Monday, March 29, 2010

Every Ending Has A New Beginning

I want to first thank everyone for the get well wishes and moral support. It really means a lot.

Even though my time on the ice may be temporarily over, each day has been filled with new experiences since I had ACL reconstructive surgery on March 24th. 

1. Immediately after surgery was the first time in my life I experienced excruciating pain. I wonder if child birth is worse? You moms out there, tell me, does child birth feel like having a train run over your leg several times or somebody repeatedly bashing your knee with a sledge hammer? If it's worse, then umm....I may not do the whole child bearing thing and I really commend you guys.

2. I rode a wheel chair for the first time. I had a blast wheeling myself through the aisles of Wal-Mart and learning how to maneuver and turn. It was bliss doing something fast and physical again.

3. I take joy in the small accomplishments I'm making in my recovery. Last Friday the therapist bent my knee 85 degrees and today we got to 108 degrees. Celebration!!

4. I've realized that there are a lot of good people out there. I can't tell you how many people have opened doors, offered to bring me food, get me an extra chair, or grabbed something off a shelf for me.

5. And last, but definitely not least, I've learned just how amazing my Mom is. I always knew she was something special, but I truly believe the great strides I'm making in my recovery are because of my Mom taking such awesome care of me. Thank you Mom!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Guest Interview: Fabian Romano

Today we have the privilege of spending time with Fabian Romano from my WIP Product of an Illusion. Not only is he a teenage Italian heart-throb, but he can also become invisible at will.

Me: Fabian it's so nice of you to drop by and spend some time with us today.

Fabian: No problem. Heard about your torn ACL and all. Thought I'd see how you were doing.

Me: That's awfully nice of you.

Fabian: So when are you going under the knife?

Me: Wednesday or Thursday. I'm picking between three surgeons. My biggest qualm is finding a surgeon who will actually be operating on my knee and not just over seeing a fellow do it. I don't want anyone learning how to reconstruct an ACL on my knee! And even if the surgeon says he's going to do the surgery, how do I know that he's telling the truth? How is the fellow supposed to learn if he never gets to practice on unsuspecting patients like myself?

Fabian: Dude, your knee is much too important to just practice on. If you want, I can slip inside the OR, under the radar of course, and make sure they're doing things right.

Me: And if they aren't doing things right, what are you going to do?

Fabian: Clobber him over the head with a bed pan.

Me: Hmmm... that does sound enticing. I'll get back to you on that. Well, enough about me. What's going on with you?

Fabian: Just trying to stay out of trouble.

Me: What kind of trouble?

Fabian: Oh you know, just staying out of the way of dueling factions trying to change the world as we know it. Keeping it low key.

Me: I see. Well, when you're trying to stay low key what do you do in your spare time.

Fabian: Play guitar.

Me: Oh, so you're a rocker?

Fabian: Nah, more classical, improv stuff. Making my own crap up.

Me: Yes, making your own crap is important.

Fabian: You playing with me?

Me: Never. (Fabian glares at me) So... how do you like it in Alabama? I mean it's no London or Italy.

Fabian: It's quaint. Except for the fact that these girls keep following me around. They're squealing after me like I'm some piece of meat.

Me: Really?

Fabian: Yeah, they think I'm some actor. One girl called me Ben Barnes.

Me: Yeah, you do look like him.

Fabian: Who's Ben Barnes?

Me: You know, the guy that plays Prince Caspian in the Narnia Movie.

Fabian: Never saw it.

Me: What movies do you like watching?

Fabian: I think the last American film I saw was that Button movie.

Me: You mean, the Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt?

Fabian: Yeah, that was based on a true story.

Me: No it wasn't.

Fabian: Yeah, it was. There was a guy in Scotland who was was born an old man and got younger as he aged. Scots tried to keep it real hush hush.

Me: Really?

Fabian: No! Are you sure you just tore your ACL and not something in your brain too?

Me: Ha Ha. Very Funny. And on that note, I think we should bring this time with Fabian to a close. Thank you Fabian for charming our readers.

Fabian: My pleasure. Take care and stop being so damn gullible.

Me: Right. I'll try my best.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Good Complication...

A good complication illuminates, thwarts, or alters the character's desire.

A good complication forces the character to act.

A good complication offers the story a point of departure.

A good complication raises the stakes.

A good complication thickens the plot.

~ Monica Wood, The Pocket Muse

Friday, March 12, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For.....

I apologize for my prolonged absence. The early days of my absence were attributable to training for two U.S. Figure Skating Ice Dance tests. The next day or two of blog absence were spent in celebration/recooperation from passing those tests.

And then the last two days of absence are because I tore my ACL on Wednesday.

