Showing posts from February, 2008

Writer Moms & Dads

Not long ago, several of my writer friends were chatting via e-mail about various writing things, including finding time to write.

One woman quipped, "You know, I could really use a wife around here. I'd be able to write a lot more."

We all got a chuckle out of that, and I made the remark that I wondered if the male writers on the e-mail list fully appreciated just how much their wives do that allowed them to write at nights and on weekends.

At least one of them took umbrage with that comment, saying that there's no reason a husband couldn't help out to let his wife write.

Well, sure. I guess. In theory. But that's not how life, at least as a mother, works.

No matter how well-meaning the husband is, stuff happens. Here's a scene that's been replayed many times in my house:

Me: Honey, I'd love to get some writing in tonight. Could you put the kids to bed? DS12 still has to finish his piano practicing, and DD10 has math homework.

DH: No problem. I'll t…

The Lyon's Roar

Cheesy title, but I couldn't resist; it just fit.

Tristi was kind enough to bestow the following award on me:

I am now supposed to give three pieces of writing advice and then pass the award on to some great writers. I could throw out all kinds of advice (I'm opinionated and nerdy that way), but really, the things that most good writers do can be boiled down to three main things:

1) Write. A lot.
Obvious, yet I can't count how many people have come to me saying they "want" to write but never have gotten their behind in the chair and their hands to the keyboard. Want to write? DO IT. A lot. A good pianist can make a concerto sound effortless, but you can bet your booties that getting to that level took a lot of mundane practicing, including boring scales. Writing is the same way. To make it flow and sound natural takes work. A lot of it.

2) Read. A lot.
I don't know of a single good writer who isn't also an avid reader. On the flip side, I do know some sad writ…

It's Who I Am

It's not uncommon for me to get asked whether I've always wanted to write for the LDS market or if I have plans to publish nationally some day.

The answers to the two questions are a bit convoluted.

To the first part, no, I didn't always plan to write for the LDS market. But that's largely because it didn't really exist as a significant force when I was younger. As it matured, I also matured as a woman and as a writer. So did my interest in it.

Writing about my own people—and in recent years, my people's history—somehow feels like coming home, in writing terms.

In a strange way, it's also made me feel more connected to the roots of the Church, because with my mother and paternal grandparents all being immigrants, I personally have no pioneer blood in me. I have no ancestors who pulled handcarts or who knew Joseph Smith.

Don't get me wrong; I absolutely adore my heritage. I'm proud of being half Finnish, belonging in large part to a country with such an a…

Oh, Yeah? Watch Me.

Yesterday my husband turned on a show he thought I might enjoy: Fiddler on the Roof.

He was right; ever since I performed in a community theater version of the play in my teens, I’ve loved that show. The fact that I grew up with a mother fascinated by all things Jewish probably helped.

Watching the film again brought back a flood of memories and emotions connected to the production I was in, the vast majority positive (the touching Sabbath scene, the practical jokes the cast pulled on each other, the fatherly friendship that our Tevye brought to the youth in the cast), and a few negative things as well.

I remembered the audition process, and the never-ending call backs in particular. In the end, several of my close friends were cast in leading roles. I was cast as a towns woman, one of the mamas. I became the choreographer’s assistant and helped teach some of the dance numbers.

I also used my dancing skills during the particularly poignant "Chavala" scene, where I danced in silh…


The delightful Luisa and I see eye-to-eye on so many things (among them: knitting is soothing to the soul, LM Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott should be canonized, and food is GOOD).

We also both love Jane Austen, and of course, Pride and Prejudice. (Really, show me a sane woman who doesn’t?)

Many film versions of P&P exist. And here is where our opinions diverge: I much prefer the A&E (which stands for Arts & Entertainment). It's also known as the 6-hour version, although the purist in me has to point out that it's really 5 hours (it was aired originally in 6, 50-minute episodes). While I live and die by this version, Luisa champions the more recent Kiera Knightly adaptation.

I find it interesting that neither of us holds any other version dear to our hearts, including the black and white one with Sir Laurence Olivier.

So today Luisa and I are joint blogging on the same . . ish . . topic, explaining to our somewhat joint readership why we espouse the P&P versions …

Reading Frenzy

As you may know, the Whitney Awards will be announced March 22nd after the 5th Annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference.

As you may also know, the Whitney finalists were announced January 15. While the books were nominated by readers, the academy that votes on the finalists is comprised of slew of industry professionals, including publishers, editors, book reviewers, independent book store owners, and the members of the LDS writing guild, LDStorymakers. (Among others. I'm probably missing some. Regardless, there are a lot of members of the Academy.)

During the months leading up to the announcement of the finalists, I heard some people worrying aloud that the voting would end up being a popularity contest, that people would vote without having read the books and therefore without knowing which really were the better books and hence the most deserving of the awards.

Over the last few weeks, I've seen something that has brushed away any fears I have about that, at least if the LDStor…

Knit One, Purl One

At long last, I'm making good on my promise to Luisa by posting photos of my daughter's jacket that I knitted. I'm the first to admit that it's nowhere near the cutest thing I've ever made with my knitting needles (for starters, I much prefer the one I made for her in kindergarten. It had two beautiful tones of cranberry red and ivory in a checkerboard pattern, make of luxurious wool yarn . . .).

But she was five then, and I got to do the picking. Now she's coming on eleven. She has her own opinions and desires, so she designed what she wanted me to make. Which meant I had to invent the pattern. It sort of worked. At least I made it big enough that she won't outgrow it too fast.

I actually began this project about a year ago, and although I finished it awhile back as well, I'm only now writing about it. The thing is, the story behind this jacket makes me see how amazing it is how a little detail in your life can lead to something so much bigger.

But I'…

Just Call Me Nurse Lyon

I’m labeling this post a "reader question," but technically it isn’t.

I really was asked this question once, but the person who posed it wasn’t one of my readers. For that matter, at the time, she didn’t even know that I write.

But it was a moment that reaffirmed exactly what kind of nutcase I am.

We were new to our neighborhood, and as part of my new church assignment, I was gathered with several other ladies in a living room for a meeting. As we chatted, one was asked how her mother was doing and whether she was still in the hospital.

Apparently her mother was going to be there for a while longer, and the daughter explained soberly what was wrong and why it would be a few weeks yet before her mother’s discharge—if she lived.

Based on the description of her mother’s situation—which included no medical jargon whatsoever—I said something like, "Oh, no. If she’s got peritonitis, no wonder you’re so worried. That’s serious."

I didn’t realize I had said anything odd until sh…