Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 • No Comments on June: the month in review
Me and my guys at the zoo
2015 is half over! 2015 is half over!
I feel like I should change out my batteries and kick it into high gear now that June is behind me and half of the year is gone. If only I had batteries…
I’m ending this month with a bunch of rejections. Yay! I beat my personal best yesterday– three rejections in one day! Being turned down is never fun, but I really can’t be too disheartened. 1) I’m writing! 2) I’ve had a fair number of sales already this year. 3) Rejections mean (hopefully) that I’m pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I’ve learned the hard way that staying too… comfortable… can make for a bad experience down the road. So, yeah. Rejections. But also acceptances.
I had nine essays and non-fiction pieces published this month, including two new-to-me sites, Scary Mommy and Redbook (which also shares content with Good Housekeeping). Scary Mommy ran my miscarriage essay, To the Doctor Who Told Me I’d Probably Never Have a Child. That one was a nice follow-up to my Narratively essay last month (How to Have Fun When They Say You Can’t Conceive). It’s terrifying to write about such personal experiences, but the reward is in knowing my work resonates with readers who have been through (or are going through) the same thing. It makes the world feel a little bit smaller, you know?
I wrote a couple of fun relationship pieces for Redbook and it’s nice to have a profile page to link to: Kristina Wright @ Redbook. Likewise, I’ve written a couple of new pieces for The Mid, including 5 Things I Miss About the 90s and Life When Your Next Big Birthday Will be Your 50th (which was originally titled Life on the Edge).
And this is my second month as a Mom.me blogger— what a fun gig! Along with wife bonuses, this month I wrote about taking a guilt-free, child-free vacation, pleasing picky eaters and shared what I learned from having two C-sections. It’s fun to write about such a variety of topics, but I honestly never thought I’d be a mom blogger. I’m glad I took look down another path (which might have been facilitated by the huge tree dropped in front of me on the other writing path I was traveling…)
And so, half-way through 2015, I have sold to 8 new markets and had 23 pieces published. That’s almost one a week, which isn’t bad considering I spent one week in Disney World, almost another week in Charleston, one week in the hospital and about another 3 weeks sick and in recovery. Plus, I’ve been writing fiction, too! Plus, I’ve had almost no child care, though I did eke out 37 work hours this month (thanks, wonderful husband and generous babysitter on summer break!). That’s a little less than half what my old monthly work schedule looked like, but I made it work and got a lot of pieces out into the world (and, as mentioned before, a lot of pieces rejected…)
It hasn’t been all work and no play this month (obviously– I have two kids). Summer is here! Oldest kid finished pre-school and will start kindergarten in the fall (wow!) and so we’ve been scheduling play dates and doing fun things. We’ve been to the zoo (twice), seen a couple of $1 movies (yay Regal Summer Movie Express!)– The Boxtrolls (which was maybe darker than I would have liked, but the kids enjoyed) and Paddington (which I loved– teddy bears and London!), gone to the park and played in the sprinkler and kiddie pool and various neighborhood playgrounds.
It’s been adult fun-time this month, too. Jay and I saw Billy Joel in Virginia Beach earlier this month. He’s one of my favorite singers and though he hasn’t had a new album in 20 years, I still love seeing him in concert. I can’t remember if this was the fourth or fifth time, but it was a good, nostalgic concert with my sweetheart. And I’ve been indulging my love of movies and have seen Mad Max (loved it!), Jurassic World (fun! Chris Pratt!) and Spy (Melissa McCarthy is amazing!) so far this summer. There are several more I’m looking forward to– I’d spend all day in a movie theater if someone would let me. Hopefully I’m raising kids who will love movies as much as I do!
