Selected Excerpts from the Tules Telephone Directory

So my son is about to turn 11.


Years old.

And yesterday – the last week really – has been the most interesting array of moments. He’s right on the cusp, between being a child and being a pre-teen. But he’s been pinging back and forth, sometimes reminding me he’s still a kid and sometimes seeming like a new person. It’s amazing watching them transition; their little systems are updating before our eyes.

Things that have happened in the past TWO days:

(1) Ezra rode the Boomerang at Six Flags – a “high thrill” ride and his first big one.

(2) Ezra rode the kiddie train made of little jeeps.

(3) Ezra walked around looking like this:

Who Is This Kid(4) At another point in the same day, he looked like this:

The Flash and the Penguin(5) Ezra tried to drown me in the swimming pool by fighting with me in the deep end.

(6) Ezra had innumerable tea parties with me at the bottom of the pool and gave me kisses.

This is my life now. And I love it.

Another Op’nin, Another Show

Which is a title befitting both the video and the fact that I’ve mentally begun a new story.

And so, my little boy’s life has gone back to normal. What a wonderful blessing that whole thing was. Precious. I love my Ezra more than [insert every valuable thing]. I wrote him a letter for the future, for some moment in his life when he’s not doing a hundred fun and exciting things, for when he’s not sure what he wants to do. To remind him God has blessed him, that he himself is a blessing and all the ordinary reasons his father and I are so proud of him. Gushgushgush.

And then because of the above and the fact that I am a memory hoarder or as I like to call it, a historian, I ran away and made the following for my little lovebug. (And before you ask, yes, my husband’s eyes are naturally red. Or fixing them makes him look like a vampire to me. So there.)

And so I’m inclined to make a projection about 2014, which is totally unnecessary and impossible to do but shut up. I am – less than two months on – dubbing it the year of the short story. I mean, of me writing them by the bowlful. This might be because I wrote Jigsaw at the end of last year, then Caroline, and am heading into #3 and am loving it.

I have a rather adolescent response to word count, or at least I did. I never understood people who wrote to a word count or complained about it or worried about it. Of course, when you’re writing toward publication, word count matters and there are guidelines for certain formats for which word count is almost a deciding factor. Or at least is taken into consideration. For myself, I’m also a data hoarder which is completely normal and fulfilling and makes me all swoony sometimes, which like I said is normal – so I document my word count as I’m writing. Moreso because I want to know exactly where I was at any given time when reminiscing about a particular project. When I came up with what, etc. It’s also why I have a hard time not saving every iteration of a project. I want to keep all the pieces. Anyway, I was going somewhere with that rebellious/defiant approach to word count…

Without inflating the inherent importance of the word count, I do have to admit what I love about the varying lengths of short stories, for me. What I find is accomplished in the varying lengths and how many words that tends to be for me. (Always for me. I have no idea what it is for anyone else.) And I’m totally basing this only on stories I have written to this point.

Novellas (I’m personally capping at 30k) I love writing because they’re closer studies of a particular, sort of uninterrupted storyline and character arc. There’s room for the world as well, to a point. With Keepsake, it came together perfectly. With Imogen-Who-Has-No-Name (please do not misunderstand that as being the actual title), what became difficult for a moment was the world getting too grand. Too wide a view of the political system, too intricate a ruling class and family trees. That for me isn’t fit for a novella. It’s why I kept stopping and eventually moved on to something else until I could get back to the snapshot I’d intended to capture.

Long short stories (I’m putting that at around 7-10k) are wonderful because in that space of words, I feel able to close in on a character and how the world she inhabits impacts her life.

Short stories (I’d say 5k – which obviously leaves a 2k no man’s land between short stories and long short stories) are like any mini dessert. Something you can pop into your mouth but it reminds you of a fuller dish. For me, this is the length of story where you introduce a character and only the world as it impacts her life at this moment. This is the difference between Jigsaw and Caroline. The former has space to investigate what she will do from now on, the latter only what she will do today.

And then, of course, I’ll next write a short story that is 3k and deals with a whole family and make myself a liar. (Right. All the rires.)

Thoughts? Condemnations?

Oh, Scipiooooooo!

So all of my world right now is my latest short story, my submissions and my sugar-butt Ezzie’s out-of-nowhere stint with the Montreal Opera. And since I don’t really discuss the former in detail, that last bit is all I can actually talk about of the subjects mentioned.¬† ::tosses rose petals::

I can’t even. A few years ago, I introduced my little boy – who already inherited my love of MGM classics, much to my delight – to Porgy & Bess. Well. To Sammy Davis Jr. singing selected tunes from P&B. And he loooooved it. We spent a ridiculous number of hours watching various duets of Bess You Is My Woman, some opera, some not, and then choosing our favorites. J’adore. So for him to suddenly (and I do mean suddenly – we found out the same day he started rehearsals) get cast was, in his words, mind-blowing. And we’ve just been having the best time.

