Monthly Archives: June 2009

Bébés – oui oui!

Shea and I joined a French playgroup last week. We’re going to miss this week because we’ll be camping, but we’re meeting every Friday afternoon. My French isn’t as good as it used to be (it’s been 15 years since I lived in France!), but I’ve kept it up pretty well by tutoring it. And I’m excited to learn more French preschool songs and other words – like to give birth and pregnancy – two words I’d completely forgotten. I’ve been fantasizing lately about getting a master’s in French, but I just don’t have the time right now. Maybe I’ll look into taking one class at a time. I’d love to improve my French. In our group is one American couple – the man speaks perfect French and the woman is learning – one woman who’s married to a French man and speaks French about as well as I do, and three or four French women (I haven’t met them all), some of whom are married to French men and some to American men. But it’s when I meet an American who speaks French as well as a French person that I get really motivated to want to learn more, and to lose my accent. There are just so many things I want to do. Next baby arriving soon. Get this book sold. Start the next book. Start teaching writing in another year or so (if there are any teaching jobs to be had). When will I have time to take classes, especially when they’re for my personal enrichment and not for a job? (Although maybe if I teach French part-time at some private school I can get Shea in at a decent price. But French teaching is so not what I want to do for a living, unless I can teach just a couple of classes a week.)

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Done (no -ish), but Biting Nails

Well, I guess I’m done. The revisions could go on forever, of course. If I keep giving it to people to critique, they will keep finding things they think I should change, but I find many of their comments to be personal preferences and not necessary changes to the book. My general rule is that if several people agree on a change and I feel it in my gut, then I should change it. But I ignore many of the other comments. The reason I don’t feel super-fantastic about being done is that I still have doubts about two chapters. The first chapter has a prologue, and I’ve debated over and over about whether to cut the prologue and move it to the middle of the book or keep it where it is. I’ve had different opinions from people about what I should do. Tonight I decided I should cut it and move it, so I started a new draft and did that, and then I decided I liked it the way it was and went back to the old version. In the end, I really don’t know which is better and figure I just have to leave it for now and let an agent and/or editor decide.

Secondly, there is a chapter about 1/3 of the way through that the professional editor I hired didn’t like (not the writing, but the content). I thought about cutting it, but she’s the only one who’s read the book who didn’t like it, so in the end I decided to leave that, too, for now, assuming that an agent and/or editor will have PLENTY more changes for me to make. I don’t feel confident about either of those chapters, but I do feel good about the rest of the book. And I think it’s time to stop tweaking and send it off. If no one’s interested, then I can consider doing further revisions.

This process recently reminded me of when I trained to take the lead test at the climbing gym. I practiced and practiced and practiced on every possible route they might test me on, until I could do them all flawlessly. Someone finally said to me, “You’re more than ready to take the test. Just go take it.” I’d been told numerous times that they NEVER pass you the first time you take it, that you have to do it absolutely perfectly, and even then, they may not pass you. When I took the test, I passed on the first try because I was so overprepared. Lately I’ve been feeling like, “Come on, Meghan. It’s 99% ready to go. Just quit tweaking and send it out. You could go on revising forever.” So I’m done. And my query letter is 95% done, too. Waiting for feedback from my editor before I send it out, but planning to send it to the first agent on Tuesday, and a couple more after that. Then, while I’m biting my nails, I have just three weeks to read and review a book for the Chronicle. And a million other things to do, like get our garage remodeled and prepare the baby room and update my website. And I caught a cold yesterday, so all I want to do it sleep, but I’m happy to finally move on to other things.

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Grotto Wins Best of the Bay Award!

San Francisco Magazine awarded the SF Writers Grotto a Best of the Bay award for “Lit lessons”:

Budding novelists will be in good hands at the Grotto’s and the Writing Salon’s well-respected courses—but when the voices in your head grow too chatty to stay between covers, put them to work at the New Play Institute, which launched in 2003 as part of the Bay Area Playwrights Festival (taking place this month at San Fran­cisco’s Magic Theatre). The first workshop sold out in two days, and now classes like “Language As Action” and “Afraid to Write That Play? Good.” fill up with aspiring stagesmiths. Instructors include local and national talents who’ll encourage your inner Ionesco with a combination of one-on-one and group feedback. San Francisco Writers’ Grotto: sfgrotto.org; The Writing Salon: writingsalons.com; The New Play Institute: Playwrights Foundation, 131 10th St., 3rd Fl., S.F., 415-626-0453, playwrightsfoundation.org

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Feeling really fat and lazy

A follow-up to my last post: Things a pregnant woman DOES like to hear: “You hardly look pregnant at all!” “You’re six months already? You only look three or four!” “I can’t tell you’re pregnant at all from behind,” etc. For some reason it’s okay to tell a pregnant woman she’s huge, but not a fat woman she’s huge. And yet, that’s what pregnant women feel – FAT – not pregnant. I guess only women who’ve been pregnant know that.

