Wednesday, January 30, 2013

RTW- Road tripping!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

This Week's Topic is: In celebration of the release of Kristin Halbrook's NOBODY BUT US (hooray!!) we're asking: Zoe and Will set off on the road to seek a better life and encounter loads of drama on the way. What's the most dramatic road trip you've ever been on?

Since I had a car in college this opened the world of road trip possibilities to me. One of my more fun experiences was taking my best friend to Minneapolis. Seeing the city skyline for the first time a part of me knew that this would be home. But the most memorable trip was when I took my roommate, Val, to Chicago. Val was flying out of O'Hare for a year long study abroad program in Ireland.

Val, Eric, and I drove to Chicago. Val and Eric were both from Colorado while I was from Iowa and had actually been to Chicago. I also had a car. I'd been to Chicago before, spending two weeks there with a group of kids from church in high school. I'd also driven past Chicago on my way to visit my dad in Michigan.
Adventures in Babysitting (1987) Poster

We might have watched Adventures in Babysitting or at least talked about the movie in anticipation of this trip. I know that by the end of the evening we were all hoping that Thor, mighty god of thunder, would offer us some guidance.

We hadn't made hotel reservations figuring we would just find something when we got there. The only flaw in our plan, we discovered when we finally arrived in Chicago, was that you needed to be 21 to get a room at a hotel. OK, really?!?! We were all adults, we had all been able to vote, and do other things you need to be 18 to do for at least two years but we couldn't get a hotel room. One of us was traveling overseas and yet still we were unable to talk anyone at three hotels to rent us a room.

This was before wifi, GPS, and cell phones. So even if one of us had called our parents it was unlikely that they could have solved the problem for us with the speed and efficiency that today's internet is capable of. There 

We thought we would get to the city, get a hotel room, and maybe go out and hang out in the city. This is not what happened.

At some point in time we ended up getting off the freeway and driving through what we were fairly sure was not the best area of town. But it could have just been that it was a weekend and a bigger city than we were used to.

We managed to get back on the freeway headed in the right direction for O'Hare and on our way we saw a sign for a motel. 

It was still pretty close to the "bad area of town" detour we had previously taken. It wasn't one of the chain hotels so we thought maybe we had a chance at getting a room.

The place was called The Eden Motel and we were all fairly convinced that it probably wouldn't exist if we ever tried to find it again. The manager let us rent a room which was great because by this time it was pretty late and we were all pretty tired and crabby by this point. The room we rented was a little on the scary side. I used to have photographic evidence but the door to the room looked like it had seen better days, the carpet was stained with something we were fairly sure was bloom. The shower looked like you might leave dirtier than you started and the seat on the toilet was broken.

I tried to google the name of the hotel and while a historical photo from the 1950's shows up the other thing I've learned is that there is a high end grocery store there now.

We were cautious about the room but thankful that at least we had a room and didn't have to spend the night sleeping in the car. None of us dared to sleep under the blankets convinced that would be awful. The next day we took Val to O'Hare. Val began a year long adventure in Ireland and Eric and I returned to another year of college in Iowa.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Staying on course

Every January I have at least a week off from work and sometimes two. A couple years ago the theater I worked at realized that it was more profitable to put something funny on the stage opposite Christmas Carol so this year I spent the holiday season working on Servant of Two Masters. It was such a fun experience. There's just something about hearing laughter every day that is well, refreshing, uplifting, fun.

I'm off for two weeks until my next show starts. My cat was so generous and got me a lovely vet bill for my birthday earlier this month which means instead of sitting on a beach in Florida with my mom I'm having a little staycation in Minnesota, in the dead of winter. I'm not even sure it's acceptable to go outside right not. 

Sometimes I think pre-published writers dream of the day when we'll be successful enough at our craft that we'll be able to devote all of our time for writing. To be honest, I don't actually dream of this. Having my job to go to keeps me on task during the day. Sometimes I come home from work and write but more often than not I write during the day, before work. I feel like I have a job that fits me and I have energy, inspiration, and time left over to write. 

The January break for me is always weird and completely non-productive. On previous breaks in January I have been known to watch entire series of TV shows. There was the year I watched Lost. That was before instant streaming and one day the previous renter hadn't returned the DVD's on time. I made the video store owner call them and remind them to return their DVDs like now because I was there to rent them. 

Last year I had bronchitis during January so I had a perfectly good excuse for watching an entire series on Netflix.
Also my brother came to visit me last year during my break last year. 

This year, no excuses. This year I have set a goal that I need to write more than I watch TV during this Staycation. I have told my writing partner that if I come to her in two weeks talking about Tim Riggins or any other TV show in a way that seems to indicate I've watched more than one episode in a day she will have to stand next to me while I cancel my Netflix account.

So far so good. Yesterday I wrote, I read, and I didn't turn on my TV until around 8:30 and I only watched one episode of one show. 

Also during this staycation- Artistic Enrichment.  Today I go see the Terracotta Warriors exhibit at the MIA. This weekend possibly Aida at the Pantages Theater and next week Doubt at the Minnesota Opera and Long Day's Journey Into Night at the Guthrie Theater.

Also there will be bowling, ice skating, volunteering, football, and Puppy Bowl. And writing. I hope there will be lots of writing. 

What are your tricks to stay on task for writing when your schedule changes? Do you use time off from work or staycations to power through big writing projects? 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Breakfast of Champions

I'm not going to lie. I would give up all the other meals in exchange for breakfast.

Not a cereal or frozen waffle breakfast either. I'm talking eggs, potatoes, maybe some other vegetables and bacon or some other meat but usually I mean bacon.

Thankfully my brother gave me these wonderful knives for Christmas so I've been getting in the habit of making myself some glorious breakfast at least once a week. My current favorite has been frittata. I swear if one can be obsessed with frittata I am.

I don't think I even realized how horrible my old knives were until I started cutting my veggies with the knives of awesome.

So I've been on a cooking kick making soup, chili, and anything else I can think to make with these knives.

My writing goals for the year are off to a good start. I'm signed up for the 12x12 in '13 challenge and have a couple longer projects that I'm excited about working on.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

RTW- Dream Bookstore

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

This Week's Topic is: Imagine you get to open your own bookstore. What would it look like? What kinds of books would you sell?

One of my secret, if I ever win the lottery and become independently wealthy, dreams is to own a bookstore so I love this question.

I would love to have a bookstore that sells everything. I want olde-timey floor to ceiling bookshelves with ladders to reach the top shelves like in Beauty and the Beast.

I want every nook and cranny filled with books. 

I'd want my bookstore to feel magical and mysterious when you walk in. I want people to know that they are buying something magical.

I would definitely have cats working there and maybe a dog. 

I would probably take a mix of all my favorite bookstores from real life and movies and combine it into my own bookstore. 

I would love to sell everything but I know that I would probably pay special attention to Children's and YA since that is what I want to write. 

What about you? What is your dream bookstore?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

RTW- Best book of December

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered.

This Week's Topic is: What was the best book you read in December?

December was a good month for reading for me. I was working on completing a Lazyman Triathlon from Thanksgiving to New Years. So that's basically 2.5 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of run, walk, or elliptical. So yeah, I had a lot of time to read on the stationary bike and the elliptical.

I read Everyday by David Levithan, Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by David Leviathan and Rachel Cohn (This is one of my favorite holiday reads of all time, ever).

My favorite book was 
Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill.
Iron Hearted Violet

This is a wonderfully written book and I love how real and brave Violet is. 

What was your favorite December read?