Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 27: Mapping Out Writing Time: Using the Green-Eyed Monster for the Greater Good and Happiness Giveaway #1

January. January. January.

I despise how I've allowed these four syllables to throw me into a funk these past few years. It's not supposed to be this way.

January is meant for new beginnings. We say farewell to the old year and herald in the new. We write up our New Year's Resolutions and try to commit to becoming thinner, fitter, smarter, better, happier, and kinder. We shovel the snow and enjoy adrenalin-pumping winter activities like skiing, skating, snowboarding. And let us not forget January is named after the Roman god, Janus, the god of gates and doorways, of beginnings and endings.

I've alway loved planning out my New Year's Resolutions, but lately, it's difficult to muster up the enthusiasm to set them in stone, to be reviewed in the next year. (Yes, I do this sort of thing.) I blame it entirely on being cursed blessed with a January birthday. Think it's hard to write down New Year's Resolutions? Try it with a January birthday. This double whammy ensures twice the pleasure of reflecting on what hasn't been done. And if you're in your forties (gulp), when every new year becomes more precious, the success and failure of each goal becomes a critical analysis. And yes. Sometimes when you see good things, well-deserved things happen to people you like and respect, sometimes it's hard to tell the Green-Eyed Monster to leave you alone.

Even with friends and family.

Some friends invited us over to their house for dinner on Saturday. They bought a new construction home and it is Spectacular, with a capital S--all the latest and greatest of shiny things. Radiant-heated bathroom floors. Stainless steel kitchen appliances. Custom designed kitchen. Beautiful, big windows. Huge flat-screen tv... Shiny. Shiny. Shiny. When I came home, all I could see was my house, stuck in the 1960's, overshadowed with imperfections. Big Time.

The next day, I picked Ninja Girl up from a friend's house. They invited me in to see their stunning kitchen remodel with incredible slider doors to their backyard, overlooking their personal skating rink.

"This should be you." The Green-Eyed Monster gnashed her teeth. "You've been living with old appliances and a run-down kitchen for years. It's not fair!"

"It's not in the budget right now. Soon." I hesitated.

"Ah, but think what you could do if you knocked down some walls in your kitchen." She curled her slimy hands around my shoulder and shone a light around my dumpy kitchen. "Hire an architect, order designer cabinets. Spare no expense! Look what you've put up with. Don't you deserve better?"

I grabbed a tape measure and started drawing out a plan. Man. I deserve a dream kitchen. The Green-Eyed Monster is right. Fuhgeddaboutit. It should be mine. I deserve it just as much as anyone else. Why do they get the nice kitchen? They're younger than I am. I work just as hard as they do. I deserve it. Fuhgeddaboutit. Forget I need to replace Sophie, my eleven-year-old car first. Forget about our plan to wait another year to replace the cabinets. Forget about the budget. Forget about... Gah!

The nice thing about getting older is I'm no longer a prisoner of the Green-Eyed Monster. She can reel me in, but now, I've accepted I'm wise enough to know there is a time for everything. It's easier to let the Green-Eyed Monster know her place. Sometimes, it's enough to know good things do happen to people, the people you are happy for, and that your time will come.

Work hard. Use the Green-Eyed Monster for motivation and inspiration, to nip at your heels and help you work harder. Great things WILL happen to you. Soon enough.

Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt: Let's face it. Most of us succumb to the Green-Eyed Monster at some point. She can drive some of us to evil or put us in uncompromising situations because of all-consuming jealousy. Others, are inspired to harness the Green-Eyed Monster for the greater good. How does your MC react to jealousy? Or, perhaps your villian? Write a scene where your MC or villian is confronted with jealousy. Did someone win a coveted prize? Maybe someone else got the girl or boy. How does your protagonist/villian react? What actions do they take? Drum up the emotion, the intensity and conflict here. Have fun!

Happiness Giveaway because it's my Birthday Month: We celebrate big in my family, celebrating the week before and after the Big Day. Since I'd like to dull the dread of the impending day, I'm going to host a few giveaways in these two weeks.

Today's offering is a pretty LUSH gift pack of Christmas Party. Sure, Christmas is over, but how can you resist the Happy Hippy Shower Gel and Ice Blue soap I purchased at my local LUSH store? Just the thought of these fresh scents makes me happy. Man, I sound like a commercial.

If you'd like to enter, answer the following question in the Comments below: If you had one chance for happiness, what would do you to get it? Deadline is Thursday, January 14th, 11pm EST. U.S. shipping addresses only. Comment away!


T. Anne said...

You do deserve a dream kitchen. Warning, my dream started five years ago and is still not over. Yes we have traveled into nightmare territory...

marthacalderaro said...

Our house, too, is a WIP, so I relate. It's the good food and conversation made in the kitchen that matter most, right?

Your "one chance for happiness" question is a tough one, but I'm going to try to answer it because I love bath products (and can enjoy in the bathroom that we were *finally* able to update a couple of years ago)... If I knew I had one chance for happiness, gosh, just keep living and hold on to that chance. It's the prospect of it that keeps things interesting.
Happy January birthday! See you at the tweetup!

