Rhymes With Smash!

The musings of Megan Paasch, and other stuff.

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

I’ve Moved!

Howdy! I’m just dropping in to let you all know that I’ve transferred over to Wix.com, and have purchased my own domain name and everything! I would love it if you followed me over at http://meganpaasch.com. My first blog post is up over there as well. Please go check it out! Click around! Have fun!

(I’ll be gradually reposting some of my more popular posts from here over to there, but this site will stay up for a while.)

 

Advertisements

Temporary Shutdown

I have a birthday coming up, and this year I’m giving myself the gift of unplugging. Unplugging from social media, that is. That’s a gift? Yes, sometimes, it is. I have several reasons for wanting to do this. The main one, of course, is productivity. I’m easily distracted, especially when I get stuck for words, and social media is one of the main ways I distract myself.

Another reason is that I’m getting Twitter rage fatigue. If you’re on Twitter in any capacity, you might have noticed that every week or so, everyone is up in arms about something—sometimes it’s pretty legit, sometimes it’s . . . questionable. And either way, it’s getting to me. REALLY getting to me. I’ve unfollowed some people. I’ve muted others. But it still creeps into my timeline, and I just need to get away from it for a while for my own peace of mind.

And I also just want to see if I can do it. I’ve gone on hiatuses before where I just try not to log in for a certain number of days, but I always end up lurking, scrolling through my feed, careful not to click on anything so I don’t let anyone know I’m there when I’m not supposed to be. What can I say? I like you guys! Eventually I just can’t help it and I’ll tweet something and break my hiatus earlier than I said I would. Yup. That’s me. So I’m trying something different this time. Starting sometime tomorrow, I’ll be temporarily deactivating both my Twitter and Facebook accounts. JUST FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER I SWEAR, PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME OKAY?

Ahem. Um. Anyway. . . .

If I’m understanding the Twitter FAQ correctly, I can reactivate my account with all of my followers and tweets intact as long as I do it within thirty days. After thirty days, it will be permanently deleted. But don’t worry, I’ll make sure I reactivate before then. (Oh man, I really hope this works). As for Facebook, I don’t think there’s a set amount of time after which I can’t reactivate, but again, it’s only for this month, so I’m not concerned.

As for whether I will continue to blog every Monday this month, well . . . I haven’t decided that. Let’s just say I will try to. Otherwise, I’ll see you in October! Have a great 3.5 weeks!

Christmas Lights

Tonight the boys were great at dinner, trying new foods enthusiastically without complaining, staying in their seats, remembering their table manners. This was a shining moment in a week of epically bad behavior, so as a reward, we did something spontaneous. We stuck them in their pajamas, put coats and shoes on them, and piled into the car to go tour the neighborhoods of our town looking for neat Christmas light displays.

We don’t have a lot of Christmas traditions. Generally, we try to keep things relaxed and low key. We of course put up a tree. We usually bake some cookies at some point. We read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on Christmas Eve. But I think my favorite tradition is driving the kids around to see the lights.

There’s this one neighborhood—we call it the McMansion neighborhood—that REALLY gets into it. I almost wonder if it’s mandated by their HOA or something, because nearly every house is practically Griswoldian. I’d have pictures for you, but my phone camera’s focusing mechanism couldn’t keep up with the glorious brightness.

And it is, indeed, glorious. We snaked through the cul-de-sacs to the accompaniment of “oohs” and “ahs” coming from the back seat. The 4yo actually stayed awake the entire time, so you know he had to be excited. And the 7yo, who was grumpy when we started out because he thought we were going to a pajama party or something, not just driving around looking at stupid lights, quickly surpassed the rest of us with his enthusiasm.

“Aren’t you glad we did this now?” I asked him.

“Yes! These lights! They’re making me so…so SPECTACUMALARLY JOYFUL!” 

And that? Hearing that right there? That made up for the entire rest of the week.

I’m Ba-ack…Early

I’m writing this late at night, awake due to a nasty cold, and feeling pretty darn discouraged. So if this post is a bit rambly, that’s why.

I’m ending my social media hiatus* a week early. And it’s not because I’m done revising. Because I’m not. Not even close.

Don’t get me wrong, I got a TON of work done these last few weeks – way more than I probably would have otherwise.

But…..

As I’ve been tackling these revisions, I’ve realized that this is turning into much, much more than smoothing sentences and changing a few things here and there. I mean, I knew that, but for some reason the magnitude of it still hadn’t sunk in until today. I have a bunch of new scenes that I still need to add. I’m also still not solid with how I want to fix my ending. I have several chapters that are so messed up they’re going to need to be completely overhauled. In other words, this is going to take a heck of a lot more time than I thought**, and I’ve been working on it pretty much constantly throughout the day, everyday, and today my brain hit a wall and I couldn’t do more than a paragraph, and I realized I’m really close to burning out. And that’s a lot of “ands.”

