Thursday, October 29, 2009
People say to me everyday, "Hey Katie! What's up?" And I know they're bored when I say, "Still revising."
But seriously. It's all I do. I wake up, drink coffee and walk up to my husband's office where I revise. End of story.
I will say, though, it's gotten fun. It was tearful there for a while. I don't know about y'all, but changing the entire storyline of my book was terrifying initially. People told me that changing plot is much easier than changing character or something else, but I whole heartedly disagree. Changing plot is like someone telling me, "You know how SF lives in Mississippi and is married to John and has 3 girls? Well, we want you to make her a lesbian accountant living in NY with 2 dogs."
Also, revising has given me the sad side effect of blog block. Yep, I can barely read them, much less write one. The only entertainment I take in during the week is Modern Family (which was FRIGGIN' hilarious last night!!!!!!!) and GLEE :-)
Beyond that it's words, words and more words.
BUT, I did read a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Stephanie Perkins and it was wonderful, especially for those of you who are revising, so I will link to it here. Do go meet her. She's hysterical. I can't wait for her book. It's one of the few I'm pretty sure I will adore, just by reading her blog.
Monday, October 26, 2009
This year, I turned (gulp) forty and my mother turned seventy. We decided that we needed to go somewhere to celebrate, and she suggested a girls' trip to Chicago. Now, I've always been a New York gal--I spent a summer there at Parson's School of Design when I was in college, and I've been hooked ever since--but I'd never been to Chicago. Ever.
We hit Michigan Avenue Thursday afternoon and spent a chilly, rainy, WINDY weekend in Chicago. I don't feel like I got to really see the city because the weather just didn't work for a stroll around Navy Pier or Millenium Park, but mom and I did a whole lotta shopping, ate some great meals and saw Jersey Boys (so fun!).
The highlight of my trip was the Art Institute of Chicago. I have never in my life seen so much incredible modern and contemporary art in one building. I could have spent days in that place. They were even having an exhibit of Caldecott winners and honorees artwork. It was such a treat to get to see original illustrations from some recent winners and to really spend some time examining their technique. The most incredible were Brian Selznick's illustrations for The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The originals were tiny--3 x 5 postcard sized--and so amazingly rich with detail.
Here are my mother and I as we are leaving for the airport on Sunday morning. It's not the best picture, but it's the only one we took the entire trip!
So, to answer the question: New York or Chicago?? I think I'd still have to say New York. There is such an incredible pulse to that city that you feel when you touch down at LaGuardia. I love New Yorkers, and I love watching the city street trends and wandering into galleries and bodegas.
But, Chicago is a close second--especially if you are going on a shopping trip. Everything is right there in a gigantic, capitalistic clump. And, the sidewalks were clean.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Pay attention Bloggers. I'm about to teach you a little game I play with the chickens called Mad, Sad, Glad. Feel free to play along in the comments. It's real easy. You just say one thing that made you mad, one thing that made you sad, and one thing that made you glad. Here I go (I'm gonna give you two):
Mad: I was mad that tonight during hot yoga my arms and feet kept slipping in my own sweat, making me completely unable to do the scorpion pose. AND, I made the mistake of taking my pre-teen to look for some boots and now have boot lust and no money to buy any.
Sad: I'm sad that my same fashion-minded pre-teen is struggling in English. Why? Because her teacher wants them to learn how to write. Not only does she hate reading worse than mosquitos, but she detests writing like bad seafood. Nice. And secondly, I keep seeing this one legged man selling collard greens out of the back of his truck?
Glad: I'm glad I got a fab new washer and dryer and my clothes now smell like bliss! But most importantly, I am continuing to discover fantastic new ideas to work into my revision. *squee!!!!!! (It is nightmarishly slow, but going good). Slow and steady wins the race, right?
How 'bout Y'all?
P.S. How friggin' crazy is it that I can type mad, sad, glad into Google Images and get a ready-made banner???
Monday, October 19, 2009
Six years ago my husband sent me on an exotic trip to Oaxaca Mexico with a world famous chocolatier to study mexican cooking in the birthplace of chocolate, itself. Also on my trip was an up and coming (now major) yogi who led us through incredible yoga every day as well.
