Author Archives: anndeecanndee

About anndeecanndee

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

Memoir

Last week I had an especially taxing day. There’s no need to go into details but lets just say there was a big box store involved, maybe a diaper malfunction, perhaps some screaming, for sure some forced smiles and definitely some tears by many. At the end of the day, I sat on my back  balcony watching the sky when I was supposed to be cleaning up and getting dinner ready and momming my kids, I sat there and I thought: This sucks.

This sucks.

All day sucked.

My mom hated the word sucked.

I can see why she hated the word sucked but words change, mom. Don’t be mad. And this sucks.

I also thought, the only way to save the day, the only possibly redeeming thing that could come from hours like these, was if i wrote it down.

If I wrote down how I felt. If I wrote down what was said and how it was said and who said what and the chaos. If I wrote down how alone I felt and embarrassed and mad and stupid and alone and incapable and mean and tired and alone. That would save me.

So then I put on instagram, “who wants to write memoirs with me?” Short ones. A few a week. We’ll write and then we can share or not share but we can write and we can feel connected and then some day we can look back on those days good or bad and they can be more than throw away days. They can be parts of us that we’ll remember even if we didn’t think we’d want to. They’ll be things we can talk about later and people can say I had that happen too. Maybe our kids down the road will say that. They’ll say, You did WHAT??? in Target and I’ll say, I did. And it’s okay if you do too. Or maybe we’ll say, never do that.

The point is, I’ve been posting prompts on my personal website and on instagram. Three a week. For eight minute memoir writing. I’d love it if you’d like to join.

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A baby, a monster and a box of markers

Dear Readers!

Carol had a baby!!! Actually her baby Elise had a baby so now Carol has a grand-baby and there’s no better news than this. A big congratulations to Carol and her family and brave Elise and the sweet little one who is in for a big treat–think of all the stories he’s going to get to experience.

In other news, which I probably shouldn’t even write about other news because the big news is enough, but here I go anyway, in other news have you watched Stranger Things on Netflix? My husband and I are watching it and we’re halfway through. It’s scary and weird and human and not human and eighties and makes me think about my mom (she would have loved it). Here’s an assignment: If you haven’t watched it or if you have and you want to watch it again, get a notebook and take notes. Who is the MC? What do he/she want? How many rocks are getting thrown and how? How do they begin and end each episode? What about pacing? Look at the major and minor plot-lines. How do they intertwine? How do they  help each other? Consider the problems you’re having with your story and see if this show can help you get ideas. You can call it research.

And finally, we got a lot of school supplies today. It’s a new year, new beginning, new teachers, new season. I’m ready. You?

 

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Exercise

This morning I woke up at 5:30 and I had two options: Exercise or Write.

Usually, almost always, I take the exercise route. This is because I struggle with sadness and sometimes anger when I don’t get some time to myself in the early morning to get my blood moving and my mind flowing. However, this morning, because my heel has been aching and because I didn’t have a clear exercise goal, I decided to write.

It was the best decision.

I feel invigorated and excited about my WIP. I feel ready to face the day and the dishes and the cub scouts. I feel like I’ve done something for myself that is meaningful already and it’s only 8:30 in the morning.

When you have to choose between two good things: Writing vs. Exercise, Writing vs. Hanging out with a loved one, Writing vs. Gardening or crocheting or reading or eating, how do you choose? Does one always win over the other? Is it a practical decision? A scheduling decision? A spiritual decision?

I  have found that it is important to go for balance. To give ourselves a break. To love sitting in the dirt with the toy trucks when maybe we think we should be inside writing. The more we make decisions about how to use our time and then commit, be fully present in those moments, the more full the other parts of our lives can be.

I am glad I get to write. I’m glad that I get to have people walking in my head that I love and care for. I also feel glad that I have real people walking in my family room that I love and care for. And I’m glad I have myself who is messed up and happy and sad and angry and impatient and kind and horrible and all the other things so that I constantly have something hard and interesting to figure out. Life would be boring any other way.

Let’s write! Or exercise! Or pull weeds! Or swim! Or read!

 

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Hello Friends.

I want to share a little story with you:

I’m the bear leader in cub scouts. I don’t very much love being the Bear leader but it’s growing on me. One day, at Den Meeting, the boys are sitting there at my kitchen table. The other leader, a very nice woman about my age and very efficient and much more capable than me is also sitting at the table. I’m talking about forensics which I know nothing about. Nothing. I’m telling them how to get fingerprints.
Suddenly Van (my son: a bear) bursts out: Ewww!!!
He’s scratching hard at something on the table: Ewww!!!! Ewwww!!!! Ewwww!!!!!
What? the other boys say. What? the other leader says. I just say crap.
He says, there’s like a whole bunch of boogers all over the table.
Boogers??????!!!! they all scream.
I sit there. No. No. There’s no boogers, I say. I’m so calm. This is fine. No way are there boogers.
Mom, I’m serious. This is disgusting, he throws up his hands. This table is like booger land.
Ha ha . No boogers, I say. Stop being so silly. He’s silly. Isn’t he silly?
Then what is it? he says. It’s something disgusting it’s some bodily fluid.

