Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hello, my name is Carolyn. I am a novelist.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

*cheesy grin* *flashbulbs popping* *temporary blindness* *runs to the top of the nearest, not too tall mountain, half blind, huffing and puffing, to proclaim to anyone that will listen:*

Woohoooo! I did it! Wrote a 50,000 word novel in one month! Woohoo!

I'm not done with the story yet, but I did it. Reached that insane goal set forth by the insane folks at NaNoWriMo..read more about them here. It's called "October Knights," and the tagline shall read: "a novel of romantic love between a fan, a baseball team and the sportswriter whose words brought them together."

Woo. I'm tired now. More tired. Good tired. Everyone's a "winner" who reached 50K in one month. I'm one now, too. Apparently 80% of folks to sign up, don't reach it. So I feel good. *does a silly dance* I knew that I would, now. So good, so good, I wrote a book yeah! Woo! I feel nice! Like sugar and spice...


Anyway. Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement. I appreciate each and every word. = )

*goes off to print "WINNER" certificate, frame it and then faint...right after descending the mountain* Can I get a TAXI up HERE?!!!

See my winner's banner on my profile here.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

In Praise of Maps

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I used to love maps. Any maps. My father used to have a subscription to National Geographic when I lived at home. He still might. Perhaps a lifetime subscription. The day it arrived I knew my father would be head down into it for the night, there’d be no talking to him. I mean, no more than usual. It used to come in the brown paper wrapper back then. I’m not sure what covers it now, probably plastic…like the Hershey’s bars of today. I miss the foil, I must say. It was like a special present. Wrapped twice because it was just that good. It’s just as well, I suppose, they started using corn syrup instead of sugar and it hasn’t been the same since, and hey, let’s face it, I could use a little less of the stuff, double wrapped or not, but I digress.

What hasn’t changed about National Geographic is that they still include those wonderful free maps. Maps of wherever. Anyplace. Space. Africa. The United States. The whole world. I could always tell when that issue had a map. I’d peer down the top of the magazine and look for the perfectly folded map wedged inside the pages. But I’d have to wait until dad got home, showered, ate dinner, smoked and then found a spot on the couch and opened the magazine wrapper. Then I could get a look at the map.

I learned how to fold a map from National Geography. I had to, so it would fit back in the pages of the magazine. That was the deal. You can look at it, with clean hands, don’t wrinkle it, but it goes back here, just the way you found it. I’m still the queen of map folding. Just look in my glove compartment.

All those maps had to go back in the magazine, of course. There wasn't nearly enough wall space in our house for a whole world of maps. A few made it up on the walls in the basement, in the dining room before we got the hutch, and in dad’s room until mom got tired of looking at it. Some had push pins in all the places we’d visited. Needless to say, we didn't go broke on push pins. The world map had a worn spot where my mom’s hometown was in the Philippines. We must’ve pointed it out to everyone who ate dinner at our house. See here? tap, tap That’s where we’re from. Waaaaay over there on the other side of the world. Bet you’ve never been there. tap, tap

I’d always be doodling maps in my high school classes. Little tiny maps in the corners of my history notebook, or math, never physics or English because, well, I liked those classes. If it wasn’t a map, I’d doodle an arrow. Always an arrow. Can you analyze doodling?To this day, I doodle arrows when I’m on the phone. Like I need to go somewhere. Where am I going all the time? Where is that arrow pointing?

Maps are the first things I grab when I’m visiting a new city. When I went around Europe, I’d hop off the train, you know, back when I was younger, when I hopped, often. I'd hop, then stop in the tourist center, grab a map, orient myself then I’d be off to exchange some currency and enjoy the day, map in hand. My favorite thing, if I had time and the topography allowed, was to climb to the highest point in the city and compare what I saw to the map. As if I was expecting to find an errant road or some forgotten avenue.

I still collect my maps on vacation. We bring the luggage up to the hotel room and before the kids even have a chance to bounce on the beds and find the remote, I’m off to find a map (ok, and ice. I love free ice!). Even if I’ve been there before. What if there’s a new map? What if they added something? I’d hate to miss out! Even if you never use it while you’re out there, you have the picture of it in your head, just in case. Mission accomplished.

I still love maps. Old maps, new ones. I love them at the library in those big, giant map books. Or the ones that are so huge, they need a whole shelf to live in or even bigger, a mounted bracket on the wall! Who’s looking at all these maps? Where are they going? Why are they going there? So many questions. So many places!

Now we have the internet, of course (and blogs…wondrous things, no?) and all of the maps floating around in cyberspace. Not quite the same as actually holding onto one, but what you lose in texture, you gain in sheer numbers and mind-blowing detail (see also: Google Earth). I’m amazed at how many there are out there! My favorite are those old world maps, usually brown in color, faded from time, I assume. They were bold visualizations of a world that few had seen, if any. They were vague and in most cases, as history proved, just completely wrong. If nothing else, though, they were thought-provoking art! A postcard looking down from space. This is where we live. This is pretty much how it looks. This is how you get here. Come visit. Leave the dogs home. See you soon.

Maps are good. It’s good to know where you are. Easier to get where you’re going if you know where you're starting out. And easier to get your friends to visit, no matter where in the universe they’re from.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Happy belated Halloween!

Ok, so I'm a little late with the Halloween greetings. Things have been a bit crazy here. I just found out I got a new job! Group WOO! I start the first Monday after Thanksgiving. It's all a bit wild right now trying to figure out who's picking up kids and dropping them off, etc. The teachers at school where I volunteer are sad to see me go but also excited because I'll be working at the Culinary Institute of America. I told them that food goodies are forthcoming! They'll get someone else to cut shapes out of paper, just give em the snacks!

Between the new job, kids soccer, kids basketball, my volleyball, volunteering and writing that NaNoWriMo novel, I'm fried. Haven't been out taking photos in a long while. Too long. But you can't write if you're not in the chair and things around my chair just aren't that photo-worthy (apologies to my cat, sitting two feet from me). So things might be a bit slow for awhile, I hope you, the few, the twelve fans of The Woods, will stick with me through this slow November.

Before I'm too late for the next big holiday, Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bridge into autumn

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

One from last fall. Been staying inside lately, let's say I'm on "book leave." Might have some passages to post later from this novel I'm writing for National Novel Writing Month. I wish I could tell you what it was about. I'm still making that up. I have some interesting characters...some funny dialogue and, quite possibly, a happy ending. Or not. You'll have to read it to find out. If I ever get it done. I'm almost at 20,000 words out of the 50,000 word goal. And I've got company coming for a week at Thanksgiving. And I might get a new job soon. And I'm coaching my daughter's basketball team. And...and...I need more coffee.