I have a new found love and appreciation for my thumbs! Having broken my right thumb yesterday, I have had to painfully explore how to open childproof medicine containers with only one hand able to grip anything. I am learning that getting my shoes tied is harder than I realized, and brushing my teeth left handed is a laughable task.
I feel as though I should write an ode to my thumb. Perhaps a memoir dedicated to all the wonderful things my thumb was able to do before it got hurt. In the end, I decided I would blog about the cause of said thumb injury.
As I have written about before, my 12 year old has autism. One of the key ingredients to making a happy home with an autistic child is patience. My son and I have been to many therapists, through many trial medications, increased dosages, decreasing, adding other meds... it has been a non-stop process to try to make our living situation an easier one. We have been working towards that better balance. He has been so much better. This time last year, his fits were so severe and we had to deal with him wondering off and "running away" when he didn't get his way. Fast forward to yesterday and there had been no major fits for a few months. When I say "fits" I mean kicking, screaming, someone has to hold him down so he doesn't hurt himself or someone else fits.
It takes a lot of patience to not make those situations worse. Yesterday's incident was, as I said, the first major outburst in months. It probably wouldn't have been as bad except for the fact that my patience were shot. Dealing with my soon to be ex-husband and his particularly vile approach to things he doesn't like had tapped my patience. So, when dealing with my son, I was unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with one of his fits. I also wasn't paying close enough attention to those kicks when he got me. While my son kicked my hand, it was ultimately my lack of patience with him that day that escalated things.
I have been dealing with my son's fits, mostly alone, since he was three years old. He wasn't diagnosed with anything until he was in first grade, despite my many attempts to get someone to help us. It turns out that some of things I did for him naturally, like forcing him to make eye contact when he spoke, were what occupational therapists would later say made it difficult to diagnose him. Sometimes I get it right, even though it hurt us temporarily with a diagnosis, it would be the same things doctors would tell us to do to help make my son better. Some answers come naturally. Other answers are harder to come by. Sometimes, with patience we can avoid the worst of it. There are times when outside influences wear you down so much that you can't find that calm space in your own head, let alone show your child how to get there.
I suppose this is a cautionary tale. Most people never see the really awful side of autism. They rarely, if ever, have to see the fits these kids can throw. They certainly don't understand that these children have no concept that what they are doing is wrong, or that added stress on their caregivers makes an already difficult situation that much harder.
My son is 12. I am trying to make sure he will be able to function as an adult just a few years down the road. I'm not a perfect person, as evidenced by my broken thumb, but I would like to ask that in this week you take a moment to think about how autism affects people. Think about having patience with the screaming kid in the grocery store, because chances are - he's not just a brat - there may be a deeper problem. As parents, we do the best for our children, but our best runs out when our kids go out in public. One in 150 children are now diagnosed with an ailment falling in the autism spectrum. One in 70 boys are diagnosed. Those are staggering numbers, and they are increasing. Until more effort is placed on finding the cause, we need people to understand, to have patience, and to just reach out to those families who could use a little more support. For some families, just stopping by to lend a hand or socialize for a while means so much, because they have become prisoners in their own home.
My son's future is bright, he can talk and make eye contact. He has learned over the past two years how to hug people, and when it's appropriate to do so. I know, it sounds like something so simple, but I still get teary-eyed when my son randomly hugs me because for the first 10 years of his life he never did. We are making progress. There will always be set backs, especially stress-induced ones. Hopefully there won't be any more broken thumbs.
In the meantime, I have that new-found appreciation for thumbs and a reminder that patience is a virtue! I also urge each and everyone of you to take a moment this Friday and Saturday, April 1-2, to help shine a light on Autism.
I am a mother of a 12 year old boy who has been diagnosed in the autism spectrum. We have been told that he has Aspergers and then again we have been told simply, Autism. What we do know is that he is different, then again, aren't we all. He is not alone in this world, but he is lonely. What he needs, what all the children and adults of this world who are faced with the challenges that Autism presents, is for more people to understand what he/they go through on a daily basis.
