Friday, October 29, 2010

"Which one is better? One? Or Two?" Dr. Vader asked.

"The Force is strong with this one," Darth Vader said early this morning as he hijacked Anita Saxena's body. Her flesh morphed into plastic and mechanical parts, and she scrambled for her inhaltor, wondering if she was having an asthma attack.

Yup, that's me dressed as Darth Vader giving little kids eye exams. I have to say this is one of the MOST fun days at work I've ever had. Not only do I have a light sabre (which is a bit wimpy on the light part if you ask me) I also have a voice box that projects Darth Vader's loud, sonorous breathing.

I haven't dressed up for Halloween in YEARS. Years, I tell you. But when you're employer says they're holding a costume contest and the winner gets a PAID DAY OFF I'm going all out.

"And, now, your highness, we will discuss the location of your hidden rebel base." Darth Vader says.

Shut up Darth. Can't you see I'm busy blogging right now. Jeez.

"Today will be a day long remembered. It has seen the death of Kenobi, and will soon see the end of the rebellion," Darth says in an eerie raspy voice.

Umm....anyway. So, If I win, you know what I'm going to be doing with that paid day off....

"Perhaps I can find new way to motivate them," Darth muses.

Um.... No. If I win, I 'm going to spend the day WRITING. Duh?!? Of course.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SQUEEEE!!! T-Minus 22 Days Until Harry!!!

OMG! I now know why teens use this term so much. OMG describes that squirmy excited feeling that overwhelms your body to the point that you think you're going to BURST!! I can not explain how excited I am about the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I the MOVIE!!

Have you seen the trailer? If you haven't, you need to go see it RIGHT NOW. Go. It's ok. I'll wait.

Aren't you totally beside yourself from the suspense of it all?!? I don't know how I'm going to wait until midnight November 18th. Yes, I'm going to the midnight movie. Go ahead. Judge Me. See if I care.

To top things off, I'll actually be in San Francisco that week for a conference and the theater is literally like a block from my hotel. Double squee!!!  To prepare myself for the release I will be re-reading the Deathly Hallows. Although, I don't know why I always insist on re-reading the book prior to the movie release, because then all I do after the movie is point out all the things that were different from the book. Sigh. I'm still going to re-read it anyway.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Getting Lost in Your Own Manuscript

Natalie Bahm has a great post about the chain reaction caused by revising. Her post got me thinking about my own revising and writing, and I realized I have a problem: I get lost in my own writing. As the manuscript accumulates more words, it becomes difficult for me to differentiate between the story in my head and the one that is actually typed out. Even though I didn't formally acknowledging this problem to myself until a few days ago, I've been utilizing techniques to circumvent my little problem:
  • When I sit down for a writing session I always start by reading the previous chapter or two (and of course I can't read without editing). 
  • I refer to my detailed outline frequently. Back in the day, I was the writer who cringed at the word outline. Go with the flow was my motto. Now, my outline is my life line and I find myself updating it on a daily basis. Just small changes here or there, nothing drastic (usually).
  • I know they say that a serious writer writes everyday, but writing everyday just isn't happening for me right now because I still work full time and am rehabbing my ACL (which is a full time job in and of itself). But, I can honestly say I write every other day. On my off writing days, I think about my book, the characters, their problems, the plots. Just thinking about things keeps the story fresh in my mind and reduces my fictional amnesia. Sometimes I will even jot down random thoughts on my off days and then refer back to them the next day. Small details like make sure Grandpa Miles puts on his reading glasses when he reads OR rework Maya's reaction to X, a teenager would react to X like this.
You may not get lost in your story, maybe it's just me. Maybe you do get lost. Either way, you have to figure out a way to get around it- outsmart yourself. I think the best solution to this problem is to of course write everyday. Any other suggestions?

