Hockey Practice, A Million Helpers, & Finishing Up 2019

One of the many trophies in the lobby at Outpost for our various hockey teams: sled, PeeWee, Mites, Bantom, etc. There’s so many and it’s beautiful. This one caught my eye, look at the details.

I don’t know why I don’t talk about it. Maybe it’s that it feels so personal that I was allowed such a wonderful thing or maybe it’s that for the most part no one else is ever there and that makes it feel more intimate and less public, if that makes some amount of sense. Maybe it’s that I wanted to hold it dear to me until I was done writing and cling to it like fresh air to breathe. I’m not really sure, but I do know it’s a powerful thing that’s made me hold onto some of my experiences in the past few months instead of sharing them here. That said, it’s time to share just how lucky we are to have this team here.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s about winning or losing, because it isn’t. I don’t just say that because we’re at the bottom of the league. We could be #1 and I’d still be saying it. It’s about friendship and comradery, community and having fun, supporting others and watching a bunch of young men try to make their dreams come true. It’s about hope and home, even if it’s thousands of miles from your original one. It’s about lasting memories and that special spark of something that burrows itself deep inside you and stays for the rest of your life.

I haven’t really written about all the practices that I’ve been to or the guys that bothered to take time out of their busy lives to talk hockey with me. I haven’t said a word about the smiles, the fist bumps, the endless array of questions I’ve sent toward certain players, or the fact that without them, I’d be drowning in confusion. I should have been saying it all along, but I was clinging to it like a child with a new shiny toy who just doesn’t want to share with their siblings right now. I wanted to share, but I wanted to hold onto it as my own for as long as I could. It’s time I told you that this team is made up of the nicest people imaginable. A coach that says yes to some random author lady asking if she can come to practice and sit quietly and take notes. Three players saying yes, they’ll field all my hockey questions, all of them with complete enthusiasm. Staff and the owner of the arena literally calling me the team’s biggest supporter and striving to make a million of my dreams come true in two short months.

These two months feel like a year. Between my full time career, all the events I’ve been going to, hockey games, hockey practices, DnD gaming, and trying to write a full length novel for the first time in my life I’ve had very little time for the rest of my life. So this is for those people too. My husband who has always given me undying support in all I do. My friends who have been patient when I’m late to gaming or can’t make it at all or I’m too frazzled to play Heroes of the Storm with them like I normally would. To my dad for lending his ear when I got too caught up in myself to breathe. To the entire staff of my breakfast writing spot – Weck’s – who never once kicked me out and never expected me to pay rent on my table (though I always have). My online friends for listening to the incessant hockey talk they probably gave zero shits about and my editor who is braving the shit out of this novel for me. This thing I’m doing… it’s for all of these people and it’s because of all of these people that it’d been possible.

I’ve been to so many practices and taken so many notes it’s filled half a notebook. I’ve taken notes on penalties, game plays, line swaps, stupid shit that went down, and bullshit from every game that takes up another quarter of that same notebook. There’s an entire other notebook for the ever changing plot of this monster of a book. I feel like I owe something to those notebooks for surviving me in these two months.

I’ve watched games from NAHL, Bantam-class, sled hockey, NHL, and random video clips until I confused myself and had yet more questions for the guys, that once again, they fielded with ease and patience. I’ve written until my wrists ached, until I found myself staring at Twitter for an hour and had no idea what to do with myself, until I dreamed about my characters. I’ve spent entire days at work wishing like hell it’d get done so I could go home to write only to lose my will to do it the instant I got home. I’ve spent hours in front of my computer doing anything but writing and then cursing myself for wasting that time. I’ve switched music genres enough to scare everyone around me while writing it and I’ve learned to love something I had no idea I did in two beautiful months.

So this is me telling you something very important. Always ask for what you need: the answer may surprise you. Dream big or small, but always keep dreaming. Think you can and you most likely will. Give people a chance and usually they’ll prove they’re worth that chance.

I only hope I’ve proved exactly that to the entire staff of Outpost Ice Arena, the NM Ice Wolves 2019 team, and the staff of Weck’s. I already know I’ve proved that to my father, my husband, and my friends. Love you all.

There’s one more game this year for me. I’m heading to Amarillo for the team’s away game there. My heart swells with the opportunity and even though I’m going to an NHL game in February, I’m honestly more excited to go support our boys in TX. Here’s hoping we show those Bulls what’s up.

Writing, Life, Music, and Hockey

It’s been a strange couple weeks. I spent a lot of it sick and yet more of it on the road to Denver to see Dir en grey, a band I’ve loved for well over a decade. I ended up in major tooth pain and had an extraction yesterday due to a pretty severe infection that nothing else was going to solve. I can easily tell you that was the worst pain of my life and I’ve had some pretty extensive pains.

Beyond that (horrible) adventure, I’d like to take a minute to at least catch everyone up on where I’m at. I haven’t been doing hockey reviews because the boys are on the road and I feel a little weird writing reviews for games I’m watching on HockeyTV instead of in person. That said, if you’re still interested in reviews for those games, let me know and I’ll do them while I’m subscribed this month!

Writing has taken a break. I did an extensive review of my already written 71K worth of words early this month and ended up re-writing around 3K worth, which really wasn’t bad given how much I thought I’d need to change after meeting with three of the players from the NM Ice Wolves to ensure I was correct in all I was writing. (Fantastic people with so much patience. They’re truly great dudes and I wish the world for them.)

