Personality Takes Shape


Quick.  5 shapes.  Square, Circle, Rectangle, Squiggle, or Triangle.  Pick one and jot it down.

Mother’s Day was a feast of bbq ribs, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, southwestern style veggies, homemade rolls, steamed broccoli florets, a fruit plate, and cole slaw.  For dessert we had an elaborate strawberry shortcake ice cream cake with reduced strawberries and a graham cracker crust.  After a nap, (OBVIOUSLY), we had to go hiking to work it off.  I’m a big fan of hiking for the same reason I practice yoga – I like activities that help me find mental and spiritual balance through physical exertion.  I would like to go hiking more often now that the twins can keep up.  They can. 

One of our favorite spots is the nearby King and Queen’s seat in Rocks state park.  Pretty neat place.  During the 17th century the Susquehannock Native Americans lived along Deer Creek.  They would use these rocks as a ceremonial gathering site.  There literally is a naturally formed seat for a king and queen in the rock slab.  The hike isn’t very long, but the whole thing is scenic. 

At the top is a mix of people you wouldn’t often find together.  Romantic couples, wiry loners with ropes looped around their shoulders to rappel down.  Teenagers with cigarettes and black t-shirts.  Townies with expensive shoes and a guide to the park in their hand.  Packs of young kids running up the path ahead of wheezing adults.  Two aging bikers with an equally aging dog.  Girls in sports jerseys and flipflops.  And, for me, this is better than people-watching at the mall because this is a literal challenge.  You see it when each of these persons steps into the clearing and decides whether or not to climb the huge mess of boulders.  What do they each see: an amazing panoramic view or the sheer edge with a 190 foot drop to the valley below?   

The normal thing would be to look down on the trees, farms, and Deer Creek and acknowledge God.  To say, wow, nature is amazing, God is so creative and detail-oriented.  And I DO say nature is amazing, but I’m also talking about human nature.  And I’m amazed at how God is so creative and detail-oriented.  Writers often make characters sheets for the main characters – a reference so that halfway through a manuscript you don’t change the temperament/eye color/how many siblings he or she has.  Well then, how many character sheets or personalities has He written over the course of time with weaknesses, strengths, wants, needs, and motivation, etc.?

 That’s what I think about when I’m plucking the twins off the higher boulders and coaxing the older kids back from the ledge.  A brief picnic during which my husband stabbed himself in the leg and my son’s ‘short-cut’ that wasn’t.  The first aid kit with no band aids, but a crumpled one at the bottom of the picnic bag.  The twins teasing Chance mercilessly about how they could follow the purple trail marks and he couldn’t.  Sunset moving into dusk.

Okay, so what shape did you choose?   Post it in the comment box below.  I can guess about some of you….Longer descriptions and a questionnaire here:

                Square:  Most organized of the shapes, highly intolerant of sloppy work.  Enjoys predictable environments and is resistant to change.  Usually the best-informed of the shapes

                Circle:  A creature of comfort.  Such individuals usually have a healthy plant and photos around their work or home.  They enjoy a good social life and are focused on maintaining harmony.  They can, however, be too accommodating at times which means they can be exploited.

                Rectangle: Tend to be scattered and suffer a great deal of indecision and inconsistency.  They are highly inquisitive and will often try new things.  However, they prefer to stay in large groups as they have an inherent fear of being put on the spot.

                Squiggle:  these individuals tend to be exceptionally creative, dramatic, and witty.  They are also the messiest and least-organized of all the shapes.  They undergo constant change and are very easily bored, requiring constant stimulation in both a personal and professional capacity.

                Triangle:  They need to appear stylish and their offices or homes are usually full of status symbols such as awards, degrees, and certificates.  They like to be the boss and be in control and are adept at taking charge.  Not only can triangles be self-centered, but are also highly competitive and hate to admit when they are wrong.

60,000 words

Quote: Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. – Anne Lamott

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been sharing with me this past week about their own college experiences.  I feel so much better!  I’m not alone at all, and you’re right – the straight path is seldom the most interesting.

My big news is…I made my April 30th deadline!  I have a rough draft of my novel!  Whoo Hoo.  I started working on it June 26th. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware the ending is rushed.  Really rushed.  And I made something happen so that two characters don’t like each other and I don’t know how to resolve that.  And does the military guy use a mess kit or does he have something more….military-ish while they are camping?  It’s also been suggested as too fortuitous that Rachel meets Scott right before she’s kicked out of the hospital, but my sister won’t read her sample and either agree or disagree.  I get all that, but I FINISHED MY ROUGH DRAFT.

I’ve taken a break from it for this week while Evelyn takes her steroids.  On Monday I plan to start the second draft.  Just the idea makes me want to procrastinate.  Instead, I’m going to stay motivated by submitting to two contests.

Chuck Sambuchino’s website “Guide to Literary Agents” is hosting the (free) Dear Lucky Agent contest.  Here’s the description.  Submit the first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of upmarket fiction, the title, and a logline (one-sentence description of the work).  Upmarket is defined by the contest judge as character-driven with a strong social or emotional message. 

 Then, the Maryland Writers’ Association is hosting a contest based on the first 7,000 words of a completed novel.  So, first I edit the beginning 200 words, then I move up to 7K and by then I should have enough momentum to finish.  June 1st will be my 2nddraft deadline.       

Here’s the logline.

                After a global catastrophe, single-mom Rachel Dunow must leave the homestead and transverse a confusing and sometimes violent world to find help and healing for her ten-year-old son’s rapidly spreading cancer.
What do you think?  Thumbs up or thumbs down?  Too vague?  Too specific?  One sentence limit — should I just add a bunch of semi-colons and squeeze in as much as possible?