Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Thinking Like a Winner

Life is sifting itself into the right places.

A while ago, probably three months or more, my youngest son lost the nail on his ring finger. It came clean off. Almost to the person I got assurance that they grow back. But one man, an ex-navyman, said something that resonated with me most. He lost something like three nails and they never grew back. Thanks! So I adjusted my thinking. But as you may have guessed by now, because I am not the master of indirection, that it did indeed grow back. I didn't believe it at first, and wouldn't believe it until it grew past the skin and needed to be clipped.

Next up: the pool. For all you spoiled brats that live in tropical climates, know that in New England, winter means death to swimming pools that haven't been closed properly. Last year I spent probably a thousand dollars in chemicals, repairs, opening and closing that damn pool. This year I put my foot down, went to New Hampshire where purchases are tax-free, and bought all my chemicals and implements. I opened it myself, maintained it, and closed it this last weekend. Total cost: $150. The pool has to be covered with a tarp and weighted down with 2 by 8 water balloons. Last season, the closers found holes in all but two of my balloons, and sold me new ones for fifteen bucks a apiece. I needed ten. Cha-ching! This season, since I did it all myself, they all miraculously survived the winter--and I bought a stock-pile of them for 2.50 apiece. I blew the water out of my pipes with a Sears shop-vac.

I swear, it was easy. It goes to show how helpless the average person is when it comes to taking care of himself. What would we do if suddenly we had to go it alone?

You may also remember a certain toilet installation that went wrong for me. I replaced the last toilet in our house over this last weekend (busy weekend, yes). I had similar difficulties, but at least this time I knew to turn the water off first. I got out the soldering equipment and made quick work of it. Live and learn. I don't need no stinkin' plumber or a pool guy.

Or a tutor if things progress like they are. My oldest son is learning to read. I've read him three stories a night almost every night since he was old enough to control the muscles in his neck. Last night I picked out a stack of easy readers at the library and had him read to me. He did stunningly well. And what's more, he totally enjoyed it. Far from being frustrated and giving up, he worked through the harder words and celebrated his successes. He read to me and my younger son, then turned the light on over his bed and read another one to himself. Later, his mother was laying next to him in bed while he read to her.

If you are a parent, you just know what I mean. A picture in time, the two of them together; him with that grim look of determination, her with an adoring, encouraging smile, and me in the doorway peeking in, thinking that I must have done something right in this life to deserve this.

Last, and second only to the latter, I am working on an outline for my novel concept. It is growing and really working itself out. I know that getting published is a hard thing to do, but have you read some of the popular fiction out there today? I picked up a copy of Stephen Frey's The Power Broker, and am amazed at how badly written it is. And his book was displayed like the holy grail at Barnes and Noble. He says things like (I'm paraphrasing), "Things were bad, but they were just about to get a whole lot worse." I almost threw up on that one. Mine is a library copy, but I'm thinking of buying it so I can mark it up and bring it to my writing class. It's not all bad, but lines like that one, that tack 12 on the cheese-richter scale, should be encouraging to aspiring (forgive the term, but I think its appropriate Bernita!) writers. If this shite makes it through...

My story has heft. All I need to do is write it (thanks Dixie!) and rub out any passages like the aforementioned, refine and add some spice.

Mark my words. I will sell this one. A friend of mine used to say, if you want to be a winner, you have to think like a winner.


Kathleen said...

Oooh, I saw a book recently, somewhere, called "How to Get Published." or something like that. I thought of you, but was too lame to bookmark it. Want me to try and find it for you?

I'm so impressed with your novel intention. You go, guy!

Bernita said...

Use whatever word you like, Scott...that's just a personal hate of mine, something along the lines of your title and your friend's quote...
I read a novel ( about # 19 for that particular author) this week past too, that made me seriously yearn for a red pen.
I hope your passion is not smothered, because I think you have the gift.

Toni Anderson said...

Scott-well done on the loo and the pool :) A star!!

I keep promoting this woman, Margie Lawson (her link is on my site). She gives the best writing courses I have even taken. All about writing fresh, empowering character emotions. She is absolutely wonderful. You don't need to be a member of most writing groups to take the online courses, you just need to pay an extra $10 generally. Seriously, I can't recommend her enough.

Good luck with your novel.

magnetbabe said...

I'm so glad things are going so well for you. There are few things more satisfying than doing something yourself that would have cost you a fortune to have someone else do. I imagine the only things better are getting published and watching your kids learn to read ;) I hope you won't keep us in the dark about your novel, you are so creative and I love hearing your ideas watching them take shape. Enjoy your time in life's winner's circle!

Moni said...

Good job, you've learned well grasshopper. lol I'll be the first in line when your novel hits the bookstores. :)

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

The worst book I ever read for cheese factor had to be 'Rock Star' by Jackie Collins.


Characters so cliched that if you ordered them to right-turn, you couldn't see anymore. The most careless of namedrops to imply a knowledge of subject matter.

The ending was so saccharine I was almost sick reading it.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree on the self-help front. We all could use a few more skills and knowledge. Plus, we tend do it better, because it's our stuff and we care more about doing it right.

Sounds like the novel is going great!

Moni said...

Whew! You're still here. I tried to see your blog at different points during the day yesterday and it wouldn't come up. I'm hap, hap, happy to see you're still here. ;)

Shesawriter said...

You've got the perfect attitude Scott. Think positive. As a man thinks, so he is. Good luck with your book. Oh, and I'm glad the nail grew back. :-)

Miranda said...

*Clap* Everything sounds wonderful, Scott! Reading with your son, especially! Congratulations to him! I'm glad the nail grew back. *shudder* That sounds awful. Good luck with your novel. I know you'll do well!

Dixie Belle said...

Glad to know you are working on the novel. You've got the right attitude!!!

Jada's Gigi said...

Busy weekend for you..:) I know what you mena about a lot of fiction out there being full of crap...:) I think that only the first one has to be really good...the others sell just on name get one good one together and you're set..:)

Beth said...

Scott, I was engrossed in your pool story. I didn't realize the upkeep, but want one badly. Balloons weighing it down? Wow, I had no idea of any of it. I still want one, but will definitely do it myself as well. Hubby and I are die-hard do-it-your-selfers. =)

Happy muses to you!

Janie said...

Sounds like you are on the right path to me. Good work--ON EVERYTHING! It's amazing how, if we try, we can do most things ourselves. We just need confidence and the willingness to muck it up and learn.

Great to hear about the reading. That's something precious.

Now I've got to go out and plant some flowers before the cold front comes through.