Monday, September 29, 2008

My Lost City

by, Kasie West

Things were going missing in our house, important things like Blue Tooth ear pieces (both of them), sunglasses, remote controls, money.  What was going on?  It was frustrating.  We blamed everything and everyone:  our poor organizational skills, our two-year-old son, the dog.  We looked everywhere:  under cushions, inside pockets, behind couches.  We offered bribes to whichever child could find them first—all to no avail.  What had become of our things?  Would it forever remain a mystery, like the case of the one missing sock or the city of Atlantis?  When I was ready to give up all hope, just as I had in the previously mentioned mysteries, the case was solved. 

It was a normal summer day in Clovis, hot beyond comprehension.  I was in the car.  The sun was blinding as it radiated off of everything around me, the dashboard, the windshield, the neighboring car’s side mirror.  I squinted, in need of relief.  I reached over to the passenger seat where my oversized purse rested.  I had never been a “big purse” girl before.  But I was visiting New York, it was red, a gold emblem that said Dolce & Gabbana adorned the front, I thought I was cool.  I forked over the thirty dollars to the street vendor and began totting around my larger than necessary purse.  Now, inside my car, in the bright sun, I just needed my sunglasses that resided somewhere inside the ginormous sea. 

I blindly felt through the contents as I continued to watch the road.  Eventually my hand felt my glasses, but they were trapped behind a thin layer of material.  I couldn’t free them.  When I finally arrived home, eyes watering from lack of proper protection from the unrelenting sun, I pulled my purse onto my lap.  Once again I found my sunglasses, but now I could see that they were behind the lining of my purse, stuck.  I was confused.  How did they get in there?  I searched in vain for a way in.

Eventually, I unzipped the little side pocket and found the hole that had been eating my stuff.  I pulled things through it one by one, my sunglasses, a box of tic tacs, the ear pieces (both of them), money, pens (ten pens to be exact), the only thing I didn’t find was the T.V. remote, oh, and the city of Atlantis (it wouldn’t have surprised me if I had).

I was ecstatic.  The mystery was solved.  No longer could I blame my sub par organization, no longer would our two year old son get the suspicious looks, and no more would the poor, innocent dog be thought ill of.  I had found my lost city of junk inside the vast depths of my sea.

Have I since gotten rid of my purse that is bigger than the ocean?  Did I mention it says Dolce & Gabbana on the front?  I still tote around my fake designer, but now when my husband asks, “Hey, honey have you seen my missing sock?”  I say, “Have you checked my purse?”  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quote of the Week

"The great thing about revision is that it's your opportunity to fake being brilliant." 

-Will Shetterly


The quote of the week is to kick off my first day of really ripping into book three.  It has a few sections that I’ve been avoiding and I know it’s time to give them some love.  I constantly have to remind myself that editing is where I get to make myself look good because I would much rather be writing than editing.  Writing is fun, new, and exciting.  Editing is torturous, painful, and slow.  It is always worth it in the end, though.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How to become the laziest person on earth in seven days (or less)

by, Kasie West

Day one:  Practice the art of asking others to do what you can easily do yourself.  For example, if you are sitting on the couch and you would like a drink and someone else is anywhere in the vicinity, see if you can get said other to get you said drink.  Try to look busy.  This normally helps.  If it’s not too much effort, hold a magazine and pretend to read.  Or intently stare at the television as though you are learning something of great value.  If no one else is in the house, refer to day six for your solution.

Day two:  Do not do things that, if left undone, will eventually be taken care of by “fairies”.  For example, do not waste your time and energy on dishes.  When the sink gets full and you have run out of clean dishes, improvise.  Be creative.  A pan can double as a cereal bowl, a ladle as a spoon.  Eventually the “Dish Fairy” will come and you will have clean dishes again.  You will be grateful you held out.

Day three:  Do you make your bed every day?  Stop that, it is a pointless chore due to the fact that in less than twelve hours (or maybe closer to nine, depending on how successful you are in the art of laziness) it will be slept in again.

