Monday, June 28, 2010

I Have A LIFE?? Who Knew?

Yes, as hard as it may seem to fathom, Kenzie has a life outside her computer.

Don't faint on me; sometimes I forget it too. But when kids have to email you to tell you important things, or suddenly the power dies and you discover your husband's shut off the power strip in order to get your attention....then you know you've been neglecting your family.

I do honestly try to give equal time to everyone. I get up early; answer my email, read any digests and blogs, and post my own. I update my Face Book status. Sometimes I'll even tweet. Then I shut off the internet for two hours while I dress, shower, do light housework, errands, etc. Around noon I'm back on, to check for comments or any other email, and hop over to a loop or two. If I'm in writing mode, then my characters consume me for about another two hours. And then my teens are usually begging to use the computer, so I'm off again until about dinner time, when I do a quick check before fixing the meal.

If no one is using it after nine PM, I'll hop on again, to either write some more or make the rounds on blogger.

I suspect when my kids are all off on their own, I'll be on here a lot more. But hopefully by then, I'll be able to afford maid service? I hate to hear "Kenzie, get off that damn computer and help me clean up this mess!"

Thursday, June 24, 2010


So I asked my friend about her marital status. And she acted as if I'd violated the 14th commandment..."thou shalt not unearth secrets about thy friends w/o their knowledge".

She's the one who's been caught in a tiny white lie of omission, but I'm the bad guy because I found it?

Sigh....sometimes I wonder why I even bother being her friend...oh wait...I was there for her when she went through her first divorce. Wonder if she'll suddenly need me in her second?

I'm cutting off contact. She knows my email and phone number. If and when she comes to her senses, I'll be here. But I'm not gonna initiate it this time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Issues? What Issues?

As a reader and a writer, I love social issues. One of my earliest favorite books was Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, which dealt with a sixth grader's search for religion, as well as acceptance from her group of friends. In fact, I loved all of Judy Blume's books as she told stories about young teens dealing with divorce, masturbation/early sexuality, scoliosis, and young love.

I also enjoyed the stories of 'I was A Teenage Alcoholic/Drug Addict/Runaway'. I think I checked the teen alcohol addiction one out of the library so many times, my name was the only one on the entire card.

I learned to stay away from these pitfalls of the teenage years. And they weren't told in a preachy manner. No; quite the opposite. Sometimes it was rather humorous.

And that's what my alter-ego has tried to do in her books; weave the social issues into the story lines in order to show how even good kids can make disastrous choices. Throughout her series, young women learn the choices they make can affect their overall outcome in life. Sometimes it's a good change; other times not so good. As one reader put it, as she identified with a particular character, "It's nice to see what my life would have been, had I stayed on track."

As for me, I don't consciously add in a social issue; it just happens to sneak in. For instance, I had no idea sexual harassment would rear its ugly head in Teacher's Pet. I had to stop writing for two days and research. In All She Ever Wanted, my expanded chapters suddenly dealt with health department citations. Again, I had to stop and research.

In Wild At Heart, gambling addiction showed up. Off The Clock shows a young woman who's the sole caregiver of her Alzheimer's-stricken mother, and the horrific issue of elder abuse (not the woman, but her brother).

So my advice to anyone wanting to write about issues, be it political, gay rights, whatever...weave it into the story in such a manner it does not come across preachy. The reader should not even realize they are being educated until after they're finished reading.

Happy Reading:)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Okay; So I Misunderstood The Topic....

Vernacular Pet Peeves, not whether or not we like to write native dialects or use slang terms!

(Kenzie sighs heavily and looks thankful no one commented on previous post.)

I commented on Mia and Dakota's posts, but here they are again:
-'Took and...' This one drove me crazy from 1998-2006....okay, every time I speak to a former neighbor this drives me batty! Maybe the word is 'tooken' or 'took in'? She'd say, 'We took and went down to the park....' or 'we took and went to the doctor's today...' Why not just say 'we went?' You didn't 'take' anything out of the ordinary! So why say it?

-'Honest and truly...' My aunt says this. 'Honest and truly Kenzie, I don't know if we'll make it down for the party...' 'Honest and truly, I hope (insert cousin's name) will get this divorce settled soon...' Okay, I get what you're saying, but why do you think I think you're about to lie to me?

-'Warsh' or 'Waish' (wairsh?) This one absolutely drives me insane. And my own SU and his entire family says it! 'Time to warsh the dishes...' 'I warshed clothes yesterday...' For god's sake people! The last time I checked, there was no 'R' in WASH! W-A-S-H! And growing up, my best friend's mom used to say it, with an 'i' inserted. 'Don't forget to waish your face and hands...' 'If you want me to cut your hair, let's wairsh it first...'

-'Fixin' to...' As in, 'I'm fixin' to go to the store today...' You're going to fix what before you go to the store? Grandma, you're 88 years old. I don't think the shuttle bus needs your help. And if your dress needs fixed before you leave the apartment....well, that's another matter.

What sayings make you want to cringe and auto-correct every word you hear?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bring Back Uncle Remus!

"Zippidee Doo-Dah, Zippidey-ay...My oh my, what a wonderful day..."

"You can rip out mah ears, chop off mah tail, but pleeze oh pleeeze don't frow me in dat briar patch!"

Am I the only one in the world who misses Song of the South and the stories of Brer Bear, Brer Fox, and Brer Rabbit?

Several years ago, my oldest son brought home the stories, and I delighted in reliving a childhood love of hearing these stories and doing the dialect. I can 'hear' the Walt Disney characters in my head, and wish my children could too. I heard the movie was going to be rereleased, and eagerly asked Amazon to notify me when it became available. I sincerely hope it will be; I think I saw this movie two or three times as a child, and had the read-aloud storybooks and records.

Does this make me a racist? No. This was made at a time in history when African-Americans were perceived a certain way. Do we jump all over Father Knows Best, because the moms were seen as subservient to the fathers? No. And Peter Pan is still on shelves, even though the Indians (Native Americans) are portrayed saying 'Ugh". (Yeah, I take issue with the 'PC Police' sometimes!)

What does this have to do with writing veracular language? I like it. I have no problem reading Gone With The Wind and reading Mammy and Prissy's words. I'll admit, the first couple of times, it helped to read it out loud, so I could understand it.

And in contemporary works, I don't mind the use of slang; it adds flavor to the writing. If we all used 'The King's English', it would make for pretty boring reading. I find Bronte, Austin, and original Shakespeare hard to follow. But if I'm taking my Northern characters to the deep South, I'd expect more 'honey-chile', 'cute as a bug's ear', and references to pimento-cheese sandwiches or Mint Julips.

And yes, if I read that a character is from Australia, I expect to read 'G'day mate' instead of 'How do you do?' (Does anyone even say that anymore?)

"Mr. Bluebird on my's a fact, it's actual, everything is satisfactual, zippidy do-dah, zippedy-ay, wonderful feeling, wonderful day!"