7 Quick Takes


Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus l...
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus lateralis). Bryce Canyon, Utah (USA). Image taken by Eborutta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With Nicholas in the house, we have the most random conversations. Like this: “Mommy, there’s a squirrel in the pipe.” (He’s been pretending to be a construction guy named Jaylen this week. Before that it was Fireman Jaylen. Don’t ask me, I’m just the reporter.) “Do you want me to fix your pipe?”

“Why yes, that would be great. There’s a squirrel in my pipe?”

“Yeah, it’s tangled up in a vine in the pipe.”

“Is it alive, or dead?”

“It’s alive. In fact, there’s a whole family of squirrels.”

“Oh, really. Well, you’d better get to work, then.”


Michael is battling his first croup. Blech.


It’s amazing how far a golf ball will go when thrown down a sidewalk.


Man, I’m boring today. I fizzled out after the squirrel.


Really, I was just trying to avoid obsessing about the TWELVE versions of my novel query I’ve written. I can’t even talk about it to my husband anymore  because he rolls his eyes, he’s so tired of hearing about it. I’m so close to being ready to query, I can taste it, and it’s such an exercise in patience, not to rush it and blow the chance.

What’s a novel query, you ask? Before a book is published, an editor has to decide it’s worth looking at. Editors at major publishers generally want to be approached through a literary agent, not directly by authors. (Everybody’s written a book, you know.) So how do you get a literary agent to take you on as a client? You write a one-page letter that hooks their attention, encapsulates your story, and convinces them why they should take you seriously.

So that’s where I am: finished with the novel at long last, and trying to finish the submission package so I can start querying. I’ve been through this process once before, without success–hence my obsession with getting this package as tight and punchy as I possibly can, even if it means spending weeks and lots of mental and emotional agony over it.


This is my week for carpool duty. At Alex’s school you funnel through a long line, stopping at different class levels to pick up kids. On Wednesday afternoon, as we were sitting in the line, Nicholas suddenly said, “I think I have a nosebleed!”

I turned around and sure enough, he did. Of course, I was SITTING IN THE CARPOOL LINE, so I couldn’t do anything more than pass a tissue to him and tell him to keep pressure on it until we got everybody in the car, and then I’d pull off and take care of it.

Naturally, this meant it was the day that I managed to arrive at precisely the right moment to ensure that we were caught in every possible traffic snarl along the pickup route, so that it took nearly twelve minutes to get through the line. I think Alex was the last third grader to be picked up. By the time I got pulled off in a parking place at the far end of the line, the state of those tissues was something else. Put that on the list of things you never thought you’d have to do–deal with a nosebleed in the carpool lane.


Nicholas just came over and asked me to tie his shoe. “It’s my Ninjago shoe. You’re the leader of the Ninja. You tell us what to do and we do it.”

“Wow,” I said, “that would be amazing.” If only.

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about charade fails, $100 centipedes, and six word novels