Monday, June 30, 2008

Kill Your Television

There are bumper stickers that exist with the wise words “Kill Your Television”. While I might agree in theory, I suck at it in practice.

Now, I don't watch a lot of TV. I know lots of people say that, usually trying to sound sophisticated and intellectual. Me? I really “try” not to watch a lot of TV. Couple of, it takes away time when I should be writing. Two, because I can't do two things at once. If the TV is on, I'm watching it. Can't carry on a conversation, can't write, can barely knit because I can’t count stitches and watch at the same time. I'm fascinated by moving pictures and sound.

But those aren’t the real reasons I limit my television viewing.

Mainly I don't watch TV because I get sucked in. Really sucked in. Even though I know these people aren't real (and even in reality TV, we know they aren't real), I worry about them. It's like characters in a book. I get so wrapped up in these characters that I get stressed when something bad happens to them. I had to stop watching soap operas because I got so upset that there was never a happy ending for my favorite characters. (Anyone remember “Passions”? Used to wake up worried about these people. Arrgh.)

My current TV addiction is whatever (and I mean whatever) is on Bravo from 9-10 CT on Wednesday night. It rotates from Project Runway to Top Chef to (currently) Shear Genius (which if you couldn’t guess from the catchy title is a reality show about hair stylists). Yes, I was actually distressed that I’d missed the first episode of Shear Genius. Don’t worry, it’s been repeated so I’m back up to speed.

How weird is this? I'm intelligent. I’m educated. I have “real” friends (as opposed to our TV Friends we visit with sometimes). Why am I so fascinated by the encapsulated lives of people who cut hair for a living? I don't get it, I’m not proud of it, but still, you'll find my ass on the couch every Wednesday night.

It’s embarrassing (somehow an addiction to crack seems less mortifying) and I’m going to change my ways. Really.

But ooh, Project Runway Season 5 starts up in July. Can’t wait!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

That Special Person In My Life

I am a writer of the sometimes sweet and sometimes erotic romance. No matter the genre, let’s not forget that there is always an alpha male present, whether hard-nosed and overbearing or one who hides his sensitive side. As a reader of romance I expect the “happily ever after” all due to the devilishly handsome hero. I mean, if it weren’t for those muscle-bound, heart throbbing, turn-me-to-putty walking orgasms with a great tush, reading romance just wouldn’t cut it.

So, it’s a little bit crazy that what I wanted to shed some insight on how I feel about a particular woman in my life, one of those special ladies who always give me my ‘happily ever after’ no matter what the situation. I’m so extremely fortunate to have my mom. Being fifty-two years old, I couldn’t have imagined myself getting to this point without her. I have shared laughter with her—laughter that makes the muscles of your face hurt. I have shared tears of sorrow so devastating that I never thought I would get to my feet again. But I did and it was because of her undying faith in me no matter what.

My mom.

Maybe this dialogue should have been posted on Mother’s Day, a day more fitting since I am speaking from my heart about her, but on that day I was preparing my mom’s favorite meal because you see, she was kind of down and out. Only three weeks earlier she’d had surgery, the very first time she’d ever been in a hospital (at the age of 72 mind you) other than when she gave birth to myself and my sisters.

Mom had a bad winter. Her energy was gone—this from the woman who always laughed and told me I better kick myself in the butt and try to keep up to her. She used to literally run circles around me with her enthusiasm for life, her efforts to ‘catch the dust’ coming in the door so those damn particles wouldn’t land on her end tables, and the fact that she had numerous tasks to do in a day.

I remember how upset I was with the fact that suddenly my mom slowed down just before Christmas. What? No way. She was the one who always lit the fire under me. I remember her words, laced with a slight bit of unease that she just didn’t feel right, that something was wrong. Trips to the doctor. Tests. Questions asked to medical professionals that weren’t being answered. More tests. My mothers seemingly losing her quick wit along with her zest for each waking moment. And then finally when mom was beginnning to think she was losing her mind, a simple standard test that we all should take seriously, and it came back suspicious.

And I remember the bolt of pure panic that seared my insides when she came out of surgery and the doctor sat us down. Stage III colon cancer. I wasn’t ready for this. Why? Because up to that terrifying moment I’d never really ever faced the possibility of life without mom. An ignorant and immature emotion for sure, (especially at my age) because this was the woman who was ALWAYS there for me with her words of encouragement, her sense of extreme pride in anything I’d accomplished in my life, her wonderful laugh and her even funnier sense of humor. The shopping trips, the special holiday treats she always created, the sly winks when she knew she had one up on my dad. Suddenly I wondered if I’d always taken those things for granted. She is the mother that everyone should have because she not only played the parental role with wonderful finesse, but at sometime during my life she stepped into the ‘best friend mode’ and I know I couldn’t have been any luckier than I was to have her there.

The eight days following her surgery were a blur as she recuperated in the hospital. Man that was tough. She’d always been such a go-getter and now I visited with this woman who looked old beyond her years. And it wasn’t just worrying about her. My father (who slept on a cot beside her bed every night during her hospital convalescence) also looked twenty years older. And suddenly the natural role of parent-taking-care-of-child was reversed. My sisters and I were suddenly the caretakers—mentally and phyically. And we happily stepped into those positions because it was time for us to give back for all the wonderful parenting we’d received our entire lives.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced how shock throws us into a state of disbelief because don’t bad things only happen to other people? But then you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and though you’ve always blatantly stated how thankful you are for the things in your life, those issued statements dig into your brain, take root and you realize just how cherished each and every minute of the day is.

The doctors are being quietly optimistic for her recovery. Mom is handling chemo like a champ. It’s still going to be a long haul to the end of this year though. She’s got lots of treatments yet to undergo but she tells me she’s going to be around next year to haunt me in person. Ah, that humor of hers nearly brings me to tears because even though it’s back, I now find myself quietly storing everything mom says in a special place inside me. Vibrant pictures of her as she goes about her days with an aplomb I knew she possessed are inscribed inside my brain. We’ve exchanged so many special thoughts over the last few months. Some are echos of past conversations through the years, but most are more cherished reiterations of laughter and love we’ve shared. Oh, and I’m now experiencing her finger pointing at me because I haven’t been writing. She’s pissed because she knows I’ve shelved my stories for a bit and she doesn’t want to be the reason. She just told me the other day to get back on the horse and GET BUSY! Guess I better listen or she said she’d give me a spanking. I told her me being fifty-two years old, her brand of spanking wasn’t the kind I needed. We laughed our asses off.

So Mom, I just wanted you to know that even though I haven’t received that spanking yet, I’m writing about it. LOL. And yes, I promise not to let Dad know.
I love you. It’s nice to know you’re always watching my back. I think I’m the luckiest daughter in the world.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Caging the Muse

Caging the Muse

Ever wonder where ideas for novels come from?
I do all the time. At different events I've attended, I've been asked
How did you come up with that idea for your book? I simply shrug and
say "The voices in my head told me to write it." How else can it be

I think there'd be less insane people in this world if they'd just
write down what the voices tell them to do rather than act upon them.
That's what I do :)

But there are times when the charaters stop talking and no amount of
wine can loosen their lips. What do you do then? I'd like to hear your
ideas on how to kick start the creativity.

Me- I clean house. My husband loves it when the voices stop...the
houswork gets done. Sometimes this doesn't work and it can be days
before the juices are flowing again (since I write erotic, that's a bad
thing---can't have dry scenes)LOL.

Looking forward to hearing everyone's ideas on how to cage the muse and
kick start it's elusive butt.

Tara Nina