Thursday, December 20, 2007

Do What You Love and The Money Will Drain out of Your Bank Account

Well I have to say being unemployed is totally the bomb. All except for the lack of money part. But who needs money when you can go around doing good deeds for humanity with all your spare time?

Like volunteering to teach creative writing to high school kids (which I did earlier today) and being a volunteer tutor and going on "ski patrol" at Mt. Rainier where I will get to wear a radio and feel super important as I ski around sticking poles in the ground (or some such thing) meanwhile getting whipped around by 100-mile an hour winds. Oh yes, and sitting in a sunny cafe, which I am doing at this very moment.

My volunteering has centered around kids and writing because I desperately want to get a job as a "Writer in the School" next year."

I think it's because I was so encouraged and inspired by my teachers when I was young and writing masterpieces like "The Man Who Paid Only In change" (a story you're familiar with if you've read my novel, and if you haven't well, they might be publishing "The Man Who Paid Only in Change" someday if they can ever find the original manuscript which is buried deeply somehwere in my old closet at the family home, which is now blocked by my mother's file cabinets, which is rather annoying as it prevents access to the work of the "young genius" that was me. But I digress.)

I've been enjoying my work with kids so far. I was suprised today by how quiet the high school class was at first. They did not want to speak. I expected they would be boisterous and throwing stuff and saying things like "Up your nose with a rubber hose!" You know, like in Welcome Back Kotter. But no, they were shy and reticent, perhaps dazzled by my glamor or some such thing. Or perhaps they were thinking "What an idiot." In any case, my first question to them -- a cheery "What novels have you read where you really like the character's voice?" went over with a resounding thud when not a single one of them would answer.

They warmed up a bit later of course. But still, it was a good reminder of how shy high-schoolers can be. I also had a tendency to feed them answers to questions because I got nervous that they wouldn't answer and there would be a horrible, awkward silence. I got a little better at it as the class went on.

To conclude, it is a great feeling to be doing things I love rather than sitting in a sterile office, wishing I was anywhere else, editing documents I could care less about (although occasionally there is something soothing in this, it's true.)

They say "do what you love and the money will follow." Ha ha ha. It's more like "Do what you love and drain all the money in your bank account and then start drawing on your credit card until it's finally time check back into to Hotel Californiasoft so you don't go to debtor's prison." (Is there really such a thing as "debtor's prison" anymore? I guess I might find out.)


xoxo

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Money. Ha. Who Needs It?

Greetings from unemploymentland! Since my paychecks are still coming in from my last job, I'm in denial -- doing all sorts of things that are fun and enriching and which earn me no money whatsoever! For example:

Working on my Nanowrimo novel. Oh maybe someday in a perfect world this will earn me some money. But for now, it's a great way to avoid doing... -

Freelance work. Oh yes, this is the one thing I'm doing that is paying me. So of course I avoid it like the plague. The job involves writing marketing copy for GUESS-WHICH-GIANT-SOFTWARE-COMPANY? Yes, that's right, Hotel Californiasoft!

Tutoring at 826Seattle. Get this. Last week I actually tutored in math. Ha ha ha! Like the charming, rambunctious child I tutored I was also counting on my fingers. Luckily it was only addition.

More volunteering. I'm about to start working for a literacy organization called Page Ahead wherein I will read stories to small children, sing songs, and do crafts. Now if I could only get paid $80 bucks and hour for that gig, I could check out of Hotel California AND leave.

Playing with my band. We earned a six whole bucks apiece the other night at our first gig at *Jimmy Z's* in *Everett*, during which I only horribly messed up two songs and wore a very cute sexy new dress that made up for my lack of ability to actually play keyboards.

Going to the gym. I've developed a taste for exercise classes lately wherein loud music is cranked, we dance around with barbells, and buff teachers wearing headsets yell out "work your butt, warm it up!"

Claiming unemployment. This is marginally profitable but lemme tell you, it ain't gonna pay the mortgage.

xo,
Rebecca

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I'm Baack!


I believe I have finally snapped out of my post-Thanksgiving I-am-about-to-be-unemployed-on-top-of-that-I-am-a-loser-self-pitying slugfest. Numerous hours have been spent on the couch; abundant fatty coconut-milk laden dishes have been consumed; and all the routines that kept me sane and happy got left behind on a beach in Zihautanejo where they are currently enjoying margaritas, fiery salsas, and bathtub-warm waters without me.


However! I am now back in a functioning and energetic state. Perhaps it was due to the raw food lunch I had yesterday, which prompted a frenzy of post-office-going, sexy-dress-buying, car-cleaning, grocery-shopping, and, get this, cookie baking, that hasn't been seen since the likes of oh, early November.


OK, so the cookies were made from the Pilsbury dough that comes in a log and all you have to do is break of the pieces and throw them in the oven. But still. It's a far cry from the me who lay unmoving on the couch on Monday while the northwest threatened to float away.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Me. Back. Vacation. Ugh.

Hola! I returned from my Mexican vacation in body if not spirit and promptly became a hibernating creature: eating too much, sleeping too much, and covering my beautiful tan in layers of wool clothing.



Whine. Whine. Yes, you know me, I always fall into a funk after vacation when I must deal with the mundane details of life after losing myself in adventure, or, in this case, sitting on a beach, snorkeling, sleeping, drinking margaritas, and eating deliciously spicy moles and salsas that makes our food here seem so blah and band and pale (which is why in my post-vacation-face-stuffing-phase, I am eating the spiciest foods I can get my hands on: Indian, Thai, and of course, more Mexican).


I am also about to enter what is certain to be a most busy and creative and financially remunerative time: unemployment. Oh yes, I have many projects in mind, such as getting two-pack abs, creating a filing system for my home (ha ha), cleaning out my storage locker (ha ha ha), and revising the 50,000-word federal disaster zone that is my is my Nanowrimo novel.


Meanwhile, as my current tenure at Geeksoft comes to an end, I look around its sterile hallways and long - slightly - for the security I once had there. The money that flowed in, the ESPP plan, the health benefits handed down directly from God.

I look at the Geeksoft job listings and think: Maybe. Maybe I could do it again. But it is like a port in a storm that I must pass by as I complete my lonely voyage to God-knows-where.

Alas. That is the idealistic view. I'll probably be back. If not as a full-time-employee with the handcuffs of gold then as a contractor with manacles of silver. 'Cause that place is like the Hotel F*cking California. Let's sing it all together now: You can check out any time you like but...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Amazon Ranking Through the Roof! Sort of.

Well! I am happy to report that my novel has catapulted from its 700,000-something ranking on Amazon to --- ok, are you sitting down? -- to the 100,000's. Whoohoo! I'm raising my empty grande latte glass as we speak (which inspired yet another unpleasant episode at the coffee shop this morning but never mind about that!)

This, I'm deducing is all thanks to my inclusion in the National Novel Writing Month FAQ - in particular the question - "Has anyone had their novel published?

And there, shining like a brass ring for all those thousands of hungry would-be novelists, is the name of my book and a link to Amazon. (I am by no means the most glamorous example of a published NaNoWriMo author - Sara Gruen wrote a first draft of the wonderful and bestselling "Water for Elephants" during National Novel Writing Month).

Now I'm laboring away at yet another crappy first draft, full of gaping plot holes thousands of feet deep, shadowy corners where once-lively characters and plot lines die an obscure death, and questions that refused to be answered, like what does my main character want anyway?

But NaNoWriMo is all about not looking back. And my greatest challenge lies ahead, anyway, when I go to Mexico for five days next week and must continue to write every day -- under a palapa with a Corona in hand and bathtub-warm water only feet away!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So Many Blogs, So Little Time

I'm up to my ears in freelance assignments and Nanowrimo but I have posted over on my author blog today!

xo,
Rebecca

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

What Do Mermaids Eat?

