Saturday, December 31, 2011


Yep, it's that time of year again. New Year's resolution time. When most of us voluntarily set ourselves up for failure. Quit smoking, lose weight, manage our money better, be kinder, be more patient, etc, etc. All lofty goals with lots of good intentions behind each and every one. But, how many of us succeed? I'm sure there is some sort of statistic out there showing success and failure rate. But, I'm not going to look it up because, you know what? I don't want to know. That statistic doesn't really matter. What does matter is the hope and the belief that this will be our year. That this year we will change our lives for the better. So here's to hoping for success in the coming year in whatever you want to accomplish.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


My son graduated college this past weekend. After 12 years, three moves, three colleges and one divorce, he earned (and I do mean earned) his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arkansas. I'm sure any parent who has attended their child's graduation ceremony will agree with me, it was a very proud moment. I couldn't stop smiling and I couldn't stop the tears. Even though he's a grown man, I saw all the years of his childhood pass through my memory. His first word, his first steps, his first day at school, his first hit in baseball, his first goal in soccer, his time as Drum Major. They all played on the big screen of my memory bank. It was a very emotional day, full of laughter and friendship. There was also a bit of regret on my part that I wasn't able to help him more. You see, his sophomore year at his first college, his father and I divorced. I didn't have the monetary resources to help him anymore and my emotional support was probably lacking a bit also. I thought of all those other parents who stuck together and aided their children with their college expenses and I felt a bit ashamed. But, perhaps he is a stronger man because of that. He's learned how to survive, that's for sure. So to all the new graduates out there - congratulations on a job well done, whatever path you took to get there. Now go out and make this world a little better.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Time to admit defeat. I didn't finish NaNo. I only made it through the first week and 10,000 words. My writer friends will tell me that's 10,000 more words than I had before November and while that is true, it's not much consolation. I wanted to win again. I wanted a 2011 winner's certificate. I wanted bragging rights!
Where did I lose my way? Hmmm, my excuses are as follows: I didn't like my story and decided to change it halfway through week one. But, the change didn't motivate me either.  I was attacked by a mean cold. I had a hard time just spitting out words I knew I would have to edit out later. But, let's be honest. I was just plain lazy. I didn't want to get up early in the morning and write. I didn't want to take my laptop to work and write during lunch. I didn't want to go home right after work and write. I just didn't want to do it. I took a wrong turn at Lazyville and couldn't find my way back.
I plan on participating in my local writer's group, Sleuth's Ink, Jano project. It's like NaNo, but obviously in January. And there are prizes and write-ins with people I like. Plus , I can finish a story I was working on before NaNo. So all is not lost. I'll get back on track soon. But, this time I might take a map with me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Yes, I know. I switched those two words from the familiar usage of 'Thanksgiving'. I hear people say 'thanks' all the time, but do they really pause to feel it? I've heard many a prayer spoken giving thanks for everything under the sun. But, I often wonder if people are really 'feeling thankful' or just reciting words they've heard so many times before. 'Thanks' rolls off the tongue so easily. Somebody opens the door for us - "thanks". Somebody complements us - "thanks".
How many of you have actually given somebody a thank you card recently? I don't mean the obligatory thank you card for a wedding or baby shower gift. I mean a card you went to the store and picked out. Especially in today's electronic world, a simple thing like a card can mean a lot to somebody. It takes much more effort to send a card than pushing a 'send' button on a computer screen. No, I don't work for Hallmark but, in my opinion, nothing beats receiving a thank you card. So, maybe at this time of giving thanks, you might consider sending a thank you card to somebody you are truly thankful for. Just because. Plus the post office could use the business!.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Things We Should Be Doing

This year's NaNoWriMo has got me all messed up. Usually at this point I am at least a little ahead or right on the money with my word count. As of today, I am way behind. I mean WAY BEHIND. Like 5,000 words behind. What happened? That's pretty easy to answer. When I should be writing, I have been doing other things. Like laying in bed a few extra minutes in the morning. Like not writing at all on Friday. Like staying for one extra beer at my favorite hang out. Like staring at Facebook waiting for a status update from somebody, anybody.
As human beings, there are lots of things we have to do just for our daily survival. Most of us have to go to work. We have to prepare meals either for ourselves or a whole family. We have to shop for the food for those meals, even if it's just fast food, there is effort involved. We have to do housework and laundry. Sometimes, for me anyway, the whole survival thing gets pretty tiring. My mind and body zone out. I can't seem to get anything else accomplished.
And that's were I come back to NaNo. As a writer, I know  the importance of writing everyday. And NaNo forces you to do that. But, this failure to make the required number of words so far is feeling more like survival mode instead of fun, So maybe I'll ignore the word count for now and just try to write something, anything, between the cracks of everyday living.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


