Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Slip 'n' Sliding Away . . .

I bought the kids a Slip 'n' Slide today.

It's been in the nineties here this week, and our backyard looks level, but only until you try to set up a kiddie pool. And I guess I like to live vicariously on the edge, watching my kids flirt with mild danger from time to time (as long as they never accept a date with it). Here is what I've learned:

  • My kids think the Slip 'n' Slide is a giant drinking fountain.
  • The Slip 'n' Slide gets the kids wet all over; hence, it has kid-cleaning potential.
  • Soap makes the Slip 'n' Slide more slippery.
  • I will probably not get away with playing "Hair Salon" with the Slip 'n' Slide again. But the kids got really clean.
  • After a few days, I won't need that stupid piece of wet plastic for the kids to have fun. The resulting mudslick will become their personal Slop 'n' Slide.

Monday, May 29, 2006

AbsoluteWrite and Addictions

I'm a writer, okay?

I'm addicted to writing. Even when I'm not doing it. Because when I'm not doing it, I think about doing it all the time. I dream about it. I fantasize about when I can do it again. Sometimes I swear off doing it--I think I don't need to; I fool myself that I don't really want to, and when I lower my guard, I'm doing it again--writing, I mean.

Sound familiar?

I'm also addicted to AbsoluteWrite.

I never figured myself for the message board type. I have always been the lone wolf. I hate most social gatherings. I shun parties; my neighbors probably think my husband buried me in the backyard when he put up the kids' swingset. My list of really good friends is pretty small. That is, until I stumbled upon AbsoluteWrite.

Jenna Glatzer and her AbsoluteWrite message board seduced me slowly with helpful information without talking down to me like the newbie I was. Thanks to AbsoluteWrite, I sold my first piece to a content website and realized I probably could have sold it somewhere else for much more than the thirty-eight dollars I received for it. I learned a lot about the craft of writing from writers who "show, don't tell."

But what really pulled me in to AbsoluteWrite was Jenna Glatzer, herself. Jenna is the author of multiple books and is the founder of AbsoluteWrite. When hurricane Katrina hit, Jenna wanted to do something--and she did. The result is the book Stories of Strength, a wonderful, uplifting anthology about what it takes to beat the odds. She was able to garner the support of hundreds of authors (including Orson Scott Card, Wil Wheaton, and Robin Lee Hatcher,) and editors, artists, poets, and even the publisher, Lulu--with all the proceeds going to disaster relief charities.

My desire to do something to help the Katrina victims overcame my fear of participating on AbsoluteWrite. I submitted my essay Beachside Revelations, and to my surprise and delight, it was accepted for the book. My confidence grew, and I began to post and to get involved on the boards. I began to get more ideas for writing from joining in on the Office Party threads. I now have the courage to submit my work; and though I know I need to steel myself for the rejections, I'm pleased to say that my work does sell (although I admittedly don't submit often enough).

I have come to know and like immensely the members of AbsoluteWrite. It's like a huge family to me--we have the quirky ones, the sweet ones, the naughty ones, and the sensitive ones, and the ones that are picked on only because they are loved so well. There is only one rule that is repeated so often it almost feels forbidden to say because it has become so cliche there: respect your fellow writer. Every day there seems like a family reunion.

Only when the AbsoluteWrite message board went down (and you can read about it here) did I realize what a precious thing AbsoluteWrite is. How AbsoluteWrite message board has become more than the sum of its parts.

And it is beautiful.

There are going to be some people who will read this blog (like my family) and they will wonder what I'm talking about with regard to AbsoluteWrite. They will wonder why I keep mentioning the name AbsoluteWrite often, too. And they will realize they are seeing a side of me I've often smothered and choked and forced into the closet or under the bed.

But I am a writer, and I'm powerless to stop writing. And I want my AbsoluteWrite family back. Because they love me, too, in spite of my quirks and sensitivity and my sweetness and naughtiness. And, when they pick on me, I smile and feel nothing but love.

But Barbara Bauer begs banishment! Believe me!