I am including a link to a very important letter, written by a blogger (a mother of an autistic child herself) to the President of the United States of America. I think her words speak volumes for those of us who live through this every day. I hope they inspire you to "light it up blue" on April 2. More importantly, I hope her words inspire you to step outside your comfort zone and learn a little. I have reproduced the letter here for convenience, but by clicking on the "Dear Mr. President" link below you will also be able to read the numerous comments that are just as important as the letter itself.Dear Mr. President,
I need your help.
Last year, on April 2, 2010, you issued a statement
expressing your support of World Autism Awareness Day. I appreciate the fact that you did that. Your support is vital to our community.
But I’ll be honest with you, Mr. President. I didn’t even see your statement until I really started digging around on the Internet last night. With all due respect, Sir, if I didn’t see it, I’m guessing almost no one saw it.
Mr. President, when you spoke to a parent of a child with autism
in a crowd outside Philadelphia in 2008, you spoke to me. When you said that your General Counsel had an autistic child and that one of your best friends in Chicago also had an autistic child, I leaned in closer to my screen. When you told that parent, “I know how fiercely you love your child, but I also know how hard it is, how much work it is for you and how much support you need,” I listened. And I dared to hope. I dared to believe that you might make things different for my little girl.
My daughter has autism, Mr. President. And you’re right; I love her fiercely. I love her with a ferocity and a tenderness that can only co-exist within a mother’s heart. I love her so much that there is nothing on God’s green Earth that I wouldn’t do to help mitigate her challenges. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do to make the world less foreign to her, less hostile. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do to ensure that every day when she steps outside our door, she is met with tolerance and understanding and compassion. That she is seen by the world as a full and complete human being – not as a set of challenges encompassed by a single word. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do to ensure that her talents and unique gifts are recognized, fostered and celebrated throughout her lifetime.
Above all, there is nothing that I wouldn’t do ensure that she has the opportunity to contribute to our great nation.
Mr. President, as much as it pains me to admit, these are not things that I can do alone. I carry my soapbox
wherever I go, but my platform is small. I need your help.
On April 2nd of this year, the world will join together in observation of the Fourth Annual World Autism Awareness Day
. As you know, this day exists because it has to. Because our children’s ranks are now growing in undeniably epidemic proportions. Because 1 in 110 children are now on the autism spectrum. 1 in 110. Please take a moment to let the enormity of that number sink in. The numbers aren’t getting any smaller. And someday mothers like me – mothers of 1 in every 110 children – will no longer be here to take care of our precious babies.
If our children are to thrive without us, it will only be in a world that understands them. The people that they encounter every day will need to know what autism is
– what it really
is – day in and day out. They will need to know how hard my baby works to communicate. How much time and support it’s taken to get her where she is now. How proud I am of everything that she has accomplished. How much potential she has. What an incredible human being she already is. How much this entire group of people has to offer our society if we are willing to see them – really, truly see
them, recognize them and include them in our communities.
On April 2nd, landmark buildings around the world will participate in a campaign to help shine a light on autism. They will Light Up Blue
as a statement of solidarity, celebration, understanding, compassion, and hope. They will light up blue to say, “We are here. We see you. We hear you. We support you.”
On April 2nd, I will change my porch lights to blue, Mr. President. And in so doing, I will talk to the ten or fifteen people who may ask me why. Ten or fifteen people will walk away that day with a new understanding, a new sensitivity, a new commitment to help make life better for children like my daughter.
Sir, I need your help. I need you to light YOUR house blue too. Because when you do, you will start millions
of conversations. Ten or fifteen million people will ask why, then ten or fifteen million more. And people like me – and thousands upon thousands of our friends – will be there to tell them.
Mr. President, I’ll be honest. We need a lot more than blue bulbs
. We need research and a renewed and reinvigorated commitment to real scientific inquiry and critical thinking. We need the money that you promised to fully fund IDEA. We need sweeping legislative change. We need a federal mandate on insurance reform. We need passage of the ABLE Accounts Act and a reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act. We need affordable and appropriate housing for our children as they transition into adulthood. We need the money that you promised to allocate to autism services, research and treatment. And far more.
