A day in the life of me

Assignment for my creative writing class:  Borrow some of the techniques Dean Koontz uses in Odd Thomas
and write your own story titled “A Day in the Life of Me.”

I am a night owl. I like to stay up past midnight when everyone else has gone to sleep and the house is mine. The solitude is mine. My thoughts are mine. And I can write.

But when morning comes I’m never ready to wake up. Just a few more minutes of sleep—I reset the alarm. I hate the alarm.

And I have to dress according to my mood. If I wear the “wrong” thing, well then, my day planks. No, I’m not a fashionista. Maybe it’s a feng shui thing, applied to clothing.

But I can never find my shoes. And off I go in search. Why I don’t look under my computer table, why I dig through the bottom of my closet, I do not know. I cannot wear shoes in my house. Off they go as I sit cross-legged in my rolling chair writing or playing my guitar.

Get dressed, dab on a little make-up, straighten my hair, find my earrings. Oh, have mercy. If I don’t wear my lucky earrings, I am incomplete.

And regardless of the time, I must complete my morning ritual. I check Facebook and WordPress, and I play my guitars, electric and acoustic. I switch them up. Both have their own little nuances.

I can’t put into words what these guitars mean to me. They are my life source.

I’m not saying God isn’t. He is, of course. I’m just saying that for me to be me, I have to find myself through song. Some people march to the beat of their own drummer. I make my own melodies on a six string.

And the first thing I do when I get home from school? Play guitar. And what’s the last thing I do before bed at night? Play guitar. My life source. The one materialistic thing that lets me be me.

And it never fails.

I play too long, or the clock cheats and makes me late. I rush to my Durango to head to school. And then I realize I don’t have my phone. I run back into the house and grab it from my charger and stuff it in my bag. Half way to school, I panic. Where is my phone? I think, “Did I put it in my bag?”

And I madly search for it while trying oh so hard not to go past the 15 mph school zone speed limit. I don’t need another $173 ticket. Nay, I do protest. I’ve lived near the school practically all my life, and it wasn’t until I received my ticket that I ever saw those signs, new of course, marking the extended school zone.

Someone pulled a fast one, and it wasn’t just me. But I was the one stuck with a ticket.

I get to school. Aw, man. Has the bell rung? Can I get signed in before 7:45?

I rush, rush, rush. I used to be an early bird, arriving at 6:30 a.m. But I’m a weary basket case, so 7:40 it is on most days…or 7:45.

I rev up to teach the college English classes. Seniors. Who woulda thunk I’d like them? They’re laid back. Heck they’re almost adults. We can so relate.

Oh, you teachers of K-10. Bless your hearts, especially middle-school teachers. How do you handle the giggles, farts, snickers, and burps? And I can’t believe I just used the f word in my blog. Never. Totally uncouth.

Attendance. I have to take attendance, but my computer will not pull up portal. I spend all of announcement time trying to log on. And then I’m bombarded by students who want one-on-one help. I can’t transition from English to sociology. The same thing happens with the transition to creative writing.

But ah….it’s time for newspaper production, a time when I can work ALONE on the technical aspects of desktop publishing that my students rarely learn. It’s too complicated. I have to do it myself to send the files over the Internet. Word, Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Distiller, Adobe PDF. I do the job of a graphic designer without ever having taken the first college class. And that’s why they pay me the big bucks to take on the school newspaper. Not.

By now I realize I have never turned on my phone. I turn it on and discover a couple of texts. Aw, man. No wonder everything has been quiet.

And I rush, rush, rush. Multi-task. Grade papers. Call parents. Check my email. Check my email. Check my email. Email for high school. Email for Motlow. Email for writing. Email for Harmony House. Would you believe I didn’t check it for a few days, and I exceeded 1,000 messages for one account. I hate email almost as much as I hate my alarm clock.

Then it’s back home.

Oh, what to expect. Usually something LOUD. It starts with boy grumbling about taking out dog. Then there are words. And then there is a quick trip outdoors. Back in. No success. The dog gets irritated and lays a passive aggressive plan in the kitchen. I hear more yelling. It gets ugly. Every day. Same old song and dance.

I must grade. I must grade. I must grade. But I have had my heart and soul telepathically sucked out of me from the other bodies in my room craving my attention. I want to give, but what’s left? I’m tired.

I need a break, so I watch TV. Last night it was Nashville. The show, to me, seems fairly realistic. I’ve been on the far, far outer fringes of the Nashville music scene for years. Been to a few media events. Done my fair share of schmoozing. I love that show. I do. The tension is spot on. I can feel it.

I also watch Criminal Minds, Leverage, Psych, Supernatural, Major Crimes Bones, etc.

Truth be told, though, I really wish I could give up TV. I want to read.

Reading and writing are gifts you give yourself and others. Oh, to read.

And, finally, I lay me down, my soul to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

So many distractions in a day. So many reasons to lose focus. So many sources of discouragement. Sleep is a fine escape.

Snuggled in my Ireland t-shirt and old black sweats, I drift off. I dream. But the dream never lasts long enough. The alarm goes off. And I wake up when the day breaks.

And I do it again.

Leaving Manchester for the good

Well, I’ve decided to pack my bags and to leave Manchester.

I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of you who have supported me during the three or so weeks that I have been in possession of a complete, revised novel. I especially want to thank the EDGE staff for advising me during the year-long writing process. Without your help I would not have had “straight from the horse’s mouth insider information” concerning what teens do and do not want to read. And thank you, EDGE staff, for helping me get a better handle on what teens would really do if they were faced with the same types of crises that TJ and Megan face. I could not have made it this far without you.

Even though you have been an incredible support system to me, I realize I need more—namely an agent, an editor and a publishing house. Hmmm. I have bribed you a couple of times in the past. Would a bribe work now? How about Aztec Chicken every Friday at El Manantial until for the first person who can bring me the three aforementioned items?  On second thought, let me rethink that offer. I am envisioning an illegal kidnapping plot involving one or more Edgers—all for the sake of Aztec Chicken. I can see said agent being duct-taped and taken away in a little orange VW bus full of crazed writers in dreadlocks and hippie shirts.

But as I was saying, I have decided to leave Manchester to attend the ACFW Conference at the end of summer if all goes well, but I’ll return within a few days. (And, yes, some family members will accompany me to make sure I stay out of trouble.) I hope that while I am there I will learn the process of acquiring the three treasures listed above. All kidding aside, please keep me in your prayers. The YA (young adult) market is very competitive right now, and prayer is a necessity.

I’m really shocked that the YA market is so tough. When I walk into the classroom, I see most of you lugging around a book or two, and I’m not talking about required reading. Of course, I teach writers, and good readers, as we know, make good writers. Maybe that’s why YOU have a book in your hands. Your reading and writing go hand in hand.

I want to know what it is about the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series that lures both young and older readers. What magic do these novels possess? Are teens reading anything else these days? If so, what? Speaking of reading, what are you reading right now? 

I’ll go first, and then it’s your turn.  As you know I just finished, The Heart’s Journey Home by Jen Stephens. Next, on my list is In Between by Jenny B. Jones. After that, I’ll looking forward to a novel by Kaye Dacus. I was also hoping for another Odd Thomas novel by Dean Koontz, but it appears Odd is only appearing in graphic novels these days. Sigh.

It’s your turn now.