Saturday, December 27, 2008

Back in the blogger saddle

It's embarrassing to see that the last time I posted was at the end of August. Where have I been?

Honestly, I really don't know.

But since there's no use looking over my shoulder, I'll now focus my attention on looking forward and trying to post more often. (Uh oh...that sounds a whole lot like a resolution.)

My daughter, Stephanie, gave me a very unique Christmas very own website designed in collaboration with an artist in her office. I'm still trying to get my head around having this--mainly because it signals to me that I really...REALLY must get back to writing on a daily (or mostly daily) basis to merit having this thing.

Most writers talk about going off somewhere...usually somewhere inspiring like the mountains or check back in with their creative muse. And since our family has been invited to visit friends who have a vacation home in Steamboat, CO this winter, I guess that means my muse is calling my name.

So I'll lug my laptop on the plane and listen.

I promise!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blog block

So my daughter, Stephanie (aka: Queen of Quirky...see HER blog!) came over yesterday to help me set up a potential blog for our writing critique group.

She knew what she was doing. I did not.

She worked. I watched.

She tried to teach me things. I wasn't a very good student...although I tried.

She left. I tried to write to the other group members to report what "we'd" done. And alas, I had to call her to help me explain an issue with our domain name...still yet to be determined.

Ahhh...blogger block is not fun.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Choosing a Name is So Hard To Do

My critique friends and I are trying to come up with a HRL domain name for our yet-to-be created joint blog. After my solid research (!), I've found several of our favorites are already taken.

So we've worked on other combos...

This is our "baby," so we want to get it, I mean right.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Look! Here we are...the GGs (Gotham Girls mentioned in my last post) "painting the town red" at the annual Saturday night bash at the SCBWI.
Where have I been? you may ask. Umm, doing other things other than blogging, including procrastinating about blogging. I had all these great ambitions to come back from the LA SCBWI conference and blog about the fabulous time I had with my two critique group friends, Emily and Sara--and all the tips I gleaned from the editors and authors. But alas, now that's such old news, it's embarrassing.

And get this: There were evidently people at the conference blogging THE DAY something happen. The nerve of those go-getters! (Trust me, I read some of their posts when I returned from the conference...after I did my laundry and a million other things that have nothing to do with writing.) new goal is NOT to procrastinate any longer. I WILL keep up with this thing.

But wait! Sara, Emily, and Betsy (the other member of our critique group called The Gotham Girls because Emily, Betsy, and I originally "met" during an online Gotham Writer's writing class for children's writers) are trying to start a blog. I'm in blog overload.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Two Hours of Bliss

Gifts come in many forms. Today, my gift came in the form of spending two hours with Jane Kurtz, talking about the ups and downs of writing for children and gleaning her wisdom on every subject from agents to plotting. Ahh, this business of writing is hard and wonderful and frustrating and fulfilling.

But I guess that's the way it is with everything that's worth doing.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Yesterday Jim and I went to see Journey to the Center of the Earth with Aaron and Page. What fun! This was my first 3-D movie, and I have to admit at one point, I actually jumped and let out a little whoop when something on the screen came in my direction unexpectedly!

But one thing was bugging me as I started watching the movie. I knew I'd seen the "nephew" before but I couldn't place him. Finally, it came to me (about half way through the movie so I could enjoy the rest!). He was in The Bridge of Teribithia...which made sense since I noticed at the beginning that the film was produced by Walden Media, the same company that produced Teribithia--and Narnia and Holes...and sometime in the future, The Giver. (Get the picture--yes, I couldn't resist--this company produces movies of great books. I love it!)

Now to get Mary to read Journey...and then let her see the movie. (with friends, of course...she wouldn't dare see it with the 'rents.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Brain stutters

When we lived overseas and I was forced to speak German (with a VERY limited vocab), I always rolled the words over in my brain before they came out my mouth. In my brain, they were right, flowed out smoothly, and made me look very intelligent. When they came out my mouth, they were oftentimes wrong, came out in stuttering jerks, and yes, made me look STUPID.

That's how I feel about my writing.

I can think whole scenes, dialog sections, and character descriptions in my brain. They are brilliant. But when I begin typing those brain visions on the screen, they come out all garbled. And I have to work. Really hard. To make those scenes flow naturally and realistically.

