In Another World

I’m working on the last stretch of book-editing before I begin the process of querying.  For now, I am optimistic.  I am also in my own sort of writing cave that no one else can see because it’s in my head.

I actually write (on this book)  less than an hour a day, I think about writing this book ALL DAY LONG.  I pretty much live in Lola’s world.  I’m continually trying to get to know her, to figure out how she feels about the major shifts that seem to be happening in her life.   What’s a fifteen-year-old girl to do when her mother sinks into a deep depression and she suspects her father is having an affair, not to mention those crazy flashbacks to the concentration camp?  The plot points are great but what I need her to give me is the FEELINGS.  They’re starting to take shape.  We’re almost there, Lola and me that is.  I’m pretty sure Mark will be relieved when we do get there, so I’ll completely rejoin the Horner clan for a while.

It’s only recently that I get that thing people say about it taking a special person to be married to a writer.  Lola’s been my excuse lately.  Nothing’s wrong, I’m just thinking about the book.  And it’s true!  I can’t stop thinking about the book!  But this is my last big shot at this author thing.  If this doesn’t end up being my break-through novel, I’m not sure there will be one.  It’s hard to put so much of your time and energy into something and find that it goes no where.  I’ve done it 2.5 times before.  I’ve queried agents for my other two novels as well as a book that would have been a compilation of the click stories here on this blog.  I didn’t even get a foot in the door on any of those. This time around it’s just not going to be as easy to shove the book in a drawer and start a new one.

If this novel, working title Summer of Stars, gets published it will hopefully be the first in a trilogy.  I’ve been thinking through the idea for about two years and writing it for about nine months.    I’m very ready to write two more books about Lola and Ian if the publishing world is ready to accept them.  So for the next few weeks I’ll continue to be in another world hoping that I can tell the story well enough to make the leap and earn the title that will make all these months of distraction worth it.

The Class Motto

I’ve shared before that I teach the Uniteens at my church.  Uniteens is typically grades 6-8, but my group right now ranges from (rising) 5-9.  They are great kids and I am so happy in my role as their “teacher.”

A few weeks ago we did a lesson where we were asked to come up with a class motto.  We had to choose three words that answered “who are we?”  And three things that expressed “what are we here to do?”  We brainstormed both topics.

Who are we?

The group of kids present that day narrowed the list down to three words: awesome, insane, and loving.  I felt a little bit resistant.  Why insane?  But, I let them have the freedom to choose on this one without my rational grown-up opinion.  The interesting thing is that after they studied the list for a few minutes one boy suggested we change the order and phrasing of the words to Insanely Awesome at Loving.  Quickly everyone agreed.  So the question to who are we became:


What are we here to do?

We listed a lot of stuff including learn about God, connect with God, meditate, and pray.  But when the kids narrowed down the list, they got rid of all that stuff.  Once again I felt that resistance.  But it’s church, guys.  I didn’t express that out loud.  I gave them the freedom once again.  The three things they all agreed on  were be positive, have fun, and laugh.  And so the goal of our group became:

We are here to BE POSITIVE, HAVE FUN, and LAUGH!

I have come to realize the most important thing I can offer the kids at church is love and a safe place to be themselves.  I will teach them about the God I know  and the spiritual life every week.  They may or may not remember what I teach.  But if we follow the motto and are being positive, having fun, and laughing every week they will always know church to be a joy-filled place.  I am certain that wherever there is love and joy, we are experiencing God and that is much more important than just learning facts about him.

Knock Knock

Who’s there?

Lola and Ian.

No, this isn’t a knock, knock joke (though I tried to make it one), it’s just my main characters knocking on my brain, demanding to be tended to.

I’ve tried to write a post for three days now and can’t put anything together.  I’ve felt that annoying tug from within when I goof off online.  I’ve checked my email and facebook page too often and found very few messages there.  I’ve started reading several books but none of them have peaked my interest enough for me to actually finish them…or finish them quickly.  I sit around in quiet moments wondering what to do next.

Then I find myself daydreaming about Ian and Lola as if they were real people.  They are invading my thoughts more and more and I realize what they are asking me to do.  They want me to get back to work at making them as real to everyone else as they are to me.  They want me to do my best to get them and their story out into the world.

So tomorrow, after we deliver our houseguest to the airport, maybe I’ll give those two sweet kids a little bit of my attention.

Relationships Before…

Last night I had a dream about an old and dear friend.  We were two peas in a pod for a lot of years.  Early in our friendship she was there for me when no one else was.  Whatever came our way, whatever separated us-whether boys or miles-we were committed to one another.  So last night I dreamed I traveled to visit her and when I arrived she looked at me as though I was dead to her.  Life and relationships present their ebbs and flows and I think it’s safe to say she and I have been experiencing an ebb for some time now.  I miss her so much.  I miss what we were before we became grown ups…before religion and politics reared their ugly heads.

That’s what the ebb is all about you see.  When you are kids no one talks about the democrats and republicans or what the bible has to say about homosexuality.  When you’re young you share your hopes and dreams, which are always the same.  You cheer each other on in the search for love and success.  You provide shoulders to cry on when the world breaks your hearts.  Most of all you laugh…and laugh…and laugh.

When you’re young you can philosophize and dream together without judgment.  I know I had questions as a teen.  I know religion didn’t sit well with me.  I know that I cared about who was president and what the big issues were.  Yet, I don’t remember losing or gaining any friends because of that.

