Monday, August 17, 2015

Calling All the Nerds


It turns out, I have a job. (Did you know that? I didn't, until about a month ago.)

I half-way figured it out back in May, after listening to this Hope*ologie podcast. It was revolutionary, like someone had called me up on stage and handed me myself, with a bouquet of roses. Yes! I have a job! This is who I am! This is what I do!

But summer vacation came along, and I forgot again. (In our defense, we were busy.)



I didn't realize it until I was out at dinner one evening with my book club ladies. We started talking about keeping our houses clean (or not.) Both full-time working women, the other two dished on how they make it work (a cleaning lady, a slight touch of OCD, etc...) I panicked when it was my turn to weigh in. "My house is hardly ever clean, and I don't even work!"

Those were the actual words that my actual mouth said.

My little kids still can't grasp that I work. My big kids call a couple times a week and say things like, "What are you doing tomorrow?" or "Are you busy today?" and 99% of the time I say, "Uh...I'm working." I honestly don't think they believe me. Then, when it's my turn to own that truth, I bail out. Makes no sense.

 
 

My reality is that the manuscript for my first book is due in a little over a month. I've put myself on home detention (it worked for Robert. And Ruby) and every day is now an exercise in falling face-first onto the grindstone and spilling my guts on a Word document.

When I can't write another sentence, or when I'm in so deep that the words start to lose their meaning and shape and I sound like I lack a basic understanding of both the English language and common sense, I do things like bake a peach pie (I finally executed a delicious pie crust. (It tasted better than it looks.)), clean out a closet, or read.
 
 
And read.

And read.

It turns out all those years I spent lolling about as a pre-teen, reading every single teen romance our public library had, they meant something, man. I'm a big, ol' reading geek. Best kind there is, if you ask me. And I feel like you might be one, too. I can sense it from here.

I especially read a lot over the summer, while I was unable to write, on account of all the people underfoot. Reading and thinking. That was how I clocked my hours. Both kept the beast at bay, limber and ready until I could give her some attention. (Yes, my writing beast is a she. Duh.) 

This week, I'm taking time to acknowledge some of what I've read, and how it's shaped me, along with a few books I cannot wait to start.

Get your notebook ready, because you're guaranteed to end up with a few new titles for your list. Trust me on this. In turn, I hope you'll pass along all your good bookish dirt.

In a perfect world, I could have you over for a slice of pie and we could talk nerdy to each other in a face-to-face sort of way, but we'll just have to make the most of this little internet living room we've built together. It's not nothing.

You'ns are my people forever, you know.

Luv,
Shannan

PS - Full disclosure, because I'm all about it:


I have a catastrophic literary situation on my hands, along with a mid-grade thrift-store linens condition, both of which are exacerbated by a small-house reality. But at least this is proof that I sometimes wash the sheets.

Let's forget I even showed you this.
Go in peace.

*Most pics courtesy of CMB.

21 comments:

  1. I can't wait for this! Love some good book recommendations.

    Also, your books-on-nightstand picture is as if you took a picture of my own. You start by thinking, "Oh I'll just put these underneath the nightstand to get them out of the way." And then you say, "Oh I'll probably read this one next, so I'll stack it underneath my current reads." And then BAM. Catastrophy/your own personal library/Hoarders: Book Edition episode. I feel you, girl.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See? You guys get me! This is why we're friends/enablers! :)

      Delete
  2. This is a conversation I have had this summer myself! I DO get to stay home, but I also have a job...a God given job. This summer I began writing a discipleship curriculum that I will be leading 7 ladies through during the upcoming year. I HAD to set "hours" and stick to them. I'm so glad I did because when we moved I "lost" about 5 weeks and would have been severely behind. But, we start this Thursday and we'll be ready because I did buckle down. Can't wait to see your book list.

    I think...though I am not sure .... I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had read "Picking Cotton" and it was a powerful memoir! Your kinda book, I think!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, that sounds like a good read.

      And girl, look at you writing a curriculum! Just hearing you talk about the way you make your life work is good encouragement for me to stay buckled down. Thank you and GET BACK TO WORK!

