Monday, October 29, 2007

NaNoWriMo Anyone?

If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, you haven’t been in the writing business for long. (Not that everyone who is in the ‘writing business’ is actually in the ‘publishing business’—me for example—but that’s another story.) November is National Novel Writing Month and somewhere around 80,000 people are expected to take part. My friend Darvell Hunt introduced our writing group to this a few years back, after he participated, and I’ve been making an effort to do something on it every year since then.

The idea behind the challenge is to write at least 50,000 words on a story in one month. So many people have a story idea, but then never get around to doing anything about it, and those that do start writing often never finish. (I didn’t say it had to be the next best seller—just write the dang thing). If you go to www.NaNoWriMo.com, you can sign up and learn more about it.

My first novel written this way was a romantic suspense which has undergone several revisions, and which I’m thinking is still salvageable—but not my highest priority at the time. I am rather pleased with it in general, though, as it was my first suspense novel and has some pretty good bones.

The next year I worked on bits of several novels, as I couldn’t pin myself down to just one. That’s not exactly the idea, I know, but there you go. Then last year I got part way through the month working on my story, and we all but had a house fall in our laps. Figuratively, that is. That was the end of my writing for the month as I spent the following month cleaning, packing, painting and moving.

This year I’m trying to be more realistic. Or not.

The trouble is November is insanely busy, but then, any month you picked out could be considered insanely busy by someone. And to top it off, I have to figure out what to write.

Now, I don’t mean I’m plumb out of ideas—something that could never, ever happen at the rate I come up with them. I’m just searching for the right storyline, the one out of the several dozen I’ve played with a bit that will captivate my imagination and push me to keep going despite the fact that I’ve got four hours of EMT studying to do, three loads of laundry to fold and dinner ingredients sitting crowded in the fridge because I can’t be bothered to cook. And let’s forget the yard work and winterizing that need to be done before the snow flies.

It’s a good thing my husband is an understanding soul.

And that he’s working swing shifts for most of the month.

And that he’s already an EMT running with the local ambulance so he understands the chunk of time this class is taking from my life.

Who needs sleep, anyway?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bells ringing in the middle of the night

Some of you may have read about the big car accident that happened in the middle of the night here in Fillmore. Five college students returning to school after a road trip didn’t quite make it back for school Tuesday morning.

One will never make it back again.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m taking the EMT-Basic course, which is turning out to be quite a bit of fun, even if it is sucking up a good deal of my writing time. I’ve also been running with the local ambulance as a driver, since we’re short-handed right now. At this point I’m mostly playing fetch and carry, since I’m not certified for anything but CPR, but I’m learning a lot on the job by watching everyone else.

That’s why I had my pager on Monday night when my husband (a 911 dispatcher) set it off. I can’t go into any details about the accident except to say I wouldn’t have known it was a car if I hadn’t seen the wheel attached to the corner sticking up in the air. Also, the two worst-injured patients were not wearing their seat belts and were ejected. The one that was wearing a seat belt, but was reclined (at least, we think it was him, things were a bit crazy that night) had pretty serious injuries, but less than the other two, and the two who were sitting upright in their seats with their belts fastened walked away to get help.

There’s a big difference in how badly these passengers were hurt, so please, please everyone, wear your seatbelts. Don’t recline your seat back more than fifteen or twenty degrees, pay attention to the road, and don’t drive drowsy.

Despite the rush of adrenaline that floods my system when the pagers goes off, I’d really rather not be called out to scrape people off the side of the freeway.

But since people will continue to have car accidents, I’m glad I work with a crew of top-notch volunteers who take their jobs seriously. And here’s a prayer that the other four students will recover as quickly as possible, both physically and emotionally.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tagged again

Well, Danyelle tagged me over at FergusonAuthors.com, so I guess you are getting a real treat—two posts in under a month.

My reading I read a variety of things from sci-fi/fantasy to non-fiction to suspense, romance and other things. I’ve also audio read a pretty good variety since my library has a limited number of books on CD.

