Tag Archives: writing

Day 30: Almost the end…

April 30

And then it was almost the end of the crowdfunding campaign. 30 days goes FAST!!! It doesn’t appear that I will meet my goal in time for the writing seminar this weekend, and/or that there is even a spot for me in the class (cue the sad violin music).

Sure, I could extend the deadline, try to raise more so that maybe I can make it to the next seminar in the Fall, but honestly, I’m not going to do that – extend my deadline. Crowdfunding is only fun when people donate, it’s kind of lame and depressing when you don’t reach your goal and you question yourself, your worth, your tactics, your dedication…all of it:

Photo on 2-7-14 at 5.00 PM 2Did I not try hard enough?

Am I not good enough?

Was my idea boring?

Am I presenting it poorly?

Should I have been more annoying and posted about it every day???

Should I have paid for those ads to promote it for me??? (I know, seems counter-productive, right???)

Why why why why why why why??????

(I feel like to be successful crowdfunding would have been my full time job all month, but that’s not possible! I have a full time job, and I volunteer at my kids school, and I write! I’ve stopped doing laundry or cooking or cleaning in order to keep up with all that! Did I take on TOO MUCH??? Ah! More self-doubt!!!!)

Well, those are all notes I can keep in mind for the next time around if I am still too broke to pay my own way to a writers’ workshop…which I realllly hope doesn’t happen because honestly I HATE asking for money, it’s awkward. I would probably be a terrible rich person I’d just give all my money away to things like this and people I run into who are struggling. Actually, that would make a TERRIFIC rich person, I just likely wouldn’t be rich for very long!

I have 8 funders, $140 which is 19% of my goal (THANK YOU IndieGogo for doing the math for me on that one!) And thank you to the 8 peeps who helped me to reach my goal, even if I miss my mark it helps to know I have a little support out there! Will I make up the difference in these last two days??? Only time (as in 2 days) will tell…

Advertisements

Day 24: Only ONE SPOT LEFT!!!

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.44.42 AMApril 24

Oh NOOOOO!!!!! I have ONE MORE WEEK to raise my funds, but there’s ONLY ONE SPOT LEFT!

Will I make it??? Gosh I hope so! I’m trying to keep my sunshiney optimism but it’s looking more and more like this whole crowdfunding for writing thing is NOT going to be a success this time around…awwww poop!!!!

I’m not giving up, just feeling the pressure that I HAVE to find a way to make this work!!!!!

What MORE can I do???

-Blog!

-Promote on Facebook and Twitter!

-Have a garage sale?

Day 22: And then I became a year older…

April 22

IMG_8635My birthday has now come and gone. And I didn’t spend nearly enough time writing about it because I was too busy sitting in my own pit of self-misery about (gulp) adding another year to my number plate. Yea, I know, 33 ain’t all that bad. It’s not IMG_8720thaaaat old. But something about my yearly celebration of being pushed out of my mom’s vagina in our cozy Vancouver, BC town-home in 1982 triggers some serious self-reflection, and with serious self-reflection comes well, serious moods.

My son (age 9) offered to make me a special bday breakfast to wake up to on Saturday. As is the case with most 9 year olds, he forgot. My “special” day started out with the squabbling of my 9 year old and 7 year old, and my not-so-gentle reminder that “All I want for my birthday is for you two to STOP FIGHTING!“, followed by their responses, “Oh yea, happy birthday Mom!” and hugs, for which I was already too grumpy to enjoy or appreciate fully.

I know part of my problem is that I’m “too nice”. Maybe I need to start ordering people around and telling them to make me coffee, clean the kitchen, hand me a book to read (that’s NOT a kids books!) and then LEAVE ME ALONE to sulk. Except that what I really wanted was attention. I wanted them to make a big deal about me, but I didn’t want to ask them to because I didn’t want them to make a big deal just because I asked them to. I wanted them to want to. Ugh, and this my friends is where the perpetual disappoint festers.

You don’t tell people what you want -> They don’t know what you want -> You don’t get what you want -> They don’t know why you are disappointed -> You blame yourself for your unrealistic expectations -> They move along with their lives and will likely not ever be able to “read your mind” and know what you want…

Sound familiar?

