Two things you have to know before I go on: first, I’ve had surgery on my feet that don’t allow my toes to bend all the way down; second, I have a high threshold of pain tolerance.
This post is about feeling good about myself. I recently started Taekwando, and took my first belt test this weekend. It involved learning the first twelve punches, three sets of kicking sequences, the first form (taegeuk il jang) and breaking two boards with two different kicks. I passed.
So I am now officially a white belt with a black stripe. I have a long way to go, but this first step made me prouder than expected.
And now, a warning. I hate feet, but I took a picture of one of mine, the one I kicked the boards with. I had a monster kick and broke right through the board. It felt amazing and powerful. But remember above where I mentioned I’ve had foot surgery? To kick through a board, you’re supposed to use the top of your foot. I did. That’s why I broke the board so easily. But even with pointing my foot, my toes don’t bend beneath the top of my foot. So I ended up with this (foot pic coming)
Yup, those are bruises. Before I sat down, the bruises were already showing. At first I thought, wow, that board must have been dusty because I have a line of dirt on my toes. Nope. Bruises.
But I’ve also told you that I have a high pain threshold. I am weirdly proud of these bruises, and they don’t hurt.
I hesitated to post this blog because I hate feet (I said that already) and I really don’t want to attract and foot fetish people. I also think my toes are particularly ugly (I call them snausages because they’re short and weird looking). But I like the bruises. And no, I’m not into BDSM.
By the way, the second kick through a board uses the heel, so no problem there.
Yes, I know it’s May for a few more days at least. I’ve posted here before about nor really celebrating NewYear’s (yes, I’m aware it’s May) with resolutions or even considering January as a new beginning. Time measurement is an artificial construct and I tend to be contrary. So in a few days it’s June, and I fell the urge to do the whole new beginning thing now.
I’ve had a marvelous and busy past few weeks. I’ve been in Boston, where MYSTIC won second place in a writing contest and I had a chance to visit with one daughter; I’ve been to Reno and the last RT (which so plays into the whole spectrum of my luck in the writing business); I’ve been to SoCal to visit with another daughter and other family (and, of course, a trip to the “happiest place on earth,” where this Disney fan walked until she couldn’t walk any more). So now I’m home, and ready to get back to work. That’s the perfect time to have a new beginning.
So in June I plan to finish the sequel to Mystic (first draft), get my newsletter updated and GDPR compliant, put myself out there, and be professional.
Of course, in keeping with my run of luck in the writing business, I got called for jury duty starting June 15.
I just finished rereading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. Sigh. I have never reached the tipping point with any of my novels.
At some point you have to believe that it’s you and not just luck. Even though my writing has won awards and contests –heck, I’m up for the New England Reader’s Choice award with Mystic (two weeks from now)–I can’t seem to break out. And it doesn’t help that I see an acquaintance get excited about her first book. It has reached number four on some YA list. I’m am truly thrilled for her. Really. I am also wondering what the heck she did or didn’t do to get such word of mouth about her first book. I can’t get such reception on book fourteen!
Am I whinging? Perhaps. But as I said above, at some point you have to believe it’s your writing. You’d think that if you were truly good, people would have discovered you by now. I just don’t seem to generate word of mouth.
When I read a book I love I talk about it–to friends, on social media, in lists. I’ve talked about Ready Player One and Theft of Swords. I’ve loaned out my copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society until a friend spilled coffee on it and had to replace it for me. I’ve taught Dandelion Wine and bought From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler for my kids and will buy it again for my grandkids should I ever have any. I have recommended Jennifer Crusie and Julia Quinn when people claim romance is mindless. You want a scare? And Then There Were None.
I don’t claim literary genius, a case I can make for the above books. However, I don’t even seem to touch or reach the mavens (see The Tipping Point).
Do your favorite authors, or even the ones you just enjoyed, a favor. Become a mini maven. Leave a review at Amazon, B&N, or Goodreads, or wherever. Or tell a friend or twenty. Or tweet about it. Or whatever. Or send the author a note. That can make an author’s day. But word of mouth helps. It’s still the best way to build readership, and no one really knows how to create word of mouth except to write the best book you can.
