Sodaro's Stories

March 28, 2012

Why I hate Brussel Sprouts

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:42 pm
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So…sometimes I fill my plate too full, and by “sometimes” I mean pretty much all the time, as those of you who know me, already have ascertained.
My plate right now, is full to the point of breaking…Part of this is necessity as I need both of my jobs in order to exist and I just renewed my apt lease for another year so perhaps I should stay employed.
Most of my plate is full by choice. I, for example, choose to pursue my PhD in Education AND to pursue my life as an author. I love both of these choices and honestly am going to feel a little lost when the PhD is complete. Some may question the logic of pursuing them both at the same time, but would I really be ME if I had focused on one at a time…come on now.
The problem with having both of these HUGE helpings on my plate simultaneously is that once in a while some Brussel sprouts find their way on to my plate, and the smelly, odd green things cause chaos or panic to ensue.
On Monday, the Brussel sprouts attacked, and I panicked.
I was instantly sure I was not capable of making it as an author nor was I capable of completing my PhD…both of which are ridiculous. First of all, I am not alone in thinking that my stories are wonderful…and my PhD, really…to get this far and then not finish…not a chance.
But with my full plate…yeah, that is why I hate Brussel sprouts.

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March 25, 2012

So…I realize

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 3:59 pm
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I realize I am not always the best company…yesterday was a perfect example…I was out with 3 of my friends and we were trying on Bridesmaid dresses for the upcoming wedding. I found myself wandering around, looking for the types of dresses my characters would wear…thinking about what they would like; what their weddings would be like; who their bridesmaids would be; where their ceremonies would be…etc. After shopping for the dresses, my friends and I went to Joe’s Crab Shack and I tried really hard to stay active in the conversation…but as it often happens, I failed at this attempt to be a normal friend. There were patrons nearby that were not the best parents, which upset me and made me want to mentally escape, added to the fact that I discovered one more in a long list of people I can not trust…anyway..so I mentally left the table and the conversations and went back to play with my Hockey story…Ty and Mac are so amazing…and chapter 15 wrote itself yesterday. My wrist didn’t even ache, which is why I really feel like I was not even involved…much like I realized (and my friends realized) that I was not all that involved in the real life activities.
I also realize that I am on the right path. I have an amazing support system in this path I have chosen. My friends believe in my stories and my being an author, and I am grateful to them every single day. So, if we’re ever out in public, and I mentally drift away some place, please know that I love you and will return shortly. If you would be so kind as to keep the conversation going until I mentally check back in, that would be much appreciated.

March 21, 2012

Bear with me…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:58 pm
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In a recent conversation with someone I completely admire and respect, I learned that the middle of March is 8 1/2 months from the end of the year. Now…stop laughing at me to let me explain why this less than phenomenal realization made it into my blog.
I have been saying for a while now that I would have all of my coursework, residencies, and papers done by the end of 2012. This would put me at ABD (All But Dissertation). This is a very exciting place to be indeed because I then can apply to Universities (with the agreement of completion of said Dissertation in a timely manner…) and don’t fret…I still love teaching where I currently play, shhhhh…it’s all good…but eventually I would like to teach a class or two to education majors. I want to teach future teachers — pass the torch of what I have learned in my time in various classrooms throughout the greater Kansas City area.
So — back on point — I have been making progress, moving steadily toward completion of my goals in a timely manner. Working toward that happily-vague time frame of “end of the year.” Suddenly that time frame became something that is not quite so vague, but rather specific.
I’m good. No reason to panic. It’s all good in the Sodaro hood. I am right on schedule (I think). I am solid (I hope). I’m right on top of that, Rose. I’m there. I’m in the zone (me thinks she doth protest too much???).
Here are my next 8 1/2 months:
March — submit Paper #4 (which is actually KAM V…there is no KAM IV, and those of you who know me best, know what it does to me to not have things in order) — submit Prospectus (game plan) for Dissertation (what the existing research says, what new angle I am going to bring to the table, etc)
April and May — Work on Literature Review (background) for Dissertation, work on Paper #5 (KAM VI)
June-August — Submit KAM VI — Residency #3 — Continue working on Lit Review
Sept-Dec — Residency #4 (virtual) — RSCH 8350 (Final Course)
Easy breezy…right??
Between that, finishing Ten by Ten this month, self-publishing Arianna’s Honor and working on my Hockey story…I should be able to relax and sleep sometime in 2013…or so…
I ask…I beg…I request you to bear with me the next 8 1/2 months. If I don’t make plans; if I get growly; if I have even less of a social life than I have had…please know that I love you and will be back to “normal” shortly.

