Becca Wilhite Blog

August 17, 2009

Avoidance

Filed under: familyness,writing — becca @ 5:26 pm

I have a confession. I don’t actually believe you’re going to absolve me, or prescribe repentance, or beat me with a braided leather belt, but I think I’ll fel better if I just tell you that I haven’t been writing.

Um, much at all.
Because I don’t want to.
I could give you all kinds of excuses about family responsibilities and neighborhood opportunities and church obligations and whatever, but the truth is that I have found time to read several very mediocre books, re-watch a few movies that weren’t even that good the first time, and nap ferociously.
The muse packed up and left long ago, and I haven’t even tried calling her back. (I want the cinnamon bears for myself, thank you very much.) But I want to want to. I want to feel that tickle in my fingers* and that tug at my brain that says there’s a story inside me. I want to have that urge to wake up an hour earlier and get the good words on the page. I want to feel justified to call myself a writer.
Do you think that I will somehow magically return to writerliness when the kids go back to school? Will their enforced schedule trickle over this way? I hope so, somehow.
But for now, I’m going to play games and run around outside and take a few bike rides and remember that, first and forever, I’m the Mom around here.
Happy summer’s end.
*Somewhat different from Shakespeare’s “pricking in my thumbs” when “something wicked this way comes” – okay, really, really different.

August 15, 2009

Hate to Hate

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 1:53 pm

What if I loved all the things I’m supposed to? Yeah. Different. I wish I didn’t hate this:

1. Dusting. But I do. I hate it. It isn’t remotely satisfying to me to do it, or even to have done it. Just hate it. Too bad.
2. The MoTab Choir. Ack. I know. I am a bad, bad person. But I just can’t get into it. With one exception: They do my favorite arrangement of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” – but I don’t like to see them doing it. Something just doesn’t sit well with me, there. I only want to hear it. And only that one song.
3. Fish. Not all fish, but most. I love seafood that comes in a shell. I can eat shrimp and crab and lobster till the ocean runs out. Scallops? Yep. Clams? Bring them on. But when I eat regular, swimmy-kinds of fish, I want very much for it to taste like something else. This is a flaw in my character, I know. And I also don’t like meat with bones in it. Spoiled, much?
4. Babysitting. I love kids, especially mine. And I love having a houseful of neighbor kids. Right up to the point where they need something. Like many snacks. Juice I don’t buy. Assistance in the restroom. Referee-ing. And don’t get me started on the ones who come in, find the toy bins, and dump. All. Of. Them. Out. On the floor. Together. I wish I loved it. Bring your happy, polite, self-amusing kids over any day. And I’ll take your newborns, right up till 6 months when they start whining (“eh-eh-eh” – oh, no. What do you want?) And if I decide I love babysitting anytime soon, I’ll let you know right away. I have a disclaimer to put in here: if my kids will play with your kids, and everyone gets along, this is not babysitting. This is amusement for my kids, too, and I love it. I’m all over it. But when I am the one your kid wants to play with, that is when things get grumpy around here.

August 14, 2009

Hate to Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 2:23 pm

So yesterday turned out to be one of those days where almost nothing like sitting around happened. Remember me? The one who loves sitting around? But there were friends to move and excellent manuscripts (not mine) to review and weights to lift and tubs to unclog (ick – new one for Love to Hate) and groceries to purchase (mostly Drain-O, but also grapes and cheeses) and lawn to mow and visits to make and dinners to make and deliver and play practice to attend. More on that another day.


But there are a few things I want to tell you about things I love that I wish I didn’t. There aren’t many. I’m a pretty good “get over it” kind of girl in general. But there are a few things I wish I didn’t like, and here are some:

1. Butter. Seriously? If I could get over that, a self-esteem-crushing weight issue would likely not be an issue at all. But I’m not really willing to let it go entirely, so there it is. And will continue to be.

