The Worst Writing Advice Ever

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Okay, there are enough blogs and websites out there to offer you truly motivational words and steps to success so that writers will actually achieve something, but sometimes what you need to hear is the exact opposite.

I'm not talking about the Penguins of Panic who want to make sure that you never write another word again. Here's to hoping that global warming will keep those negative voices at bay. ;)

What I'm referring to is truly horrible advice that someone thought was a really good idea at the time. It's the stuff that normally comes forth when you're meeting people for the first time and you've followed Tip #1 in The Worst Writing Advice Ever!:

TIP #1: Tell people you want to be a writer. Claiming that you are a writer without a book deal or receiving an income of at least $100,000 will curse you and ensure that you never sell anything.

Telling people that you "want to be" a writer is your invitation to bring forth all of the butt-ugly-stupid notions people have ever had about a craft of which they possess no real knowledge. Sure, they might have a friend-of-a-friend or may have even purchased a book at one time or another, but what do they know?

It's best to get their advice at parties and networking functions. That way there are snacks and bevvies for all.

Do not begrudge your adviser. These purveyors of erroneous tips might have been drinking, suffering from nicotine withdrawal or dealing with some severe hygiene issues, but they felt the need to pass on their own words of wisdom.

Here are just a few of the ones that you'll learn about in the book:

TIP #8: You need good boots if you attend a writing boot camp.

TIP #51: If you have a really good idea, you're lying to yourself because everything's already been done. Best to stick to the lame ones. They're easier.

TIP #14: Having a last name that starts with A, B or C will help you sell more books, because people get tired by the time they get to those D-names.

And the ever-popular:

TIP #79: You should write Harry Potter or something like that.

Don't let another day pass without having your very own copy of The Worst Writing Advice Ever! Over 79 tips! Most even in English! It can be yours today for just $49.99.

Operators are standing by...

posted by Bonnie Staring at 3:57 PM 5 comments

Shooting the messenger

Monday, January 29, 2007

During a pivotal moment while watching You're the One That I Want last night, my muse took up residence on my left shoulder and whispered these words in my ear:

"If you don't do it now, it'll never get done."

I almost didn't hear her because one of the second-chance performers was screeching his way to the bottom of the voting list. Then she tugged on my earlobe and repeated her warning.

It was kind of creepy, like the fickle finger of fate finally pointing in my direction. Or getting a fast-food bill that adds up to $6.66.

She was absolutely right though. I had to get over my fear of the revisions super-quick as my deadline is still approaching at a heinous speed and any further delay would result in...something horrible: an self-imposed extension.

And any extension will run smack-dab into all those other projects waiting in the wings until this one is out of the way. You know, the other book ideas, the game show, the musical, the greeting card line and a host of other truly strange items that will help me take over the world.

Just the thought of having the novel in good enough form (I'm a perfectionist, so I must say "good enough" or I will be in revision hell for the rest of my existence) to start searching for an agent and publisher gives me goosebumps. Because it really does seem impossible at first, and now it's almost...approachable. It's a very cool feeling that terrifies me.

But fear is just your body's way of letting you know that you're doing something different. Like hang gliding. Or mainlining heroin.

So to my procrastinating self I said, "ENOUGH!" and raced over to the computer and added 10 more pages. Not quite the "20-a-day" goal that other folks are reaching for, but it's a helluvah lot better than the 1.3 I would have scratched out in the wee hours.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:51 AM 4 comments

My Ten Names

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Michelle tagged me while I was offline attending Speedorama. This was more fun than being stared at by car freaks wondering why I wasn't wearing a tight T-shirt and not much else. Oh, that story will have to wait a few more days.


1. YOUR REAL NAME: Bonnie Staring (pronounced Starring, if you want to know)

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (first three letters of your name, plus izzle) Bonizzle (my new pen name!

