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Stranger Than Fiction – Jaycee Dugard’s Story

If you follow my social media feeds, you know that I couldn’t put “Room” down. It was riveting fiction. Absolutely amazing. But last night I was reading “A Stolen Life,” which is basically the non-fiction version of the story, and I have to say it is so much more compelling.

This girl (now a woman) was kidnapped at the age of 11 and spent 18 years (!!!!) being held captive by this man and his wife. Her account of her life over those eighteen years is stunning. I feel stunned. She writes each chapter in first person present, then, at the end of each chapter, writes a short section from the perspective of the grown woman she is now, talking about the trials of re-entering her life.

Last night, after reading the chapter where she first calls her mom after 18 years of being gone without a trace, I had tears streaming down my face. I had to put the book down to call my mom and just tell her that I love her.I don’t want to tell you too much, because I think it’s absolutely fascinating how the story unfolds, but I will say this – this woman’s strength is amazing. She talks in one of the sections about her girls starting school (opps, I guess that does give away that she has two girls while being held captive (!!!!)) and how she is afraid at first to let them go because she’s never really been apart from them, and what if something bad happens? Then she talks about letting go and knowing that what happened to her is really rare, and she has to let them live their lives. I was afraid to read this book because I thought it might make me never let my daughter go any where by herself ever, but if Jaycee Dugard can take a breath and trust that everything will be okay, then certainly I can too.

If this book isn’t on  your reading list yet. It should be. And actually, if you haven’t read “Room” yet, you should read that first. Would love to hear peoples thoughts on how they compare.

Face Time With Real Humans

I think social media is making me tense. I’ve been working on integrating my Twitter, Facebook and Google+ feeds onto the G+ platform, but I can’t ditch my Hootsuite just yet because I have all my client accounts there and I’m much more comfortable with that interface. Also, my favorite part of Hootsuite, the Hootlet app, doesn’t seem to want to work with Chrome. I feel like I spend hours every day not only checking with all my SM friends, but trying to iron out kinks in my system. And all the while I am painfully aware that I am not writing.

Social media is important to me. It’s a great way to keep connected, especially as a writer who hardly ever leaves the house. I enjoy it, usually, but over the last ten days it is definitely making me tense.

The tension, along with struggling through a second draft of the novel, makes me crabby and short tempered. Yes, it’s true that my daughter is going through a particularly tantrum-rich period and the little guy has started crawling and getting into everything, but snapping at them really doesn’t help anything. I knew I was being awful, but I couldn’t seem to shake the cranky.

Until this morning. Little guy woke me up at 5:30 and I popped out of bed like it was nothing. I was all smiles and cheer when my girl got up around 7 (which is WAY sleeping in for her). It took me a couple hours to realize why the sudden change – it was my writing group.

Last night my writing group met (well, three of our five met – the other two are on vacation), and it was so good to sit and have a few hours of real conversation. It changed my whole attitude. The whole thing is making me realize that while social media is great, there is no substitute for face time with other humans.

So I’m setting a goal to tend my real life social network. At least once a week I will go to lunch with a writer friend, or meet someone somewhere for drinks after the kids are asleep. I have some pretty awesome friends, and I don’t see enough of them, so this resolution should be easy to keep.

If you happen to be one of said awesome friends, holler. We’ll do lunch. 

Back In LA

I‘m back!
Back in  LA, back to my blogging, back to working on my novel, back, back, back.

Let me get you up to speed on what happened over the last month. First of all, and most important, the little guy has basically been given a clean bill of health. The cardiologist, urologist, nephrologist, physical therapist and his GP have all checked everything thoroughly and aside from one slightly undescended testy which should come down on its own in good time (how embarrassed will he be in 10 years when his friends come across this?) ALL IS WELL! He’s been scanned and ultrasounded from top to bottom (they literally had to scan his butt crack at one point, to check his spine), and it seems that we are finally coming through the other side.

It’s hard to express how relieved I feel as he begins crawling, laughing and eating real foods like Cheerios. He’s still small for his age, but he’s gaining well again since I weaned him (no lectures from the LLL, please). Everything’s coming up Baz!

Celeste had her fourth birthday party, which was a blast. We set up the kiddie pool and her new slip and slide and this rainbow thingy that shoots water, and the kids (all 14 of them!) just played and played while the grown ups hung out over BBQ and beers. It’s good to be home.

My writing has been very self indulgent, which is awesome. The freelance work I struggled to get done while we were in SF has slowed dramatically since we’ve been back, leaving time for my novel. I revised the first three chapters last week and wrote 10 new pages. I’m hoping to make some more progress this week. I feel like I might be hitting a grove with the rewrite, but I don’t want to jinx it.

In other exciting news, a company my guy is working with wants to shoot a low budget horror flick and their writer flaked (or something, I don’t really know the whole story). All I know is that Daniel asked me on Thursday – “do you still have a copy of ‘Straws’ anywhere?” (“Straws” being  the script for a horror flick I wrote in 2004). I said yes, but it needed work. He said “do you think you could have it presentable in 24 hours?” and I said hells yes, and dropped everything to rewrite it as best I could in such a short time frame. I’m actually pretty happy with how it came out, though if it does go ahead it will need a few more revisions. So, now that’s out there in the universe. Who know what will become of it, but it’s kind of fun to see an old project revived.

The only bummer of our return to LA has been that Daniel has still been traveling for work. He’s been back and forth to SF, and this last weekend had to go to Singapore for a business schmoozing thing. I’m missing him. He gets back tonight, then has to leave again tomorrow morning to go back up to SF to check out the first rough cut of Knife Fight (yeah!). Hopefully his schedule will calm down soon and we’ll finally get a chance to go to dinner to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.

So that’s the news from this end. I’ll be back to blogging two/three times a week now, children and work load permitting. Thanks for hanging in during my short hiatus.

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