Example:

IMG_8700I ask for a mint-chocolate chip ice cream cake with chocolate cake. What do I get? (Oh Gawd, I know I sound like a brat typing this!) A HUGE sheet cake of “dulce de leche” cake…hmmm….sounds good (even if it’s NOT what I asked for NOR did it have ANY IMG_8688ice cream)…right? Oh sure, if you are NOT me, you might actually LIKE white cake SOAKED in MILK?!?! With a custard filling?!?! And strawberries on top (sounds good) with that weird jelly stuff coated on them (not so good)?!?! Let’s be real here: I have a weird aversion to certain textures. This has included jelly and ketchup since childhood. Now it will also include soggy milk-soaked cakes, custard filling, and strawberry goo (sigh). I’m a jerk. But I smiled and ate the cake like a good girl (as many bites as I could stomach) because I know the notion came from a good place, and they were all very proud of their AMAZING cake they chose for me. So yes, like I said (typed) I’m a jerk for not liking the cake and being disappointed that I didn’t get what I wanted on my ONE special day of the WHOLE YEAR…but I also didn’t tell them “No, this is not what I asked for, and the thought of eating it grosses me out beyond your capability to comprehend.”

IMG_8702And my funkiness prevented me from blogging and promoting the crap out of my crowdfunding for writing efforts (only 9 days left!!! AND the only thing I really really DO WANT for my bday) and even though I made it to the LA Times Festival of Books, I really only got there for the final hour of the thing when everyone was packing up and yes, the books were all getting marked down to 50% off (I love a good deal!) but no books were calling to me (it was all the leftovers anyways) and literally the only picture I took while I was there was of a breastfeeding booth (yes, this is my life with kids and being a breastfeeding advocate even after I no longer am breastfeeding any kids of my own!). But…I am grateful I got to be there at all! Even if only for an hour…even if it took longer to drive there than the actual amount of time I got to spend there.

Pink’s hot dogs served me a burger (because, well, hot dogs are gross and so I ordered a burger even though I felt that was kind of lame to go to a famous hot dog stand and order a turkey burger). The crazy line at Pink’s made us 30 minutes late for the book reading we were heading to so I had to walk in to the tiny bookstore with the nearly-impossible-to-open doors, and feel the awkward rudeness of showing up mid-reading. I IMG_8707couldn’t think of any brilliant questions to ask the author when it came time for discussion (I usually love asking questions). And though I was first to hug the author (is that OKAY? Maybe I need to work on my book-signing etiquette, but hey, I’m a hugger!) and get my book signed (which I bought earlier in the week and then regretted it because if I had bought it at the bookstore I could have gotten a free finger puppet! Damnit, I love free stuff) and I was impressed that the ever-fabulous author (and a former writing professor of mine from UCR) remembered how to spell my weird frenchie name (A-I-M-E-E, no accent on the first E because I’m not french and have never put the accent there) but then accidentally gave me two A’s in her excitement as she signed and I blabbed on about who only knows what in my nervous jitters. I kind of love that it’s goofy because it reminds me that yes,I am not the only one who struggles to perform under the pressure of watching eyes. I just KNOW that someday (when I’m a big famous author) that I will flub names and then draw a giant pen heart to cover up the flub and then it looks like a giant black heart and keeps growing and keeps getting uglier and everyone will be standing there waiting, kids crying, pulling on their mommy’s skirts to go home already, and I’ll be drawing stupid black hearts to cover up my flubs.

So, happy sappy sorry birthday to ME! Another year older, and that much closer to something…death? Publishing? Cancer? Another broken wrist? Toe?

*Oh yea, forgot to mention I didn’t even get to blow out my own bday candles…there were only 2 and both my daughters took care of those before they were even done singing happy birthday to me. Whatever. Why do I even care??? It’s not like I believe in stupid things like making a wish on your birthday and then blowing out the candles and then not telling anyone what you wished for or it won’t come true…Okay, I still do.

Day 13: “Yikes! Bikes!”

April 13

biodadandbabySure, this may be my biological father’s birthday today, but that actually is not why I’m celebrating (spoiler alert: I never celebrate his bday, even though he is turning, eeks, I don’t even know, 70??). Okay, maybe not a spoiler, but still, worth mentioning. I am celebrating because my crowdfunding for writing efforts are finally passing $100 today! That means, mathematically speaking, I am 14% of the way to my goal of raising $725 to go see the fiction crime writer Tod Goldberg spew genius advice out of his pursed little lips, hopefully I won’t be in the “splash zone”. But it’s a risk I’m willing to take!

