I wasn't a cool kid in high school. And not in junior high (that's what we called it back in the dark ages when I went to school) or even elementary school. I was the plain little girl with the brown pixie hair cut who was smart and good at kick ball. In fourth grade, I was the first girl to kick the ball all the way to the end of the playground and down the embankment. I was on equal footing with the boys, and the cool girls thought I was unladylike. Pfft! I'll take the glory of a long kick over being prissy any old day.
See? I've always been at home on a playground.
So here's my list of PM's coolest moments of the past three years.
~When we started, I never imagined we'd have fans. Or be recognized. It was a real squee moment in Atlanta when someone said "You're the PM from the Writing Playground, aren't you?" I just wish I could tell those prissy girls where to shove it. My 40th high school reunion will be next year. Maybe I'll get my chance.
~ The blog was my idea and I'm pretty sure I dragged the other Playfriends into the experience kicking and screaming. Having 5 people makes it a lot easier for obvious reasons. I've blogged on all sorts of topics and y'all have shared lots of life's exciting moments with me including my first sale to the confessions magazines in March 2006, #2 son's college graduation in May 2006, getting my braces off in June 2006, and the birth of my granddaughter two days later. You've all made those moments even more exciting because I had someone to share them with.
~You've also been with us through our group adventures -- three national conferences (and the decision to keep PC away from any and all cutting instruments), several mountain retreats with our RWA chapter, the others' trip to Scotland (which won't happen again without me) and our first road trip, which involved a meth lab bust in the motel room directly behind ours.
~ We've had lots of guest bloggers over the past three years and it's always fun to read what other people have to say. A guest blog gig is a chance for authors to promote their books, and I know that our own PC and Instigator will be guest blogging all over the blogosphere too. But when we were asked to do our first joint blog with Michelle Buonfiglio, I was stoked. And then her blog moved from Blogger and when we had our annual gig with her last week, we were on Lifetime. LIFETIME!!
~ I'll admit, some weeks I look at the calendar and moan, "Oh heck, it's Tuesday and I have to blog tomorrow." (That's not really what I say; I cleaned it up some.) Some weeks the topic falls right into your lap and others you're scrambling around trying to find something to write about. I don't have goats, though the rabbits eating my flowers did give me blog fodder for a while. Same for our website content. Just Monday we were emailing back and forth trying to figure out who has the December book review. But having folks at national conference tell me how much they enjoy the website and blog makes it all worthwhile.
~ Even though I could kick the ball over the embankment at R. Brown McAllister Elementary School in Concord, North Carolina, I still acted like a good little girl. I mean, I made sure my skirt didn't fly up and show my underwear, and I didn't beat up Joey G. when he called me "cow face" (though I did go to see him in an all-male revue about twenty years ago, and while he showed me HIS underwear, I didn't show him mine). Back then we had to wear dresses and skirts every day, so having your underwear show was a constant concern. Today I worry about presenting a professional appearance as a writer and member of RWA and my local chapter, and it warms the cockles of my heart to have authors compliment us on our professionalism and say how happy they are to contribute an article, interview or guest blog. (Just what are cockles and what's so special about warming them?)
~ This year, I had an extra-special cool moment when my mother took over for me on the blog when I was in San Francisco for conference. She pops in from time to time to comment; I even set up her account and made her a Maxine avatar because she loves Maxine. So when Angel advertised for guest bloggers for conference week, my mom asked if family members could apply. What were the other Playfriends gonna do? Tell an old woman no? ;-) Sorry, Mom. You're not old. Her comments are a high spot of my day. We live 500 miles apart and don't get to visit as often as either of us would like. And how many other eighty-something women do you know who can surf the internet, do instant messaging, send emails and blog?
I want to tell you about my mom. I recently had a feature piece published in True Experience's Experience of a Lifetime column. It was about my mother and how she was widowed at age 43 and left with me and my younger sister to raise and educate. When I received my contributor copy, I sent it to my mom and received back a letter from her that had me blubbering all over my keyboard. My mom's my hero -- or I suppose that should be she-ro -- because when life handed her a huge bowl of lemons, she made lemonade.
My mom succeeded in a career that was dominated by men (newspaper advertising) and was the first woman to have her name on the newspaper's masthead. My sister and I both graduated from college, we've both been married for over 30 years and our kids have all attended college (sis has one son). Even in her retirement she continues to give to her church and community. She's mom to me and my sister, gran to three grandsons and now great-gran to my granddaughter. So I'm pleased as punch that she reads the blog and tickled pink when she comments. Next summer when we're at conference in DC, I'll ask her if she wants the gig again.
I'll pick a winner from today's commenters to receive a Playground Monitor prize package. No telling what it will include, but you can be sure it'll have a romance novel in it. All the winners will be posted on Saturday.
Were you a cool kid? I promise I won't hate you if you were. I'm all over that name-calling stuff from fourth grade.
P.S. Keep track of our NaNoWriMo progress over in the sidebar. I'm at 19515 words. And I'm writing chapter 4 1/2. I know -- books don't have a chapter 4 1/2, but I got to a good ending point with chapter 4 and still had stuff to write that didn't fit in chapter 5. Hence, chapter 4 1/2.