All posts by Vivienne Lynge

Hysterecto-Me by Vivienne Lynge

Hello World – this one is really just for the ladies.  Vivienne Lynge here.  It’s Saturday morning – 7:00am.  I had a hysterectomy less than 48 hours ago.  Robotic assisted surgery is your friend. 

Why am I announcing such a personal thing here in web-land you ask? One simple reason: we ladies tend not to talk about these kinds of personal things.  I found that to be true years ago when Hubby Deluxe and I were going through a couple of rounds of in vitro fertilization.  Not talking about it with your girlfriends and even acquaintances can suggest that you are hiding it because it’s shameful in some way. 

Going through IVF was very difficult, emotionally.  Especially when it didn’t work!  I felt like the only woman in the world who couldn’t get pregnant.  Which led to such helpful thoughts as, “Well, a woman who can’t get pregnant isn’t much of a woman at all is she?”

But you know what I realized well into our second round?  I wasn’t the only one going through it, I was just the first of my circle.  As I began talking about my experience, I found out that nearly ALL of my friends were also were trying to get pregnant too and having little success.  By talking about it, we were able to help each other through the difficulties and the absurd, destructive thoughts that go through all of our heads at times like that.  Being able to share our experiences with all the appointments, pills, peeing on sticks, wicked painful back flushing of the tubes (which nobody tells you is wickedly painful!), IUI, and IVF can take the fear and shame right out of a situation that is fraught with enough of its own drama. 

So here I am again.  I have endometriosis and have had severe monthly pain for years.  Ladies, I want to tell you, if you have this condition and severe pain, don’t let your doctors poo-poo it as “well, everyone has cramps…”  My gynocologist died a few years back, and instead of finding a new one, I’ve had my annual visit with my primary care doc.  She’s wonderful, but not an expert in this area.  The pain had gotten so bad late this spring, that I finally sought out a new Gyno.  We talked options and that led to Thursday’s surgery. 

You know what he told me yesterday?  I was so messed up from the endometriosis that he and the nurses on the surgical team were astonished.  When a nurse says, “Wow, that’s messed up!”  You know you are in trouble.  They didn’t know how I had been getting on all these years. 

Thankfully they got me all/mostly cleaned up.  I’m in some pain now, but frankly it’s not as bad as what I had experienced regularly before the surgery.  I’m on the mend and looking forward to life a couple weeks down the road when I won’t have to worry about having my plans hijacked by pain.

Today’s secret: ladies, advocate for yourselves with the same intensity you would for your kids.  Don’t simply accept the idea that being female should be painful.  There are solutions out there.

Barenaked Ladies by Vivienne Lynge

Good Morning! It’s suddenly Fall here in wonderful New England.  I’m off on a family camping trip – seems like I only camp in cold weather…oh well.  We have sleeping bags.  But I wanted to leave you with my thoughts on my favorite band: The Barenaked Ladies.  They aren’t bare, they aren’t naked (often) nor are they ladies.  What they are is a group of 40-something guys who are wonderful writers and musicians.   And they come from Canada!  

Oh so 90's!
Oh so 90’s!

Way back in 1994, I lived and worked in Long Island, NY.  My roommate at that time worked with a guy who spent quite a lot of time trying to impress her.  During one of those efforts, his brother worked for the William Morris Agency and the brother was going to some bar to see some band no-one had ever heard of.  My roommate was invited to come along and see the show from the front table of the agent.  She wasn’t really interested in the guy, but had nothing better to do, so she asked me to come along as wing-man.  And thus began my love of BNL. 

One thing I have always loved about them, is that we’re roughly the same age.  Their lyrics are about things that I can relate too.  And they aren’t too difficult to figure out.  I loathe poetry, always have.  I don’t get it.  If you want me to know something, then TELL ME!!!!  Don’t make me guess at your meaning.  But BNL’s songs are clever.  FromKing of Bedside Manoron their first album toBoomerangon new one, their songs are always fun.

barenaked ladies Another wonderful about BNL is that these fellas have aged very well. Check out a more recent photo.  Of course, the band has changed over time; Stephen Page, founding member and original lead singer has left to do his own thing.  But Ed Robertson  stepped up – he was always a leading voice, but now, his is the main voice.  Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve always liked Ed’s songs best.  Shhhh – it’ll be our secret.  