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three of your last) B-Sta (that just sounds way to wrong for words)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (fav color and fav animal) Indigo Hamster (Diet Coke now up nose)

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, Street you live on): Katherine Uno (she married an Italian count three episodes ago)

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 3 letters of mom’s maiden name) Sta Bokon (ooh, I sound dangerous)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (favorite color, favorite drink) Indigo Dacquiri

8. YOUR IRAQI NAME: (2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, any letter of your middle name, 2nd letter of your moms maiden name, 3rd letter of your dad’s middle name, 1st letter of a sibling’s first name, last letter of your moms middle name) Orkooh (I have no siblings)

9. YOUR STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/body spray) Cashmere (same as Michelle Rowen)

10. YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother & father’s middle name) Elizabeth George

Hmm, now I have a cast of characters that need a place to hang out. I tag Alexandra, Lara and S William.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 8:01 PM 2 comments

Keeping up with the Garcias

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I read somewhere that the surname Garcia will overtake Smith in popularity in the US by the year 2010 or so. :::renames all characters in WIP:::

There is still a ton of stuff going on over here in BonnieLand, along with all the slipper wearing and bon-bon eating. Oh, I meant to say healthy vegetable eating. With low-fat dip.

Working from home does present the problem of being way too close to the shiny new idea box. Even from two floors away I can hear the tapping of one extremely excitable idea that has been bouncing between being an article or a book.

The easy choice would be the article; it's shorter. But part of me says to do both, and use the reaction of said article to help shape the book idea. What I really want to know is when did that logical segment of my brain show up? Was I watching You're the One That I Want at the time?

Still...that sounds like a good plan. To accomplish some other month. I think it's time for a little list:

Articles due between now and March 1: 6
Other writing projects: 5
Pages left on WIP: 280
Contest wins to date for 2007: 1 (Boo!)
Clutter to sort out: way too much
Books on the TBR pile: 10
Stress level (out of 10): 6.5

Gee, once I get it all down it doesn't look completely impossible. Well, except for the clutter. ;)

Ooh, I almost forgot--check out the cool Meez that Michelle put together for me:

posted by Bonnie Staring at 4:43 PM 0 comments

Very cool news

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

MTV has picked up my stapler song! Joking.

First, I have achieved my goal #2 for 2007 after only 24 days! Here's the list if you need to see the whole thing, but the goal in question was:

2. Add another magazine column to my roster.

You're talking to the new columnist for The Driver Magazine! I just received the contract today and I am very excited. I can't disclose all the deets until the first column is printed, but I'll be sure to convince you all to get a subscription by then.

It was something I pitched to them in December, and I was quite surprised to hear back from them so quickly. Must have been the free mustard coupons I attached to my email. ;)

And in other "when it rains, carry an umbrella" news:

You're also talking to the new managing editor of! We'll be relaunching the site on March 1, so I'm very excited and tend to twitch every time I look at the calendar, but the feeling should only get worse as each day passes.

Now if I could only get the edits on that darn book done. But it's totally doable. I mean, there are still 341 days left in 2007.

What's that, you say? My deadline for the book revisions is actually February 18?

Oh, I could have sworn I was using my inside voice when I said that. Rats.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:27 PM 5 comments

Bad stapling

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

During the past little while I've been doing some onsite editing and proofreading work for one of my clients. It's a nice break from eating bonbons and wearing pyjamas all day, so all's good.

Except for the heinous crimes of the lazy stapler.

We're dealing with documents that have about a gazillion versions, so the production team helps us keep track of which ones to proof by stapling old copies together and leaving the latest version loose. Then we can flip back through the old copies if we need to check anything.

Sounds pretty darn simple when you think about it, right? Wrong.

We get
- pages stapled in the wrong order,
- random sheets upside down,
- the ever-popular freaky-weird staple that didn't go in properly and catches on everything, including the new sweater you're wearing,
- the "oops, forgot to staple it" situation where you aren't sure of which version to check and
- the staple in the middle of the document, so page-turning is impossible.

I had no idea that there are people in North America so inept at stapling. How on earth did this happen?

Isn't stapling part of the school system curriculum? Aha! Maybe that's the problem right there. Do I need to contact the creators of Schoolhouse Rock to create a new jingle and cartoon to celebrate good stapling?

Oh, you know what's coming, don't you?

Staple It All Together
(sing to the tune of Love Will Keep Us Together)

You, you can keep it together
Use a stapler whenever
Mul-ti-ple pages come along
They all belong
Don’t mess around
You are holding it wrong
Just stop [stop], put it on a surface
Stop [stop], or it will be worthless
Just hold on tight and staple it all together...

This is way too much fun...must remember to breathe between giggles.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:03 PM 3 comments

Knock knock

Monday, January 22, 2007

Nah, I don't wanna know who's there. The weekend was far too busy for me with projects, visits to friends and family as well as attending a visitation for one friend's late father.