These two peeps became my constant companions for nine glorious days.
What I remember most, is what it was like to be in the presence of creative minds all day. The chef, for example, was constantly jotting down notes about various flavors or random ideas for her numerous stores all over the world. The yogi, a music man, did the same kind of creative brainstorming for his business, weaving music and theory throughout our days.
After we got home and the NY Times interviewed us for a four page article that started with the words, Katie Anderson, a housewife in Mississippi.... (Seriously! It was friggin' crazy!) I told my mother that being around inspired people all day was the most energizing thing I have ever done in my life.
Discovering writing and our vast web of writer friends is a world I feel so happy to be a part of. How blessed we are that we do this thing called "creating stories" all day. I live in constant awe of the creative capacity God has given us as artists. It is the same exact feeling I had in Mexico, but has lasted years, rather than nine short days.
God, I love this job! And I love y'all for allowing me to live in that energy ALL THE TIME!
Even when I have "Plot Fail" as Heather calls it, or "Brain Bleed" like Shelli says :-)
PS I don't know what that kooky image is, but it looks like what I imagine my creative synapses might look like...?
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Is anyone looking for Halloween costume ideas? If so, you must see this one from our beloved Martha Stewart.
Complete instructions for creating this mouth-watering creation can be found here. Be sure to read the warnings about "when you put the baby on the table". I don't want to be responsible for any mishaps!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Saturday was a big day in Oxford, Mississippi.
The Ole Miss Rebels began this year's football season ranked in the Top Ten. After Saturday's game against Alabama, it was clear that whoever ranked us was, well, wrong. I hate it for the team--it's hard to start high--there's nowhere to go but down. I think the ranking was a curse, and I hope that they can pull through the rest of the season and show their talent. Regardless of the outcome, it was HUGE game. I've never seen so many people invade, I mean, visit our sleepy little town.
Immediately following the SEC bloodfest, I ran over to the Ford Center on campus (yes, the same campus where the football game had just ended) to see the one and only David Sedaris.
How badly did I want to stuff him in my pocket and take him home with me? He was hilarious, and he somehow manages to be caustic and cute at the same time. How does he get away with it?
He read several essays to us--my favorite was about his dad, slipping out of his pants at the end of the day like a woman slipping out of her high heels, and walking around the house in his underpants. Every day. Those were his "house clothes." It made it hard for David and his siblings to take him very seriously--you know, because of the underpants.
But my favorite quote came from his visit to Little Rock, Arkansas, which is where he went after leaving Oxford. My friend heard him speak there, and he said that the most common billboards that he saw on the road from Oxford to Little Rock had to do with Jesus and catfish.
UPDATE: I JUST HEARD THAT LAINI TAYLOR'S BOOK LIPS TOUCH WAS NOMINATED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD!!!!!!
Posted by Hardygirl at 1:20 PM
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Let me tell you how much I heart Laini Taylor's new book Lips Touch. Beyond being a lush collection of three tales in which the action all hinges on a kiss (and we all know how much I love kissing), this is how Laini's book rocked my clock:
Within seconds, I called my mother and said, "RUN out and get this book!" The prose is freakishly gorgeous in a way that only Laini's brain could write. Truly stunning!
Within minutes, I sat my 12 year old down and said, "Let me read you something."
After about three pages I said, "Good, huh?" To which she replied, "Yeah. Keep reading." I tried not to freak out that she was loving an actual book, but she was.
Within hours, I called SF and told her to go buy the book "because you will want to own this one." And then I did something I have never done before. I told her that if she didn't LOVE it, then I'd buy it back from her. Did you hear that?! I offered a money back guarantee!
Within a day, I was skipping Glee to read it - Not to mention emailing Laini an embarrassing amount of times.
Within a week, I was updating Twitter and Facebook telling everyone from friends to editors to race out and read it. AND, I ventured over to Laini's husband, Jim's blog to see if he had anything else interesting to say - which he did! One of those items was a description of the process of painting the beautiful illustrations found in the book. Did you hear that?! Jim did all the illustrations! In Credible. What a team.
Within months, I expect to purchase several for Christmas presents. *Jingle bells*
Within a year, I'm not sure yet - but I am thinking big here.