If your life as a regular old human being working a 9-5 job for the man is getting you down, the "Character and Plot Realism Q&A" forum on the National Novel Writing Month Web might cheer you up. This the place where writers who are frantically working away on their novels this month can ask questions of other writers and self-proclaimed "experts" for advice about how to make their own stories more realistic. Recent threads include:

  • Things (other than arson) that could set fire to a house?
  • What would make a god want to have a child?
  • Reason for having two different eye-colors?
  • If you drop something down a grate on an NYC street, how do you get it out?
  • Mistakes a time-travelling Japanese American would make in feudal Japan?
  • Bounty hunters - how does it work?
  • Is this band name too emo?
  • What do you do with a dead dog?
  • Private detective's choice in cigarettes?
  • What do mermaids eat?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stop Quotation Mark Abuse!

Well I partially solved the winter wardrobe problem by spending my entire savings account at Benneton the other day for the purchase of four sweaters and a winter coat.

Now at least I have the basics.

I didn't even really know Benneton was still around. I do recall shopping there when I was about 12, thinking the sweaters were beautiful, and very-well folded, and exorbitantly expensive. I remember them costing about $200 apiece but this can't be right since they now go for about $40. Perhaps it just seemed that way because back then I only got a dollar a week allowance.

I also remember going on some rant about Benneton ads back in a graduate school class - oh yes - when they were featuring people who were HIV-positive in their ads. I don't remember what I said exactly, although I probably used the word "otherness" a lot because that's a word they like to use in grad school. No doubt it wasn't nearly as entertaining as the oral report (ahem) that I gave on sex toys, pontificating on the sociocultural implications of vibrating dildos as I waved one around in front of the class.

Those were the days.

So back to me. I want to direct to you to a blog after my own heart -- The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks . Those of you who've been privileged to ride up the elevator in my condo with me know that one of my favorite pastimes is dissecting the grammatical errors in the flyers created by the condo board, which are often full of unnecessary quotes. They are fond, for example, of using the phrase "We are sorry for the inconvenience." So clearly they are not sorry at all, not for the inconvenience, and not for perpetrating ghastly punctuation on those imprisoned in the slow (and might I add, dangerous elevator).

Perhaps, like Lynn Truss, the author of the very entertaining Eats, Shoots & Leaves dreams of doing, I should create stickers to post on offending material. "Stop quotation mark abuse!" or some such thing.

Or maybe I should just get a life.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Winter Wardrobe Blues

You know, it's a good thing the paparazzi aren't stalking me anymore because I'd probably end up on some worst-dressed lists, or on Go Fug Yourself or something.

I did OK during the summer with the addition of an all-purpose denim skirt and black capri pants to my wardrobe. Those, along with the many halter tops I seem to own, did just fine.

Winter, however, is another matter. I did buy one nice sweater - a soft, gray, long thing. But it poufs out in the middle and makes me look pregnant (not that there is anything wrong with looking pregnant, mind you, if one IS pregnant). If one can't look thin AND stylish, is it better to look thin? Or stylish?

In any case, I have to wear the thing, because the rest of my sweaters have 1)shrunk in the wash so that they reveal my torso in a very unflattering and out-of-date way 2)are from Value Village and look like it. The winter pants in my wardrobe, moreover, are 1)stained 2)have malfunctioning zippers or 3)give me diaper-butt.

Sigh. How did it get this way? I love the winter but not when I have to go out looking like such a fashion reject. Used to be I had many sweaters, in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I wore miniskirts and tights and boots to work all the time! Have I gotten old? Is that why I don't feel like wearing miniskirts anymore? Or is it just that the pair of Target black boots I have are much too uncomfortable to wear for more than five minutes?

Luckily I'll be heading off to Mexico in a month and I can bring back those tank tops and the denim skirt for a few days. Not to mention my pink bikini, for whose sake I am now working out every day.

But coming up soon I will be taking the stage again so it is more important than ever that I find some cute outfits to wear. That's right, my rock and roll career has awoken from it's comatose slumber! I'm playing keyboards with a country outfit fronted by a very talented songwriter who tackles those good ole country themes like war, drunkenness, betrayal, absent fathers, hardscrabble small towns, and hardworking horses.

And I'm especially excited because I get to sing a song about a woman who 1)takes off her wedding ring than goes to cheat on her husband, but 2)then there's a tornado, and she 3)rushes back to find her house destroyed and is worried 4)that her husband has died in the tornado and 5)that her wedding ring is lost forever but then 6)her husband turns up and 7)so does the wedding ring, and 8)she realizes what a fool she'd been and all she needs is her husband and family to be happy, so screw the damn tornado.

I mean, I was BORN to sing this song even if I've never been in a tornado, or had a wedding ring, or a husband, for that matter. The only question is, what does one wear to sing such a song? Should I follow Dolly's leopard-printed lead?

--Love, Rebecca
Today's blog entry brought to you by numbered lists.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Heart Vacation

Why can't all of life be like vacation? Sleeping 11 hours a night, waking up to freshly-brewed coffee, sightseeing all day, ignoring all mundane wordly cares such as bills, where-in-hell-is-your-career-going, that article that's due why you seem to be incapable of love, etc etc.



But, on the positive side of things, all my limbs are intact, bodily organs are functioning, Seattle is awash in fall colors, and they had a copy of my book in the Williamsburg Virginia Barnes and Noble!

Most of the time I don't even LOOK for BreakupBabe anymore because more of than not, she's not there. The thought hadn't even entered my head when I walked into this B&N but then GalPal #2, sneaky little devil that she is, went and looked for it - and found it! So of course I signed it with great ceremony as all her family gathered around and they put the little silver sticker on it that says "Autographed by author."

Thus did I feel the glow of stardom once again, if ever so briefly.

The other highlight of my vacation was spending a day at the Washington DC museums by myself - romping through the National Gallery - so airy and full of bright colors, touching the moon in the Air and Space Museum, stopping for delicious fry bread in the Museum of the American Indian...

There is something very special about going to museums by yourself. All that art for you to take in at your own pace, no one to tug or bug you or tell you they want to leave. The book Artist's Way recommends that aspiring artists go on weekly "artist's dates," where they do creatively stimulating outings by themselves. I love this idea and have always aspired to do the weekly artist's date but have managed maybe twice in the 10 years since I read that book.

That day in DC made up for a lot of lost artist's dates. More sobering was my trip to the Holocaust Museum, and then, following that, dragging myself to see all the memorials in the unseasonably high heat and humidity, practically keeling over as I dutifully joined the crowds at the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial.

Then there was the trip to the Shenandoah Valley. Once the camping portion of the trip began, of course, is when it became freezing cold (AND WHEN WE REALIZED THE FALL COLORS WERE NOT GOOD THIS YEAR. I SAID I WAS GOING TO KICK SOME ASS IF THEY WEREN'T. DIDN'T I? DIDN'T I?) But nonetheless, Dave and I managed to have fun, getting in only one jet-lag induced fight, exploring the Appalachian Trail, freezing our asses off, marveling at the Deliverance-style accents we heard, etc etc.

That's me above, looking oh-so-pensively out at the nearly nonexistent fall foliage from Hawksbill Mountain and deciding whose ass to kick. This is the HIGHEST mountain in Shenandoah National Park at 4,000-something feet, these mountains being all ground-down and rounded by age unlike our youthful and still erect Cascades.

Rebecca

Friday, September 28, 2007

O, When Will My Bed be Clean?


Ah yes, pardonnez moi for being so long absent. I have been busy doing Lord knows what. Learning how to dump over in a kayak and not drown. Visiting family in the Bay Area. Working hard for one insane week at Geeksoft headquarters only return to my sun-dappled life of leisure this week. Rewriting yet again that article about backcountry skiing that I struggled with so hard the first time only to have it come back and BITE ME IN THE ASS.

As I've said I-don't-know-how-many-times before, DON'T BECOME A WRITER. Unless, that is, you want to suffer constant rejection from snooty editors who don't even bother to reply to your query letters (never mind that you are a published NOVELIST, ahem!); constant self-doubt and guilt; and the fear that you will never ever make a living doing what you love because most likely you WON'T.

