Sunday, June 11, 2017

Patience, Grasshopper


Wilbur Grasshopper - Disney
We all learn things about ourselves as we wander along the Road of Life. One thing I've learned about me is that I'm horribly impatient. Now, I learned this about myself a number of years ago, so I've had some time to Practice Patience (OHHHHHMMMM), and I'm so much better than I used to be. But, sometimes, the impatience creeps up behind me and throws a tarp over my head, and then I'm all wrapped up and trapped and thrashing around, trying to get out of it. This happens when I'm writing.

I'll have an idea for a book, and get all excited and jumpy about it, and rush to open a new Word document and tap a slew of sentences onto the first page. This always feels good. And as the first page turns into the first twelve pages, I'm still feeling pretty good, because I'M WRITING A BOOK!

But then, somewhere a long the way, as The Book is actually starting to take form, Impatience throws that tarp over my head and before you know it I'm thrashing around under it, wailing about how The Book will never be finished, and why did I even think I could write a book, and I turn into Don Music, that frustrated piano composer from Sesame Street:


"Oh, I'll never get it! Never, never, never!"

I look at the 9000 words I've written, and was feeling really good about, and remember that average novels are around 80,000 words.


It's not pretty.

But it's only not pretty because I'm not being patient. And, when I remember to be patient, the words and phrases come more easily, and the 9000 words turn into 25,000, and the 25,000 turn into 50,000, and pretty soon (although NOT AS SOON AS I WOULD HAVE BLOODY LIKED) I have 90,000 words, and I can start editing. (Repeat photo from above).

OH, I'LL NEVER GET IT! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!

And then, as soon as I do get it, and finish the final polishes on the manuscript, I think "Well, that really wasn't too bad!" and pat myself on the back, where Impatience is just waiting for me to start the next one.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Inappropriate?




I recently recommended the book The Handmaid's Tale on my FB page, and had someone ask if it was appropriate for older teenagers. I said it would be a judgment call for that parent. But, now I kind of want to change my answer.

YES! It's absolutely appropriate for older teenagers. And younger teenagers. And anyone else who starts reading the book and finds it interesting enough to continue.

I was always an avid reader. And I was definitely reading things that a lot of people would have called "inappropriate" for someone my age. I started reading Stephen King at eleven. Firestarter. My dad had bought the paperback, and when he finished reading it I swiped it from his nightstand. I haven't re-read it since, but it stands in my memory as one of my favorites. I also read all the V.C. Andrews books, and John Saul horror and more Stephen King, and scared myself silly.

By junior high I had already read all the Judy Blume books, and then came Forever. Oooooh, racy! It was a Young Adult book with S-E-X, and I read it as a Middle Grader, and it did not make me want to have S-E-X. In fact, it made me not really want to have S-E-X. Wifey was an Adult Judy Blume title, with a capital A. I didn't read the whole thing; but read the dirty parts when it got passed around my seventh grade science class. It, also, did not make me want to have S-E-X.

I feel like that is one of the concerns parents might have when wondering about the appropriateness of a book. If it's about sex and my teenager reads it, are they going to want to have sex? Books are a whole different animal from TV and movies. Books, I will always recommend. Read everything. The more you read, the more you know, and the more you know, the less likely you are to make terrible decisions about important things.

If you're worried about how a book might affect your child, have a book-club-like discussion with them while they're reading it (or after). Discussions are always a good thing in a family.

My question would be: what are the concerns about? Are you worried your child might not be able to process the material? If they can't, they'll usually just stop reading it. Or, are you worried the material might put ideas into your child's head, that weren't there before? Because, chances are, someone they know (or internet or TV or a movie) has already put those ideas there. Or, are you worried the material might give your child nightmares? Because, I will tell you, I didn't have nightmares from the book, but I just watched three episodes of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, and I am going to have nightmares.

Photo: George Kraychyk/Hulu

Monday, April 10, 2017

Oh, United



I recently had to look up what "SMH" meant. The kids say it on the social medias, and Granny was all, "What's that you're sayin?" It means "shaking my head" and it's totally what I'm doing right now about United Airlines. I mean, my GOD.

First, there was the Affrontery of the Leggings! Egads! Leggings!

Now, I am a big fan of people dressing nicely when they travel. And all the other times, really. There's no excuse for constant slobbery. I also don't think leggings are pants, because they're not. They're just really thick tights, and yes, they're comfortable, but you can actually make them look fashionable too, if you wear a tunic or something that hits around mid-thigh. It's a fashion suggestion, and I guarantee it looks better than just the thick tights and a sweatshirt, which you can wear on your flight if you must. But now I need a "however".

HOWEVER: My friend's sister works for United Airlines, and so she gets to fly on the special pass. Every time she has done this, she's explained how she has to dress up for the flight. United is doing its part to encourage fancy flying, and I applaud that. If you're flying for free, dress up. It's part of the rules, and my friend knows the rules and follows them. So, apparently the leggings sisters were flying on that same pass and did not abide by the rules, in which case I think United was within their rights to ask the girls to put on a dress or whatever it was they did. But now we need another "however".

HOWEVER: The girls' dad was apparently also flying with them, on that same pass, and was wearing shorts. He was not asked to put on a dress or whatever, and this is where I NEED TO GET SHOUTY! IF YOU HAVE RULES FOR FLYING ON THAT SPECIAL PASS, THEY NEED TO APPLY TO EVERYONE, ESPECIALLY THE MEN BECAUSE WOMEN ARE REALLY SICK AND TIRED OF BEING TARGETED FOR THIS KIND OF NONSENSE (if you need examples, see "Prom dress codes"). AND, ALSO, RULES!

*takes breath*

Today, United outdid themselves. From what I've seen on the Twitter, with the video and the explanations of what happened, I've learned this: United Airlines overbooked one of their flights, as we all know airlines do nowadays. They needed four passengers, who all booked their flights in advance, and paid for a specific seat (Ms. Leggings, you are in 14C), to volunteer to give up that seat for United employees to fly somewhere for something. When they did not get all four volunteers, United brought armed goons onto the flight to drag a paying customer (it's irrelevant, but he was a doctor who didn't want to give up his seat because he had patients to see the next day) out of the seat he had paid for, and booked in advance. United's PR response to this was that "one person refused to volunteer his seat, so he was removed".

No.



No, no, no, no, no, no.

We understand what "volunteering" is, right? And, we've all been there. Sitting uncomfortably in our plane seats while the flight attendant asks for "volunteers" and we nervously shift around, and look at everyone else, hoping someone else doesn't really care to get home or to their connecting flight for their vacation or whatever, and they'll volunteer. And, sometimes, it takes several rounds of playing auctioneer on the part of the flight attendant. "We're offering a free round-trip ticket and ten dollars! No? Okay, how about a free round-trip ticket and eleven dollars!" And they go up from there. And, eventually, the Price is Right, and someone finally says, "Okay!" If no one says "Okay!" you know what you need to do? You need to offer more money. Everyone has a price.

There is absolutely no excuse for how the employees of United behaved today, both on the airplane and in the PR department. You, as a massive corporation, can no longer act like complete assholes in hopes of saving $1000, because we all have cell phones with cameras and video. I'm only guessing that they didn't want to have to offer too much money to get someone to give up their seat, and then (for some reason) decided to select someone as a "volunteer". I have no idea how they even made that choice, but it doesn't matter. The lawsuit they are going to face, as a result of all this non-thinking, is going to be monolithic, and I am looking forward to it.