Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lauren v. Dysfunctional Thanksgiving

Every year for the past ten years the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been labeled "Dysfunctional Thanksgiving".  The name came about from my group of friends referring to ourselves as the "dysfunctional family".  Like I said, for nine years there is a day where I beat the shit out of myself for about ten hours to put on a Thanksgiving dinner for my friends.  It is also the day that most people learn to avoid me or at least avoid pissing me off.

When I was twenty-one, I moved out of my mom's house.  I was still in college, working three different jobs that were all about to end, and was about to be the only female in a three bedroom apartment.  I started going to the Giant in Middletown and during the holiday season was asked if I'd like my "turkey certificate".  Using a phrase that my friend Gina and I have coined, I looked at her like Lincoln (Lincoln is my jug that tilts her head when you talk to her) and then said sure.

There it was, right in my grubby little hands (I was broke, they probably were a little grubby) was a certificate for a free turkey.  Free?  Nothing was free (something I was rapidly learning after the first three months on my own).  Plus, it's turkey.  It's not spaghetti or canned ravioli.  It's real food like the kind I ate when I lived at home and could afford food.  I drove the whole way home in glee (OK, so the store was like a block and a half from my apartment -- it was a gleeful block), threw open the door, and made a turkey declaration (probably something to the effect of "we're getting a fucking free turkey)(wow, 21 year me old has a foul mouth).  My roommate Andrew then looked at me like Lincoln and asked "do you know how to cook a turkey?"  Well, shit.

I had no idea how to cook a turkey, I didn't have the proper equipment, and I'm pretty sure our oven was partially defective.  I called my mom and - with infinite patience - she walked me through preparing a turkey.  I took pages of notes with footnotes that said things like "what is basting?" and "why do I have to thaw it for four days and only cook it for six hours?"  Needless to say, without my mom there, I was flying blind.

I started thawing.  I compiled a guest list and then set about calling everyone (texting wasn't a thing back then) I was friends with.  Out of fifteen calls, I had thirteen guests, plus myself and one of the roommates (the other one had become a figment of our imaginations.  He wrote out a rent check every month, but other than that we never saw him, except twice, and we'll talk about that later).  I called my mom again.

"Will a twenty pound turkey feed fifteen people?"
"Who are you feeding?"
I started naming names and she said "probably not, but give it a shot."

On the day, I cleaned the kitchen from floor to ceiling (yes.  ceiling.  I lived with two boys, who were just gross most of the time).  I chopped celery and onions until my hands stank to high heaven.  I peeled, chopped, and mashed potatoes.  I stirred the ingredients of green bean casserole.  I tried my hand at homemade pie crust, failed miserably, and bought a pumpkin pie.  I basted, basted, basted, and then I basted some more.  By the end, I had a moderately golden brown turkey, green bean casserole with burnt fried onions (back then, I didn't realize you didn't bake it the whole time with the onions on it), a boatload of stuffing, and lumpy mashed potatoes (my roommate demanded the lumps).

Fifteen of us spread around my apartment, putting our plates on any surface that would hold them.  We ate, we drank (a lot in those days), and it was a great time.  I decided we'd save the dishes for later (they didn't get done that night.  In fact, there was a brief stand off about the dishes for a couple of days).  We made sure that everything was turned off, packed ourselves up, and headed to the bar.

Over the past ten years, the food has gotten much better (I still don't made homemade pie crust) and the company has changed.  The location has switched as many times as I've moved (Middletown, Harrisburg, Millersburg, and then two different locations in Mechanicsburg).  The turkey has gotten bigger, basting has gone away, and the onions on the casserole are never burnt.

The fact that everything runs smoothly now is mostly because I make myself crazy that day.  I swear a lot.  I bite people's heads off.  I wash my hands raw.  I always fret over the amount of food to make.  I'm a basket case on the day of dysfunctional.  I now have friends that are adults and come over to help or offer to make things (sooooo not the case when I was 21).  Another bonus of being older is that they also help clean up before the leave me all alone to pass out wherever I stopped moving.

Last night was the night and it was no different.  I made a boatload of food and will be doing part II of dinner tonight to get rid of some of the leftovers.  The company was excellent, although I had some last minute unexpected guests (which is okay now, but pissed me off at the time).  It was the smallest crowd I've had, so in turn, it's the most leftovers.  There may be part III, IV, and V to dysfunctional Thanksgiving.