I should have listened to my father when he told me to become a computer programmer. But if he wanted me to be a computer programmer why did he feed me the Great Novels from an early age instead of, say, programming manuals? Why did he tell me that I could be ANYTHING I WANTED TO BE, pay for my college tuition, and not make me do any chores, therefore ensuring that I would grow up impractical, lazy, and unfit for anything except daydreaming?

Hmmph.

Methinks perhaps I have been travelling a bit too much. You can always tell how recently I've been on a trip by how much crap is piled on my bed. When in a state of post-travel disarray, I keep the rest of my condo relatively neat and dump everything on my bed. Sometimes I can hardly sleep for the piles of luggage, shoes, books, magazines, toiletries, that threaten to push me off the side.

Right now the pile is medium high due to last weekend's whirwind trip to the Bay Area. As soon as I get it cleared off it will be time to embark on my next trip - nine whole days in Washington DC and Virginia - a part of this lovely country to which I've never been! I'll be visiting Galpal #2 in DC and then hiking around in the Shenandoah Valley hopefully where I better see some great fall colors or I'm gonna kick some serious ass. Got that Mother Nature?

Meanwhile, tentative work on the new potential-possible-novel-in-progress continues. Coming to a bookstore near you in 10 years!

xo
R

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Waiting. Procrastinating. Daydreaming.


Sigh.

I am in a phase where I am just WAITING. Waiting to hear from people who - damn them! - should be rushing to call me. To hire me! To stock my book! To buy my articles!

But my inbox remains stubbornly clean except for spam.

Meanwhile, Dave and I did host the best beach party ever on the face of the planet last Saturday. The weather cooperated too, spreading sunny splendor over his verdant lawn and lovely little slice of beachfront property (oh we thank you parental types for your financial foresight back in the day when you were drinking martinis at lunch, making Boeing great, and snapping up property that would one day make your children gazillionaires, that is if they could afford the property taxes, which they can't, but still, they can at least throw great parties!)

Then, on Sunday, we enjoyed the great weather further by paddling in and around the Arboretum. There were so many people there that at I felt like I was on a water ride at Disneyland but we escaped by paddling across the lake (nearly getting run over by boat traffic in the process) to the shores of Laurelhurst, where I was going for a very peaceful swim alongside the kayak until the cursed milfoil (invasive, foreign weed!) got so thick it started wrapping its tentacles around my neck, suspiciously like a giant squid, and threatening to drag me down to the bottom of the lake.

Nonetheless, I have enjoyed my many swims in Lake Washington this summer, courtesy of aforementioned beachfront property. Slipping from the kayak into the water (or jumping in from the dock), looking down into the peaceful (scary) blackness of the lake, looking up to make sure Dave is still there paddling next to me as I do my cross-city swims (Bellevue to Mercer Island!), adjusting to the temperature, and - at last - stepping out of the water exhilarated, the days worries washed away by whatever scary bacteria is in the lake.

And now. Well right now I am just procrastinating. I should be working on my next novel, you know, the one that is finally going to make me famous and let me escape my benevolent master, Geeksoft -- or at the very least I should be looking for a job that will pay the bills when my forced 100-day break comes up in December instead of waiting to hear from non-profit employers whose jobs I desperately want, the salaries of which wouldn't pay for pellets for a guinea pig (good thing I don't have one anymore, but remind me to tell you about the failed guinea pig empire of my youth) but anyway, it's easier not to do all that practical stuff and just daydream the morning away.

Finally, you should go out and buy a copy of the paperback version of Beachglass by Wendy Blackburn - not least because it's a very good novel: sad, funny, satisying -- but because yours truly has a BLURB in it. Yes, that's right. My first blurb! I'm so proud.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Post Labor Day Blues


I returned from the long weekend on Monday and still have barely regained consciousness. Yesterday was a Lost Day. I went to the office but my soul was somewhere else, hiding. I was catatonic, unproductive, grumpy. Everything reminded me of my own creeping decreptitude and eventual doom.

All except the fact that I did write 1,000 words in what is my next-sure-to-be-discarded manuscript! During that hour-and-a-half period of the day, I escaped to a parallel world where I was Lord God Creator of the Universe and only my characters suffered and decayed and had stupid dreams and I floated above it all in my latte-induced omiscience.

The weekend was spent recreating in that giant playground that is my backyard. Paddling glacial blue-green lakes and hiking along trails populated with bears and eye-popping views.


(The bear, who we dubbed Carl, is not visible in this photo -- of Lake Ann taken from Maple Pass in North Cascades National Park-- but that's because, unbeknownst to us, he was right behind us on the trail).

There was a wee bit of tension in our REI tent since co-captain Dave apparently, envisioned having time to "relax" on his vacation while I pictured it as a nonstop three day marathon of strenuous mountain-related activity ending at midnight on Monday as we collapsed exhausted into our beds.

We worked this situation out by - how do you say -- "compromising." I am not very good at this "compromising" though I tried to do it with a modicum of grace. I therefore only complained quietly three or four times - instead of the usual 25 -- when we came home early on Monday for "relaxation" purposes rather than squeezing every last drop out of the weekend.

Next on the docket comes a kayaking class so Dave and I can learn to rescue ourselves should our sturdy kayak (pictured above on Diablo Lake) capsize and so we can learn about tides and currents and such so as not to get swept under bridges like those kayakers in Boston! And so I can continue my quest to become jock of all adventure sports, master of none!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Summer Reading in Sun-Deprived Seattle

I am really ready to start writing another novel. I mean REALLY.


(Photo of edited draft of BreakupBabe by Leslie Duss).

The thing is, since our whale-tastic vacation, I've been dreaming about whales again. Almost nonstop. Big, barnacle-covered, bad boys.

They're both awesome and frightening in my dreams, so close that I'm afraid of falling in the water and getting eaten by one. You know what THIS means. It means there is an idea under there, bubbling around in my self-conscious, that is about to erupt and take over my life.

I have been reading some of our more bestselling authors lately. Jodi Picoult for one, Nicholas Sparks for another. Yes, Nicholas Sparks, OK! Just get over it! Someone gave me The Guardian and though I put it off I ran out of novels and started reading it and now I can't stop!

Though I find myself struggling, at times, with the ludicrousness of the plots (Picoult), the crudity of the writing (Sparks), these are books I'm dying to get back to at night. These writers are skilled storytellers. Sparks, in particular, proves you don't need a fancy plot to make a gripping story.

His writing appears so simple that he makes it seem EASY and you know when something seems easy it's not. Which reminds me of one of my all-time favorite writers, Alexander McCall Smith. Now here is a true master. With his No. #1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, he writes stories that are funny, sad, and uplifting with a structure and voice so seemingly simple you think "I CAN WRITE LIKE THIS!"

And of course you can't. So at first these stories are inspiring and then they are truly depressing - when you sit down to write your own simple, beautiful masterpiece only to produce garbled nothingness, but I digress.

In other news, I have too many effing blogs. I need to rein in my sprawling Web presence.

In other, other news, while we were on our whaletastic whale-watching trip, co-captain Dave channeled Jacques Cousteau to narrate this Academy-Award winning video "The Sea is a Lonely Place." The narration is hard to hear and gets drowned out (no pun intended, ha ha) completely after the first half but you can still see some whalies swimming around.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Whale-tastic Vacation

Just returned from vacation and you all know how I feel about THAT.

Bills piled up blah blah. Boring work to do blah blah. World shrinking down from big wide wave-slapped orca-studded to an 8x10 cell encasing me and my two officemates like an overstuffed sausage.

I shall cease my whining now, however, and focus on the *positive.* Like how very relaxing it was to sit on the deck of our lodge and look out at this view.




How very excited I got when we went on a whale-watching trip and I saw more orcas than I could ever have dreamed of? Jumping, swimming, slapping their tails and generally being whale-tastic. I snapped this photo of a humpback, who would obligingly flip his tail up in this photogenic manner.