It happened on the ice. The rink was empty and I reveled in having it all to myself. But, I couldn't help remembering the words of a former coach who warned against skating on the ice alone. She always worried what would happen if one of us took a bad fall and there was no one there to help us. I shrugged this warning off and proceeded to do a double loop. Then a good friend joined me on the ice and he was doing his thing and I kept doing my thing. Ultimately, I'm so thankful for his presence.

Because then the unthinkable happened.

A deep crevice in the ice quietly waited. I did a three turn (a turn from forward to backwards on one foot) in preparation to do a double flip. A three turn. Something as natural to me as walking. My left blade caught in the crevice and my foot twisted. My legs split into an unnatural split position and I hyper extended my right knee- the knee I use to land all my jumps with.

I jinxed myself. There is no other explanation. And I have evidence to prove it:

1. I seem to get the most writing done when I'm injured
2. Persistently wishing for more writing time

Unfortunately, writing has been the farthest thing from my mind. I've been devastated. There is no other way to say it. But, now I'm past the hysterical crying and I've come to accept that I will need ACL reconstructive surgery. My doctor has promised me over and over again that I will be back to jumping, spinning, and ice 6 months. 6 months! I've been skating for almost 19 years and my max time off the ice was for twelve weeks when I was thirteen and I broke my ankle twice in a row.

I believe that things happen for a reason. And the only silver lining I can see in any of this is that I will have more time to write (when I'm not doing rehab). But, it's so hard to be in a happy writing place when you feel so hollow inside. But, I'm done with feeling sorry for myself and I'm not going to cry about it anymore. I'm not dying of cancer. I didn't have a heart attack. I didn't permanently lose a limb. I just tore a teeny tiny ligament. No biggie. Right?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gossip Time...13 Reasons Why

I had the pleasure of listening to Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why on Audio CD. As I listened, I kept thinking, how does someone come up with something like this? And I frequently marveled at the many storyline threads that Asher wove together.

13 Reasons Why opens with Clay Jensen, high-school-senior-all-around-good-guy, receiving a shoebox of tapes on his doorstep. The tapes were recorded by Hannah Baker, a girl in his class, who he also happened to have the hots for, who committed suicide two weeks ago. I don't want to give too much away, because its pretty intense. But, at the same time I must warn there is teenage angst. But, it's justified teenage angst. And Jay Asher does an incredible job showing how one seemingly insubstantialy teenage angsty event can build upon another insubstantial teenagey angsty something or another, and then when something substantial does happen, how that teenage world literally crumbles.

Some writerly things to note about the story:
1. It is written in first person present tense (except when we are listening to Hannah's voice on the tapes- I believe this is past tense)- which I think is pretty neat.
2. He manages to tell Hannah's story through the tapes, but is able to write in Clay's interjections and reactions to what she is saying, and it flows very well. In fact I want to pick up a copy of the book just so I can see how this was done on paper.

Jay Asher also has a blog that I will definitely be following. I want to read more from a guy who can create a plot as unique as 13 Reasons Why. In fact, I think it would make a stellar movie. Throw in some hot teen actors and I think it would be a blockbuster hit. So if you're looking for a good read or listen, I highly suggest 13 Reasons Why.*

*I in no way was compensated to write this edition of Gossip Time nor will I receive any kickbacks if you go out and buy/borrow this book.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Deviating from the path

While I pride myself on being a multitasker, sometimes I have to come to terms that there is only so much that a person can do. I am not superwoman.

This blog is primarily about writing, but I also like to throw in a bit o' ice skating in the mix because it is such a huge part of my life. And as much as I hate to admit it, I've come to realize that it is difficult to have a simultaneously productive and disciplined writing and skating schedule.  Sad to say, I seem to get the most writing done when I'm injured. I wrote the last full draft of Product of an Illusion over the course of 6-8 months when I was struggling with a hip issue and a bulging disc in my cervical spine.

I'm healthy now and skating more. So when I started a new draft at the beginning of January, it doesn't surprise me that by now I have only one chapter. Yes, that's one chapter. Granted, I did rewrite this chapter several times. And I think I'm going to rewrite again before I move forward.

I've come to accept my lack of progress with my WIP because I have been training really hard the past few months. This Sunday I will be taking two United States Figure Skating ice dancing tests. To get to the level you see at the Olympics (which I am not aspiring to do), first you have to complete a series of tests, and then you have to compete through a series of qualifying competitions that lead you to Nationals at the Senior Level, and then if you make it to the podium, you proceed to World Championships and the Olympics (if its an Olympic year).

So, anyways I'm testing Pre Gold Paso Doble and Pre Gold Killian. If I pass (which I really hope I do- because I've been working on these dances for a few years and tested them in the past with less than desirable results) I'll post the video on my blog.

Thanks for tuning in! Happy Thursday and Happy Writing!