Becca Wilhite Blog

April 30, 2009

Know how you can live with someone for years…

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 3:50 pm

… And still not understand much of anything they say? Several examples are coming to mind right now, including multiple college roommates, parents, siblings, a husband and several children.

I’m stumbling onto a breakthrough here…
It’s possible that I’m a bad communicator.
Shoot.
I thought for a long time that I was a literate, articulate, witty and clever sort of girl. Um, perhaps not so much. Rats. I came to this conclusion after a period of “Why is everyone crazy but me?”
Hint: If everyone is crazy but you, there is some rethinking to be done.
(Remember cutie-pants River Phoenix as the teenage Indiana Jones? “Everyone’s lost but me.” I feel that way all the time. Dang.)
Turns out that “articulate” guarantees absolutely nothing in the whole communication game. It’s all a matter of one thing. Patience, you say? Listening? Seeking First to Understand*? No. None of that helps. The only way to understand anything anyone is talking about: ESP. Mindreading. Telepathy.
Develop a psychic tendency, and you will get it, finally. All things will become clear.
Hope that helps.
*Nod to Mr. Covey, whom I have never met, but I did work at his company my third year in college.

April 29, 2009

Talking about Writing, then Doing More Writing

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 2:14 pm

Talking about writing is right up there on my list of Great Fun. It’s maybe neck-and-neck with actually doing good writing. I am so lucky to have a little group to write and talk with. Food will be eaten. Words will be read and pondered and nudged and improved. Fun will be had. (And all uses of Passive Voice will be struck through will permanent red ink.)

Yeah for Writers!

April 28, 2009

SPEAK the second

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 10:34 pm
(Part 2 of my reaction to Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK)

Wow. Just wow. It was stunning, and sad, and a little funny, and totally non-gratuitous. I hope all my kids read it (when they’re 14) and want to talk to me about it.

There is a whole lot of obsessive teen angst-ing in YA lit these days. The ‘I’m so lonely, I’m so sad, life is so hard for me’ sorts of books. SPEAK is no such thing. This is how I’d write angst if I knew how. Subtle. Crafted. Spare. Witty. Real.
I felt both right inside the walls of that high school, and at the same time, like wrapping poor Melinda in my mommy arms.
I got it from the library, but it’s a definite purchaser. 5 stars, with age-caveat.

SPEAK

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 7:25 pm

By Laurie Halse Anderson

I may be the last person in the world to read this book, but right now I have to run over to the elementary school (to do an art project in Kid 3′ class) and I don’t want to put the book down. It’s the kind of teenage angst that sits firmly in the category of “what other people write” but it is done so well, so well.
More when I finish.

Desk

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 3:39 pm

You know how some people who write have their own space? Like renting an office or something? Or even a room all their own in the house, where their computer is dedicated to their craft?

No such thing here.
I share an office. With a husband and four kids. When Husband works at home, he doesn’t work in the office. He has a dedicated corner of the dining room table, just outside the office doors, where he can ask things like “how do you spell VietNam?” without leaving his seat or shouting. But his stuff lives in the office. Calvin and Hobbes anthologies are stacked with my writing books. His shiny awards for his films get a gorgeous central shelf. Several years’ of Communication Arts Advertising Annuals sit here beside stacks and stacks of music CDs that are all digitized to the computers, but still live here.
But wait, there’s more! Because his stuff and my stuff are just the beginning. There’s a music stand in here, complete with several violin books and some fiddle music. And a violin. And everyone’s stack of posterboard for school projects. And whatever everyone is reading at the moment (Harry Potter V, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and a sewing machine manual). Plus, on the desk, an iPod, a box of bandaids, a remote control, black thread, notes from a talk by Shannon Hale, zig-zaggy scissors with pink handles, a picture drawn by Kid 2, and a jar that’s supposed to hold pens but is actually holding about seven broken, leadless pencils. There are some DVDs (homemade) and a slew of post-it notes, both in a pack and separated, and some blank 3×5 cards. My sunglasses are in here, sitting by my mouse, because after I dropped kid 3 at school I had them on my head but they gave me a headache. There’s also a ticket to a Utah Jazz basketball game that we went to with Nathan and Cyndie. It was a good game, but that’s not why I’ve kept the ticket. It stays because it has a photo of my fictional boyfriend Kyle Korver* on it. (He doesn’t know he’s my fictional boyfriend, and that keeps it uncomplicated.**)
Maybe I would get a whole lot more than 500-1000 words written each day if I actually cleaned up this desk. But you know what? This is us. This is how we live (messy and all over the place, but not on the floor – we must vacuum once in a while). It’s perfectly okay with me to be the Mom first, and the writer somewhere way down the line. And a messy desk like this says something about us. We’re not too fussy. We like music and books and pencils (but we don’t bother sharpening them much). This desk is a snapshot of my family in a “lightened-up” moment. And I rather like it.
* If you don’t know him, picture this: A cross between Ashton Kutcher and Zac Effron. Much too cute to be real.
** Clarification: he doesn’t know about the boyfriend thing at all, fictional or otherwise, and THAT is why it’s uncomplicated.