Okay, so what’s with the dumb quote, “Yikes! Bikes!”???

OMGEEEE, if you don’t know, then I’m not going to tell you! Okay, I will. It’s from Drew Barrymore’s cute movie “Never Been Kissed” which is (like, omgee) only one of the best Drew Barrymore rom-com’s EVER made (second only to “Wedding Singer”, amiright???)!

Why does this carry so much weight for me? Well, because I like it. It rhymes. And it’s funny (in that awkward, elementary school humor sort of way)https://www.pinterest.com/pin/529735974893362076/. Because for some reason, I feel inclined to rhyme even when it makes little to NO sense to do so. And so, this is like right there in my heart. She’s my girl. Even though sure, Josie Grossie is fictional, she’s ME!

“WORDS ARE MY LIFE!”

And that my friends is why I need your help! I know I can write the SHIT out of this book. I can edit the CRAP out of it. I can make it SPARKLE!* But…I could really really use a little help with my fine tuning. It’s been a few years since I graduated college and I feel like I can really use a refresher to kick me in the pants and push me off that cliff to take the next bold steps in my writing and really get out there! Out into the writing world, and dare I say…get published???

I need help! I need a community of writers, a writerly family, who can help me when I need advice. Someone who’s been through it and can tell me what has worked for them and then I can maybe make something work for me! But yea, my book is like Josie Grossie, she’s never gonna get kissed if I don’t let her shine for the world to see. And that’s why I need Tod Goldberg. So he can make my novel shiny, all the while still helping me tell the story my characters are bugging me to tell for them. It’s like they are trapped inside my body wielding tiny little swords and pricking me whenever I’m not writing because they want me to tell their stories! And then sometimes they fight with each other over who’s story gets to come out first, and I’m like “calm down peeps, one at a time, you will all get a turn” only I’m lying because they won’t all get a turn, only the best, the really persistent and really strange ones. Yes, those are the good ones.

Uh oh, I’ve said too much. Now I must go and work (and by that I mean go on Facebook).

*Ugh, flashbacks of working at a “small town” grocery store where the corporate dudes would come in and walk the sales floor and tell us how the displays needed more “pop” and “wow”! Yea, make that happen with corn chips and a chalkboard and YOU can be the next Regional Manager telling other yahoos how to do what they do, only better! But yea, basically what I need is a yahoo to help tell me in more descriptive jargon how to make my story have more “pop” and “wow”, and in my own words “sparkle and shine” (which CAN be a thing, even with violence and sex and magical fairytale happenings, oh yes).

Day 7: What’s in a name?

April 7, 2015

Why name my main character Annie?

Maybe I just picked it out of a hat? Oh no! There are soooo many reasons I felt inspired to name her Annie! Where do I start?

  • My first dog was named Annie. Actually her full name was “Rough-house Annie Grant”. She was a golden retriever and my (wiping tear from eye) best friend growing up. When I switched high schools middle of Sophomore year, Annie was the only one who I could talk to. Great listener, terrible retriever (never brought a ball
    Nothing like a kid with her dog. Or a kid in a chicken coup taking a picture of her dog trying to get into the coup.
    Nothing like a kid with her dog. Or a kid in a chicken coup taking a picture of her dog trying to get into the coup.

    back and chased parked cars). Annie died in 1999, we had to put her down right before a high school football game I went to and then proceeded to cry through the duration of (which I guess isn’t all that different from the other football games I attended, lol, and yikes, I’m pathetic!).

