Saturday, May 11, 2013
|Me and My Mama, who is solid gold.|
I heard two young mothers talking near me while I was waiting in line. They spoke with such logic and hope and energy and because the subject went to blogging, my ears listened closely to what they said.
“I read her blog everyday,” one of them said. She was a cute young mother, pushing a stroller back and forth to keep her infant quiet. “She’s so encouraging!”
“Yeah,” the other young mom said. She was very pregnant, keeping an eye on her son, playing with a small truck on the carpet next to her. “I don’t have much time to read.”
“Well, I read it because it’s short,” the other laughed. I smiled. They’d get impatient if they read my blog.
“And I hate getting parenting advice, really,” the pregnant one said. “I get enough advice from my mom. She never stops.”
I listened and my heart sank. I thought of my mother, who didn’t give me much advice unless I asked for it.
I thought of myself, giving parenting advice unsolicited to my daughter...and hearing the same thing.
If I could, I would have broken in on their conversation to tell them one thing: they are golden. They are solid gold. Moms are solid gold... and they don’t hear it enough.
They hear how they are nags. Their kids tell them they are the ones who stop the joy, lay down the law and set limits that aren’t appreciated. My own mom did this – and I did it for my kids.
I also prayed constantly for them – still pray constantly for them. Because inside of a mother’s heart is a non-stop prayer that pleads for God’s mercy on their children. Mercy and love and breakthrough. I laughed with them and for them. My kids were all lit up inside and funny.
Mothers are constantly tethered to their kids, even if they can’t be there physically. The two girls in line didn’t yet know what that felt like.
They’ll feel it when their kids start going out with friends. They’ll feel it when their kids are at sleepovers. They will feel it if they ever leave town and leave them behind.
It is an ache, a joy and non-stop prayer to be a mother.
Mothers are golden. Tell one today that they are solid gold – I guarantee you they don’t hear it enough.
That’s why we have Mother’s Day.
Posted by Janet Rodriguez at 11:53 PM
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Sweep, sweep, sweep.
I had it all written. It was a feat of note, getting my novel done while I held down two jobs and was coping with my divorce. Most of my friends had drinks after work in Italian restaurants with a friendly bar. Instead of fun and a social life, I went home to a studio with a broken radiator and wrote the whole enchilada on my laptop before it broke. Thank God I saved my work on a separate drive.
Every agent that read my submission (did they really read it?) said it wasn’t for them but encouraged me to keep looking for representation. I read each rejection letter the first year and then realized that they all looked alike. They were all trying to encourage me with rejection. They were the hug and assurance before saying goodbye.
I stopped reading rejection letters. I stopped querying. I stopped writing. I stopped….
Monday, May 6, 2013
May is short story month.
A short story can be any length that tells one story that is satisfying to the reader and yet makes them think. A good short story usually leaves us with the feeling of “What would have happened if…?” or “What will happen next?”
The world of readers is changing. More people are reading than ever before and apple and kindle have figured this out. Because of this, they are selling more and more short stories to their clients. These short stories can be read in the time of a normal bus commute, and afternoon at the beach and are offered at lower prices than full-length books.
The minute they were introduced in 2010, Kindle Singles became wildly popular, being shorter and more affordable.
"In many cases, 10,000 to 30,000 words (roughly 30 to 90 pages) might be the perfect, natural length to lay out a single killer idea, well researched, well argued and well illustrated--whether it's a business lesson, a political point of view, a scientific argument, or a beautifully crafted essay on a current event," Amazon said.
A short story is a beautiful fiction read with a fast pay-off. Most good writers can write a short story and see it like a child, resembling one of their novels, only smaller. I love Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilyich,” Isak Dinesen's (Karen Blixen) “Babette's Feast” and anything Flannery O’Connor wrote.
The most haunting short story I ever read was “Counterparts” by James Joyce, a terrible story of a compulsive alcoholic in a dead-end job teetering on a breakdown. The reader meets him on a day that he is bullied by his boss. It was horrifying and strange and immortal. When I finished, I winced and sat for awhile. I replaced the book where I found it and walked away disturbed by what I just saw. I was relieved that it was fiction; I was troubled that it wasn’t.
A good story does that: it stays with you long after you read it. Even in the din of our world: the television, the club music, the gym activity, the kids... a good story transports the reader into another world.
This month I am looking for guest bloggers with original short stories. Can you tell one? If so, email me or inbox me. I’d love to read your work and then post it here.
Blessings; happy reading