Spiders? Ick!

Last night I was over at a friend’s house for our weekly viewing of Farscape episodes. We both munched on a couple of Jimmy John’s #6, the veggie. I don’t know what it is about that sandwich, but I do love it. Not that I have a problem with meat.

Oh Jimmy John’s, how I am addicted to thee! *sigh*

Anyway, I stood up, and THANK goodness I did because the itsy bitsy spider climbed right up over the couch. Jae did a squeal and the spider ran down the couch.

Kind of felt like this. (@_@)

Of course in my mind when there isn’t a spider around, I totally think I’m like this.

And I do have the Batman-gonna-bring-some-hurt-on-this-spider spirit in me, cuz as much as those eight-legged critters make me squeal they make me kill. Kill immediately. KILL NOW!!!

Usually I flush them down the toilet for good measure, all the while saying in a pirate voice: “Say hi tar’ Davey Jones fer me ya filthy vermut!”

But what did my friend want to do? Catch it. CATCH IT?!?!

You people are INSANE! INSANE I tell YOU!

Okay, so she wanted to catch it to know if it was a brown recluse because those suckers are dangerous and it can be a bit of a problem. But still. Who wants to spend time messing with a spider that’s as quick as Speedy Gonzalez running all over the couch when it could be in the toilet and out of the house quicker than you can say “nuke the arachnids!”

Was it a recluse spider? We may never know. It’s not like spiders hold still when you have them captured in a jar. (Captured in a jar?! Nuke it, flush it, squish it, DESTROY IT!!!!!!)

They are watching and waiting for that moment when they can burst out of the jar and kill you.

One mistake.

That’s all they need.

Do you love spiders? Hate them? Have they ever interrupted a movie? Have they ever interrupted you period? How do you like to dispose of the devil’s spawn?

Jae NOTE: Okay, I hate spiders a lot, but I would never wish them completely gone. I know they kill a lot of things I don’t like. Mosquitos for instance. But that doesn’t mean I have to like them.

The Thing About Names

I have an incredible ability. But it causes lots of life stress and awkwardness, so it may be better categorized as an incredibly awful ability.

What is this ability you ask? Flying? Psychic powers? Bending space and time? Nope. I have the incredibly awful ability to forget a name about five seconds after it’s been told to me.

Yep. I’ve counted.

I don’t try to do this. On the contrary I try really hard to remember people’s names. I do all the crazy things. Like that girl Brooke I met the other day with the crooked nose. (See what I did there?) I still remember her name, so it’s not every name I forget. But it is most of them.

It’s probably to do with how I learn. I think it’s a design thing. I need to see the name represented visually. Because, by golly, I can remember the names of people in the service industry who wear name tags. I still remember tired, gray-haired Wendy who works at the Kmart. I still remember Chuy who hooked me up with a sweet tire deal.

But you? If we’ve just met, I have no idea who you are.

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WIP Wednesday & Row80 Sep 11th

It’s kind of a depressing day. A lot of people are posting about 9-11 on the Facebook. I was in college when it happened. I’m terrible with getting up in the morning and I heard the radio DJs first talking about the Pentagon being on fire which I thought was odd because, you know, it’s the Pentagon.

Then I found out the rest. 😦

But it’s also made me think, that’s why our job as writers is so important. We have the opportunity to help change the world in a way many others can’t. We can bring people together and promote understanding so that events like these don’t happen to anyone else or at least happen less. And perhaps equally as important, to give people stories so they can internalize world issues and events and come to conclusions independent of what “news” outlets are telling them.

It doesn’t even have to be overtly political. We all have things we feel strongly about, and if we’re honest about them in our stories, we give others a chance to internalize those things. Often they do tie into what’s happening around us.

That’s why we owe it to our readers to become the best writers we can be. They need our stories to help make their worlds a better place, and in turn our world.

The Goals

1. Read at least 10 more Anton Chekhov short stories to add to my progress starting from 50 of 201. No new progress. 60 of 201. Read his stories here free!

2. Finish reading both The Fire in Fiction and On Writing. No new progress.

3. Submit Trick or Tree to another writing contest. Finish Dog Shy and write at least one other short story, all to be submitted to contests. No new progress.

4. Write a flash fiction story. 2 flash fiction stories written so far.

5. Do at least one thing every week that increases my fluency in Spanish and Japanese. This Sunday I went to a potluck at my neighbor’s house. She and her husband are both from Japan, so I got a little practice in. Mostly I realized how much Japanese I don’t know. But one step at a time, right? Check!

