Archive for November, 2008

. . . all my troubles seemed so far away.

Posted in writing on 11/26/2008 by Susan Shay

What song am I quoting from? Yesterday!–Beatles, if I learned my history correctly. 😉
Everyone who figured it out gets a big star for being able to think the day before Thanksgiving.

    I’m blogging at WRITING SLUTS today. Come see me!

    Yesterday I talked about the name Writing Sluts. #4 commented. And so you won’t have to hunt it up, I’m pasting her words here:

    I think the name is pretty funny. And it will get attention. It was a very clever idea.
    I remember once in high school I bought a t-shirt that said “jock” and then went on to give the definition of one (an athlete). I loved it because I considered myself one. Dad saw it and told me that I couldn’t wear it any more, because it was not appropriate. I was crushed.
    I’m enjoying your group’s new site. I’ve bookmarked it and will visit often.

    Did you read that last part? “I’ve bookmarked it and will visit often.”!!!

    Y’all should do that, too.

    See you over there.

Smart, Literate and Undeniably Talented

Posted in writing with tags , , on 11/25/2008 by Susan Shay

Acronym–SLUT: Smart, Literate and Undeniably Talented.

We’re having a bit of a discussion about WRITING SLUTS–the other blog I’m part of. I helped come up with the name, and big surprise to me(!) it’s caused some problems. (see comments )

Apparently the word “slut” is a hot button for a lot of people. Who’da guessed?

Hop over to WRITINGSLUTS and read today’s comments. Annie (Rat Picture) has done a some good research on the word. Historically it’s not that bad–but neither was bitch.

Whore, however, has been used to refer to a woman who puts out and gets paid for it (one way or another) since Bible times. But we hear “Ho” all the time in music, movies and even kids’ conversations. (I remember my son introducing me to his girlfriend once by saying, “This is my ho.” He was joking but he got my attention.)

Another word that has made a big transition lately is pimp. If you have a Myspace, you’ve probably visited, or at least heard of, Pimp My Site. First time I heard the word pimp being used to refer to making something look really fantastic my same son said, “Did you see that car, Mom? It’s pimp!” 

I swallowed my tongue.

Once able to speak, I demanded, “Do you know what a pimp is?”

My son laughed at me. “Duh, Mom. But this isn’t about a guy like that. It’s about the great look. See?”

I can go even farther back in time with word problems. Once, when I was a kid, I was riding in the car with my dad and our preacher. The preacher was driving and as usual, moving a little fast.

A line of cars went past and one was an Oklahoma Highway Patrol. I leaned forward in the seat and checked the speedometer. “Better slow down a little,” I advised in my oh-so-mature way. “That was a hypo.”

“What did you say?” Dad demanded as if I’d suggested something extremely rude.

I swallowed hard, quickly realizing Dad probably thought my verbal shorthand disrespectful.”That highway patrolman might come back and pull us over if we don’t slow down.”  

“But what did you call him?”

My stomach dropped down around my knees as I waded through the deep dodo I’d created for myself. “A hypo.” I could barely force the word between my chattering teeth.

Dad scowled at the preacher, who I finally realized was chuckling. “What are you laughing at? Your kids will do something like that one of these days, and–”

“It’s not that.” Minister-boy took his eyes off the road long enough to glance at my dad–probably judging just how angry he was before he continued. “It’s just that my wife and I’ve called them hypos for years.”

Yeah, I know. The word hypo doesn’t carry the stigma slut does, but at that time and with my upbringing, it was every bit as shocking.

So what do we do? Get rid of the word? Change the name? Or let people know that its our word. Our blog.

For me, the name WRITING SLUTS, besides meaning we’re a group of sharp women, means we’re diversified. In control. We write with different styles, genres, intensities. Each one of us goes through this business the way she wants to because she just can’t help it.

We are who we are. The women God made us to be.

And we’re a great bunch.

Christmas is Coming, the Geese are Getting Fat

Posted in writing with tags , , , , on 11/22/2008 by Susan Shay

I think that’s the way the song went. (There’s a reference to a ha’penny in that song. Never did learn what that was.)

“So what’s the big deal”, you ask. “Christmas comes every year.”

True. But this year I’ve already been told by several people that they’ve already finished their Christmas shopping and have their houses decorated.