He was an awesome man, he even taught his grandson how to do some pretty cool magic tricks that his own grandfather taught him. The fact that the grandson in question bears a striking resemblance to Harry Potter is just a coincidence, so the family assures me.

This is when I become overwhelmed with thoughts of mortality and how much stuff there is to do before I go to that karaoke bar in the sky. (One person's heaven is another person's hell, always remember that.) Then I wonder if I have taken on too many things and will only end up accomplishing only the first few steps of a lot of things but never finishing the ones that really count?

Then again, which ones are the ones that really count?

See what I mean? It's a big stinkin' mess.

Good news is that the WIP is still being worked on. By me. I had a slow start but am now feeling that my self-imposed deadline of March 1 is totally doable. As long as there is enough Diet Coke in the house.

And for those of you addicted to Meg Cabot's blog as much as I am, I am stunned that she is no longer able to eat or drink anything containing aspartame (it causes migraines for her). As a diabetic, I can think of no other banned substance that could be worse. While Meg had her Tab, I have a blissful relationship with Diet Coke. The customer service reps down in Atlanta know me by name because if there's something wrong with my stock, I'm gonna raise a stink about it.

I've had stuff that's gone off, cans partially filled. cans containing only soda water, cans where the pull tab area was not partially cut (making the can impossible to open) and my favourite, the lack of a tab to pull on in the first place. I also consider myself to be an expert in getting the stuff out of a disagreeable can. (Think Mamma Bear and her cub.)

It's not a pretty sight, but neither am I when I've been without my DC for more than five hours.

It's not an addiction I'm embarrassed about due to the availability of the product. It's not like I have to hang out at street corners or flop houses on the wrong side of town to get my fix. Heck, most grocery stores are now open 24/7, so my access is unlimited. Especially when I have some coupons!

Do you have a food or drink or gadget that you can't live without? The confessional is now open.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:27 PM 6 comments

How Psychotic R U?

Friday, January 19, 2007

I have a confession to make: I just love doing those personality quizzes. You know, the ones that tell you what type of travel works best for you or what type of coworker you are? I wonder if there’s one that people use to determine how psychotic a person is. That thought intrigued me so much that I wrote a little song about it:

How Psychotic R U?

I was feeling apathetic at the office
When a coworker emailed me a quiz
Titled "How Psychotic R U?"
I wonder what my personal level is

Let's say you ran over four chipmunks
Answer A if you arranged their last rites
Answer B if you cried like a baby
Or answer C if they were lip-smacking bites

Let's say you were responsible for disco
Answer A if you hustled the night away
Answer B if you boogied 'til your nose bled
Or answer C if you co-wrote YMCA

It's A for simple paranoia
B, because your psyche's blue
Or C since you're so psychotic
All the worlds revolve around you

Let's say you released a fatal virus
Answer A if you worried your hair gray
Answer B if you're showing three symptoms
Or answer C if you accused the IRA

Let's say you murdered your supervisor
Answer A if you're hung up on the kill
Answer B if you're serving a sentence
Or answer C if you framed Dr. Phil

It's A for simple paranoia
B, because your psyche's blue
Or C since you're so bipolar
All the worlds revolve around you

posted by Bonnie Staring at 8:51 PM 0 comments

The muse has me at gunpoint

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hello. The muse has me working on the other computer in the house that is not connected to the Internet, so I've been totally unhip to the scene as of late. Oh, and she's screaming from the spare room right now--apparently I have forgotten a significant plot point that will totally put a new spin on the current conflict between two of the characters.

Hey, as long as marmite isn't involved, I'm happy.

So I'd like to put up a blurb I had written for a contest Mike held last year. This one didn't win, but it still makes me laugh so I'll share:

Write something. A story in fact. A story of less than 200 words to get more to the point. And, if you really want to get technical, a story of less than 200 words on the following topic: The breakout hit for a comeback album is entitled "How Playstation Ruined My Life". What happened to inspire this amazing new song?

Piccadilly Circus was almost deserted, yet she had to make another 100 quid tonight or risk eviction. Again.

How far she’d fallen—she tried not to think about it. She was made of stronger stuff. After all, her ancestors had survived the famine. And Margaret Thatcher.

How she longed to be in a world where events aired on American television didn’t matter.

