NaNoWriMo Continues to Try Eating my Soul

Ouch.
It’s seven days in, I’m hovering around 20000 words (out of 50000, it’s kind of a game), and I am so tired. Unfortunately, I let my alligator mouth write checks I’m not sure my hummingbird butt can actually cash. I’m involved in a big old word war with a different area–it’s all in fun, but pride is on the line–and I am nowhere near where I want to be with this novel. I need my word count higher, and I need to stop panicking about where my story is going.
And I need to get my word count higher. Did I mention that?

And now, it’s time for bed, before I fall asleep on my keyboard and leave a long line of random characters. Good night, World!
πŸ™‚

Procrastination is so Totally my Enemy

As an antagonist, Procrastination is second only to Perfectionism in its crazy ability to beat up my hopes and dreams. Boo.

I have two articles due Right Now, and I’m not close to done with either of them. How did this happen? It’s not as though I didn’t know the deadline was coming up–it’s written on my calendar. And it’s on my gmail alerts thing. And I get email reminders from my self. And the “Currently Working On” folder is huge and right in the middle of my desktop.

I need a better system. Any ideas?

(Off to finish my articles. Eep.)

An Eye on Health Care (or: Thank goodness for good nurses)

My apologies for being lax in my blog again. That laxity leads directly into today’s blog.

Friday, my grandfather was admitted to a hospital in Florida. His symptoms: severe chest pains that radiated into his left arm, nausea, light-headedness, and shortness of breath. These are the classic symptoms of heart attacks in men. (The symptoms for women can be quite different. Both men and women can also experience extreme fatigue over several days or weeks.) My grandfather is 75 years old. He has an incredible constitution. However, he also has a history of diabetes and frequent bronchitis and pneumonia. He smoked for decades, though he has not smoked in more than twenty years. When he arrived at the hospital, the first responders administered nitroglycerin which eliminated the chest pains.

All of the above should have fast-tracked him into serious care. But no. My grandfather, and therefore my grandmother, mom, uncles, and aunts, have all been trapped in clinical limbo. After running a battery of tests on my grandfather, the doctors failed to call in a cardiologist to examine him. The only cardiologist native to that hospital was away for the weekend. (Yes, doctors need vacation, too, but you’d think the hospital would have more than one cardiac specialist on duty.) The cardiologist on-call (from many miles to the south) didn’t arrive to see my grandfather until 5 o’clock Saturday evening. That’s almost 36 hours after he was admitted.

My granddad is all hooked up to all kinds of monitors and such, so it’s not as though they’ve shunted him off to some closet somewhere, but many of the doctors seem to be just too busy to care for him. And they lose his test results. Now, he has to wait until Monday to see the hospital’s cardiologist to see whether they’ll give him a stress test (designed to push his body to the verge of a heart attack; which seems like an absolutely TERRIBLE idea), or perform a catheterization. The on-call cardiologist who visited my grandfather yesterday recommended a catheterization immediately, but because of the way the hospitals and insurance are set up, she can’t actually do anything. She can only make recommendations.

It’s a miracle anyone even called her. Whoever read my grandfather’s myriad test results got stuck looking at his lung -xrays and decided that they needed a pulmonary specialist. My grandfather does have a history of bronchitis and lung ailments, but that was not the main issue. The main issue was the probable heart problem that got him admitted in the first place. If my grandfather’s nurses hadn’t noticed that no cardiologist had been contacted, Granddad might still be waiting to be seen. …Except that my family has never been known for being quiet, bless them. They would have made some kind of fuss, that’s certain.

Happily, the nurses providing care are brilliant, hard-working, and adept at finding the proper help whenever necessary, no matter whether they might get in trouble for stepping on toes. The nurses explain all the charts and all the equipment. They have been keeping my grandfather–and my grandmother who has been there with him almost the whole time, and their children–as comfortable as one can be while sitting in a hospital, awaiting answers.

Nurses–good ones–provide hope.

Dear Cherie Priest

I don’t think I have ever geeked out harder than when I read Ganymede. From the blurb on the back cover regarding the sunken submersible that had “killed most of the men who’d ever set foot inside of it”, through the Acknowledgments where you send a shout-out to everyone involved in the “retro-futurist niche” (which may be the most awesome term I have read in a long time), to the amazing end of the novel. Wow.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only person to think of the Confederate submarine Hunley when reading the back material. I just watched a special on the History Channel the other week about the mysteries and tragedies surrounding the Hunley–why it should have been in more history books and why all of the people who died in it and because of it should be remembered. The last crew to helm the Hunley were a motley bunch to be sure–Englishmen, Northerners, Southerners, Irish, possibly French. They were all held together by the charisma and personal strength of the Hunley’s final captain, Lieutenant George E. Dixon.