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I was driving my car, listening to Eoin Coiffer's The Supernaturalist. I was on disc 5, the last disc in the case, and I'm thinking to myself how is Mr. Coiffer going to wrap this story up by the end of disc 5? There are too many loose strings, too many character dilemmas to work out. How is he going to do it by the end of this disc? Just this expectation alone, regardless of the intense plot, had me on the edge of my seat. When the end of disc 5 came it was anti-climatic. It didn't make sense. How could you end a story like that? It reminded of how I went to see the Fellowship of the Ring in the theaters (this was before I had read the books) and how disappointed I was by the ending. When was Frodo going to get the ring to Mordor? I didn't know there was going to be a second movie.

Anyway, I turn off the CD player and pick up the audio book case. On the back cover it said there were supposed to be six CDs. SIX. Not five. SIX.

Me and the Hoover Public Library are going to be having some words about this.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Anita's Edge: The No Camel Zone

Today's post is a hybrid of Bill O'Reilly's No Spin Zone and Kiersten White's Household Memos. It's called the The No Camel Zone because camels happen to be my favorite ice skating spin (well actually, I think the layback is, but The No Layback Zone just wouldn't make sense). And also because camels are smelly animals.

Dear Brett Favre,

I've always looked up to you because of your passion for football. It doesn't matter how many times someone calls you an old man, you go out on the field throw a touchdown, and then run around in celebration as if it's the first touchdown you've thrown in your life. I respect your passion for the game and desire to be an athlete despite your age.
Did you really text message a picture of your bo jangles to some girl that looks like a younger version of your wife? Did you? Since the story broke I've had to put up with Sarcastically Delicious (aka boyfriend) making jokes about gray haired winkies. It's not fun.

Yours still-reeling-from-the-shock-of-your-bo-jangles-fiasco,

Dear Fox News,

How have you managed to hypnotize Sarcastically Delicious? I understand that some important elections are coming up on November 2nd, but all he does is watch Fox News all day long. Well, I might be exaggerating. But, the other day he wanted to watch Fox News instead of Sunday Night Football! Can you explain that to me? Plus he makes me watch Fox News. I like staying up to date on current events, but after I've worked all day with screaming children, I don't particularly like coming home to watch people argue with each other about political issues. I hold YOU accountable for this Fox News.

Seriously annoyed,

Dear IRS,

I've been working my patootie off this past month. How do you get off taking away 43% of my paycheck. It's highway robbery!!! I went to school for eight years to do what I do, and I still have to pay back my student loans. How am I supposed to do that when you take 43% of my paycheck!!!

Sincerely ticked off,

And since this blog is also supposed to be about writing, check out this post by Sarah Dessen.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Writing is Good For the Soul

I don't know if you guys feel this way, but sometimes I feel like a robot. I do what I need to do, whether it be one of my many jobs, or cleaning the litter box (which made me gag five times yesterday. That is why I always clean the litter box on an empty stomach.). As I morph into this robot I feel all semblance of creativity literally seeping out my pores, until I'm left as this mechanical life form that thrives on WD-40 and pre-programmed repetitive actions. Feeling like a robot makes me sad. I don't feel like Anita anymore.

And then I received an e-mail from my crit partner Diane. She's talking about a book. I think it's my book. I'm writing a book? Oh, yes. I guess I am. And then she starts discussing specific characters and scenes and something lights up inside me, a spark of something. Are these my peeps that she's talking about? Characters that I created? As I read her e-mail a smile forms on my lips. It's not because she's telling me I'm a flawless, fantabulous, masterful writer (although she does give me tons of encouragement). It's because reading her e-mail, thinking about the story that I'm writing, contemplating her suggestions, makes me feel like a human again. Spending this time in imagination land makes the robotic metal melt into flesh and I feel like Anita again.

Writing must be good for the soul. Right?

On this note, I suggest checking out Natalie Whipple's Happy Writing Society. Every Friday there's a meeting. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Who Says 12 Year Old Boys Don't Like Kissing

Some people like to break the ice with a joke. I prefer to start a blog post with a picture. Something that sets the tone for the day's subject matter. So what did I do? I googled kissing and clicked the images link. Bad idea, especially while at work. Let's just say I didn't find a cute cartoon girl and boy, holding hands, sharing an innocent smooch. But I did find this picture. Isn't it fab?