March 18, 2012

That’s a big 10-4, Universe

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 3:10 pm
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Dear Universe,
I wanted to say thank you, first and foremost, and that I received your message loud and clear…thanks for making it obvious enough that even the likes of me could get the message.
Yesterday, I put a twenty in a slot machine and told myself whatever I got for it would go into my writing bank account and go toward the publication of Arianna’s Honor. The Universe responded with $500 which will cover the publication in its entirety. If I needed another sign that I am headed in the right direction with this whole author’s gig…my friend, Sarah Lockwood, sent me the cover that is almost perfect!!! So, it’s on like Donkey Kong, ladies and gentlemen…I’m about to self-publish my second book. I will stay with iUniverse and keep you posted as it progresses.
I like that the Universe knows me so well as to make BIG signs that even I, as oblivious as I sometimes am, can get the message. As you all know, I don’t usually pay the closest attention to things…if I’m in a writing zone, probably all there is to eat is cereal and maybe some ramen because I haven’t been to the store except for coffee and cat food (I am NOT allowed to let them go hungry).
I seldom pay attention to what the Universe tries to tell me about the men in whom I find interest…
If you ask the wonderfully talented Angie Mundry, I don’t pay enough attention to my hair.
Some people think I don’t pay attention to my wardrobe, and I do agree to a certain extent, but they mean it because my socks don’t match what I wear, I mean it because I just need new clothes. The socks thing is completely intentional…they match each other…and add color to my world.
I have been known to not pay enough attention to bills, but I figure that is what 2nd and 3rd notices are for…AHEM..
I’m paying attention now…I got your message, Universe…no more stalling; face those fears, Michelle Sodaro (the second one is scaring me more than the first book, but I’ve already exposed that particular demon). So, that’s a big 10-4 good buddy, Universe. Thanks.

March 17, 2012

Learning as I go…

Two transcendentalists that I didn’t appreciate as much when I was younger and had to study them, but do more fully appreciate at this phase in my life…each had something to say that really hit a chord with where I am in my life right now.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Henry David Thoreau
I think anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes with me would attest to the fact that not only do I hear a different drummer, but usually that drummer is accompanied by an entire band that only I can hear and that I most definitely dance along with on any given day…and thank you all for letting me step to the beat that I hear. Your unconditional support helps me dance.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Again, I sit here…approaching my 37th birthday…my longest relationship with a man lasting 2 years…no kids and no desire to have kids…instead, I thought it would be a good idea to pursue my PhD in Adult Education and be an author. It would have been so easy…in some ways, and so hard in others, for me to go the other route. I see my friends who are almost all married or close enough to it to count…having children around them that fill their lives with something I will never know…and it amazes me. And I look at my life…at the path I have chosen…and I wonder if my life would have been easier if I had made a different choice. If I had gotten married and had kids, would I still get my PhD? Would I still be an author? There is, of course no way to know…and given the chance to do it over again, I would choose the same path I am currently creating…
The problem with hearing your own drummer and forging your own path, is that you really have to learn as you go…there is no one that you can follow and say, oh…okay first I do this and then I do this. I am pretty much making it up as I go along. How do I balance working on my PhD, teaching (for now), and being an author? How do I make a website that is user-friendly as I am tech-retarded…There is a way to make one with wordpress.org that connects with my beautiful blog here…should be easy breezy…just need to sit down and do it. I have http://www.michellesodaro.com through GoDaddy, but haven’t done anything with it, and after learning through my tech students that GoDaddy originally supported SOPA, I no longer want to do business with them…so I need to rescue my domain from them.
I wouldn’t trade my life for anything…but sometimes, learning as I go is hard to do out here in the forest where I am dancing to my own drummer and forging my own path…but the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, and I have a support system behind me that won’t let me fail…so father down this path I go, pen in hand and a muse, who never stops dancing alongside me.