As an adult I’ve found that my political and spiritual beliefs are core to who I am, or at least to the me that reflects out into the world.  And I’ve also found that my beliefs don’t mesh with those of friends that I so freely shared my desires and dreams with as a teen and young adult.  In ways I could blame Facebook because it has given us a platform to announce our true values and let’s us hide behind the computer screen and not see the reactions of our friends.  And for me I have this blog, a place where I write about stuff that I don’t typically share in conversation.

Sometimes I think that my honesty about politics and religion has significantly altered some of my relationships.  I feel certain that some think I have changed or abandoned some beliefs I had at one time.  The truth is I can go pull out my journal from high school creative writing class and find entries about my support for gays in the military, the right to choose for women, and policies that support public schools.  I can also find poems and essays on the hypocrisy I witnessed in the religious people around me.  I actually haven’t changed that much at all, it just may be that Coach Walker (my creative writing teacher) was the only one who really knew me back then or maybe as teens we were smart enough to realize we all just wanted the same things.

Intuition and Adventure

Lately I’ve been in a weird place, it’s new and quite frankly it’s a bit dark.  After many years of reading many metaphysical books, I can’t help but think (and hope) this means something.  Like perhaps I’m on that edge and the break-through is pending.

I feel like I need a teacher right now, in the form of a book or a person, something to show me exactly where to go.  I’ve picked up several books.  There’s Jesus of course, or Goldsmith, Tolle or Choquette, The Hicks or Wayne Dyer, Julia Cameron or Caroline Myss.  I could also try someone new like Byron Katie or Pema Chodren.  But every time I stare at a book shelf, whether in my home or a store, my inner voice says no.  Just today at the Goodwill book store I silently asked to be led to a book, one perfect for where I am right now.  I walked out with a Sarah Dessen novel.

As I sat in meditation, I thought about how I currently feel so off the path.  It occurred to me, though, that the truest path is the one that comes from within.  I realized that maybe I can’t find the perfect teacher or reading material right now because I need to let my higher self be my guide.

But even after all of that, when I got up from meditation, I still wanted a glint of something from an outside force, so I went looking under the bed for my angel cards.  Instead of the cards I found the astrological reading that Jennifer Shelton did for me last summer.  I read until I got to North Node (life purpose) and tears begin to fall.  It said “Reliance on intuition, developing a sense of freedom and adventure.”

I realized that lately everything I’ve been feeling is a push against that.  I’ve been wanting someone or something else to provide me with answers, instead of trusting my own.  I’ve been wanting guarantees that everything will work out and go smoothly instead of just being free and adventurous.  So maybe I am at that edge.  Maybe I’m at the tipping point almost ready to put the wheels down into my life’s purpose.

It sure would be nice…


Dystopic Preoccupation

I guess maybe I’ve been watching and reading too much Sci-Fi lately, but the end of the world is on my mind.  I look at where we, humanity, are right now and I wonder where there is left for us to go?  Just how many years will it take us to nail this coffin shut?

If I believe in a second coming of Christ, it is the one Yogi Amrit Desai spoke of some years ago.  He said that “Christ” would come again through the consciousness of the masses.  I like that idea and in New Age circles it’s pretty popular.  It’s the theory that something will happen that will cause a great shift.  Like magic our hearts will open and compassion will spread through the land.  Then we will be back in the garden once again.

But what has to happen first before we get there…if we get there?  We are abusing our earth and her creatures so mindlessly.  I myself am guilty of it.  I read a book that tells me in detail the pain and suffering animals endure so that I can have eggs and cheese, yet I can not summon the willpower to give up those products.  I push it out of my mind so that I can enjoy pizza and omelets.  Everywhere you look people take more than they need, hoarding or throwing away the leftovers, while other people are hungry and homeless.  The only thing that seems to pull a community together is tragedy.  It’s only when tremendous loss is endured that people realize how much they need each other.

In the US especially we’re entrenched in a society of greed.  These wars we’ve been fighting since 2003 are no longer about September 11th (if they ever were), but simply about oil and profits.  The soldiers who come back are forever changed by what they experience there-whether physically or mentally.  On the education front, we’re saddling our young people with enormous student loan debts while many of them won’t be able to get jobs when they graduate college.  CEO’s are overpaying themselves and setting up shop in other countries where labor is cheap.  But the kids keep going to college and they stay hopeful that education will guarantee them a job…maybe even a good one.

So, I read books like Oryx and Crake, where a young man with a God-complex creates a disease that wipes out humanity because to him humanity has reached the point of no return.  Or I watch the show Dollhouse where human-beings are turned into slaves by erasing their original personalities and programing them with new ones.  Eventually the technology falls into the wrong hands and the “dolls” and real humans are literally killing one another.  Then there is the movie The Book of Eli where everyone’s illiterate because the written word was destroyed in lieu of technology that is, of course, non-existent in the post-apocalyptic world it is set in.

Most of that fiction sounds far-fetched, but when I realize that just this week I communicated with friends in India, Spain, California, Canada, and the Netherlands on the internet without thinking twice about it…anything is possible. (I remember a time when I couldn’t even talk on the phone to my friends from church because they lived 20 miles away and it was long distance.)

So if there is an apocalyptic event on the horizon (and man I hope it doesn’t happen in mine or my daughter’s lifetime)…we ought to get back to the basics-community.  We might really need each other one day, so we should start now reaching out, connecting, and loving one another.  Forget about the money and the stuff, what we really benefit from is each other.