We did see a few whales while on kayaks but they were so far away as almost not to count.

Whether these whales I paid to see "count" I don't know. Now that I saw them will the idea for my next novel come to me? Or does a giant whale need to come to me unbidden in my dreams? Oh who knows. Who cares.

Before I can move on to my next novel I have to finish this $#%@! article about skiing that I keep trying to grapple to the ground and that keeps jumping up and knocking ME over. I'm the writer here? Aren't I supposed to be in charge? Huh? HUH?



But back to kayaking and my trip with Sea Kayak Adventures. The food was delicious, the scenery was stunning. There were seals, sea lions, and more bald eagles than I have ever seen in my life.




I was rudely awakened every morning at 7:30 a.m. by a breakfast bell then mocked for stumbling in after everyone else but it was a small price to pay for making an escape into this corner of the world known as God's Pocket where my biggest challenge was trying to get my spray skirt on and not gorge myself on the new desserts that appeared every single day.

More later. XO,

Rebecca

Friday, August 3, 2007

On the Trail of the Elusive Three-Toed Byline


I forgot to mention to y'all that you should immediately go out and buy the August issue of Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, in which I have an article.

The article is not available online, although you can see a description of it on their Web site where it describes this month's issue.

My article has nothing to do with food. It's all about tracking wild animals. Which I guess COULD be about food, or WAS thousands of years ago, and still IS for some people but not for us yuppies in Seattle. For us it's all about getting in touch with nature and our long-lost hunter gatherers and its actually quite a cool experience. Read the article and you'll know all about it!

OK now I really am going on vacation.

xo,
Rebecca

Thursday, August 2, 2007

O Whale, Where Art Though?


Darlings,
I just wanted to alert you that if you don't hear from me for a while it's not because I've finally been given the big pink tour bus and carte blanche to go where I will but it's because I'm piloting a kayak in the Queen Charlotte strait looking for whales with Sea Kayak Adventures.

Yes WHALES. Do you know why? Those of you who've read my novel knows that a whale figures prominently in the book. In fact, the whale is one of the few symbols I managed to get in there.

Our erstwhile heroine, Rachel, dreams about a giant whale just as she is going through her breakup with Loseur. She realizes that this whale symbolizes her creativity and that something creative is going to come out of this breakup, though she doesn't know what it is.

That creative burgeoning is her blog, of course. Her blog, and mine, since I had the same dream. And I tell you, in my dream that whale was BIG. It scared the living daylights out of me and excited me at the same time.

But since the whale's prophesy has come true, she's nowhere to be seen. Hello? Whale? Don't I get to write another book? You can't just leave me like this! Come back? Please?

Oh I've seen a few barracuda, some Sergeant Majors, and a pufferfish or two. But nothing bigger than that in the last two years. They're cute and all but they just don't cut it as far as major inspiration goes.



Thusly I am heading north to Canadian waters. Where I will be kayaking for one week hoping to glimpse the whale again. Humpback, orca, grey whale, I don't care. Any old whale will do.

Wish me luck. I shall return August 14, God willing.

xo

Monday, July 30, 2007

Am I Really Asking So Much?


Really, all I aspire to do is write a novel that is as catchy as a Tegan and Sara song.

No instrumental breaks to show off my virtuousity. No deep lyrics. Hell no. Just short, sweet, poppy, infectious, a delectable confection about my bad moods and relationships gone awry. Kind of like BreakupBabe: A Novel (get your signed copy for the new low price of $111!)- only better!

Meanwhile, work is once again interfering with my creative genius. When will the world realize if they could just put me on a sparkly pink tour bus stocked with champagne where I could daydream constantly rather than having to ply my trade from a windowless office in a strip-mall scarred suburb that perhaps I would actually PRODUCE and at last satisfy all those fans screaming for a sequel.

There is nothing worse than a writer who is not writing and I'm not sure who said it but it's true.

I actually AM writing. Why in fact I'm currently writing an article about backcountry skiing for Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, a dream come true, since maybe one day I'll be sent to far flung lands to write about such things (heck, I already got sent to Utah!) but alas, the article, such as it is, is horribly devoid of any inspiration, imagery, imagination, anything that starts with an "i" and that includes interest.

Not to put down my own accomplishments. Through blood, sweat and tears, I finally broke my way back into freelance writing after disappearing for years to write a novel - no mean feat! But is it so much to want it ALL?! I THINK NOT. I am just hideouly uninspired right now is all I'm trying to say, although I can see exactly what I want, dangling like a nice, ripe, piece of fruit just out of my reach.

I want to write articles AND novels- poppy, bittersweet, bestselling ones - travel the world on a pink tour bus stocked with champagne, visit lots of countries, write about them, have a kid or two who doesn't cramp my style, and never have to edit another word of technical documentation again. A side career in rock and roll would be nice too but I have to draw the line somewhere.

xo
Rebecca

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

BreakupBabe Now a Collector's Item!

[This post shamelessly stolen from my own author blog]

Well, well, what do you know - BreakupBabe has become a collector's item!

You know what this means, right? You better buy up some copies FAST, have me sign them, and then you can auction them off for lots of money! Why you might even be able to purchase that yacht you've been dreaming of, or maybe even your own island! Just invest in one of the .87 cents copies also available on Amazon.com, ask me to sign a bookplate and send it to you, then put on Amazon for 100 times what you paid for it = instant wealth!

Though I have to wonder how seller ZONTIK2 from New Jersey ended up with a signed copy in the first place and how he/she could bear to part with it?

Not for me to ponder such mysteries, I guess. I will be most curious to see if anyone buys this collectible item - not that I will see a penny for it. But that's OK. We all know I'm not in this for the money. Ahem.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pity the Poor White-Collar Professional!

This has not been an easy week for yours truly. After a month of freedom I now have to buckle back into the straitjacket every day at Geeksoft Corp.

Oh yes, pity me and my overinflated salary, please! While people toil in the mines or on the factory floor for a pittance, I sit in my ergonomic chair and stare at my glare-free computer screen swilling free soft drinks for a fortune!

However, this is my blog so I will whine anyway. In the last month of quasi-unemployment, my work life actually took on a shape I liked. I rose at a reasonable hour. Commuted to the nearby coffee shop where I worked on things I cared about - like planning the class I'm teaching, writing articles, or applying for writing residencies.

Afternoons I spent working out and doing more work - my own work - at another coffee shop or perhaps the library. Living in the self-contained urban oasis of lower Queen Anne, I hardly ever got in my car on a typical day, which added hours to my life that are now being cruelly snatched back by the Corporation and its gridlocked highway.

Of course, my sweet view condo in the urban oasis of lower Queen Anne doesn't come free. There is a mortgage (2!) attached to it and thus I am not free to simply write articles, apply for grants, teach classes, live a peaceful car-free existence, etc etc.

Not yet anyway. I'm getting closer but not yet.

Meanwhile let's get just a little bit personal.

Now that I am in a uh, uh, (will not say the word happy, will not say it, because as soon as I say it everything will become unhappy), working relationship - one that is more real than any I've been in since Mr. Loser himself (of whom there has been no glimpse or peep since the book came out and maybe he really HAS been too ashamed to leave his house!) I dream constantly about being cheated on.

I MEAN HELLO HAVE I NOT WORKED THIS OUT OF MY SYSTEM BY WRITING A NOVEL ABOUT IT!?

I dream constantly that I put all my trust in someone only to have them tell me, suddenly, that they don't love me anymore, and oh, by the way, they're running off with their barista/ex-girlfriend/coworker/someone who is not you.

My current boyfriend is devoted as can be which might be part of the problem because Loser was too. And, naive little 30-something that I was, I trusted him! I never suspected he would do what he did! I got really, truly thrown for a loop and my whole world view was thrown out of whack.