Total number of books owned

Somewhere in the 500 range, this after we gave away 7 boxes before we moved back to my home town. If I’d had a much bigger budget, and lived in places large enough to hold my books I’m sure I’d have two or three times that many, but instead I’ve been keeping the library busy. I’m about ready to burst my bookshelves at the moment, however, since I’ve been adding at a much faster rate over the past couple of years.

Last book I bought: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. I’ve only gotten a few pages into this on the way back from an ambulance transfer and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. My sister said it was really good, so I’ll push on a little further at least.

Last book I read

Probably Masquerade by Sierra St. James aka Janette Rawliston. Hilarious book, by the way. I love the way Janette writes and had to buy this one after reading What the Doctor Ordered last year—which my book club loved, even the one who isn’t LDS.

If you read my previous post you know I’m currently slogging through an EMT manual, so I won’t be doing a huge amount of recreational reading for the foreseeable future.

Five meaningful books

This is a hard one because I try and stay away from meaningful books. Meaningful books require you to think, and thinking is way overrated.

1) The Book of Mormon would have to be number one. It can change your life if you let it, and I noticed a big difference in my life when I study it regularly compared to times when I don’t read much at all.

I really love 2) Sheri Dew’s No Doubt About It and 3) Chieko Okazaki’s Being Enough, and always pull them out anytime I have to give a talk in sacrament meeting.

4) Dr. Suess’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go is also on my top list. I think as a society we forget that we have huge opportunities available to us, horizons we never considered and we just have to set our sights and start the journey. Most of the time the only thing holding us back is ourselves.

5) And on that note, I recently bought (I can’t believe I forgot to mention it earlier) Max Lucado’s You are Special. If anyone hasn’t seen this book yet, you have to get a hold of a copy. It’s a children’s picture book, but not only does it have incredible drawings, but the message that we don’t need validation from the people around us, that we don’t need to be better than anyone else to be loved and special to the one who created us is something I think everyone needs to remember. We are special simply because Heaven Father made us and we don’t need more validation than that as long as we are doing our best.

I’m tagging Darvell Hunt because he’s never changed my blog address listed on the LDSWriter’sBlogck blog to my new one. (I’m not sure what happened, but Blogspot doesn’t recognize *any* of my e-mail addresses, so I haven’t been able to delete the old blog). All right, so I probably would have tagged him anyway.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Up to my Cricoid Cartilage in Reading

Lateral, bilateral, mid-axillery, proximal, palmar . . . . I’m starting to think my head might explode before I get through chapter four of my EMT manual, and the first class hasn’t been held yet. On the other hand, I have a great 1000-something page reference book on injuries, body parts and physiological issues. And by the end of this course I’ll be able to hold the kind of coded conversations only medical people understand. “He has bilateral crackling in the lungs, get the BMV stat and get pumping. The AED shows an SpO2 of 93% and falling and he has serious bradycardia. Do we have a systolic yet?”

Did anyone understand that? I only did because I looked up bradycardia and have now spent hours reading my text for this week’s beginning class. I can’t remember what crackling sounds in the lungs indicate, I’ll have to ask my instructor tomorrow, but I know it’s not good. Otherwise we’ve got someone with a weak pulse, need a blood pressure and because they are having trouble getting oxygen into their lungs they need help breathing. *Whew* only 700-some-odd pages left to go. It’s a good thing I’ll have instructors to translate all the mumbo jumbo into words I’ll understand, not to mention the hours I’ll spend practicing taking blood pressures and pulses.

I’m just as happy to pass on giving IVs for now. Thanks.

In other news, my flock of roosters is about to take a significant drop in numbers. If all goes as planned by this time tomorrow I will not only be in EMT training, but my 24 birds will be down to 3 hens, 1 rooster and 4-maybe-their-hens-maybe-their-roosters-we’ll-wait-and-see. Don’t worry, I won’t go into gory details here. I’m not sure I’ll ever cull my flock in this manner again, but millions of people around the world hunt every year, right, so it can’t be that horrible.

At least Evil Lester will stop picking on me.

PS the cricoid cartilage is located in the larynx (tube between the mouth and the lungs).