Paddy wouldn’t be proud.

A solitary figure approached. He was Indian, late twenties and headset-free. Perfect.

"Fancy a game, boy?" she asked as she parted her coat.

Light glanced off the badge and handcuffs. "Sorry love, no sale here."

A package dropped onto the pavement as he twisted the woman’s arm back. Officer Bhatia secured the cuffs on her, then picked it up. He inspected it for a moment, then turned to face her.

"Been doing this long?"

"No. And it’s not stolen, I swear."

"Of course, that’s why you had it tucked under your raincoat, tempting passers-by." He prodded her towards the police car.

"You’re making a mistake," she warned.

"You already did love. This here’s a Playstation, not a GameBoy."

Proceeds from the sale of Sinéad O’Connor’s new single will go towards famine relief.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 4:03 PM 3 comments

Don't make me go there

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I've been faced with a few challenges lately that make me suspect that the fates have selected me to be a contestant on their new game show Don't Make Me Go There.

During round one, I was forced to stand on the edge (okay on the "yellow line") of a crowded subway platform, knowing that there were a ton of people behind me. This totally freaked me out and I had to hum a Bee Gees melody just to stay focused on anything put being pushed towards the third rail.

Round two, I've been offered an opportunity to work on a project that has me tempted and terrified. On paper, it looks really cool. In reality, this could be the thing that puts me right over the edge of insanity. So I have been doing the annoying "weighing all of my options" thing so much that the DH has now informed me that I have to talk to my secret lover about it instead of him. Even he can't take it anymore.

Although the decision from round two has not been made, I used the "ask the universe" feature to push forward to round three, the biggest Don't Make Me Go There challenge yet.

In this round, I was instructed to do research for a magazine article by dusting off my Rolodex (an ancient tool used to keep paper-based business contact information in one easy-to-access place) and get in touch with people I have not spoken to in YEARS.

And I thought the edge of the subway platform was scary. It's awfully hard to pick up on a conversation that ended sometime in July 2001. But I went there and hit the send button, part of me hoping that each email would bounce back immediately.

Only a few did. Other people emailed me back right away, after probably checking with their psychic advisors to make sure I wasn't involved in a pyramid scheme involving pirate accessories. Or pirated DVDs.

Now I've qualified for the bonus round, but I think I may wait until next week to take on any more challenges. After all, I have plenty of catching up to do for now.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:15 AM 3 comments

We have a winner!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Congratulations go out to Sara, the winner of the "What will you do with 200 words?" contest. Check out her wonderfully dark story here. It'll give you goosebumps.

Sara, please send your addy to starringbonnie at hotmail dot com so I can send you your incredibly tacky prize.

Winter finally arrived in Toronto with freezing rain followed by snow, making walking an adventure and driving best left to those who aren't idiots. At least I found great winter boots on sale so my feet stayed warm and dry during the trek downtown.

There are a ton of things going on over here, the most important being the return of 24. SPOILER ALERT: Jack Bauer isn't just cool, he's a vampire! Ooh, and now he's feeling remorse about the five gazillion spies and terrorists he's snuffed out during the past five seasons. Way cool. But what else can you say for a show that has two two-hour shows to launch the season?

Hmm, doesn't American Idol have that happening this week too? (Not that I'm gonna watch or anything.)

Wouldn't it be cool to have a showdown between Jack Bauer and Simon Cowell? Maybe Jack could go for him after Simon gives a particularly nasty critique. I can just picture it now:

JB: "I'm a Federal agent, drop your microphone!"

SC: "Wot? Did Ryan Seacrest put you up to this?"

JB: "Put your hands over your head and step away from Paula Abdul."

SC: "Someone call security..."

JB: "Sir, I am security and you're the reason I'm here."

SC: "Really? I see an American, but I don't see an American Idol."

A single shot rings out.

SC: "That was absolutely horrible. You barely nicked my spleen. Can't you do better than that?"

Two more shots ring out.

SC: "Okay, there's an improvement. But in this business, you only get one shot. You're just lucky I let you shoot me three blooming times."

Paula Abdul knocks Simon over the head with a crowbar.

JB: "Thank you. You've done this country a great service."

PA: "You can say that again. I broke a nail and everything."

