Monday, August 29, 2011

Almost Dear John Letter To my Work-In-Progress

Dear W.I.P.,
I’m writing today to express my heartfelt apologies to you, my work-in-progress, Djinni. The beginning of our relationship started off rocky. I was at war with your protagonist. At the time, I feared we would never move past our differences to find a balance of mutual respect. However, with much effort we formed a bond, and we seemed to be heading into a mutually beneficial direction.

Now four months later, I realize that we haven’t been able to take our relationship to the next level. We have gotten stuck in the “friend zone” and have been unable to form a deeper union of—exclusivity.

While I feel you have many characters which I admire and respect. I feel our bond isn’t as strong as it should be given the amount of time we’ve spent together. This I fear is my fault. I know it is a cliché to say, “It’s not you, it’s me,” but it is the truth. You are wonderful, dynamic, and possibly one of the best stories I’ve ever written.

Yet for all your wonderful attributes, I find I am unable to commit my heart and soul to just one manuscript at this time. To quote Sookie Stackhouse in Trueblood, “I love you both.”

For now I must be selfish and share my thoughts between you and your sibling work-in- progress, Hound of Annwyn. Who is in need of tender loving revision. I’m sorry I’m taking time away from you when you need me most. Please forgive me.

Your loving author,

Angie Sandro

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Novel Writing- Inspiration from my Family History

I once had a conversation with the amazing Mindy McGinnis, also affectionately known as BBC, regarding where we draw our inspiration. I was thrilled to find another genealogy enthusiast. See, the thing with genealogy is most people don’t find it inspiring—at all. More like the opposite. Dry and dusty. Boring. Too much work. Who cares about someone who’s dead?

Yeah, that’s how some of the family members I contacted for their family trees responded. Others didn’t bother responding at all. A small percentage—the cool ones in my opinion—are just as enthusiastic as I am, and they pulled out their family scrapbooks for me.

It takes a special (slightly obsessive) mind to enjoy the research involved in finding those hidden family stories. It’s like an Easter egg hunt. You never know if the eggs are gonna be rotten and stinky. But other times, the stories are beautiful and amazing, like my ggg grandfather who saved a drowning boy. The story of Uncle Alonzo who was interviewed by the newspaper at the age of 102 yrs, and he told how his family traveled from Illinois to Kansas by wagon train in 1880.

Talk about inspirational. When I thought up the plot for my manuscript, Juju’s Child, I'd been researching my father’s side of the family tree. My Louisiana Creole roots branched out quite a bit. I soaked up the culture and history, and included it in this this story. My ancestors spoke to me (I'm not crazy, talking to spirits or anything) through their marriage certificates, letters, actions. I'll tell ya, after learning about these amazing people who had the strength to travel across the ocean, to survive slavery, to educate their children—well, I how can I complain about my life. How can I not follow my dreams. It would be a betrayal of their pain and hardship. Of their love and hope for a better future for their descendants.

If you’re interested in learning more about genealogy, and how clueless I was when I started (yeah, it’s pretty funny in hindsight. Not so much at the time), please check out my Family History Blog. It you begin reading at the first post it chronicles my research journey. In the beginning, I was so stuck. Now have over 4,000 members on my family tree. I discovered my ancestors came from all over the world: America (Nansamond tribe), Cameroon, England, France, Italy, Germany, and Portugal (to name a few). Cool, huh!

I also have links to genealogy help websites. If you have any questions on how to start researching your own family trees, leave a comment, and I’ll be glad to help.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Year of Fun- August

Wow, summer is over.

My kids started school on Wednesday. I took my oldest to her first day of junior high. It took all my strength to let her climb out of the car by herself and watch her walk through the front doors. It’s the first time in her life that I didn’t walk her to her class on the first day, meet her teacher, and hang around watching her settle in through the window like a neurotic mommy. She’s my baby girl, and she’s growing up.

I almost made home before I started to cry. I was pretty proud of myself for holding it in. Plus the roads were full of other balling mommies also dropping their kids off. Not a safe driving environment. I almost took out a biker who kind of weaved into my lane. Normally, I’d be upset, but I understood how the woman felt. Been there.

For the next four hours, I ate a lot. I’m talking half a bag of sour cream and onion chips, two bowls of cereal, half a pack of beef jerky. I read a book, then bought another one (this time I made sure it had a substantial word count to tide me over) and glanced at the clock every ten minutes.

I arrived at her school fifteen minutes early.

When my daughter walked down the sidewalk and saw me waiting, she gave me a huge smile, waved, then yelled across the busy road, “OMG, Mama, ITWASSOGREAT!” 

At that precious moment, I let out all the air I’d been holding because I knew--my baby’s no longer a baby, but a tween. Help…

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