"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spontaneity and Pollyanna

First off, thank you so much everyone who weighed in on subplots! I'm not sure about you guys, but I found the comment thread amazingly helpful. If you haven't read the comments, seriously take some time and do so. I'd summarize it, but there's such a wealth of information, it would be hard to wrap up without leaving something out.

So spontaneity and Pollyanna - I'm pretty sure these have nothing to do with each other, but I keep forgetting to relay a funny story.

As you might know, I recently painted the kitchen bright red. I'm pretty sure my husband thinks it looks like he's engulfed in fire, but I'm happy with it; it's bright, cheerful, bold, and all those other things only red can be.
If I was a color, I'd be red.

Anyway, the tortoise habitat backs to the beautiful red wall. And the day I finished painting and moved the torts back in place, I walked by and noticed the larger of the torts staring at the wall.

Me: Look! King Tort loves the red wall!
Husband: How could you possibly know that?
Me: He's staring right at it.
Husband: Maybe he thinks he's died and gone to Hell.
Me: (Glare. Or maybe it was an eye-roll. I can't remember.)
Husband: Do you know what a Pollyanna complex is?

So I googled it and found it to be a state of severe optimism. At which point I was flattered. If there's one thing I want to be, it's an optimist.

(And I also want to acknowledge that when I comment, I use exclamation points all the time. I do try to control it, but I'm normally happy about what I'm saying, and I want people to know.
In my novels, I do not use exclamation points much at all.)


Switch topics.
I'm doing my best to take a week off revisions. Why is this so hard? I know every time I get some space from my WIP, I come back so much fresher. Not to mention I have some beta readers reading it for me now (thanks!). And even though I know this, it's still a long week.

In passing the time, I've been reading.
(Finished Gods of Manhattan by Scott Mebus - I'll just say there were lots of characters. My mind had a hard time getting around all of them.)
(Starting City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. I realize I'm the only person on the planet who hasn't read this.)

And I realized (this is where the ex-engineer stuff comes in) that three of our DVD players were bad. The odds of this are inconceivable (Princess Bride, anyone), but it's really true. So I bought a new one (which was bad, also!!!!!), returned it, and bought another which works beautifully.
(I knew it was the players as the DVDs did work in our computers).

So here comes the spontaneity part...

On the way to Fry's Electronics to get the DVD player, I saw something going on in the parking lot, backed up the car, and parked.
So cool - the Hobbytown was having a model/toy/hobby gas-powered car race. These things flew around the track. The kids loved it, and we ran into friends there.
The message I got - when life presents you with a spontaneous opportunity, take a chance and explore it. You may have a great time and get to do something a little bit different!

Now how many days until I can work on WIP again?


Jason said...

If it makes you feel any better, I haven't read City of Ember either, ha ha.

One of the great things about being at college is that there are ample opportunities for spontaneous activities. The down side is that you can get lost in goofing off and not get any actual work done.

The little toy car thing sounds cool. I would totally go to that I stumbled across something like it.

Good luck on your book. Just stay busy and distract yourself and the week will be up before you know it.

PJ Hoover said...

Too funny, Jason! You are so right. College is unlimited spontaneous opportunity. And so much fun!

Miriam S.Forster said...

Have you ever read Pollyanna? Or seen the movie? (Two very different experiences, by the way.)

I have to say, I'm jealous of your tortoises. I begged my parents for years to let me have a tortoise, but they always said no. Some day, when I have a house...

PJ Hoover said...

I've neither seen the movie nor read the book, Miriam. Should I?
I love the torts! I always wanted one also. It's been under a year since we got them, but now we have plans to have an entire tortoise community. They'll get huge (150 lbs) and live to 180.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I picked up City of Ember when I was in Barnes & Noble yesterday, then put it back and bought "When Zachary Beaver Came to Town" instead. Let me know how Ember is.

BTW, LOVE Princess Bride! I probably annoy everyone around me when it's on because I can pretty much say all the lines along with the actors :)

Keri Mikulski said...

Spontaneity and optimism! Love it! ;) Good luck with your revisions. :)

beth said...

Spontaniety and a Pollyanna complex--sounds like the perfect life to me!

You'll love Ember. But...the sequels...eh.

lotusgirl said...

Your husband is hilarious! You too!

The spontaneity sounds great. The race track looks amazing!

PJ Hoover said...

Sherrie, go back to the store and get City of Ember. It is fabulous! And Princess Bride is such a GREAT movie. One of my favorites!

Thanks, Keri! Revisions are going well, which makes me happy!