Day four:  There is no need to fold clothes and put them away.  Keep them in the dryer.  Eventually, as you remove the items one by one to wear them, the dryer will be empty and ready for another load.  Make sure you smell the clothes that have been sitting in the washer.  They might need to be run one more time to remove the mildew (if that’s too much work, the heat of the dryer and a nice dryer sheet might take away the stench).

Day five:  Have you been staying awake all day like a sucker?  Midday naps are a perfect cure for that after lunch burst of energy.  Eventually your body will get used to this routine and will no longer try to encourage you to be active.

Day six:  Eating is a key factor in keeping up on laziness.  It takes a lot of energy to be lazy.  Make sure you are feeding your habit properly.  If you are forced to get up and get your food or drink yourself, better double up on whatever snack you are retrieving.  Think of all those calories you burned walking to the kitchen.   

Day seven:  Rest.  It has been a long, hard week of being lazy.  Take a break.  You deserve it.


Although I kid and have perhaps portrayed some of my habits in their most extreme form, I oftentimes feel like one of the laziest people on earth.  Most days are spent behind my laptop in my big comfy armchair, wondering when the fairies are going to come and take care of my chores because my imagination and me are too busy writing.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Many of you have asked why the template for my blog is Arizona scenery.  After all, I am a California girl, born and raised.  Okay, actually nobody asked about the template.  Why don't you people ask about my template??  Sorry, I'm known to whine on occasion.  Well, since I have now forced you to ask yourself, I will now proceed to tell you.  This blog is a tribute to my books and my books, well part of my books, take place in the coolest little town in Arizona.  Before I started writing my first book I had never even been to Arizona (unless you count the little corner you have to drive through on the way to Utah).  So, I did a lot of internet research, viewed a lot of pics and started writing.  Since writing, I went to visit and let me tell you that pictures don't do Arizona justice.  In my personal, completely unbiased, opinion, Arizona is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life.  Sure, I've never been anywhere before, I'm just kidding, I've been lots of places and the landscape in Arizona is amazing.  Have you ever seen a cactus before?  How about hundreds of them stretched out for miles along red, rocky hills?  Blue skies, only interrupted by an occasional cloud.  And then, during the right season, when the clouds do decide to roll in, they assist in creating the most amazing sunsets in the world.  Sunsets where the whole sky is on fire.  My good friend, Nicki, sent me a picture of an Arizona sunset and I'm going to add it to my slideshow so that you can see what I'm talking about.  So, for those of you who asked (none of you) about my template, that explains it.  

Quote of the week

 "You can't wait for inspiration.  You have to go after it with a club."  -Jack London

Friday, September 12, 2008

Phases of the Moon

You may have noticed that I have a gadget that depicts the phases of the moon on my blog.  I love the moon.  I love when it’s a sliver in the sky, just a hint of light peeking out from behind shadows, but I especially love when it is full and bright.  I was thinking this morning, as I noticed that the moon was climbing towards full again, that if I had not had that gadget on my blog, I wouldn’t have known.  Every twenty-seven days a full moon lights up the sky and even after admitting how much I love it, I can’t remember the last time I took the time to notice it.  Tonight, I'm going to go outside and look at the full moon.  I'm going to notice the way that its increased brightness lightens the dark shadows of the night.  I'm going to notice the way its glow makes its edges a little fuzzy.  I'm going to be in awe, once again, at one of the miracles of nature.  

What else am I not taking the time to notice?  What else do I wish I had a little icon on my blog for?  My oldest daughter turned ten last month.  If she were depicted as an icon on my blog, she would be shown as half full.  Half full?  What have I missed?  What have I not taken the time to notice?  I think back to when she was just a little light peeking out from behind my shadow.  Now she’s becoming brighter as she climbs towards full.  Have I appreciated each step along the way?  Unlike with the moon, if I miss one of her phases, I don’t get another chance to view it again. 

So, to my four little moons in their various stages, I’d like to say, that I will pause more each day to notice your phase, to appreciate your beauty, to bask in your light.  I know I'm going to be in awe, once again, of your miraculous natures. 