In health-related news, after my near death experience in April, I have finally (finally!) gotten the all-clear from all of my various doctors. Yay for good news! The lasting effects of the pneumonia is scar tissue in my lung and (currently) a 69% lung capacity, which we’re going to retest in four months in hopes that I’m still healing and it’ll improve. But overall I’m feeling pretty damned good and lucky to be alive. There’s still much to be written about the experience, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
So onward to July with fireworks and barbecues and Jay’s retirement from the Navy and two weeks of summer camp for the boys (40 hours of writing for me!!) and friends and family coming from all over to visit and celebrate. I don’t know how much writing I’ll get done, but July is promising to be a fantastic month and even if I don’t write as much as I would like, I’ll be having fun. I hope you will, too!
Thursday, April 30th, 2015 • No Comments on April: the month in review
Oh, this month! April almost killed me. Literally. I fell sick at the end of March and in 72 hours I went from thinking I had a cold or maybe the flu to being in the ER, followed by the ICU. The diagnosis was pneumonia and I was apparently in septic shock when I arrived at the hospital, which is pretty serious stuff from what I learned after a few days there. It all seems a bit surreal now, being told after the fact that they weren’t sure I was going to make it, but I’m here to tell the tale. Or write about it, when I find the words.
Fashionable in a hospital gown
And so, I spent the first several days of April in the hospital and the past few weeks recuperating. Jay’s birthday and Easter were both celebrated over a week late because I was sick and hospitalized. I didn’t see any movies and, sadly, I didn’t even read any books. I envy those people who can read a stack of books when they’re sick. I had a book with me in the hospital and I couldn’t focus on anything for more than a few minutes. That continued to be the case even after I got home– I just couldn’t read. So I rested– a lot– and I thought– a lot– and I plotted– a lot. I desperately wanted to write, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as tired as I was this month, not even when I was very pregnant. So I have a lot of ideas in my head and jotted in notes on my iPhone and hopefully I will translate these ideas and notes into some good, publishable stuff in the coming months.
I may have not done much writing this month– a whopping seven hours (and that’s been in the past three days)– but I’ve had a few sales and a few publications. I sold two more essays to The Mid this month, for a total of three so far!, and my first two pieces have been published. The Mid is a terrific new website with a ton of content already, so if you find yourself in the “messy middle” of life, do check them out! There are essays and articles about everything from parenting to relationships to pop culture and I’ve found several new writers to follow. Here are the links to my current posts:
Why Don’t Adults Have Best Friends? (Originally “Seeking a Best Friend Like Me”)
10 Times You’ve Used Your Kids as an Excuse
I’m also very excited about an essay I sold to Narratively. It was the fastest acceptance I’ve ever received for an essay (six hours!) or, really, any piece of writing where I didn’t already have a working relationship with the editor. “Where Babies Come From” will be published in just a couple of weeks and I’m very proud of this piece– it’s incredibly personal and poignant and not like anything else I’ve ever written.
Finally, I’m officially joining the ranks of “mommy bloggers” in May! I’ll be blogging several times a month at mom.me about parenting, kids, family life and whatever else they’ll let me write about. I’m thrilled to be given this opportunity to share my experiences and my first piece–7 New Mom Tips from a Military Spouse— goes live tomorrow. Considering that I knew absolutely nothing about babies or motherhood until I was 42 years old, it’s mind boggling that I’m now writing about it!
Since April was a wash for having time to write, I still have two novel proposals to finish writing and editing in May. Plus a couple of short stories to write for upcoming anthologies, as well as my freelance assignments and a few other ideas I’d like to work on. I’m not sure where or how I’ll find time for all of that– the reality is probably somewhere between accomplishing everything I want to do and accepting what I’ll actually be able to carve out time do. Probably only one novel proposal will get sent off. Some of the essay ideas will get pushed to June or July. But after a month of illness, exhaustion and recovery, I am ready to get back to myself!
May is my birthday month and I’ll be 48 one week from today! Someone asked what I was going to do for my birthday, as I have a reputation for celebrating “birthday week” and making my birthday last as long as possible. This year will be a quiet birthday, though I still intend to celebrate all week long. But after this month, I’m just grateful to be healthy, to be alive, and to have such a wonderful, happy life.
