Year: 2009 (page 1 of 32)

And The Winner Is…

MATT! Kid 2 did the drawing (and I only put his name in once, even though he commented twice, because we’re all about fairness around here) and Matt, you are the winner.

I will get a copy of RRO out to you in the mail as soon as you email me with your address. (that’s becca (at sign) whisperingvoice (dot) com)
And for the rest of you? Here’s a little excerpt for your reading pleasure.

“You,” she says, pointing her straw at my face, “are an idiot. One of these days, young lady, you are going to have to learn to believe that you’re good enough.” She looks like my mom when she says that. Like she’s humoring me into something. Like she has some stash of Great Wisdom that someday, if I’m extremely lucky, I may get to glimpse. That is so annoying.

Okay, there you have it. So happy New Year, everyone!

XO
B

Grandma Wright

My little Grandma Wright died today.

She was always Grandma Wright, even before we were related. She was my Grandma Jennie’s best friend, and every time I went to Oakland to see Grandma Jennie, we visited Grandma Wright, too. She’d lean over the counter at the distribution center and kiss my face. She smelled perfect – Oil of Olay, I discovered later.
She loves to laugh and watch old musicals and play games.
And drive fast.
And eat dessert first. (Life is short, she says.)
Mixed nuts and See’s chocolates and a freezer full of ice cream, that is Grandma.
Not so much the vegetables.
Sweaters and jackets all summer long, because she doesn’t like how her skinny arms look. But really nice sweaters and jackets. There’s no such thing as a bargain if it’s not beautiful.
Jewelry. Lipstick. And dignity.
Once she came with me to visit my great-Aunt Ruth in a care center. She said, “Oh, Becca. Close her mouth while she sleeps. Give her that, at least.” These past couple of years, as Grandma has fallen asleep with her mouth open, I still think she’s beautiful. But I help her shift her head so her mouth closes. Because I can give her that, at least.
I bring my daughter to play her violin for Grandma. Not often, not often enough. But it thrills our little Grandma, and she closes her eyes and clasps her hands and sways with the music. And laughs and gets a little groovy with the fiddle tunes. And experiences some sort of private worship with the hymns. And then opens, unclasps, and reaches. “Thank you, dear.” Dear works when she no longer remembers our names.
But.
When my cousin was visiting Grandma and catching up on our family, Grandma said, “Oh, Becca. She’s the fun one.” Clearly selective memory, but I’ll take it.
My little Grandma has gone Home. She’s left behind the body that grounded her for ninety-two years. Four wonderful grown children and piles of grands and greats. Her sweetheart, whose hearing aid always whistles for the pretty girls. A counter covered in mixed nuts and See’s candies and a freezer full of ice cream. And our cracked hearts. And our memories.

Holding the Happy

Hey, guess what? I’ve got something to tell you… I received a small box of small books. Really pretty books with a cute swoony redhead on the cover. And also on the cover? My name. Right down there in the lower right corner.

And I discovered something about myself, about how I work. Something about my M.O., my style, my heart. I am a giver-away-er. I want to give a book to everyone I know. Also strangers. And Libraries. And set them in public places, like waiting rooms and bus stops and grocery lines.
Husband laughs.
I laugh, too, because I know it’s silly to give away all the twenty books Mr. Publisher gave me.*
But.
I want to give one. Just one. Here’s the deal. You leave me a comment, telling me either:
1. The best book you’ve ever read that’s a romance but not a Romance, if you know what I mean, or
2. Your most embarrassing slip-up regarding a “person of interest” of the opposite gender, or
3. Who you will share “My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions” with (after you read it) if you win a copy (bonus points if they blog)**
Easy, right? I’ll choose a random winner on, um, let’s see… Thursday morning. Yes, dear, I know that’s a holiday. But I’ll be home, and you can check in anytime. Please don’t let me disturb your busy social schedule.
As for softening your despair if you aren’t the random winner… I hear rumors. See, this book is published by Shadow Mountain, who is owned by Deseret Book. So even though the official release date is March 4th or something (I only know that because in a fit of insanity I checked on Barnes&Noble’s website), books are being spotted at Deseret Book stores near you.*** And if I were less lazy, I’d go check the Shadow Mountain website to see if you can order online. Oh, all right. Hold on, please.
(Hm, hm, hm….****)
Yeah, okay. Maybe not online yet. But soon. Soon, I tell you! (as far as I know)
OH, YEAH – also, my toe is mending. Thank you. I can sleep. I can breathe in and out. I can hobble. I have to put on shoes later this morning. Pray for me.
So have a happy day, please. And if you want to be a winner, just know that you already are, in my book. But not necessarily OF my book. You know what I mean.

*There aren’t twenty left. Because… well, haven’t you heard what I’ve been saying?
**That is a lie. This will be random. Because I’m feeling sort of random, you know?
***I mean, if you live near a Deseret Book Store. You understand.
***That’s your hold music. Hope you enjoyed it.

Justifying the Lazy

Once upon a time*, Husband made great hamburgers for dinner**. Yum. I prefer mine bunless (saving my calories for buttered popcorn, you know) and I finished first. So like a polite and well-adjusted person I went to rinse and stack my plate.

