Category Archives: I Wrote This

Imagine It

Hey Indianapolis readers in particular —

You know what would make me REALLY happy? If you bought a ticket to the Library Foundation’s new Imagine It! event.

Here’s the deal: For $30, you get to join us for a fun evening at Ash & Elm Cider Co. You Imagine It Cider Logoget some drink tickets, some refreshments and you get to vote on a new Library program that will be funded by YOUR ticket proceeds. That’s right, you pick. It’s like American Idol meets Library programs.

If you read just one adult book/month from your public Library, that’s approximately an annual value of $204. If you read more, or listen more, or download more, you save more by using the awesome free resource that is the Library.

Which means, for all the things you love about the Library, a $30 ticket is a bargain compared to all that the Library gives you. I know the last time the hubby and I did dinner and movie, we spent nearly that on an evening’s entertainment. And trust me — as funny as Guardians of the Galaxy might be — it won’t make you feel as good as supporting a Library program. (Seriously, they’ve done brain scans. Making a philanthropic gift lights up the same part of your brain as when you eat chocolate or have sex. It feels that good.)

The projects you’ll get to hear about are amazing. The librarians involved have busted their tails for these awesome ideas.

They just need you — the Library needs you — to help implement their idea.

Buy your ticket here.

Trust me. If you don’t love it, find me, and I’ll buy you a Snickers bar to make your brain feel better a different way instead.

 

Advertisements

Editing with Pets

editing with pets.jpg

I found this on Twitter, so I don’t know whose image it really is, but I love it. If it’s yours, let the Word Nerds know and we’ll give you all the credit.

For those of you who don’t have pets to interfere with your writing time, consider yourself lucky. Beyond red pens and thumbs, most of the time, their “help” actually looks more like this:

gat edit

The end

I finished writing a short story this morning. I got it done just in time to get out to my writers group. I suspect they will have lots of suggestions for improvement.

Still.

This is the first piece I’ve finished in the better part of a year. My brain knows the piece may not be all that great, but on this is totally how I feel on the inside.

KermitFlail

Pedaling

Getting back into the habit of writing is not like riding a bicycle. That’s a terrible analogy.

BagpipesUnicycleIt’s more trying to be a one-man band act when you’ve gone tone deaf and can’t find your trombone, have only one cymbal and still need to pedal your unicycle.

For those of you following along at home, last April I got engaged and feel headlong into wedding planning. Wedding planning takes up a ton of time and the time I had I was my morning writing time. Suddenly, my novel got back-burned for all the googling about florists and cakes and invitations.

In December, we had the big day! Then, there were thank you notes to write and all the wedding planning paraphrenalia to sort, toss, file and otherwise move off the desk.

Come late January, I finally decided I was ready to write again! I’ll do a short story, I said! That’ll be easy, I said!

HA!

I spent several thousand words with nothing happening and stilted dialogue. But the time I finally remembered things about plot, I gave up on that story. Fixing the pile of words wasn’t worth the time.

Stacie and I spent time brainstorming another idea and I’ve turned my attention to the next short story. I’m not sure this one will be totally finished, but I do feel like I’m pedaling more steadily on my writing unicycle now.

No matter the completeness of this one, I’ll be closer to being back to having two cymbals and then WATCH OUT WORLD.

 

 

Hitched!

married

It’s official. This Word Nerd got hitched.

And the other Nerd came to visit to witness the big day.

 

nerds

Happy times.

Before and After

In the day job, I manage the website for The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. Admittedly, the moment I started the job, I was less than enthused because the site looked like this.

old site front page

That gray bar…always there. The site always looked too small. More than that, it was hard to update. Posting was a giant pain and so it sat. I focused more on social media to push content because posting anything was a giant hassle.

In summer 2014, after 18 months on the job, I’d built the traction necessary to push for a redesigned site. It took a lot of reminders every time my boss asked me to update that cover page text, I’d have to say I couldn’t (and I couldn’t… that was hard-coded into the design and a web developer I am not).

I’m proud that indyplfoundation.org now looks like this:

new website

It’s mobile-responsive. The back-end functionality is so hugely improved that I actually will look forward to updating the site.

A huge thanks to our friends at Tactic Marketing for their development of the site. They definitely heard what we wanted and listened well to our feedback about earlier prototypes to get to this version.

I’m proud of what the Library Foundation does, proud to be part of this team and definitely proud to be able to tell our story better.

Food for Company

porkchopsThe secret to this dinner is really two things: the marinade on the pork chops and the sweet potatoes. I’m not sure I could ever make enough of the potatoes to satisfy my fiancé. As we were eating, I said something like, “This is food we could feed to guests.”

