Rules are everywhere. At the park, it’s “No dogs on the track.”
So I get as close as I can without breaking the rule.
Sometimes, Mom flat-out makes up rules in her head like, “Don’t eat the acorns.”
and “Keep out of the mud.”
and “GAH! That stick is too big to carry!”
And her all-time favorite “No sleeping in the street!”
Most days, Mom has rules to follow in her writing. There are word count rules, and the rule of three, the rule of thinking with pictures in your head, and the rule of playing with wonderful words. And then there’s don’t make the book too quiet and don’t hit the kids over the head with a lesson, but do have fabulous characters with their own special voices and do surprise everyone with a twist at the end.
Whew! That’s a LOT of rules…
Mom says, “Rules are important. ” and “The world would be mayhem without rules.” and her other all-time favorite, “Rules are made to be broken!” Wait. What?
OK, then – it’s time for a streetnap!
Mom has to take her time when she makes a story. It’s OK to write it quickly, but then comes the hard work, which is revising, and that part is slow. Fixing the word choices in poems or stories makes the right mood and the right voice and the right feel. In her Lyrical Language Lab Class, Mom learned to look again at every word in a story to make it sound better and flow better without slowing the story down or going off on a tangent.
Sometimes I get off on a tangent when I’m checking my pee-mail.
When I’m sniffing out a message, I will say, “This is from my friend, Mocha.” and “I wish I could jump on his head right now.” and “His mom always says the furs on my head are soft.” and “My squirrel toy is really soft.”
and “I wonder if that laughing monkey toy is out of the toy box waiting for me.”
and “Squirrels look like monkeys running around in the trees.” and “Trees are…..”
And then Mom says, “Let’s go.” and “Let’s GO!” and “LET’S GO!!” Apparently, sniffing the same blade of grass all day is not an option for me.
I am learning to take my time when I eat my dinner. I didn’t learn it in Lyrical Language Lab – it’s because of my new slow-feeder bowl!
Every first draft is perfect because all a first draft has to do is exist.
Mom said the word, “Thank God!” about this quote. In her 12×12 in 2014 challenge, Mom writes a new first draft every month. So far she is keeping up, staying ahead, and getting it done.
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.”
Are you going to finish that….?
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…..
Visualize this thing you want. See it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin. Robert Collier
Visualizing is an important part of a writer’s journey. Mom always visualized opening a letter of acceptance. She walked herself through every bit of how it would feel. The envelope – the weight of it, the uncertainty – that wiggly feeling in the tummy, the zipping it open – the rough edges, and the finally knowing – somebody said yes. Over and over for years and years, she saw it, felt it, and believed it. But guess what. When her first story was sold, no letter came. Her publisher called her on the phone and left a message! That being said, Mom still visualizes getting an acceptance letter. Over and over. Every detail. Every single day. She says, “This will happen.” and “It can’t hurt.” and “What is going on in that tiny brain of yours?”
What time is dinner?
I visualize, too, of course.
What time is dinner?
I see and feel and believe in tons of treats, piles of toys, long walks, and playtime that never ends. My mental blueprint shows how I will get onto the table, into the garbage, out the window, and through the door. My brain may be tiny, but it’s busy all the time. Visualizing…..
What time is dinner?
Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.
Mary Kay Ash
I would like to fly. Sometimes, I fly around my house – from the floor to the bed and from the ottoman to the sofa and from the chair to the door.
But I’m not allowed to fly outside. If I could, I’d fly up into the trees to catch birds and squirrels.
They are up there laughing at me, so flying would come in handy to put a stop to that.
Mom writes picture books. But sometimes, she goes outside her comfort zone to write other things. Once she wrote a non-fiction story, but she hated it – ALMOST as much as she hated doing the research for it. She said, “This is too much like work.” and “I dread writing time.” and “You cannot climb a tree – you’re a dog, not a bear.”
Last weekend, Mom wrote a song. Her friend needed a little pre-k song for graduation, so Mom made it up and sang it out loud to herself over and over and over and over and over. She said, “That was easier than I thought.” and “I didn’t know I could write a song.” and “You cannot climb a tree – you’re a dog, not a bear.”
Sometimes we need to go out of our comfort zones and TRY to see what we really can do. Mom is no Paul McCartney, but she wrote a song. I may not be a bear, but if Mom would unclip my leash for 5 seconds, I think I can climb a tree. After all, bumblebees fly….
Spring is almost here. I mean it’s here on the calendar, but in real life, not so much. Mom and I look for flowers outside, but we’re not seeing a whole lot.
Almost there…not quite…
The grass is still kind of brownish and slime-ish in spots. And the wind still turns my ears upside down.
Also, the rain has Mom bringing out my raincoat every couple of days. April showers and all that….
Real, actual spring – street nap spring – takes longer to happen, I guess.
Stories take longer than expected sometimes, too. The calendar says we’re 10 days into the month, but we’re not seeing much of Mom’s April manuscript. The idea is still brownish and slime-ish, and wind and rain in Mom’s head are slowing down the progress. Her ears aren’t upside down or anything, but I’m hearing an awful lot of “Here we go.” and not an awful lot of, “Yay. I’m finished.”
I think the rain wetting the soil and the wind flying the seeds all around are putting down the groundwork for the real season.
This is definitely a sign of spring…
Like the rain and the wind, mind-writing and planning are putting down the groundwork for Mom’s story. The daffodils are starting to pop. I hope Mom’s story will pop soon, too.