Now on to what this post is really about....

Some of you know that I'm an optometrist. Today I examined a twelve year old boy who loved to ask me random questions. I humored him with short simple answers. Near the end of the exam he asked me if I liked Greek mythology. I could have answered this with a simple yes or no. Instead I asked him if he had read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. This kid literally bounced in his chair from the sheer excitement of me uttering the words Percy Jackson. And you know what the next thing he said was?

It wasn't about the fighting.
It wasn't about Mount Olympus or the cool weapons.
It wasn't about the monsters.

"I can't believe Percy and Annabeth don't kiss until book 5!?!?"

Case closed. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blew My Pants Off

I apologize for my infrequent posting last week. While I wasn't posting I was writing, reading, or partaking in things that were quite literally blowing my pants off.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Normally, I would dedicate an entire gossip time post to this book. But, honestly what's the point. Everyone on the planet has read this book already. I'm not quite sure why I waited so long to read it. Sometimes, I wait for an entire series to be published before I plunge myself in it's world because I can't stand waiting for the next book sometimes. As many of you already know, this book is AMAZING, and if you haven't already, you need to read it, like right now. I'm currently listening to Catching Fire in the car and the drive to work just flies by.

Karate Kid starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan
I know. I know. You're probably wondering why I'm posting about Karate Kid. Over the summer, I saw the preview for this movie a couple times The story of a kid moving to another country, the ensuing teasing, the deep desire to go home- it resonated with me on so many levels that tears would fill my eyes whenever I saw the preview.
I moved ALOT growing up. Each move became increasingly difficult. Add in the dorky glasses, wearing hand sewn dresses that my grandmother made (which I now look back on with fond pride), and being Indian- let's just say growing up wasn't easy.
For Jaden Smith's character it was Kung Fu that transformed him. For me it was ice skating.

Awesome Guest Posts over at Nathan Bransford's Blog
On Saturday Brodi Ashton wrote a great post called When You Discover Your Agent's Not That Into You and then on Sunday Valerie Kemp posted about The All-Important First Chapter.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Gossip Time....Carpe Diem

My close friends know that I love to travel. I frequently dream of selling everything and traipsing around the world. No job. No schedule. No worries. And if I ever need money for food or something like that, I want to do something cool, like be a tour guide for castles in Ireland or teach people in the desert how to ice skate (of course there would need to be ice) or drive a boat around the Mediterranean (of course there would be people inside my boat paying me to chauffeur them to Greece or wherever it is that we are going).

So when I read the back cover of Carpe Diem, written by Autumn Cornwell, I was immediately hooked:

"I've got my entire life planned out for the next ten years- including my PhD and Pulitzer Prize," claims overachiever Vassar Spore, the daughter of overachiever parents, who named her after an elite women's college. Vassar expects her sophmore summer to include both AP and AAP (Advanced Advanced Placement) classes. Suprise! Enter a world-traveling relative who sends her plans into a tailspin when she blackmails Vassar's parents into forcing their only child to backpack with her through Southeast Asia....

The term "overachiever" doesn't even come close to describing how over the top Vassar is about her academics and her incessant need to make plans and lists for everything. To be honest, I almost stopped listening (the narrator Lynde Houck does a fantastic job) to the book in the beginning because I couldn't stand Vassar's anal-I've-got-a-stick-up-my-butt character. But once Vassar was forced to leave her perfect, bubble world in North America and had to deal with roughing it in Asia the story became everything from hilarious to riveting. I don't know when I'll get the opportunity to back pack through Southeast Asia, but I feel like I vicariously experienced Vassar's adventures.

By the way, Ms. Cornwell has an awesome website (in particular check out her bio page). She's been to 22 countries! I'm so jealous.