Author Archives: anndeecanndee

About anndeecanndee

I write books. Sometimes. Mostly I just throw up words.

Some important things about screaming in my ears very very loud just because someone across the table is looking at you

Everyone is screaming at my house. Literally. The baby, the two year old, the four year old, the six year old isn’t screaming but he’s playing the piano so . . . . and the eight year old can’t find his Pokemon cards.  And it’s 8:16 in the morning.

I have recommitted to a project I have set aside over and over again. I never know if I keep setting it aside because it’s not what i should write or because I am scared of it or because it’s not a good idea and it won’t work.

My hope is that it will work. I’m going to try again.

My other hope is that I will be able to write amidst the chaos.

My final hope is that Carol will feel better and that kindness will abound and that the screaming will stop and that there will be flowers and happiness and that I’ll wipe up the cereal before it dries as hard as a rock to the table, chairs and floor.

Here is an assignment:

1. List all the ideas you have right now for books.

2. List all the ideas you’ve set aside. Put asterisks by the ones that maybe you should go back to.

3. List all the reasons why you can’t write today.

4. List all the ways you are going to deal with those reasons and carve out time to create.

5, List five things you are going to do for other people.

6. List all the times many people were screaming at the same time and you didn’t lose your temper and join in with the screaming.

7. Make a concrete writing plan for today: time you’ll write, place you’ll write, ways you’ll deal with distractions (see above), words or ideas you’ll write, what you’ll do when you get stopped in your tracks because of a plot issue or character issue or exhaustion issue, and finally what reward you’ll give yourself (though creating itself is the best reward) when you have made it through your writing session (hello chocolate covered cinnamon bears, or tapioca pudding, or a walk, or a book (what book?), or a swim in the lake).

Love and candy, the end.

That’s all for today!

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Remember

Other good things to remember:

1. Eat food when writing unless that’s not helpful.

2. Write after the kids go to sleep unless you don’t want to and you are tired and you want to watch TV or read Keturah and Lord Death and think about how beautiful Martine Leavitt is and how smart she is and how you’ll never be as smart or beautiful so why do you even try.

3. Listen to your kids and if you can, take notes. Especially if they call Doritos Dortos and they call the Loch Ness Monster the Lock Nessy Monster and if one of them tells you that there are a million ice cream stores on the earth and you ask them how they know and they say before they were born they looked down on the planet and they saw all the ice cream stores and that’s how they decided to come. Write all that down.

4. Write weird stuff. Surprise yourself.

5. Be happy.

6. Shave your head if you’re depressed.

7. Make yourself keep going even if you think what you’re writing is stupid and that you are stupid and that it’s never going to turn out and it’s all too hard and the other idea is better and that’s what you should do, start a different book because that book won’t get hairy in the middle at all because the next project is always better and always funnier and alway easier than the one you’re supposed to be working but even if that were true, my friends, even if that were so true, you have to keep going. Keep writing. Don’t stop. FINISH. FINISH FINISH FINISH. And then jump into a cold pool. And then get into a sauna. Or is that Iceland?

7. Eat a peach when you’re writing unless it will get juice on your keyboard.

8. Love your parents.

9. Write hard things.

10. Tell someone you love them. Someone who will be surprised you said it but will also know that you mean it. Say it even if it’s scary and maybe they won’t say it back or they’ll feel weird and you’ll feel weird. Say it anyway. And feel it.

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My foot

Lately I feel like there is someone’s foot in my stomach. Not like I ate it, because that would be gross, but more like I’ve been kicked hard right in the belly and somehow the foot got caught in my fat rolls and it’s never coming out. Ever.

Do you ever feel kicked in the stomach and the foot is stuck in your fat rolls and it feels like it’s never coming out?

Maybe you hurt someone’s feelings and you’re sick about it and you can’t fix it and nothing is every the same? Maybe you lost someone and you’ll never get to talk to them again and you can’t seem to breathe? Perhaps you made a decision and then you weren’t sure it was the right one but then there was no turning back and maybe moving forward seems scary and you wish you could rewind and stay safe?