Ed is even on my list.  You know about the list, don’t you?  It harkens back to ye olde Friend’s episode where Ross and others have a list of 5 people with whom they may have an affair and not get in trouble with their significant other.  Hubby Deluxe and I have just such lists, and Ed is currently holding the coveted number 2 spot, right behind Josh Lucas.  Here’s why:  ed robertson

In my mind, Ed’s sexiness grew a bunch of times when he and the gang (not to be confused with Kool n the Gang!) released Snacktime – an album of funky fresh songs for kids.   We listen to it all the time, Bad Day, Louis Loon and Pollywog in a Bog are my favorites. 

Of course, no comment about BNL could be complete without a mention of their fantabulous live shows.  If you like the band but have never seen them live, you really must go.  They are hysterical!  And let me leave you with two quick thoughts: Odds Are from their new album soothed my soul on a very bumpy flight home from RWA Nationals.  And last but not least Lovers in a Dangerous Time is my favorite song, pretty much by anybody.  In a better recording than this one, you can really hear all the sounds, the harmonies and such.  Apparently Sir Paul McCartney has said that BNLs harmonies are tighter and more complex than anything he or his Beetley brethren ever tried.  

Today’s Secret: Canada’s best poorly kept secret is a bunch of guys called the Barenaked Ladies.  If I’ve converted you, see itunes for their full song list.  It’s well worth the investment.

Today’s Question: In a moment of 12-year-old-girl fan-dom, have you a favorite band?

 

The End of an Era by Vivienne Lynge

Good Morning Scribblehoardersrs!  Vivienne Lynge, here.  Today is a weird day for me.  I’ll be spending the day cleaning house.  Now if you’ve seen my house, you know that I’m just a few giant steps away from being a hoarder, or so it seems with Minx and Jester strewing their toys everywhere.  Cleaning just isn’t my bag.  But today, I’ll be spending the day cleaning someone else’s house.

My grandparents built a house in 1950 when my mom was a toddler.  Mom was an “oops”, as in her 3 siblings were 15, 17 and 18 years older than she.  My mom was really the only one of them to grow up in 1950 House.  Mom married young and divorced young, too.  Just a few years after leaving 1950 House, she was back, with two babies in tow.  The more adorable of the two was me.  🙂  So I grew up in 1950 House, too. 

When I was in high school, Mom remarried and we moved out leaving a 75 year old widowed G-Mom at 1950 House.  Mom’s oldest brother had divorced about that time (seriously, who divorces after 30 years of marriage?!) and he moved in to look after her.  Now thirty years later, G-Mom is long gone and Oldest Brother is 85.  He’s moving in with his son and it’s time to clean out 1950 House. 

Mom’s got a lot on her plate these days; a lot of change is coming her way at once.  To be helpful (and further cement my place as top daughter) I organized a family picnic for Labor Day at 1950 House and gave my Dad the number to call for a dumpster.  The cousins and I will be in attendance, our own kids in tow, to whip this place into shape. 

I have no idea what kind of treasures we’ll find.  My last peek into darkened 1950 corners was a decade ago when I uncovered a drawer full of phone bills from…wait for itbugs bunny glassware…the 1950’s.  I’m pretty sure Grandfather’s baseball card collection is long gone, as well as mom’s bicentennial quarter collection.  But I bet the bar still houses the 1973 Bugs Bunny and Friends glass collection from Burger King and I know my G-Mom’s record “collection” is still sitting on the floor of the Dining Room.  These are perhaps the worst sound recordings ever conferred upon vinyl.  And there are about 30 of ’em.  Sigh.  No Antiques’ Roadshow treasures there.  We’d have to pay someone to take them away.  Can you say “dumpster”?