Look - Just take it from me. This is a must "own" book! Not since Harry Potter have I savored a book like this. Laini makes me want to be a better writer.
Your welcome :-)
Friday, October 9, 2009
I love the Oxford Fire Department. I go to spin class with these guys on Thursday mornings, and they are such a cool, close-knit group. I love being in the middle of their good-natured ribbing with each other. Plus, they spend a good part of the year planning how to make the fire station super spooky for Halloween trick-or-treaters. My middle daughter Sallie is the only one who will brave their haunted house with me.
Yesterday, I walked with my kindergardener to her fire station field trip.
While we were there, we had a REAL fire alarm. The guys went from talking to a group of children about "stop, drop and roll" to jumping into their gear and taking off in the fire truck (an electric transformer was on fire). One of the parents timed them, and it was literally 60 seconds from the time of the alarm to them hopping onto the truck, fully dressed. A few more seconds and they were on the street with the sirens blaring.
As you can imagine, the children were mouth-gaping, awestruck, and many future firefighters were created that day.
Only about five of the firemen left to go on the call (they have different teams that handle different types of fires), leaving the rest of the group to show the kids how to dial 911 and talk to an operator. And, to meet Sparky, of course.
Then we walked to our house for popsicles because our house is located right between the school and the fire station. My new spider friend had created an especially lovely web for the kids and was perched just high enough to be out of reach.
It was quite a day. And, no. I didn't get any writing done.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
As I have started my revision I have struggled over this whole outlining thing. The truth is that I have never outlined. It’s not that I don’t know where my book is going - it’s just that I find it impossible to be creative in an outline. I can only think out of the box while I’m writing (or chatting on the phone).
I have great friends, like Shelli, who are incredible outliners and are able to get way creative during that process, but me? 'Fraid not.
Those short sentences feel like jail bars. I can’t do it. I just can’t!
BUT, by God’s grace, I picked up On Writing, By Stephen King, this week. This book has been sitting on my bedside table in a big stack of books for over a year. I was hesitant to read it because the truth is that I can not read horror books - or watch horror movies. They scare the crap out of me and I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to relate to his book. But boy was I wrong!
It’s a book about process. It's not scary at all! In fact, it's rather fascinating.
And guess what? He doesn’t outline either, so I’m a new fan.
Therefore Dear Readers, I give you the FREEDOM to be the creative souls that God made you and write however it flows out. Perhaps I am a strange breed of savant, whose creative process defies logic like Chris Martin’s. And perhaps so are you! (His "process" is about 7 minutes in and it's almost exactly like mine - fragmented and random - but the whole interview is great.)
I wonder what else lies in wait on my bedside table?
PS. Speaking of “FREEDOM”, I use this now and love it! But you have to have a Mac to use it - sorry. (Did I punctuate that sentence wrong?)
Saturday, October 3, 2009
My husband got an email from the "shrimp man" while he was in Atlanta for a continuing education conference (which does not sound like it's nearly as much fun as our writer conferences, poor guy)". The shrimp man was driving up to Oxford from the coast with fresh shrimp Saturday morning, and he'd start selling at 7:00 a.m. at the farmer's market. Hubby was getting home Saturday afternoon and thought fresh shrimp sounded pretty good. So, I sent my daughter bright and early with a pocket full of cash to the farmer's market, just a couple of blocks down our street.
Dinner tonight on our front porch:
Shrimp drowning in butter, garlic, worcestershire, cracked pepper and lemons . . .with a baguette to dunk into the mixture, of course.
And then, after dinner I looked over to my right and look what I saw:
Yes, Lisa and Laura, it is a gigantic wolf spider. Right there. Watching me eat dinner. I must admit that if I'd run into this creature in my bedroom or den, I'd run screaming. But, seeing her sitting in the middle of her gorgeously spun web, made me say ahhh. And, yes, I took that picture of her about 10 minutes ago.
Of course, I think she's paying us a visit because of this spider
which is hanging from a nearby tree in our front yard. My girls and I have spent the last couple of days blinging up our house for Halloween, and I think our friend the wolf spider found a place where she felt welcome.