Tag Archives: mona trimble

Thoughts on Trauma

My kid has been watching Trolls. Thankfully, it’s slowed down, but my goodness, for a while it was on all the time.

Since one of my favorite hobbies is overanalyzing things, I spent my precious time cuddled with my child pondering this movie.

trolls-trailer3
God, look at these monsters. image from Dreamworks

A quick overview of the movie for anyone lucky enough not to have seen it: Bergens eat trolls because eating trolls makes them happy. Nothing else can make them happy. The trolls managed to escape their years of captivity and now live hidden and free in the forest. The bergens manage to find them again and terribleness ensues.

Now, the male lead of the movie had his grandmother kidnapped and presumably eaten by the Bergens. She was trying to save him and got caught instead.

The rest of the trolls are terrible to him. He experienced some terrible trauma. And instead of doing anything that would be remotely helpful, they just make it worse. Huge, noisy parties, ransacking his bunker, and general asshattery to this poor troll.

The message of this movie seemed to be “Just get over it.” Or maybe “Love will help you get over this life-changing trauma.” In either case, they did a terrible job of it. What is this going to say to children who have experienced trauma like this? If they can’t ~find the love~ or whatever to make their lives normal? “Maybe I should sing more?” “Maybe I should hug more?” “Maybe I should realize my life-changing trauma doesn’t matter to anyone else and I should just shut up about it although it has fundamentally changed me?” Like, I don’t get it.

I’ve always tried to treat trauma gently in my writing. I’ve tried to use the trauma my characters experience to work through some of my own issues. But I’ve never tried to gaslight my characters. I’ve never tried to tell them “Just rub some proverbial dirt in it, you’re fine” and have them just move along with their life. No, trauma is this weird tricky thing to work through. I feel terrible for this troll. The rest of their troll society lives in denial about their societal trauma (Our entire race was enslaved and eaten for God knows how long) and throwing loud crazy parties with fireworks and completely unprepared for an attack. And this one troll is trying to stay safe. They’re awful to this poor traumatized troll who is trying to keep them safe.

I haven’t been searching the rest of my kid’s movies for terrible trauma treatment, but I have a feeling I’m going to be finding more now that it’s at the forefront of my brain. It’s interesting to see how trauma is treated and I’ll be curious to point out more as I find it.

The one upside to this is the Hair Up in the Air song is GREAT for being stuck in rush hour traffic because you can just say “GO GO GO” and “We ain’t never gonna stop!” like a million times as you try to get to the airport to pick up your husband because he was in Fresno again. So high five to them for that.

Have there been any movies that struck you as odd or insensitive how they’ve treated trauma? I’m just curious about it now.

Revision Breakthrough

Another breakthrough. Or at least one that’s making sense and gets me excited to actually do it.

I grew out my eyebrows so I could start with a clean slate. I’m HispanicLite, so I have some amazing eyebrow powers.

It was torture growing them out. They get so big and bushy and the most terrible discovery, I have grey eyebrow hairs!!

I finally got them waxed yesterday. I’m feeling pretty bitchin’ today:

An "uh oh what does she know that we don't?" selfie #selfie #smirk #fresheyebrows #feelingpretty #plumtree

A post shared by Mona Trimble (@tremblingtrimble) on

As I was putting on my facepaint this morning, I realized waxing my eyebrows is like revising my novel. Yeah, it hurts and I cringe and my face gets a bit red and puffy, but I feel better and I look better. And we could have this whole talk about the patriarchy and beauty standards or whatever, but, it’s nice to feel nice.

And as far as the novel revision goes, yeah, it’s hard and it hurts sometimes. But you rip off that strip of wax and all these stray words come off. It’s clean and sleek.

This revision of Canary is coming along. I am ripping out so many stray hairs. I’m still using the big strips of wax. The tweezers will be coming out soon. But for now, I’m looking at it in a new way. And, while it hurts, I can see an end product. I’m feeling it today.

And, like eyebrows (mine at least), if I rip too much out,  just give it a little time and it will grow right back (or maybe just check my Trash folder in Scrivener. It’s all the same 😉 )

And my enormous eyes are terrifying and hysterical at the same time, so I’m going to leave them 😂🤣😂🤣

PitMad!

PitMad is next Thursday. I’m trying to get Canary in shape for it. But it’s such a slog. And I’ve been in a funk and blah blah blah.

It’s fun and it’s hard and it’s scary trying to get it ready by then. I don’t get many external deadlines in my little writing world. There’s no one saying, “Do this now!” I was the worst procrastinator in high school and college. The fact I even managed to graduate from either is kind of shocking sometimes. Like, how’d I squeak through?

So I’m working and the inevitable this is hard. Do something else. You still have a week to finish is clambering all over my head and face.

But. I know I can do this. I know I want to do this. And if I want my dreams to stop being dreams and starting being goals, well, dammit. It’s time.

(and I don’t know how many times I have to say, “It’s time to stop being scared” but it looks like I need to say it another time or two)

Any other PitMad preparations going on?

Learning Hurts Sometimes

Over the past year, with my writing group, I have learned so much. My writing buddies have discovered I have a hankering for terrible books and every time they run across one, they’ll tell me about it and I’ll read them. Or, at least the first third when I’ve had my fill and have to set it down shaking my head. I’ve run across some doozies.

