Journal Entry: July 20, 2009

As I mentioned on Friday, my parents came in Thursday night for a brief visit — primarily to celebrate T–‘s birthday, since they couldn’t make it here next weekend. I had to work Friday, but they drove down my way to meet me for lunch at On the Border. Then shortly after I got home we headed up to Carino’s for T–‘s birthday dinner.

My little sister’s family came to that, too, which made for quite a crowd. It was hectic, and afterward we went back to our house for ice cream cake and Madagascar. My parents had never seen it, and of course the little girls appreciated it.

They didn’t make it all the way through the movie, but even so it was well after nine before my sister packed up her kids and took them home. Mom and Dad watched the rest of it, with many a hearty chuckle, and then they slipped away, too. T– went to bed and I spend a while considering all the things I could get accomplished with a few hours of peace and quiet, but the pillow called to me. I was asleep by 10:30.

Saturday morning T– and Mom headed up to Edmond to meet my sister and N– for pedicures, so Dad came over to watch AB with me. He played with her in the back yard while I took care of some stuff around the house, and then she came in to play with puzzles while Dad and I talked writing.

Of course, she wanted some attention, so she brought the puzzle over and sat down right between us while we talked, but that gave me an opportunity to show off how well she knows her letters (she only really gets confused between M and W, and Y and V), and even her right and left. Dad was suitably impressed.

We spent most of our time this weekend talking about his book. He’s been about to finish it for the last three months or so. I read it right up to chapter sixteen, when everyone in town has hardened their hearts against our fair hero, and then he left me hanging. So I’ve been more a demanding fan than a mentoring coach ever since, trying to bully him into getting it done. It worked. While AB and I were doing puzzles, Dad pulled out his laptop and started writing.

T– and Mom got home around 11:45, and I had to run out immediately because I had a haircut scheduled for noon. Under normal circumstances I’d have rescheduled, with my parents in town, but I had plans later in the afternoon for a writer’s group — which I found intimidating for reasons my regular reader will instantly understand — and I always feel a little more confident right after a haircut. I mentioned that to Dad (who’s quite familiar with my social anxiety), and he encouraged me to keep the appointment.

It wasn’t that bad a plan anyway, because the rest of them were just going to spend that hour eating lunch, and under the circumstances there was no way I could have eaten. So I ran up to Memorial and Penn, got a chop, and then headed back home.

That left me most of an hour to chat with Mom while Dad busily hacked away at his keyboard. Then as two rolled closer, Mom started telling him to wrap it up and he lamented that he was so close to the end, but yeah, they had to get on the road. So he packed up his laptop, we all said goodbye, and then I headed out to writer’s group at the same time they headed back to Little Rock.

I’ll give a full accounting of writer’s group in its own blog post. For now, suffice to say that even with the social anxiety going full strong, it was awesome. A great experience, and I’m looking forward to more.

At three T– had her monthly crop up at the church, and N– attended that, so while I was in writer’s group I got a text message from K– asking if he could bring Jason and hang out at my place. D– was there watching AB, and at the time it seemed like we were about to break up, so I replied and said, “Sure,” without any sort of explanation.

As it turned out, we were not about to break up. So K– hung out at the house with D– for a while, put Jason down for a nap in our room, then Jason woke up and K– took him back up to the church, and all told it was 6:30 before I left Courtney’s place. As I was walking out the door D– messaged me to say AB was getting hungry, so I called K– to convince him to come back to the house again, and then stopped and picked up food for all of us at McDonalds.

AB had missed most of her nap, but she was still a pretty good girl all evening. K– and I tried to put some new remote control software on my HTPC while she watched Dora, but it was to no avail. I could fix the situation with an upgrade to Vista and a new $30 remote, but there’s not a lot we can do with pure software solutions. We finally gave up on that when K– had to leave to pick up N–.

Shortly after that AB went to bed, and D– headed home, and I had the whole quiet house to myself. Once again I pondered all the useful things I could accomplish, and of them all I chose a stupid little computer game and spent the rest of the night doing that.

Oh! There was one interruption to it. Dad called me to let me know he’d finished his book on the drive home. Go Dad! I have it waiting in my email even now. I should have a strong review for him by the end of the day.

