November 18, 2002
Harry Potter

I'd do a movie review, but do I really need to say more than, we enjoyed it?

Dani had such a great time. There were only two moments she was scared. One was during the big spider scene. Dani leaned over to tell me she was a little scared. I offered to take her on a bathroom trip and we'd be back when the scary part was over. She looked at me like I was insane and stood her ground. Then the very next scene -- with hundreds of spiders chasing after Ron and Harry -- she was laughing hysterically. Everyone in the audience is on the edge of their seats, and my daughter just thought that spiders chasing a car was SO funny. She's been talking about it ever since.

She's definitely my daughter. She has an awesome sense of the surreal, and a great separation of fantasy and reality but the ability to truly enjoy fantasy. She's got a great imagination, but doesn't allow it to get the best of her. She's going to do well in life. She's an amazing little kid.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:10 PM
November 17, 2002
A little later

Kevin has now steamed him for 15 minutes, and I took the outside shift and snuggled with him in the cold night air. Ry is breathing MUCH easier, and we are feeling more assured that it is merely (Merely?) croup and he didn't inhale a button or try to eat a die or have a histimine reaction.

Its still not going to be an easy night. We're sleeping with him semi upright in the recliner, Kevin and Ry in one, me in the other so I'm there if they need me. Kev's watching bad TV to keep himself awake until Ry falls asleep.

Tomorrow we have to explain that only one of us can go with Dani to see Harry Potter, and we have to call the sitter and cancel with her. We don't think it'd be right to have a baby sitter with him -- he's probably going to be miserable. And he might start having that cough again when he naps. But its a work sponsored trip to the movie, and Dani's been REALLY looking forward to it, so I will probably still take her if the weather clears up somewhat.

Yeah, on top of everything else, there is ice pouring down from the sky. Not rain. Not snow. Its a nice little ice storm. I had to go out to Kev's car to get the camp chair to sit out on the porch, and it was tough just to open the hatch because it was so encrusted with snow.

Now its time for me to take *out* my contacts again and go get some sleep. I hope.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:34 AM

Croup is scary. Terrifying, really. We woke up perhaps 20 minutes after going to bed to the sound of Ryan coughing and crying. But it wasn't coughing, it was a horrific barking sound like a seal.

Now, Dani had croup as a baby. At least, they said it was croup. But she never sounded like this, like she could barely manage to breathe (he's not sucking in the skin between his ribs -- his breathing is not dangerous -- but it sounds awful). He sounds so raw, so scared of his own little voice. And so tired.

I called the doctor in a panic. Today was the first day he had peanut butter -- we were afraid he was having a latent reaction to it even though he was fine earlier today. But he said no, just croup, and really it does come on just that fast because he was fine earlier today. He had a bit of a runny nose, but then, its winter, and what daycare child doesn't have a runny nose in the winter?

So now we hot steam him and then cold air. Kev's got him in the bathroom in the sauna like confines right now. I'll take him out into the cold air for fifteen minutes after this. It isn't going to be a fun night, nor is it going to be a good day on Monday. He should probably stay home on Monday. We'll see how things go. If we don't sleep Sunday night he'll definitely be staying home on Monday and so will we.

I have a sore throat myself. Ick. And Dani just got over being sick. I guess we're on round whatever number of whatever it is that keeps going through the house.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:56 AM
November 06, 2002
On being a writer...

Its not exactly fiction, but this entry is *about* fiction.

NaNoWriMo continues on -- updates available on the Insanity is Contagious page. I've made it through six days so far, and over 10,000 words. I'm one fifth of the way through the novel, and clocking in at about 30 pages (1 1/2 spaced) and in the beginning of the seventh chapters (its a YA novel, the chapters are allowed to be short).

And I've been realizing just how it is affecting my life...

I knew it was going to change things. But then, I figured that it wouldn't *really* change all that much. After all, I usually game in the evenings after Kevin goes to bed. I do my PBEM moves and relax online and then go to bed a good bit later. We're on different schedules.

But this has become somehow different. And I have realized tonight that in as long as we have been married, and perhaps almost as long as we have been together, I have never really *concentrated* on my writing. I have continued to write, on and off, but my concentration has been on my other pursuits, like gaming. Or like journals for gaming. Things I couldn't sell, things that didn't really make headway towards my dream of being a (more) published author.

And I remember through the years Kevin telling me that I wouldn't make it if I didn't do it. That's a theme really -- I've heard it from others as well. The reminder that you can't win if you don't get in the game. And I've never concentrated particularly hard on being in the game.

So now I am. Instead of gaming while watching TV, I am writing on the laptop. Instead of staying up to game I stay up until I've hit my minimum word count. I'm distracted. I'm letting this novel take over my imagination and my life in a way that I've only allowed gaming characters to do in recent years.

I think its a surprise to Kevin. He's never known me like this, never seen me go into a writing fugue and come out an hour later quoting my characters or chortling over a particular turn of phrase or screaming because I just can't get it to work out or get past a scene that is driving me insane.

