A friend of mine on Facebook posted something the other day -- "If life gets you down, remember you're already a winner: You were the fastest sperm!"
I rather hope that was not my last significant achievement. There are days, however ...
So, in the past week I have:
-- Written 32 pages of my novel.
-- Edited another chunk of my dad's magnum opus.
-- Read several pages of an extant, published novel without passing out in exhaustion three sentences in at every attempt.
-- Filled out a mulch path that will allow me to get the riding mower from the back yard to the way-back yard.
-- Lost my son to a bevy of high school girls.
My book is going apace, though I find myself more than occasionally disheartened in the process. I think I'm almost ready to cobble together an outline and send it to someone. (Define ambition: a four-book arc. That's a big outline.) The bigger question is if anyone wants to read it. We read a piece of it to the kid last night and the content may be too old for him. This makes me a little sad and leads me to wonder if I'm doing it wrong, since he's reading at a pretty advanced level. (Of course, it is also possible I picked a bad time and he just really, really wanted to get back to his computer games.) I've loaned it out to NeighborGirl and I'm waiting to hear back on her assessment. Sigh.
I'm reading my dad's book. The content is interesting, the rewriting is kind of satisfying, and I think he'll find a publisher for it. But (she said, in her best Eeyore voice,) in a way that will be even more demoralizing because I have to believe that there's a bigger market for mutant teenagers with extreme daddy issues than there is for a fairly dry and factual biography of a corrupt robber baron dead and gone lo these many years.
At NeighborGirl's suggestion, I'm also reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It's slow going, and again, if a "thriller" leaning this heavily on Swedish financial history can be a megamovie, why am I so certain my stuff won't win the lottery?
As a means of purging my angst, I spent a lot of the weekend hacking up tree branches and creating new paths around the property. The tally at this point is as follows:
Top flowerbeds: Gone, with weed killer sprayed in the rocks that are supposedly serving as a way to maintain functionality of the drain under the driveway.
Front flowerbed: Probably 3/4 done. Many rock-lined mulch paths to cut down on weeding; a few more plants need to be stuffed in holes, and I want a patio. I do not want to dig a 4-inch-deep and 12-foot-wide hole to make a patio. I want to pay someone to make my patio. I get tired thinking about the patio.
Side yards: In excellent shape, due in large part to me putting my boot on the kid's neck and making him pull weeds.
Back yard: Path from bridge to steps has had rocks added to it that look quite nice. Path from deck through springtime swampy area to driveway has been widened and edged with tree limbs to replace the rocks I repurposed for the flower bed. It all actually looks sort of planned and classy, not all white-trash junk-yard castoffs and 'well, I had some crap lying around and threw it over here instead of over there.'
Way-back yard: Still just a yard, still needs some help around the fences.
Unfortunately, there are also several dead trees and one extremely large brush pile to be addressed. I do not want to address these either. (See: patio dilemma.)
But, to end on an up note, last week did have a bit of success to it. Those of you who follow this blog with any sort of regularity know that Harry Potter has been a bit of a thing in our house for the past year or so. The Young Prince was hot to see the movies. I insisted he had to read the books. I kept waiting for him to hit a point where he had no idea what was going on, he couldn't interpret what he was reading, he had no concept of the deeper issues. I think, in all honestly, he did fall short on that last bit, but he followed the plot OK and didn't get alarmed or unduly upset by any of the larger plot points all the way through the end of the seventh book. So as a reward, I agreed to allow him to attend the midnight showing of the last movie.
He was fired up to go in costume. Well, thought I, that should be easy. Surely the big chain stores will be all over that idea and have all the old Harry Potter junk out for sale again.
Hahahaha. Riiight. Maybe two days after the midnight premiere. I tried Walmart. I tried Target. I stuck my nose against the (still too early in the morning to be open) window of Spencer's. Zip. Nada.
I went to Party City, and saw an entire wall of Harry Potter tags. With no merchandise. I asked the guy when the merchandise would be out. His oh-so-helpful answer was, "Later." Hmf. I found another Party City person and asked her if she had graduation gowns or anything of the kind, and when I explained why, she shot a very nasty look in the direction of Later Dude and said, "We've got tons of stuff in the back. Stand right here and I will bring you a costume. For age 8, you said?" God bless Party City Girl. Throw in a pair of John Lennon glasses that I spent 40 minutes working over to pop out the blue lenses, and I was in business.
The YP was appropriately grateful and excited, (though a bit peeved at my assertion that I was dressed up, I was attending as a Muggle,) and we left the house early to get dinner. The crowd we were with included the YP, myself, NeighborGirl, NeighborGirl's roommate from college, and NeighborGirl's friend from grade school, who was decked out in a schoolgirl uniform with a red/gold tie. We arrived at the theater around 8:50. There were already at least 40 people in line. And the YP got a standing ovation when he walked in. He then immediately plopped himself down with the group in front of us in line and proceeded to build himself a whole coterie. I think he would have worked his way up to the dead front of the line if I'd let him. I mean, he had three hours to do it. There was a lot of wand talk involved, and some admiration of Time Turners and Death Eater arm drawings and I don't know what all.
At some later point, he came back to where we were camped out and informed us that You Know Who was in the theater. He seemed to feel a need to do something about this. I asked if he wanted me to take him downstairs and he insisted that no, Gryffindor (NeighborGirl's childhood friend,) needed to go with him. Fortunately, Gryffindor (whose real name is Meagan -- I think? Megan?) was completely on board with this and off they went. I have no idea what transpired, except that when they came back I was told that there are now probably several photos of my kid floating around out there that I will never see. Heh.
After 2.75 hours of this, the theater folks opened the doors to the auditorium. We swarmed in, NeighborGirl chose the seats, and we parked ourselves. I was getting the YP settled and debating with him whether he would sit between me and a stranger or between me and NeighborGirl's roommate, when a chorus went up from behind us: "Young Prince!! You have to sit with us!!" I turned around, and fully six high school girls were looking at him and waving him up to their row. He looked at me. I suppose it is a bad sign that I conceded defeat so easily, but I waved him off. And off he went, with a "Be right there, Bellatrix!" to one of the more outlandishly costumed. I will say that either I got lucky or high school girls have gotten smarter, because he somehow wound up in the seat directly behind mine, as well as in the back row, which meant that I was fully within bounds to stand up and loom over him in the event discipline needed to be enforced without particularly bothering anyone else. (As it turned out, this was largely unnecessary. There was one incident where he dropped his wand and the light-up end blinded someone, but that was an accident.)
I'm pleased to report that aside from all the Event-ness aspect, I did fully enjoy the movie as well, and it was entirely worth the money, lost sleep and crankiness that overtook me the next day. The boy, of course, wisely slept it off and was back on track for morning hours when drama camp resumed the following Monday.
I do hope the boy enjoyed and remembers it. I think he will. I hope he sees it as a stellar event. I rather saw it as the end of the beginning. Or the beginning of the end. I'm still deciding.
This week is a performance of a different sort. The first of his four drama camps wraps up, and he has two bit roles in their production of the Arabian Nights. I look forward to seeing it, and I look forward to seeing him read the book; we picked it up from the library Saturday.
Annd, I've come full circle to wondering who will ever read mine. Lalalala. Off to my own personal salt mine!