Have a fun Monday everyone!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 1:15 PM 6 comments

Making progress

Friday, January 12, 2007

Okay, I'm back. Yesterday was incredibly productive for me as I decided to dedicate it to writing, lunch with a girlfriend and finding new magazines to market.

First, I think I have found a great way for me to crank out 2,500 words (ten pages) before noon: start early and stay offline. It was hard, especially when I wanted to check my email, read everyone else's blogs, research the name of a certain restaurant or see the status of an eBay auction I'm following, but I held my ground.

Having to meet a girlfriend downtown for lunch was nice too. It got me out of the house and I could read and brainstorm about anything at all on the subway rides there and back. Now I have three new article ideas and the glimmer of a novel in the shiny new idea box.

When I got back home, however, I couldn't get another word on the page for the WIP (work in progress), so I did a careful examination of the magazine article query letters I sent in 2006 and the number of publications I had targeted.

I was totally stunned that it was less than a dozen.

How on earth was I expecting to expand the roster of magazines that I write for when I'm sending queries out to only 11 of them? Isn't that kind of like trying to empty out a flooded canoe with a thimble? Or drink a shake without a straw?

Three hours later, I had the guidelines for another 20 publications. Later today I'll head to the reference library to get a look at back issues to learn more about them and how to gear my article ideas so that they can't possibly resist them.

But for now, I've got some web surfing to do.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:06 AM 0 comments

What will you do with 200 words?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Last year Mike ran some neat flash fiction contests that made my brain hurt, but they were a lot of fun. So I thought I'd give it a try.

Your task: Tell a story, in no more than 200 words, that will make readers laugh, cry or simply think that the world is a truly great place. Any subject, any genre -- but keep it relatively clean please.

Stories must include the following in some way: a Chia pet and a song title from the 80's

Your deadline: Sunday, January 14, 6:00 p.m. EST.

Judging: All entries will be inspected for word count and inclusion of above mentioned items. The rest depends on mood and what Mr. Uglyfish thinks. Please note that only the entries that are actually posted will be judged, the ones that you thought about posting don't count.

Up for grabs: an incredibly cheap and tacky prize!

Ooh, this sounds like fun! Maybe I'll try entering under a different name!

Um, forget I said that last part. ;)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:29 PM 5 comments

Many too many

On Monday night I met Peter Walsh, the organization guru from the TLC show Clean Sweep. No, it wasn't a secret hot date, Peter was promoting his new book It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff.

I scored a seat in the second row because I arrived well over an hour before the event. Like your average stalker.

If you haven't seen the show, you should check it out. Peter reins in the chaos of people's clutter (with the help of a designer and Eric the hunky carpenter) and helps them look at the reasons why they hang onto it. He claims that people normally cling to possessions out of a need to keep living in the past (Grandma gave me that broken cello) or be prepared for the future (I may need the anteater cage one day).

Not that I think the DH and I have a lot of stuff when compared to some members of my family. Shoot, some of them read this blog so I really can't go naming names...but they know who they are. It's during times like the search for the dining room table that we realize how much stuff we have been saving because of great memories or those uncertain future needs.

A few daring individuals in the crowd asked Peter some questions regarding their own or a "friend's" clutter dilemma. He was hilarious, telling some people to throw it out and others to make their own decisions about what's important.

"If it's stuffed into a garbage bag and under a bed, it can't be called a collection."

He's so right. And now I have yet another book about clutterbusting on the bookshelf.

At least this one is signed. ;)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:51 AM 2 comments

Tag, I'm it!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Ooh, this is very cool. Never been tagged before.

S William tagged me so now I have to tell you...

Five Little Known Facts
1. I went to high school with Eric McCormack of Will & Grace fame. He was four years ahead of me and we both performed in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He was a lead character; I was in the chorus wearing a skull cap and moustache.

2. The sound of a vacuum cleaner turns me into a psychotic bi-atch. I think my mother tried to soothe me as a child by vacuumming. Why this would work I have no idea, since it only infuriates me to a point where the only thing that can calm me down is listening to Boney M.

3. I smoked for 20 years. I started when I was 4. ;) My quit day was December 6, 2001, and I haven't even been tempted to have another one ever since then. Amen.

4. I like peanut butter and carrot sandwiches.

5. I'm terrified of losing my eyesight. As I'm a diabetic, the odds are against me. This is another reason why I need to keep my ass in the chair and write everything that I can while I can still find the typos!

