Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Hardest Time of Year

I find February in Quebec the toughest month of the year.  It is cold, there is a ton of snow, and I'm usually very tired of being inside.  This is the time of year that my mind wanders into spring, scheming up garden plans, looking forward to summer vacations and generally daydreaming.  This year, it seemed to pass quickly and I'm surprised to find March right around the corner.  Spring break for my kids starts next Monday and I'm looking forward to crafting and playing board games.  If March flies quickly enough, April will breeze in and we'll have a new member of the family with four feet.

My father-in-law happened to be at our house the other day and we were talking about the coming puppy.  He seems to have started ruminating on the idea some himself and we were looking in my big encyclopedia of dog breeds.  One dog I thought he and my mother-in-law might enjoy is a bulldog.  Our neighbor has one.  They are adorable in a stubby, gruffy looking way.  They are not overly active dogs, not too big and are friendly - requirements my parents-in-law were looking for.

My brain then mashed up thoughts of hating February's drag of wintertime and the bulldog.  Voila, a Poetry Friday word is born.  BULL.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Poetry Friday: Glasses

Not the Snow

She hitched up her glasses
and squared her nose
whatever happens, she thinks
nothing's loose, nothing's lost.
Bring it, she cries
she's ready this time.
If she doesn't open
the curtains all the way
she can see the sunshine
and not the snow.
She'll lay on the floor
in her beam
and draw stories on the ceiling.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

LEGO My Dinosaur

We are a LEGO family.  We often give LEGO sets to our kids as gifts and building LEGO bricks into anything we can think up is a common family activity.  Before I met my husband, I hadn't been much interested in LEGO building.  But the first time we sat down with our young children and a giant box of miscellaneous bricks, I fell in love.  For many years I've been content to build free-form with our collection, creating strange looking vehicles, spaceships, buildings.   But I've never owned my own set.

I had often looked at the sets in the store and tried to find one that I might want, but nothing ever seemed to grab me.  But one day, I don't know exactly what did it, I got a hankering to get my first LEGO set and nothing would get in my way.  My husband and I visited three stores before I found a set that I wanted.  I would not settle for just anything.  At the third store, I saw the new Dino line released this year.  The vehicles in this line have a rugged, fun look to them.  I loved the size of the tires - an often needed part for our building.

So I bought my first set of LEGO this year

Now it's just a fight to keep my kids from absconding with my super jungle jeep and triceratops.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On Publishers

I believe change in all industries happening right now, being forced through new technologies, is a revolution that one day we'll look back on and say, 'Oh yeah, I watched that whole thing unfold.' Just like older generations watched vinyl change to 8-Track which gave way to cassette tape which bowed out for CD's which are now dwindling for digital music.
We've already seen tremendous industry changes.  Think of the music industry.  Artists are not only promoting themselves, they're good at it.  And you know what else?  Listeners are good at finding what they love and discarding what they believe sucks.  But the best part is, it's the listeners making that choice, not a guy behind a desk watching market trends and deciding that this guy in his office will be the next big thing and not the other guy in the waiting room simply because this guy has a sound like that other band already on the radio.  Listeners don't choose music because of market predictions.

Books are no different.  Publishers want you to believe that they are the last bastion between you, the reader, and all those 'wannabe authors' out there whose writing you simply won't enjoy because this guy behind a desk said you wouldn't.  Readers tend to be pretty damn smart people.  Because the internet has changed the way we view the world, brought us instantaneous access to decision making tools, we the people are demanding certain things.  A large demand right now is for 'real' things.  Not reality TV real - whatever that is.  Real real.  Meaning people doing what they love and it shows.  People being honest about who they are.  Artists offering that up for the sake of sharing their passion.

The reason publishers are making so much noise about this is plain and simple fear.  They are losing ground in the world and oops, that's scary.  If publishers continue to favor well-known authors, famous people's memoirs while not proffering much in the way of marketing for most any of their authors, self-publishing will drown them.  They need to ask themselves what they have to offer an author that justifies the author giving up the majority of the profits on the book they wrote.  Because authors will be asking them that, should be asking them that.  If you are real, love writing and write the best book you can, the tools to get your book not only published but also marketed are at your fingertips.  

As for having to sift through bad books to find good ones - bring it.  I'd argue we readers have been doing that with traditionally published books already.