Finished shopping? My kids are trained to not think about what they want until at least the end of November. I remember years when DH and I didn’t start shopping until Dec. 18. Then we finished it all in one day. (Yes, I signed the petition to make Marathon shopping an Olympic sport.)

And decorating? I’m not sure we can find the decorations this year. (MS’s entire household is still in my living room. He moved out of his apartment and back home in the summer because the house he was to move in to would be ready in a few weeks. It’s not done yet.)

At least with MS’s stuff in there, I’ll only have half of the decorating to do, if I do much at all. (Yeah, it’s the hippy cocopuffs whine. You’ve heard it before, you can fill it in for yourself.)

Am I going to go all the way and use my hip for an excuse not to do Christmas? To not decorate at all and just give $$ for gifts? Maybe. But maybe not.

I thought I might do that for Thanksgiving, but found myself buying our 14 pounder and sweet potatoes last week. So much for that idea. We’re going to try to consolidate the living room to the west end and eat our Turkey and ham on the east end.

I doubt we can pack it deeply enough to get to the fire place to hang our stockings I knitted last year, though. I’ll be really sad if we don’t get to use them. Might have to hang them on the stairs instead of the mantle. I wonder if Santa can find them there?

So the holidays are upon us and I’m as far from being ready for them as I’ve ever been. What am I going to do? Worry? Whine?

Probably. Or I might just enjoy the change and go with the flow.

So, if you could come up with a dream Christmas, what/where would it be?

Skiing in a Christmas blessed wonderland?

You, a beach and your favorite bum in Mexico?

Every relative you’ve ever enjoyed at your house with Emeril doing the cooking?

A big party with all your heart friends?

Having someone else do all the work while you do all the enjoying? (Or would that make you the husband instead of the wife?)

Let me know.

Blogging Away

Posted in writing on 11/21/2008 by Susan Shay

So as I mentioned the other day, I’m part of another (new) blog. Writing Sluts–

The funny thing is the dither most of our bloggers get into one their day.

“It’s not a big deal,” I told them. “Think of it as a conversation with a friend. A one sided conversation.”

“But what if I make a mistake?” I could practically hear them thinking. “What if the comments are critiques?”

That’s only happened to me once. . . by bf Marilyn. And that has to be expected.

“What do we blog about?”

Hm. Good question. Sometimes what you blog about gets a lot of hits. Sometimes you get ignored. The best thing is when you get comments. Good comments. Start a discussion.

I’m big on discussions. Don’t you hate it when everyone just agrees to be nice? Give me a little dissension in the ranks. And if someone really disagrees with me (of course they’re wrong) I love it. I either answer them, telling them why (and believe me I know) or I try to smooth the way and not tell them they’re an idiot who doesn’t deserve the ink it would take to tell them so.

The most fun is when I’m doing something during the day and think, “that’s a great topic for my blog.” Actually that happens a lot. It’s remember the topic when I finally get to my ‘puter that’s hard.

So how do you come up with ideas for your blog, if you write one? And if you don’t, what do you like to read about?

I don’t promise to write about them but I’m just nosy enough to want to know.

Magical Therapy

Posted in writing on 11/20/2008 by Susan Shay

Physical therapy, not the mental kind in case you’re wondering. 😉

Remember, I had surgery toward the end of last month? Last week I started PT.

I was warned by my friends that it’s NOT fun. Actually, they called it hell, and what they had to say about people who make a living as therapists wasn’t nice at all.

But to be honest, the therapy itself isn’t bad. Darrell is my therapist. He’s soft spoken and has a sense of humor (at least he understands mine) so I don’t dread going. What I dread is the aftermath.

While I’m there, I have to do several little exercises that, if I were using the other leg/hip, would be a snap. With the right one, though, it’s a bit of a struggle. 

Now I have a few new things to keep things interesting. I ride a bike, stand up and sit down, side stepped up and down a five-foot counter top several times and take a walk around the exercise area with only one crutch. Sounds like a snap, doesn’t it?

Right. I have to tell you, it isn’t.

At the end of it all, I get to ice my hip. I know that doesn’t sound like fun, but believe me, when your body’s screaming for relief, it’s heaven.