Awesome.
Other leader smiles at me. I smile back.
It’s probably cereal, I say.
Cereal does not look like that, says one scout.
Yeah, not like that. it definitely looks like dried boogers, another scout says.

And they would know my friends. They would know.

This is something that happened to me this summer. It was fun. There were no boogers on my table.

Do you have any stories to tell?

Also, I just started this book: Homegoing. Who wants to read it with me? Who has suggestions of other diverse books? Who has been crying this week and not over dried boogers? What if through writing and reading we could be closer to one another, understand each other better, feel open to comfort and mourn with each other?

 

xoxo

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July Contest

I am interrupting a very important Potty Party to announce this contest. If my child wets his pants while I write this, someone is going to pay.

So, the contest. In order to jumpstart our writing and get over the kids-at-home-which-means-no-writing hurdles,AQA! we would you like you to list three writing and/or reading goals for the month.

A few things:

With each goal, make smaller, achievable goals to help you get to the finish line. For example if you want to finish a novel by the end of the month, make sure to write how you will do this (write 1000 words a day, go on a writing retreat for a weekend, turn off the internet after eight pm each night, reward each writing session with an episode of Brooklyn 99, etc.).

Make the goals things you can actually do. You can write every day. You can outline your mystery. You can revise 50 pages etc. You can make a website. You can be more active on Twitter. You can query 15 agents. Then there are things that you can’t control: Get an agent, hit the bestseller list, sell your book, etc.

Give yourself a prize that you really want. We are going to organize an end of summer celebration party (pool party? bowling? laser tag? (not laser tag–I hate laser tag)) for goal-reachers but we don’t know what will motivate you personally. So come up with something that will really make you go for it.

Tell everyone what know about your goals and have them help you make a plan to achieve them. The more support, the better. In fact, you can ask them what goals (not necessarily writing goals) they have for July and how you can help them.

Write your goals down. Post them somewhere where you can see them. Pray about them, talk about them, take small bites each day to reach them and be okay if you miss a couple days, but then get back on task.

That’s it! Write your goals in comments so we can keep track of each other. We’ll check in each week and write about our progress and yours. We’re going to get out of this summer lazy-sit-at-the-pool-and-do-nothing HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA funk.

My goals:

  1. Revise copyedit draft of my novel (spend an hour a day doing this–I don’t love copyediting).
  2. Write and polish 50 pages of WIP (I like this. This will be my most fun goal–1000 words a day).
  3. Finish draft of novel with Carol (this is going to be hard because we’re stuck and it’s a mess and I’m supposed to write my part but I don’t know what to do next so that means I need to ALSO make time to meet with Carol, to make a plan and then force myself to do hard things).

What are your goals?

*Also, this month I’m going to read both of Adam Gidtwitz’s books out loud to my boys and I’m going to read some Ramona books. I love them and they remind me that small things are really big things to kids. What will you read?

 

 

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Tuesday

Here are some writing exercises:

  1. Write about cheese.
  2. Write about your belly.
  3. Write about the time in third grade you got your heart broken.
  4. Write about airplanes.
  5. Write about the summer.
  6. Write about merry-go-rounds.
  7. Write a new plot for a book in 25 words or less (hate doing this but need to do this)
  8. Write about camping.
  9. Write about your best friend dying even if she isn’t.
  10. Write about mud slides in your backyard.
  11. Write hairy legs.
  12. Write about trucks.
  13. Write about George Washington.
  14. Write about the last time you cried.
  15. Write about the last time you laughed.
  16. Write an ending to a mystery.
  17. Write a beginning to a mystery.
  18. Write about your first favorite book.
  19. Write about melons.
  20. Write about candy.

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Spring Break

 

Lately, I’ve been feeling like someone took the iron, got it good and hot, and ironed me out.

 

This kind of metaphor, what do you think it means? I’m feeling good or I’m feeling bad? I’m a better, starcher person with all my wrinkles ironed out or I’ve been flattened and burned and might not be able to get up again?

Sometimes things pop into my head, images, ideas, scenarios and I realize to me they make sense, I know the emotion that is tied to them but readers might not.

For example, sometimes I want to lay underneath a semi truck. Not really. But sort of. Then I realize, if I write that down, will people think I mean I want to be hit by semi truck? Because I don’t. At all. I think being under a semi truck would be warm and inconspicuous and you could eavesdrop and in real life it would not be good at all but in fake life, I think it would be nice and cozy? See? I’m weird. I’ve lost you. Because that’s not normal, wanting to lay under a semi truck.

We have to think carefully about the metaphors and images we use. Are they clear? Do they need too much explanation? (though that’s not always bad–sometimes that can show a character and make her/him different). The pictures we paint with our words have power. You just want to make sure you’re taking your reader in the direction you want them to go.

And so, lately I’ve been feeling I’ve been ironed out. Flattened. You guess what that means.

 

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