This is where I differ from most, I guess: I don’t blame Adam Lanza’s mom one bit.
Knowing how dealing with someone like this – caring for them day in and day out for years – not only wears you down but actually changes your brain chemistry, changes your very thought patterns – I can’t muster any condemnation or blame for either of Lanza’s parents, but between the two of them, certainly less for him than for her.
If someone’s telling you “I got this” and you don’t see any definitive, unambiguous signs to the contrary – and from this and other pieces, I don’t think there were any such signs – then I just don’t see how anyone could expect anything else.
It’s just a tragic story and I’m not really interested any more in “who’s to blame” – we all are, as a society, for not taking better care of our mentally ill and their caretakers.
For Lent, I’m giving up thinking that am not good enough, don’t deserve good things, and should be continually punished for mistakes I made in the past.
I really don’t want to like Bustle but then they go and do things like this and I … I can’t help myself.
Lupita Nyong’o's Oscar Speech Made Benedict Cumberbatch Cry But He’s Not The Only One
she came by it honestly, as you are about to see…
SCENE: Interior, Sisk house
ANNIE: [walking toward front door] I guess I should see if UPS has delivered my coffee yet, huh?
THE KID: [sitting on couch] I’m gonna feel so sorry for you if it doesn’t come today.
ANNIE: [opening door] I’m gonna feel sorry for YOU if it doesn’t come today. [peers outside] Nope, not here.
THE KID: [clasping hands, lifting eyes heavenward] PLEASElettherebeschooltomorrow, PLEASElettherebeschooltomorrow, PLEASElettherebeschooltomorrow.
It’s cold out there.
How cold is it?
It’s so cold that …
- Chickens are running into KFC begging to use the deep fryer.
- Miley Cyrus put her tongue back in her mouth.
- Grandpa’s teeth are chattering – IN the glass.
In my *coughcoughcough* years on this planet, I’ve been painfully cold twice in my life. Just twice. Both times in Chicago.
The latter occasion was particularly memorable.
It was early 1991, and I was on a national theater tour with an Equity children’s theater out of Kentucky. We landed in Chicago in mid-March.
We had a night off (the awesome part about being in a kid’s show company — daylight shows only!) and a friend and I got a craving for Indian food. So we borrowed one of the company vans and set off in search of a local Indian place my friend knew about from some local actors.
My friend drove since she was more familiar with the city than I was, and I sat in the front passenger’s seat. We pulled up to a stoplight in this quirky little four-block neighborhood and waited for the light to change.
Across the intersection on our side of the street, among the many pedestrians, I saw a man in an overcoat with ear muffs and a thick scarf wound around his neck, holding two large brown paper grocery bags full of food. He was standing just off the sidewalk, in the street.
Then he started rollerskating across the intersection! Right in front of oncoming and turning traffic! Cars are everywhere and he’s just gliding along, like nobody’s business.
I cringed, waiting for the inevitable collision – which, thank God, didn’t happen.
Then the throngs of people crossing the street in front of us thinned out and I got a look at the guy’s rollerskates.
He wasn’t wearing rollerskates.
The wind was pushing him flat-footed across the street on a patch of black ice.
Y’all stay warm out there.
the eternal debate: finish the first draft or revise as you go?
It’s an argument that’s raged for – well, I don’t know, really. Maybe it’s not so much a raging argument as my own personal struggle, but I suspect other writers have struggled with it, too.
The question seems simple enough: Should you finish your first draft, and then revise? Or should you revise as you go?
- You get the psychological boost of finishing before you tackle the time-consuming task of revisions.
- You see the work as a whole before you start fixing things, which helps you fashion a better book.
- Revising and writing are two completely different skillsets and tasks, requiring very different psychological mindsets.
- Hopping back and forth between writing and revising just wastes a writer’s precious time.
And I bought this viewpoint lock, stock and barrel.
But I found it really hard to resist revising. Particularly with one novel – Coven of the Moons – I found myself feeling increasingly anxious about not fixing some obvious problems in the beginning chapters of the novel. I kept telling myself “chill out, you can fix them later.” But my inner worry-wart only responded “it’ll be ten times harder to fix then!”
And I never finished a single draft.
It’s true. I have no fewer than six works in varying stages of progress on my hard drive, the oldest dating back ten years.
That’s gonna change in 2014, I’ve determined (I am determined).
So I set out to stop reading and writing about writing, and to start – y’know, writing. And I held that intention in mind throughout all my end-of-year planning in December 2013.
I will finish the first draft then revise.
But then – old habits die hard, don’t they? – I felt compelled to read Nathan Bransford’s book, How to Write a Novel: 47 Rules for Writing a Stupendously Awesome Novel That You Will Love Forever.
And I am so glad I did – for many reasons. Seriously, if you’re in my boat – desperately wanting to write a novel but struggling for any reason – pick this one up. Put down all the others, and read this one. Then write.
But one of the biggest surprises this book held for me was its unique take on the “finish the first draft first” “rule.”
Essentially, Nathan argued that sometimes it was smarter to revise as you go – for the very reason that my inner worry-wart kept repeating.
It’s harder to fix some plot problems after the draft is finished. Sometimes, the problems and their solutions have far-reaching implications that echo throughout the draft. If you finish the draft first, then fix the problem, you’ve got exponentially more sections to fix as a result.
But if you’d fixed the problem in the middle of the writing process, you might have cut your problems in half or better.
So this time, I’m taking Nathan’s advice. I’m going to fix the issues that have been bugging me and then finish the draft.
We’ll see how that goes!
when you think about it …
And I’m staring down a publication schedule – a tentative one, to be sure, and full of aspirational thinking and self-doubt, in roughly equal measure. It’s a tough schedule, barely do-able.
And I cannot wait.
I’ve spent the last several days engaged in a kind of year-end debrief. Thinking about what I did right last year, what I could have done better, what I need to learn. That kind of thing.
And I’ve also been thinking a lot about what I want to happen in the year ahead. My goals, my big plans, my projects – things I want to stop doing, things I want to learn how to do better.
I used to go through this process annually, but in the last five years or so, I stopped. It seemed silly to be thinking such lofty, aspirational thoughts when sheer survival was a seriously open question.
But the past year, things have been – dare I write it? dare I even think it? – looking up. (Eep.)
Aside from a five-hour depressive episode last week, where I was consumed with “what’s the point?” kinds of thoughts, I feel pretty damn good. Pathologically hopeful, even.
So, I’m transferring all these pages of notes and doodles and brainstorming and mindmaps into my 2014 agenda (I use this one from Levenger, which is awesome for so many reasons). And I’m writing in those publication deadlines, too.
Because I am a ghost, driving a meat-covered skeleton made out of stardust, and I have nothing to fear.
we have a winner
So, we were debating on my Facebook page which version of Mulan‘s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” was superior: Donny Osmond’s (who provided the singing for Chang in the Disney movie) or Jackie Chan’s (who did a Mandarin version here). As you do.
Then, a friend provided a link to this version. HOLD EVERYTHING, ladies and gentlemen. We have a winner. In a stunning upset, Broad Street Line A Cappella.
You can follow BSLAC on their YouTube channel here.
And let’s just skip the discussion on how very wrong it is that I – Ms. Staunch Feminist Anti-Stereotyped-and-Outdated-Sexual-Roles – love this song so very much.