I guess that's why I like the rewrites better than the original drafts. I can see where I'm going, and then try to get there. Of course, from all the conferences I've attended, I know those rewrites are numerous. Numerous, as in sometimes over 30...I said 30...rewrites.

Perhaps my current novel will be finished when I'm 60. If I'm lucky.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

lunch and more

Today, Jim and I had lunch with Jane Kurtz, children's author and head of Ethiopia Reads, and her husband. The focus was Ethiopia Reads--the organization that began the first children's library in Addis and has since expanded, thanks to Johannes, the Ethiopian national who had the dream to start the library in the first place. (

I am continually inspired by this story of a national giving back to his country in such a sound and responsible way. Most kids in Ethiopia never get to even hold a book in school--if they even get to go to school. All gov. schools are taught by rote with the teacher having 50plus kids and writing on a blackboard. (In some schools, kids wait patiently to use the ONLY pencil for the class!)

Jim and Jane went to school together in Addis Ababa when they were kids. Now we're all linked up--on different levels. And Jane lives in Lawrence, KS. So we're even close. I don't believe in coincidences. This was somehow PLANNED!

I also had the privilege of talking to Jane about her successful writing career. And joy of joys, we've scheduled a separate lunch in a few weeks to "talk shop" without our husbands. ha 

Dreams of having a published book still dangle in front of me. I sure hope I get to GRAB that dream soon!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Where you'll find me

Today my 2 new swivel/rocker wicker chairs with red cushions were delivered. They are now on my back porch, and I just couldn't resist trying one of them out this afternoon. I decided I could even WRITE while out there, so I did. Ahhh, what a combo!

So if you want to find me, look on my back porch.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Maybe not

I have been contemplating changing my blog name to "Writermom." I decided I should see if that site already existed, and yep, it does. And it's absolutely pathetic. I don't know if it's a joke, hoax, or real. But there seems to be only one post from July 2001, so who knows. (The post, called "I think I'm drowning," goes on about being a mom who used to be a writer and being depressed to descriptions of the "writermom" and her husband getting high on cocaine. Yikes!)

So I guess I'll stick to tvmitchum. It's safer--and won't get me thrown in jail!

Monday, June 23, 2008

driving with a 15-year-old

Okay, being the intrepid mom of a 15-year-old, I decided it was time to take Mary out for a driving lesson. Since she'd already had three behind-the-wheel lessons with her driver's ed instructor, I felt it was probably a safe thing to do. (Yes, her instructor has repeatedly told her that she needs LOTS of practice, but I wasn't planning to have her do anything risky.)

We started out in neighborhoods where she got lots of practice stopping and making turns--especially right turns which the instructor specifically said she needed help doing. We also had to watch for people taking evening walks. We then ventured out of neighborhoods onto more well-traveled streets (but not TOO well-traveled) and then back into other neighborhoods. Eventually, we drove on a 4-lane street and turned into Hallbrook, a very posh subdivision with wide streets with tree-lined medians. At one yield intersection, I told her to turn left. She proceeded past the median, and as we were about to cross the other side of the street, I noticed in very clear view a large SUV coming closer to MY side. I told her to STOP, then GO. Actually, I'm not sure what I said. But thankfully, the SUV slammed on the brakes, and we sailed through the intersection. Mary said the bushes were in her way. I don't remember how I responded, but she did meekly say she was sorry.

Luckily, as we headed home, there were no more incidences. I did, however, decide maybe I should have a little glass of wine. (Jim is away on business.) But when I got into Jim's stash and found a corked bottle, I realized the cork was on a bit too tight for me to get out. And if I did get it out, I might not get it back in to Jim's satisfaction, so I put it away.

I think I'm going to take a bath now.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My very first post!

Inspired by my two older kids--and my writer friends, I'm now embarking on a new way to comment on my life.

I've just spent a few hours hanging out with my husband and 15-year-old on our two blue couches. We watched a telling documentary on a first-time Black-American sixth grade teacher in a 99 percent Black-American Atlanta middle school. It took her a full semester to figure out she had to know her students outside the classroom to understand why they weren't performing to their potential. Take-away: there's always a back story worth pursuing and understanding.

Today is Father's Day. Mary and I are making a peach pie for Jim. I will attempt to make a crust CLOSE to the pie crust QUEEN, Inis Mitchum Gillihan. Of course, I will come no where close. But at least I will attempt...and enjoy the "tasting" research of how to make a better crust the next time!