Entries in Over-sharing (25)


Spanish and the To-Do List

It’s time for me to learn Spanish.

Truth is, it’s been on my To-Do list for a really long time. Since college, actually, when it became obvious that The Spanish-is-my-first-language Boyfriend would become The Spanish-is-my-first-language Husband. Seemed like I should probably learn it. Solidarity, and all. Also, so I’d know what he was mumbling at me under his breath.

So it went on the To-Do list, somewhere after PASS ORGANIC CHEMISTRY but before FIND A JOB. But then, before I knew it, I had passed Organic Chem, and I was about to graduate. So I had to reshuffle the To-Do list, and suddenly FIND A JOB bumped LEARN SPANISH down a bit.

It’s always there on the list, but it never makes it to the top. Something else usually knocks it down a peg or two. There was never any urgency behind it.

But then we had kids. And I thought, well, I should probably learn Spanish now since hopefully the kids will learn how to speak it. But at first all my free time was taken up by STARE BLANKLY INTO SPACE IN AN EFFORT TO RECHARGE BEFORE THE KIDS GET UP AGAIN. And then the whole WRITE A NOVEL thing bumped LEARN SPANISH down yet again.

And really, I’m usually able to keep up – at least with the simple stuff. So when Kid #2 is screaming ayudame while hanging upside down from the baby swing, I’m pretty sure he’s asking for help because (a) he needs help, and (b) I’ve seen enough Diego.

Likewise, when the kids start counting vacas on road trips, I’m pretty sure they’re talking about cows. Also, I can see them out the window. But I’m good with the basics: animals, numbers, greetings, shapes, colors. Well, most colors.

But last week, we were doing art. And I asked the kids what color construction paper they wanted, and Kid #2 said morado. Crap. I looked at Kid #1 and said, “What did he say?” And since I usually ask her that anyway, even when Kid #2 is speaking English, she said, “He said morado.”

And I said, “But what does he want?”

And Kid #1 did this half-a-smirk thing. She went to the pad of construction paper, tore off a purple piece (which, honestly, I should’ve known – it’s his favorite color), and handed it to Kid #2. Then she went back to her art, but I saw that look she gave me. As her clone, I kind of invented that look. I know what it means. I know what’s coming.

Let’s put it this way: I’d better learn Spanish.

There’s a sense of urgency now. It’s at the top of the list.

Tips? Suggestions?

Por favor, ayudame.

(Also, I'm pretty sure I'm butchering the Spanish words in print. So sorry. Like I said, I need help.)


Inappropriate Bedtime Stories, Questionable Parenting, & Villains

My 4-year-old recently got this book of old children’s fables. You know, the kind where you’ll read about some guy going off into the forest to chop wood, and then that guy refuses to give his food to an old lady, and then he accidentally chops off his own hand. And then at the end you’ll get the, “And the moral of the story is…”

For reasons unclear to me, Kid #1 loves these stories. She asks me to read her one every night as her bedtime story.  (which, actually, is a nice break from the usual request of Dr. Seuss, because I’m pretty sure I’m starting to speak in anapestic tetrameter (yes, I looked it up))

So last night, the story we were supposed to read was Demeter and Persephone.

I paused.

For those of you who need a Greek mythology refresher: this is the story where Hades, the god of the underworld, kidnaps Persephone, the daughter of the goddess of the harvest (Demeter), to keep as his bride in the underworld. When Demeter and Zeus try to rescue her, Hades tricks Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds from the underworld, thus insuring she can’t leave. (The reasoning here is SHAKY.) So anyway, Zeus and Hades strike this deal where Persephone can spend 6 months on earth and 6 months in what is essentially Hell. Demeter is pretty depressed whenever her daughter is gone, which is how we get winter. I think.

Anyway, you can see my reservations about this being Kid #1’s bedtime story. But then I worried maybe I was censoring. And I know she’s 4 and all, but I try to err on the side of not censoring whenever possible. So I told her it was kind of scary, but she still wanted to read it.

So we did.

Then we got to the part about Cerberus, the 3-headed, flesh-eating dog guarding the underworld. There was a picture. It was snarling. I tried to read faster.

But then Kid #1 said, “I want a dog like that.”

After putting my hand on her forehead and reassuring myself that she was not, in fact, feverish, I said, “Um, it doesn’t look house-trained.” Also, it will eat you.

And she said, “It’s protecting them.”

Okay so apparently some of the story went over Kid #1’s head. Which is probably for the best. But she reminded me of something very important. Villains aren’t all evil. They shouldn’t be, anyway. They should have their own motivations, besides just snarling. Cerberus was kind of a kick-ass guard dog. You know, if you’re the god of the underworld.

Also, for the record, the moral of the story had something to do with love. Seriously. I didn’t read her that part. Instead I said, “Don’t take food from strangers.” Okay, so I censored a little bit. Guilty as charged.


In Which I Give Horrible Homework Advice

So, I’m an only child. Shocking, I know. But thanks to the whole baby-boomer generation thing, I actually have a giant family. This probably isn’t too unusual. Except we grew up really close. Like the kind of close where sometimes you can’t tell which kid belongs to which family.

