Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Bad News

The fine for traffic light violation is just about covered by the extra hours I worked this past month in order to save up money for the summer.

The Good News

The fine for traffic light violation is just about covered by the extra hours I worked this past month in order to save up money for the summer.

Happy Earth Day!

Celebrate by becoming a vegetarian!

If I were to start my own religion, I'd totally make one of the rules be that you should eat meat sparingly. Do you suppose many people would actually heed that counsel or would they blow it off in favor of flashier dietary restrictions on tobacco and alcohol? Hm. I wonder if anyone's ever tried something similar...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea

Good idea:

Pooh-shaped crackers.

Bad idea:

Pooh-flavored crackers.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Change I Can Believe In

FoxyJ decided a few months ago that she's just not that into her PhD program. She enjoys the classes and does very well in them, but she just doesn't care about getting a PhD that much and a PhD program is the kind of thing you have to care about if you're going to commit all the time and effort required. More than anything, I think she's felt that at this point in her life she wants to focus on being a mom more than on being a student. As she worked through her feelings about school, I was resistant to the idea of her dropping out, mostly for stupid reasons, but also because I worried that she was giving up on something that mattered to her out of a sense of Mormony obligation to be a stay-at-home mom. She assured me this was not the case and I promised that I would support her in whatever she chose to do.

The growing certainty of Foxy leaving the PhD program meant we would need another source of income (she has a nice stipend), so a couple months ago I started looking for full-time employment. At a point where I had already been struggling with depression, this process proved enormously stressful. In the first place, the current economic climate is a horrible one to be looking for a job in--I've applied for several jobs, most of which I was more than qualified for, and not gotten a single interview. In the second place, I really enjoy my current job and am hesitant to give it up. It's only part-time but it pays very well, it allows me a lot of time at home with my family, and it requires very little creative energy, which is a big deal to me because writing is very important to me and I like having as much creative energy as possible for the few hours a week I have time to write. In the third place, the thought of moving to a new city for the third time in three years was a sickening thought. I'm tired of starting over from scratch.

Feeling overwhelmed by all of this, a couple weeks ago I asked Foxy if she wouldn't consider staying in school for just one more year so that we could remain in our current comfortable (for me) situation long enough at least to see what comes of the novel I'm currently revising in hopes of publishing and establishing something like a writing career. She didn't like this idea and I realized a couple days later that it's not fair to ask her to do something she doesn't want to for the sake of saving me from doing something I don't want to. And then I found a solution that makes both of us happy: Utah.

Neither Foxy or I am crazy about Utah as a place to live, but we have a lot of family and friends there and, having lived there for about ten years of each of our lives, it's familiar and comfortable. We'd been talking for a while about how we missed being close to family and maybe we'd be willing to live in Utah again to make that happen. Also, it's much cheaper to live in Utah than in California, which means I can keep my current job and either Foxy or I will just need to find something part-time to supplement that income--she's hoping to teach at UVU. There aren't a lot of full-time prospects in Utah right now because everyone has a hiring freeze, but sooner or later something will come up, perhaps at the library I worked at for three years and would love to go back to, and we'll settle into something more permanent. Above all, the thought of moving back to Utah doesn't make me want to curl into a ball and hide. As an added bonus, our daughter, who is tired of being jerked around and would have otherwise hated the idea of moving yet again, is excited about being closer to her cousins.

So to our Utah friends and family: We're excited to see you in June.

To our California friends: Sorry. We love you. We'll visit.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Plain and Precious Parts

A year and a half in the making, the Fob Bible is nearly here. On June 1st, a collection of prose and poetry inspired by the Old Testament and written by members of the Friends of Ben writing group (and illustrated posthumously by Gustave Dore) will be available to purchase here. In the meantime, whet your appetite with selections we call "Plain and Precious Parts of the Fob Bible"--you can read it online here, download a free copy for your eReader here, or buy the Kindle edition for $0.99 here.

The stories, poetry, and drama in this anthology are written by some of the best writers I know, including fellow bloggers Theric, Tolkien Boy, Melyngoch, and editorgirl. The hard copy (once again, available June 1st) will feature three stories of mine: a slightly revised version of "Abraham's Purgatory"; "The Official History of the International Society for the Spiritual Attunement of the Friends of G.C. Benefield, Chapter 34," which serves as an introduction to the world of the five-book YA superhero fantasy series I'm currently working on; and "The Changing of the God," which features a conversation between Old Testament God and New Testament God. Of my three stories only "Abraham's Purgatory" is in the "Plain and Precious Parts" sampler, but you'll also see there a wonderful collection of pieces from my friends and fellow writers that explore Bible stories you may or may not be familiar with in creative and thought-provoking ways.

All proceeds from the sales of the Fob Bible will go to LDS Humanitarian Services, a charity whose Mormon heritage reflects that shared by most of Fob and whose humanitarian goals we are all happy to support, regardless of our current relation to the church.