March 14, 2012

Begone anxiety

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:25 pm
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So on Sunday, while I was enjoying the last day of my self-created Writer’s Retreat, I picked up Arianna’s Honor, to begin the arduous task of editing what will be my second published novel. For any of you who have had the “experience” of my editing your papers let me tell you now…I am kind to all of you — I don’t use red, I make sure to point out the good parts — I take your feelings and hopes and dreams into account (whether or not you realize this — I actually do…).
With my writing, the gloves come off. I don’t hold back. I edit in RED. I tear my words to pieces. I analyze my characters’ thoughts, words, and deeds. I ask myself, on everything, is this something this character would think, say, do??? I worry that my male characters are too colored by my experiences with men — I worry that my female characters are not feminine enough as well. I worry and change words and wake up in the middle of the night because I didn’t get the exact mannerism, speech, etc. This is all part of editing. It is what makes it so difficult to switch between writer and editor.
On Sunday, something kept preventing me from putting on my editor’s hat…I, in fact, was near to full-fledged anxiety attack each time I picked up my draft. Why, you may ask…well, quite simply, and I have said this to countless students; I was getting in my own way.
How long have I said I was going to be an author? That I was going to have it so my stories paid my bills and I could teach because I CHOSE to, not because I needed to (don’t misinterpret that…I love teaching, but if I got paid to stay home and write, I would in an instant). So it occurred to me that if I kept publishing my books, then it was a lot more likely that I would accomplish that goal. And that scared me speechless…and as all of you know, having a person like me be speechless is quite a feat. 😉
One of the best books about writing I have ever read is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (coming in at a very close second is, of course, On Writing by my hero and inspiration, Stephen King). So on Sunday, I took Ms. Lamott’s advice once again. I told myself I needed a stronger opening chapter. I didn’t need to edit ALL 30 chapters…I needed only to take what I now knew of these characters I had created so long ago, and use that to make the opening scene stronger. Well, now, that’s not too scary of a task…good by anxiety; hello new opening scene…and oooh…lookie there, I made it all the way to chapter 11. I can so do this.

March 13, 2012

Recharged

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:32 pm
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Dear “Apartment Resort:”
First let me say what a wonderful and relaxing weekend it was. So much positive and productive energy!! Thank you for providing everything needed for my Muse and I to get down to business. I especially appreciated the basket of pens and pencils at my fingertips…and the fresh strawberries were also a nice touch.
The kittens were adorable, but if there was a way to install a snooze button in them to allow for sleeping in past 6:30 in the morning, that would greatly appreciated. Oh, and speaking of time, I seem to have lost an hour somewhere between Saturday night and Sunday morning; if you could adjust my bill accordingly, that too, would be appreciated.
I accomplished many of the items i set out to do this weekend including starting the last section of my Doctorate paper and getting to chapter 15 of “Hockey.” I also wrote a couple of poems and started the editing of Arianna’s Honor. More than anything on the list though, you helped me to recharge and even recharge my spare battery as well. It had been too long since I had days back-to-back to just play with my writing and let my Muse dance without looking at the calender or clock.
I will definitely be recommending writer’s retreats to all of my friends (they will have to find their own locations though, as that would be awkward) and will also be booking more weekends at this “resort” in the future.
You rocked my socks!!!