Lo these past five years I've specialized in dating men who were dashing and unavailable. It was much easier. I could pine away, all daydreamy in CrushLand, knowing, deep down, that the damn thing would never go anywhere and that I would never truly get hurt. I had plenty of fun in CrushLand(as you know). But I think I've grown up a bit. I hope I've grown up a bit. I read old entries from Breakup Babe and cringe. Not because they aren't well-written, oh but they are, but because I was like a f*cking 13-year old with all that boy-chasing I was doing! (Only when I was 13 I was far too nerdy for any boys to like me so I was making up for lost time).

It's hard growing up. It's hard having a mortgage. It's hard knowing you could get dumped, that you're gonna die, that no matter how glum you might feel, there are people far worse off than you. That's why I like to write. It's an escape from all this stuff. You escape to your fictional world and it's almost like being a kid in your pretend fort again.

Which is why I must really start writing another novel soon. I feel it gestating. Ideas come and go and slip-slide around. One will be here soon, I know it.

Meanwile I've already written about three topics on this blog and made it far too long and it's broken all the rules I've told my poor blogging students about so GOODBYE.

r

Monday, July 9, 2007

Snakes, Stehekin, and Summertime

Hello all,
It has finally become summer here in the Pacific Northwest, as it is wont to do after July 4th. I spent my holiday weekend sweating profusely along the shores of Lake Chelan, where I backpacked for three days, dodging bears and rattlers. Sounds fun, oui? Backpacking always sounds more fun in theory than it is in practice, and is always more idyllic in restrospect than it is at the time.



Still, we swam in Lake Chelan - so clear you can see every pebble, so cold it makes your bones ache - and had the campsites all to ourselves except for one, which we had to share with some boaters, who at least they gave us bourbon and coke, which sure tastes good when you've been hiking in 80-something degree heat and have been forced to leave your own alcohol behind due to lack of corkscrew (how do I manage to forget the corkcrew time and again?).

After two nights in the wild, we parked our sweaty selves at the Stehekin Valley Ranch, a friendly establishment that serves loads of "ranch-style" food (but, alas, no alcohol. BYOB!). We enjoyed our time there all except for the day-long process that is taking the boat back from Stehekin to Chelan - which requires getting up early, many hours of waiting around, three hours of riding the "express" boat, only to arrive back in civilization eight hours later. Ugh.

The scenery is beautiful and all -- the North Cascades thrust themselves upward directly from the blue-green waters of Lake Chelan, but c'mon - eight hours for a fifty-mile boat ride? I was somewhat traumatized by the experience, so much so that I slept 12 hours last night. Thank God I don't have a job so that I could fully recover from my vacation.

This week beginneth the blogging class I will be teaching at Richard Hugo House. Pity my poor students. I do look forward, however, to clarifying my own blogging goals and perhaps once again becoming a prolific, entertaining blogger, not the mere shadow of myself I am now.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Kickin' It with My Dolphin Pals

Well, all, yours truly is Unemployed. For the first time in six years. What am I doing with myself you might ask, besides applying for unemployment and anxiously eyeing my savings account which is not nearly so plump as it was back in the full-time Geeksoft days?

Spending money, naturally! On kayaks, hair, housecleaners, yuppie vacations – all those things upon which an unemployed person should really be spending money.



Getting ready to teach my blogging class, applying for this program, writing articles for this magazine, preparing to volunteer here, and generally trying to structure life out of one that has absolutely no structure. You know, pretending I’m the wife of some rich high-tech executive instead of a single unemployed and on-the-verge-of-being-broke writer. Occasionally I kick it with my dolphin pals, too.




Aw, heck, that was a few years ago, I just wanted to post that picture.

A year ago I was slaving away in the offices of Insert Giant E-Tailer here, watched like a hawk, every moment of my day accounted for. Now I float around Seattle in the sunshine, getting my work done here, going for a workout there, sleeping late almost every day. (Remember when I used to go to bed at TEN and get up at SIX-THRITY ha ha ha!) It sounds idyllic but like anything else it has its drawbacks.

I miss people, for one. Coworkers to talk to. I didn’t even have that in my last Geeksoft gig. My teammates sat in a different building and I came in and out of that contract like a ghost. Hardly anyone knew I was there to begin with and even fewer knew it when I left. I miss having a well-defined purpose, a place I have to be. (Even if I’m not all that excited about a given purpose, it’s nice to have one).

But now that I & Le Petit Ami are the proud owners of a kayak, we spend our evenings gliding around on Lake Washington, waving at the rich Mercer Island residents hanging out on their yachts, and picnicking on piers at sunset.

That helps, a little bit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Writerly Struggle Worth It, Author Decides

And here we have it - my first freelance travel article in ages.

Now that I am a rich and famous novelist, of course, I have plenty of time to write travel articles for paltry pay, but at least I am exploring le monde, rather than sitting in a crappy cubicle.

Oh hell, I still sit in a crappy cubicle, who am I kidding? Sometimes, anyway. But the Corporation has me on a long leash these days, so more often I'm doing the work I need to survive in remote and exotic locations, such as Uptown Espresso, the Greenlake Library, or Third Place Books (three places I've already been to today!)

Meanwhile, my plan to enlist an entire nationwide army of Breakup Babies to get my store into girlie boutiques across the country is underway. Would you like to be part of it? If so, contact moi, Rebecca, and find out what's in it for you besides glory!

Finally, I'd like to end with a fan letter, because we haven't gotten to read one of those in a long, long time, because I haven't gotten any in a long, long time. From Theresa, who wrote...

"...I picked up your book last week. I broke out into tears at the end! It was wonderful, and I hope you keep writing. I’m going to recommend Breakup Babe to my book clubs, and all of my friends.Thank you for being so brave, outgoing, and never letting go of your own dreams. I’m truly inspired!"

Ah yes, this makes all my writerly struggle worth it.

xo
Rebecca

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Blogger Overcomes Blogging Addiction

Hello long-lost darlings,
I seem to have overcome my addiction to blogging as you can see, sadly, from my lack of posts. I've no doubt I'll resurface in some other bloggy way but since I stopped blogging about my love life I have lost my OOMPH.

Coincidentally or not, once I stopped blogging about it, my love life became far less melodramatic. Which is all I will say about it for now lest I rekindle my addiction.

In other news, life has gotten a bit more to my liking lately since I am now doing less of sitting in a sterile office filled with bored officmeates and more of doing things like tracking wild river otters and riding on remote and splendidly empty bike trails to report about these experiences to a gullible public.




Alas, there is the wee problem of supporting myself, since, as is my wont, I am still dating men who are "following their passions" instead of getting their asses rich so they can support me. Of course the royalties from Breakup Babe are just flowing in but I already used them to purchase a cup of coffee the other day.

Oh well.

xo
Rebecca

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Happy Birthday to Moi

Happy birthday to me and BreakupBabe!

One year and two days ago, BreakupBabe the novel came into this world all shiny and bright-colored, ready to entertain beachgoers the country over. And she has! Perhaps not as many as I’d hoped but there are plenty of satisfied BB readers out there, lending their dog-eared copies to their friends.

(And one year and three days ago, I started a brand new job at Insert Name of Giant E-Tailer Here. I was, perhaps, not so bright-eyed and bushytailed as BreakupBabe was. But I was desperate to get away from Geeksoft and I thought well, if it doesn’t work out, I can quit. And it didn’t and I did. Only to find myself back at Geeksoft once again, where money and jobs hang like big fat plums about to fall off the tree. This job gives me the money, time, and detachment I need to find Another Way. I’m taking advantage of it this time around although sometimes peeps, the work gets me down. Real down. But I never stay down for long. If I get too sad, I just write a novel. Or take some pharmaceuticals).

And Insert Very Large Number of Years Here ago, I was born. All red-faced and wrinkly, ready to terrorize loving parents and future little sisters; to write endless stories and shine at piano recitals; to get the world’s most gargantuan crushes; to suck at math; to explore the world; to fall for the wrong men repeatedly and glue my heart back together time and again; in other words, to try to suck all the life I can out of every single moment while, worrying, every single moment about a catastrophe that might befall me (heart attack, broken heart, plane crash, falling off cliff). Ca, c’est moi.

