The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Big O--For Everybody

        Last night was my twice-monthly writing critique night. It was held where it always is, but this time, instead of just light fare, we had dinner together.

          Our hostess--who will remain unnamed--welcomed us into the kitchen (she was putting on the finishing touches to the meal). Her first words were, "Who would like an o--asm?"

         (Her husband was out of town, and she had decided to walk on the other side of the street for a change the wild side. Of course, our hostess with the mostest is the epitome of selflessness. In this instance she only gave, she did not receive.)

       When we are all satiated (it had Creme de Cacao and Baileys, I think, along with other ingredients. I didn't pay very close attention when she was telling us what was in it. She had me at "O"...), we dined. 

         Following way too much food, we tackled the real work, the true reason why we were there--critique.

         Lynn shared her 91-word memoir submission. If you lost it or have not seen it, here is the low-down.  The deadline is October 15, and you can only send in one submission (online only).

        I shared my Bigfoot story, and got some invaluable suggestions. When I brought it to the group initially, they sent me off in a wonderful direction. I was now floundering a bit, was nearing the end, and again--they came to the rescue.

       Linda was missing last night (no O for her--at least not from Lynn) but we managed to limp along and snort and advise without her. The evening's big climax--an intestinal "concert" of sorts. All the rich pasta and the dessert items made a couple of our stomachs caterwaul like a cat and moo like a cow in pain and howl like a coyote. It was hilarious.

      (Polite people would have pretended it was not happening--they would have ignored it. But then, no one ever called us polite--at least when the five of us are together.)

       One bombshell was dropped last night. Or more accurately, several bombshells. I think all five of us are going to do NaNoWriMo this year.

      Okay there, I said it. I don't want to shout it out too loudly, because that might cause it to not happen. However, the other four of us have become inspired by Lynn. Over the past year, she's shared parts of the manuscript she wrote for NaNoWriMo 2012. We finally got tired of holding our breath and demanded she give us the entire story--we got weary of waiting for the next installment each month. Seeing an engaging novel unfold--one that was written in one month--gave the rest of us hope.

        So, it was a night filled with delectable food, delicious company, wonderful writing critique, and even a happy ending...

         Do you have a favorite beverage you depend on when you're writing? Or, do you fantasize about drinking a particular liquid as you write?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why NaNoWriMo?

     It's less than a month away from NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month. The chance to write a fifty-thousand-word pile of a hot steaming mess novel in one single month. And hey!  It's done during one of the shorter months, which only adds to the frenzied fun.

     Two years ago I crashed and burned in less than a week. Last year, I ended up with a piece of work that will never ever be seen by another human being that is not quite ready to be revised. This year, I'm more hopeful.

      A fellow WWWP, Lynn, has done NaNoWriMo several years. Currenly, she is working on revising one of her novels. It's warm and moving and full of voice.  It's not a steaming pile of excrement far different from my last attempt. Lynn's work makes me hopeful.

      So, if you've never done it, here are ten six reasons to do NaNoWriMo:

1.  You develop some writerly habits during the process. You need to average so many words each day, so the ol' "butt in chair" is a mantra you mumble every day.

2.  You develop trust within those 30 days. Oh, not trust like, "Everyone will pitch in and help out around the house/yard, because, you know, I'm writing a novel this month." No, that probably ain't gonna happen. But if you leap out and take the risk, with just the beginning idea, you can trust that if your story has legs, the novel will evolve and grow and probably surprise you as you write it.

3.  When you're done, you can print up your can be used as a wonderful paperweight.

4.  You will be secure in the knowledge that you are part of an international movement. People all over the world are doing the same thing you are.

5.  This might get you out of having to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Try practicing this several times in the mirror--check your facial expression--before you say it to your family and friends:  "I don't think I will be able to cook the turkey and dressing and sweet potato casserole and all the other dishes this year--I'm swamped right now writing my novel. I'll probably just make a quick grilled cheese sandwich, so I can get right back to writing." This might snag you an invitation to someone else's house for the holiday meal...And if your spouse and kids sniffle and whine a bit, they might get invited, too.

6. You can get some cool blog bling, like this:

          How about you? Are you doing NaNo this year? And if not, what can you add to my list of six reasons? (Already I need help to pad my word count...)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hallacas and No-Ho-Ho and Hello, Oh My

photo by Sardonic Salad
        First, the hallacas (pronounced "aye-jak-ez," I think). It's a dish from Venezuela. A mixture made from fifty-eight five different kinds of meat (and the meat came from three different animals), capers, raisins, marjoram and other spices, red wine vinegar and red bell pepper. They're "embellished" with slivered almonds and olives. It's encased in a cornmeal "pocket" and then is "packaged" in banana leaves and steamed.

    I won't say what I was calling those banana leaves--since you might not appreciate the colorful and creative combinations I came up with--but suffice it to say, it was a daunting task.

      I was up until 2:30 in the morning on Saturday making these delicacies. My teaching partner's husband took his oath on Thursday and became a citizen. They have the most drop-dead gorgeous girl (who is a spitfire), and Holly hosted a surprise party on Saturday afternoon. I offered to make the hallacas before I knew how troublesome they would be. However, Rodrigo went back and got thirds, so I was happy...

      Next, no Ho-Ho for me. My "Fifty Shades of Santa" was rejected, but it was an encouraging no. I plan on studying the tone Pat wants, and submitting something to her at a later date for a later anthology.

       And I got a hello from Simon and Schuster. Okay, the "hello" was a box of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive books, I was expecting them, but it took a little out of the sting from the rejection.

       How'boutchoo? What was the funniest culinary disaster you've experienced?

       And if you'd like a pedicure this Sunday while you sip beer and get a pap smear, go to Pearl's Paps and Pedicure Pub. She'll fix you right up...I promise.