30 April 2012

Seeing Words

Sometimes when I look at the world, I see it through words.  I look at a mountain and wonder how I would describe it in writing.  (I did this recently on a drive through a canyon in Utah and decided I would call the hills freckled; as in, they were freckled with rocks.)  I look at a person and think, I would describe them as loose-limbed or something like that.

And some of my favorite memories I remember them by the way I described them in my journal.  Is that weird?

I love it when my kids say things that I consider literary.  Like, when my daughter was tiny, she was looking out the car window at the darkness beyond her safe little world, her head against her car seat, and said, "Look Mom!  The moon is dancing!"

Isn't that exactly how the moon would look with your head bouncing along the road with the car?  It was brilliant, and even with my forgettable memory I've remembered it.

Wait.  What was I saying?


23 April 2012


The Gruff Variations

Lots of great authors. (Including moi.  Not that I would say of myself that I'm great.  But you know.)  Lots of great stories.  (Including mine.  Not that I would say of my own that it's great.  But you know.)  Now, go read it.  It's worth it.


Have you ever felt the rush that comes with starting a new story?  

I've just experienced it again.  I look forward to waking up early, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, and drinking my early morning glass of water before opening my laptop and staring blearily at the screen.  Some mornings I stare longer than others.  Some mornings my screen stays on the same word for quite some time before my tired brain wakes up enough to realize I'm supposed to be typing.

But lately... ah, lately.

I open the computer and immediately know what I want to say and how to say it.  I think of really good metaphors too, which can be a struggle (I just wrote one this morning that I'm still kind of giggling about).    This is the time when writing is a joy, when I love being a writer.  I look forward to my writing time all day.  

Writing.  Writing.  Writing.  (I've been using that word enough, I thought it needed extra attention.)

And to name drop a little:  I want to thank Jannette Rallison (who has no idea who I am) for giving me the idea to change my short story into a novel and for prompting the thought to make it sci-fi.  

15 April 2012

Capital G

Isn't it funny how fast time goes?  Funny interesting.  Not funny ha-ha.

Eleven years ago, I became Mandi Ellsworth and it seems that time has warped somehow.  In some ways it seems that I have always been Mandi Ellsworth.  I have always been wife, mother, in-law.  In other ways, wasn't I mis-behaving in my high school choir class just yesterday?

The last eleven years have been full.  Rich.  Good.

And hard.

But mostly Good.  With a capital G.

Maybe that's why I love Young Adult fiction so much. I still feel like I'm there.  With the lockers, the sweat, the drama, the friends, the homework, the thumps from hoarse choir teachers, all of it.

And then I come away from what I'm reading and remember, "Oh yeah.  These little people running around my house are calling me Mom.  I should probably do something with that."

And sometimes I do.

Other times, I stick my nose back in the book.

Hey.  I'm not perfect.

07 April 2012


I love Gail Carson Levine.  Her stories and her blog.  I have gotten over a couple rough spots with help from her writing prompts at the end of each post.

For example:  About a year ago, I was having trouble feeling like my writing was anything worth doing.  I mean, what do I write after all?  Just fluff.  It's not life-changing (although it is for me).  I love the stories I commit to writing, but I didn't feel I was doing anything justice.  I was a failure.  That's all I thought about every time I sat to write.

Then I went to her blog for no reason other than I love Gail Carson Levine.  I may have mentioned that.  And she gave a writing prompt that went something like this:  Write a story about a girl named Aster who has writer's block.  What does she do to get over it?  What causes it?

I started writing.  It turned into something that I still work on occasionally, though not seriously.  It's a girl who has to write fairy tales as payment to keep the life she wants with the family she wants.  And to keep from turning green, one digit at a time.  I keep that story and work on it whenever I feel the urge to criticize something before I even start creating it.

Does anyone else do that?  It can't be just me, can it?



01 April 2012

Home From the Holiday

I just got back from the first vacation I've had in 4 years.  My Mom and sisters and I all went to SoCal for four days. We piled into a 15 seater van (that we affectionately called the meth lab) and drove 12 hours each way.  It's been a long time since I've had such a severe case of numb bum.

I took a couple of books to read but I didn't read them because there was just too much talking going on.  So. Much. Talking.  And just as much laughing.  We hung around the pool in the backyard of the amazing holiday home where we stayed and spent most of our days shopping and deciding where to eat.  I came home with an appreciation of manicured lawns, palm trees, and the beautiful flowers along the streets.  I also came home with a new wardrobe.

The pathetic thing about this long-awaited holiday was the fact that I really debated whether to take my computer so I could write while I was gone.  I ultimately decided against taking it.  And I regretted it.  I missed waking up early and putting my stories out there before my eyes are even fully open.  I missed the quiet in the mornings when I'm the only one out of bed.  I missed writing.

I heard Shannon Hale say once that she's addicted to writing and can't take breaks.  I thought that was really weird at the time.  (Okay, I actually thought that was really cool, because I think everything Shannon Hale does is cool.  But I can't say that out loud.  It makes me sound like a stalker.)

I don't think I'm addicted to writing because there are mornings when I'm too tired and prefer sleeping to typing.  (Maybe I'm addicted to sleep.)  But it's definitely in my blood.  It's definitely here to stay.

*sigh*  I'm so glad.

The First of Many (I Hope)

I had the first review of "Uneasy Fortunes" come out today from The Sweet Bookshelf on Good Reads.  Is it okay to say that it was a better review that I expected?  I mean, I wrote the book and I love it, but I'm always expecting the worst.

That's something to know.  I'm a fatalist.

I so much appreciate anyone who reads my work and likes it.  I like it even better if they're nice.  So, if you're interested in seeing the first review I've seen about "Uneasy Fortunes", go ahead.  Read it.  I hope it makes you want to read the book.