Hope this wasn’t too self-centered and self-pitying.
I love language and languages. I especially love when I learn something new about it. Like the saying “getting his just deserts.” One “S”. Because it not about that sweet thing you eat after a meal and getting one that fits what you’ve done, although that makes sense and it’s what most people think, but because deserts is a noun form from the verb deserve, so it means getting what one deserves. (Oversimplified, but, hey, you get what I mean.)
Stuff like that probably makes me a pedant, but I wear that badge proudly. I like knowing things. It’s because I like learning things. I make mistakes. I know for a fact that at least one of my early books makes the mistake between loathe and loath. The copy editor didn’t catch it, so it’s in print that way forever. I know the difference now (loathe is the verb meaning to hate, and loath is the adjective meaning reluctant).
So back to the title of this post. You know the saying, “If you think …, then you have another…” and there I pause. We learn language by making errors. Little children will say things like, “I goed,” or “He drinked.” They have internalized adding -ed to make the past tense, but haven’t learned that irregular verbs have different forms. We internalize language and don’t think about grammar when we speak. We just speak.
So when someone makes an error on purpose, it’s hard not to try to correct it in our minds. The saying actually is, “If you think you’re right, you have another think coming.” Think about it (there’s that word again). It’s grammatically incorrect on purpose. It sounds strange to our ears to use a verb, think, as a noun, but doesn’t think make a whole lot more sense than thing? What does “You have another thing coming” even mean? Oh, we’ve tried to make sense of it, like the dessert vs desert thing (there’s that word again). Before I knew the true form, I always thought the saying meant you should get a punishment of some sort. But, really, how harsh is that for thinking something (Oooo, think and thing in the same sentence)? Thing is so vague, so meaningless. Yet look how often we use it, even in this post. Think makes more sense, when you analyze it. (I almost wrote “when you think about it,” but that would be excessive, don’t you think?)
But language is nothing if not fluid, and most people will tell you that the saying is “If you think you’re right, then you have another thing coming.” That’s our internalized grammar editor trying to correct an error made on purpose. We know English, and you can’t use the verb think as a noun. So using thing has become acceptable. You will hear thing used on TV or see it in books, but now you know better.
Perhaps it will drive you as nuts as it does me. >twisting my evil villain mustache< Bwhahahaha. Wait until I point out the difference between fewer and less.
There are two. One is “Youki desse de la neige” in the Petit Palais in Geneva. I saw this painting when I was 20 and it stuck with me. I thought she was beautiful.
The other is “El Rio de Luz” by Frederic Edwin Church. There’s something about this painting, the yellows and browns and greens with that tiny burst of red on the bird at the almost center. I could stare at it for hours. I always make sure I view it when I get to the National Gallery of Art in DC (so far about four times).
So Valentine’s Day—the day the world is forced to consider romance and love. Go nuts, if that’s your thing. But, contrarian that I am, think a little bit differently.
Some people consider the building of the Taj Mahal as one of the world’s grandest romantic gestures. The Mughal emperor had it built for his wife. Okay, it’s beautiful, but the empress never saw it because it was her tomb.
Personally, I want my romantic gestures to be something I can enjoy. Just the other day, I had one of my most romantic experiences with my husband. Before you think I’m going this post will have TMI, let me start by saying we went to the zoo.
We took my youngest and her boyfriend (both special needs young adults) on a date, but I think Robot Guy (that’s my nickname for my husband because of his nearly thirty years in robotics) and I had just as much fun. We talked, laughed, and learned as we walked. We admired the beautiful creatures we saw and gave respect to the toxic ones behind glass walls or separated from us with moats and high cement walls.
Romance isn’t the chocolates, jewelry, dinners out, or flowers, although those can be great, right? It’s always nice when someone thinks about you. It also isn’t sex, although that’s a lot of fun too. It’s the sharing of little moments. It’s the laughing at the dumb jokes he tells (because I never tell dumb jokes >clears throat<) holding hands, sharing information we hope the other finds interesting, and spending time together even in silence. Sometimes, it’s crying together.