And today, in celebration of my mostly-very-fun and adventure-packed and filled-with-loving people life, I think I will go a little crazy and buy myself some new clothes.

Oh! And if you have any interest in helping me get BreakupBabe into cute little boutiques or spas near you – along the lines of Seattle’s Bouncing Wall and Peridot , please let me know! There is a reward in it 4 U!


Xo
BB

Friday, May 11, 2007

Freakin' with the Frogs

Hello my two loyal readers (that includes you, Teahouse Blossom, and you too, Brooke!). I have been out and about in the great marine park and mountain-studded playground known as the Pacific Northwest, trying to pack as much living in before I 1)die or 2)have children, whichever comes first.

Recently took a trip to the "Sunshine Coast" of Canada, where it rained much of the time but never mind about that.

There was mountain biking, kayaking, and coastal hiking where we saw more starfish then people.










At a mountain lake, we camped in the rain and ate soggy burritos with burnt rice, then went to sleep to the sound of a batallion of frogs partying at the local frog disco.

We kayaked to little islands in sparkling Howe Sound, with big mountains in view. The wind picked up on our return, and if I thought we were going to die, I kept it to myself. We headed immediately thereafter to a serpentine mountain bike park in the cool shadows of tall trees where we feebly attempted trails with names like "Rock n' Root" and "Technical Ecstasy," getting lost in the deep, dark maze but emerging - luckily or not - in time to make the ferry.













There we sat in sun deck, where the view of water and mountains was like something you would see in a View-Master from the 70s. By now, of course, the last day of our vacation, it was sunny. But hey, who's complaining about the weather? I'm just happy I still get to play on the playground.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Navel Gazing Lit Not Just Online Anymore!

I am getting my .02 seconds of fame again this week in the Seattle Weekly. Note that I will be recycling this author photo until I am 80 years old (Although given my family’s genetics, I will be living only another year or so, so scrap that. That picture will last me a lifetime!).

In other news, my Muse is still on vacation. She was spotted by hot tipster Jimmie sipping Negro Modelos on a beach in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, reading The Wayward Muse under a palapa, where she reportedly said, "Rebecca Agiewich can go f*ck herself. Maybe if we win that Blooker Prize and she can start to pay me something a little better than one f*cking soy latte a day, I’ll think about it. Meanwhile, I’ve got a tan to work on." No one knows how she is paying for her extended beach vacation since no royalties are yet forthcoming from BreakupBabe: A Novel.

In my Muse’s absence, I continue to focus on exciting things like bills and paperwork. I spend most of my waking life on the phone with Qwest trying to sort out why they created two accounts for me, sent me two modems, and why, although neither of those modems work, they continue to bill me for exorbitant amounts on each account. I also do virtuous things like bike to work, take fish oil pills, do my physical therapy exercises religiously, and sleep 8.5 hours a night.

I’m still attempting to get back into journalist mode, calling “sources” and writing “pitches” and even meeting with some “success,” though I have yet to complete a single article. (To my credit, I have started an essay about my Alta trip at least four different times, each one starting off with a bang, then eventually dying a sad, lonely death as I realize I have no idea what I’m trying to say).

That’s all I got for you today.

Oh wait, wait. I bought a flowered headband the other day! It looks really cute on me and has revitalized my whole hand-me-down-from GalPal #2-and-my-sister-stained-thriftshop look. I don't have a picture of it but I kinda look like this.



Yours truly,

Rebecca

Monday, April 16, 2007

Safe Despite Lack of Safety Bars

Drat. Is my (working) vacation already over? Nooooo! I want it back! I could live in a place like the Alta Lodge permanently. Comfy room with a view of the slopes...











Four-course meals every night... My own smiling ski guide to take me out into the backcountry every day...











... only to return to the hot tub which has even more stellar mountain views than my room. Meanwhile, mail went unopened, bills went unpaid and the ongoing bureaucratic snafu that is my life continued without me, while I -- sans cell phone and laptop -- soaked blissfully unburdened as it all piled up at home.

Well I'm back now. But too damn bleary to do anything halfway productive so all I can really do is gaze upon my photos and remember the good old days yesterday when I was skiing in Utah (yes, that tiny dot is me.)










You'll be happy to know no thunderstorm materialized in Salt Lake City as I flew in. However, I am sorry to report that there is not a safety bar to be found ANYWHERE at the Alta Ski resort. This made for some tough times for this not-so-intrepid-wanna-be-travel journalist who was running low on Xanax.

But I only spent half of one day riding those those metal deathtraps before realizing I needed to hoard the Xanax for the return flight (in case of more so-called thunderstorms), so on Friday afternoon I threw in the towel and took a freakin' nap. The next two days I spent getting to the mountain tops they way humans are supposed to: ON FOOT.








xo,
Rebecca

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Yay. Me.

I’m off to Utah today darlings. Made the mistake of checking the weather for Salt Lake City where thunderstorms are predicted. Thunderstorms! My favorite thing to fly into!

Sigh. I’ll never make it as a big time travel writer with this fear of flying. Oh, that’s f*cking fine. All I want to be is a small-time travel writer anyway. A big-time novelist, small-time travel writer. Scratch that. Even small-time novelist would be fine. Wait – I am a small time novelist! And a small-time travel writer! Not to mention a (very) small-time rock star!

Wow – I’ve already achieved all my life goals. Yaaaay me!

Guess I can fly into that *%@#) thunderstorm at peace with myself. And, if I manage to survive that, speed up the mountain in a lift without a safety bar.

Meanwhile, my legacy will be my nephew, who demand that you read him “boo” after “boo” and will be a rockin’ piano player once he is tall enough to actually reach the thing.





Xo
Rebecca

Monday, April 9, 2007

Get Me a Safety Bar, Pronto!

Do you ever have one of those days where you’re tired? Say, perhaps, where you took a 6:30 a.m. flight and are therefore not only sleep-deprived but emotionally drained, having risked your life in the stormy skies in the wee hours of the morning on only one cup of very weak Seattle’s Best "Coffee" served to you by the airline?

You get to work, and you really do make your best effort to work, yet you are so distracted by the Internet because your brain is so fuzzy it can’t focus on the xyz site collection object and how it determines whether the wxy list should be formatted on the zw3@!#$ing server.

But the Internet provides no relief. Because on a day like today when your ego droops with your eyelids, it only reminds you of your inadequacies. You read blogs and think: that person is a better writer than me. Look at digital photo albums and think: that person is a better photographer than me. Read your friends’ emails and think: they are having more fun than me.

Then again, I’ll be dropping off cornices in the Wasatch backcountry in a few days. Well, more like tumbling my way down 15-degree slopes while everyone marvels at my lack of skill and pretending not to be scared on the ski lifts. I’m perfectly fine when the ski lifts have safety bars on them. WHY DON’T ALL SKI LIFTS HAVE SAFETY BARS ON THEM? Don’t they know that people like me have nothing better to do with their brains then concoct panic-ridden fantasies about how they’re going to jump off a ski lift? Plus, it's just not safe without a safety bar, now IS IT?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Shakin' and Skiin' and Savin' Dough


My life continues to be in a weird limbo state but things are shaking and moving. (In some ways. In other ways, they are still as a pond in a Zen garden.). I'm starting the freelance writing thing again. The rusty wheels are creaking into motion with ideas. I've even scored myself an assignment (of sorts) to go to this ski seminar and write about it.

In other writing news, I had lots of fun providing the "literary entertainment" at Centerpoint's recent fundraiser and posing as a "writing professional" ontheir career panel on writing last week. Any time I sit in front of an audience of hopeful writers, my heart goes out to them. Writing=pain! Trying to be a writer=pain! Even when you're a rich and famous writer like me=pain! So I want to do everything I can to help them.