As far as he knows, Ezzie plans to be a voice-acting zoologist when he grows up. I have no idea whether he’ll ever do anything like this again or when the opportunity would even arise. This seriously dropped in our laps (very, very short story) and we’re not actively pursuing but either way. The point is THIS is fun and exciting and my little boy is on cloud 9. I almost wish there were more than four performances left – including tonight’s! Have some pictures!

Aaaaand that’s pretty much it. I am so happy for him.

When I Come Around

Ezra was eating a banana. Whilst peeling it, he observed, “Peeling a banana is like saving the banana. It’s like something eated it and I’m saving it from the guy who ate it.” ~ Feb 1st, 2011

That was my peace offering. An Ezra-ism from two years ago. Poor little language-confused seven year old that he was. Adorabeezle.

So it feels like I owe you guys some big announcement. Or diatribe or rant, at least. And I have a few in mind – I watched After Earth and the super hainty attempt at covering up its M.Night connection was misplaced effort. The movie told on itself, IMMEDIATEMENT – but those are for another day. Just like, possibly, my ideas on Sleepy Hollow, Nicole Beharie’s apparent distrust of hair that originates in her own follicles (I’m increasingly judgey about this, given the alternatives she chooses/allows to be chosen), and the Ichabod Holmes attempt. Or the life being sucked from the Mindy Project and the way they almost lost me with that ridonkulously offensive “Christian pastor” boyfriend. I can’t even.

Come to think of, what have I been *doing*, people?? We need to talk, f’real, f’real.

For now, I leave you with a bit of wisdom from last night’s seriously serious dreams: You cannot quit at parenting; you can only fail.


Huh. I wonder if last night’s Nashville had anything to do with my dream’s subject matter.

Good questions, all.

Something Something Books Have Powers

First things first, if you didn’t read the reblog from yesterday, shame on you. Because this is where you go to have fingers wagged at you, you’re welcome. And my friends are on a roll because my girl, Babs, just dropped a mic, as well, and you should go to. (That was a link. Click it.)

Speaking of Babs, she just LITERALLY blew my mind. (Yes, I’m giggling to myself. Figuratively.) So I tweeted about how as we walked home in the not so gently falling snow [read: it was sort of like getting occasionally punched on top of my head by someone made of mush] my 8 year old son told me that he’d put a snowball in his pocket at recess. To which my mom brain went: …of course you did. See, you might have been ready to ask “why”…but then. You might not be a parent. Onward!

So anyway! At some point, I realized he meant, “I put a snowball in my pocket at recess… and it’s still in my pocket.” Which still basically got this response:

And believe me, it’s not even that he’s ever done this before. It’s just that I’ve known him a few years now.

So, I tweet about it. And Babs asks if I know a book by Ezra Jack Keats called “The Snowy Day”. And that the boy puts a snowball in his pocket to take home. And then my brain straight fell. down. Because my son’s name is Ezra. O_O I mean, because this:


Seeing as he used the word “ain’t” the other day because he’s reading the book Shiloh, I feel like maybe my son should be watched extra close. Like forever because I totally can’t remember every book he’s ever read and how they might translate into our lives. But I do know he’s read all of the How To Train Your Dragon books thus far. So that can’t be good. >.>

I Believe The Children Are The Future

Ezra wrote three stories in the Buzzy short story series – inspired by the desire for me to “make [his] book the way [I] make [mine].” So basically he wanted me to make him a hard copy in actual book form (I use Lulu to make myself a finished copy – and then I revise and have to make another one) and I told him he needed more material. Thus Buzzy’s story include: Buzzy and the Wolf, Buzzy Buys New Pets and Buzzy Goes To School. He dictated, Daddy transcribed. That’s all over now.

Maybe he was tired of waiting for me to give him the green light (it’s part of being a writer, my son) or maybe he was just finished with Buzzy’s world because since then he has taken to making his own little booklets made with staples and computer paper. He commissioned Daddy for the cover of the first mini book but for the sequel? All Ezra. Can I just tell you what it’s about now, because O_O

It’s called…Frogchow the Frog. It’s about a frog whose real name is George and who “dreams that he is a superhero. His power is jumping higher than a frog would.” And lemme tell you, things happen quick for this frog with the name made of pure awesome. One minute he’s eatin’ cookies, the next he’s playing in the park and “finally” he (abruptly) becomes a superhero just like he always hoped. Talk about intense, the pacing is lightning fast. By page two of what I think is a three page sequel, he’s married. And if you thought the story ended there, you were wrong. Written on the back¬† cover? “Frogchow the Frog 3 is coming up soon. Get ready for another crazy adventure!”

And ready, we are!