It’s a heck of a list. And I get it; I do. Those aren’t things that you can do in a day.But what I’m asking you for right now is something that you CAN do in a day.
I’m asking you to help us begin a conversation in earnest. To light the fire of awareness in our nation. A nation where a mother dares to hope that when people talk to one another – really talk to one another – the world can change for her children.
This is blissfully apolitical. Autism is not partisan. It does not discriminate between black and white, privileged nor impoverished. It simply lands where it will and affects every aspect of an entire family’s life.
Your girls are beautiful, Mr. President. They are poised and confident, graceful and self-assured. You must be incredibly proud of both of them. I ask you, Sir, what if Malia or Sasha had autism? What would you do to help them? I’m guessing the better question is, Whatwouldn’t you do?
At the very least, I know that you’d buy a couple of light bulbs and help spark a conversation.
For my incredible daughter, and for the million others like her. For their mothers and fathers and siblings. For their aunts and uncles and grandparents. For their neighbors and friends. For an entire generation who will either bear the brunt of blind support or reap the rewards of full acceptance – acceptance that can only be born of awareness.
Please, Mr. President. We need your help.
Jess, Proud mother of two beautiful girls and author of Diary of a MomDiary of a Mom
*For more information on Autism Awareness and what you can do to help, go to www.autismspeaks.org
I hang my head and mourn the true death of romance. It is a shame to see something so promising come to such a miserable end...
I read about romance in books. Not the "his turgid member was ready for me" crap, but real romance where people are actually thoughtful and kind to one another. The sort of romance where they go out of their way to make that big gesture, especially after they have screwed up somehow. I see it in movies too, and know that out there somewhere writers must be inspired by something. More and more I think the inspiration comes from fantasy and wanting it to happen than the actual reality of it happening.
Do you want to know why divorce rates are so high? It's because romance is dead outside of TV and books. No one seems to think that they need to take that extra step, make that extra effort, or care about someone enough to stop in the middle of their hectic lives to pay tribute to that person who is getting them through. No one gets love letters anymore, people are too busy texting about the person in line in front of them somewhere who just slighted them somehow.
So, where has the romance gone? I think it's gone the same place people's manners have disappeared to. We are always worried about animal species going extinct, but what about our humanity? Sure, people are still around, but what's really left that is human about us? Have you taken a look at the things people say to one another on the internet these days? It's monstrous and because it is so easy to do, it has become increasingly simple for people to start doing in person as well. I feel sorry for my children, they are growing up in a world where bullying behavior is the norm and ignored or dismissed as silly by the adults in their life. They are growing up in a time where manners are long gone, chivalry is dead, and romance is extinct. My heart hurts for them, because all of these things are headed for rapid extinction and no one really cares to save them when we can save a whale or a turtle. In fact, we are so busy saving said whales and turtles that we completely forget to save ourselves.
I have been separated from my husband for six months now. During that time I checked out an online dating service, mostly out of curiosity. Having been bombarded with ads for these things, I figured, 'yea, let's see what is really out there.' I also wanted to do some research for a single character who has to date in this day and age. So, I signed up for the free 15 day trial or whatever it was. I was horrified and offended by the offers I got and from who sent them. There were two potentially nice people out of the bunch who seemed like they might be decent humans, even if they did have a lot of baggage they wore on their sleeves. Aside from those two, I received lewd comments from men who were definitely old enough to be my grandfather and who were also obviously illiterate as I had specified a particular age range I was interested in. I received many appreciative, if not vulgar, comments on my figure, and quite a few invites to just drop the pretenses of dating and hook up for a booty call. Apparently, manners in the dating world are just as non-existent as they are in the anonymous comments people leave on news stories.