So, to kick off your week, here’s a few recipes:

Peach Glazed Pork Chops

4-6 pork chops
1/2 cup peach preserves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vingar
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1.5 tsp salt (I used sea salt)
3/4 tsp black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Place 4 to 6 pork chops in a bag, add one cup of marinade. Reserve the rest. Let the chops marinate 2-4 hours. Grill over medium heat, basting the chops with more marinade every time you turn them over. After the pork chops are seared on both sides (seared is the wrong word, but not pink anymore), closed the grill lid to get the middles cooked. Total cook time, maybe 10-12 minutes.

Grilled Garlic Sweet Potatoes

2-3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
2-3 Tbsp. garlic olive oil
Salt (not sea salt)
pepper
Rosemary or basil

Cube the sweet potatoes. (You can peel them or not, it’s up to you. One other tip, microwave the potatoes a good 90 second first. Makes them easier to chop and cuts down on your cooking time later.) Put in large bowl. Drizzle olive oil on them, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat potatoes.

Take a large piece of aluminum foil (really big), and pour potatoes on one end. Sprinkle with either rosemary or basil. Fold over foil to make a packet.

Place on grill over high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes.

If you’re making both of these things together, start the potatoes first, right over the hottest part of the grill. Cook for 10 minutes. Then, scoot them aside so you have room to add the pork chops.

Therapy and the coach

Months ago, I did something to my left hip.

I have no idea what. I didn’t fall. I don’t remember colliding with anything. I didn’t take up an overly athletic hobby I have no business doing (PARKOUR!) or even a mildly athletic habit. Still, something went wrong.

About two weeks ago, I was ordered to physical therapy because I shouldn’t be having any low-grade, perpetual pain.

If you’re ever writing a character who has to go through any kind of physical rehab/therapy after a major injury, let me tell you, that is a HUGE obstacle for a person. It takes time. And while progress (at least for me) has been happening, it’s slow. That umpteenth leg lift with only a 2lb ankle weight on is hard even though you know it’s helping. It’s still hard to lift that foot a few inches again when you know it will hurt and when your leg feels like jello already.

It’s a mental game, really. One more stretch. Or sometimes 10 more. Or now with resistance.

If your cop/FBI agent/swordsman/whoever is on the mend and trying to recoup their strength, they will be tired. And angry. And frustrated. They will likely breakdown and have a good cry in the middle of a session because everybody wants to be better faster than they can be (unless you’re writing Wolverine, in which case, this is irrelevant) and they will hit a point of feeling useless.

coach

Sometimes when I’m doing my stretches at home, I have a coach, looking down from on high (or the end of the bed, technically) and squinting at my progress. (Not much, and bad form, no doubt).

Sometimes, she comes down and helpfully stands on my abdomen and head-butts my chin. Mostly, she’s realized that while I’m stuck there on the floor, trying to muster up enough grit to do a few more exercises, I can give her a few extra chin scratches.

The Big Read

TBR-Logo-BWLast January, during the mega snow-and-cold event, I was working from home on a grant to the National Endowment for the Arts to host The Big Read at The Indianapolis Public Library.

The event launches next Wednesday, March 11, and I’m excited to be part of the team that made it happen here. We are one of 77 libraries or nonprofits around the country that were selected to participate during 2014-2015.

Join us at Central Library in Indy at 10 a.m. on 3/11 for a media event, or at 6 p.m. for the opening reception and event kick-off.

Check out this full list of event happenings, grab your copy of the book and read along!

Think Before You Write

For the past two months (longer honestly), I haven’t been writing fiction.

I have just finished a giant project for my church that has been very rewarding work, but it pulled me out of fiction. That was about time really, not interest. I have about an hour in the mornings before work for writing and many of those mornings needed to be spent on this other project to make it good and put the good time to it.

On Tuesday, it went to the printers and my mornings are for fiction writing again.

Right now, I’m scribbling notes and trying to get organized. While I was working on this other project, I kept having novel ideas, what if, kind of thoughts about characters and plots. I’m not sure any of these ideas are good ones, but exploring them is a way back into habit.

Stacie, the other half of Word Nerds, is a big help on some of this idea vetting. She got really excited about one potential idea, but I’m not quite at that level, which tells me it might be the wrong choice for me as the writer. Or that I need to think about it more.

Don’t worry that all this thinking is turning me into a plotter. That’s unlikely. The story exists. The basics aren’t changing now that I’ve pants-ed my way through a whole draft months ago. These thoughts are all to take it to the next level.

think pen

 

(This is the ad for the now-defunct DBA pen.)

Tagged