The last few months have been full of crazy. Or I could use other adjectives like exciting. Fun. Adventure. Sports. Play. Work. Celebration. Food. Art. Writing. Culture. Bonding. Homecomings.
Lots of good things. But LOTS of things. I’ll be going off-line for a bit since we will be moving in a couple of weeks. But for your viewing pleasure, my crazy (and by crazy, I mean awesome) life in pictures:
This might have been one of my favorite parts of the trip.
Ile de Ré on bikes!
Oh wait! I mean THIS was my favorite part. Tartelette aux fraises!
I could have stayed here forever. So peaceful!
You can’t go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower.
Or the Mona Lisa.
(Do I look exhausted??? Yeah, it was the end of a full day of travel and site-seeing. I was EXHAUSTED. All-caps are needed to fully capture the feeling.)
And Versaille. (Though it wasn’t my favorite. Don’t hate me!)
My 11-yo and I took the stairs to get to Sacré Coeur.
Yep. We are that awesome.
And Crèpes. Need I say more?
Home never felt so good!
Because I got to watch my soccer star!
And play with my crazy, pink-loving Girlie.
And yes! This is me making my book deal all official. Release date is Spring 2016!!
I hope you all have a great summer! I’ll be back as soon as I get my world organized in my new place.
So I started a soccer team. After watching my boys play, all the love for the game came rushing back until I couldn’t stand it. I had to play. That’s all there was to it.
There I am, circled. 🙂
My husband found an indoor soccer place with a women’s league, and I convinced all my friends that they needed this in their lives. And it’s kindof been awesome.
It doesn’t matter that most of the women I play with have never played before. It doesn’t matter that our team is terrible (if we can keep the other team to single digits, we feel pretty good!). We are out there taking a risk. Doing something different and having fun!
And being on the field has reminded why I love this sport so much. You have to dig deep, and run harder and faster than you think you can. Even when you have nothing left, you push yourself, because if you don’t, you’re not just letting yourself down, you’re letting your teammates down.
The ball rolls free and it’s a race. Muscles tense, you fly to beat your opponent. In that moment, you forget the ache, forget the scream in your lungs, because if the other team gets it, the opportunity is gone.
If you don’t give it everything you have, you wind up like a puppet–yanked around while you, half-heartedly chase something you will never catch.
Writing is like this. As an author, you have to push yourself harder and dig deeper than you think is possible. It takes will power to make yourself sit in that chair and write. It takes focus to get those words from your brain onto paper.
And once it’s down, that’s only the beginning. Then you have to push yourself to find the story that’s hiding in there. The one that wants to come out and shine if only you can dig deep enough. If only you can get past that voice that says it’s too hard. Or that you aren’t good enough. Or that your story’s not good enough.
Push yourself! That ball is bouncing just out of reach, and if you don’t give it your all, you will wind up chasing a dream that is always just out of reach. Always so close, but never in your grasp. Instead of shining, you become a shadow of what you could be.
We won’t always win, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is knowing you gave it your all. You gave it everything you had and then you gave more. You didn’t quit. You focused. You conquered yourself and came out just a wee bit better.
So you’d think that watching him play his soccer game would be like eating ice cream AND a brownie. Right?
So here’s my confession: It’s not. It’s actually painful to watch. Painful, I tell you!
Now before you lynch me, it’s not my kid. I really do like watching him learn to play the game. Rather, it’s the game as played by seven-year-olds that hurts. Perhaps it’s because I played competitive soccer. But perhaps it’s just painful no matter who you are. And the funny thing is, it reminds me of reading through one of my first drafts. Here’s why:
1. The players don’t work together. Any given player will take out his own player to get the ball.
In my first draft, my chapters don’t work together. The beginning lacks the build-up to the end, and the end just plain ignores what happened in the beginning to go its own direction. I won’t even mention the plodding middle.
2. The poor players trip oven their own feet. Often. (It might have something to do with their shoe-tying abilities, but I can’t be sure.)
Do I really need to mention the bad (stink-worthy, putrid, horrible, awkward to add a few adjectives) writing? Ack. Painful to read. And I’m supposed to make this seem effortless? Yikes!
3. The players forget which direction they’re going. And that’s usually the fortuituous moment that their aim is accurate.
Have you ever accidentally changed a character’s name midway through a draft? Or suddenly your mc has black hair instead of blond? No? Me neither.
4. Lack of coordination. Sure it’s funny to watch Charlie Brown put all his force into kicking that football only to have it pulled away by Lucy, but it’s more cringe-worthy when you know the kid. And yes, they really do land on their backs after kicking air. Ouch.
In that first draft, it’s like I’ve forgotten all the rules of writing. Setting comes in chunks that feel like Aunt Bertha’s famous stone pudding in your gut. Backstory takes the real story hostage, and adverbs go on a rampage. Dialogue feels like talking heads who portrary stiff characters who all sound like the same person. You get the idea.
5. By the second half, the players are T-I-R-E-D. The ball could be right in front of them, but they’re too tired to move their foot. As a spectator, it was hard to restrain myself from running onto the field to kick the ball myself, just to get the thing moving!
And back to the ending. It might be a tad rushed because I was T-I-R-E-D of writing the dang book. But why can’t Prince Charming just kill the bad guy with one quick plunge of his sword instead of orchestrating a whole fight scene? Economy of words, right?
Friday, I promised to finish off those awards by sharing 5 tidbits about myself then passing them along. So here goes:
I once dressed up as a piece of gum on the bottom of a shoe for Halloween. My roommate and I had matching outfits: pink sweats with a sneaker-shaped slipper for a hat.
I played soccer on my high school soccer team. All three years. SO much fun.
When I was two, I fell out of a second story window and walked away without a scratch. I CRIED like a banshee, but otherwise, fine. (And I better not hear any “THAT explains it!” comments.)
My thumbs are double-jointed. Pretty cool, eh?
I hate chili. Like a lot. Sorry to all my Texan friends, but I think this disqualifies me from ever living near you.
Okay now for the more interesting part. Just so you know, I only give low-stress awards. You need do nothing with it. I’m good with that. This is just my way of telling you that I think your blog is cool. So you can choose the Versatile Blogger or the Creative Blogger Award. Or none, of course. 🙂
First, Shallee McArthur at Life, the Universe, and Writing. I recently found her blog and have been loving the open friendliness I can feel shining through her writing. Go visit. You won’t be disappointed.
Next, Terri Tiffany Inspirational Writer. I’m always so impressed every time I visit. Her words really are inspirational and uplifting. Her title fits just perfectly. And she gives some pretty awesome advice, too.
Jemi Fraser at Just Jemi. You should see the buckets of awards she recently got. And all deserved. She isn’t afraid to share her frustrations, and she’s everywhere with her upbeat comments. Who couldn’t help but love Jemi?
Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares. This is who you WISH you had as your English instructor. She is hilarious! Under her tutelage, grammar is no longer scary. It is fun. I see the doubt in your eye, but seriously. You want a laugh? Go visit.
Finally, with two days from his birthday, how could I not include Lenny Lee at Lenny’s World? A little spot of sunshine and happiness that is incredibly infectious. His posts and comments always, always, always make me smile.
Honestly, I could give you all awards. It was really hard to choose just 5. But thank you so much for being my friend and visiting my humble little blog, and thinking what I write is worth reading. I don’t know how I made it so long as a writer without the support of the amazing writing blogosphere (that’s you).