Monday, March 23, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 12 (+ writing)

In the springtime, I remember poetry.
I remember that I love it. I start reading it aloud to my kids. I start sitting out under the blossoms of our apricot tree, hacking blooming branches off our wormy plum tree and displaying them in mason jars around the house. And I sit by them, breathing them in, reading and writing poetry.
And apparently, it's just one small step from reading Mary Oliver aloud to getting up at 5 am to work on writing a book.
The self-same book. The book I've written for six years (though to be fair,  I've taken two two-year long "breaks" each time I've been pregnant.) But now it is spring.
Spring is the time of year for writing and resolutions.
My book is almost complete and I've made a goal for myself to have it finished by my birthday (in three weeks). And I have other books, other chapters, other characters that I've met with my pen in hand- and I'm excited to return to them, too.
But it's hard to write without a writing group (or at least, a critique partner) to hold me accountable, and sometimes tell me that what I'm writing is garbage (or occasionally, that it's not garbage).

I never settled myself into a group in Salt Lake. After moving from Provo, I tried to keep up with my old writing group, but the forty plus minute drive was soon dreary, and Skyping into a room full of people who were actually together was kind of the worst.
But it's really hard to say to people, "I write middle grade books," when you haven't published anything, because then- somehow- you aren't really a writer.
And if you haven't even been published, how good could you be? I mean, Stephanie Meyer and John Green are probably the most famous YA authors around right now, and their books are mostly unbearable.
So telling people that you're an unpublished YA writer sometimes feels like an admission of an ugly addiction you just can't break.
But, turns out, I can't break it.
And I really, really want a writing group.

I've thought of two possible scenarios that I think would work.
The first, is that I find a group of writers (3-4 people?) who live in or around the Salt Lake area and we can physically get together and meet (I'll provide the cookies, and the anecdotes about baby spit up), and talk about our writing. We critique each others work, we have deadlines and expectations for each other. We take blood oaths to write every day, even just two words.  And we become best friends and all get published and our babies grow up and marry each other and etc. You know, normal writing group stuff.

The second scenario is exactly the same, minus the cookies, blood oaths, and actually hang-out sessions. Because I think I could actually bear a long-distance writing group if all of us lived long-distance. If we got together on Google Hangout and talked about what we're working on and read each other's books, and were best friends in different places, and none of you ever got together without me, because I suffer from a pretty serious case of FOMO. (Fear of Missing Out.)
The longer I've had this blog, the less strange these long-distance friendships seem. I have good friends on both coasts and around the world- people I've never met but text with, email, and occasionally get real-life letters from.
It's pretty amazing, and I think it could make an amazing group of like-minded writers.

So here it is, here is my admission and my plea:
I write. In addition to this blog, I write poetry and short stories. But mostly I write books for that age that no one writes for anymore. Those girls who are twelve or thirteen and have moved on from talking animal books, but aren't quite to heart-sick Romeo and Juliet style love stories where one person dies, probably right after they finish losing their virginity.  (Because those books are the. worst.)
And I want friends who write, and preferably write well. (Pretty picky of me, I know, but I love having a better writer than me critique my work.)
So write me an email.
Let's do this.

And now, because, who am I kidding? I'm not writing ANOTHER blogpost today:
Here are pictures of my youths.


Helping gather plum blossoms, while he may.


Because a love of chocolate frosting is something Micah and I have in common.


I don't remember, but I suspect he was watching Lady Gaga strutting around the yard. He's very fascinated by her strange appearance.

(Lady Gaga is a chicken.)

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