Now I tag KJ, Sara and Mike, you're all it!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:23 AM 13 comments

Cottage cheese scares me

Monday, January 8, 2007

I was reminded this weekend about how much I fear cottage cheese. While the DH and I were out for lunch over the weekend, a woman at the table next to us enjoyed a healthy fruit platter. Which featured a big scoop of cottage cheese.

Just catching a glimpse of it was enough to make my saliva dry up.

My fear of this healthy living staple is based on texture, appearance and taste. After conducting careful research (I tried it once, and then a little bit was on a piece of melon I took off of an all-you-can-eat buffet) I've been able to put together the following:

Texture: It's lumpy. As if it hasn't been mixed together properly, like some people's attempts at gravy. Ick factor of 15 on a scale of 1-10.

Appearance: A scoop of stucco anyone? Or bleached-out brain matter?

Taste: Please don't make me go there people. I've blocked it out of my mind and I have no desire to bring that particular memory back.

Then again, just thinking about cottage cheese has made me lose my appetite. Is that the secret? Does anyone really enjoy eating cottage cheese?

A lifetime ago, on an "all-inclusive" holiday at a rundown resort in the Bahamas, I watched my travelling companion wolf down cottage cheese at breakfast and lunch. Never dinner; that was when she'd have a single chicken breast.

Of course, no one wants to admit that a particular food item could bring them to tears, so I tried to find ways to avoid looking in her direction for two of the three meals a day. She probably just thought I considered the wait staff to be adorable, or the plastic flowers in the centrepiece really, really interesting.

Then, on the second-last morning, she came back to our table with two plates of fruit. And cottage cheese.

"Try this," she said, placing one of the plates in front of me. "the mango and guava are amazing."

The mound of stucco was still shaking a bit, reminding me of an active albino volcano.

Across the room, someone dropped a glass. A few patrons applauded while the staff scurried around in search of a broom. While my girlfriend was distracted, I scraped the offending dairy product into a napkin and chucked it at the table next to us.

Unfortunately, it never made it to that destination; it landed with a soft thud on the floor. Which was totally fine, until our waiter happened to step on it and slide over into the next section, leaving a white lumpy trail behind him.

"That's weird," my girlfriend said, oblivious to our waiter's antics and eyeing the now-empty section of my plate. "I could have sworn I gave you a scoop of cheese." She lifted her plate and brought it closer to mine, ready to slide some of the offending substance onto it.

"Oh no, that's okay," I said, getting up from the table. "I'm going to head back upstairs and change into my bathing suit. See you at the pool."

That's when I stepped onto the hazardous stripe on the floor and totally wiped out.

Okay, maybe that's the reason cottage cheese scares me.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 8:29 AM 4 comments

"Contest crack"

Saturday, January 6, 2007

That's the name of an article that appeared in today's Toronto section of the National Post. It's about Toronto contesting clubs. And :::squealing like a schoolgirl::: I'm quoted all over it! Woo hoo!

Click here to read all about it.

And yes, I have made some big honkin' progress on the list of things to do. Most of the Billy Ocean songs are now out of my head and there's enough chocolate in the house to keep me motivated. For now.

Gotta keep this short, there's novel writing going on...

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:53 PM 0 comments

The pause that refreshes

Friday, January 5, 2007

TGIFF. That's for "thank God it's finally Friday!"

I'm getting myself prepared for what I hope to be an extremely productive weekend. I hope I didn't just jinx it. ;)

A magazine article, two article query letters and 5K for Suds are on the list. All due by midnight on Sunday. It's totally doable. :::adds chocolate and Doritos to grocery list:::

Of course, that doesn't sound very exciting for the first weekend of 2007. It almost sounds parade-worthy, doesn't it? Perhaps I'll just have a party next to my new mailbox:

You can get your very own. Check out these groovy features:

-Rust-free, die-cast aluminum construction (it'll last forever!)
-Handsomely detailed Satin Nickel Leaf Accent (the Joneses won't be able to compete!)
-Generous size accommodates letters, magazines, small packages and more (like fabulous prizes!)
-Instructions, mounting template, and stainless steel hardware included (yeah, whatever)
-Dimensions: 14.5"H x 14.875"W x 7.5"D (it's HUGE!)

It's so cool. You should hear the echo that you can create with it -- it lasts a long time. The postal carriers are very afraid. Mwahahaha!