My muse, however, has been hiding out. I've gotten sick of tracking that b*tch down, so whatever. Let her stay in her palapa in Mexico or wherever she is, drinking Negro Modelos and flirting with the help. There are plenty of things I can write without her - like blog entries and query letters. And extremely uninspired first-person essays (another recent project of mine.) Here's a sneak peek from a never-to-be-published essay about my trip to Patagonia last year:

"So I’d reluctantly let myself be dragged out of the tent into this wild day and now I was regretting it. I comforted myself with the thought that the group of Chileans we passed on our way up here would probably die before us. Several members of their party were wearing jeans and they were moving slowly. We, on the other hand, were clothed in the latest in REI outerwear, but were were still going to die. I was sure of it. And we wouldn’t even get a good view in the process. "

Meanwhile, I also edit boring technical documents for absurd amounts of money and I continue to get out into the snow every weekend, dragging my poor boyfriend along for the ride. This weekend, our adventure consisted of staying at the Mountaineers Lodge at Stevens Pass, which was an absolute laugh riot. The venerable Mountaineers club of Seattle loves nothing more than to control its memebers with a plethora of rules, regulations, and bureaucracy, not to mention making them rise at insanely early hours for any activity.

So I suppose it should have been no surprise that we were awakened at SEVEN AM by a BREAKFAST CALL that involved a loud clanging of pots and pans that even the most tranquilized of Mountaineers members (and I think I can be included in that category) could sleep through. Not only that, we had to do CHORES after breakfast, after which we were released on our own recognizance.

At least it was cheap. And there we were, right in Stevens Pass, and we took a lovely snowshoe trip up into a lakes basin, which, although it was right near the ski area was quiet and covered in freshly fallen snow. We were the only people around, and surrounded by the tracks of all sorts of little animals. There is nothing so peaceful, I think, as the mountains in snow. I would never survive the gray Seattle winters without it.

Finally, these days, I am all about saving money. I have never really been frugal in my life, not least since I became a full-time employee of Geeksoft five years ago. But the times they are a changin' and even though I pull in a good hourly rate, the fact is, my employment is now much more unpredictable and I'm not getting paid for my vacation. And I'm headed away from the full-time corporate routine.

I asked my friend Michelle, of Anti 9-5 Guide fame, how she managed the financial challenges of being a freelancer. And she said, she's been freelancing for so long now that she's just naturally frugal and doesn't "buy anything." Well, my problem is the opposite: I've been on Geeksoft's payroll for so long, I'm naturally profligate! But people can change. Proof of this fact: just last week, for the first time in I-don't-know-how-many-years, I started making my own lunch.

With that scintillating fact, I will leave you - breathlessly waiting for more.

xo
Rebecca

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Love Boat Soon Will Be Making Another Run

My life seems so unrecorded these days. No real blogging. Hardly any writing-in-my-journal. No pouring out my soul into a juicy roman-a-clef, or into GalPal #1's willing ear, since our rushed conversations now take place only when she is on the bus shuttling between work and daycare to pick up her eight-month old daughter (which means lots of ambient nose, lots of shouted "WHAT?"s, and inadvertent hang-ups.)

Not that I am complaining, mind you. My best galpals - married with children all of them - are as emotionally availalble as they can be given their wailing bundles of joy. Although I wouldn't mind having a nice galpal without kids so that that they have LOTS of uninterrupted time to listen to me prattle on about my single and fancy-free life or to go out on the town for girly drinks. I will complain about the fact that it does seem awfully hard to make new galpals at this stage in life, and believe me I have been trying. That is because GalPal #2 is moving AND I DESPERATELY NEED SOMEONE TO REPLACE HER. Apply within! Low pay but great benefits!

Meanwhile, unrecorded as it may be, life steams forward anyway. The "L" word has been making a few guest appearances in my life lately. This is rather frightening. The "L" word has been nothing but trouble in the past. Yet there it is, gunning for a recurring role. "I swear, this time I won't eff everything up! This time, it's all gonna end up being sunsets and roses and a lovely wedding on Orcas Island, two beautiful children, and a long life together full of sex that never gets boring! None of that pesky drama that launched your literary career!"

So we're steamrolling along in that department, either to bliss or oblivion, it's yet to be seen. Meanwhile, my career and writing life are in a strange sort of liquid susension. Things are moving, slowly. And I am trying to be OK with that slow thing.

What I've realized is that for the last ten years, I was driving towards the publication of my first book. I had no idea what would happen after that. Frankly, I never even really believed I would publish a book. I hoped that if I did, of course, this book would make a meteoric rise to the top of the charts and that all I would have to do was be a Writer for the rest of my life.

Ha.

I knew intellectually that that wasn't true of course. But it's different to know something in theory and experience it in real life. So, armed with a new understanding of what it means to be a published novelist, my life, like a big ocean liner, is making a slow turn on the high seas. It's heading away from the life of a corporate wage slave who writes on the side, striving to publish her first book and wait for the royalties to roll in. Been there, done that (except for the royalties part). Now we're pointing towards a more creative working life and new types of writing projects, but they are still hazy and obscured in distant clouds.

Good god, enough of that metaphor.

On a final note, I'd like to say that I do plan soon to add a blogroll soon and to link to all you kind people who are linking to me (if there are any of you still out there). I know I've never been the most community-minded blogger but I do appreciate your support, even if I've disappeared into the ether lately.

Ciao,
Rebecca

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Glorious Day for BreakupBabe: A Novel

*Newsflash* *Newflash*

BreakupBabe: A Novel is a finalist for the 2007 Lulu Blooker Prize!

Check out the shortlist here.

If I win that 10K, I could finally buy myself that mail-order husband I've been dreaming about!

But I must not get greedy here. Even if I just won in the fiction category, why I could at least buy myself a new pair of shoes. But no, no. It's not about winning, it's all about gloating! being grateful for the impeccable taste of the Blooker judges who had so many other fine blooks to choose from.

I am so hot humbled.

Thank you, dear judges.

xo
Rebecca

Thursday, March 8, 2007

I'm Still Alive, Barely

Darlings,
I just posted over on my author blog.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ski Lifts Don't Like Me

Good gray morning to everyone, to all my (five) fans, to the academy...

Thanks to Shel for her suggestion of a good book about blogging to use for my blogging class! I bought it from InsertNameofGiantEtailer here right away.

If anyone else has suggestions they'd like to share, share away. Here are some things I'm looking for:

  • As an aspiring writer, if you were to take a blogging class, what would you want to know?

  • If you are a blogger who has lots of readers, what did you do to promote your blog?

  • What makes a good or a bad blog?

  • Do you get paid to blog? If so, who do you blog for and how did you land that gig?


  • In other news...I'm off to try to ski 30 kilometers this weekend in that world-famous death-defying ski race known as the Hog Loppet. Actually it is not a race and it is not death defying in any way unless of course you fall off the ski lift on the way to the top of Mission Ridge, which is where the non-race starts. I don't get along well with ski lifts so this is always a possiblity.

    In fact, a couple weeks ago when I went skiing up at Olympic National Park's beautiful Hurricane Ridge, I managed to fall off both the so-called ski lifts there, one a rope tow and one a Poma lift (a metal bar with a tiny seat that you "sit" on while you leave your skis on the ground.) At least I had the sense to let go of the Poma lift before it dragged me all the way up the stupid mountain. Yeah, cause I'm cool like that.

    I did manage to find a bit of corn snow on the south side of Hurricane Ridge where there were no barbaric ski lifts and no people, except for the jealous snowshoers at the top who watched us swoop [ski slowly] down the sixty-degree [20-degree] slope. Ah, yes. Beautiful views, sun, snow, and solitude. You can see my "ski instructor" (aka a famous rock star going incognito), making his way back up the slope here.

    Anyway, so back to this weekend. I'll be out there at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, attempting not to fall off a ski lift and to ski farther than I ever have in my life.

    xo
    Rebecca
  • Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Careers Suck

    Hmm, yeah, hey.

    Funny that since I can hardly call myself a blogger these days that Richard Hugo House has asked me to teach a blogging class this summer.

