Jan 26, 2008

More Tea Cozies

With my manuscript in, I've taken a few days off to a) re-catch the bad cold I got right after the holidays, b) get strep throat on top of it and c) find ways to make use of my time since I'm stuck at home. To that end I've gone back to making felted tea cozies.

I know I need to diversify, but for now it's tea cozies. So what does "felt" mean? Have you ever ruined a nice wool sweater by washing or drying it? That's what felting is. You shrink it until the knit is no longer flexible. And for you guys reading, this is where it gets really hot and wild and zzzzzzzzzzzzz Guys, just go read ESPN, this will bore you.

The green, black and red plaid was from a holiday sweater that had big, obnoxious geese on the front. But who wants a goose on your cozy?

The pink plaid was a Gap wool turtleneck. The second, plain one looks kinda like a conehead. I may have to use this as a hat. But the openings on the side make it look like it's made for a Nordic horn hat like you'd see in Ride of the Valcheries.

Gals, this is the fun one. I made this red one from one of a wool knit sweater you'd find at Talbots. Tailored with a lapel and pockets. It was a beeotch to get right but I lovehow it turned out. It's for a friend whose color scheme is red and gold and who shops at Ann Taylor. Or as she said, "bebe sport isn't my bag, baby."

Now I've got to get back to writing ....

Jan 25, 2008

Winter's Tale

Much-needed rain and snow has come into the southland. This photo was posted on the LA Times. Just glorious.

I wish we could drive up somewhere to enjoy it, but the doctor's told me to stay in all weekend. I've got strep throa. "Your immune system is shot," He said. Hmm. Can't think why. The good news was, my blood pressure was 90 over 50 (!) and my blood sugar only 91. I'm told that's good.

Jan 23, 2008

Where were you at 28?

The news of Heath Ledger's death is hitting me hard. He was young, he didn't seem to be any kind of party animal. He loved his daughter. He seemed to have a deeper melancholy about him that indicated he had a depth in his soul or character. That may just be conjecture, but it seems quite *wrong* that he's gone, while other unnamed celebutantes remain alive, drugging and driving and shopping like Teflon roaches. NOT to wish a plague upon her house, but doesn't Ms Spears realize how precious and precaious life is? I hope she figures this out before it is too late.

Ledger was only 28 years old. It got me thinking about where I was at the age of 28. I was back in Orange County, living in a guest house in Newport Beach, and "concentrating on my relationship with God," as opposed to career pursuits. I had barely figured out life myself at that age.

I know that God stands outside time, and any prayers for Ledger today can count for yesterday or the day before or eternity. I pray God reaches back into time and grabs him, and that Heath finds peace, rest, and home. But what a loss. I also pray Brit figures it out before it's too late.

Jan 22, 2008


DONE. I turned in my manuscript. That does not mean I have turned in the last draft. It means I've turned in my manuscript. I'm already thinking about the holes in it, particularly the last three chapters. Moments of realization that must be reworked, cut, added, blah blah. But that's what days off and lots of sleep are for.

Larry and I are watching the LOTR trilogy as a reward. Tonight is the last half of III. I need to see Frodo get the ring to Mt. Doom. Kinda fitting. Except that no one comes back and tells him how to throw it in better, edits his journey and tells him to add a bit of trail here and there. Oh forget it, I just need to see that last glorious moment.

Jan 14, 2008

Olan Mills and Captions

I'm not blogging, I am revising. But I thought I should alert you to the following ....
A masterful tribute to master portraitist Olan Mills.
Some of the funniest captions ever conceived.
Okay back to the chapters ...

Jan 12, 2008

Four Days To Go

My manuscript is due in four days, and I have nine chapters to revise. I doubt I'll finish it by Tuesday, but I pray my publisher won't fire me if I'm a couple days late. She knows the draft I turn in will not be the final draft. It's close, but I am counting on her excellent feedback and commentary for my next draft. My husband says he's proud of me, going to the desk every day and working so hard. He probably doesn't know that I regularly toggle away from the page to play Snood. But I should also cut myself a break. I'm writing a 65,000 word book.

This past week my agent sent me on four auditions, something I'd normally be thrilled over, especially since one of them was a callback. But each of them took about four hours out of the day. Yesterday's call was for 3:30 pm in Santa Monica, a good 30 miles away. I went 3 hours early, hoping the call was going all day. No such luck. It didn't start until 3:30. I hung out at a local Panera bread, trying to write. By the time I finished the audition and got into my car, it was 4:20pm. I faced the worst traffic possible: Friday afternoon across the LA floor. There was no way out. I got home at 6pm. It took me 100 minutes to go 33 miles. What is that, like 18 miles an hour or something?

