Now, I feel I need to add that I've no issues with atheists. I get it. It's frustrating, having to deal with people who passionately disagree and are completely unreasonable about "being right." It is. I lose patience too. However, I feel everyone should find whatever spiritual philosophy (or anti-spiritual philosophy) suits them. No one should be forced into any particular belief system. As long as no one is hurt, who cares? That's Freedom of Religion. It's what we have in the U.S.. It's not "the freedom to worship whatever brand of Christianity that makes you happy." That's why we need separation of Church and State. It's why certain political movements deeply disturb me. Christianity does not instantly equate to stupid, emotional, and moral. Atheism doesn't instantly equate to smart, unemotional, and immoral. Both groups are Human beings, and Human beings are all these things. I just wish atheists would show their softer side in pubic more often. The people I know who happen to be atheist are very caring, thoughtful, intelligent, and kind. I wish more people saw that.
 Every once in a while I have these Yoda moments. Don't hold your breath until the next one. ;)
 Unless they're behaving like wanna-be Dominican priests on the march against heresy. Then we very much have problems. The same kind of problems I have with Christians who behave in the same way.
of the Oldest Wild Bird in the World
with a special child(ren).
"On Dec. 10, 1956, early in my first visit to Midway, I banded 99 incubating Laysan Albatrosses in the downtown area of Sand Island, Midway. Wisdom (band number 587-51945) is still alive, healthy, and incubating again in December 2011 (and in 2012 and in 2013). While I have grown old and gray and get around only with the use of a cane, Wisdom still looks and acts just the same as on the day I banded her. . .remarkable true story. . . beautifully illustrated in color." -- Chandler S. Robbins, Sc.D., Senior Scientist (Retired), USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD.
CLICK BELOW to view
the story of the 63-year-old bird
in your favorite store.
An odd thing is happening on my current WIP: I am writing the story out of order.
Here’s the process for this story–which will change, of course, for the next story.
- Jot down rough ideas for the story. This project is book 3 in a series, so I knew the characters and setting. I just needed to sketch out the main conflict and how it fit into this world.
- Check continuity issues. Of course, this mean that I had to check continuity issues. What was the name of the homeroom teacher and how is she described. In other words, I had to dip back into the previous stories and re-immerse myself in the milieu.
- Expand the ideas. Next, I expanded the ideas to a paragraph or more for each of the ten chapters.
- Check the narrative arc and strengthen. At this level, it’s easy to see flaws in plotting: not enough tension, not enough suspense, not enough at stake, etc. I worked with story line, actually struggling for about two weeks, trying to get all the elements to work together. The result was about ten pages, or one page per chapter. These consist of snippets of setting, dialogue, or character emotions. I know roughly what story beats will be involved, though each chapter needs expansion.
- Expand. With that foundation, I am now writing out of order. The narrative arc is strong, so I’m confident that the planned scenes will actually fit into the story about where I have them now. I am confident of the content that belongs in each chapter. I’m not worrying about fine-tuning each scene, I just want something down and I can turn to any chapter/scene that I want at this point.
- Integrate. I have about six of the ten chapters written and already much has been revised. I reread the whole thing each day and find weak places to edit and continuity issued to address. This time, I mean continuity within this novel, not necessarily within the series. But I am also going back to Books 1 and 2 to change things for series continuity.
- Repeat steps as needed. I am working all over the landscape of this short novel and it’s interesting to see it unfold and how connections are creeping into the draft, making it stronger.
Some sequences are easy to write out of order; some sequences must be written in order or the author gets confused.
Will I use this process again? I don’t know. Maybe for Book 4 of this series, but maybe not for another genre or other series. Usually, each project needs its own trajectory and working method. All I know is that this is moving me forward. For now.
So as not to spoil any surprises, I’m not going to reveal which books they were, but I’ve been reading many fine books lately, and I’ll mention a few of the stand-outs.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie—I love books set in foreign places, and while most of this hefty novel is set in the United States, it’s seen through the eyes of a Nigerian expatriate. It does make you think about race and the consequences of privilege.
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman, illustrated by LeUyen Pham—This is a picture book biography about a boy who grew up to become a famous and influential mathematician. I am glad there are books like this one in the world.
Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley—Like the next book on this list, this fun novel has voice in spades. Truly original and oh, so funny! What if your superpower was the ability to talk to cats?
Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith—Time travel and dinosaurs, what’s not to like? What takes this book over the top is the laugh out loud humor. Consider this passage:
They only leave two toe marks, because they hold the one off the ground.
The switchblade one. The one that could disembowel you and leave your intestines on the outside so they could eat you at their convenience while you watched.
I didn’t say this aloud, though, because sometimes you don’t have to tell everyone everything.
I sure hope there’s a sequel.
Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week by Isa Chandra Moskowitz—Yes, it’s a cookbook, by the author of the classic Veganomicon. I am vegetarian, my eldest daughter is vegan, and a couple small and medium sized relatives have severe food allergies, cutting out whole categories of foods. This cookbook is easy enough for even me to follow (I’m easily distracted), and the recipes are indeed as yummy as promised.
Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George—I listened to this one at the gym and while doing housework, which insured that I did both, otherwise, I would neglect everything. If you read mysteries, you should read Elizabeth George.
Don't ask me why that song puts me in a holiday mood. It just does. ;)
I've been catching up with folks I've not seen in ages--one in particular I've not seen in three years. (I thought it'd only been a year. Heh.) So much to talk about, and so much fun. Given that I've been stressy girl over the last week, it was really nice.