The pain is entirely worth it in the end.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lauren v. The Memory

I have a memory that is both a blessing and a curse.  First of all, I remember EVERYTHING (except Geometry)(and some French).  It's sometimes a really super fun party trick, because I can sometimes look back at a conversation six months ago and tell you what you said.  Don't get me wrong here, I'm not Rain Man or that Australian chick from that new show Unforgettable.  It doesn't work that way.

The way my memory works is like this.  When I hear a phone number, eight times out of ten it is committed to memory.  I usually only need to read through a recipe a couple of times before it is forever ingrained in my mind. My friends call me their personal date book, because I often keep track of their calendars for them as well.  These are the upsides.

The downside is that I don't forget.  I'm the person that can recall why we were arguing, what I said, what you said, why we said it, and so forth and so on.  It can be somewhat negative if you dwell on it.  I try not to, but sometimes that aspect of it rears its ugly head.  Another downside of it is that it's incredibly hard to forget people that used to be a huge part of your life.

I've been having a rough time lately with remembering the family members I've lost.  Maybe it's the holidays and the impending family togetherness.  Maybe it's just the things I've been encountering lately.  One Friday, a couple of weeks ago, I went out to lunch with my mom, my nanna, and my aunt Kendra.  It was a normal fall day, chilly and beautiful.  At the restaurant, I ordered Chicken Corn Noodle Soup.  Almost immediately I got the soup and took the first bite.  Almost immediately tears sprang to my eyes.  It tasted just like my great grandmother's famous noodle soup.

I should have prefaced this story with another story.  My great grandmother used to babysit me before school when I was a little kid.  My mom worked at six in the morning, so she would drop me off at my Gigi and Dado's house around five.  When I was sick or had the day off school, my Gigi would make me her special noodle soup.  For years, since she died, I've been trying to duplicate the soup.  My nanna has tried.  My mom has tried.  I have tried.  All of this, to no avail.  The idea was proposed to me that perhaps the reason it could never be copied is because of the memories associated with it.

Ever since then, I've been really missing my Gigi.  It's not so much the big things that I miss when it comes to she and my Dado.  It's not presents they bought me or things they gave me.  I miss crawling in bed with my Dado, early in the morning when I was really young until he woke up.  I miss watching Gilligan's Island and The Patty Duke Show with my Gigi.  I would give anything to sit in the kitchen and watch her cook again.  I treasure, so much, the fact that I got eighteen and twenty-one years with my great grandparents when so many lose their grandparents at that age.  Still, I miss them.

There are things that happen everyday that remind me of the people I've lost over the past couple years.  The song "100 Years" by Five for Fighting brings me to tears every time I hear it because it makes me think about my Pop Galli.  Every time my dog Lincoln begs for food, I think of my mother in law because she used to let her sit on the bench with her while she ate.

To all of you out there that have lost someone too soon (and it's always too soon), my heart goes out to you at this time.  The holidays are rough on a lot of people and loss doesn't make it much easier.  Remember them and don't ever let that go.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lauren v. The Desire for Meat

So here I am, it's been a looooonnnnnngggggg week.  (Did I drag that out enough to signify how long the week has been for me?)  I spent a glorious weekend with my fabulous cousins up at our cabin again and returned home Sunday to see a dreaded date looming on the calendar.  The following day my wisdom teeth were coming out.

I should preface this by saying that I despise dentists (not personally, just professionally).  I am terrified of them and have been for quite awhile.  Restraints have been suggested for me during routine exams (I've been known to flinch as soon at that sadistic hygienist pulls out that creepy pick/hook thing).  I just don't handle it well.  Now pair that with a blinding fear of being put under anesthesia (it may have something to do with the vomit phobia).  Surgical procedures are not my friend, dental surgical procedures are my mortal enemy.

Upon looking at the calendar, I immediately started to panic.  I started crying and trying to tell my husband goodbye.  I gave him my social security number and my life insurance information.  I went back and forth six or seven times about whether or not I was just going to cancel the appointment and essentially let my wisdom teeth just continue to push my teeth together.  I laid on my bed, clutching my dogs, sobbing and telling them "mommy loves you".  Needless to say, I didn't sleep well.  Okay, I'm a little dramatic.  A little.

The day arrives for the surgery and my nerves were in full on hyper-drive.  Okay, I was a fucking basket case.  I was shaking and I kept saying things to Jon about ice and how I was positive that Gina was going to need her ice cube trays back before I went in for surgery.  It probably didn't help that my best friend took my face in her hands that morning and told me she was trying to remember a "before image".  I cleaned the living room, did two loads of laundry, circled, paced, and continued to drive myself absolutely insane (at this point Jon would interject with "short trip", but he's not here.).  Then I met someone new.