My estranged husband went to Japan for a few weeks back in January. He claims he wants to put us back together, but what did he bring me? Socks! That's right, he went to a foreign country, to the most American store there (as it was on a U.S. military base) and he bought me socks. Now, in his defense, I like cool socks. But come on, where is the romance in that? Where is the life in that? You are in a foreign country with so many cool, cultural items to choose from and I get socks, from an American store? Don't get me wrong, I am not ungrateful. I liked the socks, but somehow I expected more. I am not talking monetary value here. I am talking, more forethought. I love the Asian cultures. Hell, I would have been ecstatic over a really cool pair of chopsticks or something from that country.
What I want, what all women want (yes, even the ones who are afraid to give up control because they feel the feminist movement hasn't done enough) is for someone to show some originality and come in and sweep us off our feet, and there's more. We want to be continually shown from time to time that we still matter with grand gestures. It doesn't mean go spend a ton of money - it means use some creativity, and put yourself out there. And women - this doesn't take you off the hook. Woman have been bowing out on things like this for years, claiming it's the man's job. Well, guess what? Men like to feel appreciated too! It goes both ways. It also, sadly, has disappeared from both sides.
There are no great gestures out there anymore and sadly that practice has lent itself to the death of romance. The death of romance is just the beginning though, as it is leading to the death of our humanity as well. Everyone talks about changing the world because it's such a crappy place to live. Here's a clue for you - change starts in people's hearts!
I have lots of blogs on my mind these days, stories being worked on, and yet I can't get Japan off of my mind. Of course, how could I? I can't pull up the news or turn on the TV without seeing something about the latest nuclear reactor troubles or about how entire towns have been swept away
by last Friday's earthquake and subsequent tsunami. It is heartbreaking. The images that I have seen are unbelievable, it takes minutes to make sense of what is being seen. When you realize that pile of rubble they are showing on the screen is all that is left of an entire village, your heart breaks for these people.
There isn't really anything that words can say to make it all okay, so I won't even try. What I want to do is pass along some information for how you can help. These are hard times for all of us, but imagine being in the middle of a natural disaster that doesn't seem to end because of pending nuclear disasters right behind it. Let's send what help we can.
Here are some great sites to donate to:American Red Cross
- From this link you can choose where your donations go.UNICEF
- From their website: "The U.S. Fund for UNICEF (USF) is raising funds to help children in Japan impacted by the recent earthquake and tsunami. This is an unusual decision, as Japan is a donor to UNICEF, not a recipient of its assistance. However, due to the unprecedented nature of the epic disaster and its impact on children, resources are going to be critical in helping provide for the very unique needs of children
. These may include health, development and protection and other needs that may have been compromised or disrupted in the wake of catastrophe."Mercy Corps
- From their website: "Mercy Corps is working to help survivors of Japan's earthquake and tsunami with our longstanding partner, Peace Winds.
Peace Winds helicoptered emergency supplies on Monday -- including tents, blankets, cooking fuel, tarps, rice and bread -- to families evacuated from homes in the tsunami-devastated city of Kesennuma."
There are MANY other ways to help and donate. Local churches, Salvation Army stations, and businesses are setting up donation sites and collections all around the United States.
Unfortunately, I do have to say this, disasters bring out the worst in people too. Be sure you know who you are donating money to. There are people in every disaster who claim to be collecting for charities when they are pocketing the money. I highly recommend if you want to donate cash to do so with one of the major donation centers like the Red Cross or UNICEF.
Nothing makes me crazier than limited time items that I am in love with, but can only get during certain times of the year. Case in point, I have an addiction to these little mini-packs of colorful candy-coated balls of chocolate known as Sixlets
. I have loved Sixlets since I was a girl and I used to buy them from the mom-and-pop shop on the corner of the street I used to live on in Baltimore, Md. I remember finding a nickle on the sidewalk and thinking, "Oh happy day! I can go get some more Sixlets."
Somehow, while I was growing up Sixlets started disappearing off of store shelves. I am not quite sure what happened, but my heart was broken. I can still find them on occasion in places like WalMart, but only during Easter. Why, must you tease me with holiday only candy?
If ever I own a store in this lifetime, be it a candy store, book store, or shoe store, there will be a shiny little shelf holding my favorite coveted candy-goodness!