  • Our old next-door neighbor was a bit hard of hearing (or just liked being a jerk) (or both) and always called me “Annie” despite my name being “Aimee”. We lived there for about 7 years and he was my real-life “Wilson” (like from Home Improvement), not for the sage wisdom he offered me, but for the creepy way he was always popping up over the fence when I was in the backyard. For an old dude he sure was a climber (and creeper).
  • I worked with a gal (oh shut up, yes I say gal, does that make me an old lady trapped in a 30-something body? perhaps…) named Annie, she was awesome! Super tall, blonde, hard-worker, mom. I never knew her well, but she was a great “work friend” and someone I looked up to as a newbie in the grocery store business. I’ve always liked nice people, and she was no exception.
  • Okay, okay. I knooooowwwwww. Annie sounds a lot like “Aimee” but the book is NOT about me. It’s about Annie! And for some reason the name just fit! It feels like a fun name, an innocent name, maybe even a bit like a tom-boy.
  • Her middle name is Sue. And it sounds just perfect to me: Annie Sue! Reminds me of an old childhood friend Emily Sue. And my great aunt Sue. And the more you say it or type it, the weirder it sounds and looks: Sue, Sue, Sue, Sue, Sue. See? Weird, right? I like weird. And so, I like Sue.
  • Oh yea, and there’s this other gal (oh gawddd, again with the “gal”???), a somewhat famous orphan named Annie, but you probably don’t know who I’m talking about…maybe it will come to you tomorrow (wink wink, good luck getting that out of your head for the rest of the day). I basically know all of those songs by heart and swear that one of the orphans in the 1982 film looks EXACTLY like my sister when we were kids! But that is totally aside from the point, and (literally) did not play any significant role in the naming of my protagonist.

So you don’t like the name Annie??? Tell me what her name should be! Or, for those of you who REALLY don’t like it, donate $100 for my IndieGogo campaign and I’ll name her or another character after YOU! (or the name of your choosing!)

Don’t like my writing? Maybe that’s even more of a reason to fund me to go to this Fiction Writer’s Seminar, where I can learn another thing or two about how to be a better writer! I’m persistent as Hell, so don’t think you’ll get rid of me if you DON’T donate. I’m not out of ideas and I will only get more annoying with my desperation mwah ha ha ha (maniacal laughter, but it’s kind of cheesy maniacal laughter because I’m not really THAT evil, just evil enough to kill characters and crazy enough to want to be a writer!).

todgoldbergmfa-

 

Day 6: Counting the days and the ways…

April 6, 2015

Less than a week in and 10% of the way to my crowd-funding goal Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 1.41.21 PMto fund my attendance at the upcoming 2-day Fiction Writing Seminar with Tod Goldberg in Palm Desert, Ca.

So far I have three amazing supporters who are backing me and REALLY want to see me make it to this fantastic opportunity to work on my first novel and get the feedback I need to make it a “real” novel. Yes, someday I would like for my crazy ramblings to actually grow up and move out and get their own place in the real world (whether it’s finding a home on an actual real-life bookshelf in a real book store, or online, or through means of psychic communications and telepathy, in which case I miiiiight need to do some additional research and meditation to accomplish, but I’m willing to try!).

I even posted an update to the IndieGogo page with a small blurb from my novel-in-progress to give you a sneak peek into the world of Annie, a twenty-something gal looking to get ahead in the competitive field of grocery store management for a fun-loving hawaiian-shirt-wearing small-town store which she “loves”.

So why does Annie “love” her work? Let’s count the ways (in old school poetic fashion):

  1. To be paid or not to be paid, that is the question Annie faces and she chooses a paycheck over not receiving a paycheck (unlike her brother, Topher).
  2. Oh to go to college, but alas that costs money, and working pays money whilst attending college costs (insert ridiculous guess here, and then triple that!).
  3. ‘Tis easier to allow other people to make decisions for you and blame them for the consequences of an unhappy life, than to make your own decisions and only have yourself to blame for failure.
  4. Wearing ugly hawaiian shirts is a great way to retain one’s virginity!
  5. An entire aisle of chocolate. And a bizarre assortment of chocolate-covered food items!!!

Want to find out more about Annie and her grocery store antics? Pitch in $5 for good karma and the chance to read this novel when it’s ready! $10 gets you a sweet hand-written thank you note. For $25 you can receive an even sweeter hand-crafted bookmark! Want to be even more involved? You can donate $50 for a personal thanks in the actual novel, or $100 to get a character named after you!

Day 2: Crowdfunding for Writing Seminar! (Why the fuck not?)

