There has been some learning going on around here lately. Mom taught me the word, “Roll over.” It’s something like, “Down.” But more squiggly and flippy and thumpy and spinny. At first, Mom grabbed as many of my little legs as she could and twisted them like spaghetti till she got me upside down. Then I learned to tuck my back legs under and make myself turn to stone, so she couldn’t roll me. Eventually, she learned to show me a treat which made me melt into submission. That is called Learning. Plus Bribery. Mom said, “Whatever works.” and “By the time you learn this, you’ll be too fat to do it.” and “I need a break.” Then she made a s’more and didn’t share it with me. Mom will be learning around here, too. She joined Summer School! She’ll be studying online with two amazing teachers, a talented group of guest teachers, and a Facebook group filled with classmates. In Summer School, she’ll think up new characters. Then, she’ll grab their little legs and twist them like spaghetti till they squiggle, flip, thump, and spin. Then she’ll make a story about them. The bribery won’t work, so she’ll have to read a lot of posts, talk to herself, pay attention to her teachers, and be inspired. After that, she’ll probably make a s’more and not share it with me.
Every first draft is perfect because all a first draft has to do is exist.
She says, “This is cute.” and “Almost finished.” and “It needs some work, but that’s for another time.”
Recently, Mom took me to the bagel cafe to have breakfast at the outdoor patio.
Last summer, we tried this, but I went berserk. I kept trying to pull Mom’s arm out of the socket and kiss the waitress, I was afraid of a motorcycle zooming past and people window shopping across the street, and instead of drinking from the water dish they gave me, I sat in it.
This time, I was better.
I sat on my Park It Mat, watched people and cars go by, and didn’t beg….
…. too much.
Mom said, “You did it.” and “Good job.” and “This still needs some work, but that’s for another time.”
“Let’s take a walk,” she said. “It’ll be fun,” she said.
“What are you ‘fraid of?” she said.
This week, we had to mail in the annual paperwork for me to be a therapy dog. Mom and I took a walk to the mailbox (and by “walk” I mean she dragged me past the cat on a bike, a ladder, and a couple of garden gnomes who I’m pretty sure were trying to kill me).
Mailing in my information form, shot record, and license is a rule.
If I don’t follow the rules, I can’t do my work at the Veteran’s Home and the library. Following rules is important.
Mom follows rules when she sends in her stories. She was about to enter the MeeGenius Author Challenge,
but by the 99th time she read over the rules to be sure she was doing everything right, she saw that she can’t enter because she is already a MeeGenius published author!
Mom said, “GAH!” and “Whew!” and “That was close.” She changed her plan and instead of entering the contest, she submitted her story to MeeGenius the regular way. So hope is still alive.
Mom also reads the rules 99 times every month when she submits to an agent in her 12×12 Challenge. She says, “The rules are the rules for a reason.” and “I don’t want this person to think I’m an idiot.” and “OMG. You look like an idiot!”
Here I am – at the beach!
There’s sand and sun and sand and sand and sun….
And fences and bases and benches and grass. Wait! What? This isn’t the beach. It’s the baseball field at the park.
It sure seemed like the beach, though…. I guess I should’ve asked more questions before I got into the car.
Mom asks her characters questions when she’s writing. I know because she asks them out loud. She needs to know their strengths and weaknesses, favorite things and pet peeves, best friends and secret thoughts. Sometimes characters seem perfect for Mom’s story, but then, when she gets to know them better, she cuts them because they just plain don’t work. Sometimes, they fit better in a different story, so Mom moves them. Or saves them for the future. Once in a while, they change the course of the story they’re in, by not behaving the way Mom thought they would. Characters can be tricky like that.
Things are not always what they seem. When I lived in a cage, Mom thought I was too small, too old, too nervous, and just all wrong for her. Turns out, I’m perfect.
Being out and about is awesome. When I’m out in the world, out of my comfort zone, I see things I wouldn’t see at home.
I smell things I never smell at home.
And if I pay attention and turn my head just so, I hear things I don’t hear at home.
Out and about is different – in a good way. It’s exciting!
This week, Mom’s first ever ebook What If I Don’t? was published at MeeGenius.
She can’t frame it
or autograph it, and she can’t put a pile of them in her bag for a school visit. She’s a little out of her comfort zone with her ebook out there in the cyber-world. It’s different – in a good way. It’s exciting!
If you want to see (buy) Mom’s new ebook, you can download the free MeeGenius App from the App Store and look for it in New Releases. Or you can put “What If I Don’t?” or “Genevieve Petrillo” into the search box. You can also see (buy) it at meegenius.com.
If you want to see me at the vet – forget it. You’re too late. I was poked, prodded, stuck, squeezed, checked, and double-checked from teeth to tail. I’m back in my comfort zone.
It’s important for writers to have ideas. Lots of ideas! Mom saves her ideas in her phone, so she never feels blank or blocked or blah or bummed.
She types in plot ideas, character ideas, names, settings, situations, and titles whenever they pop into her head. Some of them come to life easily, and Mom chooses them for her stories. Some of them get left behind and probably won’t get selected. …unless they start looking good tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next month….
At the pet store there are millions of chew sticks, rawhide chips, and bones.
I look and sniff, but never choose any of them.
I’m so excited to see them and smell them that my tiny brain doesn’t even know what to do.
Mom chooses for me. She doesn’t choose the sticks, chips, or bones because apparently, I am too lazy to chew them. But after I get my nails trimmed, she picks a packge of treats for me.
Also a toy. And sometimes a dress
or a coat
or a sun hat.
Someday, I hope the sticks, chips, and bones will look good to Mom. Maybe tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next month…..
There’s been a lot of hiding around here lately.
A blog post about ME is hiding over at Peace, Love, and Whiskers. Pop over and check it out, if you haven’t already.
The other day, I saw this…
It’s an evil, runaway, red balloon. It’s hiding under the car, waiting to roll out and get me. Mom let me walk by really fast, because she knows that balloons are trying to kill me.
And look what’s back there! Two more balloons. White ones. I know what they have planned…
I have no plans to start liking balloons, but I want to thank my friend Little Binky for sending me this lovely award. I am not afraid of it.
Do you see what else is hiding? In the grass? A feather. It’s from the birds that sit in the trees and laugh at me.
All kinds of things are hiding in all kinds of places. When I try to hide, I always get caught. The other day, I brought my tiny yellow dog and hid on Mom’s bed with it. Somehow, she found out that I was in there.
I don’t know how she does it! She’s a regular Nancy Drew when it comes to figuring things out.
When she was little, Mom was probably Nancy Drew’s biggest fan. She read every one of the Nancy Drew Mysteries, and hung on every word.
Now that she’s a writer, she hardly ever writes mysteries. She wrote one once, and when it was finished, she said, “Ugh. This thing is so lame.” And “Where’s the suspense, the red herring, the foreshadowing!?” and “Seriously? You’re back on the bed again?”
Mom might BE Nancy Drew, and LOVE Nancy Drew, but she has no plans to WRITE Nancy Drew.