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Series

Okay, so maybe I should actually write a little about the series I'm working on.  It's a young adult fantasy series that will consist of four books and possibly a prequel. Three of the four are completed and in the revising phase, which process, in my opinion, is harder than actually writing the books.  Why?  Because not only do you have to pick apart every aspect of your book, but as you are studying each individual sentence you start to wonder if your book is any good.  Then you have to quickly remind yourself that a book doesn't consist of one sentence and move on to the next sentence where you will have to remind yourself again.  On top of that, you have to read your book over and over and over....and over again.  I have probably read my first book fifty times (thank goodness I love it) and even though I'm prone to exaggeration, I am not exaggerating.  Anyway, I don't want to say too much about the plot of my books because I am in the process of trying to get them published.  Let me give a very brief synopsis, however, with the qualifier that this is, indeed, very brief and doesn't even begin to explain the story.  

A modern day girl finds herself in a distant fairytale world where she must piece together the familiar stories of her childhood in order to get home.  She soon discovers that the stories she had heard her whole life, played out a little differently when they were real people and real places.

I know it's vague and it doesn't say a whole lot, but what can I do?  Hopefully, very soon, you won't have to read a two sentence synopsis, but will actually be able to read my book(s).  

Quote of the week

I don't know much about creative writing programs. But they're not telling the truth if they don't teach, one, that writing is hard work, and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer.

             -Doris Lessing

This week's quote is for my husband.  He completely agrees with the last part of the statement (as does my messy house) and I completely agree with the first part.  Thanks for all your support, Jared.  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Top ten ways you know you're a writer

by, Kasie West
10-You narrate your own life.

9- You hear voices in your head and the only way to silence them is to tell their story.

8- The best way for someone to become your friend is for them to tell you they love your work.

7- The easiest way for someone to become your enemy is for them to criticize your work.

6- You are rejected more now than you ever were in high school.

5- Your daily mood is directly correlated to your daily word count.

4- The blinking cursor has become your nemesis.  Seriously, as in, if there were a way to kill it, you would.

3- You spend more time with your imaginary friends than with your real ones (and you’re perfectly fine with that).

2- If you’re not writing you’re wishing you were.

1- For you, writing falls into the same category as breathing, eating, and sleeping (the last two being optional).


Are you a writer?  Did I leave out one of your top ten indicators?  Tell me one of the ways people know that you are a writer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Short Prose (indulge me)

Dignity? Who Needs It

by, Kasie West

I sat down to check my e mail and smeared across the back of my hand was a dried booger. Yes, dried, as in, it had been there for a while. It would have been disgusting enough had it been my own, but it wasn’t. It was my two-year-old son’s. It would have been understandable had I not remembered exactly how it had gotten there, which would have been the case on any other day (there had been other days).

As I looked at this particular booger, however, I knew how it had come to be there. It had been bath time, it had been hanging out of his nose, and I had wiped it, (with my finger, of course, what else would I wipe it with?) and as I had gone to throw it away, it had disappeared. I thought to myself at the time, ‘huh, I wonder where that booger went?’ And then just as quickly I had thought, ‘oh well.’

So, fast-forward to the now dried up booger. What would I do? Would I get a tissue for it, like I should have done when I originally saw it hanging out of his nose? Or would I let it sit for another few minutes while I checked my e mail? It wasn’t getting any drier or less disgusting, of course I waited. Which brought me to the question I asked myself a lot as a mother of four children under the age of ten—did I have any dignity left? And the answer I always came back with was—of course not.

What was dignity anyway? I was already checking my e-mail. It wouldn’t take much longer to jump onto a dictionary site, just to make sure I wasn’t selling myself short. informed me that dignity was “bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.” I looked back at the booger—nope, not an ounce of dignity left.

I thought back, trying to remember at exactly what point, over the last ten years, I had lost it. I concluded that it wasn’t something that had happened all at once. It was a culmination of many experiences. After all, I had at one point been a very self-respecting individual. Or so I had successfully fooled myself into thinking for many years.

It wasn’t something I lost merely by becoming a mother. In fact, I can remember clearly my first child as a baby. I used a blanket when I nursed. When her binky would fall on the ground, I would wash it under hot water for several minutes. I would carefully check her diaper for any signs of a “stinky” by lifting it away from her leg and peeking inside. I even remember gagging when I was changing her diaper one time and poop came squirting out, landing on my arm. I must’ve used just short of a million wipes to scrub my arm clean.