Now, don't get me started on my childhood cereal favorites, BooBerry, FrankenBerry, and Count Chocula
. Target was kind enough to carry them during the Halloween season, but what about the rest of the year? I am a firm believer in equal opportunity for ghosts and ghouls too.
I did discover, while searching Google for an image to use, that I can purchase my favorite candies online through several merchants. "Oh happy day!"
I would like to start this blog out with my definition of a true friend.
True friends are the family that your heart chose.
~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Friday morning I climbed into the back of my best friend's Nissan Sentra and we departed to a special part of North Carolina we lovingly refer to as "Crazy Town." Why "Crazy Town" you may ask? Well, there is an inordinate amount of drama that spews forth from this place. While we were there from Friday afternoon until Sunday brunch-time-ish we were exposed to several fine examples which shall remain nameless as to not add anymore fuels to the "crazy fires" that were burning. This would be the part of the road trip that was less than perfect. Upon ignoring the drama, the road trip was stellar.
The purpose of this trip was to see my best friend's daughter have her baby. We were about two hours away when we got the text that she was dilated to a 3. A short while later we got the news that she was now dilated to a 6. Things were definitely progressing, but there was still hope of making it in time for Jennifer to see her grand baby born. Then, five minutes later we get the message that everyone has been kicked out of the room and she is having her baby. So much for showing up on time. We would now be fashionably late. And the new mommy would set a world speed record for quickest birth. Okay, maybe not literally, but she certainly was a very, very lucky lady!
We would get there to find a party in the new mommy's room. This new mommy and baby don't know how absolutely lucky they are to have so many people who care about them so deeply. And there couldn't be a more perfect baby. She was gorgeous! Not a flaw to be found. I thought back to how it felt to be a new mom for the first time, how it felt to finally hold my little Angel and my heart swelled to capacity for this new mommy, a child I think of as my own daughter, and her own little girl. Oh, how time flies!
I feel as though I am the luckiest person in the world to have the friends I do and through them this amazing extended family. Our children have grown up together, hell, we have all grown up together in many ways. This morning when Jennifer and her husband Danny left, I felt those famous words of Juliet's, "parting is such sweet sorrow." I love my friends dearly, and while I know our distance does not change that fact, life just isn't as colorful without them around. The next road trip is already in it's planning stages, with me heading south this time, because I can't go this long without seeing the family that my heart chose!
Photos along the way...
Kenly, NC - one of our stops along the way...
The story of a lonely pirate and road weary traveler... Yes, Christine has a thing for Pirates!
Christine's pre-party celebration with the Captain! Arrgghhh Pirates and Rum!
Danny enjoyed the Crown Royal treatment! He's a bit too laid back for Pirates. :)
Cayla Rose - the most important reason for the trip, other than her mother!
The proud Grandma - although she would like to point out - she is still VERY young! :)
The beautiful Cayla in her lavender going home outfit, even if she wasn't happy about her modeling debut!
I am hurried. I knew about this trip all week, and yet I look around thinking I am forgetting something. Ahh, yes, my toothbrush. No, teeth are brushed, stuff is bagged and packed away. I am sure, 15 minutes up the road I will remember what my poor subconscious was trying to tell me. Such is the way of road trips.
The fantastic part is I finally get to see my best friend/writing partner whom I have not seen since Dec. 09. We talk daily, we write, we work together and yet it's never quite enough when you can't give that person a hug or see them smile. I am very excited to be able to visit with her.
Even more exciting is the fact that her oldest daughter is in the hospital as I type this preparing to bring a new life into this world. We are all waiting with anticipation to hear if Cayla has made her grand entrance, and hoping that the whole affair is easier on her momma than it was for the rest of us moms out there. Isn't that the way it always is. The phrase, "I wouldn't wish that on anyone" comes to mind.
And on that note, Jennifer and her husband Danny have just pulled into my drive, so it's time to go ahead and get on the road. Wish us luck, wish a painless labor for Jennifer's daughter, and a healthy grand baby too!
Will update when I can.