When my revision notes turn into a string of curses (yeah, that happened today. I’m not proud of it, but it felt good), it’s probably time to slow down a bit.

That’s the beauty of self-imposed deadlines. I’m the only one depending on me to finish, so I can push that deadline back without it affecting anyone else. This is my first book. It’s a HUGE learning curve. This is the book where I figure out how I work. It’s where I learn my lessons. It’s where… ok, you get it.

And you know what else? I want to ENJOY this time. I want to have FUN with these revisions. Because someday, hopefully, if I’m lucky, I’ll have REAL deadlines hanging over my head and THAT will be the appropriate time to stress. Right now, I can choose my stress level, and I choose to turn that knob to low again.

So what I’m saying is, I could finish out this last week of my sort-of-kind-of social media hiatus – I know I could because I’ve done it for two weeks already – but what would be the point? I miss everyone. I miss getting support and giving it. So yes, I could do it. But I don’t want to.

I’m back. Hi! I missed you!

* OK, I did pop on Twitter and Facebook a few times – just a few. And I’ve been on Tumblr (initially for writing inspiration, but let’s face it, who can resist a funny Sherlock gif or two…or three…or, hey look, some Dr. Who stuff, and…..ANYWAY, it still wasn’t TOO distracting and I still got a lot done. Mostly I’ve been pretty good.

** I’ve said this before, haven’t I? Yup, several times, I think. Maybe I can learn something from this?

…But It’s OK Because I Like Your Stuff!

Hello everyone!

Want to hear me go off on a little rant? You DO? Well good, because something I saw this morning really hit a nerve, and…*deep sigh*… I have to share my feelings.

So here’s the thing. I’m not against letting my kids, 6.5 and almost 3, watch TV. I do, however, try to be careful about what I let them watch. Maybe I’m a little too careful sometimes, but I know my kids and the kinds of things they will imitate, and yeah…they’re little mimics. Generally, I find the early morning animated shows on The Disney Channel to be fine. Most of them are pretty good about teaching social skills: how to be a good friend, how to be polite, how not to be a sore loser, etc. Good stuff to know! I have a tendency to zone out during these shows while I drink my coffee and try to wake my groggy self up for the day. Besides, I’ve seen most of them many times, and come on! They’re Disney! Not much to worry about there, right?

Henry Hugglemonster is a newer show. It’s cute and centers around a town full of colorful monsters who are nice to each other and get along, and there’s harmony, and fun, and roaring – but cute roaring – and blah, blah, blah, you get it. Pretty innocuous. But I’m glad I was paying closer attention this morning, because today’s episode basically said this:

“Hey everybody! Don’t worry about it when someone copies your work, because copying is totally fine.”

Wait. Whaaaaat?

So here’s how it all goes down:

Henry Hugglemonster builds a race car out of spare parts for his scouting group’s race so he can earn his racing badge. Another monster scout watches him, and you know what he does? He makes his own car exactly like Henry’s. He even gives it the same name. Understandably, Henry gets angry. He goes storming off. But then he thinks about it for a minute. He realizes that the other monster did what he did because he really likes Henry’s car.

Now at this point in the story, the writers have the perfect opportunity to teach the audience that, despite the saying “imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery” (Charles Caleb Colton), it’s 1) wrong to copy, and 2) we are all creative individuals, and it’s much more satisfying to come up with your own work.

Unfortunately, the writers of the show went a different direction. Henry tells himself that he is a nice monster, and he should therefore be nice to the monster that copied him (ok yes, true, we should always strive to be nice). So he tells Monsieur Copycat that, you know what? It’s ok, and it actually makes him feel really good and, hey! They should both paint the same color stripes on their cars as well so they can still look exactly the same! I’ll give it to the writers of the show that they did, at least, have the other monster decide to use a different color than Henry for his stripes… but still.

Then they all cheerfully take their cars on the race and (spoilers!) Henry wins. Woohoo!

So why did I find this episode so irritating? Is it really a big deal? Yes. Yes it is. Because it’s basically dismissing plagiarism. It’s saying that a person who is plagiarized should be flattered, because it means their work is really good. I’ve also heard this argument used in defense of pirating: “Why you mad, bro? I stole your stuff because I LIKE it! This should make you HAPPY!”

