Monday, August 14, 2017

College Edumacayshkun



My son is going to college. 

As a parent, I'm torn between "Oh, my sweet Baby is going out on his own!" and "Buh-bye All-Knowing-One- good luck in the real world!"

To some of you, that last statement might seem snarky, but there's good reason behind it. You see, according to our nineteen year-old son, my husband and I are morons. 

We had a huge discussion with him about grants vs, loans, what kind of dorm to pick, what he'll really need vs. what he wants, and other fascinating topics of disinterest, when he chimed in with the statement, "But Mom, you and Dad don't understand because you've never been to college."

Let me let you in on something, Seeker-Of-Expensive-Knowledge, neither have you.

So how is it that he thinks he knows more than we do? Just because we never went to college, doesn't mean we are unedumacated- it just means our grandchildren won't be incurring the debt of our non-existent student loans.

My mother's heart wants to find ways to make enough to pay his way no matter what, working myself to the bone to make sure he's fully funded. I want to send him to college with enough care packages that he will want for nothing, never be hungry or thirsty, have enough blankets to stay warm, and a fan to keep him cool. I want all the best tech at his disposal, so he can do what he needs to do to succeed.

But then my realist heart pipes in. How much as he done on his own so far? Ugh. Honestly, not as much as he could. And me 'following my mother's heart' would actually be detrimental to his growth into a productive human being. 
Why? 
Let me count the ways...as of right now:
He sleeps when he wants.
He eats when he wants.
He does chores when he feels like it, which mean he waits until we yell.
He hasn't earned any money because he doesn't work. Yet.

We trained him to be responsible. Really! This was a kid that at ten years of age, could do the laundry on his own. He even did it willingly! Now I can barely get him to clean himself, no less his own clothing.

Ick. 

He knows how to care for a home and keep things organized- he just doesn't do it. It's like trying to get an elephantine-sized sloth to run a marathon...it just ain't gonna happen, no matter how much prompting you do.

And after talking to the college staff, his is not the only case of All-Knowing-Do-Nothing Syndrome. In fact, colleges are loaded with peers like him, so he'll be in good company. At least for the first year. After that, I can see two things happening:

One, we parents will seem even more moronic than before, being mentally comparable to the amoebic gelatinous ooze of a fifth grade science project, because he can now claim a higher educational status.

Two, we parents will be genuinely revered and respected for the true Givers of Life Sustaining Food and Goods that we were, and hopefully will continue to be, because he ran out of snacks, money, and toilet paper. 

We also hope he'll think the second one without the addition of continual financial support, because he'll have a real job by then as a tutor and can pay his own bills.

Alas, for now, we have ten days left before the sloth goes off to start his new life. And ten days to go through his things, list what he needs, then go out and get the rest. 

It almost sounds like the beginning of a bad joke- A sloth and an amoeba go to store for college supplies...

We've learned life through experience. He needs experience to get through life. Hopefully we can find a happy medium before his college season is over, and if not, the means to move before he finds us!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Distraction Traction



I love to use that little red laser to play with my cats. They come running when they hear the soft scrape as I take it from the shelf, looking expectantly to the floor for the red dot that sends them running about the house as they try to catch it.

It's just a light. It's isn't something they can catch. Try telling one cat that, no less three

Unfortunately, I have my little red light too. Several, actually. I think everyone has at least one, maybe more. Mine are Facebook, emails, and videos. Facebook friends need to be spoken to, emails need sorting and deleting, and videos? 

Well, they need to be watched.

The sad part is, even if I had no internet, I'd still find other red laser lights to distract me. Like the crafty stuff I never put away. Or those piles of paperwork that need sorting, tossing and filing. And oh yes- books and magazines that need reading.

Don't get me wrong, Books and magazines are awesome things! I love to read. But when the story or how-to book distracts me from my work, then it becomes a problem.

Like this week.

I was supposed to write. In fact, I was supposed to write a lot. I have an agent interested in my book ideas, but he wants three of them finished and three ready to be done. I have one finished. Did I work on the other two? Nope. Not a single, solitary word. But I did start this great book on how to build your author platform.
I also had some health issues, but they required me to remain fairly still. Helloooo- writer here! Staying still is my job. My fingers were the only things that needed to really be running at top speed. 