Ever have any of those?

What do you do? How do you get the foot out?

And if you can’t get the foot out, how do you move on?

Today I am going to write 500 words. I’m tired, my throat is sore and then there’s the foot. But I can write 500 words.

Can’t we always write 500 words? Even if we feel completely empty? And if not 500 words, what about 250? Or maybe 150?

My goal is to do that, to write, because writing equals creating. Creating equals joy.

Love to all of you,

Ann Dee

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To blog or not to blog

My husband teased my last week because not only did I not get FIVE comments, I didn’t even get ONE comment.

I teased him because he has a mustache and that’s gross.

I  don’t mind not getting comments. I actually don’t mind if nobody reads this (does Carol mind? Maybe. Sorry). For me, blogging forces me to put sentences together. Lately that has not happened in any other forum. I also have a personal blog that I only write on when I am under extreme duress, or I am mad, or I can’t talk to anyone because I’ll start crying–so that blog is a little more regular than this one. Ha ha.

I do however have writing friends who don’t blog because they feel like it wastes writing time and energy.

Or they think no one reads blogs anymore (twitter is the thing).

Or they say it’s actually NOT writing practice because it’s a different type of writing.

Here are the questions:

1. Do you blog?

2. Why do you blog?

3. Is it a writing exercise?

4. Can it be a waste of time?

5. Do you read blogs?

6. Do you think twitter is the thing?

7. Do you find kale to be disgusting?

8. How many times a week do you wash your hair?

9. Do you think all writers should have blogs?

10. Do you think we should stop blogging and move to Hawaii?

That is all for today.

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Poor Carol

I have become the most unreliable blog partner. Carol and hopefully most of you are at WIFYR right now, one of my favorite places.

I am NOT at WiFYR, sadly.

Instead, I’m wiping down walls and stepping on spiders and trying to get my house ready to sell. Would you like to buy my house?

Here are a few things to think about this week–if you’re not at WIFYR. If you are at WIFYR, you will have plenty to do.

1. Listen to this podcast on fathers from This American Life. Different parts of this podcast jumped out at me.  One segment in particular, about a boy losing his father and seeing him in his casket (he used the word coffin which is a whole lesson on diction and how it can change a piece completely) made me think a lot about my own experience with bodies. And death. And parents. And how we are “supposed to” react to tragic events in our lives but yet things are so much more complicated than they seem.

Writing Prompt: Listen to this podcast and then write about your own dad. Write about he did or didn’t attempt to show you how he loved you. Did he say it out loud? Did he cook you breakfast every morning? Did he hug you and write you notes in your lunch? Did he dress up every day and wave to the bus? This could turn into a first chapter. It could be a short story. Or better yet, it could be a letter to your own dad, telling him how you love him.

2. Here are some summer reading programs to motivate your kids. Now we all need to think of some summer reading programs to motivate each other. How many books will you read these next few months? Why can’t i finish a novel? Why do my toes ache.

Writing Prompt: Make a list of books you’ve always wanted to read. Make another list of books you’ve heard about and possibly will read. Now make a list of books that are sitting on your side-table that you should read. Make a reading goal. The more you read, the better you write. Now tell me what to read.

3. Watch this show. Pay particular attention to the story-telling, the narration, the character development, the rising and falling action of each episode. This is based on a memoir. Are you keeping a journal? If someone was going to make a show of your life, what would the episodes be? What would have to change (to keep viewers interested), what could stay the same? A lot of times people will write stories and they will be unbelievable. I’ll tell them this. Then they’ll tell me that IT HAPPENED LIKE THAT IN THEIR REAL LIFE! And I’ll tell them: Sorry. It’s still unbelievable.

Life really is stranger than fiction. But we can use our life to make our fiction more rich. We just have to finesse it a bit.

