Monday, April 26, 2010

Say it ain't so...

I'm really big on cancer research. Especially breast cancer research. I'd really like to make this bad guy go away. I've got my pink ribbon on the right to prove it. And I've been planning on participating in the Susan B. Komen Race for a Cure in a couple weeks.

But when I got an email with this picture today, I thought it must be hoax.

So I did a search and found out it's for real. Here's the link:

I just don't know what to think. Buy deep-fried, hormone-laden chicken to help cure cancer?

And it's working. Money is going to the cause. So that's good. Isn't it?

Oh the Drama

Guess what happens when you cry off and on for three days while on the chemo drug Herceptin and undergoing radiation?


Yep, that's right. After surviving six rounds of chemotherapy, the lashes finally came out. Not all of them. Just about a third on the top. And all but one (for now) on the bottom.

I really don't know which of those things--the emotions, the radiation or the Herceptin (the most likely candidate) is the culprit. I guess it doesn't really matter. Except that I'll be doing this Herceptin for a whole year.

But it's funny how something that seems outrageous and incomprehensible at first, can become something to shrug off by the time it actually happens.

The good news is that those emotions have stabilized and we (the family) are feeling ready to move onto the next challenge. (And if you're wondering why the tears - I removed my last post for the sake of a certain family member who requested privacy. But call me if you know me, and I'll give you all the dramatic details.) =)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Voice Trouble

If I were better at self-promotion and blogging, I'd have one blog just about writing and books and another about my journey with cancer. But since that's more than my meager brain can handle, allow me to apologize to the reader who came looking for a good cancer story and instead finds one about writing. Because most of the time these days I'm just a cancer fighter. But sometimes I smack myself on the forehead and remember that I'm supposed to be an author too, which is what happened big time a couple months ago.

It started with an offer from my publisher to publish my manuscript Perfectly Normal. Which is really nice. I'd almost forgotten that I'd sent it to them - way back in the days that I was just a writer and a Mom. Before the big diagnosis. They gave me a month to make up my mind, and most of me wanted to say yes, but I just couldn't feel good about it. Mostly because I don't have the energy or frame of mind to start promoting a new book. I can't even get around to promoting my old book. But also there was something about the manuscript that just didn't feel right.

So I opened the dusty, neglected file and started reading it for the umpteenth time. And realized that my problem is all in the voice.

My other books have all been in third person, with point-of-view changes in most scenes. Where Hearts Prosper has two voices: Carmen, the mom; and Paige, her teenage daughter. This worked well since the two spend most of the story on different ends of the country.

But this new story, Perfectly Normal, is only seen from the point of view of the main character, Mira, which makes first-person a logical choice. Especially since it's written for young adults, who tend to like the intimacy of first person. But when I started writing, I just couldn't latch on to Mira's voice while in first-person. I fussed and changed and changed some more, and finally decided I was just a third-person writer. I then tried to add other points of view--her parents, her boyfriend, her trainer, the villains, but didn't like that either. Adding other voices gave away too much of the mystery.

The end result was an 80,000 word young-adult science-fiction novel written in third person with only one point of view. And it just felt wrong.

So on a whim I changed just the first page to first person, simply by using the find and replace feature in Word to change all the pronouns. I took both versions to my daughter. She's read this page at least a dozen times and so of course groaned when I handed her the two pages. But after reading both versions she informed me that the story had to be first person. In Mira's own words.

They were there anyway, I just hadn't realized it. So I went through the entire document and changed every "she" to "I", every "herself" to "myself" and every "they" to "we." And it's finally the story it should be. Mira's story. The girl who considers herself a perfectly-normal human being, and hates being called an alien, even though she is--technically--from another planet. The girl who falls in love with a boy she's not even supposed to talk to, and quickly learns that the only way to keep him safe is to leave him--if only she could.

Now I just have to work on finding a publisher again. But I'm thinking I might until my hair grows back.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Boy Brandon

I had planned to write a post that starts "eleven years ago today," but for the past few days I've been dealing with the side-effects of new medication and a hand that thinks it's a balloon, so I'll have to settle for "eleven years ago last Friday..."

At the age of 37, with four tweenies in the house, and almost two weeks over due (I'd developed a lot of patience by then), I gave birth (with no epidural thank you very much) to a beautiful little guy with ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes. Life could not have been better. The entire family reveled in this new little person who turned our household upside down with diapers, cribs, and booties that had long-been put or given away.

Little did I know that in the decade to come this fifth child--so different from the other four-- would make a habit of taking me out of my comfort zone - turning me into a stage manager, vocal coach, dance coach, acting coach, cheerleader, and sometimes even performer (a Pick-a-little lady no less, on stage singing and dancing, complete with old-time gym uniform and giant feathered hat).

I also had no idea that just a decade later our roles would often reverse, and he'd become my chief cheerleader and sometimes caretaker. Or that he'd become my major source of strength for putting up the good fight. Sometimes I think this whole excursion would be easier if I didn't have him to care for or worry about. But then he says something adorable and innocent like "Do you want me to go to that madderation program at my school?" (maturation if you hadn't figured it out) and I'm beyond grateful that he's around to keep me motivated.

I would say something about how a no eleven-year-old should lose his Momma. Or even have to worry about losing his Momma. But that would make me cry. And we have enough drama in this house without me being in tears all the time. So I'll just leave it at that.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Speaking of Tired

It's been spring break, which followed our family vacation, so the kids and I have spent more time together than usual. The other day Brandon suggested I go take a nap. I asked him if I looked tired. He said no. Hesitated. Then said, "But you're kind of mean when you're tired. So you probably ought to take a nap before you get that way."

Humph. And I'd been living under the delusion that I'm the perfect mom.

But I thanked him for his observation, which I'm sure is fairly accurate, and went to take a nap.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Big Aspirations

It has recently come to my attention that my very favorite place in the world is my bed. And my favorite thing to do is--hands down--sleep. I wonder if this has anything to do with why I can't seem to get anything done?