reading list

The business of book writing...

Those of you who still check in at ye olde pnf.com are probably sick of the doughnut business, eh? Sorry about that. It's been busy! I won't go into how work and school are busy and how I am feeling sort of like this. And I will skip the part about how Greta's dance and swimming classes are a blast but how they, coupled with the usual weekend busy-ness, make the weekend go by in a flash. And I will even skip the part about how I got totally suckered into the Dragon Tattoo series and how I'm midway through the second book in the series. (See how I just skipped all of that stuff?)
 
The most exciting thing going on with me is that I've taken the plunge and signed up for this year's National Novel Writing Month. I've got a plot, and I think I can do it! I know everybody and their brother wants to write a book, but most people are all talk. I am one of those people (who wants to write a book), and I am really, really hoping I'm not all talk.
 
I am planning on writing about a time from my life that when I have told people in recent years stories from that time, they say something akin to, "Whoa, you should totally write a book about that!" I have also gotten a lot of encouragement over the years from friends and family that they like my writing style and I should write a book, yada yada. So I am trying to put my self-consciousness aside and just go for it.
 
I think NaNoWriMo is exactly what I need. On one hand, the pressure is off: The focus is on quantity rather than quality. If I can just get something written, I will have fulfilled my personal goal. Anything above and beyond that will just be gravy. On the other hand, the pressure is on: There is a short deadline and a few strict requirements. I thrive on deadlines and rules!
 
I won't give too many details on the book, but as a bit of a teaser, I will tell you that the book contains the following: a car crash, a drug dealer, a secret wedding, p0rnography, a 300-lb theif tried in Judo, a creepy bus driver, learning how to make change, ugly people, one heavy petting session, and MURDER AND INTRIGUE!
 
And it's all true, to the best of my selective recollection, except maybe the intrigue part.
 
I am sort of terrified to write it all down and hopefully not either find out I don't have nearly enough material or to just somehow fail miserably...I am actually sort of shaking even talking about it. Grumble, grumble. I can't actually start writing-writing until November. For now, I'm outlining the plot and just trying to collect my thoughts and feeling nervous. Encouragement welcomed in the comments section!
 
Fran

Nutshell

So this past Thursday I did go to see Peter Lovenheim speak at Barnes and Noble about In the Neighborhood, and the event was great. After reading the book I just had to drive down the street and see gawk at the houses I had read so much about. It was really cool. Every time I read a good book, I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to read it. That's exactly how I feel in this case. I love seeing authors and artists speak, and I don't get out to see speakers nearly as often as I'd like. Every time I do, I wonder why I don't do it more often. Anyway, Peter Lovenheim was a good speaker and story teller, and I especially enjoyed the question-and-answer session, mostly for selfish reasons. There were a few tense moments with people who took issue with the way he described the neighbors/neighborhood. And then there was the wacko who asked such a weird, blatantly racist question. I love to see when people handle things well when they're put on the spot (because I feel like I am so bad in situations like that). He handled the tense moments seemingly with ease, which was fantastic. Oh, and I did end up buying an actual copy of the book so he could sign it, and we chatted briefly. I must have disguised my crow's-feet particularly well that evening, because he asked me if I am in school. Ha! I turned bright red and stammered that I am too old for school. Yeah, I am so not smooth.

Friday, Pat got some pizza and our friend Rebecca came over bearing wine. It was so fun to gorge ourselves on unhealthy food and laugh and laugh. It is always so fun to catch up with Rebecca. Greta pretty much summed it up when Rebecca was leaving and she said, "Don't ever go! Stay here forever!"

Saturday was so busy it was almost ridiculous. Pat headed out to Imagine RIT for festival duty, while Greta and I headed out to a birthday party for Colin. Greta was chased around the majority of the time by the boys, who were pointing various boy playthings at her head and making shooting noises. Greta was having fun, but at one point she said, "Mom, why are they doing that?" I said, "Get used to it. It's going to happen pretty much from now until your boy friends figure out it's more charming to talk to girls than chase them...which will probably take a while." After the sun and fun over there, we went to RIT to meet up with Pat and walk around the festival. We had a blast walking around and seeing all of the creative nerdiness (where else can you see multiple different T-shirts with leetspeak on them saying rude things about your mom AND homemade robots AND a strongman competition AND enough big brains to cause some serious potential damage?), chatting with friends we ran into, and eating. Greta had her first cotton candy experience and she loved it (shocker, right?).

Today we had a fantastically productive day. I cleaned and organized the basement and the attic; Pat mowed the lawn; Greta rode her bike around the block while I basically ran behind her (girl is fast) and we ran into our old friends and new neighbors, the Johnsons; Pat did homework while Greta and I worked on mother's day cards and gifts for her grandmas and great-grandmas; we had a picnic dinner in the back yard; and Pat installed the new light fixture we got for Greta's room, which is probably coming down tomorrow because she tearfully expressed it "isn't pretty enough" (and that is fine by me, because now it's going to go in my office and I think it is quite pretty enough).