My new friend's name was Valium and he was the wonder drug of the decade.  I popped the pill will a small sip of water (and then pondered if that small sip was too much water and it would then cause me to aspirate during the procedure - a LITTLE dramatic) and fifteen minutes later I didn't care what happened.  I was as calm as a Hindu cow.  Jon could have driven off a cliff and I think I probably would have still been petting my purse and talking a mile a minute.

We arrived at the office and I motor-mouthed my way through the building.  I checked in and had a seat.  I proceeded to jabber-jaw nonstop in my husband's face while he ignored me and played words with friends on his phone.  We sat.  And we sat.  Then we sat some more.  And then some more.  Then, I noticed something happening.  I was sitting there in the lobby for such a long time that the Valium was starting to wear off.  I was becoming aware of exactly where I was and exactly why I was there.  Just as I was about to hightail it out of the office, perhaps leaving a Lauren shaped hole in the wall, they called my name.

I followed a nurse down the hall, positive she was leading me to slaughter (certain death? right this way.)  She was super nice and understanding with the thirty-two year old infant she was now dealing with.  She attached the monitors to me and spoke to me in soothing tones (trying to make me docile, thus assuring that I didn't bust through the second story window a la Helen Hunt in Angel Dusted)(80's movie about PCP where she jumps out of a window).  Then she asked me to uncross my legs and proceeded to attach me to the chair with Velcro straps.  Um, no.  I didn't sign up for restraints.

Midway through the strapping me down, the doctor came in and started my IV.  Being me though, he had a hard time finding a vein.  I'm a notoriously hard stick and he was clearly frustrated by it.  So, welling up, I'm apologizing to him.  He laughed at me and told me it wasn't my fault (seriously wonderful people at this office) and with that, he found a vein.  They shoved some thing in my mouth and strapped down my arms and I remember nothing else.

I woke up in the chair sans restraints and they made me get up and walk ten feet to a little room with a bed in it.  At some point, they got Jon to sit with me.  I did not have the mind numbing, stomach churning nausea that I had with my gall bladder surgery.  Nor did I have the dry, itchy, sore throat that I had with my tonsillectomy.    Nope, I just had a mouthful of gauze and a really bad taste in my mouth.  I was in and out of consciousness for what felt like hours (turned out to be about fifteen minutes) and then they sent me home.

Jon waited until I was in the car to tell me that I wasn't supposed to sleep as long as the gauze was in my mouth and that the gauze would be there for about four hours.  WHAT?!!  I was just pumped full of drugs to make me sleep and now I'm not allowed to?  Ooooh, I was mad at that.  This transformed me into miserable, whiny Lauren.  I laid on the couch for a couple of hours just whimpering and whining to my poor husband.  He ignored me and patted me on the head, and he let me sleep for half hour intervals.  During this time, he pulled out old gauze, shoved new gauze in my mouth and told me to switch sides on my ice pack.

I'm now day five post op.  Everything seems to be healing nicely, I don't have much pain, and only ended up taking two of the thirty Vicodin I was prescribed.  I've been getting by on Advil, as needed.  I'm actually pleased with the way the surgery went and turned out.  I expected it to be much worse than this.  My family  and best friend made me soup and mashed potatoes, Jon's been an excellent nurse, and I needed a little time off work.  There is one thing that sucks beyond comprehension though.

I can't eat real food.  I've been eating soup, italian ice, homemade applesauce, ice cream, and noodles (that I just swallow) for DAYS.  It's making me insane, especially when watching TV.  It's the holidays, so there are a thousand and one commercials about candy and cookies and turkey dinners.  Upon going out to the store today, every restaurant featured something I was hungry for (even stuff I won't eat)(I salivated passing a Long John's Silvers for goodness sake).   Jon briefly teased me with the idea of eating Five Guys in front of me and I had to overcome the urge to stab him.  I'm an Italian girl and a carnivore, I need real food.