I have had several people over the last few days ask me, "why don't you write about what's going on with Charlie Sheen?"
Well, because I don't know the man and therefore I think I would be remiss to attempt it. Sure his public behavior has been an erratic mess of late, but who am I to judge? So, instead I choose to focus on the behaviors themselves, not the man behind them.
Not long ago a friend of mine posted a rather compelling blog, The Rage, A Little Pink Pill, and And Me,
on her PMDD diagnosis. I remember getting that same diagnosis years earlier and being thankful that there was finally someone who was listening to what I was saying. There is nothing more frustrating than having these debilitating symptoms and have them fall on deaf ears. I know that all too well, because not only have I had to deal with it for myself, but with my eldest son. He has been diagnosed in the Autism Spectrum. I have actually been given numerous diagnosis for him including Aspergers, high functioning Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Mood Disorder. Basically, the doctors are still unsure, but sure enough that he falls in there somewhere. He also has learning disabilities. It took me a very long time to convince the schools that there was something wrong with my son. I tried convincing his doctors when he was just a toddler, I still have all the medical records to prove that my concerns were voiced - and ignored. It took me so long to get someone to listen to me that I can't help but feel my son was harmed irreparably by the delay.
What on Earth does this have to do with Charlie Sheen? Well, in a word, everything.
I don't claim to be a doctor or have a diagnosis for anyone, but it's obvious the man has had problems going as far back as his youth. His opinion of doctors and the mental health professionals in his recent interviews is so amazingly awful that it reminds me why so many people go untreated. There is a stigma attached with mental illness that many people simply can't get past. Those who are suffering from it don't want anyone to know, themselves included. It's okay for people to get the flu, it's even okay (albeit horrific) for people to develop cancer. These are physical, explainable illnesses. What is not okay is for someone to have Bi-Polar Disorder or depression. You can't have a chemical imbalance because people don't understand it. These are deep dark secrets we are supposed to save hidden away in our closets until they kill us. At which point, our family and friends can safely say, "if only I had known." Well, chances are, you probably did know. As evidenced by a few celebrities who have melted down lately, people with mental instabilities have a hard time hiding the fact. They think, in their own minds, that they are okay and they try zealously to convince us of it.
Aside from my son, I have had to deal with a step-daughter whose mental illness, and my family's inability to deal with it, contributed to my current separation. My estranged spouse was so racked with guilt over not having been in her life enough up until she came to live with us (a stranger we had not seen in 8 years) that he ignored her symptoms, her behaviors, and his family's pleas for help. To this day, it is his enabling of her abhorrent behaviors that keeps our family so estranged.
So, when I see Charlie Sheen imploding on national TV, talk radio, and the internet, all I think is how sad it is to see another family destroyed because of the stigmas and ignorance attached to mental illness. In recent years there have been a handful of celebrities that have spoken out about mental illness in their own families or themselves. It is a step in the right direction, but it isn't enough.
Mental illnesses are so very heartbreaking to deal with because they are so secretive, and so very misunderstood. I have a sense of humor though. I joke with my family (those that are around me still) about having a "crazy family" or the fact that everyone has to have "happy pills to survive one another." When I say I joke, I mean I try to get lighthearted about it. I don't think there is anything to be ashamed of, and a doomsday approach to the different conditions we all have only makes matters worse. This is something that happens to people. It is there and it doesn't go away because generations before us considered it to be a taboo subject. In retrospect, we laugh at the bad days as we would a bad hair day and hope for better to come. Laughter is healing. I truly believe that. And so we take our daily dose, along with our chemical stabilizers, and we hope for normal or at the very least uniquely, happily abnormal. We hope for acceptance. We hope for more understanding and doctors who are prepared to listen to their patients. Mostly, we hope that our story helps others to understand that it is okay to ask for help, it is okay to receive help, and they don't have to hide in the dark somewhere for fear that someone might find out their "crazy" little secret.
I remember being a kid and having my mom drop my older brother and myself off at the roller rink. There was nothing quite like that first taste of freedom, being dropped off to have fun, and dancing your little heart out on wheels to rock anthems like Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It."