April 27, 2009

Tiny bit of Happy

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 4:13 pm

The manuscript that has been collecting dust on the acquisitions editor’s desk since January? It couldn’t be found this morning. So they asked for me to send it again. Know what that means? Me either. But I’m hoping it means that maybe someone wants to make a (totally positive) decision about it RIGHT AWAY.

**Crossing fingers**

A thought on Body Image

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 12:36 am

What does it mean to be fat?

Not really, really skinny, I think.
Here’s the thing. Often, and for a long time (at least the past 20 years) I will see a morbidly obese person, usually a woman wearing stretchy things through which I can see layers of cellulite, and think, “Oh, poor her.” And why do I feel sorry for her? Because I think I look like that.
I do not.
Look like that, I mean. But I do think it. I think it when I try on clothes in a cheap-clothes-buying place (where the light is never, never friendly). But I can buy pants in any regular store that carries low-double-digit sizes. I think it in the winter, when my arms feel saggy and are white (because everyone knows that brown fat is prettier than white fat), but I can still wear normal button-down shirts. I think it because in my head, even when I’m a very average 5’6″ size 8-10-12. I am a victim of my own misconceptions.
I wonder how to change that. If it’s in my head, nobody can change it for me. It does help me to be incredibly bold (rude) and ask people what size their pants are. Because other women my size(s) look beautiful. Here, evil Becca returns to remind me that they are easily 5 inches taller than me, and that those 5 inches make all the difference. I tell evil Becca she’s right, but I should tell her to shut up.
It also helps me to move more. Duh. Derr. Doy. But it is funny how “serious exercise” falls off the top 5 list of priorities when it’s snowing at the end of April. But the fact is that moving (outside) changes the way I feel about looking like this. I may not look any different, but my brain is more okay with it.
Am I the only one who has a backward self-view? I know a few men (my darling brothers, at least) who think they’re pretty hot. I’m not saying they’re not, mind you, I’m just saying… why doesn’t my skewed self-view point in that direction? Why can’t I think I’m more beautiful than I am, instead of less? Cerebrally (is that a word?) I love my body. I have strong, strong legs. I carried 4 babies full term and then some. I walk up and down stairs instead of taking elevators. I am almost always illness-free. I appreciate my body. Why can’t I love how it looks?
Is there a filter I can buy? I already have a magic mirror (tilted to a believable but favorable angle) that gives the best reflection I can reasonably expect, but when I use my real eyes to look at my real lower body, I’m seeing what’s actually there, and it always makes me cringe. And I understand geometry, and I understand that looking down causes unhappy foreshortening. But I want the filter for my brain. I want to believe that I am better than okay.
Takes practice, I think.

April 26, 2009

Happy noise

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 11:45 pm

Today I heard a loud sound. My kids were playing a game in the basement, and the action was heating up a bit, and they were all shouting and cheering and laughing and SOUNDING LIKE FRIENDS!

It’s a happy-making moment for a mom. I’ll remember that sound when the whining, ear-piercing squeals of “she’s not playing fair” and “he won’t leave my stuff alone” and “it’s my turn to practice” and “I don’t want to” and “I already did that” threaten to shove away all my good memories.
Because I know those other things will be said, and shouted, and moaned. But for a few minutes, right here on this rainy/snowy afternoon, we had a little Eden moment, and I want to remember.
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