Also today Greta set up this little fancy robot configuration. Happy robot wearing a parasol in a shot glass day.

Fran

Some things on my mind - in no particular order

File under: birthday | food | reading list

 
I took a half day yesterday, and Taryn and I met up to celebrate her birthday. She came to town so we could hit up some Rochester food/shopping. I hadn't been to Black & Blue yet, but I had heard good things, so I suggested we go to lunch there. There were so many tasty-looking items on the menu that I had trouble deciding, and so I did what I sometimes do when I'm being indecisive: I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu. I figure, why not? If it all looks good, why not go with the cheapest? It was their signature burger. It cost what an average burger costs at Fridays/Applebees/RubyTuesdays/Chilis/Whatevers (it was actually less than $8), but it was perfection on a perfect bun. It had bacon and blue cheese, and it was seasoned and cooked perfectly. Did I mention it was perfect? Oh, and it came with shoestring French fries. Perfect. Taryn and I also both got desserts. They were not perfect because they were too big. I ate so much I actually had a cramp for half an hour (and I wasn't even swimming after the meal).
 
After lunch we did some shopping at Eastview. As I mentioned previously, we recently got an Anthropologie. Taryn and I both came to the conclusion that it's nice to look, but it's too expensive to buy. Even their sale stuff is really expensive. Also, their clothes look like how I would *like* to dress, but it's just not how I dress. I feel like I would buy a dress and then covet it in my closet and then never actually wear it. And that would be sad. I'm glad we have an Anthropologie, and I plan to stop by their sale section and visually enjoy the regularly priced eye candy when I can, but I don't think I will be getting a new wardrobe there anytime soon. I did get two sweaters at Banana Republic for a combined grand total under $35 and a magical pair of boots on super-sale at Macy's. And Taryn found some good stuff too. It was a great afternoon - one that I totally needed. I felt like it was my birthday!
 
So, amigos, my friend Alex IM'd me the other day to tell me that our former home-away-from-home Mex is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend. Can you believe it has been 10 years?? Alex said, "It's been almost 10 years since you kicked someone out of a bar." It has actually been 7 and a half years since I kicked someone out of a bar, but who's counting? 10 years...time flies. I might need to have a gin and tonic this weekend (at New Mex = my living room) to celebrate.
 
I'm reading a crazy book for book club right now. It's Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and it's kicking my @ss! It has 6 different sections, and I have gotten into each one eventually, but it takes time. I really need to think about what I'm reading as I read and sort of translate the meaning as I go. If I don't, I sometimes have to go back 10 or 20 pages and reread a section. I have NEVER had to do that - ever. I feel like a pansy because other reviews I've read of the book were all so positive and people claim they loved it from page 1, but I'm struggling. I blame both my job and modern technology for giving me adult-onset ADD. Having a kid who craves constant attention doesn't help much either. It also doesn't help that there are some crazy dilects. I read a paragraph of one of the sections out loud to Pat, and I think his response was, "Oh, f*** that." I like the book, but I'll be sort of glad when it's done.
 
What did you do today?
 
Fran
 

Day 29: JD Salinger

Yesterday I found out about the passing of JD Salinger. Like many people over the last 60 or so years, Catcher in the Rye had a profound effect on me. I always enjoyed reading and pretty much liked everything every English teacher put in front of me, but Catcher in the Rye was the first book I remember really connecting with and thinking, Wow, writing can do this? It is such a common reaction to a book that it is almost cliché, except for the fact that the book is just so darned cool it is cliché-proof.

I wish I had something profound to say, but unfortunately I don't. RIP JD Salinger, and thank you.

Fran

Day 6: germ-a-sketch

I have a love-hate relationship with the library. I love reading books without having to pay for them, but I hate touching things that gross people probably brought into the bathroom. My frugality reins over my germophobia, though, so I get most of the books I read from the library. We've been reading some older books for book club, and those are especially skanky. This past month for book club we read Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion, which was published in 1970. The copy I got from the library had the old-school stamps in it dating back to 1977 and 30-some years of people's notes and highlighting and doodles...and germs.

I found it sort of ironic that there was a big ol' kid doodle on a page that had an F bomb on it. I call this page doodlebomb.

I usually can't fall asleep unless I read for a while, and I also can't fall asleep with the thought of germs all over my hands, so I usually have to jump up and wash my hands before I actually go to sleep. That is annoying; the icing on the cake is that this book sort of sucked.

Pat was just telling me they have some pages of a Gutenberg Bible in their rare books collection at work (and supposedly some book from 3,000 BC, but I am skeptical). How many potty germs do you think are on those?

Sorry, Barbara, there is no trivia question in this post. :)

Fran

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