Beth, I love City of Ember! I can't wait to finish it (which I'm sure will be today). So I shouldn't read the sequels? Not even the first one?????

Yes, my husband can be pretty amusing at times, Lois. It's funny when we see things in two totally different ways!

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

adrienne said...

Adorable tortioses! Should I prepare you for how destructive those guys are when they grow? And grow...and grow...?

Tabitha said...

That event with the cars is too cool!!! I'd have enjoyed that as much as my kids would have. :) Then again, you're speaking to a fellow ex-engineer. :)

And I completely agree that the Pollyanna complex should be taken as a compliment. :) I don't tend to use exclamation points, but I use smilies all over the place. I'm resisting the urge to use one right now.....nope, have to. :)

lynn said...

I love red too! I actually thought my favorite color was blue for a while (or green or purple ... it kept changing) until I realized that most of my clothing was red ... as was my car, and my favorite flowers, etc :)

Gottawrite Girl said...

Oh, I FIRMLY believe in having a soulfully colored kitchen!!! I feel the same about mine... it's a warm, comforting and soothingly cheery EGG YOLK yellow, which I only aspire to be.

: )

Thanks, PJ!!!!

PJ Hoover said...

No Adrienne! Don't tell me! Though we do plan to move them to the backyard (and build a house for them). Luckily I'm not a gardener.

Exactly, Tabitha! Fellow ex-engineers unite! Smilies are great, too. I try not to overuse those, but compensate with the exclamations :)

I know what you mean, Lynn. I keep coming back to red. It's just a good role model!

Egg yolk yellow sounds awesome, Susan! So inviting. And yummy :)

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Barrie said...

I think you would be red! Thanks for popping over to meet Kathy.

beth said...

I suggest you try Sparks--but if it doesn't grab you like Ember, don't bother finishing it and don't bother with the rest of the series. It's like Ember was written in an entirely different voice from the others, and if you don't like something in the others, you won't like anything.

Lapillus said...

Red is my favorite color too. I bet King Tort did like it!

Oh, and I've never read City of Ember, either. Heh. I'll go add it to my list!

PJ Hoover said...

You're welcome, Barrie! What color would you be?

Thanks, Beth! I will try Sparks once I buy it tomorrow at the bookstore :)

I think so, too, Casey! And yes, add Ember to your list!

Lady Glamis said...

I finally came over to see your blog. So glad I did!

Okay, I love to use exclamation points, too. Much of my editing is getting rid of them. But I usually don't bother getting rid of them in comments. They're so much fun! Do I sound like I'm yelling? I'm not. :)

I love red. If I could, I would have a red room. But our landlord won't let us. Grrr.

My husband can quote Princess Bride from start to finish... all from memory. He hums the music and does all the swordfighting actions, too. It's quite entertaining. We don't even own the movie. We both watched it so many times in that 6 years without it hasn't seemed that long. We'll buy it eventually.

We have a bad DVD player right now. It's driving me insane. My toddler hates it too, especially when it won't play Finding Nemo.

Wow. Didn't use too many exclamation points in there, did I? Great!

Devon Ellington said...

Never be afraid to enjoy the tangents -- bet you that race finds its way into a story someday.

So glad the turtles have something new to amuse them!

PJ Hoover said...

I'm glad you visited, too, Lady Glamis! I am so glad I'm not alone in my use of exclamation points! They are so much fun to use. (See I resisted the urge right then)
And the kids wanting to watch movies is what pushed me over the edge on the DVD player. What will you pay to relieve frustration :)

Great idea, Devon! The race should make it in a story. And when it does, I will think of you.

Thanks for visiting!

Jason said...

I tagged you in a meme if you're interested, PJ.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Jason! I will do this tomorrow!

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh, that made me laugh ... because I've got that complex as well ... and have to restrain myself from using too many exclamation points all the time!!!!! :-) Love the turtle story!

PJ Hoover said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one, Kelly! Love that punctuation!

Heather Zundel said...

Oh wow! That is so great there is a term for that kind of optimism. I want that too. And I love your husband's comment on your turtles. That made me laugh. And do tell me if you are coming to DC anytime before mid-April.

PJ Hoover said...

Optimism is a great thing to have, Heather! And I'll totally let you know if I make it there before then!

Christina Farley said...

Oh dear. I haven't read City of Ember either! Now I feel aweful.

But that exhibit you found is awesome! My boys would have loved it.

PJ Hoover said...

You should read it, Christina! It was great! And the car thing was so way cool! I hated to drag the kids away.