Happy Spring and Happy May from Clementine and me!
Thursday, October 18th, 2007 • No Comments on Love Your Body
Today is the tenth anniversary of NOW’s Love Your Body Day. I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to say on the subject, but I’m busy editing my novella, so I will share this essay I wrote for another website:
A lesson in humility is walking down the street with a much younger and much thinner woman and feeling practically invisible as men of all ages stare at her. Thankfully, my ego can take it, but I can’t help but feel sorry for those men because they’re missing out on so much. No—not me—I’m not interested, but there is a veritable banquet of older women— radiant, passionate, sensual older women— just waiting to be sampled. Actually, I doubt they’re waiting for anything. Women of a certain age tend to take what they want without waiting for someone to give them permission.
On several occasions at the coffee shop where I go to write, I’ve noticed two older women in particular. The first is in her mid-sixties, a plump woman with ample curves that suggest fertility even though she is long past her childbearing years. Her hair is a shock of white, pinned back from her face. Long strands of that white hair often slip their confines to trail down her wrinkled cheeks. Her eyes crinkle when she smiles, as does her mouth. If I had to guess, I’d say she smiles a lot. Her waist is thick, probably in part from the rich desserts she orders with her black coffee. She wears clothes that border on frumpy, yet there is always something about her outfit that suggests a sensuality most people wouldn’t notice at first glance. Her skirts come below her knees, but she doesn’t wear stockings and her shoes are open-toed sandals that reveal a fresh pedicure. Her blouses are conservative, high-buttoned and in neutral colors, yet they’re often unbuttoned enough to reveal a hint of cleavage or a wayward bra strap in some not-so-neutral color as turquoise or hot pink. There is something about her smile—playful, almost secretive, that makes me think she’s a satisfied woman—in all ways.
The other woman is younger than the first, probably mid-to-late fifties. Her hair is a dramatic shade of strawberry blonde, falling below her shoulders. The only makeup she ever wears is lipstick—some glossy shade of dark pink so that her hair and her lips are the first things you notice. She’s slightly thinner than the first woman, but the extra pounds she carries don’t weigh her down.. She often wears flowy, calf-length sundresses, sleeveless but with a high neck. They’re brightly colored, unlike the first woman’s wardrobe, but not what I’d call sexy. The last time I saw her, however, she revealed a lot of leg when she sat down because of the thigh-high slit running up the side of her purple dress. She didn’t pull and tug at the fabric to cover what she’d bared. In fact, she always seems very comfortable in her own skin— and in revealing it. Like the first woman, she smiles a lot and her laughter is that easy, quiet laugh of someone who is at peace with herself. She’s American (or, at least has no discernible accent), but on two occasions I’ve heard snippets of her cell phone calls—one was in Spanish, the other in French.
These two women captivate me. There is something about them, some intangible quality so rarely seen in women of any age. Though they bear the wrinkles and spots and sags and pounds of age, they seem ageless. I wonder what has made them that way, what experiences and philosophies they have embraced in order to be so at ease with themselves. I wonder if they’ve always been this way or if they grew into it. So many women seem to be in a constant state of perpetual unease, uncomfortable in their own bodies and hiding from the world beneath baggy clothes and hunched shoulders. Not these two women. They have a presence about them that makes them impossible to ignore. They are luscious, vibrant women and they know it. Maybe that’s what makes them seem so much more alive than other women— they know, and love, who they are.
Spending fifteen minutes watching women like this is so much more valuable than reading women’s magazines with airbrushed covers and diet articles. This is something I can aspire to be. This is something I want to be.
One last thing relating to body image: this educational Illustrated BMI Categories photo set by Kate Harding provides an interesting visual for those terms society deems ugly, non-sexual and unhealthy. Do the terms “morbidly obese” and “triathlete” belong in the same description? Apparently, they do.