But no matter what we find, it’s the end of an era.  That house was my first home.  I know that address, phone number and neighborhood better than I know my own.  We’ll be renting the house to family for a while, but still, the time has come to purge 1950 House of the Grandfather I never knew and the G-Mom who was (for good and bad) important to my formative years. 

Today’s Secret: I’m pretty sure that this is one of those life moments that writers are supposed to pay attention to so that we can write them authentically.  It’s a rite of passage for many people, whether it’s a parent’s house or another family member.

Today’s Question: I’ll be spending the holiday weekend on a trip down memory lane.  What are your plans?

The Pixar Universe

Hello Scribblers!  I’m so sorry I nearly missed two Saturdays in a row, but we spent both days in the family truckster hauling our way to the beach and back!  But I wanted to take a minute and give you all a link to a BRILLIANT thesis.  If you like Pixar movies, or you are a parent who has seen every one of them 437 times, this year, then this link is for you! 

In this long but interesting thesis, Jon Negroni ties all of the stories into the same universe and gives a plausible reason for why and how they are connected.  From a story-telling perspective, this is a really cool, and complicated idea.

Here’s the link to the original theory.  Enjoy.

The Voice by Vivienne Lynge

Hello Scriblers!  Happy Saturday to you.  Vivienne Lynge here.  Over the next few weeks, I want to tell you about a few things I learned at RWA National Conference.  I took some WONDERFUL workshops and I thought I’d share a bit about my favorite three.  Today, I want to share a bit of Deb Dixon’s workshop on Finding Your Voice.

Voice is one of those things that authors hear about a lot.  “Oh, her voice is so authentic!”  Or from agents, “To represent a project, I’ve got to love the author’s voice.”  That’s all well and good, but unless the story is in audio-book form, there is no voice to hear.  And if it is an audio-book, the voice is probably an actor, not the author.

But of course all these people are not talking about something they heard with their ears.  An author’s voice is often described as the author’s style, the syntax and vocabulary they use.  Deb Dixon says that voice is more than that.  She says that voice comes by accessing your own authentic emotions and using them to inform your writing.

For example – the next time you have an honest-to-God, over-the-top, toddler-style freak-out about something (come on – we all have ’em from time to time) when it’s over, take a moment to jot down those thoughts, actions and emotions that triggered it.  What was that last straw that threw you over the edge?  What were the pressures that built up to that last straw? 

krackatoaNow when you write a character who’s having a melt down, reread your comments about your own melt down and use that information.  Let’s say I have a close relative who just gets under my skin, pushes my buttons like nobody else in my life can do.  Every once in a while, that comes to a head and like Krakatoa, I explode – often loud enough to be heard miles away.  If I write down how it happened to me, next time I have a character get angry, I can style the fictional triggers after my own. 

That’s my voice.  That’s unique to me.  Nobody else is wired exactly the same way I am.  We are all similar and that’s what makes one person’s emotional experience relate-able to another’s, but we’re not exactly the same. And my voice will carry through my body of work.  It’s often what gets people to come back, book after book, shelling out their hard earned dollars for a few hours of entertainment.

Now of course anger isn’t a particularly personal emotion.  I’m very willing to share it with others. Sometimes too willing – ala Krakatoa.  😉  Embarrassment, humiliation, hurt, love, passion, emotional risks and failures – those are much more private and may be more difficult to share with a world of people, many of whom may comment on your product.  But that authentic emotion is a big part of voice.  It will inform your character arcs, the themes you write, the plots you create, your scenes.  Don’t shy away from voice – embrace it.  

Today’s secret: if you ever get the opportunity to hear Deb Dixon, do so!  This was a wonderful workshop, that frankly, I’d like to take again.  I’m sure I’d get even more out of it a second time through.

Who do you think has a great authorial voice?  Whose writing speaks to you?  Who do you find recognizable even from a small sample of their work?  For me – the first one that comes to mind is Lynn Kurland.  I love her romances.