In other news, took Shea camping over the weekend. I was all ready to cancel the trip because we just have TOO much going on this summer, and I felt exhausted just thinking about it, but when I heard the park may be closing, I figured we should take advantage of it while we can. So we went and, although it was for just one night, it was REALLY fun. SO good to get some fresh air, eat outside, sleep in a tent and go for a hike. Shea loved the baby backpack we borrowed. The only drawback was that we hardly slept at all Saturday night. We stopped at a kid’s birthday party on the way there and then for a Father’s Day dinner on the way home, so we were all ridiculously exhausted and slept like logs Sunday night. I’ve had so much insomnia lately, that it was nice to sleep well for once. The thing that kills me about the insomnia is that this is my big chance to get lots of sleep before the baby comes, and instead I’m up for hours every night and dead tired in the morning until Shea’s nap time, when I get to take a nap, too.

Today we went to the merry-go-round and steam trains in Tilden Park (which are now open weekdays for the rest of the summer), and I was so tired afterward that I couldn’t wait to get home and put Shea to sleep. But he didn’t go to sleep until 3:30! I was DYING. I finally tried to lay him down in bed with me, but he kept crawling on me to give me kisses and hugs and high fives. Two weeks ago he started doing high fives and fist bumps (guess who taught him that – not me.) He says, “high high?” and puts his hand up to do a high five, then he says, “bump bump?” and puts his fist out to do an Obama-style fist bump. So funny! Then this week he started giving us hugs. He comes up with his arms wide open and says, “Huuuuug” and wraps his arms around whatever he can grab – a leg if we’re standing up. Anyway, a long and exhausting (but fun) day today!

Speaking of Shea’s new words, I want to record them so I have all this down for later. He started saying “sit” this week. We went for a walk down Solano today, and part way he got tired. He’s been really attached to his doggie blanket lately (and to his “mama mama mama”), so he was carrying the dog, which is as big as he is, with him. All of a sudden, he says, “sit” and lays his dog down on the sidewalk and sits down on top of him. So I picked him up and put them both in the stroller. Other new words: doors, boats (everything’s plural), buttball (that’s how he says, “basketball,” which also means tennis or baseball or any other type of sport.) He’s started putting two words together, like “mama keys” and “my ball” – ohmyGod the “mine” thing is starting already! We’re trying to discourage it, but everything is “papa shoes,” “mama pomme,” “my woo woo,” etc. He says “nez” (nose) and “bouche” (mouth) and “jambe” (leg) and “main” (hand.) He says, “l’eau” now for water instead of “wa.” He says, “tree” and “moon” and “âllo” for telephone. “lalala” is music and “boom boom ba” is a drum. “Da done” is “all done” and “plus” is more and he says, “hat” and “biche” (deer), “bus,” “beach,” and “beach ball.” He tried to say “roquin” (shark) last night, but it came out more like “oquin.” He said, “feuille” (leaf) while camping and he can say “meat” and “poulet” and he said, “rouge balle” for a red ball, but only after I said “balle rouge” first. It seems like he’s learning a couple new words a day at this point, so it’s hard for me to keep track of all of them. He says, “painting” for coloring with crayons and “updown” for both up and down because he gets them mixed up. These are added onto the previous list I posted, all of which probably interest no one but me 20 years from now, and Shea when he’s old and gray.

Book – wanted to finish all revisions by tomorrow, but just got too tired. Right now I’m reading it for the LAST time before sending it out, and I’m happy with all but two chapters. I need to decide whether to just leave them alone or make more changes. I plan to be done by this weekend, though, for SURE and send it to at least one agent by June 30 (next Tuesday).

I’ve banned myself from reading agent and publishing blogs until my book is sent out because I LOVE reading them and find myself clicking from link to link and wasting at least an hour a day that I could be writing or editing.

Pregnancy is going fine aside from gaining a ton of weight. Part of this I feel I can’t control, and the other part is completely my fault because I have so little time to exercise and then today, for example, I ate two chocolate chip cookies and two bowls of ice cream. I don’t do that every day, though. It’s hard to tie my shoes, hard to carry Shea for more than a couple of minutes, and hard to sleep at night. But otherwise I feel fine.

Guess that about wraps it up for now. Camping photos coming soon!

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What someone said to me today

“You’re not going to have the baby until September, and you’re already HUUUUGE.”

Um, not exactly what a pregnant woman wants to hear, but at least she was honest!

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Take the California Budget Challenge

Think you can run this state better than Schwarzenegger and our state senators and assembly members? Think you have a better solution to balancing the budget than closing our state parks? Take The Budget Challenge and find out!

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Cravings

I get these weird cravings out of nowhere. Two nights ago I so desperately wanted some thick gooey chocolate that I made cherry cream cheese brownies even though I was so tired I could hardly stand. This afternoon I desperately wanted a Coke (and got one). Right now I want peanut brittle (but don’t have any.) Often I crave apples, orange juice or even salad, which is odd because I couldn’t stand salad during my last pregnancy. I ALWAYS crave water. I can’t drink enough of it. I must have had 10 tall glasses today. Maybe more.

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