6. Finish feedback edits on SHADE and get it queried. I’m reworking the query letter. Some things have changed and I want the query letter to reflect it. Query letters are my least favorite part of the process, but some evils are necessary. Thanks to my revisions I jumped from 87K to 96K. Sometimes you have to add things to have the story make more sense. But I’m relieved it stayed under 100K which is the danger zone. I’m doing line edits, hoping to cut a few more words, but I’m doubting it’ll be more than 100. 😦 Still, 96K isn’t bad, right?

Bonus Goals. Clemmings hasn’t made much progress to be honest. Comic Con sort of got in the way. And now that I have my upcoming conference, SHADE will likely get all of the attention. But I’ll still try and get a little more in on it.

WIPpet Wednesday

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for an excerpt!  How about since it’s the 11th, 11+13 = 24 lines. Good? Done.

Stupid. I punch the bag, followed by a couple of swift kicks. Stupid, stupid. I jab it with my elbow and throw another couple of punches. Really stupid! I kick it hard, throwing all my weight into it, and the bag tears open. Well, that’s the end of my workout.

“Frustrated are we?” chimes a voice from my agency communicator.

“What do you want?” I bend over to catch my breath.

“Shouldn’t you be getting ready to head to the school? Today’s the big day. You’ll finally be a Dashing Daisy.”

I scowl. “It’s Lily Girl and shut up.”

“What’s up with you anyway? It’s not like you to let people get under your skin.”

“I know. I just hate bullies. And I hate that I’m giving into one. Oh, by the way, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes wanted to track me at all times after today. Would you find me a place I can leave the school watch? If she knew I lived here….”

“Consider it done. You’d better get going. You’ve got major bodyguard duties coming up.”

“I’ll make a report tonight.” I head for the shower. The agency is right. Don’t let people get under my skin. Mercedes is a despicable human being. I knew that before I came to the school and I knew that before I started a war with her.

I let the water splash over my head and face. Alice’s hiccup giggle echoes in my ears. Maybe I should have taken a different strategy. But Alice will be hurt no matter what I do. And my feelings are insignificant next to the job. For a bodyguard, safety comes above everything, even if it means your subject can’t stand you. Even if Alice could understand, I doubt she’ll forgive me.

I finish getting ready for school, which for me means putting on the dumb uniform and not bothering with anything else. Charity will want to make me her own kind of doll, so no use putting in any effort this morning.

Based on last week’s entry, what do you think Mercedes is blackmailing Jade into doing? Any predictions as to how this will turn out?

Have you ever had to do something you knew would hurt a friend, but it had to be done? Have you ever had to work with a “villain” in your life? And how’s your Row80 coming? Better than mine I hope. 😉

Monday’s Writerly Quote

Ever have those moments? Maybe you go to a conference and hear what all the other writers have written and you look at your own story and contemplate how your shining diamond just became a worthless chunk of glass. Maybe you get a rejection letter where the agent is severely honest in their feedback. Or maybe you’re just having one of those days, staring at the computer screen, wondering if you’re really cut out for this business.

I think most of us have those moments of self-doubt, be they brief or long. I think this quote is best suited for moments like those, coming from Neil Gaiman:

Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that—but you are the only you… There are better writers than me out there, there are smarter writers, there are people who can plot better—there are all those kinds of things, but there’s nobody who can write a Neil Gaiman story like I can.

Someone might write better prose than you. Maybe their descriptions are pure poetry, while you feel yours is just getting the job done. Maybe you bump into someone who seems to have the most marketable idea in the universe, while perhaps the market seems saturated with ideas like yours. And maybe you just keep bumping into tons of people who seem much further along on the writing path than you are.

But that’s not really the point, is it? The point is to tell your stories. As Mr. Gaiman said, there will always be better and smarter writers, and that’s okay. Tell the stories only you can tell and be proud of it.

That’s not to say you don’t strive to become better every day. Hone those writing skills daily. Read everything you can. Don’t settle for less than the best in your writing. But when you find yourself worrying or comparing yourself to other writers, pull up this quote and remember you’re writing the story only you can write.

You are the only you.

Do you agree with Mr. Gaiman? Are you trying to write the stories only you can write? What do you do when doubt starts to creep in? How do you keep it away? What advice would you add to Mr. Gaiman’s statement? Let us know in the comments below.