April 2

Maybe it was a mistake to launch my inaugural crowd-funding efforts yesterday, on April 1 (oopsies, now no one will ever take me seriously). But as it turns out, the timing was just right. I was in the “mood”. You know the one. Yes, that one. That “Why The Fuck Not?” sort of attitude when you are sick of hearing your sorry self talk inside your head about the endless opportunities you fail to reach out for.  Well not this time, sucker (she says to herself, which happens a lot, and then wonders do other writers live deeply inside their own thoughts in this way?).

And so, lo and behold, a crowd-funding campaign is born for “Fiction Novel Writing Seminar with Tod Goldberg.” What the wahhht, you say? It’s exactly as it sounds. A chance to have my novel in progress given new life with some additional guidance, support, feedback, and time it deserves.

What is the big deal? This seminar is by a local writer who I became familiar with when he visited my “Satire and Irony” class, he’s a friend of this incredible writing teacher who has continued to inspire me to this day. And so, when Stephanie Hammer tells me someone is amazing and invites them to speak to her class, you better know she’s not lying. She turned me onto Aimee Bender, who not only shares my NAME (Whhhaaatt???? Yes, we’re part of an elite Aimee club) but I drool over her work and it makes me feel like, “Wow, I can still be weird even when I’m all grown up and supposed to be a (making a very grave expression) serious writer”. Yea, like that. Ahhh, refreshing. For me that feeling was (like totally) better than any other feeling in the (whole wide wide) world (yes, I just fangirled out for AB, and I gotta give a shout out to my other inspirational wonder woman Goldberry Long who’s right in there too in continuing to inspire me to keep being a writer and to show me that yes, moms with littles CAN be writers too!). So yes, Stephanie just published her  new novel and Aimee wrote a blurb for her, and Tod wrote a blurb for her and all I could think was “Omgee Omgee maybe someday they will all write blurbs for ME!!!” (you too, Goldberry, wink wink, pretty pretty please with sugar on top, and whipped cream, and a cherry!).

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.57.52 PM

To summarize, it was an oddly optimistic day when I just said “Why the fuck not?” I want to go to this writing seminar and get this novel all the way out! Out I say! And off to IndieGogo and social media I went! (And then, hour by hour, it set in: the incredible dread of self-doubt and fear and anxiety that this might actually work or not work, ahhhh! It’s all too much! In a good way!)

If you’ve enjoyed any of this craziness I call writing, check out my IndieGogo page and consider donating or sharing just for kicks (and good karma)! YOU could be the proud recipient of a hand-crafted bookmark, or I’ll even name a character in my novel after YOU! For reals!

*And sorry to those I may have offended with the F-word. I’m a mom, so I rarely get to cuss, and I just really like to cuss when I’m really excited and/or nervous! It just feels right sometimes, you know?

Day (insert ridiculous guess here): Yea, I failed.

Friday Feb. 28

Okay, who can even count HOW many days behind I am now (because aren’t writers supposed to hate math, or is that just me?) in my 30 day challenge to submit my @#$%? I was going to extend my deadline ten extra days to be nice to myself, but then where did those ten days go (thanks a lot “math”, wink wink, hey you know you blame math for a lot of your woes too)? Now it’s been, like, forever. And still no submissions.

<insert pouty face, really really unattractive pouty face, here>

failure

Okay, that was just scary! Do I really look THAT bad when I’m depressed???

<insert slightly less visually-offensive pouty face here>

failure2

Better, right? Okay, so now what?

I won’t call it a TOTAL fail (see also: EPIC fail), since at least I was DOING something, but it’s still a big fat PARTIAL fail because I didn’t even come close to accomplishing my goal (submitting 10 poems to 10 contests and 2 short stories to 2 contest in 30 days nonetheless) and sort of just gave up. GASP! Yes, I know. It SEEMS like I gave up. <Sigh> What a depressing blog post!

With husband traveling and every (literally every) moment of my day filled with childcare duties and no breaks, I am lucky to be showered and looking half-decent as I pick up kids, drop off kids, cart kids to and fro, cook, bake, clean, wipe, and so the list goes on. And with hubby coming home this weekend, maybe just mayyyyybe I can sneak out to the office (aka Starbucks) to forget about the blog and the failure and just actually do what I need to do: read, revise and submit! Or hey, even just WRITING would be nice! You know, like I’m doing now, like I’m supposed to do EVERY DAY!

And so dear readers, don’t give up on me. Because what is worse than FAILING?

