Saturday, April 28, 2012


Scene: Me, sitting on the couch with the three year old, watching The Princess Bride.

Cary Elwes (on screen): Whatever happens to us, I want him to live a long life alone with his cowardice.

Kid (turns to me): Ask me if I'm going to do that.

Me: I'm not going to ask you if you're going to live a long life alone with your cowardice.

Kid: Ha! I wouldn't anyway because I'm Brave.

Me: Okay.

Kid (fishes in pocket): Also, I have this! (pulls out a new, unwrapped bar of Lever 2000 soap, jumps off couch and runs through house) Super bar of soap! Super bar of soap!

I used to go out drinking. It wasn't half as crazy as this parenting thing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I got a call from a doctor's office today - a specialist, not even a doctor - that I'd been waiting a few days for. I've been referred to specialist clinics before for this or that, but got in quickly and saw PAs and nurses, mostly, with maybe a two minute visit from a doctor. Or he might have just conversed with the nurse or PA outside my room, after which they told me to go home. Then they sent a bill for eleventy billion dollars and we were done.

So I got the call from the specialists and they told me they could squeeze me in sometime in June, which blew my mind because I've always considered specialists to be like the SWAT of doctors. [Doc SWAT, coming to Spike this fall] But instead, it appears they're overburdened doctors with a real good idea of how specific systems and organs work. Whatever. So I gave the woman my info and confirmed the appointment and hung up.

An hour later I get a call from the same office, from a woman who sounded the same. I immediately panicked, certain someone else saw my referral form or chart or whatever and determined that I needed to come in STAT. Like my symptoms indicated an expiration date. And that date was 5 p.m. today. But no, it was just that they had written my name down two different ways, which she seemed to find highly suspicious, but which I pointed out was probably just a typo on one of them. So she asked how it should be spelled, J-A-C-Q-U-E-S or J-A-C-Q-U-E-Z. As if anybody outside of the porn business has the last name Jacquez*. And then I worried that they might think I was in the porn business, which would lead them to asking me all kinds of porn-specific questions when I got there - in June - and I wouldn't be able to answer most of them, and then they'd think there was something really wrong with me.

I guess the moral to the story is to use your spellcheck or, I don't know, read the papers you were given. Save a neurotic writer from a spontaneous meltdown.

*Apologies to all the people who really have this as either a first or last night. I'm sure you're all fine people. If this is both your first and last name, let's just pretend we don't know each other, 'kay?


I received an email today, from a passionate aspiring author, asking why I don't blog every day.

It's the key, she said, to building an audience before you have a lot of published books that can build their own buzz. Which made my mind drift off into a world where reading a book became mildly intoxicating. And then I remembered that, with the right book, it can be mildly intoxicating. Euphoric. Consciousness-altering.

Where was I? Oh, yes. I don't blog every day because I have two jobs and a family. Yes, I do consider writing to be a job and, yes, I do dedicate hours weekly to both writing and educating myself on the craft and the industry. Because I'd rather be writing those to-be books than blogging about writing them. Which isn't to say there is no value in posts of that nature. Some of my favorite blogs before I was published, and some of my favorite blogs to day, are about the process. The journey. The Sisyphean climb toward publication.

Neil Gaiman recently wrote a post on the writing process and that point in the drafting of a book where he steps out of the fog and onto the clear path. Neil Fucking Gaiman. Talking about being uncertain. For me, that may be all that ever needs to be said: writing a book is taxing and frustrating and crazymaking. It's also, in brief lonesome moments, the most satisfying thing you can imagine.

So that's why I don't blog every day. More power to those who manage to while hitting their writing goals. I tip my hat to you all.

End trans.

P.S. If I did blog everyday, you'd all want to scream at me to stop the inanity. So there's also that.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


It is virtually impossible for me to grab a single book from my bookshelves. I'm drawn to the nearby spines, enticed by the larger tomes near the bottom, and find that I must reassure myself that the books in the back row (there's never enough room for them all) are still nested cozily amongst each other.

Eventually I forget what I was looking for in the first place, choose a favorite or something I've been meaning to read, and withdraw, only to repeat the process again hours later.

Monday, April 9, 2012


My son is three going on four. He loves pirates and applies pirate logic and pirate language to the non-pirate aspects of his life. I mentioned to him that we would have an Easter egg hunt on Easter. "An Easter egg treasure hunt," he asked, eyes lighting up, "with a treasure map and gold doubloons (which he pronounces "goldenblues") and everything?"

I blinked. "Yes, just like that."

On Easter morning, while he was at church with my parents, the Easter bunny stopped by and dropped off the following note:

Hey Kid,

I need your help. While I was dyeing eggs, a wicked snow bird - allied with the snow spiders - stole the candy eggs! The snow bird has filled her nests with eggs. Those she couldn't fit, she gave to the snow spiders to hide in their webs - along with some gold doubloons.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to recover the eggs. If you are caught by the snow bird or the snow spiders, I will disavow all knowledge of this operation. 

Good luck, son.

Yours Truly,

The E. Bunny

P.S. There's a map.

There was a treasure map, carefully marked with X's. He chose to accept.

Snow birds nest in the sides of snow banks.

And in vast, glacier-like expanses of snow.

Gold doubloons. Snow spiders can weave webs for days. They won't stop a dedicated treasure hunter.

And the wickedest, wiliest snow bird is no match for this kid.

Hope you had a great Easter...with far less snow than we had.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Because of Mel (Flight of the Conchords)

Because of the choreographed bear wrestling

Because of unrequited love

Because of John Slattery's pining!

Because "you'll never believe the shitty thoughts I think"

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


What it takes to revise a book:

1 tube of Chapstick
2 cats
3 Pandora stations
Much tea
4 boxes of popsicles
8 bags of microwave popcorn (single serving)
Rereadings of 12 chapters from favorite books

How do you do it?