Strange Obsessions

I’m in a strange writing place right now…I think my query is to the point it doesn’t totally stink anymore.  I put it up for peer review this weekend expecting it to get mauled…and it only got a few scratches.  Yay!  I think it’s as good as it’s going to get, so I can obsess about something else now.  (I feel empty without something occupying the “obsession” part of my brain).

I just have to decide which “in” thing to fixate on.  We’re going on a vacation next weekend, so I can obsess about packing (getting a family of four packed for a week-long trip without exceeding the luggage weight limit is a task).  No.  This isn’t it…I’d rather procrastinate and freak out on Friday night when I can’t get everything pulled together.

Oh!  I’ve got someone house-sitting for me, so I can obsess about cleaning the house so they aren’t horrified at the amount of animal fur that’s lurking in here.  Uh-uh.  That’s not obsession worthy.  I’ll have to put that on the procrastinate list to.

Well, I’ve got the second book I’m working on (I’m on Chapter 4 right now) and I’m already 30 pages behind my goal.  It could work, but I’m not far enough along to put that kind of pressure on myself.

I’ve got it!  Earlier tonight, I started looking for my stamps so I could get a couple of things ready to mail.  I don’t mail stuff very often, but I know I had some in my desk drawer a couple weeks ago.  I questioned the usual suspects (my children) but of course, they weren’t talking.  I threatened torture (no cartoons tomorrow), but each one blamed it on the other, so I’m back at square one.

The contents of my desk drawer are emptied on top of my desk so I can search for the stamps that seemed to have vanished.  I know it would be easier to just go to the post office and buy more (there’s one less than a mile from my work) but instead, my mind won’t let this go.  When there’s a mystery, I have to solve it.  Too bad it’s not an interesting mystery (no one has died…yet) or I could use it for a novel idea.

A reasonable person would obsess over something that matters (like packing for a trip or cleaning the house for guests), but I’m not a normal person (as anyone who reads my posts with any regularity has figured out).  I pick out obscure little details that eat away at me until I drive myself to the line between mildly crazy and stark raving mad.  I will try to put on the brakes before I cross that line.

Tenacity

More than once during my lifetime, I’ve wished I could be a cat.  Not just any cat, though; some cats have rough lives.  I wanted to be one of my cats.

I get up to go to work – the cat sleeps in bed.  I get home from work – the cat is still asleep.  The only evidence of movement is an empty food dish and full litter box.  Yep.  Being a cat would definitely be a good life.

Last night, I saw something else that made me want to be more like cats:  tenacity.  That’s a good trait to have, no matter what species you are.  You see, we had this annoying fly in our house and for hours, Sammy and Lizzie chased this fly.  They waited.  They stalked.  They pounced.  They missed.  Then, they did it all over again.  There were no temper tantrums, no frustration because they failed – and no quitting.  Sure, I’d like to be more like a cat because I can’t say that I work at something for that long without frustration.

Some might say the cats exhibited stupidity rather than tenacity by chasing a fly for almost two hours.  Although they didn’t appear intelligent when they slid off the table or ran into the wall, in their defense, I’d say that stupidity is not even attempting something at all.

By the way, one of them eventually did get that fly.   

Here’s where I stop wanting to be like cats; I surely wouldn’t enjoy the taste of flies :)

Note:  No cats lost any sleep during the taking of these photos.

Fiction Scene Idea – Stolen from Real Life

Lizzie (not Borden, I hope)
Blood thirsty attack cat

Scenes in a novel, or even an idea for a novel, can stem from everyday life.  For the following example, I would like to thank my son’s cat, Elizabeth (Lizzie) for trying to kill me this morning.  (Okay, I exaggerated that accusation; she only aimed to break my neck.)

This assault came at a time when I’ve been thinking about scenes in my next book – mainly things that could happen to someone having an awful day.  

Lizzie weaved between my feet as I walked to the kitchen.  I sidestepped her each time, until she introduced a new maneuver:  she stopped and laid down!  To avoid crushing her (and subsequently having to explain her demise to my son), I stumbled over myself and fell into the wall, muttering something about a “stupid cat.”

Here’s where the light bulb came on.  My character (Lee) tells her friend about her bad day, where several things go wrong, including the admission that even her cat tried to kill her.  Of course,  when  Lee gets to the part about the cat’s murder plot, the friend thinks she’s crazy,  which is another part of the story.*  

I have to go now.  Lizzie is staring at me with a smirk on her face, and I’m sure she’s ready to finish what she started this morning…

* I can’t say why this is important to the story, or hint at what the story is about, because I’m paranoid that someone will use my idea and do it better!  And of course I’m sane and rational because I’ve figured out my son’s cat is out to get me.

Things that make me feel old (and young) – Part 2

Last month, I had fun making a list of things that make me feel old, and then balancing it out with things that make me feel young.  I thought of more things to add to the list.  Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to come up with things that make me feel old than things that make me feel young :)

Things that make me feel old:

  1. Pulling a muscle putting on my tennis shoe
  2. Getting an e-mail with the letters “ROTFLOL” in it and Google has to tell me what it means
  3. Realizing said e-mail was from my MOM!
  4. Being passed on a hiking trail by a white haired man with a walking stick.  Could’ve been a cane, but that sounds so much worse.  It was definitely a walking stick :)
  5. Skinny jeans (do I really need to say any more?)

Things that make me feel young:

  1. Reading Goosebumps books with my son…and enjoying them
  2. Eating hot fudge sundaes …with whipped cream and sprinkles
  3. Hanging out with friends – no children
  4. Writing (it’s been a passion since high school)
  5. Remembering addition, subtraction and multiplication enough to help my son with grade school homework.  (When he gets to Algebra, I’m outta here…letters belong in the alphabet, not math).

Manuscript – 1, Author – 0

I’m still working on revising the manuscript of my first novel and this is how my eyes see it right now:

Manuscript Crazy
Can't see straight

When the words of my manuscript make as much sense as the letters on an optometrist’s eye chart, I think it’s a sign that I need a break.  So, I decided to write about something not related to novel writing.  (I apologize in advance).

Recently, I heard someone use the phrase ‘You can’t put lipstick on a pig.”  Though it’s a colorful way to say ‘you can’t make something it isn’t’, I have to wonder:  how many people have actually tried to put lipstick on a pig just to prove it can be done?  It seems like it would be a difficult task, with the thin lips, large snout and all.  (If you Google the phrase “Lipstick on a pig”, there are some funny photo shop pictures).  This got me thinking about variations of this phrase that never caught on:

You can’t put a dress on a bull.  (I wouldn’t try this…would you?)

You can’t put eyelashes on a fish. (Poor fish.  Would the lashes even stick?)

You can’t put ballet shoes on a moose and call him a dancer.  (But he would be an instant You Tube sensation.)

Here’s the score:  manuscript – 1, author – 0.  Tomorrow is a new day.  I may be down for today, but in the end I WILL get this manuscript submission-ready.

I think the content of this post is another sign that I need a break….a REALLY looooong break!  If you’ve heard a funny phrase that made you laugh, please share…laughter is an excellent stress reliever!