Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Go Fish...

Last Wednesday morning, my husband announces that Edwin, our pet Beta Fish, has gone missing.
"What do you mean missing?" I say.
"I mean, he's not in the fish bowl."
"What do you mean he's not in the fish bowl?"
"I mean, he's not in the fish bowl."
I raise a skeptical eyebrow. My husband is a notoriously bad finder of things. Unless Edwin has magically sprouted legs or wings, he is in that fish bowl.
I rush into my son's bedroom, family in tow, eager to prove my husband wrong. My eyes search the one-gallon tank atop the bookcase, a one-gallon tank that has suddenly become an ocean.
An empty ocean.
Edwin is missing, indeed.
My children's eyes are wide with worry.
"Maybe he went on an adventure," I say, falling back on the blanket explanation I use when other of my children's things are lost. And then, I turn to my husband. "I just cleaned the fish bowl."
"Well that's what happened," my husband says. "You must not have put the fish back in the bowl then."
This time, the eyebrow I raise is arched with anger.
"Maybe it was the kids," I say. This, of course, is a more plausible explanation. After all, just the afternoon before, the house was filled with neighbors and nieces and nephews, six total, all of whom were largely unsupervised while I sequestered myself in the kitchen and fixed dinner.
When questioned, my children claim ignorance, but still my husband's eyes stray to the carpet. Then, he pulls the bookcase away from the wall and, ever so slightly, gasps. I don't dare to look. He goes to the bathroom and comes back with a paper towel and, on all fours, fishes for the fish. There is something undignified about the whole affair. My daughter squeals, thinking we are engaged in a game of hide-and-seek. When my husband stands with the paper towel concealing the fish's limp form, my son is at the brink of tears.
I think that, as sappy as it may be, we should hold some sort of memorial service; that some consoling word or two should be said before the fish is disposed of. But there isn't time. A horn honks in the driveway. My son's carpool is here. My son swipes at his eyes and I arm him with his Transformers backpack. The horn honks again, the car's idling engine rumbling in the driveway, and I think how life is persistent, tireless, and yet...
"Mom," my son asks as I usher him to the door, "do people last longer than fish?"
His eyes are red-rimmed and injured looking. I can't bear to look at those eyes. And so, instead, I wrap him in my arms, covering his sudden and instant fragility.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mission Accomplished?

Remember this?

That's kind of how I feel right now. Because, Friday night I finished the first draft of my novel. After I recovered from a night of crazy celebrating (a trip to the Nickelcade with the kids), I turned my eyes to my manuscript again and realized this war is far from over.

Editing. Dog gone editing.

Here's to the long slog ahead...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Coming soon to a blog near you...

....Me! After a long (ish) absence, I am ready to re-enter the blogosphere.


I've been really struggling to finish the first draft of my YA novel. I have 3 chapters left and a pretty good idea of what happens in each chapter, but every time I sit down to write, my mind freezes up.

Yesterday, I wrote this sentence:
For Mom, no crisis can compete with the urgency of hot rolls in the oven.
At first, this struck me as just plain wonderful. Then I spent the rest of the day wondering if it makes sense.
I was reminded of a quote by Annie Dillard:

"Many fine people were out there living, people whose consciences permitted them to sleep at night despite their not having written a decent sentence that day, or ever."

Sometimes, I wish I belonged to the that throng of people immune to the afflictions of writing. I could really use the extra sleep.