2. Adam Sandler. I know. Low brow. Crass. Twisted. Mindless. But so funny. I don’t even know if you need to hear how much I laughed at “Billy Madison” – but in my defense, it’s been many, many years since I’ve seen it. But I’m sure I’d still laugh at that part where he’s walking down the stairs and “I’ll Tumble 4U” by Boy George comes on and he sort of dances to it. Ba-ba, ba-ba, da-da-da Da-da da Dee-da. Hee, hee. Other very funny lines are in my head right now (“Stop looking at me, Swan.” “I want to go to Hike School.” “Mister Madison. What you have just said is the most insanely idiotic thing I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even remotely close to anything resembling a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”) but I might corrupt some of you tender ones, so let’s just leave it at this: Too bad I think inappropriate things are funny. Sometimes.

3. Frosting. Homemade. With butter. See #1. But I don’t actually eat the cake, so is that maybe not so bad?

4. Justification. See above.

5. My stupid bathroom scale. I have this total dependency on it. I need to visit it regularly. Part of the issue here is that I’m stupid. Another part is that it isn’t entirely reliable. I can step on, wait 10 seconds, see a number I don’t particularly like, and get back on it 15 seconds later and see an entirely different number, sometimes as much as 2.5 pounds lower. I do adore that lower number, no matter how unpleasant it actually is, by virtue of it being LOWER. I’m a sicko. I know this.

6. Lists. I am a lister. I wish I didn’t need to be. I need to feel accomplishment in my little world, so I make lists of every little thing I need to do, want to do, or may perhaps find time to do – just so I can cross things off and say “Hey, look. Your life is totally worthwhile.” Oh, just imagine that someday, I could find my life worthwhile without seeing that little paper full of check-marks and scrubbed-out items. Someday. Someday. I’ll put that goal on a list.

7. Criticism. Just the kind that comes from me. Somehow I am addicted to it – I must have it. I must find a way to use it. It is always in my head, so I must love it. And I hate that. I wish I wasn’t a critical mom. But I am. I have (what I consider) fairly brilliant (but not genius) children. All four are pretty far above average, brain-wise. And do I let that be enough? Heck, no. You can do better. Try again. A little more. Bring it on. Hey, me? What if I could just say, “go, kid. Good work” more often. Good goal. Put it on a list. Then cross it off.

8. Sun Tanning. Okay, I don’t actually hate to love this. I just feel guilty about how much I like it. Because, as I’ve said before (but I don’t remember when, so I can’t link to it), brown fat is prettier than white fat. Someday I’ll hate it more, I’m sure. But for now, tan=healthy. Sorry, Cancer Society and sunblock manufacturers.

August 12, 2009

Love to Hate

Filed under: rambles,silliness — becca @ 12:04 pm

So here are a few things that I don’t like, and I’m totally okay with that.

I love to hate:
1. Television. Ick. If you love “reality TV” that is totally okay with me, but don’t expect me to watch it with you, or even be able to take part in a conversation about it. I have never watched American Idol. Or The Biggest Loser. Or, for that matter, The Office (except once, and it was funny, but not change-my-schedule funny, or buy-TiVo funny) or 30 Rock. I just don’t do it.
2. Chocolate cake. Husband has threatened to have me tested for serious genetic disorders, but I’m totally going with it. I can bake one, and frost it, and serve it on pretty plates, but I’m not eating that. I’ll save my calories for something smothered in butter, thanks.
3. Twangy Country Music. I probably don’t even need to explain this, but I had a friend in High School – we called him Bonzo. As in Bonzo Beans. That wasn’t his name. But he was this absolutely magnetic guy. People loved him, and cops didn’t give him tickets (ever) and he was just the kind of guy you wanted to give money to, you know? And he loved country music. The twangier, the better. For him (because I was not-so-secretly harboring a mighty crush) I listened to, learned, and sang many, many of the twangiest songs in the history of music. You and me going fishing in the dark, lying on our backs and counting the stars, where the cool grass grows. Barbecue chicken in aluminum foil, just enough money for my gas and oil. (Those sound like they could be from the same song. Maybe they are – I’ve forgotten the finer points after all these years.) I’ll start walking your way, you start walking mine – we’ll meet in the middle ‘neath that old Georgia pine; we’ll gain a lot of ground when we both give a little, ain’t no road too long when we meet in the middle. Now the race is on and here comes Pride in the backstretch, Heartache coming to the inside… And, lest we forget, Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way – I can’t wait to look in the mirror, cause I get better looking each day. Oh, and I’ve got friends in low places where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases the blues away. But wait – there’s more. Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares. See? I gave a goodly portion of my soul to that boy and his music, and after all these years, I can do all that with no help from a single internet search engine. Yikes. Bonzo, still love ya, man, but your music bites. That’s alls I’m sayin’.
4. The picture book “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. Do I need to tell you why? Let’s just leave it at Stalker Mommy scaling a wall to peek in the window at her middle aged son and his wife, sleeping in their bed. (*Shudder*)
5. My favorite picture books made into mediocre movies. ‘Nuff said? But hey, if anyone wants to make a horror movie out of “love you forever” I’ll be there for auditions.