To this day, that song brings back childhood roller rink memories like no other. I lived in Baltimore, MD during the skate rink heyday of the 1980s. I think it was the place to be seen and hang out, but what would I know, I was just a kid who loved to blaze around the rink on wheels.
When I was in the fourth grade my parents moved us to Elizabeth City, N.C. Right away I realized two things, this town had absolutely nothing for kids to do and the one thing they used to have - roller skating - was closed down. Without a roller rink nearby, when I outgrew my skates, that was it. I never owned another pair until I was an adult and I bought my first pair of rollerblades. The change from roller skates to blades wasn't all that challenging. I picked right up on how to balance and went forth. The nostalgia for true skates would keep me coming back to the old school side-by-side wheels though. I learned to do tricks, dance, and fly on those wheels. How could I abandon them for in-line skates?
Now that I live in South Carolina I have two roller skating rinks in my town to choose from. We have Skate Station
, which is less than five miles from my house and Gamecock on Wheels, which is about a 10 minute drive (if that). I get to share the sheer and utter joy of flying around in circles on wheels with my children. The laughter that comes with each bruise as they fall on their butts, as I once did, is a memory that I am sure will endure for them too. Last night I took my daughter by the hands while I began to skate backwards in front of her. I slowly began to pick up speed until her hair was blowing back as we went around, the smile on her face was the reward! Skating hasn't gone out of style, or left the hearts of America.
So, to the places where the rinks have disappeared - I say - bring back the fun! And to those of you who have not strapped on a pair lately, what are you waiting for? It's amazing exercise, and so much fun that you don't feel like you're doing any work! You can't beat that.
If you're having trouble finding a roller rink near you try Southeastern Skate Supply, Inc.
they have a pretty good list of rinks across the country!
I never fully understood what the hardest thing about writing was until these past couple of years. Writing isn't the hard part, it's the waiting for answers, for people to either love or hate what you've done.
I always had this easy way of making thoughts jump from my brain onto paper or a computer screen. It seemed that writing a novel with my best friend would be such a simple task. In its own way, it was simple. We work so well together, that some days chapters will flow out of us before we realize just how much we have accomplished. Other days, we motivated each other to keep pushing through.
The novel writing is fun, it is creative, and it soothes my soul on so many levels that it is hard to put into words. The writing was definitely the easy part. Even when we realized we needed to go back and re-write some of our book, or revise it in certain ways it was almost a carefree process. Okay, it wasn't always easy to stay on task due to serious changes in both or our lives, but the writing itself seemed effortless compared to the stressing we have done over query letters.
A year ago we sat down with our completed book and took pride in the fact that it was finished. Then, we wrote two really awful query letters and actually sent them out to agents. I am being beyond honest when I say, looking back now, I can't believe we had the audacity to send those first two letters to anyone, let alone an agent. They were horrid. Thankfully, those first two rejection letters we received (and rightfully so) were a wake-up call for us. After getting them back we had to deal with personal issues which kept us from continuing on with the process at that point. Everything was shelved, and when life calmed down we both took a good look at what we had with fresh eyes. We decided on the re-writes and have come away with much better material, and a new found respect for the hardest letter a person ever had to write.
We have researched and researched, until we were both blue in the face, how to make the perfect query letter. The real answer is, there are no perfect queries. Each agent/publisher wants to see something different. If their perception matches with your voice, you have a winner! We did learn some key points though. We learned all about what should actually go into your query. Your voice will make the letter shine (or it should in theory) but you have to include certain things, what the book is about, a little introduction to the main character(s), the growth of those characters, and a little something about yourself, your experience, and what you would like to accomplish.
I think we have managed to capture all of that in our latest query letter and hopefully one day, we will be able to share with other writers what worked for us. Until then, it's the waiting game. The query letter itself is stressful to write, because it is your first foot in the door. The waiting is an anxiety-riddled, impatient person's nightmare. We both get an adrenaline rush just from hitting "send" on our e-mailed query, then we wait... and wait... and wait...
Oh, and we hope!