The other part about this episode that really gets to me is how it’s also sending the message that, by being angry about his work being copied, Henry Hugglemonster isn’t being nice. He shouldn’t be angry, even when he’s been wronged, because that would mean he’s not a nice kid …er, monster.

What?!

It’s not wrong to get angry, kids. It’s wrong when you express your anger inappropriately. Big difference.

Am I reading too much into a children’s program? I don’t think so. I mean, I’m sure the delivered message was not the one intended. I’m sure the show wasn’t written with the purpose of teaching kids that plagiarism is ok. But that’s the message that comes through. Kids pick up on these things so easily.

And that’s why mine will no longer be watching this show.

End Rant.

Summer Break

I’ve been having a lot of trouble focusing lately – focusing on writing, focusing on reading, focusing on life’s daily tasks – my brain is just one big, tired, frenetic, jumbled up mess these days.

And now my “schedule,” for lack of a better term, has been thrown into turmoil with the arrival of summer break. The one time in the afternoon where I was guaranteed (unless the toddler didn’t nap) to get a couple hours of quiet where I could concentrate on a task has – Poof! – disappeared for a few months. I spent the first week of this break stressed and irritable because I couldn’t find the time to write during the day, and by evening I was too tired to think straight.

When I caught myself unnecessarily grouching at my family, I took a step back and reassessed my priorities. What’s more important this summer? Finishing my revisions, or spending lots of quality time with my husband and kids, especially my oldest before he starts full day school in the Fall? Happy, quality time with my family, of course! I will never get these years back.

So I’m taking a summer break too. I’ll be spending my time playing, and cuddling, and discussing things like why robots are awesome and why Pirates say “Arr!” I’ll be catching up on all the chores and clutter I’ve allowed to accumulate during the school year, and getting the boys involved in helping to clean it up. (They still think that’s fun at this age. Ha!) I’ll be reading a LOT, and drawing, and maybe I’ll pick up my knitting needles again. I’ll be planning fun day hikes (when it’s not pouring down rain as it has been the last several days), and getting ready for our first family camping trip, and arranging play dates and group outings. And maybe, if I have a spare moment and/or the inclination, I’ll write down a paragraph or two, or smooth out a few lines in my draft, or write a short story…but ONLY if I have the extra time and wish to do so.

And then when September arrives, and my big six year old goes off to first grade all day and my almost three year old naps (if he still does at that point), I’ll get back to work with a vengeance. Because surely after such a long, refreshing break I’ll be in good form. Right?

By the way, when I logged into WordPress to write this blog, I was greeted by a notification informing me that today is my one year Blogiversary! So a big celebratory WOOT for that! IMAGINARY CAKE FOR EVERYONE! WOOOO!

Also, an announcement: I’m pleased as punch to be a part of Carey Torgesen’s upcoming short story blog series, “The Memory Project,” which goes live tomorrow (Friday, June 28)! Read all about it here, and then revisit her blog every other day for a brand new story from a great group of writers.

More Than Writing

I think a few changes are in order for this blog.

I want to write about more than just writing. Everybody writes about writing, and I have very little to contribute in that area just yet, as I’m still very new to the process. But writing isn’t the only thing I do, and it alone hardly defines me as a person. I parent, I do crafty things, I bake, I geek out, and I even draw the occasional celtic knot. Yes, celtic knots. What?

OK, so maybe I haven’t been doing much of these other things lately (besides parenting of course), because writing has taken up most of my time, especially with NaNoWriMo going on this month. But my point is, I do have other things I like to talk about, and I think I would write here more often if I opened up the range of subjects.

So from now own, you can expect to see quite a variety of Megan-y topics. I thought I ought to prepare you. It could get…interesting around here. Or not. Maybe a little. Eh, who knows?

By Jove, I Think I’ve Got It!

I am happy to announce that I am THIS close (imagine my thumb and finger held really close together) to starting back up on the draft of my W.I.P. I have a few more minor things to figure out tonight, and then I will be ready to go! The one major hold up for me has been figuring out the reasons – the big WHYs – behind the plot. Why does the Spirit return? Why does it choose Charlotte? I wasn’t comfortable with a convenient explanation such as “because she’s the one,” or “because some random prophecy said so.” I wanted the reason to be more tangible than that. And I found it. And it’s so simple. And I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before.

It came to me today out of the blue, and at the last possible moment, because I set a goal for myself to be ready to start a new draft by August 1st. That’s tomorrow. Wow.