My writer friends know what that title means. For the rest of you, I will try not to bore you too much with the details. November is National Novel Writing Month.
Or a challenge for the insane. Because, you see, if you are sane November 1st, you surely won't be on November 30th. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That's 1667 words a day. Words out of thin air, because you are not supposed to actually write anything until 12:01 am Nov. 1st. It's all based on an honor system. There are no judges, no referees, no umpires. You are just expected to follow the rules. And at the end there is no big cash award. Only the satisfaction that you did it. Oh, there is a certificate you can print off and some sponsors who offer items for the verified 'winners'.
"Why would you do this, you ask?"
"I don't know." How's that for a definitive answer. When I first heard about this challenge, I thought to myself, "Self, you should do this. You've always wanted to write a novel. But, there was always excuses. Not enough time. What if I can't do it? What if it turns out to be a load of stinking crap?" But, then I thought, "What better way to kick your butt in gear."
So five years ago, I jumped into the fray. I soon found out I wasn't alone. There were over 100,000 people taking the wild ride with me from all over the world. There is a web site with awesome support and forums where you can commiserate with others. And everyone cheers everyone on.
That first year I only made it to 24,000 words. But, that's 24,000 more words toward a novel than I had October 31st.  Every year after, I've made it to 50,000. My 2009 novel is finished and currently in the hands of an editor in New York. And, I plan on finishing a couple of the other ones.
You would think I would be confident going into this November. But, for some reason, I'm not. Because I know how hard it is. I know that by week two, I'll be exhausted and ready to quit. And, I know that at some point I'll get behind and have to type my fingers bloody to finish on time. My son thinks I'm crazy. And maybe I am. But it's a good kind of crazy. Right?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

To Nap or Not To Nap

That is the question. I took a nap today. I don't know why. It's not like I've had a hectic or tiring weekend. I haven't done much of anything. But, for some reason, my body and mind decided I might need a nap.
I don't like taking naps. They are for babies and old people. And I'm neither. Quit snickering. I'm not that old. And, I don't often feel better after a nap. I often feel a little bit worse. Groggy and listless. I  find myself wanting that time back. But, alas, it is gone.
I think men are much better nap takers than women. I used to know a guy that believed naps were just about the best thing going. I don't think many women feel that way. Especially when their man is lying on the couch, snoring. Be honest, you look at him and scream in your mind. "Get up you lazy fool. There's a million things to be done around here."
I'm going to justify this nap with the fact that the Cardinals play tonight and maybe by taking that nap I can stay up late enough to see the end. Us old people go to bed pretty early, you know.
I've inserted a poll on the side of this post. If you don't mind, take a few seconds and answer it. I'm curious if I'm alone in my disdain for naps. Thanks!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Okay, I can hear the groans from here. Another post about sports. I apologize to my non sports peeps, but the Busch Stadium Squirrel has captured my imagination. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, here is a short synopsis. There is a squirrel running around Busch Stadium. And I do mean running around. During last Tuesday night's game, he ran around the outfield and under the wall pads before disappearing. During Wednesday night's game, he ran right across home plate as the Phillie's pitcher was delivering the ball. And he wanted interference called. Hehe.
So what's the big deal? It's just a squirrel right? Missouri has lots of those pesky critters, even a few white ones near Marionville. They're just something to eat for some folks in these neck of the woods. Before you groan and roll your eyes at me, I have to tell you, I've had some pretty good squirrel and dumplin's. But I digress, this isn't a culinary post.
This squirrel has become a mascot of sorts. He even has his own twitter account @BuschSquirrel. He's become the rally cry for an unbelievable season.
And he is different. You know how most squirrels seem as though they can't decide which way to go? They stop in the middle of the road, turn around, go a few feet, then turn around again. Before we squish them with our cars. Wednesday night, this one ran a straight line. And fast, too. (Sign him up Tony. The Cards could use a fast runner) It was like he was on a mission. He knew what he wanted and the quickest way to get it was a straight line right into the stands where he scared the pants off some people.
And here comes my metaphor for the day. We need to pursue what we want just like that squirrel. Don't hesitate, don't turn around. Head straight to it as quickly as we can. Because there's a chance, before we know it, we could be caught by the exterminator (self doubt and criticism) and forced back into our cage.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Life and sports