I probably could be eating somewhat normally, just being careful, but alas my hyper-paranoid nature rears it's ugly head again.  With wisdom teeth extraction, there's a little complication known as dry socket.  When you tell people about having your wisdom teeth removed, very few people tell you the fun, lighthearted, I was fine in four days stories.  Nope, they all tell you the dry socket stories.  Given the fact that the oral surgeon cannot give me a time frame that I have to clear before I can stop worrying about it, I'm just playing it ultra safe.  Until I'm over this particular bout of insanity, I'm making myself insane with craving a gigantic filet with mushrooms from the Glass Lounge (seriously, it's on a seductive level now).  Enjoy your dinner everyone!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lauren v. Nature

I wrote this whole thing in my journal while I was up at Rickett's Glen with my cousins.  My family has a home up there (we call it a cabin, but let's be real) and it sits right on a private wooded lot with a perfect unobstructed view of the lake.  So, naturally, there's an abundance of nature.

I'm kind of a country mouse.  I was born and partially raised in Halifax, Pennsylvania.  I know a lot of people who grew up on farms and I spent a lot of time with them at their farms.  I've helped to milk cows, collected fresh eggs, assisted in the birth of a calf, attended a cattle auction, shoveled shit, and loved (almost) every second of it.  Despite my paralyzing fear of any member of the bovine community, I had a great time.  I digress.

I'm no stranger to nature is what I was getting at.  The other side of my family has a legit cabin in Lycoming County and that location is no stranger to random Ursine and Cervine passersby.  I used to revel in being taken spotting for deer when I was a kid and didn't mind being jammed into the backseat of the car with three other people.  This was clearly before the whole "click it or ticket" thing.

The coolest thing about the lakehouse at Rickett's Glen is that you're in the woods, but with all the comforts of home.  The fireplace in this house is one of the most stunning pieces of art I've ever seen.  I'll post a pic at the end of this post and you can let me know if you agree.  There's also a closet in the great room that's full of silly hats.  As a natural ham (read: attention whore) I often take it upon myself to don one of these hats and make a fool of myself.

On this particular trip, it was myself and my cousins Jess and Tony.  They're considerably younger than me, but have been duped into believing that I'm awesome (haha, jokes on them!).  I was flying solo for the weekend, as my better half was busy working his fingers to the bone at Bucknell University.  I also was playing the role of the single parent (to my dogs, of course).

We had no sooner checked in at the cabin, unpacked, and gotten settled that Tony and I went outside for our dogs to relieve themselves.  So here we all go, traipsing outside (unarmed, despite multiple black bear sightings) with three very small dogs (hors d'oeuvres anyone?).  The dogs went about their business and the little black dog (mine) decided he felt better about peeing in the driveway.

He crossed onto the driveway and was doing his thing with very little attention from me.  It was then that I looked up and saw a massive black shape standing in the driveway.  Um, holy shit, BEAR!!!!!

I barely got the word out of my mouth before Jess was running inside.  Tony thought I was messing with him (naturally) and he decided to confirm before he ran in the house.  Um, Tone, you forgot your dog.  I should mention at this point that I'm wearing someone else's giant knee high boots with my sweats tucked inside and a tweed paperboy hat (Google it - or wiki it).  I am also running up the driveway in said outfit screaming at the top of my lungs at my brainy brainy dogs that decided to chase the ginormous bear up the freaking driveway.  One swat and my dogs would have easily bitten the proverbial dust.

Now, when I say I was screaming, please don't get it twisted.  I was maniacally, top of my lungs, bellowing up the driveway (think banshee mixed with a horror movie scream queen).  I looked ridiculous, I knew it.  My cousins knew it.  The bear knew it.  Worst of all, my dogs knew it.  They both looked at me as though they'd removed the threat personally.  I had to repeatedly and equally as insanely scream the word "treaties" over and over again for them to follow me inside.  Bastards.

I think we overcame the shock of the sighting in about an hour, before we called my uncle (their dad/stepdad) and swore him to silence.  My other cousin, Gabs (short for Gabrielle, duh) was leaving at that time to make her way to the lake on her own, and oh yeah, she's deathly afraid of bears.  We made him promise not to tell, all before my cousin made the doomsday call of the century to his sister and instructed her where to park, basically to not look around, and just to run in the house.  Needless to say, she freaked out, but she followed directions.

We had a blast for the rest of the weekend and never saw the bear again (despite baiting him).  Another unfortunate thing was the fact that neither of the two game cameras that we've got mounted caught a picture of him (we checked the next morning).  As a comparison, I've posted other pictures that have been captured of other bears on our property.

This is one I took during my week long vacation in June (taken through glass)

This is the same bear, taken by the game camera.  He was not messing around, he was huge.