In my novel MYSTIC,
there isn’t a lot of time for big romantic gestures (Okay, so there’s one at the very end, but that’s to be expected in a novel). The hero and heroine are on the run, but they learn they can rely on each other, and come to admire each other. They find themselves understanding each other and sometimes even taking on the other’s quirks. That happens in relationships. In spite of the magic in the story, I strove for realism. And humor. Because I believe laughing is one of the world’s great ways of sharing one’s soul.
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There are daily prizes from the Safari Heat site, but for those of you who comment here, I will assign a number (only one) at the end of the hop to you in the order of your response and select one randomly to receive a copy of MYSTIC, a tote, and a little stuffed cat. (Yes, the cat is in the book—not a stuffed one). Please let me know if you don’t want to be added to my newsletter. And although the Blog Hop prizes can only be won by US or Canadian readers (except ebooks—those can go world wide), I’m willing to send my prize anywhere.
Each day the coordinator will choose a different blog to visit to give away prizes to those readers. At the end of the hop, the coordinator will collect all names with the required info and give award grand prize.
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My latest novel is out and available. MYSTIC is the story of skeptical novelist who has to help a psychic find sanctuary. Although it has romance, MYSTIC is more of an urban fantasy with lots of action. I’d love it if you read it. And, yes, the cat on the cover is relevant.
Books I’m reading now:
THe Secret, Book, and Scone Society by Ellery Adams
We’ve all done it—played the mental game “Will I survive the Zombie Apocalypse?” or other variations of that game (What if I had to go on the run? Would I survive the Nazis? What if Armageddon happened today? What if the Yellowstone Supervolcano erupts? What if Aliens destroy the world? And so many more). I do have rudimentary survival skills—fire building, camping, trapping, etc.; they’re rusty, but I’m sure they would come back—but that’s not the reason I wouldn’t survive. Here are five reasons I would be among the first to go.
I need to floss my teeth.
I just read a sentence somewhere that said, “We’ve all fallen asleep without brushing our teeth.” Nope. I can’t. Not only that, I have to floss. Have to. I’d be a month into survival, when the floss would run out, and I’d hang it up. It’s over.
I need to wash my hands.
I can hear you saying, “What’s so bad about that? It’s hygienic.” Nope. I can’t stand the feeling of having dirt or other things on my hands. It’s why I don’t garden. I can’t have the dirt on my hands for any length of time. And don’t tell me to wear gloves. The sweat and lint from the glove is just as bad. I have to wash my hands after I pet my dogs, after I touch dough or vegetables or meat (Cooking is a nightmare and please don’t make me decorate cookies), after filling the gas tank, after loading the washing machine and after doing dishes.
I need to sleep.
I love to sleep. I don’t do it well, but I do like my 8.5-9 hours in bed. After a couple of days without that much sleep, you’d want to shoot me yourself.
I am not in the best shape.
Yes, I play a mean game of volleyball. For my age, I am an outstanding player and even strike fear into the hearts of many younger players. But even though I play well and often, I’m not in great shape. Yes, I’m not a slug, but I couldn’t imagine being on the run for several days in a row. Or even running. I can do the quick bursts of speed needed to play VB, but I don’t run. My knees are shot after forty plus years of volleyball. I can ignore it on the court, but you should see me get up in the morning.
I don’t play well with others.
There’s a reason I write books. I create them, I set the plot, I can do it alone. As soon as I disagreed with the group, I’d want to set off alone, and I’m smart enough to know that’s dumb. I don’t take orders well. You won’t catch me doing the wave at a stadium. No one can tell me what to do. When I do play with others, as in games, I play to win. I love games, but I’m not a nice player. I’m ruthless. Heck, I never even let my kids win at Candyland when they were little. If they won, it was on their own merit.
My novel MYSTIC (coming soon, real soon) is about a cross-country chase where my protagonists had to leave their lives behind and survive. They don’t floss.