Try It, You’ll Like It

By most standards, I would be considered a picky eater. It’s not because of my diabetic dietary restrictions or discriminating palate, no. I think I’m a picky eater because as I was growing up, I was afraid to try new foods. My parents tried. I’ll give them credit for that. But most of the time I didn’t respond to their tactics of bribery, coercion, or punishment. I simply didn’t want to try things that didn’t look or smell good, so I didn’t. 

I remember the first time I tried a salad with Thousand Island dressing (the gateway dressing). I was sixteen. Now that I’m an adult, I quite enjoy salad. And get this…I can name about six types of dressing that I like too! That is progress, I tell you. I don’t know what I was waiting for. Salad is good. I should have tried it long before I was sixteen.

I started thinking about this recently when I discovered, much to my total amazement, that I like soccer. My son is a huge soccer fan. He has never played the sport, but he follows European league football with fanboy gusto! He eats, sleeps and breathes around it. He’s constantly talking about it and I, like a good mother, try to pay attention and participate in these conversations because it’s important to him. But if I were asked, I would have said, “Soccer? Eh.”

When the FIFA World Cup began, I happened to be sitting on my couch nursing my ailing neck when my son and husband turned on the game. I couldn’t move from the spot (stupid neck) so I watched the game. And…it was fun. I found myself asking questions about the sport and the teams and the Cup itself. My son was so amused by my sudden interest. (He, thankfully, stopped short of saying “I told you so.”) The next day, I texted him from work to find out the score of the game that was ongoing. He questioned me and I admitted in my next text: Yeah, I sorta kinda like soccer now.”  His reply: AMAZING!

So I’ve watched all of the games I could since that day and I am enjoying them all. 

The moral of the story is this: Try it, you might like it.

Need further proof?

If you’ve ready my recent blog posts about my completed Sci-Fi manuscript that teeters dangerously close to dystopian (the scarlet letter of the publishing industry at the moment), you’ll recall that I have a manuscript that appears to be have a solid concept and good writing. I have been told by a few agents that no matter good it is, it may not sell in this market. 

So what is a writer to do? Perhaps…write another manuscript in a different genre that may stand a better chance in this market.

I was afraid. I didn’t want to try it. I thought I could never be any good at writing a realistic (read: non-dystopian) story.

But I tried it.

And I liked it. 

I’m not putting EVERGREEN on the shelf. I will still continue to query it because I know in my heart it’s a good story.  But this new project has a totally different voice and feel to it and I am finding it rewarding to stretch my brain in a different way. It’s a contemporary story (with a Sci-Fi spin) with regular characters who don’t have a big world-changing destinies or global cataclysmic events to deal with.  I’m starting to fall in love with my characters and that, for me, is a sign that I’m going in the right direction.

So, my advice to you writers (or potential soccer fans) is to try it, you might like it. You may be surprised at how quickly you latch on to a new idea and where that idea can take you, When I finish this manuscript, I’ll have two things for agents to consider, creating better odds for offers. 

Pain in the Neck

I haven’t been able to blog in a few weeks due to a literal pain in my neck. Apparently a few of the vertebrae in my neck are fused together with bone. No biggie, right? This disc problem has reared its ugly head a few times in the past 5 years or so. A couple years ago I suffered through severe neck pain coupled with numb fingers. Try typing with numb fingers. It ain’t easy. This time though, I’m fortunate. I have full feeling in my extremities. However, this pain in my neck that radiates through to my shoulders is starting to be a real bother.

At the urging of several friends, I have finally given in and started seeing a chiropractor. This was not an easy thing for me to do. I was terrified of going to the chiropractor. In my head, all I could see was the image of a guy sneaking up behind someone, reaching around his neck in an almost loving-looking embrace, then snap, crack, thud. Broken neck.  

That is what I thought it would be like at the chiropractor.

Turns out, that it wasn’t. It was close, but I’m still breathing and my neck is firmly intact.

The chiropractor has told me that I need to visit 3 times per week for the month of June. She thinks she can get me some relief from the pain. I’ve been a few times and I can already feel the difference. I feel hopeful that I am on the mend. Not only that, but I am certain I will come away from this with some exercises and tips to prevent this from getting this bad again in the future.

As I was going to sleep last night (on my new chiropractic pillow!) I couldn’t help but draw a comparison between the chiropractor and the revision.

Saturday I met with my critique group. I came away with that meeting with many insights and helpful suggestions. I discovered I was using a couple words that they weren’t quite sure of the meaning. I also had rewritten a scene from a different angle that caused some questions for them. As we talked through it, I realized my original angle was the best choice for the scene and will make it more powerful. (Perhaps this is a lesson on following your instincts?)

The thought of revising (again) does not strike my heart with joy and gladness. In fact, most of the time I’d call revision a real “pain in the neck.” But right now I’m anxious to get back into and apply their suggestions and start to rework things. What they told me is spot on. It will improve my story.

Kind of like the chiropractor — I need a few adjustments on my neck; my story needs a few adjustments to make it the best it can be too.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll take my laptop and adjust my neck and my story at the same time.