    This is very cool because I've been wanting to dip my toes (back into) teaching for a while now and it's nice that that I didn't have to do a damn thing to get the job. Although now I actually gotta come up with something to *teach* but I can put that off for a while.

    The thing is, though I desperately need a career change, I am rather lacking in energy to make it all happen. I am, in fact, seeing a career counselor, who is quite helpful but she actually wants me to do *work*. Like you know, go out and research stuff. Talk to people. Figure out how to make my dreams a reality, yadda yadda.

    Hello! All I feel like doing is sleeping, eating, reading, and skiing. Oh yeah, and taking piano lessons and a writing class and making out with that cute new boy and trying to stay on top of the mess in my house, and you know, all that stuff.

    But here's what's got to happen. Eventually. Me less in corporate world more in arts world. Me no 9-5 job anymore. Me write teach travel for living. Me no more technical editor. Me hope write other novel but me can do depend on that.

    Speaking of the no 9-5 thing, my fabulous writer friend Michelle has just published a book about how to get out of the 9-5 grind. She also has a really helpful, career-oriented blog.I haven't read her book yet but I plan to very soon and I'm sure it's good!

    Now I'm going to eat chocolate cake and put off doing stuff about my career. So there.

    P.S. I blogged at my author site last week.

    Monday, February 5, 2007

    Ready to Rock

    Hello darlings, long time, no see.

    Life has been eventful as usual. I am getting nowhere on the book but other areas of my life are scooting along.

    I have a new piano teacher who is helping me in my quest to rock, and this one, unlike my teachers of the recent past, is 1)not insane 2)has social skills and 3)doesn't light up a spliff as soon as I arrive.

    There is also a rather cute and adoring boy in the picture. Someone I have known for a while and whom, up until recently, did not consider boyfriend material. When we first met, I had a big crush on him which then faded into the background as I dated someone else, and calculated the weight of his emotional baggage. But we became friends, and we got closer, and...after he confessed having all sorts of feelings for me, I opened my heart up to him.

    After all, a girl is susceptible to being told she is the most amazing, beautiful person in the world.

    That in itself is a lovely but frightening thing. Why it was Loser himself who used to tell me repeatedly I was the most beautiful woman he'd ever met; who put me on a pedestal and kowtowed to me because he had no backbone, and then ended up resenting me and treating me like dirt. I've experienced men who are infatuated with me, their eyes all a-sparkle, whose infatuation disappears as soon as the feelings are reciprocated and an actual relationship threatens to develop.

    I have plenty of baggage myself.

    But my heart is open and my head too -- I am open-minded to a fault. I look past the external and practical -- which, at my age, I should probably be focused on -- to the way a person makes me feel. To the way they look inside. I've gotten myself involved with a very loving, kind, open, super-sensitive sweetheart who is imbued with much (too much?) soul. If we truly hit it off, I can look past all the stuff that might scare other women away. If we don't, well, it's all gonna be a big, huge mess in many ways.

    In other words, it's either going to be great or a total f*cking disaster. My seatbelt is firmly fastened, my seat is in its upright position, and all my electronic devices are put away.

    Flight attendants, please be seated for takeoff.

    Friday, January 26, 2007

    I am in Hibernation

    All righty peeps,
    Don't have too much to say about my personal life right now, but I did come up with some oh-so-witty, sparkling,and interesting things to say about my writing life over at my author website.

    Thursday, January 18, 2007

    We Are All Bucketheads Sometimes

    Since I broke up with Breakup Babe, I seem to be having an identity crisis. Dating is what I write about best, and Lord knows I'm still doing it (dating, that is), so what do I write about now? And how do I get back to a place where I can write about it safely?

    I. DON'T. KNOW.

    That's why I'm going to see a career counselor. Dear career counselor, I will say, I love more than anything to write about my dating adventures, but the problem is, I can't do it anymore without digging myself a deep pit and you know, why did they never deal with THIS on Sex and the City?!

    I have lots of other things to ask this career counselor too like how do I escape the corporate world and teach, travel, create (more), feel that my life is not slowly ebbing away in an office tower, office park, sterile office with no windows.

    Oh I know she won't answer these questions. I just need some help focusing on my goals. I have so many. For I am the typical jack of all trades, master of none.

    One thing I can do, sometimes, is write.

    But I am lost in the woods with my current writing project. It is a long way out and who knows if I have enough stamina to make it. The weather is good, my pack is full of food, and my compass has worked in the past. But sometimes it is scary to be so alone with so much distance to travel.

    Oh. And if you are in a crappy mood, watch this video of my niece walking around with a bucket on her head. You can see that brains and talent run in the family. When we were little, my sister and I created a musical called "Hamperhead, which featured us wearing (what else?) laundry hampers on our head. Too bad You Tube hadn't been invented back then.



    xo
    Rebecca

    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    I Heart Being Alone

    I am rather sad about ending my beloved blog, Breakup Babe. But life goes on, does it not? Besides, now that I’ve rid myself of the name, I’m sure that I will find true love INSTANTLY, like the second I walk out the door of this coffee house onto the icy cold street.

    Except I wouldn’t know true love if it whacked me in the head with a ski pole. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been “in love?” Longer than most of you have been alive. I hear it’s horribly overrated. That is chews you up and spits you out, leaving you older and more scarred than ever before, with a new piece of hideous baggage that has dirty underwear sticking out of it.

    Strangely, however, the protagonist of my next novel is going to be “in love.” Some of you people might need to remind me what it’s like to be “in love.” My ancient memories are dim. But I thought it might be a lark to write about a “good” relationship for once, since I will probably never again be in one in my whole damn life. (I'm not asking for anyone's pity! I heart being alone! Hear me? HEART it!)

    In other news, I’m off to the hills this weekend to exercise some of my fledgling backcountry ski skills and hopefully not get caught in any avalanches. It’s going to be a nice, toasty 15-degrees, with temperatures plunging at night. Luckily there will three of us (me plus two cute boys!) crammed into a two-person cabin so I plan to stay plenty warm.

    Have a good holiday weekend.
    Xo
    Rebecca

    Sunday, January 7, 2007

    It's OK to Wear Fleece. SOMETIMES.

    It is a gray, cold, day here in Seattle (so what else is new?) and I have broken all my own fashion rules by going out on the town wearing fleece.

    If you have read my novel (and if you haven't, why haven't you?), you know I am against the wearing of fleece when on the town, and approve of it only for outdoor activities. For example, the photo on the right illustrates the the proper wearing of fleece.

    But you know what? Fleece is soft. It is warm. It is fuzzy. And you just can't be a fashion icon every single f*cking minute of the day. So there. That is what I say to my own fashion fascist self.

    Ha ha. I could not tell you what the latest fashions are to save my life. Right now I am wearing a seven-year old turtleneck from Salvation Army, jeans that may or may not be fashionable, I have no idea, but since cost a mere $80 rather than $200 (which is what I hear the truly stylish jeans are going for these days), I am thinking not, running shoes, and mismatched athletic socks.

    But at least since I am back at Geeksoft these days, I no longer feel like a fashion reject the way I did at [Insert Name of Giant E-Tailer Here], where there were all sorts of cute girls in high heels, not to mention "cool" cliques, which I was not of course part of. So in some ways it's good for my ego to be back with the geeks again, in other ways, ugh.

    But never mind about that. We're focusing on the *new,* the *happy,* the *positive,* like the fact that I've started a new blog. RIP BB The Blog.

    Meanwhile, BB the novel is living a happy life on Kelly's bookshelf with a host of celebrated authors such as Jane Austen and Jennifer Weiner. She kindly emailed me a photo of it and I qwas going to post the photo for you but Blogger won't let me. *$#@! I'll try posting it later.

    Oh! And if you want to send me a picture of you reading my book, I would love to see it and will post it here! Kind of like the super-talented Frank Portman did with his deliciously funny book about boys, adolescence, and bands, King Dork.

    xo
    Rebecca