August 11, 2009

Love to Love

Filed under: familyness,rambles,writing — becca @ 12:35 pm

Here are some things that I love, and I’m totally happy about that. I’ll follow this up with some things that I love, but I’m not really proud of. And maybe some things I hate, but wish I liked, and maybe even some things I like to hate.


I Love to Love:
1. Taking walks. In the summer, I love to walk in the morning when the sun is just coming over the hills and the moon is still up. In the winter I love to snowshoe, which is just like walking but better on the thighs. And squeakier.
2. Eating. I have a talent for cooking, and that implies that God wants me to enjoy food. And I do. Enjoy it, I mean.
3. Reading to my kids. I know that they can all read on their own, but I love to read out loud to them, especially on dark winter nights after dinner when it feels like bedtime at 7:30. And I love when they ask for me to “do the voices” especially.
4. Showtunes. I’m not even embarrassed about this (any more). I think there are few pleasures more pleasant and pleasurable than belting out a good (and aren’t they all good?) Broadway number at the top of my lungs. Husband and kids may disagree, but they’re gentle about it.
5. Reading good books (just for me). I inhale books I enjoy, reading fast and long and eager. Then I read them again, to see what I missed the first time around. Usually not much, because I’ve trained myself to soak it all in, even in warp speed.
6. Having a good laugh. I love to laugh hard enough to show teeth. Hard enough to feel a little stomach-sick about it. Hard enough to damage the makeup.
7. Carrots. Real ones, not those “baby cut” monstrosities. I like my carrots long and sweet and peeled and sliced in rounds. Mmmm.
8. Holding newborns. Mine or someone else’s. I love that smell, that mixture of wipes and umbilical-care alcohol and warm skin. I love bald heads and curled toes and eyes searching for the angels in the corners.
9. Watching kids learn to read. I can’t really take credit for my kids learning to read, because I don’t think I’ve really taught them(Kid 1 learned in Kindergarten, Kid 2 learned from Sesame Street, Kid 3 just sort of started reading one day, and Kid 4 – SuperWhy and Word World – Yay PBS!), but I love to watch them master it. I love to see how the world opens up to them once they understand language.
10. Making Husband laugh. He’s become something of a serious guy (but always pleasant, just not giddy, you know?), and it thrills me to get a chuckle out of him. Especially in manuscript form: When he’s reading over my shoulder and laughs at something I’ve written, the Day is Made.
11. Waking up early. I love to get up before the kids at school time and have accomplished something before they get up – exercise, shower, writing, whatever. I love to have some minutes or even hours alone to create or fulfil or examine, and since it’s a rare night that I see eleven, mornings are my time.
12. Swimming in the ocean. It doesn’t happen much, but I adore it. The taste of salt and the buoyancy and the rocking floatiness. Um, Hawaii, preferably.
13. Being Pregnant. I’m not. And I don’t plan to be. But it’s the thing I love most where I’m required to vomit a lot.
14. Listening to the rain. Best sleep ever comes during a drenching downpour.
15. Snuggles. I asked Kid 4 if he’d still sit on my lap and hug me when he’s bigger than I am. He said yes. I wrote it down so he can’t deny it later.
What do you love to love?