And as this has gone on, I've been thinking. Why couldn't I do it again? What's so special about November? If I do it, this proves that I *can* do it. I can keep to a schedule and accomplish something. So I could set my own schedule and work on one of those other novels that're in my queue. I could say I'm going to write even 1000 words a day, or do research and then I'd have a deadline. I could write a novel in 2 or 4 months instead. But I'd be working on it daily and really DOING it.

I've put the stick in the sand and I'm doing it. And I could *keep* doing it.

But this is showing me that it does mean change and adjustment for my family. Are we ready for me to write? To be a focussing and productive writer? Can we as a family adjust to that?

Gods... I hope so. In some ways, I have never been happier as myself than I am write now. This is something I want to do. And someplace I want to go. So gods... I hope so.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:41 PM
November 03, 2002

Okay, I'm blowing off writing for the moment. I'm above my necessary word count, and while I've got about an hour left in the day to write and want to get another 1000 words under my belt, I also want to do some progress posting.

I've started a new blog just for this purpose (and yes it'll sit there doing nothing when I'm done) called Insanity is Contagious. I'm posting my excerpts there, and with any luck, a few other people will be doing so as well. Er, if there are any others out there who would like to join in that particular fray, drop me a note. 'kay?

Its been really cool to see that there are others in this little blogging network who are doing NaNoWriMo! This is really really neat. And fun. And exhausting. I think, somehow, I'll manage to get more done during the week than on weekends, tho. Its hard to get away on the weekends, hard to find the time to write.

I've rediscovered the writing fugue. I'd forgotten it really... the ability of a writer to simply disappear into the world and resurface a few pages later and suddenly go where the hell did the time go? I almost forgot to take my daughter to her party last night. And this morning I would've happily started writing and just kept on going except Kevin would've been unhappy if I'd stuck him with the kids without notice. So I stopped.

Its impossible to write when there's a baby pulling on the laptop. This is just most definitely true.

Anyway, I'm at about 5300 words and still going. Will it be done in 50,000 words? Who knows. But if I make it that far, then I've made good inroads into a novel and well, I should be able to finish the bloody thing. Then we'll see if its worth reading. I'm not happy with it. Not thrilled. But then, I usually hate my own writing. *smiles*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:32 PM
November 01, 2002
Insanity Begins

Okay, the insanity has begun. Expect to see very few blog updates here on the main page -- I'll be putting babbling on the Voices page instead. I'm going to setup a new blog to share with friends so that we can all go back and forth and talk about our novels and post excerpts. It'll be fun. Watch us all go insane together!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:12 PM
Excerpt #1

This morning I began work, and right now I'm at about 1200 words so far. If I can keep up this pace, I'll be fine, but I expect to hit writer's block about another 20 pages in or so. *wry smiles* But so far I'm happy with it. Not exstatic -- this isn't great writing. But at least its palatable. *smiles*

No title yet. I'll find one eventually.
"What is it?"

Janie peered over Mallory's shoulder, pulling back the fall of her sister's dark hair so that she could better see the object Mallory held. It was rectangular and ornate, with delicate pewter scrollwork in a vine wound all across the top. Mallory cupped the box in her hands, her thumb moving across the front until she found the catch. She pushed.


Mallory popped her thumb into her mouth, sucking away the tiny spot of blood that welled up.

"What happened?" Janie peered at the box, then at Mallory.

"She cut herself on the box, numbnut." Sean's tone was dry and derisive, as only a teenage boy can sound. He was crouched in front of Mallory, and he stood now, pacing away, back into the dark reaches of the attic. Rain pounded down on the roof above, masking the sound of his footsteps.

"I'm okay," Mallory assured both of them. They weren't really worried, she knew. They were bored, and anxious for any entertainment. And this attic was the best the world had to offer right now. Since Dad took his car to work, and Grandma Kel was at a friend's house, they were locked inside. Unless they wanted to risk the summer storm – a typical upstate New York downpour. They'd hoped it would pass quickly, but after an hour of watching rivers run down the windows, they had decided to explore the old house.

Typical, Mallory thought. Like an old-style kid's book, where the three kids find adventure waiting for them in an old attic, and find out secrets about their family that they never knew. She looked back down at the box in her hand and laughed internally. Secrets? Yeah. So far they'd found some costume jewelry – which Janie was wearing – and some old clothes that were moth eaten. A few pictures, which they'd set aside, hoping that Grandma Kel might be able to at least tell them who they were. And that was about it. The rest of it was junk – toys to old and dilapidated to be played with, or for children far younger than they were.

"Are you going to open it?" Janie's words intruded into Mallory's private world.

"Huh? Yeah…" Mallory held up the box close to her eyes, wishing again that they'd been able to find the spare lightbulbs so they had more than an old battery operated lantern for light. She peered at the catch. It was a simple one, just a little flap that came down over a half-circle of metal, so that a lock could be passed through it if the owner wished. But there was no lock now. Mallory reached tentatively for the catch, feeling the slight dampness of her own blood slick upon the metal. She squirmed inside at that, never having liked the sight of blood. But this time no roughness caught at her skin, and she flipped the catch up, then tugged the lid of the box open.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:10 PM