Monday, August 23, 2010

An Infestation of Adorable

Casa Schmidt is being invaded! Thankfully it's the cutest infestation that's ever occurred. Baby things are slowly taking over: there's a pack 'n play box under the piano; a boppy blocking the bookshelf; two highchairs and two car seats stacked in our family room. And the NTB forget it, I won't open the door for fear of tripping over the baskets of blankets, clothing and toys waiting to be organized.

Sometimes they arrive at a trickle: a box waiting on the porch when I get home from a puggle walk or a gift bag from a friend when we meet for lunch. Other times it's a deluge, like this weekend when I went to MA for my first shower. A car packed to the brim with boxes and bags and a long drive home full of "Bruschi, that rattle is NOT for you. Leave it!"

As the piles of baby stuff and my twin belly grow, the growth takes on new meaning: this is real. Soon the Schmidtlets will be sitting in those seats, wearing those clothes.

It occurs to me, this whole process of being spoiled rotten/stuff accumulation is a lot like planning a new book and getting to know the characters and the world.

Sometimes facts come slowly – they pop up by surprise – but instead of a FedEx man at the door, it's a moment of Wow, my heroine's hair is curly or my hero used to be studly jock, but he's not anymore. I add these to my character profiles where facts accumulate in piles, while I try to figure out if they're significant – and, yes, curly hair IS important in my WIP – or even if they're true.

Knowledge also comes in a flash flood; I'll wake up with a scene fully formed in my mind, or come back from a swim with a major plot point resolved.

In both instances, I'm forever changing my mind. Bumpo seat? Baby pod? Neither? I read reviews, ask advice from mothers and add and remove these items from my registry. With writing, there's the same vacillation. The include and delete. Rewrites. The long e-mails to CP's and bracketed comments of [cut this? Or amp up? Ahhh! Decide later!]

But neither process is overnight – and they aren't to be rushed. I want those Schmidtlets to stay just where they are for a few months yet. They're not ready and I'm not ready for them either. (Um, cribs… we need to get those).

My WIP's not ready either. We're still getting to know each other. The better I understand my characters, the more realistic they'll be on paper. Real people are many-faceted, and the most realistic and resonant characters I've read have been equally complicated.

Getting to know them isn't logical, sequential or predictable either. Just like with the baby presents, I can make a list of the things I need, or in writing's case, need to know (appearance, history, motivations, desires), but it's often the unexpected facts and gifts that are the most meaningful.

So my world is being invaded with swaddling blankets and itsy-bitsy onesies. With personality quirks and characters' favorite expressions. My house is full and my mind is busy. I'm making sure my laptop isn't buried beneath bassinets or baby slings and trying not to confuse plot post-its with thank you notes.

I know life's about to get crazier, but when I look around at the Infestation of Adorable or stop and reflect upon my WIP, all I can do is smile and whisper a thank you that I'm blessed with such rewarding chaos.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reflections from Camp Barry - Cabin A102

I'm home from Camp Barry and slowly emerging from post-travel hibernation. I miss the buffets full of chocolate bread. I miss the pools. I miss the heat lamps in my hotel room bathroom.

But mostly, I miss the people.

And not just because roommate extraordinaire, Jenn Reese, saved me from taking Will-Ferrell-in-ELF type showers by figuring out how to activate the upper showerhead. Or because Liz Braswell told me the greatest fact about pregnancy, which will carry me through these next five months. Or because Charles Vess *doodles* so beautifully that I was too busy watching him to ever demonstrate my own mad skill with daisies and interlinking hearts. Or because I feel so much more capable of handling the Schmidtlets after spending hours discussing them twins with Pat Smith and Beth Fleischer. **

These were all wonderful moments. But they were just part of the BIGGER wonderfulness that is Camp Barry.

So, no, it wasn't the buffet.

It was the buffet full of chocolate bread and meals where we lingered like college freshmen, too busy talking and sharing ideas to realize how much we were stuffing in our faces.

And it wasn't the pools.

It was the late night pool sessions where I laughed hard enough to worry that this might be the night I didn't make it to the bathroom in time. (Seriously, Club Med, bathrooms close to the pools is not a new idea).

Okay, I'm not going to lie, the heat lamps in the bathroom were pretty sweet. Especially when it's 1:30 AM and you're shivering in a cold wet bathing suit because you forgot to turn down the A/C.

But the thing that made Camp Barry magical was the people. The intense conversations and debates, the jokes, the stories, the sharing. Being surrounded by such a creative, sincere, and inspirational group of individuals for four days was an experience that cannot be replicated.

At least, not until next year.

** I could go on and mention a special memory with each of my fellow campers, but my mom taught me it's mean to brag about The Awesome Quotient of your friends... even when they're Really Freakin' Awesome.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This IS A Post About Italy

I leave for the airport in 9 hours for the Goldblatt Agency retreat. I still haven’t packed – this surprises no one – and I still haven’t blogged about the Italian adventures that took place between my last two airport experiences.

Some of you have been demanding photographic evidence of the trip – and pictures of the Twin Belly. I can satisfy both requests simultaneously – and quickly – and then go pack!

Sorrento – and a Twin Belly! That’s because after 48 hours after WE got to Sorrento, our luggage finally caught up with us. I’ve never been so happy to change clothing.

Capri – The island is gorgeous. And hilly. LOOK how hilly. I was a brave little trouper and made it DOWN the hills, but we need a taxi to cart the Twin Belly back up.

Naples – There are castles in Naples. CASTLES.

Castles make me curtsey.
And, no worries, St. Matt came, too!

Packing. Now. Really.