When my first child was a toddler, however, there may have been little things creeping into my patterns of behavior that hadn’t been there before. Like the time I had gone to the grocery store and was trying to decide between two flavors of pop tarts. In my cutest little mommy voice I had said, “should we get the stwaberry or the booberry,” only to look over and see that my cart was empty. I had left my daughter at home with my husband. That was back when I was still trying to cling to my dignity, so I was thoroughly embarrassed when the man a few feet away gave me a strange look. I even felt the need to say, while laughing, “I thought I had my daughter with me.” In his eyes I don’t think that had made much of a difference.

Then my second child came. I was slightly more relaxed in my dignity. If my blanket slipped while nursing, it didn’t mark the end of the world. If her binky fell on the floor, thirty seconds under luke warm water seemed sufficient for disinfection. Checking the diaper became a job for my nose instead of my eyes.

The public humiliation seemed to come more frequently with the new addition to the family. My first child, perhaps in an attempt for attention, thought it was her duty to take off her diaper and streak through the isles at large, crowded, stores. When I had my bits of dignity left, it was very hard for me to hunt down an employee and say, “Um, there’s been a spill in isle four.” “What kind of spill,” they would inevitably ask. “Urine,” I would mumble before leaving as quickly as possible.

Then my third child came and I came to the realization that certain behaviors of practice previously attempted now seemed unrealistic. Using a blanket to nurse seemed impractical because by the time the baby was done, we were both sweating. If the binky fell on the floor, my own mouth provided just the right amount of disinfection. After all, I rarely had access to a faucet of running water. Was she poopy? A finger directly into the side of the diaper could find out quickly. Did that make you gag? Not me. In fact, I rarely gagged at all these days. Not even when my fourth child spit up directly on to my face, causing momentary blindness.

Public humiliation seemed to happen less these days as well. Oh wait…no…it happened more, I had just become less humiliated. Did it bother me when I walked through the isles at a grocery store with no children, but a large chocolate drool stain down the front of my shirt? No, because if I had put on a new shirt before I left, it would have been dirty by the end of the day too, and that would have just equaled more laundry.

Have I made proper reference to all bodily functions yet? Just making sure, a person lacking dignity would include every last one.

I finally went to the sink and rinsed off the booger. After drying my hands on a towel, I rubbed my finger across my now clean hand. It felt soft, as if I had applied an expensive mask to my skin, the kind they sold for a lot of money in the department stores. Who needed expensive masks when they had kids? And who needed dignity? Not me. I had so much more.


I would love to hear about the  moment you realized you lost your dignity.  Tell me.  If you're hesitant to do so than you must still have at least a little left.  This would also be a proper forum to tell me how much you love me.  You are not, however, allowed to criticize me on my blog. (refer to number 7 above, in my 'top ten' list)  Don't worry, I get enough of that every day in the form of rejection letters.

You've got to have friends!!

It is my experience and recommendation that, when attempting to write a novel, you have in your arsenal, at least one other person who is also a writer.  This person will understand you, like no other, on those days when you feel like the silliest person on earth for not only making up, but writing down, a make believe story that you expect others to read.  They will help you to realize that hearing voices in your head doesn't necessarily mean you're crazy.  (note the word 'necessarily')  They will talk you out of those moments when you want to throw your computer out the window and at the neighbor's dog, who won't stop barking, just so you can prove that your computer can accomplish something useful for a change.  So, Candi, my computer and I thank you for your undying support of my obsession.  You have not only been an inspiration, but an excellent motivator.    

Quote of the week

Either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.

--Benjamin Franklin

I don't know that I do either, but this will be my motto for the week because sometimes I need to remember to come out from behind my computer and live a little. (So that I'll have things to write about later, of course)  I thought I'd show a little proof, in the form of a slide show (seen above) that every once in a while I see the sun. As evidenced by my extremely white legs, however, I'm sure you'll easily draw the conclusion that it isn't very often.