Doesn’t every family have a crazy person in the attic?

Okay, my family doesn’t have an attic. And the word crazy gets tossed around much too easily.

Still, family has its challenges, and certainly every family member might should be locked in an attic for a while from time to time. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Sometimes I suspect I’m the one who should be in the attic…it’s probably quiet up there.

So, a particular someone in my family has a debilitating disease. This person doesn’t know I have a blog–and probably doesn’t even know what a blog is–but in the off chance I’m wrong about that, this story will be as convoluted as possible.

I’m not supposed to know this person is sick. Every time I talk to this person, I must act as if everything is fine. I know about the illness because someone else felt that I had a right to know, but that someone made me promise not to reveal that I know the truth.

In some ways, this makes life easy. I don’t have to figure out what to say or wonder what I should do to help. But then that someone tells me this person has stopped taking their medication. Just stopped. But I don’t know that, of course, so I can’t say, “Take your medicine!”

I ask, “How are you doing?”

This person says, “I’m fine. I had a cold.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah. I went to the doctor. Everything’s good!”

Do you ever have fake conversations with your family?

Inundated, overwhelmed, and out of my mind. You?

My son's "Are you crazy?!" look.

I’ve got a stack of novels and short stories I’ve written and a folder stuffed with rejections. I think I fumbled (to put it politely) my last effort at getting an agent. But self-publishing doesn’t appeal to me either.

You know those hoarding shows where you can see people surrounded, no, overwhelmed by the dross and remains of their lives? I feel like that except instead of pizza boxes and newspapers and cats, it written words and all the talismans that cling to them. I don’t even know where to begin.

Some days I think I can do anything I put my to. Other days…I wonder much I could carry to the dumpster before my mind clears.

Ever think of just throwing all those words away?

The Most Expensive Dog Toothpaste Ever

Sadie ripped Porter’s ear with her teeth. Earlier, my son reached for something to shove under the bathroom door as a joke, and he knocked the doggie toothpaste to the floor. He didn’t notice it.

Porter and Sadie

Sadie loves dog toothpaste. You can’t actually brush her teeth because she struggles too much to eat the paste.

I was washing dishes when Sadie found the toothpaste on the floor. She was chewing away on the tube when Porter came over to investigate. The attack ensued.

My son screamed and the dogs tried to kill each other.

I dumped a pot of soapy water on them. They separated, but one of them lunged again. I grabbed the dogs’ water bowls and threw them. Water soaked the dogs, the sofa, the carpet, and the shelves. Everyone was breathing hard.

Blood from Porter’s ear spotted a cabinet door.

At the edge of the splash zone were our two laptops. A few drops of water streaked the tops of them, but they were closed, and I thought–no harm done there.

I took care of the dogs, my son, and the dishes. I sat down with my laptop and used it a while. When the power got down to below 40%, I decided to charge it.

It wouldn’t charge. After trying various things, I had to take the MacBook in to be repaired, pay more money than I had to spare, and live for days, DAYS, without my Mac.

Years of my life were happy without computers and the Internet in them. Well, such is life today. Some people lived happy lives before TV and independence from England. You can’t go back.

So now that I have my portal into cyberspace back, what do I do? I’m feeling more and more pressure to go ahead and opt for the e-publishing path…

But I can barely get people who know me to read my work…

My laptop holds most all of my writing. Most of them are backed up one way or another, but if I’d lost the Mac, I’d have lost a lot. But it made me wonder what I’d do without all my stories. What would you do if you lost everything you’d written?

What I Hate Most about Art

bunny ornaments

Pricing. This Friday is time again to hang my art in public (public hanging!) and decide what numbers to put on those little tags.

Part of me wonders why art can’t just be free. Oh, that’s right. Artists like to eat and have heat in the winter.

Crazy but true.

So, yes, I know all the things to consider: cost of materials, amount of time, quality of piece, how much I want it to sell, what the market will tolerate…

I’ve read a lot about pricing, but that hasn’t made it any easier. Money is another word for psychological land mine.

Now, I’ve made a few handmade books. Most of them are small books–a short story or two inside. Only one is a hardcover.

My research on how to price handmade books has pulled up only blank books, like leather bound journals or small, pretty books that are works of art but contain no story.

Now, a hardcover book cost $30, right? Give or take.

But that’s a factory made book.

But charging for my time and materials…means a crazy high price.

So logically it seems foolish to make things I can’t sell.

But I don’t do it for money.

But I’ve got to cover my cost because I’m not a trust fund baby.

Besides, who even wants a handmade book in our ebook world?

Oh, well. It isn’t the end of the world if it doesn’t sell. That’s the nature of these things.

* * *

P.S. I’ve been working on my other blog–where I’m famous in a parallel universe. You can find out more here.

Derby Girl Who?

Today I went to a rec league roller derby orientation.

Oh, the things I’m learning about roller derby.

Texas Rollergirls

In the whole of my life, I’ve never joined an organized sport. Well, there was that year I coached an intramural softball team. But that was because I was an RA and my floor wanted to participate. As the RA I had to be the coach–though I knew none of the rules and could only hit a ball if you threw it at my head.

My floor did happen to win the campus championship. Real softball players lived on my floor, and those girls were the real coaches. I made sure everyone knew the schedule and I cheered from the outfield. Yep. I’m an athlete!

Nonetheless, I’ve joined rec league derby.

And I’m rather freaked out about it.

But what are we doing if we aren’t trying new things?

A few years ago I started participating in NaNoWriMo and met great people. A while after that I tried an acting class. Another year I had my art in a high-brow art festival even though I was terrified and didn’t (and still don’t) really believe my art and me were up for it. But I sold things and had lovely conversations with people.

I got talked into being the “artist of honor” at a downtown special event dinner…yeah, that didn’t go well. Then there was that other art event that no one showed up for. No one. At least I’m well prepared for future book signings.

Still. Even though I’m over 40, I’ve signed-up for derby.

Nothing like hearing about all the gear you need for protection (helmet, mouth guard, elbow pads, wrist guards, and knees guards–not to mention the skates) and the health insurance–just in case you break something.

If nothing else, this will be something to write about.

What new things are you trying this year?

What? Me worry?

This year–though not for a few months yet–I will be 44.

My mother died when she was 45.

my mother at 42

45.

I’ll be 45 in the next calendar year.

Kind of far away if you’re looking forward to something.

So far I’ve had most all of my mother’s health problems.

Of course, I’m not her.

But obviously I’m thinking about it.

Any big numbers out there for you?