Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Word Games

I love word games. Maybe it's because I'm a reader and writer--maybe not. Despite the fact I'm both a reader and writer, my pronunciation, spelling, and speaking skills don't always shine. I think that's why I'm also a mime. That's me, I suppose, a pile of paradoxes. Anyway, back to the word games. Here are some that I like:
*Scrabble: we own the deluxe turntable one. I'm not always in the mood for a long word game but when I am this is the one of choice.
*Syzygy: (Isn't that a great word? Look it up in a good dictionary, or check online) This game is like Scrabble in that you're making a crossword puzzle. But for this game, the players are each racing to create a crossword in front of them. Here's the website: (tell them I sent you, maybe they'll give me credit and I can start giving the game as wedding gifts)
*Scattergories: (what is it with all the "S" names?) We play both the junior and the regular editions. Oh, that timer makes me jump every time.
*Boggle: Hints & Tips that have worked for me: +write as many of the small words as you can and as fast as you can. Quantity might win you the round. +If you find the word "tea," see if you can also get "ate" and "eat." +When you find a small word, look for consonants to go in front; for instance, from oat, you might also get boat, goat, bloat, float, etc.) +Notice letters that are blends: th, st, tr, kn, str, sp, spr, etc. and look for words using them. +Make the plural, too. If there's an "s", check each word as you write it down to see if you can create the plural form. +Write down words that MIGHT be real. Okay, you're not sure if it's in the dictionary. So? Write it down. First of all, it saves time if another player writes it, too--you don't have to look it up in the dictionary. Second, it just might be in the dictionary and you'll get points. Yay!
*Oh, Scrud: There's not too many of us who have this game because it was my father-in-law's cousin (?) who created it. My FIL gave us one a long while ago. It's a word card game similar to gin but you make words for your sets. I think the game Quiddler is similar.

Stop reading. Go play.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mrs. Claus

I figure since this blog is supposed to include musings of a performer, I should write about that.

On Dec. 13th, I got to play Mrs. Claus next to my husband's Santa--he makes such a good one. I have such fun being Mrs. Claus because I get to be nice to everyone. My usual self is to get exasperated with situations (and, I confess, people--sorry, I'm trying to overcome impatience right now!) So, anyway, I get to be everyone's favorite "grandma" and they treat me ever so nice, too. It really is fun.

At this particular gig, there were lots of adults I knew. So I went around saying, "hello, dear" and giving hugs. When the children came to sit in Santa's lap with me next to him, a 10 year old girl I knew from an after-school drama class came up. She was so surprised that we knew what school she attended and that she liked drama. She did finally realize who I was. She was impressed with my acting ability :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holidays--and Middle of the Night--the Perfect Time for Writing?

Because of the holidays--and a note from an editor requesting holiday stories--I've been thinking stories. But what to write about--elves that don't fit in? reindeer that don't fit in? misfit toys? Wait a minute, that's a movie called "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer." So that's a no-go. A Santa story? Let me think, a holiday story about Santa... hm...probably it's been done once or twice. So I've been putting off writing any holiday stories. I had to think about it more. Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), I went to bed early the other day because I was so exhausted. I woke up, really woke up, wide-awake type thing at 10 p.m. Too soon to get up and stay up. If only it had been 2 or 3 a.m. I could have justified getting out of bed. But I lie there, telling myself firmly to get back to sleep. It didn't work. I figured since I was awake but trying to get back to sleep, I could at least figure out a character and a conflict for a holiday story. It came to me and I went back to sleep!

This morning I typed it up, along with another idea that came to me. Yay! I'll take them to my writer's critique group next week, let them rip up the stories, edit and re-write, and submit it.

I would love to reveal the title and such of the story, but that will have to wait a couple of years, while I try to sell it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Completed a Non-Fiction, 20,000 Word Book

I did it! The thrill of completing a book of that size is almost overwhelming. Let's see, I posted on Facebook. I emailed my writer's group. Now I'm blogging about it. Tomorrow, I'll get out my list and start calling people. Oh, it is tomorrow already. I better wait a while.
I'm used to writing picture book stories of 300-1500 words and scripts of 30-40 pages. But a book of 79 pages and 20,000 words is a feat for me.
I started writing Center Stage: Helping Your Kids Succeed in Life Through Easy Theater Activities in January 2008 after hearing a speech by Henry Winkler. I always meant to write the book; it had been in the back of my mind for a long time. But it finally got on paper when I heard Mr. Winkler's remarks. It finally got printed out in...well, I don't know. I think it was May. It finally got handed off to my writer friends, who very promptly made red marks on it and handed it back. It finally got edited by me. Now it's off to more editors. Then I suppose I'll have to go through it again and clean it up even more.
But I'm still thrilled. I love it when I manage to accomplish something that wasn't exactly easy, that took time and effort--and I did it anyway. I'm one of those people who like projects that take a day or two of intense concentration to complete. I usually write my scripts during an all-nighter because I like to get the project done. I can sew but I hesitate to start a project because I'll want to spend HOURS on it so it can be complete before I move on to the next project. Puzzles can have no more than 1000 pieces and they can't be those stupid drive-you-crazy-because-all-the-pieces-are-shaped-the-same type because I have to be able to finish it quickly or the rest of my duties will be neglected for too long. I've tried crochet--I still intend on returning to my squares; I mean, really, what could be so difficult about squares? Maybe it's because there are 60-something of them. I've cross stitched using some gorgeous patterns but I still have the one I really want sitting in my projects bag. It didn't get done in a day and now I've moved on.
This book is different. It got finished. Good. One unfinished project is now complete. I can cross it off my list and go to bed...except I have a few things I should get done first since I've neglected some tasks all day. Nah.
I'll go read A Christmas Carol.
Side note: my eyes hurt. I still have my contacts in. I can't see the screen well.There are probably quite a few errors in the above piece. Just fix the errors mentally. Maybe later I'll edit this page. (but don't hold your breath)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I just spent two hours creating the look for my blog. Do I have two hours to give? That would be a "no." I'll have to figure out how to catch up on those two hours. Less sleep perhaps. I wish I could be more efficient instead.

The Phantom Tollbooth

I first read the Phantom Tollbooth with my mother when I was about 11 or 12. We read it aloud to each other. I've always had a copy with me since then, even when I went to college. My roommate (and good friend) and I read it out loud together. Even then there was one thing in the book that I had missed all these years and she pointed it out. It was a no-duh but for some reason I didn't get it until then.

When my kids were old enough, I read it aloud to them. I just finished reading it out loud to our last child at home. She's 12. We enjoyed it.

I loaned my worn copy to a good friend. The copy had a rubberband around it to hold the pages together. Finally, even I had to admit it was time for a new copy. I got the new copy but it was smaller (in size; it wasn't condensed) and it was hard to read the map so I tore the map out of my older book and tossed the rest. Now I have the smaller copy with a loose map stuck in it but I've decided I need to get a better copy, maybe a hardbound. I prefer paperback because I like to READ my books, enjoy them, use them. Which means, I bend back the pages, I dog-ear the corners, and sometimes I write in it. I don't feel guilty about it if it's a paperback. I think books should be comfortable. It's hard to be comfortable reading them when you have to be careful so it always stays pristine.