Because I Missed Poetry Friday for Bear

Monday, February 20, 2012

Poetry Friday Word

Poetry Friday word for the week:  Glasses

I recently bought new ones.  Glasses.  In fact, I needed two pair.  I was wearing tri-focals.  Yes, tri.  I hated them.  I loathed the frames, they fell off my head if I so much as inclined my neck.  They were uncomfortable.  I only chose the frames because I was told that I had to buy a certain kind that would hold a certain size lens.  I detested the graduated three levels of lens.  I despised everything about those glasses.  So when I told the eye doctor I would no longer wear tri-focals, and no bi-focals were not an option either, she said, "Man you really hated those things."  Bingo!

Now I wear one pair of glasses, of my choosing, for every day use so I don't run into walls or drive down one way streets, that sort of thing.  I wear another pair for reading and sitting for inordinately long periods of time in front of the computer (who doesn't?).  Let me tell you something, the convenience of one pair of glasses for everything cannot, at all, compare to the sheer comfort of wearing exactly what you choose.  I will remove, replace and carry around extra glasses till kingdom come before I go back to graduated lenses and ridiculously large frames.  Bleh.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chasing Tail

I have a grumpy side.  Probably a shocker.  But yes, I do.  I have phases where my grumpy emerges for every infraction, which are mostly not actually infractions.  These are not menses phases since I no longer have those.  Oh joy, I do have something to celebrate every single day (and I mean that sincerely).  More than likely the phases of grumpy about everything are linked either to menopause or some surge in depression.

--Speaking of depression, I have a silver ribbon button that says, "Never Give Up" and each time I see it on my backpack, I feel a sort of solidarity.  With whom doesn't matter.  Just knowing that there are enough people suffering the same thing that a button was made, makes me feel I have peeps.  Everyone needs peeps.

While the everything makes me grumpy phase borders on witchy, it most often passes quickly.  On the other hand, I suffer a daily morning grumpy, not about elevating myself from a position of repose, but about interactions after said elevation.  Very specific interactions.  When I am reading in the morning, mostly catching up on all manner of computer goodness, I loathe to be interrupted.

There is a flaw in this model.  I am not a single woman.  In fact, not only am I married, but I have children.  Young, inquisitive children.  So, even though my husband and I get up each morning at least an hour before our progeny do, it seems I rarely spend more than five minutes of solitudinous reading.  Trying to read and being interrupted often enough that one sentence has been regurgitated at least four times, tries my soul.

The answer to this dilemma does not lie in ridding myself of the interrupters.  Not possible in the first place, not desired either.  The answer lies in getting rid of the need to read first thing in the morning.

All of this to say I think I lack skills in optimization.  For instance, when the children are at school, my time ought to be greedily hoarded into writing and reading, uninterrupted.  Why isn't it?  Because, as my husband describes it, he and I are both task ADD afflicted.  We're too interested in too many things.  Which leads to mind meandering.  Which essentially means, I'm interrupting myself.  Which kills time optimization.  Which results in not enough results.  Which makes me grumpy.

One day, I will catch my tail.


P.S. Dear Blogger,

Solitudinous is a word, and it is spelled correctly.  Look it up.
So is witchy.

Yours truly,
Frustrated with your inaccurate, silently pretentious spelling dictionary which does not recognize real words.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Poetry Friday Word

I nearly forgot to post a word for this week.  Sorry it's a day later than we've been doing but here it is.  A friend of mine has been taking pictures of an art installation in her town.  They are bear statues decorated in different ways by many artists.  Lovely things.  She said we should use the word bear for Poetry Friday and there you have it.  BEAR

Monday, February 06, 2012

Poetry Friday: Mouse

A poem for mouse:

I Choose

Oh to be a mouse in the corner
and hide from the glare of your deceit.
To take to shadows, under honest feet
I could cower out of burning reach.

Ah to be a mouse in your mirror
watching what you deign to adore,
to close my eyes against knowing's gore
to shrink, recede, embrace ignored.

Oh to be a mouse without horror
to live among those of my choosing
and wake somewhere other than mourning,
to give and give again without losing.

I to be a mouse with a mouse's honor
and walk along a cloudless meadow,
breathe an air from under your shadow,
to feel again, to rage it out in wanton bellow.

Ah to be a mouse no longer
I cast you off, your winter's tower
I take no blows of your wasted hours
I shirk the shadow and spurn to cower.

Oh to be a mouse with a lion's roar
I choose to be a mouse no more.