We're off visiting family right now. It's SO nice. It's actually summer! It was winter right up to the moment the kids got out of school, so it almost feels like we've suddenly swapped hemispheres or something. I love being in a house with up to code electricity, two toilets, fully functioning plumbing, and walls and windows that aren't ready to collapse. (It did take me a while to get used to a level floor in the bathroom.) I am grateful every day that I don't have to smell the stinky sugar refinery that lives across from our house of horror. A little concerned that we'll go back and find the basement full of water, as they've had nearly 5" of rain this month alone, and even a little rain runs through the bad window frames and into the basement. But that's not anything I can do with at the moment, so I try not to think about it.
More than the much-needed relief from the house, though, is just the chance to see many of our relatives. We've always lived very far from everyone else and never really got it when people would say that they missed their families. But now we know. We lived near my parents for a couple years, then moved near some of our sisters and near enough to ancestral homelands that my husband's parents could see us as they drove up to see their own parents. And now...we just live way. too. far. away. I think we lived closer to them when we were in Germany than where we are now; North Dakota just feels like the end of the earth. My in-laws have such a wonderfully calm and peaceful house and they are used to small children in large quantities, and as soon as you walk in the door, you are overcome with such a peaceful, relaxing, welcoming feeling. Plus, one of my BILs lives nearby, and so my youngest has his co-conspirator cousin to play with every day. The only drawback is my husband being off at a conference in the UK. He's having a nice time, but we will all be glad when he comes back.
Meanwhile, everyone is very into the World Cup. Many of our favorite Germans are back (Mueller! Ötzil! Schweinsteiger! Lahm!), and we are all hoping for a German win. They're playing rather well so far. But we have enjoyed other games, including the happiness of Honduras scoring their first goal at the World Cup in 34 years. Maybe a lot of the things I'm trying to do haven't worked out, but I do love seeing someone get something they've been working so hard at for so long.
In writing, I have much of a draft done, but I have to insert a whole plot line into it, and it's tying my brain into knots. I can feel it rising inside me, and I *almost* have hold of it--but not quite. This place always makes my brain spark and fizz, but at the same time, I'm trying to visit, not hole up like a hermit. But I feel like if I can just get the pieces put together, the writing of it won't be too hard. (Or rewriting, more like--instead of revising, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to start from scratch and add in scenes as they apply to the new structure.)
In reading, I picked up Harry Potter Page to Screen: the Complete Filmmaking Journey
, by Bob McCabe, from the library. Wow. VERY cool book. It's all about how they made all of the films. I don't want to make movies. But I'm always fascinated to learn how people tell stories in other formats. I think that working on that film must have been the MOST fun (and possibly the MOST challenging) project a lot of those people have done. Imagine getting an enormous budget and being told to make a whole world--whether or not it appears on the screen in the final cut. We're talking incredible inventions of costumes, architecture, animal creation, etc. Most of it was NOT CGI, which means they actually built these things--like Buckbeak, or the basilisk, or the Forbidden Forest, etc. Then you have the actors, who are putting themselves into the characters (and a bit of the characters are getting into them, too), and all of these people working together to bring a story to life. I've heard many times writers describe writing as if they're catching hold of something that already exists somehow. That's exactly what it feels like to me--like these are things that exist on some plane, and we bring them into the world, clothe them in a physical way that people around us can understand. It feels like channeling, like inspiration. Like a gift. And when you create like this, it brings a lot of joy (once you're done with the tearing your hair out part). And reading the comments of all of these people, the ones who made the Marauders' Map, or who hand bound all the textbooks in the films, or created the Black family genealogical tapestry, or invented and painted on Sirius Black's tattoos, or found the place in Scotland where Hogwarts truly exists, at least in spirit, I could feel that joy of hitting the right note, of bringing just the right detail to life.