      :)

      Delete
  3. All mommas work. Period. My house is so cluttered right now I am ashamed. I am sitting here at my desk working...ahem...replying to your blog, thinking, "After supper tonight, I will fold/hang all those clothes piled up on the love seat." But I know I'll be exhausted and likely give myself an excuse. Full disclosure...we all do our own laundry in my house. Mine are the only ones piled on the love seat...sigh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen to all moms working! Totally yes.
      And I loathe putting clothes away, but I'd totally do you a solid if I lived closer. :)

      Delete
  4. I want to know all about your writing. How do you go about it--do you really just open a word doc and take on where you left off? Do you save it by chapters or what? Does someone edit it for you as you go?
    Your pie looks good.
    I just finished Unbroken by Laura hillenbrand. Oh man, it was so worth the late hours of crunching to finish it before the library demanded it back. Before that was a book by Ruth Reichl, a food critic. I think the name was Garlic and Sapphires. You would love it, she talks about foie gras every other page and the characters she dressed up as to go out to eat so no one would recognize her. I am putting more Ruth Reichl on my To Read list.
    Also finished a loong bio on Tove Jansson, an obscure Finnish (?) cartoonist.
    And I tried to read some David sedaris essays.he is hilarious but I'm too prudish or something. Darn. I feel like I've let you in on all my secrets. Looking forward to your book list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I'm working off of my proposal, which is a pretty detailed outline of the book. So that helps. Other than that, I have no good system. I have each chapter in a separate doc. And I'm constantly making notes in my phone and on (very) random scraps of paper throughout the day, both for whatever chapter I'm working on and the ones to come. My fear is that I'll hand it all in and then find a stash of my best , long-lost notes! :)

      I tried a Reichl book once but couldn't get into it. She kept talking about BAD food! Ack. But you, Jen Hatmaker, and my friend Kim all love her. So I probably ought to try again.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I understand your feelings about note scraps! Story of my life.
      I wouldn't say by any means that Ruth Reichl is the best author ever (she is a bit stiff) but I liked this one book I read. I learned that though I think I am a foodie, I really am not--I eat hot dogs, for Pete's sake. (Yet I am becoming snobbier about it, give me Hebrew natl or give me death)

      Delete
  5. Thank you so much for sharing that last picture. I sometimes feel like I'm the only person in blog-world with piles! I have a book issue as well. Teetering stacks on my bedside.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I've always been a piler, but at this house, there's just no hiding them. :/

      Delete
  6. okay, i can't wait until you ask to share the latest book i'm ga-ga over. it has a great title: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrick Backman. it's the story of a "different" (like the girl in Counting by 7s) seven-year-old girl growing up in England. her grandmother is her best friend and has introduced her to an amazing world through her fairy tales. then her grandmother dies and leaves her a series of letters to give to people. through these people, she learns to make sense of the stories her grandmother told and come to terms with her loss. it's just.so.brilliant!! it's a slow starter, but it's worth persisting.

    i recommend Ruth Reichl too. her novel, Delicious!, is so fantastically charming.

    can't wait to hear what you'll share!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I can't wait to see your list! And it looks like me bedside table, ahem, area, has a friend! There are always at least ten books piled around my table. Nerds need options!

    ReplyDelete
  8. As a child, I, too, read all summer long. When my brothers and I were locked out of the house so mama could get some work done, I took my books and hid in the shade and read. When I was really young I got chapter books in the mail and would read the entire book before bedtime. My mom would hide one of the books to give to me later. :-) I would check out my limit at the library and finish them before it was time to return them. I would read every book in the Readers ' Digest Condensed volume whether I liked the book or not. (Do you even know what that is?) Now I have to be careful about starting a book because I would rather read than eat, sleep or clean house.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Shannan,
    I am excited for your new book, and can't wait to see your list of book recommendations! Trips to the library, resulting in tall stacks of books, were an important part of my youth. I always look forward to reading your posts! Some make me smile, and some make me cry. Thanks for keeping it real!! I follow jailchap on IG, as well as you, and love seeing your family from his perspective.
    SelahMel

    ReplyDelete
  10. I feel you on working! I am freelance designing/blogging/full time momma-ing this summer and our house is a mess. I told my husband "hang in there 1 more week!" this morning. can't wait to hear more about your book!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm a reader!! I'm a mom to an 8th grader and an 11th grader. It's kind of a lot of work!!! I also substitute teach up to 3 days a week. I always have a book. Stuff gets done when it needs to be done....between chapters.

    ReplyDelete
  12. the tables next to our beds . . . ThAtS what should be everywhere on Instagram! would make me feel better :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm finally subscribed to hope*ologie!! That was a great episode, thanks for sharing it, along with your thoughts. Would you mind sharing your other favorite "must listen to" podcasts? What am missing? Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete