Here’s a meme from morbid_bunny! For … me!
But first I must put the cat out of the room because he keeps going “mrow!” then tries to climb up to my face.
1. What is your first memory of writing?
The earliest I can remember is third grade, when I made these tiny books by folding up a piece of notebook paper, stapling one side, then cutting free the rest of the pages. Then I wrote and illustrated the stories. I kept them in an empty Kleenex box on my desk. Most of them were about animals, and I think I called them the Righteous Group. (“Righteous” was such a cool word.) Man, I wish I still had one of those bitty books.
2. Tell me about your daughter (:
She turned six today, and got this huge doll house. (I’m going, oh no! Tiny furniture will be everywhere!) She has curly hair that stays brushed for about five minutes before reverting to its usual craziness. I am very happy that she has brown eyes, like her daddy! She likes to read and be read to, and we watch Justice League together (she’s Wonder Woman, I’m Hawkgirl, and Daddy is Superman). I’m trying to teach her all about birds and plants. When she’s walking around, or thinking, she’s often snapping her fingers. Her name came from her great-grandmother and her grandmothers.
When she was very little, she had short hair like a boy’s, and people I didn’t know very well would ask me, “What’s his name?” And I’d say, “Benjamin Ray,” because that would have been her name if she’d been a boy, and it was just easier to do that than to correct them.
3. I’ll be seventeen in eleven days. What sort of advice can you give me for my upcoming year of life?
Whoo, I’m not too good at giving advice, but I’ll do my best. Maybe I could start by giving advice to my 17-year-old self. I had such a hard time talking to people. Later down the road, I figured out that they like compliments. If they’re wearing something I think is cool, or if they do a good job on something, I compliment them on it. It’s just a little thing, but folks remember nice stuff like that.
Also, there’s more people on your side than you think.
The other advice I’d give myself would be to take notes on Everything! I wish I’d taken more notes in high school, looked at what people wore or wrote down conversations I overheard. Hone that observation skill. Read books about how to read expressions, and pay attention to how faces look during intense moments. It’ll help you when you’re writing.
4. What, to you, is the hardest part of the writing process?
Oh, I’m there right now! In Symphonians, I just removed a chapter because it wasn’t doing a blessed bit of good for the book overall. So now I’m trying to insert a new chapter. I have a fine idea of how it starts. And then ker-bam, I’ve hit this wall and there is nothing on the other side. Egad! And guess what, I’d work on the raccoon story instead, except I’m at a place where there’s a chapter missing, and I must fill that in, too! And nothing’s coming to me! –How many exclamation points did I just use? Oh, only three in a row.
But I go through these cycles where I can’t write for a while, and then suddenly I’m flying through the pages and it’s so lovely, and then it’s back to hellfire and damnation. Only it’s more like heck and angst.
5. What is your favorite story from your time as a horticulturalist?
It’s more of an episode, but I was at the landfill talking to one of the guys running one of those zillion-ton earth movers, and he needed to take me from one point to the other, so he said, “Hop into the bucket and I’ll take you there.” So I stepped in. I’m 5′ 3”, and the inside of that scoop was almost tall as me. I placed my hand on one of the teeth at its top, which was at about shoulder height, and the teeth were about a foot wide and six inches thick, and the bucket was about six feet wide, and I’m zooming along over the ground in this huge bucket and thinking, “This is an experience that a lot of women don’t get to have.”
Whew! I think I’m done for a while! Also, it’s way past my bedtime. Thanks for asking!