August 10, 2009

That Sound

Filed under: rambles,silliness — becca @ 4:29 pm

You know that sound, somewhere between exasperation and disgust? That huffy, “uhnnnngh” sound that can be drawn out for several seconds?

Yeah, that.
I called someone this weekend to check if she was still okay to do something she’d agreed to do. Her husband answered the phone.
He called her to the phone, and I heard this:
Him: It’s Becca Wilhite.
Her: Uhnnnnngh.
I had to pull the phone up around my head so he wouldn’t hear me laughing.
See, the thing is, I always think people are doing that noise about me. I assume they’re rolling their eyes, wondering “really, what does she want now?” I have numbers to prove, since the advent of callerID, many of my acquaintances have stopped answering my calls. Proof. Fact. And I am thrilled to report that the latest incident of huffy-angst made me laugh.
Because I’m okay with that. I’m all right with the fact that she was disgruntled, knowing that I was asking her to do something she already committed to, and didn’t want to do anymore. It was not my bad. And it was funny.
Husband thinks it’s funny, too, and has followed me around this weekend, doing “uhnngh” noises at me whenever I ask him to a) close a window b) grab me a glass c) tuck in a kid d) turn off a light. He’s hilarious.
And I’m making HUGE strides. Because weeks ago, that would have hurt my feelings (the phone conversation, not Husband – I’m totally past letting his comedy hurt my feelings). A year ago, it would have made me cry. But now I laugh.
Because, really? That’s funny.

August 8, 2009

Wrinkly

Filed under: writing process — becca @ 12:20 pm

Revisions are getting in the way of my sleep.

Nothing should get in the way of my sleep.
God sent me babies who slept many hours at night, because He knows this about me: I need to sleep at night.
But last night, after a late, late night of Colin Firth, I was antsy, so I read for a while. I finished the book (Catalyst, by Laurie Halse Anderson – 3 stars) and it was many hours past late. Then I tossed. And I rolled. And I pondered. This is all very unusual. There are few nights that I don’t sleep like I mean it. I am very good at sleeping.
And the few times during the night that I recognized that I was sleeping or dreaming, my subconscious inserted scenes from my WIP that I hate, or that my critiquers questioned. Yes, dears, I was “dreaming” revisions.
CURSES!
Writing is fun. It is wonderful. It is a great gift. But it is for waking hours. See, this is different than dreaming characters who, upon my waking, fill pages with bestselling adventure series. This isn’t dreaming, really. This is working in my sleep. And that is simply not fair.
And I am a firm believer in Fair.
So, I’m up and doing, putting those wrinkly scenes and lines to the press, getting them smoothed out so that tonight (or at noon today) I will get into my bed and sleep the sleep of the just. At least until I recognize some new wrinkle.

August 7, 2009

It’s Friday! Let’s Party!

Filed under: familyness,silliness — becca @ 3:03 pm

Husband and Kid 4 are heading out tonight for the annual Fathers and Sons’ camp-out. Honestly, we’re not much for camping in our family. This is why we have a mortgage, you know – so we can sleep in our beds with window screens between us and the bugs. But this Fathers and Sons’ thing is a tradition (I’m not sure why), and Husband was sonless for many of his fathering years. Once he took Kid 1, but over my objections. He won. He always wins.

The forecast for tonight at the lake where they’re camping is rainy, high of 70, low of 41. This does not sound like prime camping weather to me. But, hey – I’m not going. Being neither a father nor a son has such advantages.
Like this: Netflix is sending the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice (both discs) and there will be some serious Girl Stuff going on tonight. We will eat veggie pizza (with pesto and mushrooms and artichoke hearts and onions and spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and green peppers and olives and fresh mozzarella. We will also eat lots, lots, lots of good popcorn with a great deal of butter. (Um, yes. Girls’ Night revolves almost completely around food and British accents. Thanks for asking.) There may be some toenail painting, but I make no guarantees – our hands will be full of pizza and popcorn.
Hope your weekend is joyful, too!
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