I like sports. Pretty much all sports except Nascar which is just a bunch of guys (and now 1 girl) turning left and a bunch of fans waiting for a crash. Oh, and I'm not crazy about pro basketball. That's just a bunch of guys going back and forth and dunking. Other than that, I'm pretty much in. I'll watch golf, tennis, soccer (yes soccer), horse racing (yes that's a sport, the sport of kings actually, look it up) college basketball and pro football. (not really into college football, but I will watch it - note to NCAA - get rid of the BCS).
Maybe it's my only child upbringing and the fact I had to devote equal time to womanly interests and manly interests. I wasn't so much into laundry and cooking. I liked fishing with my dad. But I've quit trying to figure it out a long time ago. One of the advantages of age.
My favorite sport is baseball. Maybe because I'm a little bit lazy. It's a slow game. It's my speed. People who don't watch it just don't understand. They don't get the nuances. The signals from the dugout, the positioning of the players, the signs between the catcher and pitcher. It's really quite a complicated game that looks easy. Kind of like life. Easy. You breath in, you breath out. but it's everything between those breaths that matter.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My First Contest Win

Imagine my surprise when I opened the following link to the Missouri Literacy Festival and saw my name as a first runner up in the Missouri Writers competition and the winner of the Voters Choice competition. Maybe surprised is not the right word. Stunned, delirious, shocked. Yeah those are better descriptions of my reaction.
This was a story I actually wrote about ten years ago on a dare from a friend. He told me to write him a story about slavery and this is what I came up with. A story of a young girl suddenly torn from her family and bewildered by her circumstances.
When a writer friend of mine, Alice Cummings, (who by the way placed second) told me about the contest back in June the first thing I thought of was this story. It'd been all but abandoned on my hard drive all these years and now was it's chance to see the light of day. All I wanted was somebody to read it, finally. Of course I hoped it was good enough for some sort of recognition. After all, that's why we enter contests isn't it? I made a few edits, sent it off with my entry fee and pretty much forgot about it until my writer friend informed me we were both finalists for the Voters Choice award.
I began a campaign, putting all my new found social networking skills to the test. I facebooked, I twittered, I inlisted co-workers, friends and both writer's groups I belong to. I was shameless. And it worked! It actually worked! I appreciate and thank all the people who voted for me.
But, I have to say I am most proud of the first runner up award. This means a panel of judges deemed my story good. Wow!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Changing Seasons

There's an old saying in the Ozarks. "If you don't like the weather today, stick around till tomorrow. It's sure to be different."  That's never been more true than the last few weeks. We've went from 100 degrees week before last to 55 degrees for the high yesterday. Brrrrr.
I don't like cold weather. I'm a summer child. Give me a warm sunny day anytime over the dreary, rainy fall day we had yesterday. Even after the extreme hot summer we experienced this year, I find myself longing for it to come back.
Which brings me to the real reason for this post. The changing seasons of our lives. The older I get the more I find myself longing for the days of Spring: the dream catcher days, and the rebirth of hope. When the lazy days of summer stretched before me like an ocean. When I had time on my side. "There's always tomorrow or next week or next year."
But, the tomorrows start getting fewer and fewer, and with each passing year, I feel time is not on my side. I don't even like to take naps because it's time lost that I could be doing something productive toward the realization of my dream.
Don't get me wrong. I still feel I have a lot of good years left but I find myself hoping the winter of my life doesn't come too soon. Give me a few more spring and summer days and yes even fall.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is Anybody Out There?

Okay, I'm really new to this so I hope you'll bear with me through this whole learning curve thing. I am a writer (obviously). I have published an article and short story in the nineties. A poem in about 2003 and since then, I've been working on novels through National Novel Writing Month and learning as much as I can. I currently have a complete manuscript under consideration at a publishing house (fingers crossed, toes crossed, eyes crossed). I hope to post on here at least once a week, but I work a job job 40 hours of that week, so that doesn't leave much time. I will do my best. Thanks for visiting. I will be making improvements to my blog as I go.
Wanda Kay