Saturday, November 29, 2008

Want a cute "Holiday" card from us?

send me your addy. Email at kwellsatlsusdotedu and I will send you a card. It's cute.

I know it if you already know me from a past life or something. :)

I expect a cool card back, of course. :)

I have my cards all addressed and mostly stamped, in fact.

Cause I'm cool like dat.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Writing Your Second Novel

A co-worker recently had her first book accepted for publication from a respectable publisher & has a three book deal. It's the type of fiction I really love to read, and that I have a couple of books "in the works" myself. (I have two which fit that genre, and a couple which are other genres but which I think will be cool, too.)

I am a little bit jealous, on the one hand, but I truly am also happy for her; it ultimately gives me hope. Hopefully the jealousy is the type that spurs me-- makes me get up off my butt and DO it. Like when someone runs past you, making you put in a little more effort, run a little bit faster to try to catch up. See-- people I actually know have managed the task; it's not just people from far far away with brilliant & genius gifts, awesomely disciplined writerly habits. She is a regular, funny, normal person who writes at a coffee shop and stresses over student behavior, just like me.

And dammit, that has to mean that I can do it too. (This is where it's not about the jealousy but more about a productive kind of hope.) If she could do it, with the English major analysis of the type of book & direct thought about how to create a hit, perhaps I do have it in me, too.

This summer, I did write 10 awesome pages on my first idea for a similar type of concept. I have GOT to figure out a way to make more time to write that stuff for myself. The kiddos are getting to a place where I can leave them to play and trust them to not tear down the house TOO much. And I wish I were like Toni Morrison, who wrote her first book, The Bluest Eye, with kids on her lap. Amazing.

I want to write! Dammit! It doesn't have to be the Bluest Eye-- it can be more like Charlaine Harris or something equally lowbrow. I'm good with that. Muse, please guide my fingers along the keyboards of my life. :)

So I decided to think of it like that old joke about working on your second million dollars, because the first one is too hard to get. So now, I'm working on my SECOND novel. And I will try, very hard, to set time aside over the holiday break to really work on it. I wrote the cool 10 pages I have in one afternoon. If I could do that much in the 20 or so days of break then I'd have a decent sized first novel in progress! So, that's my goal for the break. If I fall off the wagon, I'll probably just work on some academic stuff which is not nearly as interesting. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Poet & Mom

Reading the work of certain writers inspires me. Anne Sexton is one of them, always, always. I am not depressed or suicidal, although there have been times in my life when my poetry was an outlet of my romantic misery. (A long time ago. And generally not bad poetry, either.) These days, I write in spurts-- I'll read something interesting, I'll have a week or two off from work during winter or summer break and I'll write. It's not something I have a ton of time to do all the time. When I focus, I can write things I truly like.

Apparently, I am not the type of poems that "literary" journals-- at least not the ones I have submitted to-- like, though. There's nothing wrong with writing just for my own pleasure, but it is nice to be validated. I haven't tried all that hard in the years since my graduation from college when I sent out about ten poems to as many literary journals and got nothin' except a comment from a former professor that he would have thought about publishing my work if I hadn't been such a recent grad of that university. (Anti inbreeding policy, apparently).

Anyway. Reading Adrienne Rich theory because I'm doing a lecture on her next week in my American Lit class and it does amaze me that even now, even 40 years after her struggles with writing and being a mom & wife some of the issues/problems or concerns or pitfalls are still. exactly. the. same.

Anyway. I have a nice warm fire, and I'm going to grab a glass of wine and go read some of that inspirational poetry in front of that fire. For the first time in weeks I don't have a TON of work for school to do (that will change tomorrow when I get a bunch of research papers in). So one night of relaxing without guilt while the kiddos watch Wall-E.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Lovely Girl*

You are not a stringbean.
I cannot eat you, yet.
Nor an illusion. Or me, but smaller.
You are your own star. Shining. Never
falling. Hands thrown up in the air, yelling, rollercoaster glee.

It's true I was a magical mother, (I
saw your heart, open and close, light against
darkness. Blood and tongue and teeth. Smiling already).
A message, a language, even then.

sono: sound gram: to write.
Your letter to the world; we hear it in light.