But.
I managed to kick Husband’s chair*** and say only “owie-owie,” as opposed to the many fine blue words bouncing in my head. I walked it off. It didn’t feel better. I put ice on it. I elevated. I sat around. I watched it swell. Right around the weird, hard bump. That was a bone.
Yup. I broke my toe.
Awesome, right?
I’ve had worse timing in my life, because there’s no need for me to, say, drive anywhere in the next few days. But walking? Hurts. Sleeping? Also. Sitting around? Ditto. Plus, I’ve been really, really good about working out in the past week. I’m talking an hour at a time on the elliptical. That’s over for a minute. The one bonus? The cute and generous BIL and SIL gave us wii-Fit for Christmas, and I didn’t fight the Kids for a turn (because I know they’ll tire of it by the time they go back to school, and it will be all mine) and now when I feel all better, no small cartoon man will berate me for my long lazy-stretch. Because, really, how do you justify the broken toe to the cartoon trainer?


* Saturday
**He often does this. He prefers to do it when it’s positive degrees outside, but he’ll agree to do it whenever I buy meat and buns.
***This was not pent-up agression. Just random stupidity.

How Publishing Is Like Giving Birth. And Also Not.

Like: There’s this beautiful new thing, and I want everyone to see it.

Not Like: I invite a whole lot more people to come around at delivery when it’s a book.
Like: There’s that gasp of surprise and delight to see it whole and shiny.

Not Like: Much less mess.
Like: I find myself telling people all kinds of details they SO don’t care about.

Not Like: Nobody really even pretends to be interested*.
Like: I just know someday, someone is going to say mean things about it. And it will hurt.

Not Like: I don’t have to listen to critics. I can pretend they don’t exist. (But bullies are real. Forever.)
Like: There will be mistakes, and I might be embarrassed.

Not Like: They’re all MY mistakes. (Worse, right?)
Like: I love this new thing.

Not Like: It doesn’t need me – my work is done.
Like: It still keeps me up at night.

Not Like: I can’t rock it back to sleep.
Like: I find myself in there, when I peer. (Does anyone else love that word? Peer. Try it. Peer. Mmm.)

Not Like: Chances aren’t good that it will take care of me when I’m old.

*This is a complete lie. Everyone is interested. Or pretending to be. And that is fun, fun.

Uncap the Pen

Just do it, I tell myself. Open the notebook. Scratch out the words. Sit down at the desk. Let fingers find keys.


A dozen words. A hundred. A thousand.

Uncover the characters. Discover voices. Let them tell their stories. Listen to their dialog. Shake your head over their mistakes. Let them try. Let them fail. Let them try again.

Keep going, I tell myself. Don’t stop when it gets hard, or stupid, or off-track. Don’t let complications get in the way. Don’t find excuses. Wake earlier. Exercise later. Write quietly, so as not to wake the restless ones, the demanding ones, the precious needy ones.

No. It’s not too hard. It’s certainly not impossible, I tell myself. Try.

But it’s hard.

Yes, I tell myself. Yes, it is hard. And remember this: You’ve done harder things, I tell myself. But the only way it’s impossible is if you never uncap the pen.

Go. Sit. Write. Words. Phrases and sentences. Conversations, turning points, actions, conflicts, resolutions.

But, but, but… But what? I ask. But what if it’s awful? What if the words won’t come? What if the words I write are useless? What if I’ve used up my allotment of good / funny / poignant / meaningful words? What if nobody ever reads it?

What if nobody ever reads it?

Write it, I tell myself. Uncap the pen. Nobody will ever, ever read the words you don’t write. And most people will never read the words you do write, and is that really, really why you do it?

No, I answer. The words are there, inside me. They want to be set free, to get out, to taste the air.

Uncap the pen.

Set the words free.

Clean It Like You Mean It

I belong to a church of volunteers, which means that

when something needs doing,

it gets done by the congregation.

Teaching, music, all those sermons and talks, all of it.
By the people and for the people.


And also the bathrooms.

I just got home from cleaning the church with my family.
And I may have witnessed a miracle.
Kids were scrubbing toilets polishing sinks and mirrors,
vacuuming, washing windows. Washing windows, I tell you.

And then? I heard these words. “What should I do next?”

So how do I harness this? They worked hard, fast, and willingly *
because they were cleaning God’s house.
Any chance they’d believe He lives here?

*at least for the first hour

Bring Home the Turtle

Here’s photographic proof of the Pet Solution.

You can’t really tell, but this is my big pasta serving bowl. Grande. And so is the turtle. So one more round of applause to Kid 2’s brilliance.
(clap, clap, clap)
Also, this reminds Husband of that part in the great movie “Cinderella Man” when Russell Crowe’s character talks about “bring home the turtle/title” – have you seen that movie? You should. Apologies in advance for the mouth on the agent. I wasn’t involved with the dialog. Or anything else, you know. Ron Howard didn’t consult me on this one, even though he was my first crush. Some people’s memories are just a little shorter than others.