The upside of this, I have recognized so many problems in my own writing because of it. I’m revamping my Upcoming Titles page. Those titles I just swooped off the page were pretty terrible and not just Impostor Syndrome terrible. Legit garbage.

In any case, I might have a stack of eighteen manuscripts, but most of those deserve to stay there. I wouldn’t say it hurts, quite, to scuttle them. I’ve been KonMari-ing my house and it feels so good to clean out a junk pile. It feels good to put those manuscripts aside and know they’re done. I might rewrite them someday because I still love their characters, but that’s that.

From that stack, I think six are good enough to revise. Some of that might be my Impostor Syndrome, and some of that might be “Oh, I think I read something like that in one of those terrible books my friends throw at me.”

In any case, I’ll be updating titles and teasers. I’m curious to see where my writing career is going, but until I get to it and start working at it like work, well, it’s just going to stay right here.

I’m glad you’re on this journey with me.

Doing the Hard Part

I have a feeling I’m going to go indie. The market for romance has such a big indie component that it would make sense just to stay there.

So. I’ve started working toward it. My RWA chapter had a presentation on setting up newsletters. I’ve got a PO Box. I’ve got my url here. I’ve been doing all this backend stuff. BUT now I need to implement it. I need to use all these cool tools I’ve been collecting and actually do it.

I just sent up my Patreon. So many people have been telling me to do it for so long. And now, there it is. I can’t decide if I’m more terrified no one supports me or if people actually think I’m worth backing. Either way, it’s a scary proposition.

And if I want to do this, I actually have to do it. I can’t just write. I can’t just do this backend stuff. I need to do all of it. Even the hard parts. The “putting my work out there and having other people read it” parts.

But…

I’m finally doing it. I’m going to tackle the hard part. Rafiki is right. It is time.

Deep Work and Flow and Motherhood

My husband bought Deep Work a while back. I was flipping through our Kindle library and saw it. I started to read it.

Interesting book. I’d agree that it’s hard to focus on deep work, that undistracted focus on something. It’s akin to Flow, getting so into what you’re doing you just lose track of everything and slide into that blissful work.

So, I’ve been reading this book today and at one point, the author, Cal Newport, was humblebragging that he didn’t have a smartphone.

I didn’t own my first smartphone until 2012 (when my pregnant wife gave me an ultimatum—”you have to have a phone that works before our son is born.”

Like, holy shit. Not being reachable to his pregnant wife wasn’t enough of a motivator to have a phone that worked? She had to tell him to get a phone.

So, as I pondered this, I ran into this HuffPo article on the Mental Load. (Heh, yeah, I haven’t been doing much deep work today 😂)  You Should’ve Asked is another good one.

And, as I’ve been pondering on this, I’ve been thinking about the privilege to just be the dad. To not worry about the kids so much. To not be carrying the load of the kid’s schedule, their next doctor visit, and oh yeah, the dog needs his rabies shot. And of course, not all moms are the primary caregiver, etc etc. However, I think the vast majority of stay at home mothers would fall under the primary caregiver category.

Honestly, I can’t even imagine what that would be like. My little yellow to-to book is full of house stuff and my writing stuff and our calendars and menu planning and a million little things to keep track of. I would be lost without my little planner. But to not even need it? Seriously, that blows my mind.

In college, I had a serious, passionate fling with physics. Then Calculus 2 happened. And happened again. And I tapped out. BUT during that very steamy year or two, I was in a lecture with … I don’t even remember her name. I wonder if I could even find it now. Anyway. It was about being a woman in the field. Another woman stood and said someone else (a man, of course) had said the best time to have a kid was in grad school. The speaker said she was super duper lucky because her employer was so amazing to her when she had her kids. The whole topic of children seemed like a minefield at the time.

And, it still is.

I wondered if writing this down would help me to tease any of it out, but I don’t think it did. It all comes down to being a woman in our society. Where we are so pro-life! HOORAY!! but then snarl about food stamps. Where there are so many hungry kids. When women who have chosen to be childless get badgered about when they’re having kids. There is no right answer. And I know I’ve fallen into so many of these same traps. I need to be beautiful. I need to be skinny. All this bullshit and privilege.

Anyway. Them’s my thoughts. I still have no idea how to work through it. I never got around to reading Lean In, but:

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 2.07.23 PM

And yes, I named my old Kindle “magic book holder.” I’m curious to see if this is enlightening. AND I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Little Kid me Would be so Jealous Right Now

When I was a kid, I devoured books. I just couldn’t get enough of them. I loved getting into an author’s head and universe and having an adventure.

I’ve been critiquing a friend’s novel and I think the younger me would have just shit her pants at the privilege. Playing in another author’s world and pointing out flaws or the raddest shit ever and actively helping make a book better? It’s just amazing. I am transported to being a kid and reading Stephen King for the first time. It’s that level of amazement I feel sometimes as I’m critiquing. It’s seeing the world a new way. It’s fun and delightful.

I tend to be a very curious person and ask so many questions. My kid hates it when we’re at the zoo and the keepers are out because I just love to learn so much. “Mom, c’mon!” *hand tug, hand tug* 😀 But being in a dialogue with authors is so much fun. Every question I have, everything that doesn’t make sense, I ask my questions and find out. I like my certainty. And even if something is ambiguous in the story, I’ll ask my little questions and find out.

Anyway. I was making a cup of chai before getting back to my writing session and I realized how rad this all was. I hope your day is just as rad.