Sunday, March 28, 2010

Phrases You Hear at a Writers Conference

When I first became a teacher, I had to learn to speak education. Education is full of acronyms like SST, ESL, SACS, IEP, IDEA, and ILT (teachers, you know exactly what these mean).

Last week, at the Mount Hermon Writers Conference, I realized that writers have another language, too. Rather than acronyms, it's chalk full of phrases you hear only amonng writers. I have been home for a week now, and I miss the following phrases:

1. What are you writing?
Since this phrase is music to every writers' ears, it is the first thing we say to one another. Upon meeting an author here, the first question is not, "What do you do?" or "Where do you live?" It's "What are you writing?" The answer to this question could last one minute or twenty... or it could lead to question number two.

2. Why are you crying?
The Mount Hermon Website states that the purpose of the conference is to help writers in every phase of their career. The unwritten goal is to make all conferees doubt their ability, purpose, and overall decision to write. It is a requirement to have at least one emotional breakdown each conference. Check!

3. Felt Needs
Nonfiction books always address "felt needs," so editors want to know what need your book will address. My answer is, "It addresses my need to be published." No one seems to laugh at that.

4. Dabbling in
To answer question number one, writers might say, "I write narrative nonfiction, but I'm dabbling in Sci-Fi." This means that the writer has commitment issues. Like a man who is unwilling to define a girl as his "girlfriend," this person just dabbles because they are keeping their options open.

5. What genre are you?
Every author must be placed into a category. That way you know who to sit by. If you sit by a fiction author, you will be forced to use additional terms like "plot points," "character development," or "story lines." If find yourself rubbing elbows with a fantasy writer, you'll undoubtedly hear about fairies, gremlins, or magical powers. And if you are fortunate enough to sit by nonfiction writers, your life will likely be improved, uplifted, and encouraged.

6. Memwa (Correct pronunciation of memoir)
If you meet someone trying to sell their memoir, you will probably need phrase #2 soon.

7. Y.A.
To use this phrase in a sentence, editors say, "We are not looking for Y.A. right now." Y.A. stands for young adult books.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What Are You Looking forward to?

Last night, the sweet little man at Starbucks shared some disturbing news with me. Apparantly, Starbucks is discontinuing my favorite drink, the Espresso Truffle. It debuted November 4, 2009, and has been an important part of my life since that faithful day. And now, I must say goodbye... until Christmas. Around the holidays, Starbucks unveils rich drinks like the Peppermint Mocha and Egg Nog Latte, so hopefully they will bring back the Espresso Truffle for the holidays. So, last night, I started looking forward to the holidays, just so I could get an Espresso Truffle.

It reminded me of Clay, at the end of college football season. He starts counting the days until the NEXT FOOTBALL SEASON as soon as the national champion is announced (seriously).

We definitely look forward to different events.

Clay looks forward to...

- The Masters

- Clam Dip and Egg Nog at Christmas

- March Madness, especially when Kansas has a shot

- Sports Illustrated Magazine arrival (every Thursday)

- Sports Center at 11:00 AM, 6:00 PM, and 11:00 PM

- Shopping for hunting gear, although this has not proven to be money well spent

- Quiet time to read the fourteen books by his bed

I look forward to...

- Buying the newest tech gadget

- Sipping percolator punch and watching The Mentalist

- Spending $4.00 on Starbucks even though I have an espresso machine at home

- Time to putter around the house in my fuzzy pink slippers

- Saturday morning snuggle time

- Anytime I can go without makeup

- Purchasing new makeup (hmmm, weird)

The list could go on and on. What do you look forward to? What does your spouse look forward to?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

50 Days as a 1950's Wife

I have an idea that has captured my imagination for the past week. Summer will be here before you know it, and we have already begun to make plans for home repairs, vacations, etc... But I have a more intriguing idea. What if I spent 50 days treating my husband (and our home) the way women did in the '50's?

"What do you mean?" One of my friends asked when I told her about this idea. I mean, what if I took care of Clay the way my grandmother took care of my grandfather? What if I treated my responsibility as a wife as my number one responsibility? What would that look like?

Here are 10 reasons why I am considering this:

1. The life of a wife has changed over the past 60 years, and in many ways, it has changed for the better. We experience equality at home, share the workload, and more. However, I believe that my grandmothers were true artists, expending their energy to make their home a beautiful haven. I wonder what that is like.

2. I'd like to learn how to do things women used to do (and some still do) such as make their own jam, pickle cucumbers, sew, and even play bridge.

3. I want to wear a cute little apron every day!

4. It might be fun to spoil Clay, to see what his life would be like with a woman who devotes her day to making his home a delightful place.

5. I'm fascinated with women who lived through this era. I'd love to meet with them and hear their thoughts about the changes they've seen over the past 60 years.

6. This experience would draw me closer to my parents and grandparents. That kind of time together would be priceless.

7. I wonder if I could do my vacuuming in heals and nylons, the way my Mima says she did.

8. My life verse is, "Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men." Colossians 3:23. I'd like to see what it's like to be a wife with ALL MY HEART, to really focus on this endeavor with all my attention, creativity, and drive.

9. As a teacher, I have the unique opportunity to try something for a summer. I will still be receiving a paycheck, but can pretend to be a stay-at-home wife.

10. Most importantly, I'd love to try something new! I have always been adament about the kind of wife I will be, and this would be a complete departure for me. It's an opportunity to grow, and experience something completely different from my everyday life.

What kind of differences do you think exist between today's wife and the wife of the '50's?

Be advised, I know that this era had plenty of problems... such as civil rights issues, rampant smoking, etc... I am not attempting to revive the entire era, rather to understand the dedication women had to taking care of their home and husbands.