Writing Prompt: Write a short episode–complete with hook, middle/climbing action, climax and ending–all based on an incident in your life. A small incident. Maybe something that happened today. While you were trying to cross your sweet child’s room to get a shirt and stepped on a lego and fell down on more legos and screamed out in pain and then someone called the ambulance and you were fine but you pretended you weren’t fine. You crossed your arms across your chest and waited for the men to come and put you in the back of the truck and people would be screaming and you’d be very very still and your kids would be worried so should you wake up? Or should you keep still. And let them learn about life and how sometimes people get hurt when they step on Legos. Write a story like that. Only different. And better.

That’s all for today. I think if I get five comments, I’ll give you more assignments tomorrow. If I don’t, I’ll know you’re all networking and laughing and singing and eating at WIFYR without me and definitely not reading this blog and I’ll just go back to acting like I’m going to paint walls WHICH I HATE.

The end.

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Some assignments.

1. Today I was doing this fifteen minute workout and was about to pass out. My eight year old was timing me and my six year old was sitting nearby saying things like, “Why are you breathing so hard?” “Why is this hard for you?” “Is your leg supposed to go like that?” It was really rejuvenating. All writers should take time to exercise around kids. It really helps you get in the mood to write for children. Assignment: Do ten side plank oblique crunches with young really nice children looking on.

2. My two year old just ate a handful of kosher salt . . . and is going in for more. Next I’m going to hand him some lemons. Assignment: Give kids bad things to eat. Watch them. Write down a lyrical passage about their reaction.

3. I wish I had my own swimming pool. Assignment: Buy me a swimming pool.

4. I’ve been reading Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. In five minute spurts.  I have decided to copy down passages word for word from his book. His writing is beautiful and one of the best ways to learn is through imitation. When you actually write down the words, you can feel the rhythm. You get a better sense of the sentence length, punctuation, description. Assignment: Find a great book. Something DIFFERENT from your style. Write down several passages word for word. Read them out loud.

5. My girl Valynne has her book launch tonight at the King’s English. Please go. Assignment: Go to the King’s English tonight.

6. Last week someone asked me when my baby was due while I was holding my six month baby. Although I know I look pregnant and normally this wouldn’t affect me so much–I’ve had five babies! Life is good! Belly fat is fine!, I just happened to be really tired and really run down and really emotional. I cried in the car. Assignment: Write about a time someone said something and made you feel sad and they realized they made you feel sad (the lady realized it) which made it even worse because then they felt bad and you felt like crying but you didn’t want to cry in front of them because then they’d feel worse and you’d have to keep saying, It’s okay! It’s okay! I’m fine. This is my cute baby. This is my body after my cute baby!

7. He just took another handful of salt. I’m a fabulous mother. Assignment: Eat a handful of salt.

I think that’s all the assignments for today. If you do them all, and I mean ALL, let me know and I’ll send you a prize. I want proof P.S.

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A little plug . . .

My friends Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia’s new book in their Dangerous Creatures series just released. To celebrate they are doing a book drive. All you have to do is post a picture of yourself with a book you love. Their publisher, Little Brown, has agreed to donate a book to an underfunded school library for every picture posted. Here are some details from Margie:

During the two weeks of May 12-May 26 (starting this Tuesday) hashtag, #BooksArentDangerous & post your photo with a book. The book can be one that mattered to you, one you wish you’d had, or a current read you would recommend. You can post on facebook, instagram, twitter, or tumblr. For every photo you post, Kami & Margie are working with Little Brown to match it with a book donation. (Details TK!) In addition, we also encourage our author, reader, teacher, librarian, blogger, and bookseller friends to take this opportunity to donate books to underfunded local school libraries. If you do, please post those pics too, and we’ll be reposting at http://www.booksarentdangerous.com.

I think this is fabulous and a great cause. Here is my picture that I just took which is beautiful and sexy. IMG_5004

I love the WESTING GAME. Love it. Since I was a little girl. Now I’ll hashtag this #BooksArentDangerous and voila!

Join in the fun! Books for all!

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