My aunt and uncle got this one in late August or early September.  Yep, three cubs.

I hope my nature tale was a pleasant read.  Enjoy!

Lauren v The Remodel

Okay, so I haven't been back here in a while.  I've actually been using the page a day mentality on actual writing.  It's been great to get back to the keyboard and have something come out of it.  Here's hoping I don't completely discourage myself in the process.  

The remodel I'm addressing in the title of this entry is the much needed remodel of this blog.  I know there's maybe three people reading it, and while I'm not out there whoring my blog all over the internet, I would like for some people to read it and enjoy it.  I do not mean to offend people by saying "whoring" their blog.  I get it that people want their blog to be read and appreciated, and rightfully so!  I simply meant that I am not so much putting my blog out there as much.  I apologize if this was offensive to you.

Here's the thing....I've been writing this blog detailing my writing process, and the truth is that none of you give a damn.  I doubt you care how I come up with stuff or my music of choice when I'm writing.  You might have a desire to know this someday, you know, when I'm famous, but not so much now.  Go ahead, admit it.  My feelings aren't hurt.

I guess the point of a blog is that you get to know me, and the point of this particular blog was to make myself write.  Well, whether I write to you about my dreadfully boring process or I write to you about my somewhat less boring life, I'm still writing.  Plus, I'd like to think that my life or my opinions are much more interesting than the steps that I take to ensure a writing victory.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lauren v. The Research Question

Let me begin by saying thank God for the internet.  Second, I'd like to thank Amazon for making so many of their writing books reasonably priced.  Oddly enough, Amazon also sold me the highlighters I use to signify important information, the post it note tabs that mark whole pages from which I plan to take notes, and the case in which I keep my glasses that make the reading of tiny tiny print possible.

Oh research...What can said about research?  I'm sure every college student that has ever penned a forty page paper is holding their middle finger up to the screen right now.  I don't like research any more than you do, college kid.  Research is one of those things in my life that I consider a necessary evil.  It's time consuming, sometimes boring, and other times it's extremely difficult.  It's also invaluable when writing about a subject on which you are not an expert.

Any amount of credibility in my writing is obtained through massive amounts of probing into very strange topics.  I happen to know a great deal about poisons, drug use, and secret societies as a result of dedicated examination.  This kind of information can be gathered in any way, of course.  Believe me, it can be tedious work to stare at a book for three hours and glean only a tidbit of knowledge.  There have also been times that I've ended up with a book that looks like it could belong to a college freshman in the first chapter of their critical reading text.  

I'm sure I'm flagged on some kind of list with the government, based solely on the books I've ordered from Amazon or rented from the library.  I have a book on my shelf that is called Murder and Mayhem.  If that's not suspicious out of context then I don't know what is.  I also have one called the Howdunit Book of Poisons.  Taken for what they are, they make sense, but from an outsider's perspective that is perusing my book shelves?  Not so much.  

There is the kind of research that comes from life experience.  Just as an example, in a book I wrote in the past, my main character was a swimmer.  I was a competitive swimmer for a very long time, so a little life experience came into play for that particular character.  I've also been in the medical field for ten years so I've accumulated quite a bit of terminology.  Living something for a period of time sometimes help to focus your creativity.  Prior to publishing Postmortem, Patricia Cornwell actually worked in a medical examiner's office.  Kathy Reichs, the woman whose series is the basis for Bones, is actually a forensic anthropologist.  Jonathan Kellerman, like his main character, is a Psychiatrist.  Everyone does their research, be it from a book or from life experience.

Another popular form of research for crime writers is the ride-along.  A ride-along is essentially what happens when a local police force allows a citizen to ride in their squad cars for a typical day in the name of investigative journalism or just in the interest of public relations.  I would love to do this, but the Pennsylvania State Police do not permit ride-alongs (not even for cadets that have yet to graduate from the academy!).  I fully intend to keep trying to find a way to make a ride-along happen, or at the very least, an interview.  

Now that you all know the history of research for writers (sorry if I bored you all to death), I will proceed to tell you my personal issue with research.  I do too much of it.  I use it as a stall tactic.  I talk myself out of writing about things based on my level of knowledge about them.  I'm one of those people that has difficulty suspending disbelief (in certain situations - while I do not believe vampires exist, I find them entertaining) when it comes to ridiculous events taking place in movies and television shows.  I, in turn, assume that every is like this.  

