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August 28, 2009

Life after ice storm

Kate Hart
Remember this?

Yeah. We're still cleaning up.

August 25, 2009

Almost fall...

Kate Hart
The weather has been abnormally cool here lately, kicking off my longing for fall a little earlier than usual. Also adding to it: My husband and oldest son spent part of the weekend planting a pumpkin patch in the backyard.

This guy is a volunteer who came up in what used to be a flower bed. I hope he is enormous by Halloween.

August 24, 2009

I do not think that word means what you think that word means...

Kate Hart
Naming is hard, whether it's your children, your pets or your characters. The proliferation of baby naming sites on the internet should make the task easier, but just like all technology, it can do the opposite. 

Case in point: The useful warnings I found on Native Languages of the Americas. Whether you are Indian, wish you were Indian, or have a Native American character you need to name, be sure to check this site first. For example:

"WEEKO: Some Internet sources claim this word means "pretty" in Dakota or Lakota Sioux. It emphatically does not. It is a slang form of wikoska and it means "venereal disease." I can only hope this 'name' was made up by some writer of Western romance novels who had no idea what it really means."

August 19, 2009

Opinions are like...

Kate Hart
If I had a dollar for every internet diatribe I have read in the past month, I would be a millionaire. God help you should you be so foolish as to express your appreciation for any of these things online: Twilight, Twitter, Harry Potter, breastfeeding in public, Facebook, Dooce, health care reform, Baby Einstein... did I mention Twilight? You know the term "Too Stupid To Live"? On the internet, it's more like "Too Brilliant To Live," often accompanied by its cousin "Hipper Than Thou."

Yes, I know vitriol on the web is nothing new, and my recent exasperation is just a result of where I'm spending my time. But when I saw Jeremiah Tolbert's article "Be a Positive Force in Fandom, Not an Asshole" and Wendy's post "Mad Storytellin' Skillz," I wanted to stand up and cheer.

As my mother is fond of saying, "Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one, but you don't have to show it all the time." Yes, debate is important and valid, and yes, I am sometimes a fan of snark. But snark without substance says more about the would-be reviewer than the subject of the review-- and it usually screams "I'm jealous and insecure."

August 14, 2009

Counter intuitive

Kate Hart

You would think that as an aspiring writer, blogs where agents tear their slush piles all to hell would scare me, but they don't. I can't get enough of them. I'm a snarkaholic. I just can't live without snarkahol!

August 13, 2009

An experiment

Kate Hart
I know I don't have a ton of readers here, but I thought this would be a good experiment if anyone is interested in being a guinea pig. Cory blogged about the writing playlist she has for each work in progress. I have a few playlists for writing: One is just non-stop Radiohead, and the others are Pandora stations created around different moods, depending on what kind of scene I'm working on. But as an exercise in character development, I also put together a play list for each character.

My male main character has this play list. If you have some time to kill, listen to it, then come back and tell me what kind of character you picture. I'm still struggling with the female character, I think because her personality is harder to seperate from my own tastes, and of course they both suffer from the fact that I came of age in the late 90's and never quite grew out of that stage in my musical preferences.

I'd be glad to return the favor if anyone else is so inclined!

I wish I could take credit for this image, but sadly, I can't. Image credit here

August 6, 2009

A confession of sorts

Kate Hart
See all those activities listed at the top of the right column? I recently added "writing" to the list. Tonight I bit the bullet and moved it to the top.

I started writing again a few weeks ago-- not the crappy poetry I wrote in high school, not just blogging or putting together grant applications, but actually writing-- and it's been a very eye opening experience for me. I don't have any perspective yet on the actual quality of what I'm writing, but just giving myself permission to do it, and to do it badly if need be, has made me realize that it never stopped being a central part of my identity. Trying to force that energy into other activities has not worked out well (three aborted attempts at grad school, anyone?). More than once I've considered subtitling this blog "Jill of all trades, master of none."

I don't have any illusions that I will become some world-famous author, or even get published at all. My goal, for now, is to finish a novel. I'm not even putting the pressure of a "good" novel on myself... yet. Just finishing will suffice. But I'm hoping that by publicly outing myself, that goal will be a little easier.

I don't know why it seems like a dirty little secret-- probably because the things I wrote as a teenager are so intensely embarrassing now-- but there you have it. I'm a writer, and I'm adding it to my list of titles with equal importance as wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. My goal is to finish a novel. And no, you can't read it. Yet.

August 2, 2009

The Ultimate DIY

Kate Hart
Our good friend Liz and her husband Zac bought some land about half an hour outside of town, and are building a house. By hand. I am 95% sure that there are no nails or screws being used, although that might not be entirely accurate.

Anyway, they had an old fashioned barn raising party a few weeks ago, and even though we weren't much help with our two little ones running around, it was still incredible to see the first beams go up.

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And my ever so helpful boys...
It turns out you can make a decent sandcastle with sawdust.
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