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Marsie the Cat: Let's talk about fear, human.

Me: Again?

Marsie: Yes. Again. 

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I went to a library in another town so that I could write without being interrupted by the dog, cat or phone.

Marsie, if you don’t know, insists on me petting her whenever she eats. She eats a lot. It isn’t productive for the novels.


Anyway, it was really fun being in a different library, sort of like this spiritual experience, so I wandered around looking at people taking out books, which was awesome.

I meandered through the children’s section, which was much bigger than ours. Then I sat down in the room with all the magazines and the comfy chairs. There were way more comfortable chair there than in my library, too, no offense to my library.

I tried to make myself as unfriendly as possible because the goal here was to work.

I moved a big chair away from where it faced four other chairs, turned it around so that it was one foot away from a big window. I sat with my legs crossed, turned on my notebook, plugged in my headphones and started writing.

One hour later he came… a little, old man brandishing a newspaper.

He motioned to me. “Miss?”

I took out my headphones and smiled.

He showed me the paper, stabbed his finger at a headline.

“I think a young person like you should hear this,” he started and then went into a BIG BIG speech about how bad this person is. How he (the old man) is a former military person. He then listed crimes and talked for about eight million hours about how bad the person he was pointing at is.

I nodded.

I am not a fan of the person he was pointing at. So, I got it.

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A question

Before I get to the blog post, I have a question. Should my Wednesday theme be Wednesday Writing Wisdom or Do Good Wednesday? Can it be both? Are there rules about this sort of thing in the blogging world? Please help.

Actually, that was more than one question. Sorry!

WE NOW RETURN TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED BLOG POST.

Hello, this is Grover, Carrie’s adorable, furry blue monster of a cheerleader and I have an important message today:

CARRIE IS IN REVISION HELL!

Yes, it is true, and I, the adorable furry blue muppet monster have given up trying to tell her that she can make this manuscript anything good at all. In fact, I, Grover, think I may have to terminate my existence as Cawwie’s cheerleader.

Things got a little rough yesterday. I went from happy, cuddly Grover

Grover! You're in a bowl!
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So, it’s Monday and I kind of have a hell week, but Marsie the Cat is all about motivation and I spent a lot of time this weekend reflecting about the things I want to do and why I haven’t done them yet.

Marsie is judging. I know it.
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In her book, What's Your Story: A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction, Marion Dane Bauer writes, "Every part of your story should be an essential step along the way to the outcome." (p.53)

Just like in books, we create the story that is our life. We interact. We make decisions. We decide to do one thing and that thing makes something else happen. 

There's a girl in my life who doesn't understand this concept. She does things - often naughty things - and doesn't think through to the next step, poor kid. We're always talking about consequences for behavior. We're always talking about how you have to think through what you're doing and go on to the next step.

"When you ran away from the teacher and hid under the stairs, what did you think is going to happen?" we ask.

And the answer is always, "I didn't really think about it."

Ralph Waldo Emerson with the quotable quote win here.

As authors creating plot, we don't have that opportunity. We have to think through to the next step and the step after that. The cool thing about this is that it builds our understanding of not just the world of our stories, but the whole world around us.

Authors aren't likely to become politicians talking about pushing nuclear buttons. 

There's a reason for that. 

It's because as creators of story, we understand all the possibilities of that story - the good and the bad. We know if we hide from the teacher, there is going to be hell to pay. We  know if we threaten other world leaders on Twitter, things might go down that we can't control. 

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I am not the kind of person who likes to look back at the year or look forward at the new year.

I’m not sure why that is.

It’s probably because I’m really good at worst-case scenarios and not so awesome at best-case scenarios.


Yesterday, the last day of 2017 (the no-good, terrible year), I was in the grocery store line and the cashier said something nice about me making a good meal for my man and how cute we are together and then she said, “You’re best buddies. Best buddies forever. Me and my… ” Her voice caught on grief. “We were like that.”

And my heart broke right there.

And I said, “C–, your breaking my heart and you’re working and I can’t get over there on the other side of the belt and hug you because you’re working.”

The bagger girl looked away. I don’t think she’s good with emotion.

But C– just smiled at me and said, “It’s okay. It’s okay. I have a new man in my life and he’s so sweet to me and he showed up just when I needed him and my J–, I think he sent him to me.”

Her J — is her long-time, forever buddy, her husband who died.

So, I basically emoted all over the place while she rung up my crackers and I was like, “C–! You are killing me. I’m crying because I’m sad. I’m crying because I’m happy for you. I’m crying because you’re so beautiful. And this is all… it’s all so… It’s poignant.”

She laughed.

The bagger kept looking away.

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One day I was hanging out in the hallway of the middle school with some other moms, waiting for all the sports practices to be over so we could shuttle our kids home.

These two other moms standing next to me were talking about diets and diabetes. They were both on Weight Watchers. One mom has lost tons of weight. The moms talked about the effect of weight on piercing private places and all this incredibly personal stuff.

Then they started talking about sugar and sugar substitutes (Splenda and aspartame).

One mom goes, "That aspartame. I stay away from that stuff. It makes the back of my throat feel funny. I think it does something to rats."

So I say, "Aspartame gives me seizures."

And I add, "So does coffee."

Gabby the Dog is rocking her winter sweater. She feels pretty today. She hopes you feel powerful today, too.

I swear both their mouths dropped open and they both actually stopped talking, which was a big deal, because they NEVER stop talking. I love them. I love their talking, but yeah . . . they are super good at it.

And when their mouths dropped open, I realized: You can talk about your diabetes, your husband's joy stick, your own special piercings, your kids' bed wetting, but you can't talk about epilepsy.
 

And, this just totally sucks.

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A few years ago, I attended the Poinsettia Ball, which was THE main social event in our community. I helped set up the Friday before the event, during which time I learned how to make sure all the flatware is aligned EXACTLY the right way.

It was actually kind of fun… the setting up part.

But, then, at the actual ball, this man comes up to me, and he’s vaguely familiar, but I can’t remember who he is. He’s got a red tie on. He’s a bit stooped over. But I smile anyway when he grabs my hand. I usually get hugged upon greeting instead of a handshake, so I figure it’s okay that I don’t know who he is right away. A handshake means we aren’t on hugging terms.

And he goes to me, “Hi, Carrie. Are you still –zy?”

I lean forward, although trying not to lean too far forward because of the whole breasts-in-gown thing, and I say, “Am I still busy? Yeah, I guess so.”

“No. Are you still –zy?”

He’s shaking his head at me.

I back up, he’s still clutching my hand so I can’t get free. People swarm around us, getting drinks, admiring each other. They are all loud talkers and it’s not easy to hear.

“Busy?” I ask.

“NO!” he yells. “Ditzy!”

Ditzy? Am I still ditzy?” I have finally evacuated my hand. What do I say? I have no idea. And because I just want to get away, I blurt, “Um. I guess so?”

I am immediately angry at myself for this answer, for being so shocked and surprised that I just let this random red-tie-wearing man define me.

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