Nathan Bransford’s Surprisingly Essential First Page Challenge

January 30, 2008

Oh, Bente… Have I told you lately that I love you? Hmm?

So, yeah. Yesterday I got an email from an Aussie/Canadian friend o’ mine, Bente, regarding a literary agent dude by the name of Bransford. Nathan Bransford. Apparently, said literary agent dude opened a contest looking for up-to-500-word submissions of a person’s manuscript’s first page. Right?! RIGHT?! Dude, I’m SAYING. I mean, limiting myself to 500 words? HARD.

However, hundreds and hundreds of aspiring writers had already bombarded the blog by the time I heard about this contest, so it is fortunate that said literary agent dude had the prescience to solicit the assistance of a co-judge– a non-publishing-industry type by the name of Holly Burns (author of the Nothing But Bonfires blog)– who, incidentally, has a British accent, but not like Gwyneth’s or Madonna’s or Britney’s, but a REAL British accent, having been born English and whatnot.

Wait. What?

Oh! Contest! Shut up. I’m totally focused.

So, without much more than a cursory glimpse at Bransford’s– Nathan Bransford’s– website, I proclaimed him legit, threw caution to the wind, took my chances, threw myself in headfirst, pinned my hopes on a cloud, took the leap, jumped in with both feet, grabbed the bull by the horns and freaking wrassled that sucker to the GROUND… er, okay, I’m out.

I submitted an entry.

Yay! *sarcastic jazz hands*

What can I tell you? I’m a crazy person. Ask anyone. They’ll tell you. CRAZY. PERSON.

And now? NOW? Well, I’m all aquiver with anxiety and self-doubt.

So thanks for that, Bente. No, really.

(No, really.)

Take a peek at my 498-word-entry (and feel free to critique) after the cut:
[Read more]

Driving in Cars With Drama Queens

January 28, 2008

We now join a conversation “between” Alli and Momma in the DWM car, already in progress…

“…and it wasn’t even a big deal, it was just one little mistake– are you listening, Momma?– but they wouldn’t let me help and we were getting graded on cooperation and stuff, so I told the teacher I wanted to help but they wouldn’t let me– and that’s not cooperating, is it, Momma?– I mean, it’s not my fault they lost points because we were supposed to cooperate, and it was just, like, one point or something, but then she was all like, ‘What’s that all about?! You ruined our grade!’ and she got all worked over and stuff and she told the other girls not to play with me at recess– which is so rude, huh, Momma?– and then guess what? She started to cry.”

“Wow,” I replied as I flicked my turn signal blinker and glanced over my shoulder at my blind spot. “Lots of drama in the third grade, huh?”

“I know! I mean, she got so worked over, Momma! For one teensy little mistake! And it was pretty much their own fault, anyway, if you ask me, so, you know…”

I merged into the right lane. “Well, hopefully by next week your project partner will have forgotten all about this.”

“Yeah.” Alli sighed heavily. “Man… what a drama queen.”

Didn’t See It Coming

January 23, 2008

MEMO TO FAMOUS DUDES: Drugs totally suck. No, really. And listen, I don’t care how badly life seems to blow at the moment… Cut. That. Shizz. Out. No, REALLY.

You’re breaking my heart.

That being said, R.I.P., Heath Ledger. I certainly didn’t see that one coming.

Honestly. I feel as if I’ve been shaken from a self-absorbed stupor as I deal with the sudden and forcible realization that we should never let the people we care about believe they are alone or unloved. It strikes me that often we (and by we, I mean I) are so tightly enfolded in our own loneliness or disappointment– in our pain– that we overlook– or refuse to hear– the low, distant roll of dark clouds that hover over the heads of those closest to us. Look, we think, she jokes, she laughs. She’s fine, just fine.

But that is just it! That is the thing, right there! I should know better, I should see, because I know only too well that cries for help are more often than not silent… and masked with a smile.

Hidden behind a laugh.

Buried deep within a joke.

People we care about should never feel alone or lost in the darkness rumbling overhead. We (and by we, I mean I) need to crawl out of the smothering folds of our own sorrows or misfortunes and look around us. Visit or call those who are alone or suffering. Extend encouragement and a listening ear to those who are weathering personal tempests. Offer assurance that people do care, and that they do matter, and that brighter days do indeed lie ahead. Do it. All it takes is a moment– a heartbeat, really– in the big scheme of things. Just look beyond ourselves and do it.

It might just save a life.

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”
–Norman Cousins

Just Thinkin’

January 22, 2008

I love hot chocolate, but detest chocolate milk. [cue Robert Palmer’s Some Like It Hot]

Too this end, I’ve noticed that my enjoyment of the beverage decreases exponentially as I work my way to the bottom of the cup. (I blame the inevitable cooling factor.)

Whatever. I just think that’s weird.

Feeling Saucy

January 20, 2008

Look how tall my gals are getting to be! Shazam!

Feeling Saucy

Hannah (birthday girl! woot!) and Alli are feeling quite saucy today, bee tee dub, due to some seriously sassy straightened hair! Now some of you may know of the curly-haired gal’s secret pining for stick straight hair, with blunt cut bangs and no fear of frizz, and by golly, today these two little girls were living the dream!

Well, except their hair isn’t quite STICK straight, there is nary a bang in sight, and a little humidity would poof those hairdos right the hell out, but whatever! STRAIGHT HAIR! On Hannah and Alli! It’s like, a miracle or something. A birthday miracle!

No, I’m not tearing up… there’s just a speck of dirt in my eye…

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