Vivian said...

T. Anne,
Here's to dream kitchens! I'm on the five year plan...sounds like I need to extend the date. Good luck with your kitchen!

Oooh! Now you have a nice bathroom! (#4 on my list of home projects) Nice answer. Looking forward to meeting you at the tweetup!

Calliope said...

Lord, you cannot know how much I needed this post. It's good to know other people get jealous and it's okay.

I've always heard how wonderful LUSH products are, but have never been able to try them. So it would make me so happy if you chose me! I'll be nice and share it with my family.

Vivian said...

Glad this helps, Calliope. Good luck!

beckylevine.wordpress.com said...

Wonderful post, Vivian--thank you for sharing with so much honesty. We've all been there & are there all too often, but you're right--it does get a bit easier to step back from the frustration and take a look at what we do have that actually makes us happy. :)

Patty P said...

I'm laughing here! Funny post Vivian...you can write anything. Love the green-eyed monster. She visits me every time I go into a bookstore and happen across another stunning debut from a children's book author.
As for happiness...well, I do love bath products...hmmm. Tough question. Truth is, I'm already happy. Is that ok to admit?

Vivian said...

It is absolutely okay to say you're already happy! And by the way, I know you have a great story teens will love. Your book WILL be in the bookstore!

Thanks. We just need to keep our eyes on the important things...

Solvang Sherrie said...

I think anyone who has an older home owns a WIP. We replaced the counter tops but not the cabinets. That alone was enough to transform my kitchen. I love it. I still need to get a new oven (not in the budget yet) and my car has 102,000 miles on it! All in good time :)

One chance for happiness? I guess I'd like to know what the catch is. Would I have to sacrifice my first born? I'd pass. But assuming that happiness involved my family, I'd never lose focus and do everything in my power to make it happen.

historymaven said...

Thanks for telling us about those January-birthday blues, Vivian. I have a late December birthday, and that can mean a double-dose of introspection and self-assessment at the turn of the year.

(The kitchen in my 1920s bungalow could use a renovation, too.)

Here's hoping your time comes *soon* -- on both the writing and the kitchen fronts!

Care said...

Excellent post. I agree - it's important to try hard to use jealousy as an inspiration, rather than a discouragement. Thanks for sharing this!

sheila said...

Oh Viv, come over to my wreck of a domicile. Sure the garden can look pretty darn amazing but you won't have any GEM action going on inside, I promise you. Here are my tips for disguising things you hate: plug-in scent distributors, fairy lights in the kitchen (wrap the ceiling with white lights - it's amazing), and very VERY clever lighting. Lots of glamorous house plants. Then have some highly scented plants in summer cloaking the doors.

Nice appliances can be over-rated. I'm not saying they are, but I bought myself a FABULOUS black gas stove when we moved in here and OMG does it require a lot of cleaning to look good. Every single fingerprint shows. Every time I bake the flour is EMBLAZONED on it. Given that I am not the Super Cleaner type this is frequently a horrible horrible struggle.

I have friends with big fancy shmancy houses but I concentrate on how high their hydro bills must be. Because they are. At least 5X what mine are. Cling to that.

Barrie said...

What great timing for this post. I was just a friend's over the weekend and her house is HUGE and BEAUTIFUL. My house is much much smaller and much much less beautiful. ;) Then I started to think that her house might be a little too huge for me because...I wouldn't want to have to clean it. ;)

I'm not sure what I'd do for happiness. But I'd like to mull it over in a nice hot bath with some Lush products. ;) Happy In Advance Birthday!

Vivian said...

Guess more people have older kitchens than I thought. Thanks for making me feel better, everyone!

Great answer. Like how you look at the other side of the question.

Thanks! A Happy Belated Birthday to you! I noticed your name on the #alatweetup and hope we'll be able to hang out for awhile!

Now you have the decorating tips I can count on. And you're right--my utility bills are cheaper...I will cling to that hope. Thanks!

And you're right! I wouldn't want to clean the extra space. Hmmm. Another thing I didn't think about. But then, I don't have a nice tub to soak in to reflect on such matters...Ha! Thanks!

Vivian said...

Glad you liked my post. Thanks for visiting!

Beth Kephart said...

Oh, how I know that monster. Then I zap her. Quickly. I go outside, study the sky, fill my lungs and say, But, Beth. You are alive.

I'd freeze my life as it is right now. That would be my happiness.

Vivian said...

Thank you!

Keri Mikulski said...

Love this post..

I'd do whatever it takes for happiness. :)

Niki said...

Hi Vivian, oh I know how you feel :o) But I get reminded by my other half how lucky we really are. I'm just waiting for the day when HE falls through our rotting bathroom floor!! hehe
Thanks for commenting on my blog. I've been a lurker on yours for ages. I think you're a brilliant writer!
And a happy birthday to you as well :o)

Vivian said...

Thanks, Keri! And yay for happiness!

Niki, You crack me up. Thank you so much for your kind words. Made my morning. Cheers!

Vivian said...

Thanks, Everyone, for entering. The winner will be announced later today.