I plan to start writing again during my winter break from work and haul ass through the rest of the novel. That should give me time to pick up any lose ends, bounce any further potential issues off the hockey dudes, and shovel more of my work toward my editor for the first round in what is sure to be multiple edits.

Die from Dir en grey

The concert was amazing. It’s so hard to get the words out to describe how I feel about it and anyone that’s known me for long enough to have been right there with me when I was a huge part of that fandom knows how near and dear that band is to me. Great people with amazing talent, look them up if you get a chance (and if you don’t like the first song, skip a few years and listen again, they’ve changed so much over the years it’s amazing). I smiled until my face hurt, I screamed lyrics until my throat hurt, and I cried until all that stored up anxiety and stress had drained out of me. That’s what their shows have always done and this year was no different.

Kyo from Dir en grey

Hockey-wise, I’d like to take a second to congratulate Josh Graziano, our (now former) goalie from the NM Ice Wolves on his commit to Union College. They have a rep of feeding players up into the NHL and I have my fingers crossed real hard for him. We’ll all miss him like hell, but we always want progress for our team, so here we are. Henrik Laursen has been stepping up real well and I think he’ll shine as our main goalie and here’s hoping whoever we pull on board will steal our hearts, too!

Also… was anyone else watching that ‘come at me bro’ moment 2 games ago involving Grazino? I had some legit glee up in this joint. Just sayin’. 😉

NaNoWriMo, Sickness, and Life

We’re winding down on the month of November and I appear to be winding up on the amount of sick time I can possibly use this month. It started with my husband sharing his cold with me mid-month and while I thought I was getting better, I ended up with a sinus and ear infection that resulted in a round of antibiotics and a dang near an IV for fluids in Urgent Care. Dr did not seem happy with how dehydrated I was and it wasn’t for lack of me trying to input them as I was drinking huge amounts of water and Gatorade. I think it was trying not to snot everywhere and taking cold meds (not above dosage but for such a period of time, I’m pretty sure). In any case, now I’m getting better (again) but ugh, we’re in the trial of how many boxes of tissues can I possibly use in a single month. Every trashcan in the house overflows with white snow (running joke that when the dog gets into it, it looks like it snowed in the house).

In any case, all that crap has left me struggling to finish cranking out this book this month. I wanted to proudly say I’d finished it in one month, but perhaps that was never going to happen given I arrived at 53K on 11/12 and still hadn’t arrived at what I had originally thought was the main point of my book. I’m now at 71K and have definitely found my way to that part of the plot, but I’m starting to realize I got so absorbed in the hockey part that the romance part became secondary. That’s odd for me, a complete reversal of my usual, and it’s got me in a bit of a bind at the moment. I both want to write and am hemming and hawing around actually doing it. I know it’s because my mind if confused as to what I’m actually trying to accomplish now.

It doesn’t help all the character’s drama plots are kind of culminating at the same time and I feel like that’s a bit much, but they all progressed there at the same time and there’s not much I can do about it without rewriting around 26K of it, which, let’s face it, isn’t happening. As is stands, I have about 8K that’s going to get re-written because the last part I tried to write while really sick definitely crashed and burned. It’s disjointed and strangely foggy and just overall not quality. (I may extract it and save it for something, like to look back at and remind myself why when on day 9 of cold meds not to write.)

So, it looks like this is going to boil over into December. Maybe just as well, since I have time off and can spend some of it writing. I may also have to find my calm place to write that isn’t my breakfast place. I’m starting to strain the budget tipping per table that leaves around me since I’m taking up valuable table space over here. Writing at home is just so hard because even with rules about interruptions, I get them anyway, all the time. Dogs, cats, husbands, friends, the mailman, you name it. Here it’s a singular interruption of a lovely waitress asking me if I’d like more coffee and that’s that. I need a safe writing zone, it’s official.

Oh, and let me say, trying to rename a character 71K into a story because you realize you did a truly dumb thing with their name is like fighting with an angry badger. And that’s a background character, god help me if it hadn’t been!

Character Creation

Short writing post here as I need to focus on my NaNoWriMo word count this month as I try to grind this book out as fast as humanly possible and at least beat the 50K deadline by November’s close.

Thought I’d post something amusing up here about characters and how peevy they can be for no apparent reason. Maybe the third character I had a name and pseudo-bio for decided to be a pain in my rear end. In that he would not tell me what the hell he looked like for nearly a month of dreaming up plots and trying to figure out my boys.

That being said, we finally ended up doing random internet image searching for nearly two hours while I tried to make him tell me what he looked like. Are you a ginger? Maybe. Are you a blond? Who knows. Bro, I need to know what’s going on! Are you tall? Silence. Buff? Sorta scrawny? Beard? More silence.

Two hours later I find out he’s 20, around 6′ tall, a blond with a nice 6 pack hidden under all that gear. He tells me this after he tells me all about his Engineering degree he’s going for, that he has no regrets, and likes high-fives. I had two pages of character bio and not one word about what he looked like until he finally mentally pointed at an image and quietly informed me: That.

I’d post the image but I don’t own it and have no idea who it is as it was reposted to Pintrest it seems. But he’s adorable and 100% not my usual type, but can I just say damn.