So I have a lot of cousins. And second-cousins. And first-cousins-twice-removed. Which is actually kind of awesome, because chances are, anywhere I go, I’ll run into someone I’m related to. (Example – relatives encountered on recent trip to Disney: 6) And If I set foot in New Jersey, chances are I’ll run into a random relative on average three times a day.

Anyway, one of the perks of the giant, close family thing is that there is likely to be an expert in anything, just a casual phone call away. Questioning a traffic ticket? Maybe call The Cop. Or possibly The Lawyer. Or Grandpa, who, well, we’re not really sure what he does, but he’s loud and he seems to have a knack for making things go his way.

Point being: there are options.

Need someone to run a new phone line in your house? All set. Do your taxes? Done. Tutor your kids? Got you covered. Everyone kind of fell into a role. Eventually, so did I. It started when I left for college and decided to do the Science thing.

I started getting phone calls like this: “So, your cousin is doing his homework, and he wants to know if electricity is a solid or a gas or something.”

And since I was not a physicist, nor was I taking physics, nor did I really remember all that much about electricity or the states of matter, I’d give some horrible answer like, “Um, well, it’s a flow of electrons, right? So I don't know. Are electrons a solid? Um, it’s just kind of—” And then I’d get cut off with a, “Cool. Megan says solid. Bye.”

And I’d shout into dead air, “Google it!”

(Of note: this answer is totally wrong. Seriously. Google it.)

Or somebody would call to ask about my thoughts on the flu shot. And since I was not a doctor, nor was I studying to become a doctor, I’d say something like, “Oh, yeah, it hurts for, like, 2 days.”


So then I’d mumble, "Maybe you should Google it."

*Skip forward an undisclosed number of years and a few career changes*

These are the calls I get now:

“So I just finished Mockingjay and I loved it. What should I read next?”

“I’m standing in the bookstore. Let me read you some titles. Tell me what I should buy.”

I'm much better at this family role. I also kind of love it.

And I typically don't even have to Google the answers.


Time, Relativity, and Other Things That Hurt My Head

I have issues with Time. Like, the science of Time. Or the math. I don’t even know which it is, exactly, but I know I have issues with it. Like it’s this concept that’s just out of my reach, or a lot out of my reach, and it bothers me. It bothers me disproportionately. To the point where I can’t watch anything that has any sort of time travel without getting all bent out of shape. And then I go off on these “That doesn’t make any sense!” tangents, kind of like when someone brings up jeggings.

Same reaction.

So. I was cleaning.

(I shall pause here for dramatic effect.)

Not that I was cleaning cleaning. More like I was de-cluttering. Specifically, I was de-cluttering two things: the dresser drawer where I keep edited drafts and the closet where I keep baby stuff.

Because Kid #2 turned 3 today. Meaning he’s not a baby, and I don’t need a front carrier or a back carrier or a sling carrier or any other type of carrier I’d been suckered into purchasing.

And because FRACTURE is pretty much done – it’s been edited and revised and copyedited – and I’m just about finished with the first draft of my next book, so I need the space.

So here’s where time and relativity come in to play: I feel like Kid #2 turned 1, like, half a breath ago. Which, coincidentally, is right around the time I started FRACTURE. But it feels like I’ve been working on this story for half my life.

Same time.

So, because I have this compulsion to find order, I tried to line it all up. I matched the drafts I had written to different stages in Kid #2’s life.

Like that first draft was when he was terrified of stepping in grass and I had to carry him in one of those ridiculous carriers even though he exceeded the weight limit by, like, an entire baby.

And that first major rewrite was when he gave up naps. Horrifying.

And that second major rewrite was when we took him on his first long car ride and vowed never to do it again. (We lied.)

It didn’t feel linear at all. It felt like there were gaps and jumps and stretches. My brain hurt.

It still hurts. Because I don’t understand time. I don’t understand how my son can have another birthday when I’m pretty sure I’ve been staring at the same page for the entire year.

Is that the Theory of Relativity? Probably not. I think the Theory of Relativity is more complex than that. I should probably look it up. But in the meantime I’ve come up with my own theory:

I can actually measure the time it takes to create a book like this:



Spring Mingle

I’m always excited when there’s an SCBWI conference in my area. Atlanta isn’t exactly my area, but a group of writer friends agreed to road-trip down with me. It’s hard to resist a conference called Spring Mingle.

I like spring. Okay, so, technically it’s not quite spring yet. But it definitely felt like it this past weekend.

I also like to mingle.

I also like the word mingle.

It sounds a lot nicer than loiter, though I’m pretty good at that one, too.


Here are some pictures of said mingling. And if it looks like I’m loitering, it’s just the angle of the camera.

Agent Sarah Davies, who gave an inspirational talk about how to take a story from ordinary to extraordinary:

me, Sarah

Lindsey Leavitt, author of the Princess for Hire series and Sean Griswold’s Head. Lindsey gave an amazing keynote speech about writing stories that matter. She made us laugh. She made us cry. She made me wish I was taller.

Greenhouse group shot: me, Lindsey, Sarah

Shelli Johannes-Wells, who defies the space-time continuum by keeping a marketing blog, writing books, and running her own marketing company. Also, she's kind of funny:

(okay, actually, she's hilarious)

There was much more mingling. Also some loitering. And a whole lot of cake-eating.

All in all, a fantastic time.