I ended up going to bed around eleven. T– headed to a late Harry Potter after her long night at the crop, so I have no idea when she got home. She was still awake before me on Sunday morning, though.

Sunday morning we all got up in time to make it to Bible class, but we didn’t make it to Bible class. That just sort of happened. We ended up getting to the church halfway through, so we dropped AB in her class (two-year-olds don’t judge), and then T– and I slipped into the church library to pick a couple new books for AB and wait for classes to break. While we were there I told her all about our writer’s group.

Then the bells rang and we headed to the auditorium. Courtney came over to say hi, and then I spent the service getting started on chapter four of Restraint. I like where it’s going. I fear (like too much of this book so far) the chapter is going to be about half as long as it’s supposed to be, but maybe this one will surprise me.

After that we had lunch at Jason’s Deli with D– and K– and N–, then we all went our separate ways. AB took a nap, T– and I watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and then T– woke AB up to take her to small groups in Guthrie. I decided to skip that to spend some time with D–.

After four weeks of him suggesting we go see Transformers II and me saying I didn’t want to, I suggested we go see Transformers II. It was not good. I don’t regret seeing it, but it was not good. There was so much third grade humor in there that did nothing to improve the movie. You know me. I am not easily offended. But every bit of comedy in there felt childish, forced, and overdone — and there was lots of it. The only line I laughed out loud at was, “We’ve got Jordanians!” which — I assure you — was not meant to be funny at all. That was actually supposed to be high drama.

Anyway, after that we grabbed dinner at Moe’s, and then came back to the house to watch an episode of Dexter. That show is creepy. I cannot recommend it, but I’m having a hard time not watching the next episode. Creepy.

T– got home with AB well after nine, we put her in bed, and D– headed home. T– and I watched a random episode of Newsradio, and then we went to bed.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

5 Replies to “Journal Entry: July 20, 2009”

  1. I’m looking forward to reading the full account of Saturday afternoon. I’m glad you didn’t let the anxiety keep you from being there!

    How does one get one’s father to start writing, much less actually finish a book? My dad has talked for years about writing something but has never started. I haven’t prodded him about it in a few years…maybe I should. ;o)

  2. As I mentioned briefly in my Writer’s Group post (which just went up), I leveraged NaNoWriMo to make it happen.

    Actually, my dad had been talking about writing a book for many years, and we’d even talked through a couple plots he wanted to work on, but he didn’t have the confidence to do it. Sometime in early 2007 my older sister started saying she had a story idea she wanted to work on, but she never did, so when fall rolled around I wrote them an email saying, “Next month, you’re going to write a book.”

    I’d never even done NaNoWriMo at that point, but I had a really successful year writing-wise, so I felt confident enough. I put together a whole course of pre-writing work to get them ready (character lists, synopsis, sample scene — that sort of thing), and spent all of October bullying them into doing their homework so by November they were not only prepared, but in the habit of thinking they were SUPPOSED to be writing stuff for me.

    It’s not a sure-fire tactic, though. I’ve tried the same thing with D– for two years now, and he’s got a phenomenal fantasy story all ready to go, but I can’t get him to take that first step.

  3. Our group needs to do NaNoWriMo together this year. I’ve already decided this. ;o) We can have write-ins. We can inget copious amounts of caffeine. We can push and prod each other. We can bully friends like D– into joining us.

    I think it’s a confidence thing with my dad, too. That probably holds true for most people who have an idea but just can’t seem to get started.

  4. I’m all about a NaNo support group. I’ve done it by email and phone for two years now, but it would be fun to get together in person. Actually, I could probably even get my dad to join us one weekend.

    I know one thing that really got him into it was the word count chase. Our first semester I used Google Docs (yes, I’m addicted) to make a spreadsheet so we could track our daily count against a minimum average, a recommended average (I spread the 50,000 over just weekdays so I can spend weekends either catching up or taking a break), and then against each other. I decided to skip that last year, and Dad insisted, so I suppose that’s a good motivator.

  5. The spreadsheet is definitely going to motivate me. I don’t think I’m by nature a competitive person….until someone holds stats up to my nose and invites me to compare my progress with others’. Oy vey. ;o)

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