The only good thing was I had my iPod. I listened to a podcast from Mars Hill Bible church. Don Miller was talking about story. I highly recommend you go to iTunes podcasts, go to Mars Hill and download this one. Don was talking about story telling and how our lives are like good stories. We need a main character, an ambition, and conflict.

I had been thinking about this same thing since I heard Sir John Polkinghorne, the British particle physicist and theologian who was knighted by the Queen of England for his role in discovering the quark. Sir John said that when mathematicians solve an equation, they call it a 'beautiful.' True math is beautiful. I started wondering then, if true, good art had a mathematics to it?

Certainly Joseph Campbell's work on the Hero's journey discovered a story pattern that was common to most religions and myths. The myth of the hero in his journey from innocence to experience, from immaturity to maturity, from sin to sanctification. God has written this journey on our hearts, I believe. And when we tell that story -- stories that tell that basic truth -- the world resonates and calls it good or beautiful. Think of Rocky, or Children of Men, or Sense and Sensibility, or Star Wars, or Macbeth.

In the two hours I had to listen and re-listen to Don's podcast message, I was reminded that good, compelling stories are hard. They're filled with conflict and trial and near-tragedy. But the hero keeps going. Why should I be surprised that encounter trials in my life, or in writing a book? Don talked about a friend who has a vision to build a thousand water wells in Africa for people who don't have running water! I am a wimp compared to that.

It's time to do hard things. Like finish the book. And it goes to the very heart of my book. "Angry Conversations With God" is a story of how I take God to counseling because he's been such a disappointing spouse. He promised me adventure and purpose and joy, and instead gave me disappointment, failure and loss. But like Robert McKee and Don brought up: good stories have conflict. And the hero doesn't grow without it. I hate that. But we all know it's true.

So I'm off to rewrite nine chapters in four days.

And I should probably delete Snood from my computer while I'm at it.

Jan 7, 2008

Wednesday On Strike For Baby Abe

Why can't baby Abe come home to his mom and dad?

A bunch of us are going on strike from food on Wednesday, ganging together to fast, pray, and think good thoughts for baby Abe who needs to come home to Portland.

Because of a court snafu, translation problems etc, the judge denied Ted and Lori's petition to adopt Abenezer. They're going to appeal, and we are praying that everything will be cleared up. How long the appeal process takes is still unclear. If you can, please skip a meal, a snack, a latte, or a day of indulgence, and pray for baby Abe, that he can get home to his Mom and Pop. For more info, visit Ted and Lori's blog

Deadlines Drafts Delays

Just finished a very busy Christmas season. My sister's family came down from Colorado. Larry finally got to meet my oldest brother Rob. My mother stayed on for a few days. It was great to take care of her. But it's sobering to see how frail she is.I'm not so sure if she calls me sister because she can't remember the word for daughter, or she can't remember my name. Or maybe she does think I'm her sister. I will never have the chance to be her peer again. But I'm grateful to still have her.

Speaking of mothers, a friend of mine has two of the most abhorrent individuals for parents. She also has a life-threatening auto-immune disease. She was visiting her mother out in the desert between Christmas and New Year's when her car had some problems and her disease made her nauseous. She asked to stay an extra day, but Mom wouldn't have it. Mom and step dad were having a dinner party, and a sick daughter was a hassle. I wanted to drive out to her golf club and bend a putter around her head.

I've been hurdling toward my book deadline. I will have a draft to turn in on the 15th, but it won't be my final draft. My editor realizes that. I want some feedback from her and at least one more pass at it. I was so worked up over the actual deadline. Larry asked me, mid-freak out. "what do you like about writing?" I had to stop myself: Oh yeah, I really like doing this. I needed to remember why writers write. Because we like to tell the story.

Larry and I thought about what we'd like to do this coming year. Larry loves reading N.T. Wright, and he wants to really live that life that reflects the kingdom of God. Not just getting to heaven when we die, but doing something NOW to see God's idea of the world happen: Love, mercy, justice, beauty, relationship, transcendence ... I can think of one thing I'd like to do to bring God's kingdom come: Drive out to the desert and humiliate my friend's mother.

Want something to pray for? Pray for our friends Ted and Lori. Their date for the Ethiopian court to review their adoption was on Friday. To make a long story short, because of translation problems, and the fact the birht mother was young and confused, the judge got skeptical and denied the adoption. Ted and Lori are devastated. Their agency is going to launch an appeal. But when and how that will happen is still a mystery, this has never happened before.

So if you can think of it, please pray for dear little Abe, that he can come home to Mom and Dad in Portland.