won't be able to sit still and just accept.

This has been a Sunday Scribblings post.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Playing Dress-Up

Elizabeth has recently taken an interest in picking out her own clothes. Hence the following ensemble, which I sort of helped her with:



I wish I had clothes like these, to be honest.


Here, she is saying, "Mom, you just stepped in dog poo!"

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Birthday

Yesterday, I turned 28. TWENTY-EIGHT! For some reason, it felt more natural than turning 27 did.

I had a lemon cake with cream cheese frosting. Elizabeth helped stock it with candles, of which there were many. (Next year, we're just using those Arabic numeral candles!)


My birthday dinner: Curry Rice!


My birthday present from Jim: a Laini's Lady! She's so graceful--I love her. She has a quote by Hans Christian Anderson on it.


And here is Elizabeth after a bit of the cake, with "her" Buddhist prayer beads. (Usually, she wears them like necklaces.)


Today, Elizabeth and I ran around getting my name changed officially. It only took two and a half years!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Obama!

I wish I could say I'd been involved in the caucuses, but I wasn't. However, I can still be involved with the glee surrounding the outcome--Obama! I'm so excited! And Edwards just behind him! (This is all fantastic.)

I'm thrilled because it's the first time since I've been voting that I really like a couple of candidates.

Ok, back to diaper changing...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008