March 7, 2012

Packing my Bags…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:53 pm
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Don’t worry, my sweet friends…I’m not actually going anywhere. KC is my home until I get my island…although I may need an apartment that is between my two jobs and cheaper if I actually want to survive while I finish the PhD…but that is not what I want to talk about.
I mentioned my upcoming writer’s retreat…planned for my own apartment. Well, to make the illusion complete (I am a visual person after all, incase that was unknown to you…) I am packing my bags — with my creative writing and doctorate writing — packing clothes to stay in my own apartment is a bit too much, even for me. I will put my bags in my car on Friday go in to work for a few hours…then after work I will come to my apartment resort, spread out my writing things, and play to my heart’s content. I may or may not check my phone. I may or may not check my email. I may or may not check in on Facebook.
Here’s what I would like to get accomplished during my retreat:
1. Editing Arianna’s Honor as this will be the second book I publish (and therefore my 2nd book on the stack tattoo), Editing Back on Track #1 and #2 as this will be the series I try to publish just e-book format, Editing Broken Trust which needs a stronger final chapter and some details added throughout before Sam, Ben, and Ali are ready for their debut, editing and adding to Ten by Ten to be ready to perform. (If you’ve been keeping track…you will now know that my 5-book stack tattoo will have Whatever, Arianna, Back on Track, Broken Trust, and Ten by Ten ).
2. Writing — would like to get to chapter 15 of “Hockey” and add 10 pages of my doc paper.
Anyone notice what was not packed in my bags for the retreat??? Yup! As much as I love being a teacher, there is not a thing pertaining to either job in my backpacks.

March 4, 2012

Come play with me

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 4:12 pm
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So…I want to be in/start a writer’s group…but I don’t know how that would work. I mean everyone’s schedules (mine included) are so crazy and I’m not sure anyone’s plate (again, mine included) can be shifted to include another weekly/bi-weekly/monthly scheduled event…but I know it would be beneficial…
I teach at technical colleges…and MOST days I love it (and any teacher that can still love it MOST days after 15 years is either a true educator or a whack-job…perhaps a combo-deal) but it does cause my Muse fits when every single day I have class I have at least one student who says how much he or she hates writing…hates that which I love the most…so the writer’s group would help to balance that a bit…would help to appease the pouting Muse who insists computers, technology, electronics, criminal justice, business, medical, etc. etc. are all stupid, silly, smelly wastes of time. Of course, they aren’t…they are the present and more importantly, they are the future of this world, but my Muse is an eternal child, and when they say they hate the very thing that makes her dance, she takes it personally and responds with the equivalent of “I’m rubber…you’re glue…”
Since my muse is an eternal child and since I think of my novels as my children, it feels like a writer’s group would be very much like the play dates or preschool or birthday parties that actual young people attend…My Muse would get to play with other muses and I would get to talk to people who love writing…
Maybe once a month to start out???
Maybe on Sunday afternoons???
Maybe a group where people can come or not as schedules allow???
Do you wanna come play with me???

March 1, 2012

Writer’s Retreat

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 4:13 am
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So, I need some time away from the real world…I can’t afford to get away like I would like to…so I am going to make my apartment into a little mini-writer’s retreat!!! I am going to “pack my bags” and fill them with my doctoral and creative projects, and I am going to “check in” to my apartment as if it were a resort somewhere…but even better than a resort, because it has my favorite food already stocked, my kind of coffee at the ready, my own bed, and literally, all the comforts of home, including two cats who will much prefer me to do this at home than to leave their spoiled furry faces for a few days.
How is this different from any other weekend, you may be asking??? It’s all in the mind frame. I am not going to work on anything that is not doctoral or creative related…I may or may not have my phone on…I may or may not have my computer on…I will relax and write and work on projects. I will edit Arianna’s Honor and get her ready for the next step. I will finish Ten by Ten and get that ready for production. I will finish my current doctorate paper. I will use up pens and fill paper. It is all about me and my muse and pen-to-paper therapy…I really need this, as lately I seem to have misplaced my smile on a daily basis…but have no fear…I know where it is…it is already packed for my writer’s retreat.

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