(say it with me class…)

NEVER TRYING!

That’s right, I read that somewhere. Which also proves that reading can give you superpowers. If you don’t see the connection, then you need to read more.

What’s next on the challenge list? Oh @#$%! You mean I have to do this AGAIN???

Yes! I have had so many ideas of what to do. The latest being waking up at 5 am every day to actually have the TIME to do all I need/want to do. But after experimenting with that (for one day) I decided I’m not quite ready to FAIL at that yet (and, to be fair, I still have a little one who actually does wake up THAT early and any time I’d wish to work solo would end up being mommy and baby time, which is great, but maybe not worth waking up super early to do since I can also have that time during more normal hours of the day).

So, what will it be? I’m torn between my guitar challenge and my art challenge. Both of which I’ve been REALLY wanting to do. Maybe I should ask myself which one I’m more realistically able to do? But honestly, anything right now seems like a stretch to find the time, BUT I will try. Even if it means <gulp> another FAILURE.

Day 22: Failing doesn’t feel good.

Tuesday, Feb. 4

I can’t believe it’s already been 22 days! Talk about (write about) feeling like a total F-word. You know…FAILURE. <Slumping shoulders and making pathetic sad face>

I could really use a hug right now. And another cup of coffee. And more time than what my one year old daughter’s nap allows for me to work on my writing.

I have been working on my poetry revisions, but have totally lost sight of submissions, and it’s likely that deadlines have already passed, although surely new ones will appear so all hope is not lost. But my mojo is like, well, gone.

It started with trying to revise a couple funky poems, and I let that get to me, and even after deciding to avoid the drama of revising such poems, I’ve found it difficult to carry on and move ahead. And I don’t think that I tried to take on too much, I just think it was not the right time to take on so much. And funkiness is an ever-present thing that seems to hover around me like an aura, and so I will have to figure out ways to move forward even while suffering from the funks.

And cue the baby to wake up. Yep. That is how much “free” time I have. (Mental note: when I’m waist deep in baby fever, remember this moment. Yes, the moment when you just want to have a few minutes to yourself, to do something that matters to no one else but you, to do something you feel you were meant to do, if only you could focus and put in the hours. Remember this.)

babygirlwakesupOhhhh but she’s sooooo cute, right? (No, Aimee, stop. Don’t. Even. Think. About. It)

Day 18: Snails for inspiration (not for lunch).

Friday, Jan. 31

Okay, it’s been a whole week and I never even posted my entry from last Friday because I was in too much of a funk (update: I did FINALLY post the last entry). I’ve decided to just brush those poems aside for now because they were causing me to freeze up and not do anything, and I’d rather accomplish a smaller goal than nothing at all.

After dropping kids at school today, and coming home, I found a snail in my driveway. snailThis might not seem all that unusual, but it has hardly rained this season and now that we finally had some rain overnight, looks like this little guy (or gal) came out to play. And it reminded me of how important it is to keep writing. To keep working at it. That even snails get to where they need to go, just s-l-o-w-e-r. And that’s how I need to think of my writing. Maybe it won’t go as quickly as my counterparts who are able to dedicate their whole time and being and focus to writing (because basically, well, they have *NO kids!). But I will still get to where I want to be, just s-l-o-w-e-r, and so long as I stay dedicated. (A snail poem? Inspiration comes from everything around us!)snail 2

So, alas (I know, I know, stop using the word “alas”, it’s not olden times) here is my revised list of poems to submit:

1. The Weight of Books

2. Forgetting Rubidoux (I revised the title and I really like this one)

3. Becoming Furniture

4. How to Boil Water

5. Falling Off the Roof

6. A Thin Line

And short stories??? Well, let’s see if I can just get one submitted somewhere…<sigh> I am not a failure (my mantra today). I am not a failure. Slow and steady wins the race (damn these clichés are just ingrained into my brain!). Even snails get to where they are going…eventually. Dream big anyways. Right???

snail 3*Okay, okay, I’ll stop blaming the kids! I know, plenty of people have kids AND get their @#$% done.  But if you have kids, then you KNOW how hard it can be to balance, well, everything!

<And cue the kids to come running in asking for popcorn and movie time>

Good thing they’re cute (and I love them. A lot).