Thank you, Cherie Priest. For all of your Clockwork Century books.

Writing because I have to

There is a HUGE difference between writing because I’m writing something I want to write and writing something I have to write because I need a paycheck. Craziness. It makes me a little sad and makes my brain cramp a lot.

But I can be a mercenary little individual, so writing stuff I may not like/have any interest in whatsoever is just good business practice. If I want more jobs, I need to be a grown-up and complete jobs that can teach me something. Even if it is an article about level surveys.

Off to writing I go. πŸ™‚

Footstep Following

It’s gratifying to notice that my older son is similar to me in at least one way: He’s becoming a Teacher’s Pet in English class. πŸ˜‰

Seriously, he’s becoming a teenager, and sometimes it’s hard to know how we’re even related. It’s crazy. My momma told me that there would be many days when I would be near to tearing my hair out because of the personality changes the kids would go through. And some days, that’s exactly how I feel. Some days, I want to take my pan of brownies and run away to Samoa. (I’ve never been to Samoa, but it seems like it be far enough away.) I’m not sure I could swim that far though, so that puts a damper on that idea.

At least I don’t have girls. I’m pretty sure I broke my mom when I was going through adolescence. How she avoided a straight jacket, I’ll never know…

Back to the story at hand. My older boy has been working on a ‘personal narrative’ for English. And it is really good. It’s an actual story with real characters, a plot, well-developed setting, and a sub-plot. It has a beginning, middle, and end. Considering he’s 12, I’m impressed. I’m also impressed that his teacher gives her students latitude in their writing, not the 5-paragraph structure all the time.

Anyway. High-five, Oldest Son! πŸ™‚

Bert the Conqueror

I love Bert the Conqueror–even if his laugh gets on my nerves sometimes. It’s funny watching him interact in a super-awkward manner with people.

If you haven’t watched the show, its whole purpose is to film Bert (a comedian) ride the most insane rides, and participate in the most insane ‘local adventures’ in a given area. My two sons and I watched some of the episodes on Netflix tonight. In one of them, he went to Punta Gorda, FL to the “Redneck Yacht Club” (a big mud hole that used to be a potato farm up until a couple of years ago) to participate in a belly flop contest. The contest was a highly subjective affair: the judging very informal. (When some of your fellow competitors are some of the judges, you know objectivity is not the goal.) Everyone involved looked to be having a good time, though. Everyone was dirty, and everyone was smiling.

That’s the only way to have a good time. πŸ˜‰

So this whole “Post a Day” thing…

It’s tiring me out, I tell you what. πŸ˜‰ And I’ve only been doing this for a couple of days. Boo, me. I need to work harder and not be such a big baby.

I need to mentally prepare for novel-writing in November. (Not that I’m not ALWAYS working on a novel, but I find that charging through a first draft in 30 days or less really gets the juices flowing. It also helps me get my typing fingers in better shape. They don’t stay so numb all the time.)

I think my plan is to try to read as many books as possible this month, so I can post a review every couple of days. In between reviews, I will be posting ideas for a new novel, ideas for short-stories-in-progress, and other foibles of my writing life. (Which is complicated by two pre-teen boys. Oh, the drama.)

Thanks for hearing me out!
πŸ˜€

Stephen King, the Essay

Why is Stephen King so polarizing among the literary literati? I have no idea, and I really have no wish to fall into that kind of conversation.
However, I did recently publish an essay on why he has been so influential in my life, ever since I found “The Shining” in my school library.

Stephen King: Literary Icon

If anyone has any doubts about Stephen King’s skills and love of writing, read his book “On Writing”. It’s a love letter from King to the art of writing. It is also one of the acknowledged classics for teaching writing.

Unsung Heroes

This is for my friend, who lost one of his while serving.

So many people do not truly comprehend why we service members and veterans do what we do. They also don’t understand what it feels like to be Right There when someone you love dies. This is for all of my brothers and sisters who have served, and those who are serving.

I love you all. We remember.