Things That Could’ve Probably Waited Til Morning

I guess I need to pick up the pace with the wip. I like this more organic – but not belabored – process after two seemingly back-to-back novel-writing marathons. My seven year old does not. I was watching some nice scripted comedy and he asked me why I wasn’t writing. O_O You see – he explained – the more minutes I write, the more work I’ll finish. Even if it doesn’t seem like a lot, every time I work on it, there’s less work left to do. This is the pep talk, people. He wants this book done. The (equally) freakin’ adorable part is that he’s been making books of his own. Itty bitty chapbooks of illustrated stories. It’s pretty much the thing I love most. Even more than him loving the same musicals over which I was obsessed as a kid (“Mama, I think Howard Keel’s voice is actually MORE beautiful than Milly [Jane Powell]!”). …was that the right way to punctuate that… it’s 2:54 in the morning. I care not.

ANYWAY. I… have no idea why this seemed like a good time to write a blog post. Probably because my life has been eaten by a host of responsibilities… most of which existed two weeks ago, but which with the additional one equal BUSY. Aaaand it’s been like a jillion years since yeah that’s boring even me.



No, I was gonna say something about how there was this moment when I was … acknowledging/contemplating/ruminating/some word that means the thought I’m thinking… on how I’m a writer who is unpublished in fiction and that matters not to my son. He sees my daily life, my work, that’s all that matters. Mom’s a writer. He knows literary agents by name but that’s all secondary. There’s something so precious about that, in a way that differs from adults coming to the same conclusion. You know… FORGET IT, I CAN’T MAKE MYSELF CLEAR.


Sick Sad World

Do you know how long it’s been since I uploaded pictures and videos onto my laptop? Me, who cannot breathe without writing it down? (God, that’d be horrible if that weren’t an exaggeration.) There are so many things I’m missing that – had my delightful child not destroyed altered my laptop – I would be sharing with friends and family.

For one thing, today Ezra had his first school chum over for a play-date. This was especially adorable because this child doesn’t speak or understand English so listening to the two of them play the Wii and express pride in their accomplishments was nothing short of epically hilarious. I would have loved to take some video of them but, I realize, when I can’t upload them, I don’t even bother taking pictures! Case in point, we also just had a great get-together with our favorite kid-filled family – and I took zero. No pictures, no nothing. Ridiculous. Which brings me to the thing I MUST document. While preparing the kids’ dinner plates, Ezra described the piece de resistance thusly: “These ribs will break your heart.”



I’ve just decided that I should draw you a representation each time I want to document something. Then I remembered that I can’t draw. Not in a funny way, like Hyperbole And A Half, where she clearly has some artistic talent. In the way that a semi-handicapped puppy can’t draw. As in, you would have no idea that a demon-possessed pencil didn‘t just scratch the heck out of that piece of paper.

I feel like you need some proof.In my defense… I tried really hard. That. That is apparently what my hand and Paint think my son looks like. In trying to demonstrate his lack of top teeth, I’ve actually given him ALL the teeth anyone ever had and also, apparently, I think my son is a scary woman. I feel like I nailed his physique though. So.

I think I’ve made my point.

Whatever I Haven’t Already Used As A Title

Everybody likes lists.

(1) My son is too eloquent for my liking, most of the time. Thankfully, the loss of his two front teeth (and the subtle hissing sound that ushered in) and the pitch of his voice are comforting reminders that he is not, in fact, seventeen. But one word he still uses on a regular basis is “rememorizing”. Clearly, it’s a mixture of “remember” and “memorize” and together, I’m realizing, it makes a lot of sense. Remembering isn’t enough; you can recall something for a fleeting period of time. He wants to remember and then memorize it. I am totally using that. Rememorize.

(2) I rolled over the 10k mark in my loverly wip today – and because I’m lame, I have to sort out that a) it was 10.5k and b) it was a day and a half after I said I wanted to. And though this novel is a departure from my process for the previous two books (and also is a return to my now classic process), the problem wasn’t knowing what came next. It was writing it. So lame, but it happens.

(3) I’d blog about Ringer and all the ways it went wrong, but even the post would be boring. Somebody was too excited over the reveal and forgot to write the story. #Whoops #ThisSmellsLikeLonestar Here’s a hint: the viewer shouldn’t be (repeatedly) saying “she didn’t have to do that” or “why did she do that” or “why are we supposed to care” and especially not “please, honey, can we watch something else”. That last one was the hubby but I told him we’d be stronger as a couple if we powered through it. To be honest, I think a little piece of him died.

(4) Remember Lonestar?! (I hope no, seeing as it got cancelled after the second episode.) And I know what you’re thinking. Bethany, you’re awesome. But to answer the thought you are absolutely NOT thinking: No. I am not a sore winner. Justice is meant to be sweet. (And also, Law and Order UK, to which I referred in one of those posts? Yes, I did and yes, it WAS!)