Category Archives: personal life

Retreat to Move Forward

jackdonaghySo, tonight instead of writing words, I cut about 600 from the draft of the first chapter of the co-written Romantic Suspense WIP. (I need a better name for that. TCWRSWIP? Hmm, not much better, actually… And my writing partner and I definitely agree that I’m not allowed to come up with titles for anything else. Maybe I’ll see if she’s got any ideas.)

Anyway! I sort of can’t believe how much I’ve learned in the two-year fallow period I spent in between bursts of work on TCWRSWIP (for lack of a better title). I’ve been reading a lot about story structure, scene structure, beats, etc. at Jenny Crusie’s side project blog, and that has helped a lot; and, of course, the first version of this scene was sort of a trial balloon that Chel wrote to see if I had any interest in the concept (4 years and 143k+ words later, I think it’s safe to say yes–yes I did). But the story has changed very significantly since then in our minds.

So that draft did its job (get the writers interested).  Continue reading Retreat to Move Forward

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Craft Show Madness

I’m in Cincinnati this weekend for a craft show, my mom’s birthday, my grama’s birthday, to see my aunt who’s visiting from Arizona, my brother, my great-aunt, and assorted other aunts and cousins, and to grade some papers, coordinate Thanksgiving plans with a bunch of people who are currently not texting or emailing me back… and work on not giving in to this cold that I’m not–not, dag-nabbit, I am NOT–catching.

And I definitely meant to write a good entry, but I’ve been running around like crazy since about 5 am and there’s just… there’s just  nothing.

I have been thinking about how much better the New Beginning of my co-written novel is going to be once it’s completely rewritten (working on that now) and how much of the old stuff we’re going to have to discard or change completely now that Our Heroine has been completely overhauled. I got about… thirty more seconds into the scene I’m working on??

I’ll try again tomorrow.

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There Is No Weekend

This is Avery Jessup, reminding you...
This is Avery Jessup, reminding you…

Today’s Friday, and I’ve had a nice, relaxing evening – play with baby, watch Project Runway with Cam, drink a glass of wine that made me want to go to sleep immediately, etc.

Tomorrow we go to Cincinnati for a craft show, and to visit my family, and we’ll be back Sunday, and then three days of school and then we’re hosting Thanksgiving, and the someting-something-Friendsgiving-idk and then work and then the first weekend in December I’m going on a road trip to Chicago to sell more cutting boards while Cameron goes to do the same in Philly. And then… finals and Christmas!

So… I’m starting to have that glazed-eye look and short fuse that signal it’s mid-November! WATCH OUT, HAHA!

In more cheerful news, my advisory did the #mannequinchallenge:

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Kitten’s Got Claws

A selfie that I took this morning right after only 7 of 17 students in one of my classes turned in the major project that was due today.
A selfie that I took this morning right after only 7 of 17 students in one of my classes turned in the major project that was due today.

Well, we’ve reached the portion of the school year where I run out of fucks to give.

Coming up on Thanksgiving, as usual: I’m behind on grading; students are starting to realize that their terrible grades are going to be permanent if they don’t get it together; lots of classes are demanding work from students; behavior is slipping; suspensions are rising; fights are breaking out; and, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a SuperMoon? (I’m not 100% sure what a SuperMoon is, exactly, but I do know that teenagers–like werewolves–react badly to full moons. I am not making this up. Ask any teacher.)

So I spent most of today irritated and full of rage. Which I try to contain. But I know for a fact that I get a little bit snappy.  Continue reading Kitten’s Got Claws

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ZzzZZzzZ (A Philosophical Interlude)

cast-your-whole-voteWell, we all know that being emotionally drained is… draining, and I’ve basically been too tired today to do… like, anything.

The election’s still got me reeling and yesterday I successfully ignored it and worked on fiction, where I control all outcomes and the good guys (eventually) win, but today I accidentally started listening to NPR and reading blogs and am just… done.

Luckily there’s still comedy.

Me, trying to read Thoreau with 11th grade: And then what if you took the locker out of your binder? Wait. No. Um…
Kid next to me, under his breath: Maybe you need more coffee.
Me, with a sad, knowing laugh: Oh, StudentName, there is No Such Thing as “more coffee.” Trust me. If “more coffee” were the solution to my problem, I would be perfect right now.

So I’m going to go to bed early (read: on time) and tomorrow’s a new day. The sun will come up (partway through my workout) and I will keep doing everything I can in my little corner of the universe to make sure my Black, Mexican, LGBTQ+, female, atheist, and/or disabled students (this covers 99% of my students, btw, without even mentioning how many of them rely on entitlement programs for food and shelter) know that no matter what else happens, I love them and will do everything I can to protect them–starting by helping them learn to express themselves, fine-tune their bullshit detectors, and use evidence to support an argument (that, by the way, is what we’re actually doing in English classes, whether we’re reading Beowulf or The Onion).

Luckily there’s still literature.

Heroes. Satire.

Hmm. Writing as catharsis: suddenly I feel a lot better about charging back into class tomorrow to stomp around insisting to my Creative Writing class that “they / Do not go gentle into that good night” and pulling the American Lit crew, kicking and gnashing their teeth, through the rest of “On Civil Disobedience” (a fortuitous coincidence that we just happened to be dealing with the Transcendentalists this week…).

So, as Thoreau reminds us, we can’t just vote on paper and let that be the end of it. We must do everything we can. Even if it doesn’t feel like much.

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Actual NaNo-ing (It’s about time!!!)

So, I know I promised a deep and meaningful post about race & diversity in literature, but let’s just say that I didn’t have the mental or emotional energy for that today. I did, however, write 1498 words of a totally new opening to the old novel I’m working on with my OG writing partner!

Threw a teeny-tiny write-in and got lots accomplished, despite having to feed a toddler and put him to bed for the first half hour or so of writing time.

And the best part? These two ladies will be joining me for another session next week! (& an extra 132 words by writing this cheater post–HA!)

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The Edge of My Seat

I wanted to post a response to the Tweetstorm happening surrounding #TheContinent (a YA book with some serious “White Savior Narrative” stuff going on, click that link for a summary) and Jenny Trout’s response (in which she calls out her own use of racist tropes in some of her older books).

But I also want to watch election returns, so I’m probably going to go do that.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some thoughts about how I know #WeNeedDiverseBooks but also: I am a white lady.

Hopefully having survived watching the election returns (rather than posting as some sort of post-election zombie).

 

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All Saints’ Day

14915453_10154367153072415_5818038096005274670_nToday was the Feast of All Saints, where candles are lit and prayers are said and hymns are sung for all of the new saints–i.e., those who have died in the last year. I’m not what you’d call a regular churchgoer (I’m as strange as they come, har har) but I’ve found lately that in church, I can’t help but experience very strong emotion.

I was with my mother (and husband and son, but husband had to go to day care with son because son was NOT about that daycare life and would NOT be cool), and my mother- and father-in-law were singing in the choir.

This has been a rough year–on Facebook I tagged 14 people off the top of my head who have lost someone precious to them over the past year. I spent a lot of the service sniffling from a combination of catharsis and allergies (no it’s not a cold I 100% refuse to acknowledge that it’s a cold shut up it’s allergies).

My father died on December 10th of last year after a long battle with esophageal cancer, a very nasty cancer that he actually beat twice; it was the third recurrence that killed him.

When I think about it now, it’s with a weird mix of devastation and peace.

Continue reading All Saints’ Day

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