They say they don't seek out
(for girls versus boys)
a lack, an empty spot.
Castrated boy equals female.
But a line, a presence of lineage.
A string. Going back.

(Oh how Freud would tremble to know this.)

You are not a moon. Nor
darkness but your own sun.

You quirk your mouth sideways in a smile.

Reaching wide, dancing the world into being
and scaling walls I
never could have dreamed.

There are no lies yet to tell.

And you will find your way there
line or lack.


(For Maia, at three. Future Fourth Waver.)
*Inspired, in part, by Anne Sexton's "My Stringbean, My Lovely Woman." Also refers to my older poem about seeing a sonogram picture, which is available online here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

For What It's Worth

Those who know me or have been around the blog for long enough in the olden days before it became very mommy & sort of boring to anyone who doesn't know me :) know that I am a pretty staunch third wave feminist. This means that I believe in the principles of feminism: equality. (that's one principle. I know. The only one that really matters.) And one of the ways I put my money where my mouth is (or rather, Andrew's money, but he's a feminist too so who is counting?) is my website Women Writers. Sometimes it's a pain in the neck. It's a full time, 40 hour a week job that I took on, by my lonesome with a little help from a couple of faithful friends and I don't "gets no money for" it. The most I get is a free book now and then, (which is awesome, by the way, and I'm not really complaining).

Well, yesterday, I got two emails about the site. Very different emails, but both of them with a touch of "feminist agenda" to them. One from a woman with a problem with some graphics on one of my sites (very specific, and I won't post details, but let me tell you it required some thinking and some trust) and another from a woman trying to explain in her college class that textbooks written in 1997 do not contain "contemporary" feminism. Well DUH to the second one. To the first one, I wrote a letter attempting to fix the problem and to the second I haven't yet written back.

But it's soooo cool to get the "thank you for your work" emails. They fall few and far between but when they come, it makes all that work and all that complaining about that work just fade away. Someone appreciates the effort. Someone is inspired to do something themselves. It's "passed forward" in a way.

That's all it takes. On days when it's hard, when the monkeys are climbing the chandeliers and the husband is off playing soccer and my banana bread has been smooshed into the newly mopped floor instead of eaten by Monkey #2 and I still don't have a grown up job (fingers still crossed) and there are a half a ton of papers to grade and I have an awful cold and it's cold outside...

The one or two emails that say thanks "just do it" for me. So thanks for listening. Now back to my regularly scheduled weekend.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Red-Nose and All

I love the Fall-- but this weekend, just last night, I have a cold. Urgh. Runny nose, sore throat, headache, sneezing & coughing. I was kind of okay yesterday (a little cough) but I've been fighting this thing off now for a week. I've bailed on all my tentative things for today and am going to whine and moan at the husband and kiddos for a while.

Whine. Whine. Anyone for some chicken soup? Chamomile tea with honey & lemon? ME! ME! ME!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I can't believe

it's only 6:30. It feels like it's been a really, really long day and it should be much later. Babies are playing outside with dad & I need to go help. But it still just seems like it ought to be later.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

IN Which We Adopt a Turtle...

No, really. It's a cat, and we've named him Turtle.

And he really does kinda remind me of this character in Entourage. Except without the smoking habit. Yet. :) I did buy him some catnip, though, but he's not interested yet (not old enough).

He'll "lose his manhood" on Monday. Here's a picture. (of him. Not his manhood. That would just be creepy.) Turtle cat

You Say It's Your Birthday?

Na na nana na na naNA! It's my birthday too, yeah!

Since it's crazy early in the AM and I'm up and fitzing on the computer (couldn't sleep...too many things to think about) I thought I'd acknowledge that yes, indeedy, I turn 39 today. I got a nice present from Andrew already-- a cute new outfit w/ leather boots & a tiger's eye necklace & brown citrine earrings.