Instead I used them to go through emails. Yes it had to be done. It had to be done for a long time! But I was supposed to be writing those stories. There goes that little red light again!

And here I sit on a Monday. It's Blog Day. It's also time for me to write my column and create a few puzzles for Ruby magazine- not to mention the puzzle book I'm supposed to finish in the next few weeks.

I feel like I'm in Distraction Traction- so distracted I can't move because everything I need to do is piling up around me. That's like twenty little red lights going in all different directions- Yikes!

Do you ever feel like that? I'm going to have to knuckle-down and break free of my Tractions. 

I'll turn off the internet as soon as I'm done this post (um...okay, after I post and share it, I swear!) I'll put the book in my purse so I don't see it. I'll crack open those story files and work on them until my brain is tired, then I'll work on the puzzle book (which is not actual writing, but more like digital crafting and a nice change of pace for my brain.) 

I will have at least one draft of one story finished and at least two others partially written- or have three story premises/outlines finished. And if I get done early, I'll continue writing instead of distracting myself. Maybe if I can do a little writing then do some puzzles I can entertain my brain long enough to get some projects finished!

Have you ever gotten stuck in Distraction Traction? I'd love to hear your stories of how you won free and pounced on those pesky projects!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Conference Capers




Last week I attended the last (but not least!) Philly Christian Writer's conference. I was both an attendee and faculty, which I can tell you on these gimpy knees of mine, was a challenge!

Not only was I trying to sell my own work, I was helping others publish theirs in Ruby for Women Magazine. I'm the Assistant Editor, so I represented a lot of possibilities for new writers.

There was a lot of good stuff this year. One lady was so happy I was an 'Assistant' Editor, because I didn't seem so scary! I know that was meant as a compliment, so I took it as such. Full-blown editors can be scary to someone new to the pond.

My friend Christian Barbie was there (the post about her is here), and she also was faculty; she was a teacher as well as helping people find their place in the writing world. I wanted to talk with her at length but people kept coming up to me and wanting to talk.

We looked at each other after the fourth interruption and she said 'Wow- you're really popular today!" I especially was amazed, since I didn't do anything to gain notoriety- but someone must have read or said something about me, because people I didn't even know were approaching me like I was their long, lost sister. It was awesome. If this was a taste of popularity, I can see why someone could get carried away by it!

Part of it was because my husband and daughter provided the snacks for the faculty. My daughter baked cookies and my husband baked cakes and set out all kinds of goodies healthy and not-so healthy to keep our faculty from passing out from exhaustion. 

My daughter wasn't there this time, due to a snafu in her schedule, and I had a lot of people wondering where she was. We brought her the last day of the conference and she was delighted by all the people who wanted to talk to her.

My darling husband also played chauffeur to those that needed rides to and from the airport and train station, as well as the near cross-country trek across the quad to and from the cafeteria. Only I was allowed to tip him with kisses, but he took a few hugs on the side as well.

The only downer was I'd brought a lot of my self-published (now called indie-published) books to sell, and was encouraged to bring my handmade tote bags (some high-end quilted totes and some lower priced giant grocery totes) as well. I sold one grocery tote and no books. Now I have a box of books at home with nowhere to go...yet.

But I have ideas. You know I'll always have ideas!

Between classes, appointments, and moving to and from the cafeteria hall lines for meals, I was physically and mentally exhausted. But it was a good exhaustion. I had appointments with two agents, and though one wasn't interested, but the other was. There was a catch- he wanted six books; three ready-to-print, and three almost ready and waiting in the wings. Only when I had those should I approach him again.

Six? It took me a year to polish the one I had! How was I going to...

Wait. I wrote that part-time. If I wrote full-time, I bet I could do a lot more. Looks like another lifestyle change is approaching! And let's not forget I have a book store interested in the puzzle book I'm writing- could this be the big turning point in my writing life? I'm so excited!

Lots to do. Lots to think about. and lots of new writers for Ruby for Women magazine. God is good! 

This week has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. Most of it really, really awesome!

As for this last big conference, the lady running the show decided that after thirty-four years (and a lot of work!) it would be a good thing to break a huge, costly conference into smaller, more reasonably priced conferences. There would be more of them, just smaller, cheaper, and more defined concerning genre. And that means she will reach a lot more Christian writers! Change is also good!

I'm looking forward to the changes coming this next year- I can't wait to see what happens and how God is going to move!