Just when you thought life couldn't get any better, someone creates a product that responds to a universal need.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:25 AM 0 comments

Two thumbs up

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Just got back from a free screening of Freedom Writers. I hate writing reviews so I'll just say LOVED IT!!!!

I would pay to see this movie again.

Now that I'm completely overwhelmed by what a group of teenagers and one truly heroic teacher can do, I feel ready to do battle with the word count. It is time. All my brave talk of writing a big hunk of stuff a day has just been that, all talk, so far this year.

Time to get off this procrastination train and hit the enter key. (That sounded a lot cooler in my head. My apologies.)

I have rejoined Michelle Rowen's current revamp of the Write-On challenge (no t-shirts, just glory) and plan on making the heinous deadline so that I will have something workable by February 18.

It is possible. All I have to do is get my ass back in the chair...

Oh, and maybe not enter a gazillion contests every day so that I win movie passes all the time. ;)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:23 PM 0 comments

Me and Billy Ocean

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Back in the days when I used to cruise the wild streets of Toronto's suburbs in my 1975 Ford Granada, I discovered the most important thing a vehicle needs: a cassette player that works.

And I'm not talking about the ability to play, fast forward or rewind. During one hot summer, Billy Ocean was trapped in my car. Wedged in the tape deck, so to speak. Able to play, but unable to eject.

As luck would have it, it was his greatest hits album that contained this song:

Billy and I got to know each other really well. After about a week, I was singing backup without even realizing it. My vocabulary soon became peppered with phrases like:

"No more love on the run..."

"When the going gets tough..."

"Wanna be your lover, lover..."

The last one isn't recommended when you work in a family restaurant, let me tell you.
Did I mention that if a tape was in my car stereo the radio wouldn't play? It was Billy or nothing.

For about three weeks, I'd say a prayer before reaching for the eject button on my tape deck. It went along the lines of this:

Dear Car Stereo Gods,

Thank you for providing me with the gift of vehicular music; you have made driving through rush-hour traffic almost bearable and trips to the cottage super fun. After all you have done for me, I bow before you with one teenie weenie request:

Please help me release Billy Ocean from my cassette deck.

He's been here a while and he's tired. Billy and the band need a break so that they can entertain me or anyone within earshot in an entirely new venue. Like my girlfriend's place. Or at the used record shop.

It's not that I don't love Billy. I really do. It's just that, in order for us to really appreciate each other, I need him out of my car.

Pretty please?

And then they'd respond with the annoying "clink" of plastic hitting metal. Over and over again.

I finally drove over to a car stereo repair shop where a greasy dude with way too many piercings leaned over the passenger's seat with what looked like an icepick and popped out the cassette. Both it and the stereo felt none the worse for wear.

"Billy Ocean?" the dude asked as he inspected the tape. "Cool."

"You can keep it," I said before handing him the $20 I owed him for the service and speeding away.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:00 AM 7 comments

Same crap, different year

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

I know, I know. I'm supposed to be brimming with positivity at the prospect of a brand new year to have fun with and mold into my own creation. Kind of like paper mache or a new sandbox the neighbourhood cats haven't found yet.

And here I am, bemoaning the fates that things really haven't changed with the dawn of 2007. The alarm clock still rings too early for my liking, the stinky people on the bus are still as ripe as before (if not more so) and the buckets of self-doubt haven't vanished like the box of Belgian seashell chocolates last seen somewhere under the tree.

I even sat at the computer yesterday evening and stared at the screen until the rerun of a Project Runway episode. It was a whole hour and a half...and all I got down was a paragraph that looks a lot like something I'd already written...last year.

This is when I remind myself that I do not have the right to complain. The gods of time have presented me with a New Year to fill with new to-do lists and overwhelming expectations and perhaps a few new packaged foods that combine chocolate with unpopular vegetables. Hey, you never know.

So why am I here bitching so early in the year?

Um, because I can?

It could also be that I'm avoiding some things that really need to be done. The proverbial bandage that should have been torn off with one good tug instead of waiting for it to fade away like a Spice Girls melody.

Hang on, do you hear that?

do it anyway

It sounds like it could be a new mantra or something.

Do. It. Anyway.

Wow, that could really come in handy if I actually used it.


Okay, enough already! I can take a hint. ;)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:26 AM 4 comments