I think we're also going to go to the Animal shelter later today and get me a kitty cat. :) We haven't had one for a while-- the two I was "fostering" got weird when Andrew's dad was dying and we were gone every other week (was that really over a year ago now?) And we waited. The main thing we were waiting for was the babies getting ready. Maia has now been campaigning for over two weeks to get "a kitty and a doggy." And there's a neighborhood cat who she calls "her kitty cat friend" she wants to see and both babies LOVE petting it. And they're good with it. So I think it's time. We are NOT getting a doggy, at least not for a while. I think just having a kitty will make them happy. And if not, Santa can bring a stuffed doggy. :)

I'm doing some researchy things to prepare for Monday. And I still have the eternal PAPERS TO GRADE this weekend that really realllllly have reached their outer limits for reasonable time to get back to students. I've just been totally not in to grading them this last couple of weeks. I do love my students & sometimes I am delighted by their papers and ideas but it's just the logistics of getting myself to sit down and comment & really do their work justice (I do a lot of writing on their papers-- way more than I probably should).

So that's my weekend plans. Enjoy my birthday. One more year til the big 4-Oh. And my own personal goals to try to get some Big Things done by then. This should be a year of taking stock-- making sure that I am not letting Things Slip By. But that's another blog for another day.

And my IPod seems to be working again. I let it totally charge down and now it's happy again. I am NOT using that car thing anymore, though, that's for sure.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I am a PC person. It all started just about my junior year of college-- hubby bought me my first real computer outside of the campus comp labs which were mostly Mac. I was hooked.

So let me say, we bought an Ipod last week. 8 gb. Cute hot pink. And our Bose stero system thing that we're supposed to hook said IPOD into to play music at home. I loaded about half the 8 GB with music from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. We also have this gadget that's supposed to play the IPOD shuffle on your car stereo.

Sometime Monday ish the first IPOD flaked out. I took it back, said "this un's broken" and got a new one. Today, second IPOD seems to have done the same thing. I THINK it's the car stereo gadget doing something. It's really really irritating. I hope that it's just a wonky battery or something and not a need to go BACK to Sam's and say "I have a second broken IPOD" cause I think they would think I was doing something wrong. (When I really have been very careful.)

Technology, if didn't know this already, is inherently evil. If you don't believe me, ask Murphy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Pool is Dead; Long Live the Pool

The source of so much summer fun, our little backyard pool, is languishing. The pump/filter thingy is broken, there are leaves clogging the bottom, and Sean has chucked dirt off the porch of his fort so that there is sandy crap all over the shallow end. In the deep end is the beginning of a greenish algae bloom, hampered only by the cold weather.

I feel guilty. I should do something, get it fixed, clean it. I know it's too cold to swim in right now but it just looks like a swamp. Perhaps a ghost will start haunting it, being picturesque and gothic. Only nice ghosts, please. None of those violent ones.

And yes, right now, that's the biggest news around here that's fit to print. :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Carvings

be afraid, gourds.  be very afraid....

Here I am carving punkins for Halloween. I'll post actual costume-y pix eventually. I know it's a little over exposed but Andrew had a weird effect on the camera, and this is the best one, really.

And here's what they looked like in the dark. I wish they weren't blurry, but it's part of the slow shutter speed that I haven't mastered. happy, cat and pirate pumpkins

With Great Power comes Great Responsibility....

I know. That's a pretentious title. :)

I have been doing my Women Writers academic journal/webzine for ten years. It started off as a summer project and now is basically a full time job for which I am paid in the occasional good book. I complain about it sometimes and rarely have the time to devote to it that it deserves. I've looked for grants in the past, and maybe I need to see if I can find something again. BUT. That's not the point of this entry. It sometimes feels like a huge burden and responsibility, but it's also really cool. Sometimes, I have been the first place a budding author sees their work "in print" and sometimes we're the first book review, too. So it's exciting!

I get review copies of books. An awful lot of them are icky, and I read a few pages and go looking for something else. But recently I got one that I quite liked. The cover art was awesome & I liked the premise. So I started reading it and I really, really, really like it. I'm going to write a real review of it on the website, but I have to say that this is my greatest compliment: I wish I had written it. It's the kind of book I long to write.

Perhaps if I get the new "grown up job" I'll have time to do my own writing instead of merely grading other people's writing all the time and I can finally write my own "paranormal romance" that has a few little (awesome) pages done. Here's hoping.