Given my history of over-analyzing and over-editing, I am paralyzed by the fear that if any of my facts are the slightest bit inaccurate that people are going to throw my novel in the trash and never give it a shot.  I told you I have writing issues!  I also tend to ignore the fact that I have, many times, gone with the ridiculous flow in books.  I don't honestly believe that the cities I read about in books are consistently plagued with new serial killers (seriously, why would anyone live there?).  I can't rationally accept that a witty and gorgeous female heroine foils the plot of the bad guys every. single. time.  I've never, in my history with books, thrown a book in the trash.  I've finished a book and declared it crap, but that's never been based on said book's basis in reality.

So, yeah, I'm Lauren and I'm a research addict and self-doubter.  Like I said, my struggle is not in the process of research.  My issues lie with when to stop researching and actually write.  Seriously, when is it enough?  At what point do I commit this knowledge to paper just to get it all out of my head?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lauren v. The Muse

For as long as I can remember I've been inspired by a lot of different entertainment mediums.  Movies, music, and other peoples' words have always served as a catalyst for my writing life.  I'll easily admit that this pursuit of pop culture has turned me into a total junkie.  My ability to remember lines from movies and TV shows make me one annoying watching companion!  

You could certainly say I have a muse.  My muse is pop culture and any genre will do.  Sometimes it can be one song, a commercial, or entire television series that sends me into a writing frenzy.  There is no rhyme or reason to my inspiration either, but during those periods it takes everything within me to be sociable.  

Typically, when I find something inspirational, I launch into a frenzy of mass absorption.  I will devour any element of pop culture that I can get my hands on.  I'll read, watch movies, listen to my iPod, and I'll just write.  Let's not get it twisted here, I like TV for its entertainment value too.  I'm not writing this ode to entertainment to make an excuse for my avid viewing or my box set bullying.  I love me some TV, no lie.

When I finished reading the Twilight saga, (after the initial "what am I going to do with my life now?" reaction wore off) I wrote for days and days.  I wasn't writing creepy fan fiction about the future marital bliss, then eventual divorce of Edward and Bella because he decided to marry me, so rest assured.  Nothing I wrote about had anything to do with teenagers, vampires, or werewolves.  I wrote for six days, pretty much non stop and banged out about forty moderately sized chapters.  My husband developed the dusty appearance of neglect, my work backed up, and my eyes burned from constant exposure to only the light of a computer screen.  Despite this, I was exhilarated.  My joy had nothing to do with what I was writing, it was pure, undiluted inspiration caused by nothing more than an appreciation for a great series.  

Classical music usually is the catalyst when it comes to inspirational music.  Anything from Beethoven to Yo-Yo Ma to John Williams.  Anything orchestral will strike a chord within me (pun completely intended).  I'm a sucker for cello music and film scores (the theme to Jurassic Park will reduce me to tears every time I hear it).  Classical is usually my music of choice if I'm in the writing zone and it serves as a way to keep the creative juices flowing.

Any movies will inspire me, it just depends on my mood and how said movie hits me on a given day.  Home Alone and Indian Summer can usually choke a couple of pages out of me and the soundtrack to Braveheart will turn me into a typing fool.  I recently saw Wicked on Broadway and that amazing production has spurned a reemergence of my flash drive collection.  TV shows are the same way for me, and there's no pattern evident as to what show will affect me when.  It could be a single episode of Buffy or Gilmore Girls, or it could be my insane eleven seasons straight of SVU.

The downside of my particular muse is that it obviously is not a social inspiration.  Don't mistake what I'm saying, I obviously draw character inspiration from people I know, meet, or see.  Writing is solitary, though.  It can be lonely and isolating.  I'm pretty social by nature (I love to talk) so when I end up in one of my writing tornadoes, I tend to show up less.  I'm quieter, more introspective, and I sleep more.  As you can imagine, this solitude doesn't do much in the way of maintaining communication.  Luckily, I married a man that doesn't require constant attention.  I don't need to be right beside him at all times, but I think both of us like to know that the other is close by if needed.

To my other people, please keep in mind that this way my first love, my best friend, and in some instances my only friend.  Paper is kind and it's never busy.  Paper doesn't have kids or deadlines to meet and it is pretty much always willing to listen.  I ask of you, please be patient with me.  My idiosyncrasies are plentiful, but some of them can be fun.  The patience of my friends during my reclusive periods is what will keep me from being the crazy hermit alone in a cabin penning my fifteen volume manifesto.  So, thanks in advance.