I haven’t been as thorough with the outlining process as I said I would here. For instance, I haven’t mapped out locations, but I have thought long and hard about them. I haven’t created a timeline, I haven’t figured out everyone’s backstory, and I certainly haven’t created a detailed, scene-by-scene outline. But I have done (for me) the important bits. I know the main plot points. I understand my characters: their faults, their strengths, and what drives them. I even have a few scenes written down on index cards and put in order, and I plan to add to these as I go along. I’m comfortable with it now, and I’m ready to go.

Awards!

I have FOUR blog awards! Being a brand new blogger and all, I’m flattered beyond belief. I will try to live up to them as my blogging experience continues.

Karen over at http://karensdifferentcorners.wordpress.com/ gave me three of them last Friday, which is so sweet of her! You should go over to her blog and get to know her. She’s awesome.

I meant to post about these over the weekend, but yeah, that didn’t happen. Sorry, Karen. But here they are now! The first is The Reader Appreciation Award:

The rules for this award are as follows:

“1. Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
2. Answer the 9 questions below
3. Nominate 10 to 12 blogs you enjoy.

4. Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.

5. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.”

Here are the questions:

What is your favorite colour?

It changes, but lately I’ve been drawn to red and robin’s egg blue. How very retro of me.

What’s your favorite animal?

Crows, because they are crazy intelligent. If they had opposable thumbs, they would probably take over.

What’s your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

To answer the same as Karen – Coffee.

Facebook or Twitter?

I’m on Twitter more these days, so I guess I’ll go with that. But I use them for different purposes.

What is your favorite pattern?

Pattern? Hmm. Celtic knotwork.

Favorite number?

13

Favorite day of the week?

Saturday

Favorite flower?

Bleeding Heart

What is your passion?

Imagination

The second award is The Most Inspiring Blogger Award.

Now, I haven’t blogged very much 😉 but it is good encouragement, and the award challenge is fun. I’m supposed tell you seven things about myself that you probably don’t know, and then nominate other blogs to do the same.

1.  I used to have the entirety of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” memorized. I can still recite the lines along with it.

2. I lived in Indonesia from the age of 11 until 13.

3. My husband and I were high school sweethearts, and got married after college.

4. I went through a brief period of time in highschool where I wanted to be a stand-up comedian. (Thank goodness that period was brief – I wasn’t that funny)

5. I wish I had red hair like Anne Shirley

6. I love 40s retro stuff

7. I am a Dance Central freak

The 3rd award is The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award, which as far as I can tell, has no requirements except to pass it on:

ALSO, a while back, Felicia Tatum over at http://followyourdreamsalways.blogspot.com/ nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award, and I feel awful that I am just now putting it up here. Thank you, Felicia! Please check out her blog. She really is a beautiful blogger.

Now for the nominees, in no particular order: (You are nominated for all of the awards, by the way, but you don’t have to do all of them if you don’t want to. I’ll understand. It’s a lot to do!)

Ellie Flynn http://petrichorgalore.blogspot.com/

Karen Robiscoe http://karenrobiscoe.com/

Keith O http://keithisaworkinprogress.wordpress.com/

M.D. Kenning http://mdkenning.com/

Sydney Aaliyah http://sydneyaaliyah.wordpress.com/

Emma McCarthy http://freejournowriter.wordpress.com/

Karen Einsel (for the Beautiful Bloggers Award, since obviously you already have the other 3) http://karensdifferentcorners.wordpress.com/

Felicia Tatum (for the top 3 awards, since obviously you already have the Beautiful Bloggers Award) http://followyourdreamsalways.blogspot.com/

And that, my friends, is that! I hope your Friday the 13th is a good one, and your weekend fantastic as well!

Sloppy Introductions

First off, before we go any further, I feel that I should warn you that I have attempted blogging in the past and, well, I’m pretty crummy about posting regularly. I can go weeks, even months without a single post. I have no idea what’s going to happen here, but I will try to be better about it this time.

Phew! Now that’s out of the way, you may be wondering: who is this Megan person who wishes to write a blog? Well, here’s the typical stuff: I’m married with two kids, I like books, movies, music, knitting, sewing, yadda, yadda, yadda…yawn. Oh! I’m writing a novel! That’s kind of interesting. I have a BA in History. That’s…sort of interesting. I play the piano, the tin whistle (I’m rusty at it … ha ha?), and am learning to play the ukulele. I survive on coffee. If an avocado is in the room, I will eat it. I live in the Pacific Northwest, but I’m not a vampire, and my skin doesn’t sparkle (though it can blind!) I make up words, dance to the music in my head, and talk to myself in different accents. And I don’t have any clue how to end this post.

Until next time,

Megan Paasch (it rhymes with “smash”)

Post Navigation