By the time I get home from PT, I’m in a pile of pain. It lasts through the night and into the next day. But the third day, I feel better than I did to start with. It’s like magic.

Yesterday I did the dumbest thing ever. I went shopping after PT. Grocery shopping at Sam’s wasn’t bad. I had a little cart to ride around on. You know those scooters that beep when you back up? I used one. It’s wonderful! All the non-walkers wave at each other as we go past as if we have a connection. And I guess we do. 🙂

People are really nice when you’re on one, too. The stockers who normally ignore everyone when you’re at the warehouse were eager to help me as I struggled to get whipping cream out of the refrigerator section. And they helped me find sour cream–which was so large, I could have made sour-cream-and-onion-dip for everyone at an Oklahoma State football game. Players and opponents included.  

But we made stops at stores where they didn’t have those great little scooters. And at one I was dumb enough to try going in with only one crutch. (Can you say cocky?)

So I learned a big lesson yesterday.

Even though Thanksgiving is upon us, I can’t do everything I’ve done in years past. I can’t do all the shopping, standing, cooking and baking. I have DH and MS who’ll help all they can. And BB has promised to come early Thanksgiving Day to help out.

Keep your fingers crossed. I want to be ready to dance before Christmas.

Writing Sluts

Posted in writing on 11/18/2008 by Susan Shay

I’m blogging over at Writing Sluts today. A brand new blog! Check it out.

Critique Groups

Posted in writing with tags on 11/17/2008 by Susan Shay

I’ve belonged to one critique group for a long time, but we’ve had several members come and go. The core group remains the same. Always.

Before this group, I critiqued once or twice with another girl–the one who took the 2 member class with me–who didn’t know any more about writing than I did. We couldn’t do much more than check each other’s spelling.

In the beginning I even entered a contest just for the critique. In my mind the woman who judged my work would make suggestions from which I could learn all kinds of wonderful things.

Boy, was I dreaming. This woman’s life must have been too busy (or else she wasn’t smart enought) to give me any help.  Talk about a waste of money. 😦

I took another class, presented by Tulsa Junior College (now Tulsa Community College). The teacher scared the pants off me (!) but I only missed one meeting. I was late once, and while I wasn’t there, that teacher told the class that I’d written the best first chapter she’d ever had a beginner write.

Never told me, though.

Finally, I got into the critique group with Marilyn Pappano and Margaret E. Reid. There were two other members who met with us for a while. Meg lived a couple of hours away, so she didn’t make it every week, but the others did.

At first we all submitted except Marilyn. She’s such a good sport, helping all of us with our writing and never expecting anything in return.

Even though Meg couldn’t make it very often, the four of us–Marilyn, the other two, and me–would meet for lunch. We emailed our work to the others. They’d print it out and mark on it how it could be made better.

We started out with very few rules–none of which were spoken. They were mostly the rules you were raised with. Play nice. Do unto others. (Didn’t always happen, in case you’re wondering.)

Not long down the road, Marilyn gave one of the critiquees several pages of suggestions. For some reason the girl was insulted. Rather than seeing that Marilyn wanted her to be published and had spent many hours sweating over her work, the woman chose to stop submitting completely.

That left me and the other woman to sent our stuff. The other woman was sporatic at best, and the saddest part of all was that she’d send in her pages, we’d critique, and the next time she sent them, they’d be exactly the same. No changes.

I’ve never been quite sure if she was thumbing her nose at us or if just had early onset Alzheimers.

Okay, that’s the downside to critique groups. There are many more upsides.

Such as critique partners who catch holes in your manuscript big enough to drive a dump truck through. And those who are as thrilled as you when you sell, whether they haven’t sold a word or have sold over 50 (60 or even 70) books.

For the last year or two, our critiquing has been sporatic, at best. Meg moved even farther away–to Texas! And Marilyn has had a few broken bones and a go round with a spider, not to mention her mother’s health problems. And my kids have been in college, so I’m working, which leaves less time to write and critique.

But my friends are always there when I need them. I’ll always need them.

Meg was the final reader for me on Blind Sight.

And they both still critique my work–thank heaven! I really couldn’t get along without them.

Have you spent time in critique groups? Have your experiences been good or bad?

Tell us all about them–just don’t name any names unless you’re very brave. 😉

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